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Author Topic: Hide and Seek  (Read 25157 times)
TheDutchman
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2017, 01:52:02 PM »

Great post. Fun to read, with just the right mix of action, humor and story. Can't wait to see if Karm is turning to the Dark Side, what's going on with Illian, or whether this has anything to do with their hunting of the Sith. I will stay tuned. Wink
I categorically agree with TR's comments^^  Perfect "mix"=apropos sentiments  Cheesy

Karm it's a pleasure seeing you really become comfortable in your narrative; this particular submission really shows an understanding that balances and embraces the human condition and humanity^^  Suffering and altruism are universal conditions; yet you understand subtlety without being "anvilicious."  You also understand that not every SW story need contain EXPLOSIONS! STARFIGHTERS!  Wink

And I like this seeming interlude; is it pertinent to the larger story?  Or is it an indirect event tangential that serves as further character development?  I have always thought that great care need be taken by Gray Jedi else passions--despite the best of intentions--could lead to darker paths (heh, in writing this, I am kind of giving a bit of what I have been writing: at what point does confidence become hubris?  I would HOPE that all impetuous young men live long enough to learn that particular lesson  Wink).  Heh, sorry I digress; my point is: outstanding writing Karm  Grin

Until next installment friends  Smiley
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Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2017, 07:15:40 PM »

Thanks guys.  Your comments are a great encouragement!

As for whether this is part of the larger narrative.... 

;-)
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Karmack
Forumverse Loremaster
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Light side points please.


« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2017, 08:04:42 AM »

I can feel the hatred within you.  Take your weapon.  Strike me down...

"No!"  I bolted upright in the dark, spilling the light sheets off my sweat-soaked shirt.  I looked around, confused.  Where was I?  It had been dark, but there had been others with me....

"Karm?"  A warm hand rested on my shoulder, squeezing lightly.  "Are you OK?"

I looked down at Arnor, recognizing her ... and still confused.   Slowly I sorted out the images.  A large empty place.  Darkness.  Space.  A disfigured man in robes sitting on some kind of throne.  Another warrior in dark armor....

Vader!  The warrior had been Darth Vader, and the other man his master, Darth Sidious aka Emperor Palpatine!  In some kind of throne room...  And I had been there...

Or had I?

I started a routine to control my breathing and heart rate and calmed my body as my mind sorted out the vision.  These flashes rarely happened to me.  Arnor was far more likely to get a glimpse of the future in this form.  For me it was far more a matter of following the parts of the force's symphony of song, and gaining insight from how the song was constructed.  I took a deep breath and laid my hand on hers.  "It was ... the future."

"Bad?"

I tracked back through what I had seen.  A lone Jedi facing Vader... and the Emperor....  "I don't know.  I cannot imagine how what I saw could end well, but the song...  The song underlying it was full of darkness and sorrow, but there was also joy and victory."  I laid back and wrapped my arm around Arnor as she snuggled into my shoulder.  "I don't know.  The song is jumbled, and I didn't see or hear it all.  But there is hope."

Arnor raised herself up and brought her face to mine.  "There is always hope, my love."

I kissed her and hugged her fiercely.  Yes, there was always hope.

A discrete knock on the door derailed our mutual train of thought at that point.  "Um...  I made breakfast?"

The quiet, hesitant voice made us both smile, and we could easily picture the flame of a blush on the young face.  While we'd gotten all of the other trafficed girls onto a transport and off-planet, headed for a safe place where they would be loved, helped and gently reintegrated into society, one girl had simply refused to be parted from her rescuer.  Her name was Talia, and in the two weeks since the raid she'd attached herself to our group, serving as cook and house keeper for us in our new "hideout". 

And every spare moment not occupied by her self-imposed duties she spent with Illian, who despite some initial awkwardness was returning her attentions enthusiastically as well.

The budding romance was an item of concern for Arnor in regards to her pupil, for Illian was nearing the point of Trial, and both Arnor and I could sense that his would be a difficult one.  But like my vision, the details were confusing and fragmented....

Arnor pecked my cheek and folded herself out of the bed.  "We'll be right out, Talia."  She called, ducking into the adjoining en-suite.  I rolled right and sat up on the bed, contemplating as the thought struck me....  Was Illian the Jedi in my vision?  I concentrated on what I remembered...

No.  It was hard to identify the man, since I'd been seeing through his own eyes, but from what I'd seen...   His saber hilt was unique.  The blade was a rich green.  And ... yes.  He had a cybernetic right hand.  A full replacement, not just a glove.  I flexed my fingers, noting the clumsy movement, and massaged my forearm with my left hand, feeling the hard angularity of the interface hidden within.  Was that the link?  Why had I seen that vision?  Who was the (probably) doomed warrior destined to face Vader and the Emperor alone?

No answers came.  What I recalled of his song was ... sad.  Peaks of joy and happiness embedded in a sad harmony filled with sorrow and loss, yet triumphant and victorious.  Almost a contradiction, like a song of celebration written in a minor key.  Joyful but tempered with sorrow. 

And somehow ... in balance.  More like one of our order than a Jedi....

Arnor emerged.  "All yours, my love."  She said.  "And don't dawdle, we may not save you anything."

"Yes ma'am!"  I said, setting the contemplation aside.  I would think more on it later.  For now, it was time to enjoy a rare morning of normalicy.  I headed for the shower, laughing.

****

"Talia, that was delicious." Illian said, pushing back from the table.  "Thank you again."

The girl blushed.  "You're welcome, Illian." she said, her eyes shining as they met his. 

"Yes, it was very good.  Now, Illian, get to work!  You will need to do some extra training today to work off this breakfast."  Arnor said.  Talia broke eye contact with Illian and nodded an acknowledgement to Arnor before beginning the task of gathering the breakfast dishes.  Arnor then turned to me.  "You, too, Maenowan Karmack." she said, back-handing me in the stomach.  "I would recommend at least an hour of drill and some sparring, or that nice flat stomach ... won't be."

"Sparring sounds like an excellent idea."  I replied, letting the challenge glitter in my eyes.

"Yes, sparring." Arnor said, leaning in for a kiss.  "AFTER the drills."

"Yes, ma'am." I replied, accepting the kiss before she followed Illian out onto the patio.

"You two are cute." Talia said, coming back into the room.  "I never thought I'd meet a Jedi who was so ... normal."

I chuckled.  "Normal...  There's a word I've rarely heard used to describe myself or Arnor."
 
Talia sat across from me at the table and made a face.  "It's true, though!  You act like... Well, like a married couple and their teen-age kid!"

I leaned back and smiled behind my coffee mug.  "Well...   We are married.  But Illian is neither a teen-ager or our child."

Talia's eyes went wide.  "Married?  I thought that was forbidden to Jedi?"

"It is.  We're not ... proper Jedi."  I said.  I started to explain further but something stopped me.  Some ripple in the song....

"Oh."  Talia's eyes went opaque and I could see wheels turning behind them.  "Oh..."

She didn't say anything else, but there was a new light in her eyes when she stood up to continue her chores. 

Yes, my love, there is always hope...

I glanced around the apartment we were in.  It was a Jedi safe-house, one of the first things Two had pulled from the download, along with a list of equipment caches spread across the planet.  It had a small automated maintenance system complete with four small droids, and it had been maintaining itself for nearly twenty years.  It was roomy, well stocked with supplies, had its own credit accounts which even after all this time were far from depleted, and had two large open-air patios suitable for combat training that were also shielded from prying eyes.

I rose and headed for the second one.  Arnor had been right about keeping our skills honed, and I needed to run through my Dulons and Orbits, to losen up before engaging in our sparring match as well as keep my own skills honed.  The slight chill now running down my spine in conjunction with sinister turn of the melody within the force also gave me a new and unexpected sense of urgency. 

Something had just happened...  Or was about to happen....

 I set my mind to finding it while my body flowed through the exercises.
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Taegin Roan
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2017, 12:17:56 PM »

*Spoiler Alert*
I know who the Jedi with the rich green blade is. Luke Skywalker. Grin

Great job. Once again, I love how it is less centered on action, and more on story and character building. Really shows that you have a knowledge of writing, as well as how to keep the audience interested. You build a world that is both realistic, and believable, though at the same time inherently Star Wars. As always, looking forward to more.
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
"Confronting fear is the Destiny of a Jedi" - Luke Skywalker
"So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala

TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 1044
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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2017, 06:32:56 AM »

*Spoiler Alert*
I know who the Jedi with the rich green blade is. Luke Skywalker. Grin

Great job. Once again, I love how it is less centered on action, and more on story and character building. Really shows that you have a knowledge of writing, as well as how to keep the audience interested. You build a world that is both realistic, and believable, though at the same time inherently Star Wars. As always, looking forward to more.
Well thanks A LOT TR for ruining that mystery!*

*Just joking my friend Wink

On a serious note, TR said it perfectly: "realistic, and believable,...inherently Star Wars." All the while I am eager to read what comes next, Karm^^

Until next installment friends  Smiley
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Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2017, 05:37:47 PM »

I nearly spilled my coffee when Two came charging around the corner, screaching.  "Two!  Calmly!"

The droid stopped but continued to chirp and whistle at high speed.  I had made strides in learning to understand the electronic language since meeting Two but all I really comprehended from him was that he urgently wanted me to follow him back to the lab. 

"OK, ok, Two!  Lead on."  I said to the droid, who immediately turned and headed back into what we had christened "Headquarters" or just "The Lab".  It was a closet-sized room with power and computer terminals arrayed around a highly illegal direct-tap into the city's main data networks.

Jedi safe house.  You had to love it...

Two was already back in the Lab and plugged back into this console.  He'd spent most of his time here since we retrieved the Temple data node sorting and cataloging the data, which had been highly compressed due to the nature of the storage medium.  Arnor, Illian and I had spent hours daily pouring through Two's output, searching for clues as to the origins of our mysterious smugglers or the crystals they were apparently still after.  So far most of what we'd found were a wealth of information on everything from how to raise a padawan to maintenance schematics for obsolete Jedi star fighters and reams of local color guides with culinary compatibility charts and monetary exchanges.  But nothing about rouge dark-siders.

At least not until now.  I started scanning the output Two was flashing on the adjoining screens almost to fast to absorb.  My eyes went wide.  "Arnor!  You need to see this!"

My wife was next to me a few moments later, Illian and Talia right behind.  "I don't believe this...."

I rocked back, thinking furiously.  "I do.  It makes sense, and explains a few things."

"Like why the Jedi never detected them." Illian said, still reading.  "Right under their noses..."

"Yes.  But Palpatine operated right under their noses as well, and they never suspected a thing until it was far to late." Arnor replied.  "For that matter, if this is correct the enclave is still there, still operating.  Which means that Palpatine doesn't know any more about their true nature than the Jedi did."

I nodded.  Palpatine was the latest in a long line of Sith Lords who followed the 'Rule of Two'.  It was a play on words, a double meaning: Two Sith to rule them all, but also never more than two Sith Lords.  A Master and an Apprentice.  The Master generally using up his apprentices and playing potential students off each other to keep them weaker than himself until at some point one of them finally out-smarted or out-eviled him and killed him.  At which point the apprentice became the Master and the game started all over again.  Only two, always hiding and manipulating others, only coming out into the open when the Jedi threat was sufficiently diminished.  And always hideously strong in the force.

Balance.  There is always balance...

Master Chillum's voice echoed through my head, a memory rather than a ghost.  Yes, there was always balance.  One way or another. 

But this?  My mind raced.  How had they existed for so long?  Unless....

"The crystals are helping them."

"What?" Illian looked puzzled.  "How?  Why???"

I sat back and looked at Arnor.  "Think about it.  The crystals tune to whoever is nearby.  What do you think the force sensitives nearest wherever these crystals are growing want more than anything else?"

"To stay hidden" Talia replied, her voice quiet and thoughtful.

"Right." I replied.  So, the girl was paying attention.  Interesting.  I filed that datum away for the future.  Because there was more here.  "Unfortunately for them, it appears that at some point a Jedi agent did in fact locate them.  Unfortunately for the Jedi, he reported his findings to his superior.  Master Jedi Dooku."

Dooku.  Arch traitor to the Jedi order.  Leader of the Separatist Movement.  Pawn of Palpatine.  I could feel Illian bristle at the name.

"Calmly, Illian.  Calmly." Arnor said.  She was feeling it as well.

Calm.  I was to excited, to flustered...  I took a moment to calm myself as well, reaching out, listening...

The Song flowed.  It was in crescendo.  Our melodies wove together and led to conflict and furious action.  There was terror and trial, victory and defeat, life and death in that fugue. 

Nothing was certain, except....

"Two has the location.   The enclave is here, on Corucant.  And its time to shed some light on the darkness."
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 1044
Posts: 3898


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2017, 07:32:37 PM »

Oh NICE continuity nod with Dooku! This just got THAT much more serious Karm^^  And the plot thickens...

Until next installment friends  Smiley
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Taegin Roan
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 2054
Posts: 6194


Lord of the Force


« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2017, 09:17:37 PM »


And the plot thickens...

It seems to me that whichever one of us posts first says exactly what the other is thinking. Must truly mean Karm knows what he's doing. Great job once again.
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
"Confronting fear is the Destiny of a Jedi" - Luke Skywalker
"So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 1044
Posts: 3898


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2017, 06:00:07 AM »

It seems to me that whichever one of us posts first says exactly what the other is thinking. Must truly mean Karm knows what he's doing. Great job once again.
Lol "great minds" my friend   Cheesy

But you said it TR: Karm knows what he's doing  Grin
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Karmack
Forumverse Loremaster
Master of Ceremonies
SaberForum.Com Moderator
Knight Commander
************

Force Alignment: 1148
Posts: 5594


Light side points please.


« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2017, 10:20:45 AM »

Lol "great minds" my friend   Cheesy

But you said it TR: Karm knows what he's doing  Grin

*fist pump*  YES!  Fooled ALLY'ALL!  WOOT!  ;-)

More to come.  Time to go underground again....
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Karmack
Forumverse Loremaster
Master of Ceremonies
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Knight Commander
************

Force Alignment: 1148
Posts: 5594


Light side points please.


« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2017, 02:49:45 PM »

I shuddered.  Underground again...  Darkness reigned around us, lit mainly by the light Two was putting out and our hand-held lanterns.

Darkness...  And not just an absence of light.  We were entering an area of utter dark.  Even the song was muted here, distant and faint.  In fact the further we went...

"I feel blind down here..." Illian muttered behind me, speaking for all of us.

Two whistled. 

"Glad YOU can see!" came the tart reply from ... Talia, actually.  The girl had come farther than anyone else to true fluency in the odd language of beeps and whistles that the R3- series droid used as his primary form of aural communication.  Nor was she as out-of-place as I had feared on our expedition, sporting an array of climbing gear in a subdued backpack and a powerful blaster hanging from a cross-body sling. 

Always more than met the eye with Talia.... 

I returned my full concentration to the area around me.  It was like ... walking inside of a bee's nest.  Or a giant crystal gong.   The Song was still there, it was just blanketed by this ever-present, growing hum of "white noise" in the force.  And the closer we came to the coordinates that Two had dug up, the louder that "white noise" became.  Without realizing it I had already begun adjusting our course to shape it into the very heard of that blinding cloud.  Cloaked in darkness this place may be, but even a shadow can be found ... if you're looking for an absence of light.

The eruption of red blades in our path came as a complete surprise.  "Halt!  Who goes there?"

Two didn't bother answering.  I saw the shimmer of his personal force field pop into existence and the manipulator arm I'd modified sprang out, the Destroyer Droid blaster affixed to the end of it.  With an electronic scream the Droid unleashed a rain of shimmering blaster bolts into the passage before us.  Amazingly two of the bolts scored and the guard went down, but there were shouts beyond and the red glow of more blades rushing to his aid.

And nothing, nothing at all in the force...  I pointed to a side corridor.  "This way!"

Arnor took the lead, taking Talia by the hand, her blade springing to life.  Illian was right behind them.  I followed, turned to beckon Two to hurry...

...and smiled.  He was flying now, weaving back and forth, continuing to fire back at the Sith giving chase while using the thrusters built into his legs to hover.  The corridor was plenty wide, even with his force field up, for him to have manuevered on the ground.  He as airborne to give me the maximum cover.  And indeed, blaster bolts now began to appear, splashing harmlessly into this personal shield.

I grasped my own saber hilt but did not ignite the blade.  There was no need ... and for the first time in decades I couldn't feel the incoming fire anyway.  It was all lost in that buzzing, humming background!

We turned another corner and hit a dead end.  Just a wall.  Arnor and Illian plunged their blades into the barrier and quickly cut an opening.  A quick push with the force removed the plug...

... and revealed a nightmarish drop into apparent oblivion.

I slammed the door shut, using the force to close another door facing the corridor we had fled down.  Hopefully that would slow the pursuit somewhat...  I tried to calm myself but for a moment my mind raged.  What is it with this place and bottomless chasms???  We were trapped...

Two never hesitated.  His force field snapped off and he blazed past, still airborne.  As he hit the hole in the wall a small piton was fired from a port just over his left leg strut.  The cable played out as he flew across the void and landed on a small balcony on the other side.  In seconds the cable was taunt and secure.

Talia had already taken some short lengths of composite cable from her pack.  "Throw it over the cable and slide across.  It should hold long enough to reach the other side."

I looked at the composite, then at Two's cable.  "Only one way to find out..."

Illian's hand on my chest stopped me.  "No.  Let me go first.  I'm ... expendable."

I saw the denial in Talia's eyes but before she or I or Arnor could say anything Illian was into the void and dropping down the impromptu zip line.  He made it without incident and beckoned us to follow.

Arnor and Talia followed in quick succession, and I brought up the rear.   Amazingly the pursuing Sith still had not found the room behind us, were searching the labyrinth of rooms and corridors systematically.  Perhaps confident that we were in fact trapped on the other side of the chasm.

Two was still in the lead.  He'd picked the lock electronically and led us into the corridors beyond.  I snapped on my blade and with a quick flip of the blade severed the cable.  No sense letting the enemy follow us across.

We were in.  The core of the darkness was before us.  We penetrated a new maze of corridors which quickly emptied into banks of storage rooms.  Or rather, rows and rows of storage containers arranged in order within one massive, cavernous holding area.  And just ahead, only meters away, was the center of it all. 

Two rolled up to the door and plugged into the data port, emitting a whistle of triumph, the port turning as he navigated its electronic maze...

...and was suddenly bisected by an angry red blade.  A blade which extended through the door from inside whatever the container was.  The crackle of energy as Two's motivator imploded sent metal shrapnel up and down the corridor.  Only an instinctive force push kept the deadly fragments from causing us harm.  By the time the far more powerful force push against the door came  - from inside - I had drawn my own saber and was back on balance.  The door flew into our faces, along with a second cloud of sharp metal fragments, but all three of us were pushing ourselves and the parts ended up going harmlessly over and up.

"I wondered when you would find us, Jedi."  Said a deep and menacing voice.  "We have long awaited your arrival..."

More red.  We were surrounded.

The Sith before me was still speaking.  "For decades we hid, and you never knew!  Your feable powers are no match for..."

He was monologuing.  Monologuing!  Concentrating on the moment.  Relishing the fight to come. 

But not concentrating on the here and now...

I struck.  Not with my blade, I never moved a muscle.  He was close enough, even in this horrible force-blanked zone I could just see him in the force.  I could hear him, here his cacophony of evil.  And I could see him.  Well enough to reach out and pull...

I missed the cervical vertebrae I was aiming for, but it hardly mattered.  My tightly focused force grip pulled his spinal chord forward and crushed it against the bone.  No broken neck for this one, but the effect was the same.  An abrupt end to his monologue, a look of surprise, and then nothing.

"Hold your ground!" I yelled to Arnor as I sprang over the body and into the room beyond.  The noise here was actually painful, and for a moment I shied away... 

No!  Concentrate!

No song.  No melody.  No harmony.  No rhythm.  Nothing but that horrible, aweful buzz....   

There was a small device in the middle of the room.  Nothing else.  I walked around it, dimly aware of the sounds of combat outside.  This was it.  This was the center. 

I ignited my saber, reversed my hold, and plunged it down into the device...

   *** BLACKNESS ***

I hummed the melody.  It was ... beautiful.  Full.  Complete.  Four strands, woven together...

My eyes snapped open.  There was shouting outside the room.  "Arnor..."

Nothing would work properly.  My arms and legs were clumsy, wooden.  The floor was tilting crazily, covered with something wet and slippery...

Blood.  There was blood on the floor.  A lot of it...

The pain registered.  Everywhere...  Blinding pain...

Someone was screaming in agony.  Arnor?  Illian?  Talia?  No...  it didn't sound right...   I dragged in a ragged breath of air, and the sound of agony stopped for a moment.

Oh.   It was me...

Slowly sensation resolved itself.  The pain narrowed, focused.  My leg...

I levered myself up into a sitting position.  Something had thrown me against the wall...  An explosion?  I couldn't remember....  But I was bleeding like a stuck pig....

Two wounds.  One just above my hip, not deep.  A shard of plastic still protruding through my belt.  The belt had stopped it from penetrating more an a couple of inches, or I'd probably be dead now instead of just dying...  A quick jerk removed it, a push to cover the small wound with cloth and another pull to tighten the belt.

One down.

Now further down... Something had ripped open my thigh.  It had missed the femoral artery and vein, or I'd already be dead, but the thigh muscle was mangled and torn.  I grabbed the medical kit on my belt, a precaution Arnor, Illian and I had adopted since Naboo.  Inside was a dressing laced with drugs and nanites designed to fight infection, pain and begin tissue repair.  With a groan I straightened my leg, clamping the edges of the laceration together long enough to apply a binding agent and the drugged dressing.  I tore a long strip of my outer robe and used it for an outer dressing, binding the wound tightly.

Where is your saber?  Your weapon is your life...

I looked around the room, feeling a sudden urgency.  Where...  There!  I spotted my saber, against the adjoining wall.  Sounds of combat continued from outside the room.  Whatever was happening here, it wasn't over yet.  It took all my willpower to push past the pain, to steady myself enough to reach out and drag the saber to myself.  I gasped at the effort, clutching the hilt to my chest.  Closed my eyes.

Listened.

Sang.

The analgesics started to have their effect.  I sang a healing song, helping the nanites along and further dampening the pain.  Slowly I regained a measure of control, a tithe of connection.  I reached out...

... and the melody blazed back.  The Song of Battle coursed through my chest.  With a grunt I rose.  The pain receded a bit more as I stood, and I was able to use the force to stabilize my balance, reinforce my leg, but it was dangerous.  The damage was bad.  Even small movements caused huge spikes in the pain levels, and every time that happened the new flood of pain in my system threatened to undo the control I was very slowly regaining.  I was certainly in no shape to fight. 

But maybe I could still help...

I reached out in the force, listening....

The door frame shattered as a body flew through it, force-pushed with savage energy.  Recognition ripped the name from my lips in a new cry of agony.  "ARNOR!!!"

She hit the wall and fell in a boneless heap...  Her song ...

The evil laugh from the door drew my eyes from my wife.  "So, you survived.  Jedi."

The eyes glowed yellow, and the voice...  The voice was ... different.  "Talia."   My saber ignited.  "How?"

More laughter.  "Talia?  Only this shell is Talia...  She is my hand, Jedi.  And now my Hand will end you with your pitiful friends."  I heard the ignition of a saber.  Light blue...

"Illian"

"Yes...  the fool."  The saber came up into a high guard.  "And now you, too, will pay for his lack of vision."

A Hand...  A servant, force sensitive, possessed by the Emperor himself.  Sometimes willingly, sometimes not.  For a fleeting moment I wondered which way Talia had gone.

Then it didn't matter.  The blow came down, and I blocked it as best I could.  One strike, and my saber was hammered out of my hands.  I found myself back on the blood-soaked floor, looking up at her.

"And now...  you will die!"  The saber rose...

...and a red blade sliced the hilt neatly in two.  "NO!"  Illian staggered into the room.  He was wounded, dragging his left leg behind him, with what looked like a saber stab wound in the abdomen.  But his strike was sure. 

A solid round-house punch, square into the side of the head.

Talia dropped like a sack, and Illian collapsed next to her.

I sank back as well, my last perception of a four-part choral rising majestically into the echos of the force....

*gray*



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« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2017, 03:42:32 PM »

Good twist re Talia being a Hand, that could make for some interesting back story to fill in at some point, some gritty action going on there too.
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Taegin Roan
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« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2017, 06:17:25 PM »

Ouch. You really have no problem hurting yourself. Another aspect of good writing. Making it realistic. Too often people do not let their characters get hurt, and they don't have weaknesses. I haven't seen that with you yet. Great job. Now I'm really excited to see what happens next.
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
"Confronting fear is the Destiny of a Jedi" - Luke Skywalker
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2017, 07:34:26 PM »

YES!
NO!!
ARRGGH!!!

EXCELLENT pacing Karm!  I had to go back to make sure that I was reading every word instead of trying to see what was coming next^^

Good twist re Talia being a Hand, that could make for some interesting back story to fill in at some point, some gritty action going on there too.
LSG is right: AWESOME twist with Talia as Hand!  And subtle foreshadowing with her being just a tad too prepared  Wink

Ouch. You really have no problem hurting yourself. Another aspect of good writing. Making it realistic. Too often people do not let their characters get hurt, and they don't have weaknesses. I haven't seen that with you yet. Great job. Now I'm really excited to see what happens next.
I couldn't agree more; TR really brings up a poignant issue: too often people write their characters as superhuman (or worse, God Mode Sues).  Not you Karm; you've written believable characters that (and I feel confident in speaking for us all  Smiley) we care about.  I canNOT wait to read what's next!

Until next installment friends  Smiley
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Karmack
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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2017, 11:19:57 AM »

Ouch. You really have no problem hurting yourself. Another aspect of good writing. Making it realistic. Too often people do not let their characters get hurt, and they don't have weaknesses. I haven't seen that with you yet. Great job. Now I'm really excited to see what happens next.

Thanks Taegin.  Trust me, I fight against making Karmack weakness-free.  Thanks guys for the encouragement!

LOL  Now I just have to come up with something not to crazy to get out of this mess....   he he he
Stay tuned!
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