Blades of Decay – A Star Wars Story

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Note: This story takes place around 500 BBY, and it could be considered within either Legends or Canon. This is a work of both hair fiction and fan fiction. I hope you enjoy!

 

Centuries after the fall of the Sith and the secret continuation of the Order under Darth Bane, the powerful Darth Cryptus found and trained a young Human assassin named Shalla, under the name Darth Carcina. 

Shalla grew up on the ecumenopolis Taris, a populous hub of trade in the Mid Rim. Hailing from the lower rungs of society, Shalla developed her skills as a socialite, but also as an assassin. 

Between her training with her Sith master on Dxun, Shalla maintains her complicated web of intrigue on her homeworld, amidst the corruption, scandal, and tradition of the Taris overworld…

 

***

 

Shalla looked out from her apartment onto the magnificent cityscape of Taris. In the dying light, the entire Central District was bathed in the orange glow of Taris’s sun. Underneath the Central District, unseen by any untrained observer, the Taris underworld festered in filthiness. The Central District, along with other prosperous skyscraping areas, were set atop huge duracrete structures like vast industrial plateaus. Shalla knew many of these districts very well, as her work required her to meet with many unsavory characters for contracts, information, and poisons. 

Shalla thought back to the stories she had heard growing up after the history of Taris, and the lessons from her master Darth Cryptus. Taris had been even larger than it was today, home to hundreds of billions of inhabitants. Thousands of years before, a Sith fleet had bombarded the surface of the planet, killing most of the population and destroying almost every building. Crashed starships still littered many poor areas, and slums and tenements had been built around the moldering wrecks. Even after the many years of rebuilding, the poor still settled in the swathes of lowlands and the undercities of the skyscrapers, while the Tarisian elite built their opulent domiciles. 

How quickly the wretches fell back into old habits, Shalla thought. The elites, numbering in the millions, held control over the entire world, aided by the Taris Security Service. Order was only maintained in those wealthy districts, while swoop gangs, a relic from the old days of Taris, ruled over the streets and alleys of the undercity. How quickly the poor of the planet accepted their lowly condition, content to be nothing more than the slop at the bottom of the trough. 

Shalla had felt the dark side on Taris years before her master had found her. She had been unaware of the true nature of her powers, although she knew that she was different. Her earliest memories consisted of her family’s dingy apartment in the Spire District, so named after a fallen Republic ship around which the neighborhood was built. Shalla had keen senses, more attuned than anyone else around her. That was precisely what allowed Shalla to become the most feared assassin on Taris. 

Her ascent up the social ladder began with her introduction to Beldoya Duur. Duur was a wealthy businessperson who ran most of the planet’s maintenance contracts. Duur, a Chagrian on a mostly Human world, was politically astute and socially savvy, and he recruited Shalla to become his spy for the upper strata of the Taris elite. Shalla attended parties, galas, even fundraisers for various “worthy” causes on the planet. There, Shalla discovered an entirely different world from the one she grew up in. It was a world of excess and vice, and she thrived in it. 

Among the predominant Human elites of Taris, a strange but alluring tradition had developed: the cutting of hair. According to rumors, the custom began with a Human female that arrived on Taris centuries ago from the Core. This female had an interest in using a variety of instruments to cut the hair of other females, mostly servants and models paid from the lower classes. She would often put on elaborate shows to demonstrate her fascination, and the custom soon spread to others, either to keep up with the newest fashion or for their own personal reasons. By the time Shalla attended these parties, they were less frequent but by no means less grandiose. 

Shalla had witnessed hundreds, perhaps thousands of haircuts in her time on Taris. Staged cuts were often the openers to music performances, or the introductions to formal gatherings. It was a kind of entertainment for the upper class, something enjoyed by Human and non-Human alike, although Human or near-Human females were the exclusive targets of the cutting.Although Shalla cared nothing for the poor of Taris, she did understand that the practice showed a clear class and gender gap on the already socially unjust planet. 

The practice, creatively known as “the shearing”, may have begun as a popular activity done out of social necessity, but Shalla suspected that conditioning allowed many Tarisian elites to genuinely enjoy it. As a Sith Lord, Shalla, or more accurately Darth Carcina, appreciated the exhilarating feeling of domination that came through shearing the hair of a hapless victim. The feeling of control that came with it was amplified by the Dark Side of the Force, and Shalla had to admit that she herself enjoyed the shearing. She had participated at times over her years on Taris, though never as a model. Shalla’s own blue-black hair was streaked with strands of crimson, resulting from a chemical accident early in her career. Her dark locks, which contrasted with her olive skin, were often worn down or in simple braids designed for efficiency and presentation. 

Suddenly, Shalla felt a stirring in the Dark Side. She heard a voice behind her. 

“Do you never grow tired of the same view, Darth Carcina?”

Shalla smiled as she recognized the gravelly voice of her master, Darth Cryptus. She turned to face her master head on. The tall Pau’an wore a black cloak over a dark gray business suit. His cowl had been lowered to reveal his pale, grooved skin and pale yellow eyes. Cryptus’s lips twisted into an attempt at a smile, typical of his species. 

“It has its benefits, Master. I feel the power of the Dark Side to think on the billions on this planet who long to be controlled. They seek the Dark.”

“Patience, my young apprentice.” Cryptus said gently. “The time is not yet right to move our plan forward. The Jedi are still too strong, although the Republic crumbles under the weight of its own corruption. Here, on Taris, there is much opportunity to exploit the weaknesses of the Republic.”

Shalla nodded slowly. Darth Cryptus, known to the wider world as Varna Ultann, had extensive experience as an industrialist and civil engineer. Hailing from the remote world of Utapau, Ultanna was known across the galaxy from his skill in architecture and civil planning. His projects included remodelling on Denon, the designing of new spaceports for Ord Mantell, and a series of works on Nar Shaddaa, ostensibly to improve the living conditions of millions of residents. In truth, Ultann sowed discontent among the lower classes while courting the rich and powerful to further the Sith agenda. 

Ultann had been pursuing a contract on Taris years ago when he had discovered Shalla, still a social novice among the scrapers. The Pau’an felt the Dark Side in the young woman, even as she felt her own uniqueness. After requesting her presence at his apartments, Ultann took a gamble and revealed his true identity to Shalla. She immediately felt the power of the Dark Side, and she pledged herself to him. Upon hearing of her skill as a poisoner, Ultann bestowed upon her the name: Darth Carcina. From then on, they would be the Sith. 

Cryptus walked to the window and gazed at the cityscape. He smirked with disdain. 

“How predictable they are, Carcina. How easily they allow themselves to become sedated on the vain, fleeting pleasures of mortality. Without the Force, the entire universe would be left in utter chaos.”

“Is chaos not our ultimate goal, master?” Shalla asked. 

“We serve the forces of entropy, my apprentice. Entropy results from the natural destruction of corruption, and results in a new form of order, one governed by the Dark Side of the Force. It seems like a contradiction, but this philosophy will serve you well in our ultimate goal of destroying the Republic and the Jedi.”

Shalla nodded once more. It was difficult for her to agree with her master’s approach to accomplishing the Grand Plan, even at this early stage of her apprenticeship. Cryptus believed that the Sith belonged in the Outer Rim, in the periphery of the galaxy, to foment disorder and corruption in the outlying systems. According to his theory, this would break the Outer Rim from the tenuous hold of the Republic and lead to civil war. Shalla conceded that this was possible, but certainly not soon. The Core remained the choicest target, rich and fat and vulnerable to infiltration. It had been well over 500 years since the last traces of the Sith were heard on Coruscant, and now the Sith had faded into legendary status as an ancient and extinct enemy. Shalla had grown up among the elites and rulers of Taris, and she knew that the most damage could be done from within, in their very midst. 

“As important as fomenting chaos in the Outer Rim remains to our plans, master,” Shalla began cautiously, “would not infiltration in the Core be a more prudent course of action?”

Cryptus turned and stared intently at his young apprentice. 

“Have I taught you nothing, apprentice? The Sith do not strike at the heart of the beast while the limbs and vitals are left open to attack. We must not walk into the den of our enemy, confident of victory. Darth Morbin tried to lobby the Senate as an anonymous benefactor but was discovered and hunted by mercenaries. We must not reveal ourselves too soon.”

“We need not reveal ourselves, master,” Shalla replied with a note of irritation in her voice. She had spoken on this subject many times before, but her master refused to concede her point. “In fact, our very anonymity would ensure our success. Morbin foolishly believed a revelation of the return of the Sith would strike fear into the heart of his rivals, but it only stirred greed. We would remain in the shadows and appear as affluent and vain socialites, nothing more. Then, we would gather strength; finding allies, collecting secrets, spreading poison of one sort or another.”

Cryptus was silent for a moment. Shalla could tell that her elaboration on the point allowed her master to consider the plan more fully. 

“Regardless, we must remain on Taris for now, my apprentice. I concede that it would be useful to infiltrate the Senate and the elites of the Core, but we must not abandon our plans in the Outer and Mid Rim. For now, Taris will be the center of our order. From Taris, I will visit many of the exploited worlds, those controlled by the Trade Federation, the Commerce Guild, the Starway Fund, and others. You will gain as many allies as you can among the upper crust of Taris. Is that understood, my apprentice?”

“Yes, master. I am your humble servant.”

Cryptus swung away from the window in a theatrical manner, before swiftly walking out of the room. Shalla grimaced in frustration. While she knew that there were many opportunities on Taris, she longed to be among the truly powerful, those on the Core worlds of Coruscant, Denon, and Corellia. For now, as her master said, the home of the Sith would remain on Taris, a world of billions of beings and vice in every canyon. 

Shalla, as both an influential socialite and a prolific assassin, would act as a primary agent of the Sith on Taris until her master gave her another task.

 

***

 

The Financial Quarter was one of Taris’s most important thoroughfares. While not as grand as some Core neighborhoods, the Quarter boasted dozens of cloudscrapers and many smaller apartments, theaters, restaurants, and nightclubs. Built on the remains of much of Taris’s Upper City before the Destruction, the Quarter was home to many of Taris’s most important residents. The financial group, the Starway Fund, maintained its Rim headquarters on Taris, housed in the grand Otopmai Building. Wealthy clients from the Core often stayed in the luxurious apartments of the Otopmai. Shalla herself had spent many nights in those apartments, interacting with important guests and corporate officials. The Starway Fund was the single most important business entity in the Outer and Mid Rim, as it provided loans and funding to many projects. It also had legions of debt collectors, mostly mercenaries and war droids, to ensure repayment. 

As many guests came and went from Taris, larger parties were usually held at one of the opulent suites of Tarisian citizens. On this particular occasion, Shalla had been contracted by Duur, still her nominal employer, to escort a prominent Human businesswomen from the Core named Toshov Degari to the Galaxy Suite for an evening of food and entertainment. 

Shalla met Degari and her entourage at the Landmark Hotel, so named because it was built on the ruins of an unidentified monument from Taris’s long forgotten past. In the extravagant lobby of the hotel, Shalla waited on a comfortable chair until she saw Degari and several beings of different races walk into the lobby from one of the lifts. Immediately, Shalla recognized Degari as a woman of wealth and influence. The woman wore a fine gown of imported silky and encrusted with sea stones from Mon Calamari. Her flawless brown skin wore no makeup or significant adornment. Finally, her hair was worn simply over one shoulder, a riot of thick, black curls which at once shone in the light and stood out, black as pitch against her magnificent gown. 

Suitable impressed, Shalla stood and met Degari and her associates. Bowing, Shalla greeted the group. 

“Good evening, Mistress Degari. I am Shalla, your Tarisian guide for the evening. Will your entourage be accompanying us this evening?”

“Yes, especially my bodyguard Juk.” Degari waved a hand as she spoke, indicating a tall, powerfully built Duros. Shalla nodded and smiled, and the group exited the lobby and hailed a skycab. The journey to the Galaxy Suite was brief but allowed for a wonderful view of the Financial Quarter and the outskirts of the Taris Expanse, a wide area of new development to cover the remains of the Destruction. After arriving at their destination, Shalla led Degari and her associates into the entrance of the Suite. 

Hundreds of guests mingled in a massive room, lit by chandeliers of crystal and affording uninhibited views of the Financial Quarter through large windows. Degari moved her hands over her thick curls, eyeing the crowd of guests with a raised eyebrow. Juk the Duros stood close by, standing guard. Shalla escorted Degari through the loosely packed crowd to an empty spot near one of the windows. According to Shalla’s estimation, their fashionable lateness allowed them to arrive just in time for the first of the evening’s “shearings.” According to Duur, Degari had expressed special interest in the shearings as entertainment. With this in mind, Shalla had arranged for a surprise after Degari left the party. 

As waiters served drinks and appetizers to Degari and her associates, chimes sounded from a small stage not far from their position. The guests quieted down, and a Sullustan wearing a simple business suit stepped onto the stage and began to address the crowd. 

“Welcome to the Galaxy Suite, Taris’s most luxurious venue. This evening, as we begin the party, we will commence with the shearing. Tonight, we first have Bella from Onderon, Nuva from Corulag, and Voya from Kiffu as a special treat. Let the shearing commence!”

The crowd cheered as the Sullustan left the stage and a pair of servants installed a chair and tray of tools carried by a boxy service droid. The first model for the evening was led up onto the stage. Wearing a plain white dress, the Onderonian looked confident as she ascended the stage. Her long black hair hung loose to her hips, swaying as she walked. She took her seat on the provided chair as the barber for the evening came on: a green skinned male Twi’lek named Nubyosk. Shalla smirked as several guests, male and female, hooted their pleasure. The Twi’lek was very handsome and powerfully built; although trained as a barber (despite having no hair himself), Nubyosk moonlighted as a male escort most of his evenings. Now, Nubyosk, dressed in a form fitting tunic and trousers, marched over to the droid with the tray of tools. Selecting carefully, he raised a pair of shiny durasteel shears, perfect for snipping and slicing. The crowd roared as Nubyosk held a long, straight lock of hair on the Onderonian girl’s head. The audience hushed for a moment as Nubyosk slid the shears between the lock of hair and snipped it off cleanly. The severed end, shortened to a few centimeters from the head, fell down limply, while the monstrous free lock of hair hung heavily in Nubyosk’s clenched hand. The Twi’lek grinned with delight as he tossed the hair into the audience. Several guests frantically surrounded the fallen hair to claim the prize. There was still much more to come. 

Shalla watched as the Twi’lek chopped into the Onderonian girl’s hair. Silky locks of black hair were mercilessly shorn and thrown into the crowd. Some guests proudly held their precious trophies as Nubyosk continued cutting. Looking up at the Twi’lek, the girl seemed to sigh with pleasure as she was ruthlessly shorn. Nubyosk had been trained by some of the finest stylists on Taris, so he was skilled even as he hacked away at the hair. The minutes passed by slowly, while the snips and snaps echoed into the spacious suite. Shalla eyed Degari’s eager gaze; the businesswomen was evidently enthralled with the proceedings. Shalla felt a surge of malicious pleasure ripple through the audience. The Dark Side was strong in her, and she fed on the self-interest of this broken, disgusting planet. 

After a while, Nubyosk concluded his shearing. The Onderonian had lost her magnificent mane of shiny black hair, replaced by a short crop that accentuated her lovely dark features. The girl could hardly contain her pleasure at the shearing. She brushed a stray lock of hair, over three feet long, off of her shoulder and tossed it to the waiting crowd. She gracefully walked off the stage. Shortly after, a girl with amazing wavy red hair came onto the stage. Her hair fell in marvelous ripples to her knees, shining in the light of the expansive hall. Unlike the Onderonian, this Denon native seemed petrified. She was being well paid for her trouble, but Shalla knew that many of these models were not given much choice as they were selected by agents of wealthy Tarisian citizens. 

The Denon native wore a simple dress, much like the previous model, but this girl had pale skin with freckles on her face and arms. She seemed like a delicate flower, about to have her petals dealt with. Nubyosk, uncaring of the girl’s trepidation, guided her by the shoulders into the chair. Nervously setting herself down, the girl held her hands in her lap as the Twi’lek ran his green fingers through her red hair. Selecting a set of buzzers, a device designed to cut hair down to the roots, Nubyosk prepared the shear the poor girl. 

Shalla breathed in the girl’s fear, drawing upon it to receive strength in the Force. She sensed that Degari too revelled in the feeling of domination. 

The Twi’lek switched on the set of buzzers and held them up to the girl’s hair. The crowd yelled and cheered as the buzzers began to chew into the thick hair. The girl gasped audibly, even over all of the noise. The first lock of hair, wavy and deep red, slithered to the floor after falling over her shoulder. Nubyosk picked up the hair and threw it into the crowd, repeating the process. Over the course of almost 10 minutes, Nubyosk carefully selected and shaved each lock of wavy red hair and threw it to the guests, who scrambled to retrieve the precious hair. The girl’s nervousness continued, though she was rather stunned by it all to react much when the Twi’lek finally shaved the last spiral of fiery locks and handed it to a nearby Neimoidian, who took the four foot length of hair in one rough gray hand and held out credits in the other. Nubyosk pocketed half and dropped the rest in the girl’s lap. The model, still unable to process her emotions, rubbed her stubbled head in wonder as she left the stage. 

At long last, the Kiffar girl ascended the stage and resolutely sat on the chair. Her expression, lined by the gold tribal tattoos and brown skin of her face, was defiant, as if she was enduring this process out of spite rather than exultation or shock like the others. Shalla sensed strength in this one; Kiffar often held telepathic and precognitive abilities. Nubyosk, enjoying the prospect and shearing the Kiffar’s mane of waist length brown braids, selected a vibroblade to shave off the thick dreadlocks. The blade glinted with energy, ready to commence the shaving. Kiffar had an abundance of very thick braids of hair, bundled together in dreadlocks that hung heavily. The girl had no expression and the Twi’lek selected a lock and shaved it off close to the scalp. The prize was tossed aside into the waiting hands of a fortunate guest. Shalla herself had shorn the head of a female Kiffar, though one with slightly shorter hair; the texture of the locks was unlike anything she had encountered, as it was coarse but strong and tightly bundled. 

The girl braved the shaving as Nubyosk nonchalantly slid the vibroblade along her scalp, freeing the heavy locks from her head and throwing them into the crowd. He moved his muscular body with each stroke, almost following the path of the razor with his very essence. Shalla knew the the Twi’lek was a showman first and foremost, and that he took no real pleasure in cutting hair; it was all an act, designed to fool even the most passionate shearing enthusiast. But the effect was the same; his acting did the job well. The models were encouraged to react however they wished, as a multiplicity of reactions tended to please a variety of guests. Models who relished their shearings satisfied some clients, while others sound sadistic pleasure in the anguish of unwilling victims. Shalla loved to feel the emotions of the models, feeding her connection with the Dark Side. Every blade that cut hair was like a razor exposing the corruption and decay of the Taris elite, scraping away at the thin veneer of civilization and laying bare the hypocrisy and vice underneath. 

Nubyosk worked more frantically, sliding the vibroblade across the Kiffar’s head with growing urgency. The exposed dark skin was smooth underneath, shorn to the skin by the work of the blade. Still, the girl was unfazed, determined to show no weakness. After some time, every trace of the hair was erased from the girl’s scalp, and Nubyosk ceased shaving. The crowd screamed in pleasure as the spoils of the night, locks of hair of different hues, were divided up among the guests. The Kiffar stood in defiance and walked briskly from the stage. Nubyosk too bowed and exited, leaving the tools, chair, and droid behind. The Sullustan MC returned to the stage and announced the rest of the evening’s activities. 

Shalla noticed Degari breathing heavily, her eyes fixed on the area where the hair was cut. She whispered into the ear of Juk, the hulking Duros bodyguard, who relayed whatever instructions to a Nikto associate. The Nikto nodded and made their way over to the guests at the front, near the stage. Shalla watched as the Nikto exchanged handfuls of credits, produced from a briefcase, for a thick lock of hair from each of that evening’s models. The Nikto returned bearing the hair, which was promptly delivered to Degari. The businesswoman fingered the lengths of black, red, and brown hair, stroking them thoughtfully. Shalla knew that this evening’s festivities had just begun. 

 

***

 

After the models had left, the party continued much as it had before the shearings. Degari, after safely depositing the precious locks in another briefcase, mingled with some of the guests and exchanged gossip, updates, and possible business deals. Shalla accompanied Degari for much of the evening, though she took time to make the rounds for herself. Parties like these occurred at least once or twice a month, so it was an occasion to be exploited, but not at all a rare thing. Shalla made use of the time, both to fulfill the needs of Duur, her nominal employer, and the needs of Darth Cryptus, her secret master. 

Toward the end of the evening, as some guests left the party to retire to their quarters or continue the festivities elsewhere, Degari declared her intention to move on to her next engagement. Shalla nodded, and directed the businesswoman and her entourage toward the exit and a waiting skycab. 

“As promised, I have arranged for a demonstration of Tarisian hospitality at a private chamber near your quarters.” Shalla explained as Degari climbed into the cab and the driver took them in the direction Otopmai Building. Degari’s lip curled, and she ran a manicured hand over her curled hair. 

“I trust this demonstration will be most satisfactory, then?” Shalla nodded and smiled wryly. 

“I believe that it will be indeed.”

Shalla could sense Degari’s eagerness, tempered by the arrogant calm she gave off. This Human was filled with domineering tendencies and the desire to impose her will on those around her, particularly with hair. According to her feelings, Shalla knew that Degari kept her hair long mostly as a contrast to the intended results for the victims of her shearing; the master would keep her long hair, while the victim lost theirs. 

The skycab brought them swiftly to the Otopmai Building. Shalla paid the driver and led the group back into the building. After leaving all but Degari and Juk behind, Shalla brought the two down a hallway and up a lift. After travelling up the shaft for a long time before halting, Shalla led the two down an elegant corridor, well lit and packed with exotic art. Finally, Shalla stopped outside a door finished with imported hardwood. Degari turned to Juk and nodded. The Duros wordlessly stood at attention a few paces away from the door, standing guard. Shalla scanned a security card before attempting to leave. Degari held Shalla’s arm. 

“I want you to stay for a while.” Degari said in her smooth voice. Shalla cocked her head in curiosity, then smiled. 

“Whatever you wish.”

The door slid open, and Degari stepped inside, followed by Shalla. The room was dark but comfortably furnished. Shalla knew that rooms like these were ordinarily used for other uses, but she knew that Degari had looked forward to coming to Taris for the unique pleasures offered here. 

Sitting on a large chair in the center of the room was a Human female. She had a short black dress over her creamy white skin. Her hair was the color of gold with platinum highlights, and it cascaded in front of her shoulders all the way into her lap, where it coiled due to the length and weight. The woman bore an expression of mock fear, though she did so very skillfully; Shalla knew that this woman, no doubt a Tarisian herself, was an expert in the act of pleasure, part of an elite corps of skilled workers who were available for a high price. Her hair regrowth would be aided by expensive drugs and serums to restore its original length in a matter of days. Tonight, however, it was all coming off. 

Degari’s eyes shone with a fiery desire. The Tarisian woman had seen that look before, and her reaction, though insincere, was a convincing wide-eyed terror. Shalla knew that Degari would have her way with this woman, that not a single hair would be left on her head. A tray of tools, like back at the Galaxy Suite, was laid out in the room, including shears, buzzers, and a vibroblade, among other things. Degari, fingering her own curls once again, slowly walked deeper into the room, her hips swaying with every step. Shalla felt a surge in Dark Side energy as Degari crept closer to her victim. Shalla knew that the Force worked through beings who had relatively few midichlorians, though she could feel that Degari did have some strength in the Force, just enough to channel it at times. 

“I want you to watch, Shalla.” Degari spoke softly, using Shalla’s first name. The secret Sith stepped silently off to the side, as Degari touched the Tarisian woman’s hair slowly. The blonde hair was slightly wavy but was thick and heavy as well. Degari whispered things into her ear that Shalla couldn’t hear, but she could sense that it was a reminder of things to come. Degari savored the feeling of being in control, and she looked quite a sight in her magnificent gown and flowing black curls. After stroking the woman’s hair for some time, Degari ran her hand over the tools, testing their feel. She selected the shears first, opening and closing them in full view of the woman, who gulped in fear. Swiftly, as if possessed by a sudden urgency, Degari grabbed a thick lock of golden hair and sliced it off, dropping it into the woman’s lap. 

Shalla revelled in the waves of Dark Side energy she felt from the present. The woman had been through this before, but she acted so well that she in fact channelled the Dark Side herself. Degari chopped into the glorious blonde mane with exacting fury, cutting and discarding the hair after each chop. Shalla closed her eyes, feeling every current of the Force flowing through the three of them. The blades that cut hair represented the sharpness of greed, of vice, of every feeling of passion sustained by the Dark Side. This dirty planet, shiny on the outside but corrupt within, was the perfect breeding ground for the decay that would one day creep into the heart of the Republic. Every snip of the shears echoed the ultimate goal of the Sith: domination. Degari dominated this woman, the fate of her hair in the hands of the businesswoman from the Core. As each lock of hair fell to the floor, Shalla felt surges in the Dark Side. 

Degari carried on, focused on her target, and Shalla watched and waited. Degari could be a useful ally in the future. Darth Cryptus was right, for the moment. Taris was perfect for a staging ground for the growth of the Sith. Degari snipped a thick lock of hair, turned to stare into Shalla’s eyes, and dropped the hair on the floor. Shalla smiled as she felt the Force grow in strength. Soon, the Sith would become more powerful than the Jedi could ever imagine. From the underworld, the Sith and their allies would rise and dominate the galaxy.

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