Recordings from the Holocron of Valerie Soung – Expectations

   And here we have another item from Kira’s player…

   Valerie Soung

   Trayus Academy

   Malachor V

   I left Keldav to his practicing. The odds of him improving enough to kill a proper Sith before the end of the week were slim to none. He certainly seemed resigned to his fate but was going to make a try anyway. I was impressed he didn’t come out and beg me to kill whoever it is for him.

   At least Father would have a proper apprentice soon. You either had to start the training young like I had or had started out as a Jedi to hope to get anywhere. These latents just had too much of a disadvantage with the lack of experience and training to hope to survive. The fool should have taken my offer, that would have allowed him to survive another three months at least. I guess the empty offer of a lightsaber should he make it was too tempting for him to pass up.

   My lessons for the day were already over, so I had the rest of the day to myself. Not really wanting to go home and have another argument with my Mother, I went to the commons to relax.

   The servants were still cleaning up the remains I had made earlier of the stupid low-life I killed. I did enjoy how the room went silent as people looked at me and the cleanup. That was the only way to get respect around here with all these new Sith running around. The former Jedi were the worst about it and needed the most reminding of their place. They think that because they can throw a tantrum now that they can wield the Dark Side.

   Pathetic.

   I grabbed one of the datapads and sat down on one of the empty couches nearby. A servant girl silently appeared to my side within moments.

(Servant) Lady Soung, is there anything I can get for you?

   As much as I wanted something alcoholic, this was neither the time nor the place to indulge. Too many of these idiots would try to seize upon the opportunity of my being even slightly intoxicated and pull something stupid. Not that I still wouldn’t win of course. I just didn’t want the hassle. Hmm, the girl was still waiting patiently or fearfully for an answer.

(Valerie) Bring me a cup of Kleck tea then.

(Servant) Yes, my Lady.

   Browsing the news revealed nothing of real import. Another attempt to push into the Core Worlds had been repulsed. No surprise there. The Republic fleet had the advantage of inside lines. The only reason Revan had such luck on his push was because he managed to make an end run around the fleet and got to Alderaan before anyone realized he was there. Republic reinforcements still managed to get there fast enough to repel him before he got a chance to assault the planet itself though.

   A message came up on the datapad from Father asking me to explain why I killed whatever his name was. Looked like Master Fuston really was upset over the whole thing and was taking the matter up with him. I think it serves him right for not teaching the idiot not to fondle someone more powerful than he was. I wrote a short and rather snotty response back on how Master Fuston needs to teach proper discipline and respect to his students. I did withhold the comment on how Master Fuston himself might benefit from learning proper respect. I’ll leave that for Father to determine.

   There was also an announcement of more “recruits” arriving this week. Rosters were already available and I spent some time perusing them. Who knows, perhaps one of them would make a suitable replacement apprentice for Father? Best candidate looked to be a Crasus Threen. Good amount of talent and had been Revan’s former apprentice no less. Too bad that meant Revan got first dibs on him again, but Revan might overlook this opportunity. Best to bookmark this one then. The only other one in the batch worth mentioning was another Jedi they picked up named Rena Olys. Experience and training was good, but the overall talent was lacking. The age was also going to be a factor. Well, bookmark her as well and make sure Father was aware this evening.

   Why was the blasted tea taking so long?

   A quick look around and I didn’t see her chatting with anyone. I considered ignoring it, but I was in a foul mood and wanted my tea. Annoyed, I put the datapad down and got up to have a look around.

   A quick search found the girl on the floor near the kitchen. It looked like two former Jedi were busily teasing the girl and tripping her up everytime she tried to stand up. I saw the cup of tea the girl had tried to bring me lying in pieces on the floor next to her. Stupid punks.

   I walked up behind one of them and hit him on the back of the head. He went face first into the floor while his buddy Whepley turned towards me while pulling a lightsaber.

(Whepley) Listen you pathetic little….

   The look of fear in his eyes as he saw who he was talking to was most satisfying.

(Valerie) Pathetic? You have three seconds to put away your lightsaber and leave that girl alone before I kick your ass.

(Whepley) What, you’re protecting her? Why?

(Valerie) Because I am tired of waiting for my tea. Plus holding her responsible for your incompetence seems counterproductive.

   His buddy Ulstin got up on the floor at that point. His nose was bleeding from the impact with the floor. He too pulled a lightsaber.

(Ulstin) Incompetence? Listen bitch, we don’t need to take anything from some girl not even carrying her lightsaber.

   I gestured to where the servants were now trying to sponge up the last bits of the idiot from earlier.

(Valerie) Well that’s funny, I recall that guy over there saying something very similar before I brained him with my bare hands. If you think you can do better than he could, then by all means, try me.

   Whepley looked over at the cleanup and I could see his resolve wilt away. Ulstin was too drunk on his anger and humiliation to think straight. He appeared intent on protecting his pride. I really didn’t need to add another kill to my list of things Father had to deal with right now. Too late to back out now though.

   My precognition sense of Ulstin exploded into myriad images of potential futures and possibilities. This was the hallmark of fighting another precognitive in battle. Unfortunately for him, his battle precognition was no where near as strong as mine so one image in particular stood out stronger and more defined as I saw further than he could. Looked like he was preparing for an overhead swing meant to slice me in half from collarbone to crutch followed by a horizontal swing to cut my remains in half again.

   It was a simple matter to step aside and smash my fist into his broken nose three times. Blood was streaming down his face and chest now and I could tell his vision was blurred significantly. Worst yet for the idiot, he had dropped his guard with his blade now at his side. A quick kick to his hand sliced off his own leg and I followed up with a another kick to the side of the head. Luckily for him, he dropped the lightsaber as he fell, otherwise he would have impaled himself from the fall. He still ended up on the floor unconscious and bleeding profusely though.

   I could hear the servants groan over yet another cleanup today. I ignored them.

(Valerie) I suggest you take your friend and his leg to medical soon. Otherwise he may well bleed to death on the floor there. Too bad he wasn’t as smart as you are.

(Whepley) Yes ma’am, thank you ma’am.

   I watched him drag his friend to medical. Once again, all eyes in the room were on me again. You would think they would learn after the first half dozen.

(Servant) Thank you my Lady.

(Valerie) Get me my tea promptly and I will overlook the delay. Someone else may clean up this mess. I will be returning to my spot.

(Servant) Yes, my Lady.

   A pair of giggling girls were sitting on the couch I had vacated. They quickly departed once they saw me. Well, it saved me the trouble of finding another couch to recline in where the servant girl wouldn’t find me.

   The tea arrived within moments of my sitting down. The girl probably was running right behind me. I acknowledged her delivery with a slight nod and dismissed her with a wave of my hand. Time to get back to reading again.

   The message board was filled with speculation and betting on Keldav’s upcoming demise. Favored candidate for his replacement was apparently Jurin of all people. I had serious doubts Father would take in that filthy degenerate. Jurin had taken becoming a Sith as an excuse to completely cut loose from all restraint whatsoever. Even animals had some sense of decency.

   Betting myself would only disrupt the odds as people would assume I had some sort of insider information, and it was hard to bet anonymously with so many computer experts around. Strangely Father has not spoken with me on the matter. I would have thought he had a candidate chosen already, but the only one coming forth to claim such a thing was clearly lying. Strange indeed, it must be that Crasus Threen kid after all and with a lot of back room bargaining going on with Revan.

   Nothing else on the network really caught my eye so I finished my tea and left. It was getting to be early evening and dinner would be ready soon. A driver was already waiting for me as I left the building. The ride to the Varen compound was short, but I got a chance to see the sunset over the star destroyer half buried at sea several miles out. The contrast was striking and I found myself staring at it as the hovercar pulled to a halt outside the Soung residence.

   I could see mechanics working on repairing my repuslor bike out in the courtyard. It was damaged during my last mission and I should have scrapped it and gotten another. Alas, I had grown attached to the thing and had insisted that it be repaired instead. The mechanics were taking their sweet time with it, but I didn’t complain given the meticulous care they were taking to repair it. Treat those who repair your stuff well Father would say. I just wish they would be finished already.

   Inside the residence, I could hear Mother and Father arguing over my latest kill. Mother was complaining about the political ramifications while Father was busily ranting about punks touching his daughter. Like he doesn’t understand I can take care of myself as I so demonstrated. Looked like news of the one I only beat up had not reached them yet. No reason to tell them just yet.

   The servants announced dinner was ready the same time Mother and Father noticed my arrival. Looked like roast bantha and assorted vegetables. We all sat down to eat.

(Mother) I hear you got into another fight today.

(Valerie) Can’t be helped, the fool grabbed me and needed to be taught a lesson.

(Mother) You killed him!

(Valerie) And he deserved no less for that.

(Mother) Now Master Fuston is demanding reparations for lost time from your father. The political ramifications of your actions…

(Valerie) Are moot. He should have taught his apprentice better manners when dealing with his superiors.

(Mother) His superiors? You and he were on the same level of training before you killed him. Just because he had less skill and power than you does not make him an inferior young lady.

(Valerie) No, being stupid enough to provoke someone able to readily kill him is what made him inferior.

(Father) Valerie, you need to watch your temper. Killing indiscriminately lowers yourself to the ranks of the common Sith. On the other hand, allowing him to touch you without repercussion can’t be allowed either.

(Valerie) Then what would you have had me do then Father?

(Father) Take away the hand that provoked the incident in the first place and then given it back as a reminder for the future.

(Mother) And how exactly was she to cut off his hand without her lightsaber?

(Valerie) Mother….

(Father) Cut it off? Have you seen what she can do? Ripping it off is well within her capacity.

(Valerie) Father!

(Mother) Oh yes, now that is a fine way for a lady to act in public, ripping off limbs like some wookie primitive.

   The argument ceased to involve me at that point as the two of them proceeded to discuss proper etiquette on taking someone’s hand off. I listened to them prattle on for some time before I decided my curiosity needed to be saked.

(Valerie) Father, who is the new apprentice?

(Father) What?

(Valerie) The new apprentice? You know, the one to replace Keldav when he dies? That degenerate Jurin thinks he has a shot, but I was wondering who had it for real.

(Father) You mean you haven’t figured it out yet?

(Valerie) What is there to figure out? You haven’t mentioned one and I cannot find any credible evidence that you’ve been searching for one either.

(Father) Sounds to me like you have figured it out.

(Valerie) You can’t seriously believe Keldav will survive this test?

(Father) Why not?

(Valerie) He doesn’t have the skill or power necessary to kill anyone that might be out to get him. It’s practically a death sentence.

   Father laughed at that, he laughed long and hard.

(Father) Oh yes, it is a death sentence, but for the poor sap in the kid’s way. He can be absolutely ruthless and cunning when he needs to be. You think he can’t win? That’s because you haven’t seen him get desperate.

   Desperation in my mind meant begging for assistance. Yet Keldav has done no such thing. Dinner finished soon thereafter and I retreated to our personal training room to practice sparring.

   Practicing lightsaber sparring against droids was dull, but I needed to improve my attunement to my lightsaber. No matter how much I detested the thing, there was going to come a point where I had to use it. At least here I could practice with it away from prying eyes that might see things they shouldn’t. Father had tried setting Keldav up as a sparring partner once, but Keldav simply could not use the training lightsabers effectively enough. Lending him one of Father’s did not help matters much either.

   No matter, either Keldav would be getting his own shortly, or someone would be replacing him. Then I might have a sparring partner other than my parents and tutors who inevitably went easy on me.

   I finished up personal practice after about an hour and cleaned up for the night. I reclined in bed reading a book for an hour before calling it a night.

   Next morning came quickly enough. One of the servants announced I had a visitor waiting for me. I told them to have whoever wait while I had my bath and got dressed. I was snacking on some breakfast cakes when one of the servants felt the need to remind me again of my visitor. Annoyed at the disruption to my routine, I assented to them being allowed to come before me while I ate.

   In came a young girl, probably 3 years younger than me. She was clearly a servant or a slave or some sort. What stood out about her the most was her appearance though. She was wearing a dress very similar to the one I wore just the day before and her hair was done in a similar style to my own. It was about that time that I noticed the numerous cuts and bruises on her face and limbs. There was a look of fear in her eyes and it wasn’t fear of me.

(Valerie) What is the meaning of this? Who are you?

(Visitor) My Lady, my name is Gab Kilnes. I am a slave girl to Master Jurin. I came here because I felt it best you know what my Master has been doing and plans for you.

   Well that explained the bruising, but I wasn’t liking the implications the rest entailed.

(Valerie) Well, Gab, you’d best be quick explaining.

(Gab) Yes, my Lady, although I feel it best if I let you watch this recording rather than me trying to explain.

   I watched the recording she had brought with her several times. My fury rose with each viewing. I could also tell that Gab was growing increasingly frightened over my visible rage. Jurin had been acting out all sorts of twisted fantasies about me with those servant girls of his. Judging by the contents of the recording, it was no surprise they didn’t last long either.

   Especially galling was the part where he bragged about requesting my hand in exchange for being Father’s apprentice. Jurin evidently felt he was going to teach the “uppity bitch” her place.

   Not that Father would have seriously entertained or even offered such a notion. Jurin was obviously so underqualified to be a proper apprentice that even Keldav seemed far superior if only for temperament. Right, Jurin was going to die today and damn the consequences. He needed to learn his place before he died. But first…

(Valerie) Gab, you now are a servant of the Soung household. Thelos in the kitchen will make arrangements and see to any healing you might need. Your first order though will be to never dress up like me again. Do you understand?

(Gab) Yes, my Lady. But you must understand, Master Jurin owns me, without his consent I cannot…

(Valerie) Dead men cannot own property.

   I got up and left, leaving a partially finished meal on the table. Behind me I could hear Gab begin to cry softly.

   The chauffeur was not expecting me to be leaving so soon and so scrambled hurridly to get the hovercar ready. He seemed to think my glowering was aimed at him, and while I was annoyed at the wait, I was saving my anger for someone special today.

   The ride itself never seemed to move so slow. I resisted barking at the chauffeur but did darken the windows to block out the morning sun. It was then that I realized I had brought my lightsaber with me. Sensing the power of the Dark Side grow within me, I began the control exercises I had learned over the last year. Slowly I began to detach the decision making portion of my mind from the emotions that drove my power. Fracturing my mind like this for too long or too often would be dangerous, but it was necessary to keep the emotions from controlling me and becoming habitual.

   In the end it came down to a simple decision. Jurin had to die.

   Arrival at the Academy came soon after I was finished. Part of me idly wondered if the driver deliberately timed it or if it was just another coincedence. No matter. Now it was time to hunt Jurin down.

   He wasn’t in the commons room, although many of the occupants scattered as they felt me approach. Those that didn’t feel me fled when they saw me. I saw Keldav hiding behind one of the columns trying to remain unseen. For all his limitations, he could be smart when he needed to be. Not finding Jurin here and not being able to sense his presence with all the commotion going on, I grabbed a datapad and requested his location.

   He was in classroom 324 on the third floor. I really didn’t feel like taking the elevator or the stairs right now and wanted to just leap up from here in the commons to the third floor.

   But that use of power would be a dead giveaway I was out to kill. Besides, it was also giving in to my emotions and recklessness. No need for that just yet. I quietly walked up the stairs after gently placing the datapad on the table. Room 324 was right off the main hallway to the South. I tried the door but found it to be locked. I could hear the instructor lecturing but couldn’t make out what. It didn’t matter.

   My kick sent the door sailing across over the instructor to imbed itself in the wall on the far side. The instructor clearly was not a Sith as he went to cower behind his desk.

(Valerie) Excuse me. Is Jurin in here? I wish to speak with him right now.

   Jurin made no move to announce himself, although everyone else in the room more than made up for that as they all pointed at him. I began striding towards him and everyone else vacated the premises. I could see him begin to finger his lightsaber. I flicked on the shield generators on my arms and legs.

(Jurin) Valerie? What the hell do you think you’re doing?

(Valerie) Me? Oh, nothing much, just got something I need to take care before lunch, after which the rest of my day is pretty open.

(Jurin) Quit kidding around! This isn’t funny.

(Valerie) No, it isn’t. But I am sure people will be laughing about this come tomorrow.

   Once again I saw the flicker of potential possibilities spring forth from him. He was clearly more powerful than Ulstin as I had a harder time picking out the true path. Best I was going to be able to do was prune the most unlikely branches and focus on countering the most probable ones.

   He ignited his lightsaber and rushed towards me with Force enhanced speed. Knocking his blade aside with my left hand, I made to launch a powerful telekinetic blast with my right. He countered with a blast of his own and we were both thrown backwards from the recoil. I got to my feet first, but he then began to fling desks towards me in an attempt to keep me away.

   There were too many things for him to use as projectiles for me to effectively dodge them all, so I pulled the door out of the wall with the Force and used it as a shield as I pushed forward towards him. Thankfully he thought I was following the door more closely than I was as he stabbed his blade through the door trying to get me. That gave me a clear line to kick the door and him out into the hallway away from things he could throw at me.

   Evidently Jurin had more skill than I anticipated as he managed to blunt most of the damage to his body using the Force. No matter, I followed him out into the hallway and began to duel him in earnest. Jurin would attempt to attack or defend with his lightsaber while using his other hand to direct Force attacks. I fought back using the shield generators on my arms and legs to counter his attacks and make attacks of my own.

   Steadily I pushed him back out towards the commons as he slowly gave ground. Eyes began to gather on us as people found protected vantage points to watch from. Right when I had him backed against the railing above the commons itself, he leapt backwards and down into the main floor.

   Jumping down after him was inviting him to used a ranged attack while my trajectory was fixed. Time to be unpredictable. I telekinetically grabbed the remnants of the door still laying in the hallway behind me and flung them at him on the floor below. That occupied his attention and also neatly blocked his line of sight to me. Now he should be expecting me to follow the table down using it as a shield to block his attack. In fact that would be the most probable attack and the one he should be seeing. Time to do something else instead.

   Slinking back against the wall, I crouched down so that his line of sight would be unable to find me. He could still use Force senses to track me, but those were going to take precious seconds to catch up now. The stairwell I came up was currently to my right. A quick running leap flung me down the stairwell parallel to the stairs. It was a simple matter to hit the landing with one hand and pivot so that it brought my feet against the wall again. Kicking off that wall with another enhanced leap was all it took to get me to the ground floor moving at high speed.

   By now, Jurin had come to realize I wasn’t behind the door I flung at him and was busily scanning the third floor trying to find me. More precious seconds to my advantage. Now I was running at high speed across the floor trying to close the distance before he realized I was there. Someone cried out before I was able to fully close though and thus Jurin was able to react in time to bring his lightsaber down on top of me with a two handed swing.

   Throwing my arms above me to block the attack, I dove into him head first with an impromptu tackle I hadn’t been planning. We rolled across the floor together as his lightsaber when skidding across the floor and one of my arms felt like it was on fire. He rolled off of me and leapt backwards, trying to open the distance between us as he telekinetically grabbed his lightsaber again. In a most fortuitous set of circumstances, he had leapt back onto the half the remains of the door I had thrown at him.

   I jumped high into the air, purposefully making myself prone to attack as I sailed towards him. As he reared back to throw his lightsaber at me in an attack meant to cut me in half, I pulled the door out from under him. Jurin clearly wasn’t expecting the move as he fell backward onto his back as I came down on top of him. His head hit the floor a split second before my foot came down on his head.

   The contents of his skull were all over the room. Jurin was clearly dead now and I got a chance to take stock of the situation. It looked like the shield generator on my left arm had given out under the stress loaded on it. The remains of the bracers had taken the brunt of the lightsaber hit, but the smoked electronics had burned the skin of my arm. Oh well, some bacta will take care of that in short order.

   A quick glance around the room showed several of the other students exchanging the winnings of bets on the fight. Judging by the amount of money exchanging hands, it looked like I was the favored fighter in the match. That was satisfying to know. I saw Keldav in the back behind his column, although now he was grinning one of the most stupid grins I had ever seen. There was something downright smug about it all.

   I heard the servants groaning about yet another cleanup job, but my attention wasn’t on them. It was focused on my Father who came out and clapped Keldav on the back and told him congratulations.

   Congratulations?

   Why in the galaxy would Father be congratulating Keldav now of all times? Did he take advantage of the confusion caused by my fight to kill his opponent? That was stupid, if he could have engineered that, then it would simply have been much easier to…..

   Oh no.

   THE BASTARD!

   He got me to do his dirty work for him! Worse yet, even after I offered to do it for him and he refused. How could I have been so blind? Jurin thought he had a chance because Father told he did. And Father told him because he knew Keldav couldn’t kill him on his own. I overlooked it because I knew Jurin couldn’t possibly be an apprentice.

   Keldav had evidently gotten a recording of Jurin either acting out those fantasies with the girl or doctored them so the fantasies involved me. The girl was either already dressed like me from the fantasy or told to dress like me to help sell the scheme. He then sends the girl to me with a copy of the video. And I fell for it, being so willing to believe Jurin was sick monster. Whether Jurin truly was acting out the fantasy or not doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is the fact he knew that it would infuriate me to the point I’d kill.

   This was all a test of Keldav’s ability to manipulate someone to do his work for him. Not a test of his ability to kill a strong opponent. Now Keldav would get his lightsaber and become a full apprentice.

   Suddenly the pain in my arm felt like nothing. All my attention was focused on this young man in front of me I mistook for a weakling. Maybe Father hadn’t made such a bad decision after all. This Keldav was worth keeping an eye on.

   No, that wasn’t the proper way to think of him anymore.

  Kira, I’ve got my eye on you.

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