The swamps of Toydaria weren’t Lousro’s favorite place to be, but it was home and he felt at peace here. He avoided the more watery parts of the swamp, sticking to the drier paths. He was aware that this was a vision, and he had a suspicion that the Dark Side was waiting for him to get too close to the water.
The call of the crystal was different than the one in his shield emitter. The one in the shield emitter wanted to defend. This new crystal felt like it wanted to attack, but not to kill. Only to stun.
Thinking of what this crystal could possibly be Lousro fluttered too close to the water. A figure coalesced on the surface of the water. A shadowy figure. Not Teslief, someone else. A Dark Brother. One of the Sith Lords on the council.
“Brother Lousro,” it said in a voice that sounded like a waterfall breaking on rocks, “stop this foolishness. Return to the Brotherhood. Return to the Dark Side.”
Lousro shook his head, his trunk waggling. “No, you sense the light within me. The Dark Side has no hold on me anymore.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Once a Dark Side Force user, always a Dark Side Force user.” The Dark Brother’s mask cracked. “Look at the backs of your hands. Do you not see the broken blood vessels there?”
It took all of Lousro’s concentration not to stare at his hands. Instead, he activated his Light Buckler without looking and held it to defend himself. In his other hand, a training saber materialized.
The Dark Brother’s mask broke into pieces and Lousro stared into his own eyes. No, not his own eyes. The eyes of a version of himself that slew Teslief and stayed with the Sith. “You are not me.”
“On the contrary, I am the part of you that still hungers for the Dark Side.” The Dark Brother Lousro activated a red Light Buckler and pulled a lightsaber hilt from his belt. He activated the angry, crackling, crimson blade. “You can go no further until you defeat me.”
“I see,” said the real Lousro, “that you still use a shield.”
“It confuses the enemy. They think it’s purely defensive.” The Dark Brother Lousro flicked his wrist and the disk of energy disconnected from his buckler, launching at Lousro.
Lousro blocked with his Light Buckler and parried the blow from the dark version of himself that followed immediately after. “If you are a part of me I know what you’re going to do before you do it.” Lousro deactivated his Light Buckler. “I also know that no matter how hard you try, you can’t claw yourself out.” Lousro’s training saber disappeared.
“You leave yourself open to my attacks?”
“Just because I have no weapons does not mean I leave myself open.”
Lunging forward the Dark Brother Lousro aimed at Lousro’s heart. However, after he launched forward Lousro took to the air, his Toydarian wings straining at taking him higher than they were used to.
“You leave yourself open to me, now.” Lousro dove back down and tackled his dark self. He used the Force to deactivate the Light Buckler and the lightsaber. “You are a part of me, and you always will be. That is my burden to bear.”
The dark image smiled. “You pass.” It dissipated into a puff of black smoke.
Lousro breathed deep and looked around. The image of Toydaria faded and in front of him, growing out of the cave wall, was an orange crystal. He reached out in the Force and pulled it to himself. The crystal was too new, too raw. He put it in a pouch. The crystal was not yet ready to be in a lightsaber hilt. It needed more time.
“Chaos, yet harmony,” Lousro muttered under his breath. He then turned to find his apprentice. He exited the small cave and looked around.
Ao was sitting on the ground next to T8-T3. He was fiddling with some spare parts.
Lousro walked forward and pulled two emitters from a pouch at his waist. “Here. Use these.”
Grabbing the parts from his master Ao smiled. “What are these from?”
“A pair of lightsabers I never made. Teslief expected me to dual wield, like her.” Lousro looked at Ao’s two crystals. They were ready to be in hilts. “You aren’t like her. Those crystals won’t kill, they will only stun.”
“Good, I don’t like the idea of killing.”