QI’RA: Chapter Six

Nienye’s Story

Nienye loved the exhilaration of battle. At home on Takodana hunting in the dense forests with his father had been a daily pleasure. The sheer adrenaline flowing through one’s veins while taking on a Jorker; a fierce boar with lethal tusks and spike-covered skin, was a feeling unlike any other. One day, when his father was too ill to join him, he left to go hunt alone. That day a bunch of mercenaries arrived at his village looting and pillaging. No one in the village survived.

Devastated and heartbroken, Nienye headed west, eventually reaching Maz Kanata’s castle where he found work and left Takodana with a group of smugglers. For a few years, he worked alongside the smugglers until they too would find misfortune. Apparently, one of the crew had stolen from a major crime boss and the gang wanted revenge. Nienye almost died that day but he was spared, taken as a prisoner instead and sold on the black market. By wits and strengthened resolve, he managed to escape.

He then ventured across the galaxy, surviving off of scraps and his admirable fighting skills. When all hope seemed lost he met Qi’ra. He had ruffled a few feathers of a small gang on the streets of Tamoran–a swelteringly hot planet with an arid landscape and they were determined to make him pay for it.

With nothing but his last belonging from Takodana, his native spear, in hand, he took on ten opponents in the middle of a bustling market. It wasn’t an easy fight but he would end up the last man standing. Drenched in sweat and his chest heaving for breath, he stood in the middle of a ring of unconscious bodies. Onlookers surrounded him, some disgusted by the disruptive display of violence, others wide-eyed with stunned approval. A beautiful woman in all black appeared from the crowd that had gathered and approached him, a curious expression on her face. There was no doubt she was wealthy with her perfectly curled brown hair and the gleaming jewelry that accentuated her ears, wrists, and fingers.

She had offered him the chance to be her top lieutenant and after he learned how much it paid there was no chance of him refusing her offer.

He still believed she saved him that day. He had been on the verge of death. He could feel it. Death was clawing at him like the Force breathed life into everything around them. He wouldn’t have made it much longer before he either starved or was killed.

Now, moving through this fortress’s bare stone halls with relative ease as he took down every guard they encountered with simplistic precision, he felt alive with the utter exhilaration that only came when on the hunt. His partner for this assignment, Ventra Dune, was constantly grumbling as she always did when she was around. Honestly, he had never met a more negative person. She seemed to never have anything good to say. It was a miracle she was impressed by his abilities.

“This is bantha fodder!” she cried. “Where in the Garla guts are these jewels?”

Shooting a guard that had just rounded the corner he responded, “You didn’t think they’d make it that easy, did you?”

Ventra Dune whirled, shooting at an opponent that tried to attack from behind.

“Oh come on. They’ve got enough guards in here to fill a space cruiser. Yeah, the jewels should be easy to find.”

As they turned a corner they found themselves before an open doorway that was the entrance to a circular room. In the room, atop a raised dais, was a pedestal. And on that pedestal were the Yartish Jewels, gleaming blue in a wooden container.

Standing guard of the jewels was three armored individuals whose monstrous size was intimidating enough. Their skeletal masks, hauntingly white in their crimson cloth, seemed to be the very embodiment of death. On their forearms were long red shields painted with a single elongated skull and in their massive hands rested spiked clubs thrumming with energy.

Ventra Dune punched Nienye in the shoulder.

“Told you they would be in plain sight!” she announced gleefully.

Nienye couldn’t celebrate. The guards looked too menacing. Too ready for a fight. But there was something else. Tingling in the back of his neck. There was more to this than meets the eye.

“This isn’t right,” he whispered out loud.

Suddenly something shoved them in the back, sending them sprawling into the room. Nienye hurried to a crouch, his blaster aimed at whoever had touched them. Where the open doorway was a red energy barrier vibrated and a giant man whose body from head to toe was clad in crimson armor and possessed a sweeping brown cloak pouring from his shoulders stood with a massive pike in his hand.

“Bad idea coming into my house,” the man rumbled.

Ventra Dune, stretching her back, stood. “Okay, if this is your house then I’ve got to say, you’ve got a poor taste. I mean, where do you even sleep?”

The man growled. “Kill them.”

Dune’s eyebrows rose. “Oh, that was quick.”

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