Leilia Sangre blinked a few times toward her target,
before adverting her gaze to the harsh face of her current employer.
She had half a mind to tell him to stick his credits in his ear.
Sure, she hired herself out as something of a sideshow freak. A
person who could use an archaic weapon like a whip, with such
surgical precision, was something worth paying for, after all. But
this was too much.
She fingered the smooth handle of the whip coiled at the small of
her back, frowning deeply, trying not to look at the dark-haired
female chained to the opposite wall. She could flick gnats out of
the air without a flicker of an eyelash. Leilia was good with her
choice of weapon and she knew it. That didn't mean she was eager to
test those carefully honed skills on another human being.
Especially a human being who was making dormant memories in her
brain fire off like crazy.
"Look, ah..." She glanced over the insignia on her employer's tunic,
before realizing she had never bothered to learn Imperial rankings,
"Sir, I don't think I can..."
"I'm not paying you to think," came the short reply. Cold dark eyes
glared at Leilia from across the room, while the officer leaned back
into a comfortable position in his chair. "I paid you to do the job
you described. Perhaps your advertisement was misleading? That is an
offense, you realize."
Leilia's eyes narrowed at the obvious barb. "I can do everything I
said. You never told me a person was my target."
laughed coldly. "Should that matter?"
Leilia paused a minute. Did it
really matter? After all, it was not as if she had not done a thousand other
questionable jobs in the relatively short span of her career. It
was not like she was killing the girl...right? Maybe she could
get away without even leaving any marks! Leilia flicked her
gray-violet gaze toward her employer one more time. No, she doubted
he would be satisfied unless blood was shed.
She looked toward the slave girl once more, and Leilia's gray violet
eyes locked with orbs of pale, pale ice blue. Leilia could not help
the frown that crinkled her brow. She knew those eyes. How
did she know those eyes?
Leilia flinched at the officer's harsh voice, and barely kept from
glaring at the man. Her fingers curled slowly around the smooth
handle of the archaic, braided leather whip coiled at her back.
Well, whoever you are...I hope you'll be
able to forgive me for this. I know I'll never be able to.
abrupt tug and an expert flick of the wrist sent the tip of Leilia's
weapon cracking through the air, and a pained cry filled the room.
Again. And again.
Leilia blinked away the memory that had taken center stage in her
nightmares for the past three years, and glared at the sprawling
estate where it had taken place. She had been coerced into whipping
a young girl here, once...a young girl with shockingly pale skin and
incredibly long, black hair, glinting with blue highlights even in
the dimness of the room. The girl had looked up at Leilia, and
frozen her with a single glance from pale icy blue eyes.
the time, Leilia had wondered why the girl looked so familiar..
wondered why she knew those haunting eyes. Now, she saw that
face every time she looked into a mirror. Though there were
certain differences in bone structure, Leilia could no longer deny
that the Imperial's little slave girl shared her face. Those pale
blue eyes...had been the eyes of their mother...
Leilia felt a new wave of sickness flood her stomach and she doubled
over momentarily, fighting the urge to retch. She had whipped
her own little sister.
had taken Leilia three years to find out for certain. Unable to
sleep from her nightmares, she had felt compelled to return to the
true planet of her birth to search for answers.
Juneieau, Leilia's worst fears had been confirmed...her young
sibling, and dozens of other young children, had been spirited
away by sky demons.
Translation: a slaving ship had found a fresh, unprotected source of
income. Her little sister, her precious Little Dreamer had
been yanked away from everything she'd ever known and forced into a
life of servitude.
Leilia found her sickness rapidly pushed away by anger. With
strong, determined steps, she carried herself the remaining distance to
the estate, to a side door well away from the main bulk of the
was amazing what one could do with a single datapad. Leilia coolly
snapped open the security control panel outside the door, clipping a
few key wires and splicing them to each other, rerouting the sensors
so she could get to work. Another wire was joined with her datapad,
and soon her fingers were flying over the datapad keys in a whirl.
"Stopping by for a visit? All you had to do was knock, sweetling."
Leilia gasped and spun around, finding herself nose to nose with the
estate's master. She had been so intent on cracking the house
security, she hadn't even heard his approach.
She mentally berated herself on such a foolish mistake, before
taking stock of this new situation. His breath smelled strongly of
some type of liquor, and he was leering at her in a completely
unnerving manner. Leilia fought to keep her lip from curling in
disgust, brain hard at work trying to figure how to work this
situation to her advantage.
"If I knocked," she explained in a low, careful voice, "then it
wouldn't be a surprise."
chuckled drunkenly, hands coming up on either side of Leilia, caging
her against the door as he leaned in close. "Wanting to surprise me,
were you? Maybe you still can..."
The officer leaned in close, tongue flicking over Leilia's ear and
making her cringe. Gross... "Yeah...maybe I can." She trailed
her hands carefully up his back, swallowing down bile as the slime
took her touch as added invitation to crush his body against hers.
Leilia tangled her fingers into the officer's thick hair, grateful
it wasn't quite cut to military specifics. When she was sure of her
grip, and sure he was totally clueless...Leilia yanked back hard, and
sharply brought her forehead crashing into the man's face. Blood
instantly spurted from his nose as he tumbled back from the assault,
and Leilia followed her head butt with a left hook that would've
made her old Corellian street buddies proud.
"Surprised?" Leilia hissed harshly, fist still clenched. "Where's my
sister, you twisted bastard? I'm not leaving her with you for
The bloody-faced Imperial blinked up at her, alcohol-clouded
expression clearing somewhat. "Oh, it's you. I remember you..
the little whip-wielder who didn't want to do her job. I was very
impressed when you finally came through. So, she's your sister, is
The man actually giggled, a high, insane sound that had
Leilia's nape hairs standing on end. She clenched her jaw, left hand
reaching for the smooth handle at the small of her back. "I'm taking
her out of here tonight. I'm not letting her be hurt anymore."
"You're the only one that has ever hurt her," came the slow,
drawling response. "I have never raised my hand to her. He had
always served me faithfully until that night. I called you in
because I couldn't bear to punish her myself."
Leilia blinked rapidly. "What kind of sick, twisted logic is that?"
The man's only reply was that eerie, hysterical giggle, leaving
Leilia extremely on edge. She carefully eased away, attempting to
put some distance between the man and herself. "Let's
be...reasonable about this," she spoke carefully, in that low,
reasonable tone people generally reserved for lunatics and
psychotics. "I was going to liberate you of your slave. If you can't
bear to part with her for nothing, I will...I will buy her from you.
Between the two of us, I'm not some poor, ragged little street
urchin. What do you say?"
For a moment, the officer actually seemed to be considering her
offer. Leilia swallowed hard, and allowed some of her tenseness to
That was the wrong thing to do.
The instant Leilia dropped her guard that tiny fraction, pain
exploded across the left side of her face. The Imperial had
backhanded her, so forcefully his cufflink had sliced a neat line
directly across her left cheekbone.
Leilia found herself on the ground, and she couldn't remember
falling. The officer stood over her, a maniacal gleam in his eyes.
"You are not taking my Kitten from me," the man growled. "I won't
let anyone take her from me!"
"Her name is not
Kitten," Leilia bit out, wiping blood from her
cheek as she slowly rose to her feet. "Her name is Aislinayah-pequi
Sangre, clan Misti'lak, heir apparent. You have no right to
separate her from her position or her people." Her left hand grasped
the whip hand nestled securely at the small of her back, ready to
attack at a moment's notice, while words and phrases she
was not even aware she knew continued to tumble from her lips. "If it
is written in the stars that I must die to secure her place, then I
"You won't take her from me! No one will take her!"
The officer's voice was shrill with hysteria, as he wildly charged
toward Leilia once more. She was expecting his attack this go around.
She evaded his initial lunge by throwing herself to the side,
tugging her whip free of its clip at the small of her back. As he
reoriented himself to come after her again, Leilia flung her left
arm outward, twisting her wrist expertly. Her whip cracked sharply,
and the officer fell back with a harsh yell, his face now bleeding
in precisely the same place as Leilia's.
"My sister is leaving here with me, with or without your consent,
you Imperial dog," Leilia hissed, cracking her whip threateningly.
The officer grinned maliciously, staring Leilia down for several
long moments...before he abruptly turned and ran, vanishing around the
corner of the estate. "What th..." Leilia blinked after the Imp with
no small amount of astonishment. "Blasted coward."
Leilia gave chase, hearing sounds from within the house before she
even approached the main doors.
"No, please, Master! You are not well! Please, let me..."
The bastard's insane giggling. A crash, and a scream...and Leilia
was abruptly thrown from her feet as the window she was passing
exploded outward preceding a ball of flame.
Leilia discovered her sleeve had caught fire. A few quick rolls
along the ground promptly smothered the flames. Her arm was warm,
but not burned. Ignoring the ringing in her ears from the initial
explosion, Leilia continued round the side of the estate.
The Imperial officer sat on the ground a few meters outside the main
doors of his house, laughing giddily as he watched the large estate
begin to burn.
Leilia stood, gaping at the scene. "Wh...what have you done?
told you," the man's voice was entirely too placid, especially in
connection with his maniacal giggling, "no one is going to
take her from me."
Leilia blinked a few times, before the implications of the man's
words sank into her brain. She glanced from him to the
flame-engulfed building. By all the stars...Aislinn was
Before Leilia could take a step toward the fire-swept main doors, a
figure tumbled out into the night, tall slender body engulfed in
multicolored flames. "By the gods...Aislinn!"
Whether the younger female heard her or not, Leilia could not know.
As if in slow motion, she watched her younger sister, her flimsy
slave's garb flaming around her body, run headlong toward the sea
cliffs defining the property's eastern border.
Leilia's legs moved without thought, propelling her immediately
after the panicked young woman. She heard her voice shriek out some
horrified exclamation in the language of her youth as Aislinn
dropped over the edge of the cliff. Leilia lunged forward, her left
Leilia couldn't hear her sister's panicked shrieking. All that
registered in her mind was, I caught her. She is safe.
Distantly, she noticed her cloth of her left sleeve catching flame,
vaguely took note of the odor of burning cloth and cooking flesh. "I
won't let you go, little sister. You're safe now..."
The burning girl was struggling far too viciously to allow Leilia to
pull her to freedom. "Please, let me help you! I want to save you!"
"Then let go!" Somewhere in the midst of agony, the younger female
was able to find her voice. Her pale, ice blue eyes glared
virulently up at the stranger prolonging her torture. "If you wish
to help me, let...go!"
Leilia saw two drop of moisture land on her sister's upturned face,
and watched then evaporate almost immediately in the heat of the
flames licking up the younger female's body. "I can't."
Ice blue eyes met those of gray-violet. There were no more tears. No
more cries of anguish or pleas for release. There was one, perfect
moment of peace.
Then, Aislinn fell away. Her flame-wrapped body falling into
the sea. Leilia's eyes watched the fire vanish into the crashing
Dimly, Leilia was aware of the updrafts racing up the cliffside,
snuffing out the flames eating her arm like a god blowing out the
flame of a candle. She was aware of the warmth at her back,
indicating the estate had been fully reduced to a hellish inferno.
She was aware her sister had been lost to her, after having just
Ever so slowly, Leilia struggled onto her feet, swaying slightly.
She staggered back toward the estate, heedless of the heat; half-way
between the cliff and the roaring flames, she found the whip she
must have discarded in her attempt to save her sister. Her dominant
left arm little more than a melted mass of cloth and flesh, Leilia
took up her whip in her right hand, swishing it outward
experimentally. Sure of her hold, Leilia stumbled a few more steps,
coming into range of the insanely laughing Imperial officer.
told you," the man giggled. "I wouldn't give her up to anyone. No
one can take her now...no one can ta..."
Two blows. The first whip stroke parted the soft tissues between
head and shoulder. The second stroke cleanly divided the spinal
column between vertebrae.
The Imperial's head went rolling across the manicured lawn, a look
of amusement still plastered on his face.
The house had burned down to its foundations, the still-glowing
remnants casting an eerie glow over the darkening landscape as night
began to fall. A lone figure sat, slumped, on the edge of the cliff
overlooking the sea, staring listlessly toward the waters crashing
against the rocks below. A few meters behind her, nearer to the
rubble, a body lay, clad in a standard Imperial uniform and
conspicuously missing its head. It was on the ground well apart
from its intended position.
The figure near the cliffs, a tall slender woman with impossibly
long black hair and translucently pale skin, never moved from her
place. Her striking gray-violet eyes fixed determinedly on the waves
below her as the fingers of her right hand caressed the handle of
her only weapon: an archaic whip of braided leather. Her left arm
hung useless at her side, flesh and cloth burned and melted in such
a state as to be nearly unrecognizable as a part of the woman's
body. Her demeanor and countenance suggested she was in deep
deliberation within herself. Perhaps, she would endeavor to throw
herself off this cliff. Death did seem a better option than life, as
things currently stood. She did not have much of a reason to live
The Lambda Shuttle
Sonthi descended from the upper atmosphere
of the planet. As the shuttle approached the burning structure it
hovered for a few moments while it circled overhead. Finally, the
shuttle proceeded towards a clearing no more than fifteen meters
from the ruins. The wings of the shuttle folded upwards and the
landing gear lowered as the shuttle began its landing procedure.
Pressure gasses were seen releasing from the craft as its repulsor
engines fired one last time, allowing it to touch down gently on the
surface of Ralltiir. Almost immediately after touchdown the
shuttle's ramp began to lower.
Major Kerrie Kiley strode from the the rear compartment of the
Sonthi. Following her expressed concerns over the security in
the region the Admiral had ordered her to personally inspect several
incidents of Rebel terrorist activity and then produce an assessment
report. She had received a report that a fire was scene from the
estate of a key ISB officer from their Ralltiir operation.
Immediately after debarking, it became clear to her that the reports
were true. The structure was a total loss. She sighed as she
began to walk towards what was left of the estate. "This isn't
pretty," she said to herself as she raised her hand to the durasteel
helmet that rested upon her head. She adjusted her target
enhancement device down from atop her helmet to down over her
mimicked Human eyes and began to survey the area for signed of any
Leilia had managed to pull herself to her feet, either completely oblivious or simply uncaring, that another had arrived on the scene. She
half-staggered the short distance to the ruins and the corpse she'd
left behind, determined to take one last trophy with her. Eyes
narrowed, she dropped to her knees beside the headless body, and
with her one good hand began to awkwardly work the uniform off the
body. "I'm going to the afterlife wearing your clothes, murderer,"
she mumbled in low, furious tones. "When next you see me, you'll be
reminded it was Leilia Sangre that took your life..."
Kerrie's hand worked the target enhancement covering her eyes and
zoomed in on Leilia. It took her a moment to realize what was
going on and she became horrified by it. Looters, she thought to
herself furiously. Her hand instinctively dropped to her side and
drew the blaster pistol from her holster.
"Halt!" she shouted at the young woman as she raised her blaster
pistol above her and fired wildly into the air. She took several
steps towards her and then lowered the blaster pistol until it was
aimed squarely at her.
The sound of blaster shots caused Leilia's hand to hesitate, as if
shocking a vague semblance of sanity back into her system. She
glanced upward, locking her cold, gray-violet gaze onto the female
standing a small distance away, blaster drawn and aimed. Leilia slowly allowed her hand to fall away from the corpse, her
fingertips brushing over the whip handle, lying half-hidden near her
leg where she had previously dropped it. "Go away. I'm busy."
"Drop whatever's in your hand and then move away from the remains,"
Kerrie instructed in a cold, harsh tone. She raised the pistol up
slightly and then back down, indicating her desire for the woman to
slowly stand up.
Leilia gave a small smirk, though the arrogant expression didn't
quite reach her eyes. "Or what? You'll shoot me?" She did not move.
In fact, her hand inched back toward the headless corpse, intent on
resuming her work of stealing the man's uniform.
That was the problem with Rebels, Kerrie determined. They were so
... rebellious. Kerrie sighed at the woman and pulled back on
the trigger of her blaster pistol, sending a carefully aimed shot at
her left shoulder.
One would think after having her left arm nearly melted off from
fingertip to elbow, Leilia would be quit insensible to something as
relatively insignificant as a blaster shot. Nevertheless, it had the
desired effect, Leilia toppled back from the body with a pained cry,
clutching at her newly injured shoulder and curling protectively
around her severely damaged limb.
Kerrie walked towards her target in a slow, deliberate pace. She was
not proud of what she did, but she had no choice. She kept the
blaster pistol aimed at her even as she menacingly loomed over her.
She lifted her left leg off the ground and placed it on Leilia's neck.
She stepped down, applying suitable force to keep her pinned to the
ground, but not kill her. "What went on here?" she asked her
quickly, "Are you responsible for the destruction of this facility?
Are you a member of the Rebel Alliance?"
fine sheen of sweat had begun to collect on Leilia's face, smudging
the dirt and ash already collected on her pale skin. She glared up
at the woman standing over her, breath hissing harshly through her
teeth as she struggled to focus on something beyond the pain in her
arm "I never took sides...before today," she managed to pant out.
"He set fire to the place...himself."
"Set fire to it himself?" Kerrie repeated, not believing the woman's
"Because he was psychotic!" Leilia
actually gathered her wits enough to give a strained little laugh.
"I'd tell you to ask him, yourself, but as you can see, he is
suppose he cut off his head too?" Kerrie asked her, a smug look
forming upon her mimicked human face before she snorted at her.
Leilia smiled at that. "Oh no. No, I did that." She slowly worked
herself into a semi-sitting position, right hand still clutching her
wounded shoulder. "And I would happily do so again."
The imposing sound of multiple footsteps were heard as an entire
squad of Imperial Stormtroopers descended from the ramp of the
shuttle. They began to fan out around the property and take up
defense positions. Two of the Stormtroopers headed directly for
"We have a place for people like you," Kerrie said to the woman. She
took several steps away from her to allow the Imperial Stormtroopers
access. She turned her attention to the squad leader, "She is part
of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor. Take her away!"
One of the Imperial Stormtroopers brandished his E-11 blaster rifle
at the woman and instructed her to stand up, using the familiar up
and down motion of the barrel of his rifle. Leilia fairly snarled as
she awkwardly worked her feet beneath her, pushing her battered body
to standing position. "Don't be lumping me in with that ragged band
of misfits, just because I lopped off the head of a psychopath
wearing an Imperial uniform."
Kerrie walked over to the remains of the ISB officer and examined
his severed head. She recognized the officer's face and shuddered
for a moment, remembering the first time she encountered him. She
would never forget the faces of any of the officers involved with
her torture, even if one of the faces was now on a severed head. She
would have liked to have killed him if given the chance. She turned
her attention to the woman one final time as she witnessed the Stormtroopers preparing to lead her away, "This one had it coming."
Leilia's snarl became a sinister sort of grin as the female
officer's words drifted her way. "See? I did us both a favor..."
"You picked the wrong planet, sister," Kerrie said to her. She shook
her head and washed her hands of the matter. As grateful as she was
for having this ISB monster disposed of, the situation was really
out of her hands.
"Move along," the Imperial Stormtrooper instructed Leilia as he
stepped behind her. He pressed the tip of the E-11 blaster rifle
into her back firmly, instructing her to move forward.
Leilia nearly stumbled back to the ground again when the trooper
prodded her with his rifle, glaring over her shoulder as she got her
feet firm beneath her once more and began to walk, or rather limp,
in the commanded direction. She glanced toward the female officer
one last time as she was led away. "Oh, and don't leave my whip
behind... it's something of an antique."
Kerrie reached down to the ground and picked up the woman's whip.
She raised the target enhancement back atop her helmet and studied
it with her own eyes. She casually tossed it towards the squad
leader, "See that she gets this when she arrives at her destination
... she'll need it."
Leilia disregarded the officer's words, and limped along with her
Stormtrooper entourage, pausing only once, at the foot of the ramp,
looking back toward the cliff where she'd been sitting before. Her
shoulders slumped noticeably, and her pale eyes shone with
additional moisture. "Aislinayah-pequi, gii'a liies na,.."
she murmured, before resolutely turning her back on the scene
and entering the shuttle. There was nothing more for her here.
Kerrie then reached down and picked up the severed head of the ISB
officer and started him in the eyes for a moment. "Echuta!" she
cursed as her raged caused her to slip into her native Huttese. She
turned towards the cliff and hurled the severed head into the dark
waters below. Finally, she proceeded back towards the shuttle
followed by the Stormtroopers and Leilia.
The Sonthi's ramp closed behind the entourage and in a
moment's time the vessel had lifted off from the surface of Ralltiir.
It hovered for a moment to allow the wings to once again descend.
The shuttle then accelerated towards the planet's upper atmosphere
where Leilia would be transferred before being sent to her final