His first time is with Malta. She challenges him when he joins the ranks. Kylo beats her, but not before she manages to sever one of the fingers of his left hand. When she yields, her body pinned under his own, he flattens her own hand on the floor and cuts her little finger neatly off. Her scream is awful, the spray of blood nauseating. But then he hears her laugh through the modulator of her mask, and he knows he did the right thing.
Afterwards, he means to leave it on the ground, to rot, before he notices her bending down to grab something on the floor. His own finger. Malta sees him watching and she’s the one to show him, back in her rooms, how to use the Force to burn the flesh and bones, until all is left is a tiny heap of silvery ashes, thin as dust. Kylo does not wrinkle his nose at the acrid smell of burnt flesh. It is a scent he knows already.
“Welcome to the Knights of Ren” Malta says. They shake bloody hands, grasp awkward where appendages are newly missing. Kylo accepts the pain, and welcomes it.
He does not repeat the ritual often. For it to keep its meaning, the fight must have been challenging, and his opponent one who possesses inspiring strength. Over the years, those who come with those requirements are far and few between, compared to someone with Kylo’s strength. In the end he draws the line at spilt blood, and tends to take a finger, sometimes a hand if he lets himself get carried away. Most of those adversaries, he kills after taking a part of them. Those he can, he lets live.
He burns an ear, once. He doesn’t take the tongue, as is his first impulse, and lets the man go afterwards. Let him tell the galaxy that one doesn’t mock Kylo Ren’s origins without consequences.
The day he kills Aanir, Master of the Knights of Ren, Kylo burns two hands. His Master’s, and his own, lost in combat. As a reminder that his own weakness is yet his worst enemy.. Eyes watering at the smoke of burning flesh, Kylo slowly flexes the fingers of his new hand, one by one.
Kylo Ren. Master of the Knights of Ren.