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EPILOGUE

It took Zannah three days to make the repairs to the Loranda. She'd loaded Bane into the ship and hooked him up to the bacta pump so he could continue to recuperate while she worked, sedating him to accelerate the healing process. Now that their vessel was ready to leave Ambria, she went in to check on her Master one last time.

He was still unconscious, lying on his back on the gurney as she had left him. She stepped forward to check his vitals and his eyes flew open, burning with rage. His hand snapped out and seized her wrist, clenching it with the strength of an iron claw.

"Where are the Jedi?" he asked in a fierce whisper, fixing her with a look of pure hatred as he lifted himself up onto one elbow. His grip on her wrist tightened, making her wince.

"They're gone " she said, trying to stay calm. "They've gone back to Coruscant."

She could feel Bane's power-whole once more-coursing through his veins. She could feel the heat of his anger, and she knew one wrong word and he'd snap her neck in two with the Force.

"Why?" he growled.

"They think they killed the Dark Lord on Ambria," she replied. "They think the Sith are extinct."

Bane tilted his head to the side, curious. "Caleb?"

"I killed him."

"Your cousin?

"Dead. Killed by the Jedi."

An unwanted vision of the pitiful creature she had turned Darovit into flashed through her mind. She remembered him huddled in the corner, quivering in terror. He clutched the handle of a lightsaber against his chest, his only defense against the horrors and nightmares he saw crawling toward him from every corner. She swept the memory away with a quick shake of her head.

Bane released his hold and lay back in his bed, his anger fading.

"You have done well, Zannah" he said, his ever-cunning mind filling in the blanks enough for him to surmise what she had done. She smiled at the compliment.

"I underestimated you," he continued. "Had I known your plans, I would never have asked you to kill me."

"You still have much to teach me " Zannah reminded him. "I will continue to study at your feet, Master. I will learn from your wisdom. I will discover your secrets, unlocking them one by one until everything you know-all your knowledge and all your power-is mine. And once you are no longer of use to me, I will destroy you."

Bane raised an eyebrow at her words, and she could tell he approved. Her ambition was good; it would give her power. Her talents and abilities would continue to grow. In time, she would challenge her Master for the right to rule, and only the stronger would survive. It was inevitable. It was the way of the Sith.

"One day I will surpass you," Zannah warned him. "And on that day I will kill you, Lord Bane. But that day is not today."