The Spectre of Darth Morkali

Ivanna and Trias stood in the dark chamber. The lights were no longer working here, and the darkness was only broken by the light from their lightsabers. This was the excavation site, the place where Doctor Adlar Birmotheous had first discovered the rare metal that could withstand the heat of the lava flow. Now, however, there was something else lurking here. As they entered the chamber a dark presence could be distinctly felt.

And then, all at once, a ghastly image appeared before them in the dark recesses of the cavern. Here it was cold, but the presence and image of the dark figure made it more so. The ghostly apparition was a twisted monstrosity with a skull-like face, bony, wraith-like hands, a dark cloak and hood concealing almost all of the gnarled and decaying face, and metallic armor gleaming out from under the cloak.

The apparition smiled at them with lips that were thin and tight; a maniacal grin splitting his face in half to reveal his sharp-toothed maw. “Welcome, Jedi,” his voice hissed, and the words were poisoned with sarcasm. “Welcome to the tomb of Darth Morkali. I am so glad you’ve come. It has been ages since I was able to kill a Jedi.”

But Trias, a tall and powerful Barabel, would not be daunted. He roared several times, “You are but a twisted image of your former power. You have no strength against us, and all of your minions have been destroyed. There is nothing left for you.”

Morkali’s smile stretched even further across his face. “You are fools, Jedi. Mere striplings of the Jedi I faced in my day. There has been one survivor from the exploration expedition that came here, and I have hidden him from you. He is bent to my will, and he now has slipped aboard your ship. As per my instructions he has sent a message via your ship’s Interstellar Transmitter to your Jedi Council indicating that you have found nothing on Hoth and are continuing your former mission. However, mid-transmission I arranged it so that he would fly the ship right into the side of a mountain. A warning alarm went off, and as the transmission ended he cried out that pirates were attacking him. I’m sure the explosion will be quite convincing, and since I aided him in this task I’m sure the council will find it convincing as well. I even made the fool look just like you, my dear.”

At this he looked straight at Ivanna, and it was a look she’d never forget. Never before had she seen so much malice and hate. Never before had she been pulled into the Dark Side of the Force with such intensity. For that split second she felt impulses course through her that she never thought she’d ever have. Anger, vengeance, death, carnage, and every sort of desire of evil flooded her mind so hard that she withdrew herself from the ghost and stumbled back into the wall behind her to support herself.

The gaze turned back to Trias who still stood undaunted. “Your presence here has ended,” Trias announced, but Morkali only laughed.

“You underestimate the Dark Side,” Morkali answered, and at that moment, as if from nowhere, dark creatures suddenly leaped at them. They were creatures of all sorts; small and agile and massive and lumbering. Both Jedi dodged aside as the beasts came at them with full force, and in the dark chamber a cloud seemed to fall blanketing everything, even the light of the sabers.

Ivanna fought hard to control her fear, but the room was overwhelming. The presence of the dark spirit made the terror that much more impressive. Morkali swooped over towards her, and all of his malice and hate was bent on destroying her will. She could feel the Dark Side pressing in on her. She could feel, again, the power of that temptation to release herself to anger, fear, and aggression.

She dove under some massive creature’s swing and sliced off its hulking arm. Then another creature, of smaller size jumped up in her face only to find itself cut in half. “Give in!” the dark voice of Morkali whispered as if in her ear. “Strike him down! He has denied you the true power of the Force!”

Again Ivanna struggled to keep herself in check. She couldn’t let the Dark Side cloud her sight. She had to stay focused on the Light. She was a Jedi Knight now, not a Padawan. She had to prove herself true.

But suddenly, the dark apparition wavered and cried out. The darkness fell like a curtain torn in half. The creatures all wailed and seemed to flee. In that moment Ivanna turned to see Trias standing tall with hand outstretched at the apparition. He was standing upon a rocky pillar that jutted out of the floor, and all the creatures had been unable to reach him on his precarious perch. From the concentration on his face it was obvious that he was now using the Force to destroy the dark spirit.

Morkali’s apparition continued to waver as he turned his own attention on Trias. A power struggle occurred, both straining to defeat the other. Ivanna watched in amazement, and her spirits rose once more. Trias was such a powerful Jedi. Not only was he able to resist the Dark Side, but he was also able to contend with the specter.

And then, all at once, Morkali gave out a shrill cry that shook the cave, and suddenly his spirit vanished in a fierce explosion. The cave shook and boulders fell from the ceiling. Trias was shaken from his perch, and as he withdrew from his battle with the specter he realized the danger he was in. Falling towards the ground he stretched out with the Force and cushioned his fall.

But Morkali would not be denied at least some sort of victory. As Trias got to his feet with Ivanna’s help a massive boulder smashed down on the only entranceway blocking them inside. There was no route of escape unless they cut themselves out, and the excavation site they were in was now crumbling down around them. They ran to the boulder with lightsabers ready, and they began to carve their way through the rock as desperately as they could, but it was clear that Trias had been far more spent from the battle with Morkali than Ivanna had originally noticed. As they carved a large enough piece of the stone away to make a hole large enough to squeeze through another stone fell from the ceiling, and Trias was caught under it.

Ivanna wailed in horror and fear as she dropped to her master’s side to help him. Trias, however, only looked up at her with urgency on his face. “Get out!” he cried through clenched teeth. “Morkali’s final desire will be to kill us both. Go! There is no saving me!”

And Ivanna found herself suddenly scrambling out of the chamber as fast as she could in spite of how much she willed herself to go back. Up the passage she went and out into the rest of the more secured facility as the chamber behind continued to bury her master. Alone and filled with despair and hopelessness, Ivanna collapsed onto the ground and wept.

The End

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