The Price of Power
Author: Courtney Woods
Medium: Short Story
Publication Date: February 2, 2015 on SWTOR.com
Timeline Placement: c. 3,643 BBY
We’re introduced to Darth Lachris, a female Sith apprenticed to Darth Marr, a dude in spiky armor who previously appeared as a member of the Dark Council back in Blood of the Empire. There’s even a reference to the hero of that comic, Darth Thanaton. Good to know he’s still hanging around doing whatever it is he does.
Lachris is meeting with her master on Korriban, homeworld of the Sith and most evil planet in the galaxy, to discuss their strategy for pacifying the world of Balmorra, which is apparently in open revolt against its Sith rulers. Marr tells his apprentice that if she can put down the rebellion he will give her control of the planet, but to do so she must employ the heretical clairvoyance technique developed by Thanaton’s dead master, Calypho. The only way this technique works, however, is for the user to be on the brink of death.
Marr and Lachris duel one another, with Lachris blasting her master with Force lightning, to which he responds by telekinetically throwing her into the wall. She hits her head and has a vision of the field of human skulls from Terminator 2. Standing above the skulls is the leader of the Balmorran Resistance, a Republic soldier. John Connor reaches out to grab her but suddenly he’s cut in half by a shadowy figure whose face she can’t see. She reaches down to grab a handful of soil and is seized by roots that spring out of the ground. Two more anonymous figures loom over her and then she wakes up.
“You cannot escape death,” Darth Marr says, lifting her up by the throat. “Consider this my final lesson.” He tells her she is not a coward, which is the only compliment he’s ever given her.
Darth Lachris departs for Balmorra with the hope that she may still be able to change her fate.
The writing in this story is actually pretty decent, but, like in “The Final Trial,” it’s far too short to leave any lasting impression. It’s a shame the author never got the opportunity to pen anything more substantial before the Expanded Universe was decanonized into Legends and left to continue exclusively as these sporadic TOR shorts; I definitely would have been interested in seeing how it turned out. As it is, this story adds some well-written context to characters in the MMO and the game events on Balmorra, but if you haven’t played the game and don’t know who these characters are you probably won’t get too much out of it. Still, decent writing is decent writing. 3.5/5 Death Stars.
(Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha is a foolish attempt to examine the entirety of the now decanonized Star Wars Expanded Universe and quantify its assorted artistic merits. Read the introduction. Check out the archives.)