“If I die, I’m going to haunt you!” Vette shrieked as one of the weird artifact drone thingies made a swipe at her, and she just managed to duck away before it was blasted apart by one of the Sons of Palawa. “Hey thank—oh that’s gross.” She would have thanked the man, but a swarm of three more infected natives had gotten hold of him, and he was now a drooling mess like the rest. Vette made sure to give him a quick shot to the head first before putting down the rest.
Why were they even in this mess? She thought they were supposed to be looking for some Jedi Master or something, not digging around in the sand! But no, the stupid Sith she was stuck with just had to get sidetracked by every Imp with a sob story and take them WAY out of their way to help. She would almost call the predilection Jedi-like, if their side jobs didn’t end with as many dead bodies as they always seemed to.
An angry roar and the swift, humming shriek of a lightsaber drew Vette’s attention to where that very Sith was starting to get a bit farther away than she would have liked. Damn him, the Pureblood liked to go jumping halfway across caves to make swift kills while mere Force-blinds like Vette had to go chasing after him on foot. “Hey, wait up!”
One of the drones got hold of one of the shoulder plates of the Sith’s armor, and Vette doubled her pace to take a shot. It only clipped the guy, but drew the Sith’s attention enough that he spun and impaled the thing himself.
He was in fighting form today, she noted. Eden Maledict was your textbook definition of virile, Sithy Pureblood upstart. Tall and lean, with burning pale gold eyes and a lip that tended to curl up in a snarl when he was in a fight that got his blood pumping. His hair, which was a bit long to one side and a shade or two darker red than his skin blew to the side as he kicked the dead drone off his weapon and he looked up to meet her unfortunate stare.
Look away. They only get more shock-happy when you look them in the eye.
But her collar, at least, was gone, and she hoped that Lord Maledict was too busy to really notice what she was doing. The look lasted longer than she thought either of them would have liked, but it ended with a clear nod from him—was that a thank you!?—before he looked behind her at the floundering Sons of Palawa.
Happy for the distraction, Vette turned as well. They really weren’t doing too well. And after her Sith had been so gracious as to not slaughter them all too…what a shame.
“Void take them, Vette!”
Vette jumped and turned back to her lord. “Uh, yeah?”
“Tell the idiots if they’re just going to get themselves killed to fall back! I don’t need them feeding these freaks more bodies!” The Sith wasn’t even facing her anymore, but was once again leaping from drone to drone, cutting them down with enraged screams that meant he was starting to get angry and frustrated.
“Got it boss!” She couldn’t help but agree with him. As much game as these sand warrior guys liked to talk up, they were getting slaughtered. Throwing themselves into three on one match ups with drones instead of taking pot shots from a clear spot like a smart person.
“You heard the man! Pack it up and get outta here!”
She covered the poor idiots’ retreat, drawing the attention of some of the drones closest to the exit until the last of them made it through the durasteel door separating the main chamber of the settlement from the bulk of the fighting.
Two more went down under her blaster fire before she started noticing that maybe this time it was her who had taken on a bit too much. Six, no seven mindless bodies were stumbling in her direction and closing fast.
“Dammit.” Vette backed up into the shallow pool that covered most of the cavern and took cover behind a medium-sized stalagmite as the drones continued to advance. Behind her, her lekku twitched. The air stirred and Vette only just managed to duck under the strike of another infected Palawan’s polearm that had snuck up behind her. “Um, little help!” The Palawan stabbed down at her and Vette shrieked and rolled away into the legs of another advancing drone.
You’re not dying here, Vette. With her offhand blaster, Vette took the head off the drone she had rolled into and tried to get to her feet, but the wild swing of the infected man behind her glanced the side of one of her lekku and sent her back to the ground with a cry of pain.
The drones closed in on her and as she forced her eyes open against the pain all she could see were the boots of the infected Palawans as they surrounded her. She wanted to cry out of frustration and anger. She didn’t want to die here; alone and forgotten, even by the stupid son of a Hutt she’d been stuck with.
Not wanting to see the blow coming, Vette curled on her side and shut her eyes tight, waiting for the blow to come. She waited, and waited.
“Are you hurt?”
When no pain came, and instead she heard the almost smug voice of her Sith, Vette peeked one eye open, then the next, to see Lord Maledict standing over her, lightsaber buzzing and one hand held open for her while he kept scanning for what remained of the encroaching drones. Bodies were littered about her and the one that had nearly sliced off her lekku was a nice smoking husk a short ways off.
Had… had he saved her?
“Vette, if you’re not dead get up.” The snappish tone broke through her daze and Vette took the hand offered to her. He gripped her hard, bony fingers wrapped securely around her wrist and clawed fingertips pressing just hard enough into her skin to not draw blood. She expected him to let go as soon as she had here feet under her, but instead found herself being tugged to the Sith’s back and held there.
“Uh, you can let go now.” She said that, but found herself twisting her hand in his grip and wrapping her fingers around his wrist too. For stability…yeah.
Jerk. “Whatever.” She wasn’t sure, but Vette thought she saw a smirk growing on his lips from what she could see around the bone spurs of his cheek.
The drones were getting closer, and while Vette still had one blaster in hand and Lord Maledict definitely had his lightsaber, she was beginning to wonder how he was going to fight while holding onto her like that. She didn’t exactly relish the idea of being dragged around like a rag doll when he started flying through the air.
“Um…you see those guys coming, right?”
A sharp glare over his shoulder, then the Sith’s face drained of all emotion and he closed his eyes in concentration. A moment later something shifted in the air, and the Sith deactivated and clipped his lightsaber before lifting a hand up, fingers ever so slightly curved towards himself.
All the drones stopped. Eden’s hand started to waver, and Vette wondered if the drones were about to break free when the Sith’s eyes snapped open and he jerked his wrist ninety degrees. Twenty simultaneous cracks sounded as each drone’s neck snapped and they all fell dead to the ground.
Vette’s mouth was open in a breathless gasp of awe and horror. “Oh stars.”
Eden dropped her hand.
“We’re done here.”
He turned on his heel and gave her an appraising look from head to toe, even going so far as to lean to one side and eye the raw wound on her lekku. He lifted one hand, and for a minute Vette worried he was going to try and touch, but he must have remembered that her lekku were sensitive and simply tugged at her shoulder until she turned her back to him. “Is it painful, or can you continue? I’m sure Quinn wouldn’t mind a chance to prove himself for the duration of the mission.”
“Um,” Vette gnawed on her lower lip and considered. As much as she would love to get off of the giant dust ball that was Tatooine, she knew their mission wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. And for some reason, she didn’t like the idea of her Sith going to face a Jedi Master with a stiffy Imp at his side instead of her.
She glanced over her shoulder and met the pale gold of Eden’s eyes. Remembering how they had gone bright and sickly yellow for just a moment on Balmorra when the Jedi investigator had said she’d succeeded in delivering the information Eden had been sent to bury.
Something in her told Vette that the only way she survived whatever was to come depended on making sure her Sith steered clear of those eyes. So, she stayed.
“Nah, I’m fine. Let’s just get out of here, yeah?”
A nod, and Lord Maledict let his hand drop, stepping forward to lead the way out of the Palawan settlement. And if at some point during their trek back to Anchorhead a medpac was surreptitiously slipped into her back pocket…well, she wasn’t going to mention it.