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Chapter 2

Jaina shook at the handcuffs that were binding her to the wall and effectively keeping her away from the only other person in the room; Brakiss, master of the shadow academy.

Unfortunately except for him, nothing else was there to look at. So she just stared at him, although she would have loved to look away.
She didn’t want to show him how weak she was; that through his endless torturing he had almost broken her spirit. Her only hope was that he would surrender before she did.

But instead of going away and giving her time to rest, Brakiss took the humming vibroknife in his hands again and rolled her right sleeve up.

He looked deep into her eyes; his perfect features awfully near and yet so far away. She wondered how someone so handsome on the outside, could have such a black hard inside.
“Last chance, Jaina.”
She bit on her lips, determined not to show him her fear.

Brakiss took her silence as the “no” it was and started cutting in fluid motions through her bare flesh.
Jaina pressed her teeth together as hard as she could, but couldn’t hold back a cry after he had finally stopped and blood streamed down her arm.
She forced herself to look at her arm, forced herself to face the truth.

At least he hasn’t cut my arm off. She thought bitterly as she examined the pattern Brakiss had cut into her arm and fought back the tears of pain.

“It is the symbol of darkness, used by the Sith Lords.” He told her; his words echoing in Jaina’s head.
“I love its beautiful form. It is like the Dark Side; strong and cruel.” He lifted one hand, his index finger following the crimson mark he had left.
Jaina winced at his touch, trying to push him away with the force, but felt unable to connect with its power, even to think clearly, through all the pain and fear clouding her mind.

Until she felt his presence entering her mind and checklessly bringing down her mental shields, then she felt a scary moment of clarity in which she knew he had seen everything he needed to make her fall.
Now, she couldn’t look at him any longer and dropped down defeated; hanging in her handcuffs and waiting the inescapable.

Brakiss left her hanging there, leaving the room for a short time to clean his hands and the knife. That only made it worse for Jaina, who fought with her desperation.
She knew she couldn’t hold out much longer.
How can I fight the Dark Side? How can I win against it?

Then she remembered what her uncle had told her once.
His sister, Jaina’s mother, had brought him back from the Dark Side. Maybe her’s, Jaina’s family, was the key.

With her last power, Jaina reached inside herself and collected all the good memories she had within her.
Memories of laughter, embraces, smiles, hope, luck, happiness and love; everything she collected and put them into a box and hiding it deep down at the bottom of her soul, where she hoped Brakiss wouldn’t find it.
Then she locked her box, writing the three words on it that would open it:
I love you.

At last, she reached out with the force and connected with her brother through their twin-bond, sending Jacen a few words and hoping he would understand them despite the distance between both siblings.
Please, never give me up.

Brakiss came back and looked at her, probably thinking of a new way to torture her.

The box will be my saving and you will be the key, Jacen. Jaina promised as she looked up at the cruel monster in front of her; and for the first time after what seemed like an eternity, she smiled.

* * * * *

“Jacen, my friend, you have to eat something.”
Tenel Ka looked at him worried and tried again to get a spoon with meat into his mouth. Jacen just shook his head and continued to stare at an imaginary point in the stone walls of the old Massassi temple on Yavin IV.
Lowie roared something that sounded threatening, but Jacen couldn’t focus on the words. He just felt empty and somehow distant from his body, like everything was happening to a different person and he was just watching.
Or maybe it was.
He didn’t know. He didn’t even know more what knowing was.

A part of his brain kept telling him that he was Jacen Solo, that he had a family and his sister was still in the hands of Brakiss, their kidnapper. But slowly, his memories of Jaina began to fade. They didn’t entirely disappear, they just became sort-of grey.

The days after their departure from the shadow academy had melted into blurred images, without making any sense to Jacen.
The only things he remembered where short moments of clarity, when Jaina’s pain had cut through the wall he had build around him. He just wished it would stop. He wished he could forget for only a second that his sister was hurting and got tortured while he was sitting around and doing nothing.

At least he wasn’t at home now.
Anakin had called Uncle Luke via holonet and begged to visit them at the academy. The desperation of their parents was too much for him.
Poor, 12 years old Anakin had told Jacen how their parents had stopped talking, simply becoming numb. They didn’t react anymore.

Just like he did, Jacen realized. But it didn’t really matter to him.

Lowie had finally stopped roaring, he noticed.
Now, the young wookie walked behind the chair where Jacen was sitting and grabbed Jacen’s shoulders, holding him in place.
Then, Tenel Ka used the force to open Jacen’s mouth and forced him to eat that stupid piece of meat.

It didn’t taste like anything. It never did.

Jacen chewed his meat slowly and was finally able to swallow it, but he wasn’t hungry. Should they just continue to feed him so he’d stay alive. He didn’t care, he had already died.

Jacen stood up and walked out of the academy without looking back. He rounded the old temple twice and then made his way back into his room. That was his daily amount of walking.
Uncle Luke had ordered him to move a bit each day and so he did. His master didn’t want him to sit in his room all day, though he’d probably expected a bit more.

The boy entered his room again.
Automatically he fed his animals, forcing his mind to think about something else then the cages.
The cages Jaina had made.

He didn’t dare look at the door that connected his room with hers. It hurt to think of the part of him that was missing.

It even hurt to lie on his bed. It still smelled like her; his bed, his pillow, his blanket. Her presence still hung on it.
They had lain there the evening before they had visited Lando Calrissian on his station around the gas planet Yavin.
Side by side, just enjoyed each others company without saying a word.

Jacen missed it so badly it felt like his heart was bleeding. Sometimes he wished it would. A wound could be healed, a bleeding stopped; but his soul could never be filled again. Not without his twin.

* * * * *

The Shadow Chaser dropped out of hyperspace exactly at the coordinates of the shadow academy.
Or, where the shadow academy should have been.

Inside of the ship, Luke Skywalker stared at the empty space in front of the ship. He reached out with his mind and tried to find something, just anything, that gave him a hint to where his niece was being held.
He had come too late.

His niece was gone and so was the last hope of rescuing her.

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