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"You'll stay with me?'
Until the very end,' said James."
~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)


My fingers thawed around the lightsabers in my grip, while everything else in my body remained paralysed. Flakes of white snow danced around in the air and I felt as if I was trapped, or held by a spell. A scream gathered in my throat but as it emerged, it was swallowed up by the howl of the blizzard around me. Then, a river of red slithered through the snow towards my feet.

It was blood.



The sound of blaster shots reverberated through the hallway. I kept my saber in front of me, reflecting them almost effortlessly and out of the corner of my eye I could see Rey's figure turning and arching with every stroke of her blade. There were at least thirty storm troopers blocking our path and I could sense that there were still many more to come. Snoke's fortress had not been difficult to find, as it's looming black walls had stood out against the hazy background, and the doors had opened as if controlled by invisible hands to reveal a dark and silent passageway. It was like the inside of a coffin.


I turned around just as Rey made a dive with her lightsaber and intercepted a blaster shot that had been flying towards my head. The shot flew back towards the trooper who had sent it and he let out a muffled cry before his body dropped to the ground.

"Thank you." I breathed gratefully.

"Don't thank me yet." she replied, nodding in the direction I'd been facing. I closed my eyes and I could sense the crowd of storm troopers assembling behind me. Slowly I drew a breath and then spun around as red bullets flew through the air. Rey and I moved forwards at once, our lightsabers stretching out like extensions of our bodies. Fighting beside her gave me a sense of balance, although I couldn't help feeling slightly on edge whenever a bullet flew too close to her.

There was a loud hissing noise and almost instantly the room began to fill with smoke. One of the storm troopers had shot around in a frenzy and hit a pipe on the ceiling, causing it to burst. For a second all the soldiers stopped shooting and I could sense them stumbling around while they struggled to see. Through the rapidly thickening smoke I could just about make out the faint blue glow of Rey's lightsaber, until it suddenly went out.

Almost reflexively I stretched out and grabbed the nearest storm trooper, pulling him towards me. He struggled pointlessly while I squeezed the air around his throat and as I peered through his visor I had expected to sense fear, but instead all I sensed was deep deep hatred.

"Traitor." he choked beneath my grasp.

He must've heard stories about me I thought to myself. I wondered who Snoke's new second-in-command was, and whether they truly believed in what they were fighting for, or just craved the illusion of power that Snoke offered. As blaster shots flew in all directions and the soldier beneath my grip writhed in pain, I wondered what I was truly fighting for. Sometimes I told myself it was for the good of the galaxy, but deep down I knew that everything I had done had simply fuelled my own vendetta. And when it was satisfied, what would be left? I gave his neck a final squeeze and felt his windpipe snap. The noises all around me seemed to fade and I sensed more bodies dropping in the smoke.

It felt too easy to kill.

Suddenly Rey emerged from the mist and almost bumped into me. Her eyes were bright, but when I looked closer I noticed that her forearm was bleeding. I lifted it gently in my two hands and stared at the deep gash which ran down from her elbow.

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