“Trust me, Ezra. I only want the answers I deserve, nothing more.”
“What do we have to do?”
—Star Wars: Rebels, Season 3 Episode 11: Visions and Voices
Ezra passed the goblets into Maul’s hands. Maul placed them upon the altar before three large decanters.
“I have studied the ways of the Nightsisters and found a spell that suits our needs.”
He grasped the neck of the leftmost decanter and poured it into the one in the center. Ezra watched a green, viscous liquid flow out. It looked noxious. Maul set the empty vessel down with a scrape of metal on stone.
“This altar is the focus of their ancient power.”
He took the decanter on the right and emptied it into the center one. The liquid in this one was black, so black that it seemed to absorb the very light that touched it. A puff of green vapor rose up as the two fluids mixed.
“Now,” he said, “to initiate the merge, we must each drink this potion.”
He poured the mixture into both goblets and passed one to Ezra. Their fingers brushed during the exchange. Maul held on a second longer.
Ezra tugged the goblet free and looked down into it. No light reflected on the potion’s surface. His mouth went suddenly dry, his tongue shriveling and trying to back its way down his throat. He gulped, which just made the tight, parched feeling worse.
As a child growing up on the streets, he had learned that wishing was pointless; still, he wished he wasn’t here. He wished that Maul didn’t have that beacon planted back at Rebel base, waiting to beam a signal to the Imperial fleet in the event of his untimely death. He wished he could dispatch Maul here and now, before he drank this hideous and certainly poisonous concoction and died a slow, horrible death—or worse, lived with the debilitating consequences for the rest of his life. He hated being so helpless, so utterly at Maul’s mercy. The man had not harmed him yet, not directly, but that was no guarantee of permanent safety. This potion could very well kill him now and lift the thoughts directly from his mind, or render him insensate for the rest of his life. He didn’t know. And he wasn’t going to make it that easy.
“You first,” he said.
Maul smiled and brought the rims of their cups together with a clink. Then he drank the potion down in several throaty gulps. He finished and leveled his gaze at Ezra. His red-ringed eyes blazed in a way that made Ezra’s blood run cold.
“Your turn. Drink it. All of it.”
Summoning his courage, Ezra raised his goblet and tilted it back.
The liquid tingled the moment it touched his lips. It washed into his mouth, numbing, and then the flavors followed as he began to swallow. Dirt. Salt. Smoke. Blood. Anise. Metal. It coated his throat like crude oil, burning and freezing in rapid succession. He grimaced and forced himself to keep gulping.
“Yes,” said Maul. “Yes. It’s working.”
The last drop flowed past Ezra’s tongue and immediately his body rejected it. He clapped his hand over his mouth and gagged. Vomit surged up his esophagus and flooded his mouth, warm and burning with digestive acids. He swallowed and the potion dropped down into his stomach once more. He coughed hard, his eyes streaming.
There was an abrupt change. His gut went cold, as if he had eaten half a kilo of ice. The sensation crept up his throat, entered his sinuses, and seeped into the threads of his optic nerves. The world went witch-green, and for the first time in his life Ezra Bridger could feel his brain. It floated in his skull, this soft, organic machine that contained everything he had ever seen and learned and thought, all of the unique chemical combinations that formed his personality, his emotions, his reactions, everything that made him who he was. And it was leaving him, flowing out through his eyes in an emerald mist and merging with the brilliant ball of light that hovered just between him and Maul.
He was terrified. He was outside of himself now. What if he lost his way and couldn’t return to his body? What would happen to him? Would he die? Would he disappear forever? Would anyone ever know what happened to him?
Maul’s cry startled him back to the present: “Where is he!”
Answers. That’s right, they were here to find answers. Answers to questions that the holocrons had left fragmented. The light shining benevolently above was good. It held knowledge, vast and limitless, facts that outnumbered the stars. All Ezra had to do was make his petition.
“I want to know how to destroy the Sith,” he said.
The light showed him its answer.
The exchange only lasted a few moments. The light erupted like a small supernova, and the subsequent shockwave threw Ezra and Maul against the altar. It disappeared, leaving only the lanterns and braziers to illuminate their surroundings.
Ezra pushed himself up, his movements weak and groggy. Maul straightened his back. He was panting, astounded by what he had learned.
At that moment a sound like the echo of a thousand-year-old wail rang through the cave. Cold air followed in its wake, and one by one the lanterns and braziers went out, plunging them into darkness. Something shifted in the Force. Ezra felt it. He backed closer to Maul, as if the man who had ruthlessly exploited him and terrorized his friends might somehow offer him protection against whatever was coming.
Because something was coming. For them.
“It is time to pay our debt,” said Maul.
The decanters fell over in unison, creating a startling racket. Ezra flinched and bounced off of Maul.
“Wait, wait, wait! What’s happening?”
The altar began to glow that same shade of witch-emerald green and expel coils of mist from its surface. The ichor slowly began to take form, coalescing into heads and torsos and arms. They rose from the altar’s surface and stretched up into the air. Formless, bodiless spirits. Whispers from a multitude of dead mouths reverberated through the cave.
Ezra was terrified. He had never believed in ghosts, not even as a small child, but here they were before his very eyes, as real as the ground on which he stood. One paused in front of him and reached out with wispy fingers. He backed away.
“Wh-what are they?”
“Pay our due,” hissed the specter. “Pay… our… due.”
“The spirits of the Nightsisters,” said Maul. His voice was calm and steady for a man who was just as unnerved as his ward. “They must be compensated for the use of their magic.”
“So pay them and let’s get out of here!” Ezra pressed back against Maul, trying to push him away from the altar. But Maul’s boots were planted in the dirt, and neither the Force nor the fear of a teenage boy could move him.
“I’m afraid the debt can be paid by only one of us.”
Ezra ducked as a hissing spirit swooped over his head. “What does that mean?”
“They hunger for life, Ezra, the very essence of it. That which creates and perpetuates, makes new flesh and blood. Seed, in other words.”
Pride abandoned Ezra and he latched on to Maul’s arm like a child. “Seeds? What kinds of seeds?”
“Not seeds, seed. Sperm. Semen. The Nightsisters crave it. The only offering of men they have ever valued, and something that I, unfortunately, am no longer able to produce.”
Ezra, his face twisted with terrible understanding, turned and stared at Maul.
As if to prove his point, one of the witch-spirits that had been caressing Maul’s prosthetic hips abandoned him and moved to Ezra. She began to swim around his waist like a ghostly eel. A rush of excited chatter spread among the spirits.
“His seed is powerful.”
“Strong with the Force.”
“We shall have him.”
Ezra performed a bizarre dance to dislodge the wraith. “Get off me, you—you—Maul, what the kriff is going on!”
“Calm yourself, Ezra. You’re agitating them.”
“Oh, they’re agitated? What about me?” He darted behind Maul, but the spirits quickly found him again. “I’m the one who’s going to have to—to jack off for these things!”
Maul turned and grasped the boy’s shoulders. “I understand your fear and loathing, Ezra, I truly do,” he said seriously, “but you must control your outbursts or else you are going to get us both killed.”
Ezra clamped his jaws shut and heaved for breath. Beads of nervous sweat popped out on his forehead. His nostrils flared as he struggled to rein in his panic. A Nightsister slithered over his shoulder like a vaporous green snake, and he squirmed in barely restrained disgust. Maul pinched Ezra’s chin and locked eyes with him.
The spirits were of little more essence than air, but Ezra could feel them crawling into his clothes and gliding against his skin with their discorporate appendages. He shook his leg to discourage one from nesting in his crotch. He felt her slide down his thigh and melt through his trousers.
“Maul, I—I don’t think I can do this.”
“You must, or else we will never leave this cave alive. We cannot outrun the dead.”
A whine tried to sneak its way out of Ezra’s throat. He cut it off, but not before Maul heard it.
The former Sith lord’s expression softened. “I would help you, Ezra, if you asked it of me. After all, I did put you in this situation.”
“Yeah, thanks a lot for that. You know how much I love these little adventures of ours.”
Maul smiled—a genuine, affectionate smile. Then he grasped either side of Ezra’s jacket and pulled it off his shoulders.
“Hey! What are you doing!”
“Helping you.” He tossed the jacket aside.
“Helping me how-ah!”
Ezra jumped when Maul touched his stomach, knuckles pressing and bumping to unfasten his belt. Something rolled over in Ezra’s gut. He didn’t like the way it felt.
“No, wait, stop!” He jerked away and glared at Maul. Maul glared back at him, only with less hate in his eyes.
“Ezra,” he said sternly, “they must be paid. You are the only one of us who can ejaculate.” He stepped closer. “Let me help you. I… know this is not the most ideal situation, but I shall do my best to make it at least somewhat enjoyable for you.”
“Wait, what?” Ezra squinted and retreated another step. “What are you talking about? Are you—you’re not actually offering to…”
“I am, yes.”
Ezra blushed to the tips of his ears. Even in the ghoulish light his color was visible.
Maul advanced on him. Ezra shuffled backward until he collided with the altar. He was trapped.
“Trust me, Ezra. It is only flesh. A bodily function, nothing more.”
Ezra scowled, adding a touch of anger to the fear contorting his face. “The last time I trusted you, it didn’t work out so well for me and my Master.”
“Then think of this as an opportunity to give me a second chance. Besides, you don’t exactly have a choice, do you?”
Ezra raked a hand through his hair and forced himself to come to terms with his situation. Maybe Maul was right. It was only flesh, just a bodily function. He would masturbate for these spirits, give them what they wanted, then they could finally leave and… and… and that was where his mind went blank. There was surely a future waiting for him on the other side of this cave. Of course there was. He was just too freaked out to see it right now.
He took a deep breath, exhaled. “Okay. Okay, so… how should I do this?”
“You must mount the altar. Nude.”
“Nude? Why nude?”
Maul gave him a tired look. “Because you are making an offering. You must humble yourself before the seat of their power. It is a show of respect. Cast off your weapons and your clothes. Present yourself in your purest form.”
Ezra’s cheeks burned. “Fine. But turn around first, I don’t want you looking at m—”
“For every second you waste, Ezra Bridger, we are one step closer to death! Now take off your clothes before I rip them off! ”
Ezra’s hands flew. He tore off his wrist communicator—with its hidden tracking chip—and jerked his shirt over his head. He unclipped his belt and holster and hopped from one foot to the other to unfasten his leg guards and yank off his boots. Trousers and socks and underwear formed a small mound of discarded clothing. At last he straightened up, hair fluttering and heart racing, completely naked.
Maul clasped his hands behind his back and gazed at the seventeen-year-old like one would a curious painting in an art gallery. Ezra self-consciously covered himself with one hand. The spirits circling him began to chatter and murmur. Their words were indistinct, but their tone was unmistakable.
They were admiring him.
Ezra ducked his head in shame. His hair brushed against his red cheeks and hid his eyes from view.
Maul nodded. “Alright, climb up. Slowly. You are entering their home. Let them acclimate to your presence.”
With breathtaking clumsiness, Ezra pulled himself onto the murky altar, unintentionally giving Maul a glimpse of parts that only his parents had ever seen. He rose to his feet, held out his arms, and allowed the Nightsisters to inspect him. They swooped in like carrion birds, clacking and hissing. One stroked his chest, tracing the outlines of his pectoral muscles. Another draped herself around his arms and shoulders like a grotesque shawl. Yet another slid down his back and caressed his buttocks. They explored every crease and crevice, mapped Ezra’s entire anatomy. He shut his eyes and willed himself not to recoil when one spirit licked his cheek with her misty tongue.
“It seems they are pleased,” said Maul. “For the moment. But their payment must be rendered quickly.”
Ezra looked down at his flaccid penis and then at Maul. “Uh. How quickly exactly?”
Maul sighed and began to undress. “You are going to have to use your imagination. I will do what I can, but if your mind is not receptive you will never achieve climax, and then we will both be fucked. Do you understand?”
Maul’s waist was horrifically scarred where it joined his mechanical lower half. Insulated wires and pulsing tubes and metal plates and circuitry had grown into his flesh like trees that swallow manmade objects. With his trousers removed, his legs were little more than rods and pneumatic joints. A smooth steel bevel gleamed where his genitals would have been. Ezra suddenly pitied him.
“Sorry.” He snatched his eyes away. “I didn’t mean… I mean, yes, I understand.”
Maul mounted the altar with more grace and fluidity than Ezra’s organic legs could have ever done. He moved behind him and laid his hands on his shoulders.
Ezra sat down on his folded legs. The spirits moved with him and so did Maul, tucking himself against Ezra’s back.
“Open your legs a little more.”
The heat of humiliation scorched Ezra’s face. He spread his thighs. Maul shifted behind him, his metal limbs grating on the stone. Ezra’s heart thudded in his ears. Everything was surreal: the potion, these ghosts, his nakedness, the warm and comforting weight behind him that came from one of the worst people he knew. Nothing made sense anymore. He wasn’t Ezra Bridger, Jedi apprentice. He was someone else. He had to be.
“Close your eyes and open your mind to me.”
Flesh was one thing. Ezra could sit here in the buff before an audience of spunk-hungry ghost witches with Maul all but embracing him like a lover, but his mind was entirely another.
“Just do as I say. Time is running short.”
Against his better judgement (you don’t exactly have a choice, do you?) Ezra took a breath, closed his eyes, and opened himself to the Force. Both sides of it. He could feel Maul’s presence there. Dark indeed, but not as cold as Vader or even the Inquisitors. There was… not true warmth, but a different temperature to Maul’s signature, a different color. It intrigued Ezra, drew him in.
He jumped when Maul began to massage his shoulders. The sensation was strange but not unpleasant. Maul had large hands, strong hands, and without his gloves they were neither cold nor hot. They felt nice. He worked his way down, kneading Ezra’s biceps, back and waist, palpating the tension from his muscles. The spirits swarmed and salivated around their knees.
“May I ask you a question, Ezra? A personal one?”
Ezra wasn’t sure if he liked this tender, polite tone of Maul’s. He didn’t trust it to be genuine. “Yeah, sure.”
“Is this your first experience with sex?”
The lie came automatically: “No.”
Maul continued downward. He squeezed and rubbed the crests of Ezra’s hips, bones which he no longer had.
“First times seldom live up to our expectations,” he said at last in a soft and strangely paternal voice. “They’re mostly disappointing. Hasty, awkward. Unsatisfying. Performed in the wrong place with the wrong person, nothing at all like what we imagined.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“So that you do not think yourself deficient. You aren’t, Ezra. It happens this way for most everyone.”
Then he slid his hand down Ezra’s belly and grasped him.
A jagged cry left Ezra’s lips as his world and insides lurched. The spirits clinging to him energized when they sensed the first bright stirrings of his arousal. He clutched Maul’s forearms, feeling the tendons and sinew flex beneath his tattooed skin as he began to work.
I have to do this, Ezra reminded himself. It’s only flesh. Just a bodily function. He exhaled and tried to think of sexy things.
Maul’s method was surprisingly good. Firm but gentle, just enough pressure to satisfy. He cupped Ezra’s testicles with one hand and stroked Ezra’s penis with the other, paying special attention to the head, rubbing with his thumb and stimulating the sensitive nerves on the underside. Ezra wondered how long it had been since Maul last held a cock.
“Many years,” came the murmur in his ear.
Ezra’s face ignited. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—”
“It’s alright. Stop thinking. Start feeling.”
Ezra closed his eyes, released a gusty breath, and focused on finding pleasure.
They leaned against one another, up to their waists in green fog, while the spirits swam around them like hungry fish. Maul had very skilled hands and used a variety of techniques, but none of them truly worked. Ezra was slow to respond and kept losing his erection. After several minutes Maul made a frustrated sound and removed his hands. The spirits hissed in displeasure, further underscoring the precariousness of their situation.
Ezra was close to tears. “I’m sorry,” he squeaked. “I’m sorry, it’s my fault. I can’t, it’s just—it’s too much. I can’t do it. I’ve never been so un-horny in my life.”
Maul sighed. “Then we are left with no other choice.” He stuck his finger in his mouth and pulled it out wet. “Relax and keep still.”
That was all the warning Ezra got. Maul’s finger touched his anus and he instinctively clenched up, but that didn’t stop him. He brutally pushed in to the second knuckle. Ezra yelped and tried to rise to his knees. Maul threw his arm around his neck and held him in place. The rest of the digit entered him.
“Ah! Wh-what are you do—ow! Kriff! Stop!”
This was the exact opposite of arousing. It was an invasion. Horrible, intimate, unwanted. His erection wilted. He squirmed as Maul continued to prod around inside him. He jabbed something that must have been Ezra’s bladder because he was overcome with a fierce urge to urinate. He grunted and grappled against Maul while the ghosts careened around them in a green whirlwind.
“Hold still,” Maul snarled. “I’ll never find it if you keep thrash—ah.”
Ezra’s eyes flew open. Something weirdly akin to pleasure surged through him. “Unh.”
“There we are.”
Maul pressed again and another wave of arousal shimmered through Ezra, this one stronger. His penis jerked to attention and began to swell.
“What is that? What are you doing?”
“Stimulating your prostate. This won’t take long. Relax. Don’t think. Let your emotions take you.”
Ezra’s mind was coming loose at the seams. He struggled to hold the pieces together, clawing for any good, wholesome memories. “B-but Kanan said to never let—”
“Are you in love with him?”
“Are you in love with your Master? Do you have sexual fantasies about him? Do you want him?”
Ezra blinked rapidly, jaw wagging. “Nh-no! No, I’d never, he’s my fr—”
Maul grasped Ezra’s face, fingers digging hard into his cheeks. “Then get him out of your head. Feel me, Ezra. Think only of what I am doing. Nothing else matters but this. Us.”
A second finger pushed into him and joined the first. They began to move together.
Soon Ezra forgot all about Kanan and the ghosts and Maul’s scarred, mutilated body. Maul rubbed circles against the wall of Ezra’s rectum, prodding the soft bulb of his prostate. Every now and then he would wiggle his fingers rapidly back and forth to simulate vibrations. Ezra responded well, growing stiffer and fuller with every passing second.
The spirits drew close to stroke their cloudy hands up and down his erection. Praises flowed from their glowing lips and they began to clamor against one another for a turn. Ezra stared down at them. With his mind drifting further and further under the dark veil of sensuality, he began to feel pleased. He knew what was being done to him was wrong. It was obscene and degrading, but it also excited him. The sight of his penis standing tall and hard between his thighs, being worshiped and caressed by encouraging spirits, was arousing to him. He was reduced to a payment, an object. He liked it. Or some part of him liked it. He liked what Maul’s fingers were doing inside him
if only he had a cock
and he liked Maul’s hand on his belly, his warm breath on his neck
I would let him fuck me
and he liked the way Maul touched him
like I wish Kanan would fuck me
and held his penis out for the Nightsisters to lick with their transparent tongues
want them both to fuck me at the same time
Ezra’s heart hiccuped at the vileness of his thoughts. A bead of pre-ejaculate seeped out and was lapped up by the spirits. He dropped his head against Maul’s shoulder and groaned even as his hips began an instinctual, rhythmic roll.
“Almost there.” Maul nuzzled Ezra’s sweaty neck and gave his member two good strokes. “You’re doing splendidly, Ezra. Just a little more. Almost there.”
“I’m not, I don’t… want…”
“What is it, Ezra? You can tell your Master.”
A sliver of reality cut through the salacious haze like a shard of glass, briefly clearing Ezra’s head. “You’re not my Master.”
Maul pressed his fingers to either side of Ezra’s gland and twiddled them with an efficacy seldom achieved by non-mechanized pleasure devices. Ezra gasped and throbbed in Maul’s hand.
“We will see about that.”
Maul pumped his cybernetic hips forward in a mock thrust and executed a two-handed coup de grāce.
Ezra went rigid. A howl left his mouth. He arched his spine and came—at long last. The Nightsisters swarmed around him and lapped up their payment as he rendered it. Two spurts, the first one short and wet, the second one long and creamy thick. Not a drop touched the altar.
With a final pitiful moan, Ezra collapsed against Maul and gasped for breath. Maul wrapped his arms around him while the spirits licked him clean.
“Well done, Apprentice. I knew you had it in you.”
Ezra, still trying to regain his wind, didn’t bother to challenge Maul’s claim. He didn’t even try to extricate himself from his arms. He felt sick, dirty, and thirsty. The acrid taste of the potion lay on his tongue like a layer of rust. He craved water and daylight and the color blue. Fresh air. Grass. People who cared about him.
Maul laid his hand over Ezra’s beating heart. “Thank you, Ezra, for honoring the bargain. For trusting me. I think this bodes well for our future bond.”
Danger flashed bright yellow in Ezra’s brain. “Bond? Wait, what do you m—” And suddenly Maul was there inside his mind, inside his very Force. “No. No, get—get out! I didn’t—augh!” There was no escape.
Maul put his hand on Ezra’s head, fingers sinking into his dark hair. “Shh, shh. Don’t fight it, Ezra. I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to take a look inside you. Be still.”
Ezra clenched his teeth and tried to block Maul, shut him out, but it was already too late. He could feel him moving in his mind, a dark mist peering into his memories and intimate thoughts, searching, purposeful…
No. Not there. Don’t go in there, please. Please—
“Oh.” Maul laughed. “What quaint sexual fantasies you have, Ezra. A little masochist in the making. So full of guilt. So full of rage and lust. It’s practically eating you alive.”
Tears burned in Ezra’s eyes. “Get out.”
“Tell me, does Kanan know you fantasize about being abused by him?”
A whine seeped out between Ezra’s clenched teeth. His heart felt like it was dying inside him.
“Not just little slaps and spankings, either,” Maul continued gleefully. “You want him to hurt you. You crave pain at his hand. Bruises, cuts. Something physical you can carry with you the way your Master carries his blindness. A lighter burden to bear than the weight of your own guilt. Oh, you are a dark, tortured little thing, aren’t you, Ezra Bridger? I think I like you even more now.”
Ezra’s trembling lips could barely form words. “Please. Please, stop.”
Maul’s left hand crept back to its previous position. Ezra winced as he was penetrated again, then sighed as the fingers filled him. He was ashamed by how much he liked it.
“Perhaps later I can help you expel these shadows,” Maul murmured in his ear. “But right now, my dear boy, I need you to come again.”
Fingertips stabbed bluntly into his prostate. Ezra yelped. His cock bobbed and stiffened, the glans emerging from the foreskin once more. The spirits lapped at him like wolves clamoring to lick the last shreds of meat from the bones of a kill.
Ezra’s mind was under assault. The dark little recess where he kept all of his secrets, all of the erotic images and fantasies he masturbated to, was suddenly peeled open. Light poured in. They shrieked, or maybe that was Ezra. One by one they were dragged out and thrown into the burning core of his primitive brain. They flared as they were incinerated like sacrificial offerings, fueling the hideous arousal growing in him.
Maul gathered the ashes and tenderly fed them to Ezra like a mother bird feeding her chick. They had been changed, Ezra noticed blearily. Tampered with, twisted. Faces were different, voices and words altered. The scenes were all condensed into a single dark palace lit by red lanterns. The walls were onyx and obsidian with threads of gold running throughout. It was beautiful, dark and wicked, nothing at all like his original fantasies. There was a throne atop a dais. Maul sat upon the throne, his crown of horns painted gold, and Ezra sat upon Maul.
Master, he moaned as he sank down and rose up astride a warm, muscular lap. Master, Master. Flesh and blood had replaced cold metal. Something warm and organic was inside him, stretching him. It moved slickly in and out. He was bound. Ropes bit into his flesh, torqued his limbs. A hand pulled his hair. He hurt. It felt good. This was what he wanted.
He was so full of pain. Of pleasure. Deliciously satisfied. The arms holding him were strong. They would not let him fall.
Yes, my Apprentice?
Kisses on his breast. The gentle scrape of a horn against his chin.
Master, will you teach me me? Will you guide me? Will you stay with me always?
I will give you whatever you ask, Ezra. Teach you whatever you want to know. I shall withhold nothing from you, my Apprentice. Not a single thing. Everything I have shall be yours. Just say the word. Say it aloud.
Ezra opened his eyes and gazed up into the dark unseen heights of the cave. There was a sickly glow below the horizon of his vision. His balls ached. He desperately needed to come. He could feel the Nightsisters crawling all over him. Reedy moans heaved from their lips, demanding more of his seed.
“Muh,” he panted, then he caught himself. “No! You’re not. You’ll never be.”
“You’re so close, Ezra.” Fingers began to tap his gland. “Say it. Say it and come. Say it for me. For my sisters.”
A string of saliva dripped down Ezra’s chin. A spirit licked it up and followed it to the source, sinking into Ezra’s mouth. Ezra tasted ash and death. He spat her out.
“No more. No more, please, Maul.”
“Say it and you will have relief.”
Maul was holding his brain hostage. He would not allow Ezra to orgasm.
Ezra pinched his lips together. “Mm. Mmm.” His tongue burned to speak. His skull groaned with longing. His whole body vibrated with need, held on the edge of climax with no way to achieve it. His mind felt ready to shatter.
It was only a word. One word. A breath. A second. What harm could something so small do?
Ezra’s lips parted and warm air rushed out. “Master.”
Maul kissed his shoulder. “Beautiful. Again.”
“Master.” Satisfaction rolled through Ezra—Maul’s doing. Ezra’s cock dripped like a hot candle. “Master.”
“You say it so well, Ezra. What a fine young man you are. So gifted and strong. Magnificent. I’m so proud of you.”
Ezra blossomed. He soaked in the praises, ate them and drank them and was nourished by their richness. How he craved words like these. If only Kanan knew how much he needed to hear them, how important they were to him—
Kanan is not here. But I am. Your true Master is here, and he will take care of you always. Now come, Ezra. Spill your seed. Claim your pleasure. You’ve earned it.
The blocks in his mind disappeared. A flood of hormones and chemicals surged through his brain. His eyes rolled back.
“Oh kriff oh fuck yes YES—”
Semen squirted into the roiling mass of wraiths, more than Ezra had ever produced at once. He howled and bucked in Maul’s arms as he came—and came, and kept coming. The Nightsisters were sent into a frenzy. Snarls and purrs and wet slurping noises filled the cave. A pack of predators consuming their doomed prey, eating it alive.
When Ezra had finished he still burned, desperate for relief that had not come. He remained hard. The Nightsisters rubbed their hands and faces against his erection, their touches feeling somehow heavier now. They had gained form and mass. Ezra felt them, saw them slithering all over the altar, twisting and hissing like reptiles, flicking their tongues. His ejaculate had a calming effect upon them, he noticed. Their movements were less hostile. They caressed his body, played with his hair, licked him all over.
“Handsome boy,” they cooed.
“Powerful seed. Good seed.”
“So sweet and young.”
“Give us more.”
“Yes, a little more.”
Maul shifted behind him and slid away. Suddenly Ezra was lying on his back, looking up into the darkness. He tried to sit up but barely made it two inches before he sank back down. His muscles were weak, his energy all but completely spent. He had never felt so drained in his life. The spirits curled around him and lavished him with their affection. He pushed them away with as much strength as he could muster.
Maul. Where was Maul?
He gasped when he felt something glide over his erection. He lifted his head just enough to make out the translucent form of a Nightsister hovering over his lap. She was sucking him. Two others were jostling for a turn. Ezra moaned in horror and let his head fall back.
Move. He had to move. He had to get out of here, get away from this place. His arms and legs were paralyzed. He could move rocks twice his size and ten times his weight with the Force, but he couldn’t move his own body.
“Help,” he whimpered pathetically. “Maul…”
Maul’s face appeared above Ezra’s. He looked almost cheerful. “It appears they have accepted your payment.”
“Help me. I can’t move.”
“Indeed. Don’t fret, you should be fine in another hour or two.”
“Another… what?” Ezra squinted through the green fog surrounding him. When had Maul gotten dressed? His head swam. Nothing made sense. What was happening? He was so sleepy.
“I have an urgent matter I must attend to,” said Maul, pulling on his gloves. “I leave you in the care of my sisters. Have no fear. They will look after you. They like you very much, you know.”
Desperate terror seized Ezra. With a final burst of adrenaline he reached out and grabbed Maul’s wrist.
“No! You can’t leave me here! You said…!”
Maul patiently pried the hand loose and set it upon Ezra’s chest. He smiled and brushed the hair from Ezra’s forehead with the gentleness of a parent putting their child to bed. The spirit that had snuggled up against Ezra’s side copied the motion, her green fingers sifting through his fringe.
“My dear Ezra,” said Maul, “you are in no condition to go anywhere. Rest. Lie with my sisters. Let them ease your discomfort.”
Ezra struggled. His strength was draining from him like blood from a mortal wound. “B-bastard,” he grunted.
“I will send your friends to collect you. You needn’t worry. All will be fine. You will see.”
“I hate you.”
“Good. Focus on that. It will give you strength.” He leaned down and kissed Ezra between his eyebrows. It stung like poison. He pulled back with a fond look and brushed the back of his finger down Ezra’s scarred cheek. “Until we meet again, little brother.”
Then he turned and disappeared.
Panic consumed Ezra. “Maul, don’t”—he flung his arm out but was too weak to even move his fingers—“don’t leave me! Please! Master!”
He gagged on the last word and began to cough. Gradually it turned to sobs. Airy hands grasped his head and turned it so that he was staring up into darkness again. Transparent digits stroked his cheek. He whimpered and shut his eyes. His leg was being lifted, exposing him. He felt a brush of movement on his sore flesh. A push. Something entered him.
Ezra groaned in ecstasy even as tears leaked from his eyes.
“Sweet boy,” said the spirit straddling him. “Come.”
Lips descended on Ezra’s mouth. He tasted his own semen. There was a sharp thrust inside him. Pleasure exploded in his brain.
Then, mercifully, he passed out.
He floated deep in the black water of coma. If he looked up he could see himself lying on the altar. The Nightsisters lay sprawled around him. They were heavy, almost opaque now. Sometimes he tried to swim up toward his body, but he tired too quickly and sank back down. It was easier to sleep, to give up. The water darkened around him.
If he just rested for a little while, maybe…
He didn’t know how much time passed. He opened his eyes and stirred. A new presence was here. Someone called his name through a thousand fathoms of primordial ocean. He knew the voice. It was a good voice. A friend. Energy surged through his limbs. He swam up to meet it.
There was a disturbance above. A flash of blue light—a sword igniting. And then the furious roar of Kanan Jarrus.
“Get off of him! Get off!”
The Nightsisters shrieked and squealed as a lightsaber cut through their semi-corporeal bodies and rendered them into mist again. They fled down into the altar, into the sanctuary of their watery black grave. They poured past Ezra in a howling stream, tangling in his arms and legs, dragging him down with them. He kicked and flailed to free himself.
Kanan! Bubbles exploded from his mouth, but there was no sound. Kanan, help!
Outside and above, the last spirit vanished into the stone. The unwholesome green glow that permeated the cave disappeared. Braziers rekindled themselves and cast warm orange light all around.
Kanan Jarrus turned off his lightsaber and sprang onto the altar. He kneeled beside Ezra’s motionless body.
“No. No, no, Ezra.” He grasped his Padawan’s shoulders and pulled him up, cradled his head like an infant. “Ezra, can you hear me? Ezra!”
Sabine Wren approached, her hand over her mouth and her eyes wide with horror.
Kanan pressed his fingers to Ezra’s neck and felt a pulse. He was still alive.
“Ezra, listen to me. Listen to my voice. Follow it. Find your way back, kiddo, come on.”
No response. Not even a flicker of movement behind Ezra’s eyelids.
Kanan laid his hand over the boy’s heart. “You are not going to die. Not today, Ezra. Come back to us. We’re here. Wake up. You can do it, I know you can. Wake up. Please, Ezra, don’t give up. Fight it, come on—”
Ezra’s eyes flew open. He jerked in Kanan’s arms, hacking and coughing as if his lungs were full of water.
It was so cold. He was so bare. So exposed. Ezra shivered and pulled his legs up, curled around himself to hide his nakedness. He didn’t want his friends to see him like this.
Kanan let go of him and laid him back down. A rustling sound, then something warm and soft draped over his lap. It smelled like Kanan. Ezra wondered why, then he realized it was his Master’s shirt. He had taken it off to cover him, to preserve his dignity—what was left of it.
Tears flooded Ezra’s eyes. He loved this man with all of his heart.
“Sabine, find his clothes and lightsaber. Ezra? Can you hear me? Are you okay? What happened?”
Kanan pulled him up again and held him to his chest, cupped his cold cheek. Ezra could feel the light inside him, beautiful and wholesome and good, and was made painfully aware of his own filthiness. The things he had done, the thoughts he had had… he was unworthy of this man’s love. He squirmed to get away, to keep Kanan from being polluted by the poison still flowing in his veins, but he was far too weak. And Kanan was not going to let him go.
“I’m sorry,” he sobbed. “I’m sorry, Kanan. I’m so sorry.”
“Hey, shh, shh, it’s okay. It’s not your fault. Everything’s gonna be fine. It’s okay now. Where’s Maul?”
“Gone. Do you have any w-water?”
“Back on the shuttle. Come on, I’ll carry you.”
Ezra had grown in both height and weight since the last time Kanan had carried him, but he was lifted as easily as the skinny fourteen-year-old he had been when they first met. Ezra clung to him as they left the altar behind. The farther they got from it, the better he felt.
When they emerged from the cave and Dathomir’s murky red daylight spilled onto them, Ezra screamed and covered his face with his arm. Kanan broke into a jog.
“Hang on, Ezra! Just hang on, we’re almost there.”
The interior of the shuttle was cool and dark. Ezra relaxed as shadows fell over him once more. Kanan set him down in one of the folding seats and crouched on the floor, gave him a canteen of water. Ezra was too weak to hold it up, so Kanan held it for him. Ezra drank, water spilling out around his mouth and dribbling down his chin. When he finished, Kanan got up and pulled an emergency blanket out of an overhead compartment. He tucked it around Ezra until he was practically swaddled.
Ezra took one look at Kanan, his Master, his mentor, the only good man left in his life, and burst into tears.
“Maul,” he choked. “Maul, he. He did things to me, Kanan. He made me—”
“We don’t have to talk about this right now, Ezra. It can wait. You’re weak and you—”
“No! You need to know. He got into my head. He made me call him Master and he… we had sex, I think. And the ghosts, they… they had me, too. I didn’t have a choice. I had to or else they were gonna ki—”
“It’s alright. It’s over now. We’re gonna get you back to base and have you looked at, okay? Don’t worry about Maul, we’ll find him. I will find him.”
There was a dark edge to Kanan’s voice. It filled Ezra with terror. He grabbed the neck of Kanan’s undershirt in his weak fist.
“No! No, Kanan, please, please don’t go after him,” he begged. The whites of his eyes shone in the running lights. “Stay away from him. He wants to kill you!”
“I know he does. And he can just keep trying. He’s going to answer for this.”
Ezra dropped his head against Kanan’s chest and wept. “No, Kanan, please. Promise me you won’t go after him. He’s not worth it. I don’t wanna lose you. I need you.”
“Ezra, look at what he did to you!”
“I don’t care. I deserved it.”
“No, it’s true.” Ezra shook his head. “I do. It was my fault for trusting him in the first place on Malachor. My fault that you’re blind and things are so messed up right now. It’s all my f—”
Kanan pulled him into a tight embrace, silencing him. Ezra whimpered and sniveled onto his shoulder.
“It is not your fault,” Kanan said. “Not what happened here, not what happened to me, none of it. Do you understand?”
The water had restored a bit of his strength. Ezra used what little he had to wrap his arms around his Master. They remained that way for several moments until Kanan’s communicator chirped.
“Spectre-1, is he okay?”
Kanan carefully peeled himself from the embrace and picked up his comm. “No, he’s not okay. But he’s alive and stable.”
There was a brief silence on the other end. Then: “I found something. You should come take a look. I think it’s a lair of some kind. Maul’s.”
“On my way.” Kanan tucked his comm back into his belt and rubbed Ezra’s shoulders. “I’ll be right back. This won’t take long.”
Ezra’s face crumpled. A greedy, childish selfishness came over him. He didn’t want Kanan to go. He wanted him to stay, to keep holding him and talking to him. He wanted to be near his Master and the soothing light inside him. He felt sick without it. He needed Kanan, his kindness, his mercy, his goodness. His comforting touch, his warm, steady hand.
But Kanan didn’t need him. No, he would be better off without him, far away from his ruined Padawan and all of the dark, disgusting fantasies that lived inside him. After all, who could ever love a person with such a revolting mind?
Your true Master could. He knows what’s in your head. He saw it all and he didn’t judge you. He accepted you just as you are... and he always will.
Fresh tears blurred Ezra’s vision. He blinked them back and nodded. “O-okay,” he croaked.
Kanan gave him a tight smile and patted his shoulder.
Ezra watched his Master exit the shuttle and vanish into the red fog of Dathomir. He stared after him until the mist went still and all traces of his presence had disappeared. Ezra blinked. His eyes flickered gold before returning to their normal blue. Then he closed them and bowed his head, folded his arms around himself, and curled into a cold little ball.
Until we meet again, little brother.