I must admit. I like Karakorum. The planet is wild and untamed. The Kraal makes no bones of who and what they are. They only respect strength, they raid and pillage and they keep slaves. Outsiders would call them barbaric. I call them honest. They have no mercy for the weak, but they keep their word. Get on a Kraal's good side, and you will have a comrade for life.
Their warriors were invaluable when I took the fight to Archangel. No doubt there will come a time when their Imperator declares I have a debt to repay. The price may be steep. I will be ready. For now my thoughts lie elsewhere. It did not take much to rent this arena for my personal use. Being respected for killing a giant wurm goes a long way. Which means it is available to teach my little sister a lesson. I relish the sounds of battle - the whine of blaster fire as it whizzes through the air, the sound of vibroblades clashing, and, above all, the loud war shrieks of Thalia.
Far above the sand, Thalia stands alone in a bloodstained tunic. In her hands she holds a blade. Her face is covered in gore and shows pure exaltation. I can feel the power flowing through her. Surrounding her is a contingent of battle droids. Broken wrecks of droids already demolished by her lie close by. The smell of burnt electronics and broken metal is strong in the air.
They move to encircle and bombard her, but she is faster. Thalia flips over the head of one unwary droid and strikes. I'll be honest, I've never been one for Ataru leaps and all that. Still, as the melee continues, it becomes clear that the droids are outmatched, even if she doesn't have a lightsabre.
Again and again, they try to surround her, exploit their superior numbers and firepower. But each time she manages to create an opening. Either through acrobatics, her blinding speed or by flinging a piece of debris or a droid. She is aggressive and wild, moving like a blur. Her blade slices through wrists, limbs and chestplates with reckless abandon. Each time she isolates a droid, she hammers it.
Her speed is good. But she is all aggression - and cocky. If someone were to pin her down for just a moment, she would fare poorly. I can feel an animalistic joy emanating from her. She revels in the fight. The last droid falls when she rips out its power core.
I did not teach her that. Her ability to augment her strength is promising, but it would have been a draining move for someone at her level. She is too focused on flash. She is trying to show off. Silly. Then the noise ceases, and she alone is left standing. Battered, sweaty, gasping for breath and bleeding, but ready. She looks up to me expectantly. Is she expecting me to clap?
"So, am I amazing or what?" she asks cockily.
"You dispatched them." My tone is bland.
"I kicked arse."
"Your strength in the Force has grown," I acknowledge. "As has your ego. A battle is not a game or a place for you to show off. You live, or you die. There are no do-overs. A real enemy will not pander to your vanity. Your defence is poor."
She looks annoyed and huffs. "Hey, what's your problem? It worked, didn't it. Maybe you should give me a proper enemy then, Robo-Mum."
"Once you stop being a child." Siblings can, unfortunately, not be punished the same as minions. Of all my siblings, Thalia is the brattiest and the most annoying. While she huffs and rants, remotes have approached her. Suddenly she shrieks when one of them emerges from cover and blasts her with a hard-sound gun. It kills whatever indignant retort might have been on her lips.
The loud sonic boom does not become her ears. The second remote fires its twin blasters. One is a normal blaster set on stun, the other a paddle beamer. She rolls, dodges, and crushes a remote. Then suddenly she is not leaping about anymore when the paralysis beam connects with her leg.
"Always pay attention to your environment. A fight is not over until all your enemies are destroyed," I say matter-of-factly. While the remaining remote fires at her, I have reached out with the Force, focusing my will on the broken droids. I project my will unto them and they are reassembled. As if nothing had happened, they rise again, albeit a bit jerkily and clearly damaged. Thalia is in the midst of enemies once more - only with a very numb leg. There is a snarl on her face, but through the Force I sense is also...impressed. Perhaps a bit jealous. "Dispatch them." They fire at her on full auto.