The Final Trial
Author: Courtney Woods
Medium: Short story
Publication Date: March 6, 2015 on SWTOR.com
Timeline Placement: c. 3,658 BBY
Sith acolyte Lana Beniko and her friends, Bensyn and Kagan, have begun their final trial to prove themselves worthy of becoming full-fledged Sith: retrieving the helmet of Tulak Hord from the Valley of the Dark Lords on Korriban, homeworld of the Sith and most evil planet in the galaxy.
[Continuity Note: The story itself gives no indication of when it takes place. Wookieepedia places it between 3,644 and 3,640 BBY, but in “The Final Trial” Lana is still an apprentice and text in The Old Republic refers to her as already being a Sith Lord by 3,653 BBY.]
Kagan has been injured by some kind of slug monster, but together they press on, helping and relying on one another to succeed and generally not acting much like Sith at all. Suddenly they are attacked by a crazed former student who has been lost in the tomb for years. Lana has the opportunity to kill her, but pity stays her hand and she allows the dangerous crazy person to leave.
Eventually they find the helmet and are making their way back out of the tomb, Bensyn forced to carry Kagan as she grows ever weaker, when suddenly the insane student reappears and attacks them again, plunging a knife into Kagan’s chest. Lana quickly decapitates the lost acolyte but it’s too late to save their friend. Lana expects Bensyn to lash out at her in rage, but instead he continues carrying Kagan’s body out of the tomb, insisting that they all leave this place together.
Lana Beniko is a romanceable companion character in The Old Republic, and from what I understand she’s supposed to be a “good Sith” character, which seems like an oymoron but ooooh shades of gray or whatever. In this story, though, her un-Sith-like compassion comes back to bite her and gets her friend killed. Since it doesn’t really work as an origin story for why she’s a Sith Lord but not really evil, I’m not sure why it exists. Unless it’s, like, Bensyn not attacking her when she expected him to taught her that just because you’re a Sith you don’t always have to be a dick, or something. I don’t know, though; I didn’t get that vibe.
Not horribly written, I just don’t see the point of it. 2/5 Death Stars.