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In the shadows of the dungeon, Master Qwarr huddles with Willix, El-Les, and Gran Selbuck. The quartet of conspirators whisper in hushed tones to avoid detection by their captors. Suddenly a siren pierces through the dungeon hall.


“That’s our signal”, Willix smiles. “One way ticket out of this hell hole”

-Overhearing this, one fellow prisoner laughs: “You that excited to get yourself killed, scumbag? I hope they draw it out just for you!” Willix ignores the taunt as the sound rings out of the prison doors opening.

-A bright light floods the entry way as the Dungeonmaster stand ominously in the opening, a looming threat to all those who would try to escape. Accompanying him are Commander Wilhelm Klink and two of his finest Stormtroopers to escort the prisoners to the arena, and the Dungeon Droid, whose mechanical mind directly maintains all prison operations in the castle.

The grating drone of the Droid’s soulless voice bleats out over archaic speakers, summoning prisoners by their assigned numbers. An impromptu arrest and therefore not knowing his number in the system, Qwarr simply follows his friends into line.

-As the line moves forward, El-les catches a glimpse of a tearful farewell between a mother, called to the arena, and her young son. He quickly turns away, knowing he must keep his mind focused on the task ahead.

-The line is hurried along under the watchful eyes of the faceless Stormtroopers, their shining armor reflecting the blinding artificial light back into the eyes of the prisoners.

-Out of the gate, Willix is pointed towards another room, where the prisoners will be assigned weapons for their fight in the arena. The hardened commando already knows exactly the blaster he wants and marches forward, ignoring a disturbance in the line behind him.

-Having passed through the gate, Master Qwarr is suddenly confronted by the Dungeon Droid.

——“Prisoner 1138, return to your cell. You have not been cleared for release to the arena”.

-The Dungeonkeeper steps forward: “Back to the pin for you, Jedi scum”, he growls.

-Calmly, Qwarr raises his hand as if grasping at air. Stairing deep into the hulking brute’s eyes, he whispers:

——“You will let me pass. A late order came through from Lord Tarsus himself”.

-Pausing for a second, the Dungeonmaster finally looks up. “Let him pass! There’s been a late order from Lord Tarsus!” Allowing only the slightest grin, Qwarr steps forward towards his friends.

-Only to have the Droid suddenly roll in front of him, blocking his path.

———“There is no such order”, it bleats out. “Prisoner 1138 is using his Jedi witchcraft upon you fleshy fools! Return him to his cell!”

-In an instant, Qwarr uses the Force to slam the Droid up into the air and against the wall!

-But the damage is done. He is grabbed by the Dungeonmaster and pulled back towards the gate, desperately struggling against the grip of the massive thug.

-“Suun, stop fighting!” El-Les calls back to his friend. “It will be all right!”

-But as the furious Jedi is tossed gruffly back into the dungeon and El-Les is pushed towards the armory, the old bounty hunter knows that any vague promise he can offer his friend is but a fleeting glimmer of hope in light of impossible odds.

-Inside the armory, unaware of what has just transpired, Willix listens to another cold, emotionless Stormtrooper describing what is about to take place.

“Each of you may choose one weapon. They are all fitted with special modulators that control their power settings, so don’t even think about trying to use them in here. Once you reach the arena, the damper will be lifted, and you will be free to inflict whatever damage you can upon your opponents”.

-As the speech draws to a close, El-Les is escorted into the room. Immediately noticing the absence of Master Qwarr, Willix pulls him aside.

-“Where’s your fragging Jedi, El-Les?”, he harshly whispers. “We need him out there!”

——“Something was wrong, they wouldn’t let him leave”.


-Willix’s anger is momentarily distracted by the Iktochi prisoner from earlier, now admiring a massive Z-6 Rotary Canon placed upon a pedestal.

-“Step away, hornhead!” Willix barks. “That one’s mine!”

-Pulling the huge gun up into the air, Willix allows himself a faint smile, ignoring his furious fellow prisoner.

-Com. Klink proceeds to eliminate any chance at a fight breaking out early by barking out orders.

——“All prisoners fall in line! You are to be escorted to the arena! No infighting will be tolerated!”

-As the prisoners fall in line, Willix once again approaches El-Les, speaking in a hushed tone:

——“Nothing changes. We go on with the plan.”

-“I know. We can still pull it off, so long as your idiot rival over their doesn’t cause any trouble”.

-“And El-Les, one more thing. We get out of here, there’s no looking back. We can’t come back for your friend”.

——“I know, Wil. I know that all to well”….

-Not too far away, in the arena control room, Headmaster Dreyfus is busy briefing the Dungeonmaster one last time on the planned “Final Exam”:

———“You’ve selected only the finest warriors in our supply, yes?”

-“Of course my Lord”.

-“Good. And the Jedi, were you able to modulate his lightsaber properly?”

——“I’m afraid the Jedi was not properly cleared for this battle, Lord Dreyfus. We had to keep him in the dungeon”.


———“I’m sorry, my lord, but he wasn’t cleared. I checked the databanks myself. Lord Tarsus…”

-“Lord Tarsus has gone too far this time!” Dreyfus explodes in a flurry of anger. “He commandeers my castle for his secret conferences, floods my halls with filthy bounty hunters, recruits my students and teachers behind my back and is now interfering directly with our work here. I will stand no more!” Storming off towards the nearest lift, he shouts back over his shoulder: “Start the battle on time, no matter if I’m here! I will not have my Academy sabotaged by that fool any longer!”

-High above the arena, Chief Inquisitor Tarsus waits calmly in the Trophy Hall, awaiting the storm he knows is on its way. His com signals a message from Captain Madine:

——“My lord, Headmaster Dreyfus is outside the trophy hall. He is demanding to speak with you”.

-“Let him in, Captain. It’s time the Headmaster and I have a real… Heart-to-heart chat”.

-The sound of opening blast doors hums through the air, followed by pounding feet as Dreyfus enters.

———“This is the last straw, Tarsus!” he shouts out.

-“Address me with my proper title, Headmaster, and state your complaint”.

——“I will offer you no such respect to scum like you. Why was my Jedi not cleared for the Final Combat?”

-“Ah, there you are wrong. It is my Jedi. As Chief Inquisitor, I maintain final say over all aspects of the…”

-“Cease the faux diplomacy, Tarsus. My ears are closed to whatever schemes you have cooking up in your twisted mind. I’m reporting you to Tarkin once and for all!”

———“I’m afraid that would be a grave mistake, the old fool has no authority over me. I answer only to the Emperor now. I would be forced to consider such a report an act of treason”.

-“So be it”, Dreyfus mutters under his breath, igniting his lightsaber. The hum brings a smile to Tarsus’ lips.

———“Here I thought I’d have to beg for this, Headmaster” he scoffs.

-In a flash, Tarsus ignites his duel blades and lunges forward, an electric screech ringing out as the sabers of the rival dark lords connect.

-In a whirl of fury, Tarsus continues his onslaught, as Dreyfus expertly parries each attack.

-Stepping out of the way of a sudden lunge, the Headmaster causes his opponent to stumble…

-And uses the distraction to toss him across the floor, unleashing his mastery of the Force.

-The fallen Inquisitor regains composure in time to stop a swift, downward swoop by his opponent. “Stand down now, Tarsus and I may let you live”, Dreyfus elegantly smirks over the hum of weaponized light.

-“You are in no position to make such demands, traitor!” Tarsus shouts in reply, rising from the ground in a blinding flurry of offensive strikes.

-“The only one who can surrender here is you!” he yells, continuing the onslaught, his sabers moving in a blur. “And even then, I would not accept it!”

-“The Empire has tolerated your incompetence far too long!”

-Taking advantage of the slightest delay in Dreyfus’ defense, Tarsus slashes down, slicing his foe’s double blade in half!

-Nonplussed by this setback, Dreyfus unleashes another Force attack, throwing Tarsus back into one of the Hall’s many displays: “The only threat to the Empire is your delusions of grandeur!”

-Picking himself up off the ground, Tarsus smiles in reply: “They’re only delusions if they aren’t true”.

-With that, he leaps through the air, wielding an ancient knife from the ruined display…

-Only to be caught with the Force and hurled into a wall!

-Responding in an instant, he sends an ancient blade flying through the air, pinning Dreyfus’ cloak to a wall!

-“Your mastery of the Force pales compared to mine!” Dreyfus shouts as he tears himself free. “That has always been your weakness!” Ignoring the taunts, Tarsus summons his blades back to him and charges once more.

-“You keep using the same attacks, over and over”, the Headmaster sneers. “You could never stand to learn the true powers of the Dark Side!”

-“Only raw, brute force ever concerned you!” Dreyfus continues to shout over the electric whirs and crashes of their duel. Tarsus presses on, constantly filling with hatred, hatred from years of being the second best to Vader’s favorite. “This is an art! You never understood that! That is why you will always lose!”

-Sparks fly as the glowing blades connect time and again, a twirling flurry of light as the two masters unleash their full power upon each other until, suddenly, Tarsus unleashes the full sum of his hatred and anger in a single, paralyzing probe of the Force, reaching out directly into his rival’s mind. Suddenly, time seems to come for a standstill for Dreyfus, as waves of dark energy collapse into his psyche…

-And in that split-second of hesitation, Tarsus plunges both of his sabers deep into his foe’s chest.

-Dreyfus’ lifeless body slowly slumps to the ground as an exhausted Tarsus looks down with a smirk and deactivates his sabers.

-Breathing heavily, he speaks into his com: “Captain Madine? Send Bane Malar and his bounty hunters to the Trophy Hall at once. They have a mess to clean up”.

-The death of the Headmaster sends out a shockwave through the Force, first being felt by young Kara Draco, who waits, along with her fellow acolytes, for their “Final Exam” to begin.

-“Did you feel that?” she asks.

——“Feel what?” Gnarrl growls.

-“A disturbance in the Force. As if some terrible thing had just occurred”.

-“I didn’t feel a thing”, Luc sneers. “And you’d better clear your head fast or you’ll be dead in an instant out in the arena, if they ever get the blasted thing started”.

-The arrogant prince marches off towards the control station, muttering under his breath: “She’s dead either way. How that flitting bookworm survived this far is beyond me”.

-Reaching the control station, Luc promptly asserts authority over the stuttering officer manning the panel: “When exactly is the Headmaster planning on having you start this session? We’ve been waiting here for an hour!”

-“Any moment now, s…s…sir”, the brand new cadet stammers out. Suddenly, blast doors hiss open behind him, causing him to jump. Two stormtroopers march forward, signaling the session is ready to begin. Turning back to Luc, he replies: “In f…f…fact, it’s starting right now”.

-As the giant door to the arena slowly begins to grind open, Gnarrl and Luc eagerly stand at attention. Mara, however, pulls her friend to the side.

——“Don’t bother yourself with Luc, I felt the disturbance too. Something awful has happened, and I’m afraid we’re about to walk right into it”.

-“In that case,” Kara replies, as the two turn to face the opening gate, “I think we’d best stick together”.

——“I agree wholeheartedly,” Mara offers a faint smile as they both step forward into the gaping maw of doom before them…

-Facing an identical door, on the opposite side of the arena, the prisoners stand huddled together, ready to face their impending doom and, for three of them, the hope of escape.

-“El-Les,” Willix whispers quietly, “Do you believe in the Force?”

——“I’ve spent many years among the Jedi, my friend. And I’ve seen many amazing things”.

-“Then you best figure out how to make it work for us. Because we need a miracle”. But as Willix, in an unexpected moment of uncertainty, reaches to El-Les for hope, the old mercenary’s thoughts can only dwell upon his Jedi friend whom he has left behind…

-Within the dungeons, Qwarr himself is overcome with dread as he too senses the disturbance of Dreyfus’ demise. Seated beside him, the young boy recently separated from his family looks up at the suddenly disturbed Weequay.

——“Is something wrong, mister?”

-“Oh, no, everything his fine, young one,” Qwarr looks down at the child with sympathetic eyes, knowing full well what it can be like to lose ones family. “What did you say your name was, again?”

——“Charles. Charles Waverly, sir.”

-“Well, Charles, don’t worry”, the old master smiles reassuringly. “Whatever happens next, you stick with me. I’ll take care of you”.

-But as he offers these kind words, Suun Qwarr is suddenly reminded of the last times he has spoken them. First Jetta, struck down and killed in the Clone Wars and now Jaig, missing…… out of his reach. Straining out into the Force, he grasps for a sense of Jaig’s consciousness…

-Unaware that at that very moment, Jaig is about to undergo the greatest trial he has ever faced, and without the guidance of his beloved master…


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Brought to you by Choi

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