The Photonovel Alliance

Master Qwarr awakes in the dungeons of the Castle Gathreel, home to the Inquisitor Acadamy, the Empire’s brutal training ground for young force adepts. Here he meets fellow prisoners Willix and his old friend El-Les.


Jaig, meanwhile, finds himself imprisoned in a lab elsewhere in the castle. There he is observed by Headmaster Dreyfus and Inquisitor Talya, who plan nefarious experiments while the young acolytes look on.

And all is not well amongst the Inquisitors! Tensions have reached a boiling point between rivals Headmaster Dreyfus and Chief Inquisitor Tarsus, who has set up shop in the Castle to prepare for the acolyte’s graduation ceremony.

But he has a far more sinister reason for being there: A conspiracy amongst top Imperial officials to assassinate Darth Vadar himself!

As tensions within the castle rise, we find Bane Malar and his band of bounty hunters patrolling through the Headmaster’s quarters.

——“Dreyfus is on his way back”, droid assassin 4-LOM alerts the group. “We need to leave now”.

Before they can leave, however, Dreyfus walks through the door, stumbling directly into Bom Vimdin.

“What are you doing here?!?” the Headmaster bellows.

——“Whatever the heck we want”, Vimdin quips.

In a blur Dreyfus slams the irreverent marksman’s face into the door, causing the hunters to reach for the weapons…

But with a flourish of his hand, Dreyfus sends the blasters scattering away!

“Whoah, whoah, whoah!” Bane Malar steps between his team and the Headmaster. “Everyone calm down, this is all one big misunderstanding”.

“Then tell me what you and your men were doing in my quarters?” Dreyfus growls, his hand reaching for his lightsaber.

——“Just a routine security check, my Lord,” Malar replies calmly. “Under orders from the Chief Inquisitor”.

“I have my own security at this castle!” Dreyfus barks back. “I don’t need you and your mercenary scum doing it for me!”

“Now get out, before I lose my temper!” The group of hunters slowly shuffle out the door.

Exasperated, Dreyfus collapses into a chair. He tries to focus his furious mind, trying to decipher Tarsus’ true plans. What could his old rival possibly gain from all this? These thoughts are interrupted with a whir and a hiss from the back corners of the room.

Trooper Shade emerges from a secret passageway hidden in the shadows.

——“That was no routine security check, sir. They came in through the passageway”.

“Blast it all!” Dreyfus shouts. “How does Tarsus even know about the passages?”

——“I suspect Inquisitor Talya….”

“Of course. That woman has always answered to him! I don’t know why we’ve let her stay here for so long”

———“Well, sir, YOU’RE the one that slept with her”.

“That is irrelevant to the matter at hand”, Dreyfus scoffs. He pauses for a moment, then looks back at his confidant, his raging eyes now tinged with eerie sadness. “You’re the only one I know I can trust Shade. I have to ask you something”.

“Your wish is my command, sir”.

———“I fear Tarsus is plotting against Lord Vadar. And with his arrival drawing nearer by the hour, I fear it will not be long before I become his first target”.

-“Surely you don’t think he would attempt such a thing!”

———“The man is mad for power, Shade. He’ll do whatever it takes to get it. So promise me, if I die in the next few days, don’t believe a word he spouts about it. Find out his plan and stop it before he brings the entire Empire down on its head.”

“I swear to you, sir, it will be done”.

———“Good. Now seal off the passageway. I will not have them sneaking in here again”.

As Shade leaves, Dreyfus looks up at the lights shining through his window.

——“It’s all about to end, isn’t it,” he whispers softly to himself. “What have I done to deserve this?”

As Dreyfus ponders his impending fate, deep below him a chime is rung in the dungeons. It is meal time for the prisoners.

The imposing figure of the brutal Dungeon-master motions to the two frightened orderlies assigned to deliver the meals.

They shuffle into the shadowy realm beyond the gate as their accompanying droid calls out from behind:

——“Single file line. Maintain orderly conduct!”

The prisoners slowly line up to accept their meager sustenance. All whispers of dissent are hushed, they know what happens to those who step out of line: Early training sessions…or worse.

Master Qwarr looks with disgust at the dish he is handed, a grey mush completely unrecognizable as actual food.

“What is this slop,” he mutters.

——“It’s all the food you’re going to down here, Jedi-man,” Willix scoffs. “Get used to it”.

“Don’t any of you have any plans of escape?” Qwarr asks, moving his mind from the nauseating meal.

——“Sure, but 99 percent of them end in us getting killed”.

-“And the last 1%?”

“The training room. I takes up the entirety of a floor, the only way into the upper levels is through it. We’ve learned from those that come back alive that there are multiple possible exits. Gran and I are scheduled for a training exercise tomorrow. We’ll going to use the chaos of the fight to find an exit, get out, and overpower the guards. From there, we can head straight up and out through a choice of three possible passageways…” His plan is broken by a loud crash.

One of the prisoners has attacked an orderly. The other rushes to aid while the shocked prisoners stand back watching.

———“Prisoner 8675 please stand down. Everyone remain calm.” The security droid calls out.

“Why doesn’t anyone help him?” Qwarr asks as the prisoner throws his victim to the ground.

———“Stand down. Stand down.” The droids automated voice drones on.

Suddenly, the Dungeon-master steps through the gate, pushing past the prisoners and the surviving orderly.

———“Stay calm,” the droid continues to instruct the prisoners. “Do not attempt to interfere”.

The Dungeon-master moves towards the suddenly terrified rebel with an ominous gait, never saying a word, only glaring forward at his objective.

In a flash, he strikes out with his whip, slicing it across the prisoner’s face.

Stunned, the man does nothing as he is grabbed…

And thrown to the floor.

Before his life is smote out by the Dungeon-master’s steel boot.

The fight over in seconds, Stormtroopers rush in, to clean up the mess, while the terrified surviving orderly flees.

——“All prisoners return to their stations,” the droid returns to its droning. “Remain calm. Do not attempt to interfere”.

“And that,” Willix mutters as they walk away from the gruesome scene, “Is why we wait for the plan”.

From the dark, brutal dungeon, Jaig Landow is experiencing a much different type of treatment several stories up. While locked in a lab room with only a chilling medical droid for company, he has been treated exceptionally well for a prisoner of war. However, he still has no idea as to where he is or the identity of his captors.

Suddenly, the door opens, and in walks Kara Draco, beautiful scholar and student, in training to join the ranks of the Empire’s notorious Inquisitors.

“I’ve brought you your dinner, Mr. Landow”.

“Thank you, I’ve been starving in here,” Jaig replies, instantly intruigued by the young agent. “And you can call me Jaig. As long as I’m stuck here, we might as well pretend to be friends”.

“Then you can call me Kara”, she answers, smiling. “And who says it has to be pretend?”

——“Well, I’m a Jedi and a rebel, sworn to overthrow the Empire, and I can sense you’re force sensitive as well, but since you’re free here and I’m not, you must be an Inquisitor. So that kind of makes us sworn enemies”.

“We don’t have to be enemies, Jaig,” Kara soothingly answers as they sit down. “That’s why you’ve been brought here, to show you the truth about yourself”.

——“Yeah, sure. What is this stuff, anyway,” Jaig asks, trying to change the subject.

“Ungrillian paste. It’s the standard food for prisoners here, but I arranged for yours to be a bit more palatable”.

—— “Well, thanks for that,” Jaig replies, as he slowly begins to eat.

“You don’t need to worry about it,” Kara reassures him. “Nobody is going to poison you here”.

——“Well, I suppose that’s good to know”. The awkward conversation is ended when an alarm goes off on Kara’s signal watch.

“I’m sorry, I have to go,” she hurriedly stand up to leave.

———“Well, I’m here all week,” Jaig jokingly replies. Kara allows herself a small laugh as she leaves the chamber, its cold metal door closing behind her.

Jaig’s eyes follow her as she goes, before he is once again alone, with only a silent droid and his own confused thoughts for company.

In the hallway outside, Kara runs into her three fellow acolytes.

——“Where have you been”, Luc immediately chastises her. “The Exam starts in three hours!”

-“I am perfectly aware of the time, Luc”.

“We agreed to head to the training room 30 minutes ago, Kara!”

———“And who was stopping you? If you really want to be an Inquisitor, Luc, you need to be willing to take the lead, instead of having someone else hold your hand. Your father’s protection doesn’t extend everywhere”.

-“At least I’m not spending my time fraternizing with prisoners!” Luc shouts back, furious.

“Do yourself a favor and shut up”, Kara snaps, using the Force to shove Luc away.

“Everyone calm down,” Mara Jade intercedes in the argument, while Luc sputters to himself on the floor. “Until tomorrow, we’re still a team, so infighting won’t do us any good”.

Pulling Kara aside, she whispers:

——“I can’t wait to be rid of him either, but as long as we’re here, we need to stay on him and his father’s good sides”.

-“I know, but…”

———“And what was he saying about you fraternizing with prisoners?”

-“I just took the young Jedi lunch, that’s all”.

———“Well, you’d best leave it that way. As charming as he may be, so long as he resists the Headmaster’s teachings, he’s still our enemy”.

The two ladies continue down the hallway, leaving Gnarl to glare down at a moping Luc.

——“Get up and quit whining, ya’ pooser. Now you’re the one making us late”.

Back in the lab, Jaig continues to contemplate all that has happened in the last few days. The disappointment of his brother, his shaken trust in his master, their capture, the kindness of his supposed enemy; it all weighs heavily on him.

Deep in thought, he doesn’t notice the silent medical droid approach him behind. Suddenly, it attacks, injecting the young Jedi with a syringe!

As the droid loads his now unconscious prisoner back onto the observation table, the door to the lab slides open….

And in walks Inquisitor Talya.

“Prepare, the tests, doctor,” she commands. “We shall begin momentarily”.


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Brought to you by Choi

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