A few drops of his warm blood fell hissing as it hit the snow. He had to beat a fist against his left side, where the Wookie had shot him somehow from far across the cavernous expanse. By beating at the wound, he could feel the pain more sharply. It gave him the strength through the darkside to continue on, to fight against the growing regret inside of him at what he had done, and to finish this once and for all. It helped keep him disconnected from his failure to get the map, to have not eliminated the Stormtrooper, and this girl, just some scavenger from inconsequential Jakku, who had escaped under his watch. This girl somehow had strong Force sensibilities. This girl somehow had a connection to him. He had felt something in her mind: Their destinies intertwined…but how?
No matter, there was no time to try and figure any of that out now.
He had caught up to her in the snow and he wanted revenge for all the trouble she had brought down upon him. Force throwing her against the tree was not enough, he grew tired of her repeated attempts to shoot him, but he had to take care of her companion first.
“TRAITOR!” He had to yell at the former trooper to get him up and away from the unconscious girl’s side and to stand up and fight. He would enjoy this, as he knew that she had started to care for him, the one who now somehow held Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber in his unworthy hands. As he had assumed, it didn’t take long to disarm and leave him lying unconscious in the snow as well.
He wanted the saber that belonged to him, his grandfather’s lightsaber, which was now in the snow drift where it had landed. He called to it through the Force; it quaked and began to move but to his amazement it ended up flying right past him…and into her waiting hand. She looked up at him bewildered. In a split second they shared that sentiment. In his disbelief of all of this, in that moment, he found himself somewhat struck in awe of her. She was the one, a potential new Jedi…and something more.
She ignited that saber. So she wanted a contest? They were dueling across the uneven snow covered ground and she did give a decent fight, but was raw and needed training. Her abilities had grown quickly and he knew her dirty little secret, which even she didn’t acknowledge about herself: she had darkness within her. So he gave her a choice, let him teach her the ways of the Force or die. He had her backed over the newly formed crevice in the planet. She didn’t take his offer and then started to fight back, and this time with so much more power than before. She ended up nearly killing him. Why hadn’t she just finished the job? It might have been easier.
He was feeling hatred, anger, confusion, remorse; he really didn’t know how to fully recover. After the bacta tank had done what it could for his physical wounds, he went to his castle on Mustafar to recover his mental wounds. He had inherited other properties on other worlds, but only this one stood on what was once the site of a Sith temple during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Regardless of the planet’s inhospitable sweltering climate, the twin towers of the castle where attuned to the darkness and its interiors were cool and kept elaborately steeped in darkside power. It was here that he knew he could regain his strength. He needed all of this to stop the guilt he felt and to return prepared to complete his training.
The castle had always been welcoming to him and well cared for by the “shadows”, the beings that had a life pledge to preserve the artifacts and the materials of the Sith. They were always highly honored to be in the presence of a descendent of Lord Vader. However, while he was here, they were to remain sightless.
Sitting in what used to be Darth Vader’s grand chamber; he would meditate for sometimes hours at a time, in a state of equanimity, as the power permeated into his being. Outside the entrance, a shadow or two would be hidden, just to be near him, in hopes of feeling just a bit more of the power they were already addicted to as it slowly drove some of them mad.
Strength had soon returned to him. He opened his eyes and could feel the renewed supremacy within him. It was intoxicating. As he rose from his plush seat he held out his right hand at arm’s length as his saber flew across the room and snapped into his hand. As he casually stepped over the body of an unfortunate shadow that had gotten too close, he put his saber on his hip, and lifted his hood up over his head. He felt ready now, ready and eager to continue his training with the Supreme Leader.
At what point, in his temporarily frenzied mind, he had actually sensed that connection he seemed to have to her, he wasn’t sure. But something was there, in some part of him, he felt it, and it was unexpected. What was more unexpected was that it was somehow able to still linger and push through the dark forces he had invited in to purify him. Her destiny entangled with his, but it had become something else, something long ago forgotten yet familiar…and this something was to be pursued.
As they ran across the stiff frozen ground headed to meet Chewie at the Falcon, is when his words stopped them cold in their tracks.
“We’re not finished yet.”
That voice. Ice crawled up her spine. They turned around to see him standing there, hair stuck to his face looking wild, disconnected. His wicked cross guard saber ignited. He was beating his bow caster wound. A few drops of his warm blood melting the snow at his feet. He disgusted her, he was a monster and she was livid.
“It’s just us now," he taunted, “Han Solo can’t save you.”
His piercing eyes were on her. Her emotions were so out of restraint, she pulled the blaster from her waist and began to shoot right at him. In a flash his hand was out. She was screaming, flying backward through the chill air, her back making hard impact with a tree. She wasn’t conscious to feel her body crash to the ground.
When she slowly started to open her eyes, she could see out of focus blurry red and blue coming together. She could hear the electrical whirling sounds of clashing lightsabers, Finn’s scream of pain somewhere nearby. She sat up slowly, remembering what was around her; snow, ice…a monster.
She stood up and saw the back of his towering figure as he was reaching for something in the Force. She was just somehow compelled to hold her own hand out as he was. As she did, she saw Luke’s lightsaber whizz past him, as he backed his head out of the way just in time, and it snapped right into her hand. She looked down at it bewildered and back up at him. The look on his face was one of pure shock.
“It is you.”
She had no idea what he had meant, but she did know the minute that hilt had landed in her hand, that it was like she had seen parts of this all before somehow, as if she always knew that Kylo was the apprentice that turned on Luke and had fallen to the darkside. She brought the saber to life. She wanted to hurt him bad for hurting Finn….and Han.
They dueled across the frozen ground as the planet shook and trees collapsed. The Resistance was here firing from somewhere above, crippling the planet at its core. She was frantic as she was fighting him, backing up having to steal quick glances behind her as to not trip or get hit by a falling tree. He had her leaning back over the huge, newly formed fracture in the ground, sabers across one another. He looked in her eyes and wanted her surrender as he offered to teach her the ways of the Force. Then it snapped in place, the Force. She remembered what Maz had told her about it being in every living thing. In a split second that seemed much, much longer, she was able to close her eyes and garner some of that energy to come alive inside of her. As she reopened her eyes, she saw some fear reflected in his face.
She was now able to finally overtake him, especially since he was already wounded. She fell into the battle as it became more and more familiar; it was some ability that she hadn’t even known she possessed. She left him lying in the cold snow, a slash across his face from her blade. He struggled to sit up as he muttered her name under his breath.
As she stalked around him, taking in her victory, she heard a voice in her head: “Kill him.”
It wouldn’t take very much at all to finish him. The pleasure she got from this feeling…but then she found herself naturally retreating from it. Just then the ground rumbled and a giant crevice formed separating them. She turned around to get to Finn. They had to get back to the ship, and fast before the planet blew up.
She enjoyed her time meeting her new Resistance family and having a nice comfortable place to live with food and water, she could clean herself when she wanted and they outfitted her with suitable clothing. All the while she secretly had nightmares of him stalking her, that mask, that blade always coming at her. She would wake up at night and have to just remind herself that she was safe, in a room with friends, just outside her door.
At first, she hadn’t been so eager to go find Luke as Maz had suggested was her destiny. But she knew these people had fought the darkside, some for most of their lives; just to hold on to the hope that someday they might live in a galaxy that was at peace. She knew she possessed this power for some reason, and knew that going back to Jakku was now beyond pointless.
Part of her was somehow aware of his life presence even now if she thought about it. Something had happened; something was left in her after she had turned the tables on him and was able to be in his mind while he was in hers, some kind of connection. She had felt that he had made it off of Starkiller alive. No, they weren’t finished yet; she would have to face him again. Something about this made her feel both terrified and yet surprisingly eager.