Knights of the New Republic

The Interrogation of Shado

23:01:123

Q’aleane: “You know he is awake right?”

Q’ayla jerks her head to the side, staring at the prisoner. After a moment, she confirms it. “Ashla, he is awake!” She stands and backs away from him, moving closer to her sister. “Sorry about that, sis-” then, teasingly, “-I guess I’m still not feeling quite myself.” Turning to the prisoner, though, her attitude shifts again – she seems colder as she addresses him. “Who are you? Where is Master Darach, and what have you done with him?”

The man opens his eyes and winces as he laboriously rolls himself onto his back. His bindings and missing leg make this somewhat difficult, but he manages it. He briefly looks at each of you, though he does not meet the eyes of either Q’ayla or Q’aleane. His gaze pauses fractionally longer on Irsin but he keeps his expression carefully neutral. As are many of the males you’ve seen here, he is clearly of Zabrak descent, with small cranial horns. However, he appears to be a hybrid – also not uncommon, as he also has short hair growing between the horns. His skin is a deep umber, with the typical elaborate tattooing of his people, in a deep green, and his eyes are orange. “I am called Shado, Mistress. I do not know who Master Darach is. Is that the name of another Jedi? I am only a male, and have met no such great ones save you.”

Q’aleane: “Were you a part of the raid on Skybowl?”

Shado: “Yes, Mistress.”

Q’aleane: “Were there any prisoners from that raid?”

Shado: “I believe so, Mistress. But we were not part of the main raiding party, so I saw little. We were a scout group guarding the perimeter during the attack, and after it was over we were tasked with guarding the rear, but then after a few hours we turned around and started to come back.”

Q’ayla: “Where are your people now? Was the main raiding party headed there after the attack on Skybowl?”

Shado: “I do not know, Mistress.”

Irsin: “What made you decide to ambush us? Were you looking for us specifically or anyone pursuing the trail your raiding party left?”

He glances at Irsin when he asks his question, then looks to the Ren sisters, each in turn, but does not reply. He seems confused.

Q’aleane: “Perhaps we misunderstood, why did you turn around?”

Irsin’s temper seems to flare and he clenches his fist as he bends towards the bound man. “I am not some helpless lapdog to be ignored. You will find out quickly that men are not considered so meaningless in other places in the galaxy. Now,” Irsin laces his words with the Force “Why did you attack us? Were you sent to find us? Or just anyone who came to pursue?”

He quails from Irsin, now avoiding his eyes the same way he has been the Ren sisters’. “I do not know! I don’t know! I am only a male! I do as I am bid and go where I am told! I am not meant to understand the plans of great ones!” Irsin’s gaze burns into the man’s heart, searching for deception, and finds only terror.

Q’aleane: “Do you know why you turned around?”

Irsin’s face twists in disgust as he steps back from the man. “We should kill him. He knows nothing of any use to us. And if we let him go he will just run back to his masters,” He says that word with definite scorn, “to warn them of both our position and our capabilities.” Despite his strong language however Irsin seems to restrain himself from actually acting out his own advice, appearing to look to how the Ren sisters react.

Shado glances fearfully at Irsin, then to Q’aleane’s feet. “Mistresses do not explain themselves to the likes of me, Lady. We were following the path, watching for signs of danger while the Mistresses worked the mysteries. Then they stopped and ordered us back. We returned to this place and were ordered to wait. When you arrived, we were ordered to attack.”

Q’ayla: “Wait Irsin! We can’t just kill him. It… it wouldn’t be the Jedi way.” She’s looks away briefly as she says the last part, before continuing “He’s no longer a danger to us – killing him won’t solve anything. And he’s a male slave… maybe he could find a place among the Bright Suns?”

Q’aleane looks towards Irsin, “Patience my friend.” Looking back towards the prisoner, “As you can see a lot rests on your answers. Do you have a place where you return to to camp or meet? If not do you know how you can tell? And before you answer, know that I know you are not stupid… even if you are not supposed to know these things, you must have a guess based on things you have seen or heard.”

Shado: “I assume the rest of the raiding party was returning to the village. I cannot go back there now. Even if I could survive the trip, I would just be culled now.” He appears to steel himself. His attitude of fear washes away from his demeanor almost completely. “I am prepared to die with honor, Mistress. I am no use to you, of course, so I will not willingly betray my people to enemies. I will answer no more questions.” He closes his eyes, appearing to brace himself for something.

Q’aleane draws on the Force, lacing it subtly into her words, “Patience, you want to tell me where your village is.”

His eyes fly open and, for the first time, he meets one of the women’s eyes, looking directly at Q’aleane. “I…want to tell you…No! I will not betray my people to enemies! Kill me if you wish, but I will answer no more questions. I will die with honor.” He looks straight up at the canopy, his mouth closed in a grim line.

Irsin touches Shado’s heart once more, this time seeking to shift the crippled man’s resignation into a spark of hope. “If you answer her question you could build a new life among people who would not kill you.”

_Shado: “I am a warrior that cannot even stand. I want no part of the heresies of the Bright Sun Clan. There is no new life for me, only an honorable end. I am at peace with that. If my well being is of any interest to you, as you suggest, you will give me a quick death. If not, then leave me here, and the jungle will take me. Either way, I will remain loyal to my Clan Mother and my people. You offworlders will learn no more from me.”

“Very Well.” Irsin reaches for his lightsaber again.

Q’aeleane looks at the prisoner with an a slight smile that you now instantly realize means she is feeling nothing at the moment. She simply nods as if coming to a conclusion and walks towards Q’ayla as if to walk with her to the other side of the clearing. “We should set a fire and make camp. With the battle and the noise there is little we can do to hide that we are here so might as well be comfortable.” As she walks she realizes something and looks over her shoulder, “Once you are done with the prisoner, can you please move his and the rest of the remains out of the clearing, we wouldn’t want to attract any more wildlife than we have to.”

Perhaps anticipating her concern, unspoken words flow into Q’ayla’s mind, {We can no more help this one wish to live than we could convince a wookiee to give up a life debt. As far as he is concerned he is already dead, his body just hasn’t caught up.}

An unbidden message flows into Irsin’s mind, not as clearly as the link between the sisters but understandable nonetheless {I will help with the bodies/menial labor once you are done with him, I would just rather not break his worldview until he is gone, he has earned that much.}

Q’ayla stands with her sister for a moment longer; something seems to pass between them, then she nods slowly, saying nothing. Turning back, she returns to Irsin’s side near Shado. Without thought or care, she places a weary hand on his arm and leans in close, speaking in almost a whisper to him, “Irsin… tonight, we’ve so much blood already on our hands, but… Q’aleane says there’s no other way. And…I’ll do it— just, stay here with me, okay?” Her hand moves to the lightsaber in his hand, and she gently pushes the arm down to his side, “You’ve seen your mother die again tonight. Real or no, you don’t need this added burden.” She lets go of him, then moves towards Shado, taking a lightsaber in hand.

Irsin gives her an odd look, part surprise, and part sympathy. “Are you certain? I do not wish you to betray your ideals. This should be done, but it need not be done by you. The first time you take a life in cold blood…it changes you.”

Q’ayla stops after a step, listening to Irsin’s quiet response. She nods several times without turning around, and then continues on, bending down to Shado as she reaches him. She speaks to him softly, “You will have your honor, Shado. I swear it. Just… tell me one last thing. To which clan do you belong?”

Shado: “I may be only a male, but I am not a fool. Kill me and have done, Lady, or leave me to the jungle.”

Q’ayla bows her head and releases an audible sigh. Then, standing again, she squares her shoulders, breathing in deeply and steeling herself. She ignites the lightsaber and its violet blade screams to life. She raises the weapon – pausing for a few moments – and then brings it down in a quick arc, severing Shado’s head from his body.

After the dull sounds of Shado meeting the ground, there is only the hum of the saber. Almost immediately, Q’ayla’s shoulders sag, and she deactivates her weapon, dropping it into the grass. She sinks down on both knees next to the body – her gaze never leaving it – and begins to speak,
“Ashla, the wind that begets life.
Bogan, the fire that consumes all.
We begin as you, and to you,
We return in time.
Shado, son of… Dathomir…
Has become dust and embers;
Yet he will be born on the wind again.
Guide him, Ashla – Guide him, Bogan.
May the Force free him – May he find peace.”
She stands, retrieving her lightsaber, and walks off into the jungle without another word.

Irsin watches Q’ayla the entire time she performs the act. He nearly went to her when she fell to her knees, knowing far too well the burden she had just undertaken. He was surprised to find that he had wanted to do the act, not for its own sake, but just to spare her the pain of knowing she was a killer. Not just someone who has killed in the heat of battle in defense of their life. But someone who has looked down on a helpless person and taken their life. Not since he had stared into the dying eyes of his own master, hanging on his own lightsaber blade had he regretted a death so much.
He watched her leave, never moving from the spot where she’d left him asking him to stay with her. He felt a great growing sadness in her, mirrored in himself. After she passed beyond sight in the trees he turned and set about the work of disposing of the bodies. Perhaps he could spare the two women some of the blood on their hands at least…

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