“The dark side led only to death and destruction. It was a cancer inside our family. Our father was a brute consumed by it. Mother killed him for power. We murdered his bastards. I broke with the paradigm that forced our family…“
Now I hear
Nyssa. ‘“Preaching weakness, as usual. We did what was needed to survive. And I’ve seen the noble ‘Jedi’ commit acts far worse. You betrayed our family. Me. You threw our traditions, our bond, away for what – something Jedi texts told you?“
“Not Jedi texts. If you had listened, you would know that I do not care for them. It was a revelation years in the making. Were we truly happy? Or we were all just plotting against one another, trying to seize whatever scraps of power we could?“
“And where are we now? The Vykaris family is gone. Our home is a graveyard.“
“And who was the one who turned it into that?“
For a moment there is silence. “You deceived me. You banished me, just because I would not betray our traditions. On the dawn of battle I gave you the chance to back out. You did not. Do you think I wanted this?“ Is there a crack in her voice or am I just imagining it?
“Perhaps, perhaps not. But the deed is done, kinslayer. I am dead, so is mother. Force knows where Ghanima is. And you are…alive. Walking amongst those who hate the Sith. A curious choice. There are many Sith factions you could go far in.“
“Poseurs.“ Nyssa’s disdain is palpable. “They’re not Sith. They don’t share a drop of Sith blood. They just stole our name and claim to understand our code while they besmirch it.“
“Tell me, what is the difference between the Sith Kings of the past, the ones we love to claim we’re descended from, and the tyrants of today? Other than blood. Maybe saying they’re not ‘us‘ is just a way for you to deal with your guilt…“
“Shut up, just shut up, alright?! Stop the psychoanalysing. You don’t know me. You’re not even the real Alypia, just her holocron’s gatekeeper. We fought. I won. You died. I will restore our house. I will give it back its honour and self-respect. And I will do it my way.“

“And what if one day these ambitions bring you in…co…“ The gatekeeper ceases talking. Nyssa must have shut the holocron down. “Come in, Elpsis. I know you’re there,“ she snaps irritably. “You want something? I already sent you that report on the trainees. They’re becoming less useless. Even that stupid Tahok girl.“
“Yes, whatever. Think we’ve beaten the ‘I’m the chosen one‘ delusions out of her. Needs to stop doing all this fancy twirling, unless she wants someone to kill her. Rhea’s still the best of the bunch.“
“She’s skilled, yes. Knows what this is about. Full of anger though. I’m worried it may make her burn out before her time.“
“Fear gets you killed, anger keeps you alive. Rage can keep you going when everything else is against you.”
“Yes, it can,“ I say quietly. I know that well.
“She’ll need every advantage she can get when she goes back to Tephrike.”
“When she’s ready. And she won’t be going alone. Don’t wanna pry, but I heard a bit about your, well, chat. If this is a bad time…“
“There’s nothing to talk about,“ she snaps. “Alypia’s dead. I plunged my sword through her heart. For some reason, I keep her holocron around. It’s sanctimonious and never shuts up, just like her. Maybe I should sell it or something.“
“I don’t think you’d want to. You’ve held on to it for that long.“
“For some reason,“ she mutters.
“It’s the last thing you have left of her. You were sisters.“
“Yeah, we were.“
“What was she like?“
“Before her head got messed up by Jedi propaganda and I murdered her?“

“There must’ve been a time when you didn’t hate each other. Otherwise you wouldn’t have held on to the holocron. Not like you’re gonna convince a gatekeeper they’re wrong. Hell, I’d say you don’t even hate her now.“ I can feel the glare.
Nyssa, you can be tiring sometimes. “Just humour me, okay.“
“Other than preachey she was…strong. Brave. She rode into battle atop a huge Tuk’ata. He was…enormous. No one else could tame it. The trainer thought he was too dangerous. But she did. She called him Thunder. Her telekinesis was stronger than mine. But I was better with the sword,“ Nyssa says the last part a bit smugly.
“She preferred the sabre. Each of us wanted to be better than the other. We had to be. Only the strong thrive. The weak get trampled on. It’s the way of the universe. But…we had some good times together. Kaas, Serenno, cutting down Jedi and false Sith. It was glorious. Sereno was the last time we worked together, couping a family of inbred nobles. Alypia came up with the plan, Ghanima used her sorcery to suborn the weak, I was the strong arm,” she sighs. “Then the pack fractured. The lone Tuk’ata dies.”
Maybe she realised how futile it was. Nyssa’s past and her obvious glee when reliving the ‘good old days’ should bother me. Once they did. She’s not pure as white snow, or some ‘bad girl’ that just needs the right woman to ‘fix’ her and show her the light. Not that I can be bothered much with the so-called light these days. But she wouldn’t hurt me. She proved herself. Mother has her Xioquo assassins and Qadiri ex-corsairs. Their deeds were just as bad, if not worse. If she crossed the line, I’d kill her. Maybe it makes me a hypocrite. Or Mother and I are more similar than we’d like. A horrible thought. Nyssa pulls me from my brooding. ”She liked animals. Loved her big, ravenous beast. Reminds me a bit of you in that regard.”
”Given what happened to her, I’m not sure whether to be flattered or deeply disturbed.” The joke falls flat. Probably a bad idea.
“Hey, what the frak is that supposed to mean?! “ she thunders. “Look, you know I wouldn’t...I’d...”
“Nyssa, I’m teasing.”
“Well, it’s nothing to joke about it.”

I take her arm. “I know what you’re like, Nyssa. What you were. You did bad things. But you were there for me when I needed you. You’ve never lied to me.”
“We’re a great team together,” she says after a moment. “Had some good times, didn’t we? Still, you took a chance with me.”
“Yeah.” I pause for a moment, wondering how to word this. “If you could see her again, relive the last moment with her, what would you do?”
“It’s pointless to speculate. We fought. She’s dead. You don’t get do-overs.” I wait. She throws up her hands. “But if it’s such a huge deal for you, I’d tell her that she’s a self-righteous, sanctimonious idiot. And that...we should put our swords back in our scabbards and walk off the board,” she shrugs. “Not that it matters now. The ink is dry.”
“It is. Wishing doesn’t undo it. You can only remember where you did wrong, move forward and do better. You may see her again though.”
“In your spirit world, huh? Suppose I’ll find out when I’m dead.”
“Don’t hit on the Red Lady if you meet her. What about your other sister?
Ghanima. Got any idea where she’s ended up?”
“Half-sister,” she corrects because apparently that’s important. “Same mother. Her sire was one of mother’s playthings. We used to mock her for that. Foolish,” she sighs. “And no idea. Not since she ran off, then came back, found our home in flames and me standing over Alypia’s corpse. She left. I did not stop her. The last of the Vykarises,” she laughs bitterly. “The last ones who count.”
Awkward. I just...stand there, trying to think of something to say. Nyssa looks at me and breaks the silence. “That’s all for today. No more insightful moments from me. I’m tired, I got liquor, and my bed is going to be the end result of both. Be seeing you, Red. Close the door on the way out.”
“Don’t drink too much. I need you out of bed early in the morning for drills. If you got a hangover, I won’t care,” I retort.
“Worry about your own sobriety, human. I can handle more than you.” "As I go to the door I glance back. The holocron glows in the Force. I can see it like I see Nyssa. For a moment she holds it, staring at it, like she might toss it, but then sighs and puts it back in a box. I can't see it now. She glances at me, and I leave, closing the door. The last thing I hear is the pop of a bottle opening.