A Battle of Minds

<Get...out...of my...head…> Strained Issac, instinctively falling back on his masters training, trying to shut off his mind, sealing the gates on this intrusive presence. However, this technique required a large degree of mental discipline and emotional control, something Issac lacked at the best of times, and Issac was quickly losing this battle, retreating further and further from the excruciating light.

<Kid! Come on!> It wasn't a sound in his ears. It was like a thought, but not one that had occurred to him, but like something that had been sent to him. At the same time, it was as if a dark grey shadow passed in front of the light, like slivers of clouds drifting over the sun. <Can't fight this fuck on my own, kid!> the thought echoed. <It's your head so help me out here!> Finally he recognized the voice as the Twi'lek he'd traveled here with. The cripple called Nyavi.

<Get ou….what...why are you...it hurts, it hurts> Issac’s cried out, the thought reverberating against and through the Nyavi. He was cut off however, by another voice, deeper and far darker. <WEAK> it mocked him <COWARD>, the tone growing louder and clearer with every moment. Towards the outskirts of their melded minds, the source of the sound was lurking, appearing as a roiling dark cloud in their minds eye, seemingly resistant to the blinding, painful light, though it was currently being restrained by Issac's frantic psyche.

But something came over him that blocked out the searing light. It was like a thick, protective cloud drifting between his psyche and the intruder. Nyavi's essence shone darkly, shielding him from the attack. It billowed before him like a wall of soothing water, falling and rising at the same time, deflecting the light that threatened to skewer him. Flashes of memories not his own welled up from the cloud and rained down on him. A soothing bath after a hard day's work. Her first spaceflight as a child. When her hoverchair booted up for the first time. Good memories, that were like a soothing balm on his burned soul.

<Shh, take it easy, kiddo,> Nyavi cooed. <Take a breather. This cunt blindsided you. But you’re stronger than that, and you’re not alone.> Through the drip of good memories and feelings, pin-pricks of pain. Second hand pain. Nyavi was the one taking the beating now, being burned and pummeled by that terrible light. But she strained to keep that pain from him. He felt her smile warmly. <I’ve had worse than this, kiddo. You ready?>

Able to collect himself, now temporarily shielded from the onslaught, Issac took in the situation. Feeling the sparks of pain from Nyavi, he felt the pull of the darkness again. <WEAKNESS> boomed the familiar voice, sending flashed of his own memory out. Scenes of growing up in the Jedi Temple, disappointed tutors, the frustration at failing his master, and finally, a village, scattered bodies of Galactic troopers, civilians both young and old, screams of terror, and burning buildings flashed through the mindscape, along with pain, so much pain. The pain from failure after failure, pain from seeing innocents put to death in the name of the Order, at his own hand and others, the pain of killing his master, of leaving the village a shattered ruin.

Feeling the rising panic, but remembering the lesson he had learned in the vision, Issac resisted the urge to pull away, to hide in the depths of his own mind, instead opening himself up to the darkness again, feeding on both his and his companions pain. When he was fully immersed, and the shadow had engulfed him entirely, he turned his attention back to Master Vorag. Feeling the hatred grow by the second, and sensing Nyavi suffering under the light, he finally spat <Ready>.

Nyavi smiled despite the strain on her own mind. <Get him, kid.> She collapsed her wall, the light raining down once more, now pulling as well as battering, trying to extract something from him, from her, from their memories, but it was impossible to say how much he got, whether he got everything or nothing. She felt exhausted, but she still had something left to give, and give it she would. She had felt how Issac had fed his power with pain and rage, and if there’s one thing Nyavi knew, it was pain.

She intertwined her mind with his. Now the memories were no longer separate drips, pulses, no neat packages to be passed around. Their memories, the suffering, the scars they had received, the hurt they’d undergone. It was a stream that built upon itself, flowing through them both, their every failure exposed, the guilt, the rage, the regret. They were one in that moment, supreme intimacy born from lifetimes of darkness, his pain amplifying hers, and hers his, and all of it fed the shadow further, strengthening it, darkening it, until it was a torrent of the deepest black churning around their entwined souls.

With that, Issac threw himself at the light, battering back against it. Feeling the surge of power that normally came when he gave into the darkness, now amplified by Nyavi’s own pain, he felt stronger and more in control than at any other point in his life. Using his willing companion as a springboard, and with an almost sickening glee, he hit the light head on. With little to no concern for self preservation, returning every blow as hard as he could, he began blasting this intrusive mind, showing the vision of his master being run through from behind, the soldiers and innocents butchered like animals, the Sith temple on Korriban, his new master, attempting to mock the Jedi and his ideals. He then moved past that, beginning to assail the Jedi Masters own mind, trying to batter down his own defenses, to see what lay within. <You failed!> He screamed at the light, over and over again, continuing to relentlessly hurl himself against it.

(Joint post of GardensTale and Farrell)

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