SWTOR Weekly Challenge: Didn’t Happen (That Way)/ Exactly as Planned

Title: Speechless
Prompt: That Didn’t Happen (That Way)/ Exactly as Planned [@ SWTOR Fanfic Forums]
Characters: Erianthe Tihomir, Miraluka female & Hero of Tython; Lord Scourge
Setting: The Defender
Spoilers: Thick with Chapter 3 Jedi Knight spoilers.

A/N: I’ve taken a lot of lines from different conversations the JK has with Scourge and mixed them up liberally with more dialogue in the spirit of the prompt(s).  There were several things he said that left me literally speechless. Why is ‘unable to respond coherently’ not an option?

Also I think it’s brilliant every time you revive him and he says that you can go. Smug bastard. *sigh* 


 

“I now understand why your Council tries to control your pleasure as well as your anger.”

Erianthe Tihomir, Jedi Knight and Hero of Tython, paused in mid-strike. As part of the preparation to finally capture the Emperor, she’d requested the help of Lord Scourge, Sith turncoat and former Emperor’s Wrath. Erianthe knew she would need different tactics in her arsenal to take on the Emperor a final time, and being the Emperor’s constant companion for nearly three hundred years had given him a distinctly personal perspective of the mysterious ruler.

Distraction was one of the Sith’s most effective, yet annoying, strategies.

The moment she hesitated, Scourge’s ruby lightsaber was at her throat. Erianthe sighed and powered down her own twin sabers, taking a small step back and conceding the match.

“Tsk tsk, Jedi. Mayhem and diversion will be the Emperor’s main defense and offense. Do not be fooled. It will cost you your life, and the rest of the galaxy will follow.” Scourge deactivated his lightsaber with a smirk, stowing the hilt on his belt.

If the Miraluka Jedi had eyes, she may have been glaring at Scourge. His smug attitude tested her patience more than Doc’s ridiculous come-ons, if that were possible. “I understand,” she replied simply, annoyed at her own distractibility. Scourge had a talent for inexplicably offering the most disconcerting observations. And while it was probably just as insidious as what the Emperor himself might throw at her, Scourge clearly seemed to take a certain delight in her discomfort.

While the Jedi trusted him and respected his skills, she disliked how easily he read her. Their relationship – if one could call it that – was tenuous, a caricature of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ as Kira liked to put it.

Erianthe had struggled to accept his presence on the Defender. He was anathema to all she was; hundreds of years of Sith influence, powerful and dangerous in a multitude of ways. But acceptance was the Jedi way, even if approval was not. So she accepted his help, and had even come to appreciate it. He’d become a valuable ally.

Scourge now stood with arms folded, smirking down at her from his considerable height. As in other instances, what had initially seemed like an offhand comment was not; it was a deliberately aggressive remark borne of his bizarre curiosity with questioning her comprehension and dedication to the Jedi Order.

“Lord Scourge. The Council does not dictate any of my actions – let alone my feelings – aside from the missions we’re issued, which you know well I am given the freedom to complete as I deem best. The Council cannot control my feelings any more than you can,” she offered. Like always, Erianthe sensed an undercurrent in his thoughts, something beyond the obvious retort she would inevitably offer.

“And yet you complete the tasks they give you. What is your motive?”

Erianthe blinked quickly, surprised. This should have been obvious; Scourge knew enough of the Jedi to understand their dedication to compassion and service, protecting the innocent, above all else.

“You know I follow the Council’s requests because it’s for the benefit of the galaxy. It’s my job, and it’s the right thing to do.”

“Pleasure is a far more powerful motivator,” Scourge declared, taking a step towards the Jedi.

“I…” Erianthe trailed off, trying to consider the statement objectively. Scourge seemed to enjoy these conversations, somehow drawing out of her ambiguous infractions against the Code or her practice of relying on the light for strength and peace. It could be annoying, even disconcerting, but there was a rationale to his probing questions that revealed much about her own philosophy. She would hardly say they were in accord, but she was beginning to see fewer and fewer differences in their paths – if not in their methods.

“I could agree, but I daresay our definition of what is pleasurable is quite different,” Erianthe replied carefully, watching his aura in the Force. Scourge could get irritated with her acquiescing responses, even angry, but he wouldn’t dare harm her in response. She was too valuable to him, the subject of his universe-saving vision, and she suspected he might even grudgingly respect her as a fellow Force-user. “For most of the galaxy, it’s what makes life worth living. It simply depends on where you find it.”

“Do tell, Jedi. Where is it that your definition allows you to find pleasure?”

 

Despite his attempt to bait her once again, the Jedi saw an easy answer for once. Erianthe smiled. “There is a grace and beauty in serving others; I take pleasure in that. They’re ideas worth fighting for.”

Scourge chuckled, drawing still closer. Erianthe stubbornly stood her ground, refusing to concede either the argument or her physical space. Nevertheless, the Sith’s presence was overwhelming. “Always so existential, Jedi. Come now, there are no baser pleasures that you seek out?”

Erianthe actually blushed. She’d thought she’d gotten used to his innuendo, but he continued to catch her off guard. “That’s not-”

“I still remember the feel of sunlight on my skin. The scent of favorite foods. The color of my first love’s eyes,” Scourge went on, interrupting her protest. “To experience those simple pleasures again would be worth anything.”

The candor of the statement floored her. His plight, the erasure of all his senses in the ritual that provided him with such longevity, still drew a great deal of pity from the Jedi. She pitied him especially the sight of colors – of course, being Miraluka, Erianthe’s experience with ‘vision’ was distinctly different from those species who had physical eyes. She wasn’t sure they would have a shared experience there even if he had all his senses.

The Sith bristled, sensing her sympathy once again. Compassion was not a consideration he wanted any part of; it would be seen as weakness, and that would be distinctly un-Sith of him.

“I didn’t realize it was simplicity you were asking after.”

“Do not mock me.”

Erianthe sighed; he could be absolutely petulant at times. “All sentient beings have these experiences; we recall them with fondness. These smallest of pleasures…” The Jedi considered, thinking of her own childhood, even the small comforts on the Defender. “These I fight for as well. The Emperor would take it all away and leave nothing.”

“Would you go so far as to say they make life worth living?”

“Yes. As I said, differently for different beings, but the smallest of these joys is no less than the greatest achievement of the galaxy,” she answered, recalling a recent meal the crew had shared. Doc had cooked a Ralltiiri dish to share, claiming with his usual extravagance that he was an outstanding chef and had considered going into the restaurant business before becoming a doctor. What Erianthe suspected was that he was homesick and longing for a reminder of his home planet. They’d enjoyed eating and talking together of ordinary things, their respective homes, and their bond had deepened. Even stoic Lord Scourge had remained at the table with them for the entire meal, though silent and sullen as usual.

His attitude at the moment was, however, one of arrogant triumph. “You have surprised me, Jedi. You have the heart of a Sith. Had you been born on Korriban, you would be sitting on the Dark Council now.”

Erianthe couldn’t help laughing aloud at the absurdity of the comment, but Scourge continued on, unperturbed by her mirthful response, beginning to circle around her.

“It is too late to turn you fully from the light – but should your children have a connection to the Force, I will see them properly trained.”

The Jedi continued to chuckle at this addition, almost equally preposterous as the idea of being Sith. She was far too young – not to mention rather preoccupied with saving the galaxy from destruction – to even consider the possibility of her own progeny. Was he making a joke?

“I struggle to comprehend what your teaching methods with younglings would look like,” she quipped through giggles, “and I daresay any children of mine – if they were strong in the Force – would be Jedi.”

Scourge stopped his pacing just behind Erianthe, projecting an abrupt, passionate approval into the Force around them. “Ha. Were you true to Jedi teachings, your protest would be that you will never have children of your body.” His words shocked Erianthe into a startled silence, suddenly bewildered and unsettled. Scourge smiled and loomed over her, murmuring into her ear.

“But you will turn against those shackles as you have so many others.”

Gasping, Erianthe moved to pull away from him, but Scourge had surreptitiously planted his hands on her shoulders, physically holding her in place. She stiffened, unmoving as he continued to whisper dark promises to her.

“Had you been instructed in the true way of the Force, the galaxy could not match your power. I will make sure that mistake does not happen again,” Lord Scourge assured before releasing his heavy grip on the Jedi. Erianthe jerked away, breathing heavily. The Sith made no move to stop her, only smirking and folding his arms again, seeming to enjoy her discomfort. “A most enlightening conversation, Jedi. You may go now.”

Erianthe, unable to conjure a single word of response, hesitated only a moment before fleeing the hold for the solitude of her quarters.

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