Chapter 1

     Kevven Denmar walked away from the bar slightly drunk. He didn't notice a shadow sliding between the alley he was in and the open air near the street until he almost ran into it.
     A light curse, and he stepped back. When he saw what it was that was blocking his path, he snarled. A kid, near human, and no more than half his age. Kevven reached out to push him aside.
     With blinding speed, the young man pushed back. Kevven's head smashed into the wall, hard enough to draw blood but not so hard as to knock him out.
     A bright flash, and Kevven looked down to see that he no longer had a right arm. He fell to the ground, and a dark shadow covered him momentarily.
     "You tell the jedi that I want them. Especially the one called Kem Bevlar. I want him alone."
     The shadow left, and Kevven lay there with the pain... and without his arm.

     Kem's door flew open. Tirral marched in with Myka closely in tow.
     "Tirral, what's the rush?"
     "We have an appointment to keep. Or rather, you do." Tirral waited for him to reply, and when he didn't, Tirral continued. "Someone has come looking for you. Someone with a lightsaber."
     "Who? I don't know anybody else with lightsabers except you guys."
     "We don't know. But he's popped up all over the city, threatening everyone. He keeps telling people that he wants to meet you alone. Several people have been hurt already, but he hasn't killed yet. Mostly lightsaber cuts. Two people have lost their arms."
     "Well, we can't keep him waiting while others get hurt. I guess this will be my first assignment as a jedi."
     "Don't worry." Myka piped up. "We'll be there too. Somewhere."

     Nimoness pushed aside the pretty young newscaster and turned to the camera. A single thought, and the holocameraman turned it on. Nimoness pulled down his hood to hide his face.
     Another thought, and the signal was broadcasted on every holo frequency.
     "People of Garus, hear me. I wish to see a young jedi by the name of Kem Bevlar... alone. He can comply through this news station. No friends, and no police. I will know."
     "And if he will not fight," Nimoness bent his head down, but let the molecules of air around his eyes glow slightly, giving him an icy cruel look, his blue skin and eyes glowing fiercely. "The entire city will suffer. As well as he and his friends."
     The signal faded, leaving only the last image of the hooded figure with the cold stare on every holoset on the planet. Nimoness threw back his hood again, and pulled the young newscaster back on his lap. She was under his complete control, and would not remember a thing...

     Kem walked bravely though the front door of the news station. The local police had the building surrounded, but no one had come in or out, or had shown themselves since the broadcast. All doors were locked.
     Until Kem stepped up. The front door slid aside, as his friends watched apprehensively from behind police vehicles, some wheeled, and some with repulsors.
     Kem wound his way around the desks downstairs until he found a working lift shaft. He stepped inside, when Nimoness' voice filled the small space.
     "Ah, excellent. Just as I was hoping. Kem Bevlar, alone. We shall meet soon. But before then,"
     The lift stopped. The door slid open to reveal two large security droids. At the same time they reached forward to grab Kem and physically remove him from the turbolift. Before the metal hands got even halfway, a flash of silver cut them off. One droid sparked brightly, and fell over. The second withdrew the amputated members and reached out with a taser-tipped secondary arm. This time the silver and purple lightsaber found the robot's chest, and it toppled to the ground in several large pieces.
     "Impressive." The voice said. "Not quite the same as I had last seen you, but impressive nonetheless."
     The doors closed, and the turbolift continued to rise.
     "You will meet me in a moment."
     The lift finally stopped at the highest floor, and the doors opened.
     The silver blade caught three laser bolts, and Kem leapt out. Two quick slices, and the guns were in pieces. The two human security guards fell the ground, no longer in contact with the distant mind controlling them.
     Kem reached out with his senses and found the remains of the force linking the two men to the distant jedi. He followed their path.
     Six more men charged him. Kem blocked several bolts before he ducked behind a wall. Four lasers burned the corner, but none came through. Kem ran into an open door and found himself in an office cubicle. Three slices, and the window fell away. He climbed out, carving handholds with his lightsaber. Soon he made his way to the roof.
     The dark jedi had anticipated that.
     Two automatic laser turrets awaited him. Green light splashed off of his blade before he finally managed to reach the surface of the roof. Two slashes, and one of the turrets fell apart. Then he turned to deal with the second.
     After blocking a few bolts, one managed a lucky hit back on the blaster itself. It turned, firing randomly until Kem slashed the barrel off.
     A dark presence stepped up behind him. Kem turned to see the caped man he had seen on the holovision.
     "Kem, it's nice to see you again." The hood fell back, but the man turned away before Kem could see his face. "Catch me if you can."
     The man hopped onto a swoop lying nearby and flew off at full speed. There was another swoop floating there, waiting to be flown.
     "Why not?" Kem thought to himself. "I can always jump off if I have to."
     He jumped onto the saddle and gunned the engine. His opponent was purposely leaving a trail in the force for him to follow.
     Kem followed the trail closely, but the dark jedi always managed to stay out of range.
     Then Kem realized what was happening.
     His friends had said they would be there to protect him.
     The dark jedi wanted to separate him from his friends, to ensure his victory without any help against him.
     The force led Kem down to a flat area on the edge of the city. There were no people around, and nothing except a metal platform and the grass growing beyond. The other bike hovered right outside the edge of the platform, and the dark figure stood in the middle.
     Kem landed across from the other bike and quickly dismounted, pulling out his lightsaber.
     "Kem Bevlar, it's good to see you again. For the last time."
     Nimoness threw off his robe and pulled out his own lightsaber. Finally Kem recognized him.
     "Nim, we thought you were..."
     "Dead?" He grinned horribly, "I'm sure you wished. Now we shall see who shall die... and who shall take his power. Oh, I'm sorry. That technique was never taught to you... I suppose the Sith did pervert it's use. It's a very nice thing to have in a fight. Especially when the fight is over, and you are dead."
     A bright purple blade extended from Nimoness' lightsaber handle. He took a step towards Kem. Then he lunged.
     Kem was in the air already. A force enhanced jump carried him almost ten meters above Nimoness' head. Reluctantly, his blade flared to life as well. Nimoness raised an eyebrow at him.
     "Using your telekinetic powers to their fullest, I see. I would expect less of a slap in the face from a well controlled jedi."
     Kem dimly remembered that levitation had been Halcar's weak point. Oh well.
     Nimoness raised his right hand above his head, his lightsaber held en guarde in his left. The light seemed to draw inwards around his hand, until a black flame raged from it. Nimoness gestured toward Kem, and the flame shot outwards.
     Kem felt the tremor in the force signifying an attack, and he spun to the left, dodging the fireball and spinning towards his opponent. The two lightsabers met, and Nimoness' power faded away.
     Anger curled his bluish lips. Somehow Kem had blocked out his ability to tap into the ancient sith power. Belatedly, he remembered that Kem's strongest point was blocking the force in his opponents. Which made it even hard to predict where his lightsaber would swing, as well as allowing Kem to directly block attacks through the force. Wielding his anger like an iron fist, he threw it into Kem's chest.
     Kem flew back with the blast of telekinesis, but he easily rolled backwards and his lightsaber left a gouge in the ground.
     Apparently Nimoness' telekinesis wasn't as bad as he had always thought it was.
     Kem finally realized that he had no choice. It was do or die. He couldn't hate Nimoness for what he had become. He had no idea what raging fires had sparked his fellow student's evil side... only that it must be extinguished for the good of humanity. Even if that meant killing.
     The two stalked forward towards each other. Their blades swung, but each time the other parried. Finally they met inward and found themselves face to face between the garish purple light of the lightsabers.
     They both shoved each other backwards, but Nimoness went down. The tip of Kem's blade hovered above the other's throat.
     "I don't want to kill you." Kem said. "But I may have to."
     His opponent merely sneered at him. A blast of force energy raced towards Kem's chest, and this time he countered it with the force. But in the momentary distraction the violet blade knocked the silver one out of the way and Nimoness rolled away into a standing position.
     "You make a pitiful jedi." The bluish lips curled in a sneer Kem had never seen on his rival's face before.
     Their blades met time and time again, but neither gained a clear advantage. Finally they met face to face again, blades crossed. But this time Kem went down.
     Nimoness swung at Kem's unprotected midsection, but Kem half rolled and half crawled away. Nimoness leapt at him to give him a finishing blow, but was knocked backwards by a raised hand from Kem. The two scrambled to their feet at the same time.
     For a moment they stared at each other. Nimoness saw only his own anger. Kem saw only the anger radiating from Nimoness.
     Then the dark jedi swung.
     Nimoness flew through the air, spinning at Kem, his lightsaber extended. Kem leapt a moment later, their blades meeting in midair. Somehow Kem managed to land on top.
     His blade was crossed against Nimoness' like before, and they were face to face, but this time Nimoness was lying on the ground. The pure hatred in his face doubled in less than a second, and he threw Kem aside like he was nothing more than a straw figure.
     Kem landed hard, knocking the wind out of him. The force didn't flow for a moment. When it did Nimoness was standing over him, gloating. His saber was a foot away from Kem's chest.
     "Now I will finally see those tiny anatomical differences between my species and you humans."
     Kem didn't need the force to see what would happen next. He only had to hope that Nimoness felt the same way.
     He pressed the second button on his lightsaber, and the silvery blade extended to more than twice it's original length. It swept towards Nimoness' legs, which had been out of reach moments before.
     In shock, Nimoness leapt upwards, and Kem pushed him backwards with the force. Now Nimoness was laying on the ground with the wind knocked out of him. Kem's extra long blade was at his throat, and Kem was safely out of reach.
     Nimoness' lightsaber turned off. Using the force he led it back to it's place on his belt.
     The dark jedi lay there for a moment. Then, he levitated backwards away from Kem's saber, and landed on his swoop. It flew off before Kem could even think to get to his. Nimoness' sense in the force faded out as he shielded his mind.
     Kem's blade shrunk to normal size, and then disappeared. It landed back on his belt as well, and he mounted the other swoop, then flew back to his friends.

     The tiny gunboat rocketed away from Garus, surrounded by a black fire of anger. It was well shielded, for Nimoness had not lost his temper completely. But it was sensed just the same.
     Nimoness pulled the hyperspace lever, and the stars lengthened as usual. The roiled mass of hyperspace would hide his anguish and loss.
     With a bang, he was no longer in hyperspace. A large cargo cruiser was to his right, most of it's storage space converted into an interdictor field, and in front of him was such an aura of evil that he almost couldn't look. The dreadnought he had escaped from was back, and this time the evil that had tortured him was aboard.

     His ship had been pulled into the docking bay without the use of a tractor beam. Someone wanted to demonstrate their power to Nimoness. It succeeded.
     This time the cyborg and the dark shadow were waiting for them. But they didn't need to do anything. Nimoness went with them voluntarily.
     They brought him straight to the bridge of the dreadnought. Straight towards that dark blot in the force that he felt from the moment he left hyperspace.
     When they stepped out of the turbolift, he could see the source of that evil power standing by the viewscreen, at the other end of the bridge. Then the figure turned, all of it's dark attention turned towards him. He desperately searched the force for some kind of protection against that... thing of pure power.

     "My lord, we have a ship coming out of hyperspace."
     He ignored the underling for a moment. Then he responded. "It's him. Open up the bay doors, I want him in there as soon as possible. And tell the interdictor freighter that it can shut down it's gravity generators."
     "But my lord, he could still jump to..."
     "Do as I say." Mentally, he grabbed the young pirate's throat and tightened his grip slightly. "Or do you prefer to work elsewhere?"
     The crewman's face turned white, and he gasped for a moment. Then he slumped in his seat, and quickly keyed in the commands.
     "Do not question my judgment, infant. Not if you like living on this ship."
     He looked back out the viewscreen, lost in his meditation. That promising power was coming closer. He pulled it in himself. Why depend on the machinery, when all it takes is a creative trick, or a strong engine to break loose? The force blankets all uncertainty. And this one was certainly promising.
     The jedi apprentice was brought to him by his follower, En Hin, and his partially transparent friend, Defel.
     He was a strange one, that Defel. Didn't care about power, or much of anything else. He just decided to use his powers to earn money, and did anything to earn that money. Assassination and bounty hunting were his main trades. His unique powers were mostly in manipulation of matter and energy, which he almost always used. Somehow he could control light to go through him, making himself mostly transparent. He was old, too. His real name had been forgotten over the years. He was just Defel now.
     En Hin was less strange, for the most part. His cybernetic side had come from an accident. Only his control over the force kept him alive, but bitter. He had allowed Hin to join him on a whim, before he realized how much help he would need to take over the galaxy. En Hin was a perfect right hand man. Let him satisfy his own petty ambitions, and he would do your bidding with his spare time...
     Hin brought the young apprentice to the bridge. His fear radiated from his being, yet was held in check outside his skin. It took a conscious search to even find it.
     The jedi was brought before him.
     "I am Durron Men. You may call me Master."
     "I call no one master but myself."
     Nimoness felt a hand on his forehead, and he was forced down to his knees. Durron's lips turned up into what might have been a smile.
     "Do not be so quick to anger. Don't you know your jedi lessons?"
     Nimoness did not respond right away.
     "Why is a young jedi like you not in training? Your master should really have kept a better eye on you... but oh, I suppose he can't anymore. I really should discourage En from seeking his random revenges here and there, but I just don't quite have the heart to."
     Nimoness glared at him, defiant, yet already his...
     "Take him down to his new quarters and stand guard until I get there."
     The young jedi was dragged away, not uttering a sound, simply glaring at Durron. He didn't see any of the crew members, or the two dark jedi pulling him along. He only saw the dark power radiating from Durron Men.
     Durron savored a few moments in deep meditation before he followed the boy.

     Nimoness was thrown into a dark room. A moment later, dim lights on the wall turned on. The whole room looked like it was made of stone, and the lights had a reddish glow to them. It was a rather lavish setup for a space vessel. There was a bathroom, complete with stone bath, a circular indent almost three meters in diameter. There was a bedroom connected to it... but there was something that really drew his attention.
     The force drew him to the other side of the room. A door slid open at his approach, and he saw for the first time a thin blue light. As he walked into the room, the change between the red and blue light was so subtle that he did not notice. Most of the light came from the center of an altar, and outside of it was a skeletal pyramid, made entirely of black obsidian. The thing glowed with pure force energy. He reached out to touch it, and felt a thrill of power running through his finger and up his arm.
     "Do you like it?"
     He spun around to see Durron behind him.
     "It's the last of it's kind. An ancient Sith relic, even older than Exar Kun himself."
     "Exar Kun?"
     "One of the most powerful jedi that ever lived. It took a combined force of hundreds of the light side to defeat him. Of course, all the light jedi are afraid to let their pupils know the power available to them. They confuse power with the dark side easily... and understandably. They are one and the same."

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