Note: The story takes place after Chapter 9 of KOTET.
Note #2: Nayel (Inquisitor) worked for and supported Attira (Warrior) in the Alliance. He’s Malavai’s cousin. She was the Outlander, but she didn’t take the Eternal Throne.
Note #3: Malavai returned before KOTET in a now-defuct story, which was rendered irrelevant after the devs announced his return.
Note #4: Most of the speech is from the in-game Bonus Nar Shaddaa Mission with only minor modifications.
Malavai’s attention was drawn by the noise in the sky. He looked up but couldn’t see anything for trees. He jogged down the path, knowing there was a clearing ahead. He reached the grassy spot, and raised his head again.
His first feeling was comfort. The sight gave him a sense of security, as always. Only a second later he realised that it was wrong. Imperial ships over Odessen were not a norm or a homely sight.
Nayel did have a few that Imperial troops had brought with them after Arcann had been defeated the first time, but they didn’t hover low in the atmosphere over the base.
He knew why the Empire did that: it had a threatening effect. A massive destroyer looming over your home spoke “danger!” louder than any words would. Made it easier to conquer with fewer casualties, as scared people surrender sooner rather than later.
With an unpleasant pinch he realised how effective that intention was. This was not one of Nayel’s ships. This really was the Empire showing off its power.
His morning practise jog forgotten, he sprinted quickly to the base to see what was going on.
He reached the war room to see almost everyone gathered around the middle holo table with the Imperial fleet displayed on it. One glance of his practised eye told him that Nayel had moved Eternal ships to blockade Odessen to protect it from Imperial fire.
Nayel noticed Malavai. “What are their weak spots? You’d know.”
Malavai pressed his lips shut. He loved his cousin, he called him his brother, but he would not betray the Empire.
“Malavai, what are they vulnerabilities?!” Nayel barked louder.
There was nothing that could make him share such information. He couldn’t believe Nayel would even ask.
The Sith turned to him, and observed him for a moment. “I appreciate how difficult it is for you,” he said softly, “but I need that information. And call your wife!”
Malavai just kept looking at him, still refusing to speak.
Nayel approached him. “Listen, fool, I’m doing it only for you, because I know you’d never forgive me, if I did otherwise. Tell me how to disable those ships or I will destroy them right now. Their blood will be on your hands. Vulnerabilities, now!” His raspy voice and shiny red eyes did not scare Malavai. “Fine!” He turned to return to the table. “Order s—”
“All right,” Malavai gave in, feeling almost sick inside. He approached Nayel, and shared the information quietly, hoping it would not spread. He also made a mental note to inform the Imperial Navy to modify the design to remove the weaknesses as soon as possible.
“Now fetch your wife,” Nayel barked, and started tapping data into the keyboard.
Attira was still groggy from sleep, but nevertheless surprised her husband was actually waking her up.
“What…” she muttered.
“Nayel needs you. The Empire… The Empire… seems like it’s invading Odessen.”
It didn’t escape her foggy mind’s attention that he, again, had said “Odessen”, not “us”. Malavai would never feel like he belonged here, even after long months he spent here. Then the meaning of what he’d said reached her, and all grogginess was gone.
“The Empire did what?” she asked, sitting up. She got out of the bed, and started dressing up. “Is Acina insane? She has to know she can’t defeat the Eternal Fleet!”
“He made me… he made me betray the Empire,” Malavai whispered dramatically, his voice breaking.
She froze for a moment, and looked as his miserable face. “How?” she asked, then put on her boots.
He explained how their conversation had gone, but she just shook her head. “You saved Imperial lives; I hardly call that treason. Let’s go!”
She left the Fury with him at her heels, and within moments they arrived in the war room.
“Situation!” she demanded.
“Acina’s a suicidal idiot, who’s currently trying to get the Empire destroyed,” Nayel replied.
“Destroyed?” Attira repeated, surprised.
“Well, not that I would do it, but I could, and she doesn’t know me well enough to know what I’d do.”
“What are your intentions?” the Wrath asked.
“I’m loaning you one of my ships. Go to Dromund Kaas, and dispose of this cretin before she does more damage. Time to bring the Empire to its former glory, and start working on Darth Marr’s vision. This joke has to end!” She nodded. “And take this stubborn moron with you,” he added, pointing toward Malavai. “He’s of no use for me here.”
The Imperial didn’t need to hear it twice. He followed his Sith toward the lift, numbers silently turning in his head. Twenty-four hours from Odessen to the Dromund system by the standard rate but an Eternal Fleet ship’s hyperdrive introduced an unknown factor to him. He regretted not studying their engine construction and capabilities more closely. He opted for a safe assumption of standard, so multiplied the base number by two. Depending on the astrogate check, which he was unable to verify right now, the travel to the Esstran sector could take anywhere between twelve to seventy-two hours. He was not happy with the lower end of those odds but there was not much that could be done about that. He could only hope Nayel wouldn’t lose patience in the meantime, and that Attira would accomplish her task before the Imperial armada over Odessen was obliterated.
Rushing through corridors, Attira did her best not to leave dead bodies behind. Only unconscious. They were just about to become her people, and she didn’t need them to hate her.
The Dark Council or Throne Room or whatever they called it was locked. She could feel Acina’s presence inside, and a few others, including familiar Vowraun’s, so she knew this was the right place to come. She took out her main lightsaber, intending to ‘unlock’ the door Sith style, but Malavai said, “My lord, allow me.”
She nodded, and put her saber away, while he started working on the door panel, slicing in. A short moment later the door opened.
The Wrath entered in style: with her head held high, her small figure appearing a lot bigger than it really was. With her Imperial sidekick, her entrance had to make an impression, she hoped.
Malavai stopped by the door like a guard, put his hands at his back, and stayed there, while she motioned toward the middle of the chamber.
“You were not invited!” Acina said, getting up from her massive throne.
What was with those power-hungry people that their chairs had to be so huge? Compensating for something?
“Neither were your ships over Odessen!” Attira replied. She eyes swept over the Dark Council members but none made a move. They all observed.
Acina’s eyes narrowed. “If you came to beg…”
Attira laughed sarcastically. “No,” she answered, grabbing her lightsabers from her belt, “I came to save the Empire from your foolishness.”
The empress took her dual saber out, ready to fight.
‘Like the old good times’, Attira thought. ‘You fight for your place, and you defend your place to prove you deserve it. That’s the Sith way!’
She was certain Acina was no match for her. She’s taken the throne through trickery, thanks to chaos, she had never proved she was actually capable or deserving it. That was just about to change.
However, Attira had no personal animosity toward the soon-to-be-former empress, so she decided to give her some leeway to die with a shade of dignity.
Malavai watched with a stone, professional face that, he hoped, expressed detachment, but deep inside he was at awe. That was the case each time he had a chance to observe her without concentrating on her medical, combat or other needs.
Her gracious moves resembled dancing rather than fighting, and her long legwrap only enhanced that impression, flowing in the air behind and around her. It looked more like art than a deadly duel. The duration of the fight was not indicated by her perspiration or quickened breath but by the number of unruly white wisps of her hair that had managed to escape her meticulously plait buns, and now flew around her face, as she moved swiftly and gracefully around the room.
A sudden flashback brought the fight with Darth Baras she had fought years ago. A similar setting with even some faces of the audience — Dark Lords of the Dark Council — same as back then, even if the chamber and the planet were not the same. He remembered Baras had tried to insult and humiliate her verbally, but in the end he had been the one humiliated. Until today Malavai didn’t understand what had happened that day; he never fully understood the nature of the Force, since it escaped logical reasoning, so he didn’t know what had caused Baras’s loss of his powers. Had it been Attira’s doing? She’d never mentioned she had such abilities, and never seem to claim it was her efforts that had rendered the great Sith helpless, and at her mercy, which he had had no chances of receiving. He was certain it had nothing to do with the emperor or his decision or choice between the Voice or the Wrath, because he had abandoned them long before that. He also doubted the Hand had a…hand in it. He was forced to accept that he would never find the answer to this mystery.
It didn’t escape his attention that she was in defensive posture now. More often than not she blocked attacks than dealt them. He didn’t know the intentions behind this tactic but he was not concerned.
She was Force-pushed backwards, but quickly regained her balance. She dashed forward, resembling a deadly whirlwind that dealt death with multiple stabs of her two lightsabers. Few standing in the way could survive that. Most didn’t.
She spun on her foot, turning around and lashing her sabers at her opponent, then bounced off the floor to jab her purple weapons from above. The bracelets on her wrists cluttered quietly, while the black-purple crystals of her lightsabers ‘woooozed’ in a melody without rhythm. Sometimes his ears caught her grunts of pain and effort, but the speed of her movement was enough for him to know that she didn’t need any help from him.
“You’re weak!” Acina shouted. “You can’t defeat me,” she laughed, striking.
Attira parred her attack. “You took the throne of the Empire without proving your worth,” she replied. “You didn’t have to show you’re stronger than its last occupant. You didn’t have to show he did not deserve it any longer, as he had grown weaker, thus unable to keep it. That’s how the Sith think. That’s what the Sith do. We live to prove our strength and power, we weed the weak by defeating them, and removing from seats of power they no longer deserve. You skipped all those steps, utilising chaos as a tool.”
“You’re unable to defeat me!”
“Fool! I killed Arcann. I killed Vaylin. I destroyed the ‘immortal’ former Sith emperor! You are no match for me but I wanted to give you the courtesy of dying with dignity.”
“I don’t need your charity!”
“Fine, then,” Attira replied coldly.
So that’s why she was in the defensive posture. Malavai now understood that she artificially prolonged the fight to make a show of it before killing Acina. A generosity he did not see often.
Attira charged with her lighsabers at Acina, spun right in front of the other woman, thus avoiding being struck by the double-bladed weapon of her opponent, and with one swift move she crossed her crystal blades, beheading the empress.
The body stood for a moment, as if surprised by its quick death, then fell next to still rolling head.
Then the Wrath turned to face the Dark Council, ready to strike if anyone dared to challenge her.
Silence dominated the room for a moment, and then Darth Vowraun’s cheerful voice sounded. “That was exhilarating,” he exclaimed, raising his hands. “Made me feel young again!” He stood up from his seat, and approached her.
Malavai admired Darth Vowraun. He admired every Sith, so he realised that could mean absolutely nothing unusual, but he had a special admiration reserved for this particular Lord. His optimistic demeanour, smiles, and the manner of speaking could be misleading to someone, who saw the Sith exclusively through Jedi propaganda prism. Powerful, intelligent, strong, and patriotic, he was an embodiment of what — Malavai believed — every Sith should be. After being lied to, used, and manipulated to do horrible things by Baras, he could see the stark contrast between a Sith that did everything for personal gain and power, and a Sith that had the Empire’s well-being and prosperity as his goals.
Darth Vowraun’s support of Attira meant a world to Malavai. He also knew it meant a world to her, too.
“Will you take it?” Vowraun asked, approaching her, and pointing to the chair that only recently had belonged to the fallen empress.
Attira glared at the throne with disdain. The last time she had sat in something like that, her consciousness was squashed nearly into oblivion, and her body stolen. She knew it would not be the case this time, but still did not relish the idea of placing her body in it.
“I came here to work, not sit,” she said with confidence many would take for arrogance. “Dismantle this thing, and remove from here,” she ordered. “Also, remove that,” she added, pointing at the bloody remains of Acina.
She noticed Malavai started talking to his wrist comm, so she assumed her orders were just being executed. The door to the chamber opened presently, and a small unit of troopers entered. The Imperial officer issued his orders quietly, without disturbing the Sith business.
“I want a holo channel opened to the whole Empire,” she said.
“Yes, my lord,” he replied in his duty voice, approaching controls in one wall of the room. “Ready, my lord,” he said after a moment, turning back to her.
She stood in front of the throne, making sure the camera caught the troopers behind her. She wanted everyone to see that it was being undone.
“Look upon me, citizens of the Empire, and know that I am Sith,” she began. Years ago she’d already given such a speech, and she thought it was good enough to repeat it. “The blood of the ancients courses through me. I triumphed in the tombs of Korriban. Since I departed Dromund Kaas, enemies of the Empire have crumbled before me. Others will die soon. I come for the Jedi. I come for their Padawans. I come for every last enemy of the Empire. I will destroy them all. I will burn their cities, their planets, their stars. They will kneel before the Empire. It is the only way. I have been absent for too long, but no more. With your help, we will make the Sith Empire great and powerful again!” she finished, clenching her hand into a fist to emphasise her words.
Malavai understood the cue, and stopped the transmission.
“Impressive,” Ravage muttered. “I can’t imagine the Republic is happy now.”
She smirked. “I didn’t come here to please the Republic.”
“I have just one question…Wrath,” someone she didn’t know asked. Clearly, he tasted her title, not sure he liked the flavour or, perhaps, not sure it was an appropriate one. “Are we now a vassal of the Eternal Alliance, or an equal?”
“We are a vassal of no one,” she said decidedly. Then added a bit softer. “The Alliance is led by a Sith, by formerly one of you, of the Dark Council. He is not our enemy. We will be partners.”
“I wish I could believe that,” the same lord said.
“Your faith is not required,” Attira replied coldly. She was not going to try to explain the family connections she and Nayel shared. Things were what they were whether anyone believed that or not.
“I imagine the Republic is not going to be happy by Alliance-Empire… alliance,” Vowraun grinned.
She returned the smile. “I expect them to scream in their sleep.” She paused. “Now,” her tone changed to no-nonsense, “let’s get to work. Lord Ravage, recall the Imperial ships from Alliance space immediately.”