“Three times, now. Three times, Vesanis, you have tried and failed to force me from your body. Why?”
“Because, as you have just said, it is my body. This is my life, and I am forced to watch idly as you speak through my lips, kill with my hands. All that you have done was mine to do.”
To one unfamiliar with Old Souls , and more particularly to one who did not know the individual known as Makhzor, the sight would have seemed strange. A large Zabrak, clothed in a Sith Lord’s armor, with a lightsaber at his belt, was speaking to himself. This, however, was not so simple as a madman conversing all on his lonesome: this creature spoke with different voices.
One speaker, Vesanis, sounded normal, if a bit strained, for a Zabrak male of his age. The other speaker, however, was the Makhzor, and he spoke with a hundred voices all at once, and with the wisdom of millennia lived through others.
“Bah. ‘All that I have done’ encompasses far more than these petty errands I perform through you. I have shared with you my memories and my purpose, yet you still do not understand. I, and I alone, can bring balance to this unshaped galaxy. You, however, would bend parts of it to your will, and for what? You will wither and die, and in time you will be forgotten.”
“For all your years, all your experience, you still don’t understand the minds of mortals. We require purpose. We require goals. If we were to simply accept that we were finite and just laid down to die, even your kind would be unable to change the galaxy the way you seem to think it needs to be changed.”
At this, Makhzor fell silent. Vesanis sighed in relief: it had withdrawn to meditate. While Vesanis was a “mere mortal”, the Makhzor was from a galaxy where its kind essentially controlled everyone and everything. It was unused to such a small being disagreeing with it, and it was even more unused to being forced to think by such a creature. As a result, the Makhzor would occasionally leave Vesanis alone and would retreat to the back of his mind, considering his words. The Makhzor would then either discover the perfect argument against Vesanis’s ideas, or would make edit its own philosophy for a point well made.
During these times, the Makhzor forbade Vesanis to leave their ship, allowing him only to walk around, rest, or eat. It was during times such as these that Vesanis had made his second and third attempts to escape the Makhzor.
The first attempt to force it out was shortly after the Makhzor was first pulled into his body. Vesanis had volunteered for a ritual performed by a powerful Sith sorcerer named Keine . He had been promised power beyond his comprehension, and even immortality. For a young Sith Warrior, such an opportunity could not be passed up. So he sat and watched as Keine performed a complicated rite that darkened the sky and made even Vesanis, bloodthirsty and fierce as he was, cold with fear.
Mid-way through the ritual, Vesanis had begun to shake and his mind had screamed, though no sound came from his lips. In his mind’s eye, he witnessed a thousand years of history that was not his. Empires and Republics rose and fell; kings and queens and governments became powerful and turned to dust. And each and every being of import was a puppet; he could see the strings, made of the Force and spun by beings he could scarcely even try to understand.
He sensed such strings being tied around his arms and legs, fingers and toes, and he sensed the being that held the ends of these strings nestling down in his mind. By reflex he began to try and push it out, but he was stopped. It was then that he first heard that terrible voice that was not just one voice speaking in his mind.
“I have lived countless lives and taken countless more. I will survive beyond the ending of the galaxy itself. Without me, you were nothing. Cast me out, and you are nothing once more.”
At those words, and with a final push by the Makhzor into Vesanis’s mind, the struggle ended. Though Vesanis was driven half-mad by the mere presence of the Makhzor now residing inside of him, he knew that he would not win his freedom on that day.
The second and third attempts were similar to one another. Vesanis/Makhzor had heard tales of Sith Sorcerers who had enslaved Force ghosts, which then fought the sorcerer for control over the body. One such Sith had gone to two planets in order to mend his mind and dominate the ghosts, once and for all: Belsavis and Voss.
Makhzor would not have allowed journeys to such places, but they were necessary for his rise to power. During times when the Makhzor meditated, Vesanis retraced the footsteps of the Sith sorcerer. On Belsavis he discovered an ancient Rakata device that could renew his body and place it under his control. Makhzor came from his meditations just before the machine could finish its work, and punished Vesanis severely, causing seemingly self-inflicted and painful (though not permanently damaging) wounds all over his body. When Vesanis/Makhzor traveled to Voss, Vesanis found a group of Voss healers that knew of a ritual to place unruly presences in his mind under his control. Vesanis nearly completed the ritual, but the Makhzor was far too powerful for such a rite to work. The Old Soul played with Vesanis’s mind, causing seizures and hallucinations that tortured the Zabrak Sith for weeks.
They were now aboard their ship, traveling to Korriban for a meeting with the Imperium leadership. Makhzor was being groomed for a promotion to a High Councilor of the Imperium, the highest position an outsider could ever hope to achieve. It made Vesanis sick. These honors should be his. This power should be under his control. He was made for greatness. Instead this Old Soul, this creature from another universe, controlled his every move when it wished, and used him for its own purposes.
If this is all that I have left in my life, thought Vesanis in a carefully guarded corner of his mind, then I will live no longer.
Vesanis slowly and calmly, so as not to awaken the Makhzor, walked towards the escape pod of his ship. They were about to leave hyperspace. If he could leave the ship before they did, his body (the Makhzor’s puppet) would be lost forever, never again entering realspace. He reached the door and entered in the proper code for the pod to launch automatically once he was sealed inside.
Not my ship droid. Not my apprentice. Makhzor’s, he thought to himself bitterly. “Nothing at all, droid. Just… Inspecting the pod…” He was unused to conversing with the Makhzor’s servants, and did not know how to speak to them. He generally tuned out of these conversations, as he was rarely a participant.
His performance was apparently unconvincing. Jaesa stepped closer, her hand on her lightsaber’s hilt, and questioned further. “Master, you seem different. Are you ill?”
He then heard the ships alarm sound: they were about to exit hyperspace. With no time left to lose, he force-pushed the apprentice and droid back against the wall and jumped into the escape pod, destroying the control panel as he went so they would be unable to abort the launch. The doors closed behind him and he settled down for a comfortable eternity in the unreal realm used for faster-than-light travel.
Then the pod began its countdown. He looked at the screen and slammed his fist down on the armrest; in his rush, he had forgotten to input the proper code to skip the countdown. Just as the number reached “1” on the display, the ship re-entered realspace. The pod launched and began to drop towards the planet below. Vesanis screamed in frustration and pain as he repeatedly slammed his fist against the window. The emotional upheaval woke up the Makhzor.
“Fool. What in the Force do you think you’re doing? Why are we in the escape pod?”
Vesanis raged back, “I WILL BE RID OF YOU, MAKHZOR. ONE WAY, OR THE OTHER.” As he screamed, and before the Makhzor could take over, he ripped his lightsaber from his belt and sliced a large hole in the hull of the escape pod. Immediately the right side of his body was sucked through. He laughed manically in the rapidly thinning air, waiting for the sweet release. With every bone’s snap and inch of flesh frozen or torn, he laughed louder…
And all too soon the pulling stopped. Vesanis turned his fracture neck to see that the Makhzor had created a Force-bubble to hold in the air. He wept, and blacked out from the pain.
He slept for weeks, his mind tortured by nightmares. Being dissected, torn in two, having his head split open and apart…
Vesanis awoke, relieved that his terrifying and painful dreams were finally over… until he realized what was in this room in which he had awoken.
He was seated in the captain’s cabin of his starship. His chair faced the bed; and on the bed, facing him, was his body, though the right side and torso were largely cybernetic. He began to panic, raising a hand in front of his face, and looking at the room right through it. He stood, but could not feel muscles in his legs clenching and relaxing. He turned, and could not feel his spine twist or his skin stretch.
He then watched his body stand. Vesanis sat back down in silent horror as it moved to stand just in front of him and leaned down, as a parent would to lecture a misbehaving child… and it spoke to him with a hundred voices.
“You have caused me great frustration, Vesanis, but you have made your wishes clear. You wanted a life without my control. Unfortunately, I still require your body, and have no spares to loan you. So congratulations; you are free now. You may come and go as you please, do what you will. But you will never again know the delight of pain or pleasure; strain or rest. You are free, and you are condemned.”