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Author Topic: The Burned One: A Templar’s Path  (Read 3050 times)
Taegin Roan
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 1833
Posts: 6078


Lord of the Force


« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2018, 03:12:23 PM »

Wow. I have been struggling to catch up with all the stories, but I really wish I hadn't gotten behind on this one. Everything about it is so intriguing. The dark characters who were once so light and full of joy. The deaths at the hands of the Vong and everything else. I haven't read any of the Legends books about the Vong War, but I have heard quite a bit about it and read quite a bit about it on Wookieepedia, and from what I know, this captures the essence of the aftermath perfectly. But the hardest thing for me was seeing the names of 3 different Crescentfall's (Crescentfallen? Wink Undecided ) on the memorials. Counting that out, that would be Rakham, Heddit, and Dala. My three favorite characters from Brothers. And then you see that for some reason Edda blames herself? I don't understand why, but I think you will show us why in future chapters. Masterfully done TDC. Masterfully done.
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
"We are the spark that will light the fire that will burn the first order down." - Poe Dameron

Avatar by DarthScrub

TheDrunkenConsular
Knight Ensign
*

Force Alignment: 44
Posts: 163


Light Side


« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2019, 01:32:31 PM »

Well, I'm back.  I can only apologize for my absence.  I started having a hard time shortly before I vanished.  I struggled for a long time with clinical depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts.  That was part of the reason I started this story; Rakham was a shameless self insert, and Edda became one as well.  Rakham was the part of me that I liked, the person I had been and wanted to be again.  Edda was who I was becoming.  Things have gotten better for me, however, and I wanted to return to you guys and continue adding to the story that I hopefully convinced you to invest your time in.  So, without further ado, we pick up where we left off:

Chapter 5: The Summit, Part 2

     Edda ran her hand along the the cool, smooth stone wall of the hallway as she walked away from the memorial.  The Archive was bustling, and occasionally someone would throw a friendly hello her way, but it was all she could to nod in return, revealing glassy, tear filled eyes and lips pressed together tightly, to stop them from quivering.  The carnage of Dantooine played through her mind over and over again, starting as her boots hit the ground as they ran off of their ship and into the fray, through the chaos of the battle, the screams and the blood and the tears, and up to the last time she ever saw her master, the last wink he gave her, his beard singed and his face covered with blood and soot, the words he spoke with a lopsided grin as he ordered her to leave him
     I've got this.

     She let the guilt and pain wash over her again and again as the scene looped over and over in her mind.  She knew, deep down, that she was punishing herself.  That she was wallowing.  But on the surface, every part of her felt that she had to, that she deserved to be punished, and that no one else would do it for her.  Despite that, it was a relief when the portable holocommunicator on her wrist beeped, and displayed the name of the caller; Jorn Bollin.  With a genuine smile, she ran a sleeve across her eyes to dry them and tapped the button to accept the call, leaning her back against the wall.
     “Hey!  How's the boy settling in?”  She asked as his head and shoulders appeared in front of her.
     “He's doing just fine.  A few of the masters are still keeping an eye on him, but all the signs are good.  What happened to him was truly tragic, but one hopes that time will heal.  How are you doing, Edda?”  He replied in his normally cheery manner, only slightly betraying his concern.
     “I've been worse.” She said, hoping that he couldn't see the redness of her eyes.  “But I'm betting you didn't call just to check up on me.”
     “Well, don't be surprised if I do from time to time, but this time you're correct.  How would you fancy a bit of adventure?  Truth be told, I could use some backup on this one.”  He replied.
     “I'm sure I could convince my superiors to allow me a little bit of time for a personal assignment, especially one that furthers our relationship with your order.  Would it happen to be related to the map from the Archive?”
     “It would.  I've been asked to follow it.”
     “Well, I'm happy to come along for the ride, but what does it lead to?”
     “That's a very good question.  Not many are aware of it's existence, and few who are agree on what lies at the end.  Those who do agree tend to believe that it's nothing.  Some believe it leads to an artifact of incredible, but potentially dark, power.  And some, my brother included, before his passing, believe that this map leads to the prison of an incredibly powerful, undying or near undying Sith Lord.”
     “What do you believe, Jorn?”  Edda asked, her interest piqued.
     “I don't know.  I don't believe that a battle with a Dark Lord of the Sith awaits us, but neither do I believe it's nothing at all.  That's why I'd love to have some backup.  However, know that the Jedi Order doesn't necessarily condone this partnership.  Those who know of the Templars see you as, at best, a potential threat.  Many believe that some of your old traditions are a perversion of the Force, and that your willingness to use the Force as a weapon is wrong.”
     “Oh, we're well aware.  But, hopefully our willingness to cooperate will bring some of them around.  Can you meet me on Oros?  I'm stuck here for the next two days either way.”  Edda asked, happy to have something to look forward to at the end of the Summit.
     “I'll be there in three.  See you soon, Edda.” 
     “Safe travels, Jedi.”



     The day stretched on for what seemed like weeks, but looking forward to the trip with Jorn made it go a little easier.  Edda was happy to finally end up in her rarely used quarters at the end of the day.  She would almost have preferred to sleep on her ship, but found herself too exhausted to make the long walk back.  The room was dimly lit and furnished comfortably.  The quarters were split into three rooms, a kitchen, refresher and living space, with a bed, several couches and holo projector.  Edda kicked off her boots and let her cloak and robes fall to the floor before collapsing onto one of the couches.  Her heart felt heavy, like a stone weight hung in her chest.  It had been a hard day, but she knew that the hardest part was yet to come, because now she was alone, and there were no more distractions, nothing that could give her the strength to put up a false facade.  Feelings of powerlessness, pain and frustration washed over her, and as the tears welled in her eyes she felt a sob rising in her chest.  Every wrong decision she'd made, and the faces of everyone who'd been hurt because of them, began to run through her mind, and the weight in her chest pulled her into blackness.  There was no way out, no way forward, no way to change the past and no way to make the present better.
     She lay there like that what felt like hours before there was a knock at the door.  Edda bolted up, shouting in a cracked voice.
     “Just a minute!”
      She rushed to a chest of drawers near the bed and retrieving a plain white shirt to cover her bare upper body.  She wiped her face and opened the door, and was surprised to see Tasrii Kepressa.  A quick look of sadness crossed Tasrii's face as she saw, or more likely, felt, the pain in Edda, but she regained her smiling composure immediately.
     “May I come in?”  She asked, holding up a bottle of Correllian whiskey and two glasses.  Edda looked unsure at first, searching for some excuse to say no, but relented and wordlessly stepped aside.  She walked over to the couch ahead of Tasrii and kicked her discarded clothes into a somewhat neater pile before sitting down cross legged on the couch.  Tasrii sat down too, carefully pouring a measured amount of whiskey into each glass before speaking.
     “Edda, I just hoped that we could talk.  We haven't in a long time.”  She said softly, offering a glass to Edda, who took it with a nod but didn't raise her downcast eyes or speak.  She took a sip, then cupped the glass in her hands and stared into it.  She could tell that Tasrii was trying to reach out to her, but she couldn't let her in, and she didn't know why.
     “We care about you here.  I care about you, Edda.  I know that being here, being around us makes you hurt.  I just want to help you.  I can feel the pain you're in.  I want to make it better, not worse.  I don't want to make you hurt.”  Tasrii said gently, putting a hand on the smaller women's shoulder.  Edda placed her hand on top of it, and met Tasrii's eyes with her own.
     “It isn't you, Tas,” she rasped softly.  “It's what I did to you.  What I took from you.”  Tears began to fall again.
     “Edda…”  Tasrii stood up, and took the glass from Edda, setting it down along with her own.  She sat down again, this time next to Edda, and put her arms around her. “Nothing that happened was your fault.  Nothing.”  she said quietly, opening her emotions to the Force to try and soothe Edda.  Edda laid her head on the Zabrak's chest and let the tears fall as Tasrii brushed her long dark hair away from her face.  They stayed like that for a long while, until finally sleep took them both.



     For the first time in a very long time, Edda's sleep was peaceful.  She awoke in the same way she'd fallen asleep, with Tasrii stroking her hair.  Tasrii was reading a data pad,  and seemed to have been awake for a while already.  Edda yawned and stretched.
     “Good morning.”  Tasrii said with a smile.
     “Good morning!”  Edda replied warmly, staring into Tasrii's bright blue eyes.  Without warning, Tasrii placed a hand on Edda's cheek, and leaned in, kissing her softly on the lips before pulling back to see Edda's stunned face.  Embarrassment immediately washed over Tasrii, and she stood up, removing her arms from Edda.
     “I'm sorry.”  She said nervously, but Edda grabbed her hand and stood as well.
     “No.”  She said, and wrapped her arms around the taller women's neck.  “Thank you, Tas.”  She whispered, then pulled Tasrii down into a deeper, longer kiss.



     “We're lifting off in twenty minutes, get the last of those supplies loaded up!”  Edda barked at the worker droids who were milling listlessly about, lazily transferring goods from Jorn's ship to Edda's. 
     “If you don't like this speed, you're gonna hate the next one!”  One of the droids buzzed back at her, making a rude gesture.  However, it did increase it's pace.
     “What's wrong with them?”  Jorn asked curiously as he walked up alongside Tasrii and watched the curious proceeding before them.  All of the droids were either arguing amongst themselves or slacking off.
     “A gift from Rakham Crescentfall, the founder of our order and hobbyist droid tinkerer.  He thought it would be hilarious to program our worker droids to be lazy and mouth off all time.”
     “Huh.  That is kind of hilarious, actually.”  Jorn replied with a smirk.
     “Yeah, that's the worst part.”  Edda grinned back.
     “Alright, your eminence, we moved your junk.  Anything else or can we go find some real work to do?”  The droid leader interjected sourly, the mechanical buzz of his voice doing nothing to hide it's disdain.
     “Yeah, you could go turn yourself in at a scrapyard.”  Edda shot back.  The droid made another rude gesture and rounded up it's crew with a string of profanities.  Jorn watched them with march away with barely concealed mirth as the leader shouted things about his crew like “herding womp rats” and how he should “scrap all you disobedient toasters.” 
     “I promise, it gets old after a while.”  Tasrii's voice came from behind them, causing both of the Knights to jump. 
     “Master, what have I told you about sneaking up on people?”  Edda jokingly reprimanded her with a smile.
     “That it's good fun for all involved and I should do it as often as possible?”  Tasrii laughed. 
     “No, the opposite of that.”  Edda said, before quickly standing on her tiptoes to kiss Tasrii on the cheek.  “Make sure the Archive is still here when I get back, alright?  I put a lot of work into this place.”
     “Don't you worry, we aren't going anywhere.  Be careful out there, Edda.”
     “I always am.  Load up Jorn, it's time to go.  Let's find find out where this map takes us.”

CHAPTER END
 
     
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Who says red is only for the bad guys?

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 779
Posts: 3136


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2019, 04:32:18 PM »

First off: welcome back TDC!  Sorry to hear about the hard times but I'm very glad that you're doing better (and hope that you continue to do so).  And I can empathize in relation to your characters: Zearic definitely mirrors much of my personality and D'Aylanna IS my wife  Wink  But I feel that such helps in the characterization; I can certainly attest that I enjoy reading about Rakham and Edda (as well as Karm&Co., the Aethans, Darth Rowan, and [LR's] Revan)  Cheesy  Speaking of...

Poor Edda.  Her sorrow and self-rebuke is palpable (and I wonder if it isn't somewhat misplaced...)  But my favorite scene is the one between Tasrii and Edda.  It was beautifully done and definitely shows that the relationship between the two women is a bastion that empowers them.  Wonderfully done my friend.

And great hook: I am looking forward to find out just what it is that Jorn needs Edda for  Wink
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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

TheDrunkenConsular
Knight Ensign
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Force Alignment: 44
Posts: 163


Light Side


« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2019, 07:33:19 AM »

First off: welcome back TDC!  Sorry to hear about the hard times but I'm very glad that you're doing better (and hope that you continue to do so).  And I can empathize in relation to your characters: Zearic definitely mirrors much of my personality and D'Aylanna IS my wife  Wink  But I feel that such helps in the characterization; I can certainly attest that I enjoy reading about Rakham and Edda (as well as Karm&Co., the Aethans, Darth Rowan, and [LR's] Revan)  Cheesy  Speaking of...

Poor Edda.  Her sorrow and self-rebuke is palpable (and I wonder if it isn't somewhat misplaced...)  But my favorite scene is the one between Tasrii and Edda.  It was beautifully done and definitely shows that the relationship between the two women is a bastion that empowers them.  Wonderfully done my friend.

And great hook: I am looking forward to find out just what it is that Jorn needs Edda for  Wink

I appreciate it, man!  I still have bad days, but not so bad as they were.  I really regret the way I vanished from here, abandoning our collaboration and leaving everyone hanging.

I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter!  I tried to put a bit more emotion in it than usual, but I wasn't sure if it was believable or not. 

Next chapter won't be too far out, so keep an eye open for it!
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Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 164
Posts: 1104



« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2019, 03:37:06 PM »

I appreciate it, man!  I still have bad days, but not so bad as they were.  I really regret the way I vanished from here, abandoning our collaboration and leaving everyone hanging.

I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter!  I tried to put a bit more emotion in it than usual, but I wasn't sure if it was believable or not. 

Next chapter won't be too far out, so keep an eye open for it!

I hear you man, don't worry about it you gotta do what you gotta do to take care of yourself. Hopefully writing more helps you out a bit and we're all here eager to read it.

Totally believable too especially this bit - "Feelings of powerlessness, pain and frustration washed over her, and as the tears welled in her eyes she felt a sob rising in her chest.  Every wrong decision she'd made, and the faces of everyone who'd been hurt because of them, began to run through her mind, and the weight in her chest pulled her into blackness.  There was no way out, no way forward, no way to change the past and no way to make the present better."
All alone nothing to think on but your own failings - whether those failing are her responsibility or not (As Tasrii tries to soothe) it doesn't matter,  the feelings are real either way and that is what matters - truth depends on your own point of view in that sense. 
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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."

TheDrunkenConsular
Knight Ensign
*

Force Alignment: 44
Posts: 163


Light Side


« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2019, 10:36:06 AM »

Chapter 6: Bread Crumb

     "You know, my money was on Sith."  Jorn's comment broke Edda's reverie as she stared silently at the control panel.  Truth be told, she was still trying to figure out what had happened between her and Tasrii, and she was glad for the distraction.
     "You think that's where the map is taking us?"  She asked, shooting him a glance as she realized that the instruments she'd been staring at indicated a course drift.  She adjusted the controls deftly, correcting their path.
     "No." Jorn shook his head.  "Back in the day, that's what I thought the Scourge of Dantooine was.  We didn't know who you were, or what.  We only knew that a Force Lord wearing a mask and swinging a red blade who had no qualms about using the Force as a weapon saved us from destruction.  A lot of ideas went around.  A rogue or dark Jedi was the going theory among those who hadn't seen you in action.  Those of us who'd been there could feel it though.  Anger, sorrow, hatred.  Sheer, unbridled power.  We thought you must have been an ancient Sith warlord, who was wise enough to see that the Vong were a mutual enemy."  A sense of respect, perhaps even awe, filled Jorn's voice as he continued.
     "But then came the stories from Ithor.  You showed up again, but this time, you were different.  You cut paths for our medics, you dragged the wounded out of the fray.  You healed those you could.  Half the ones you brought back were already gone, but you didn't stop.  You drug a hundred and fifty men to safety.  We who'd seen you at Dantooine called you a Scourge, a punisher to the Yuuzhan Vong, but on Dantooine, they saw a guardian angel, who always showed up at the last possible moment.  They called you the Valkyrie."
     "I did what was needed, Jorn."  She replied after a moment, with a sad smile.
     "You know, the mission to your old Archive wasn't the first time we met."  Jorn added.
     "Oh?"
     "The Fall of Coruscant.  When you were wounded."
     "Oh."
     "We'd been hearing reports of your activity for two days without any break.  It was like you didn't sleep, didn't eat, didn't do anything but slaughter Vong.  Every objective my team was given had already been cleared, evidently by you, according to the string of civilians who you'd kept safe at each point.  Our orders were changed eventually; we were to catch up to you, and provide any assistance we could.  So we started following the reports.  It took us six hours to find you.  We eventually caught up to you in a lower level slum.  You were lying against a wall, your armor shredded, your mask lost, bleeding from a dozen wounds.  The street was filled with dead Vong.  We thought it had been your final stand.  One of the younger ones on my team tried to count the bodies, but lost track around seventy.  Most of them were in too many pieces to tell how many there had been.  We were gonna take your body out so you could be laid to rest respectfully when our healer sensed life in you.  He was trying to stabilize you when your friends showed up.  Teks, Rhia and Kip Crescentfall, and Nadia Kepressa.  In so many words, they told us to make ourselves scarce, and that was first contact between the Jedi and Templar Orders.  After the battle, your masters contacted ours, but the relationship was shaky at best."  He said with a laugh.
     "Our standing orders were to make sure that your people won their battles, but to limit contact as much as possible.  Our order had lost a lot of people, and trying to fight a war with your new order at the same time as the Vong would have destroyed us.  We had no way of knowing how you would react to us or our ways."  Edda explained.  "After the war, we were more interested in forming a friendship, but the Jedi weren't sure yet."
     "We did our research.  The Crescentfall brothers were black sheep of the Old Order, and the order they founded had dark siders on it's council, several members using unknown techniques to extend their lives unnaturally and a very bloody past.  Even now, your existence is a closely guarded secret in the order.  The only reason a lowly Knight such as myself is in the know is because of my firsthand experience with you."
     "To tell you the truth, Jorn, things have been done in the name of our Order that would turn your stomach.  It turns mine, sometimes.  In the early years, we were on the very edge.  Our job was to protect the knowledge and the treasures Rakham inherited, and to keep them out of the wrong hands.  Maybe we weren't the right hands, but there were worse out there.  Much worse.  Looks like we've got a more pressing issue, though."  Edda's hands once again glided over the familiar controls.  "We're almost there."
     "Is it showing on sensors yet?"  Jorn asked, peering at the various instrument displays in an attempt to answer his own question.
     "Yeah.  There."  Edda pointed to a blip on one of the larger screens.  "It looks like a rogue planet.  It's not on any of our star charts."  As the ship sped closer, more and more information was displayed.  "Breathable atmosphere, surface is cold but survivable with proper equipment."
     "Any signs of civilization?"
     "Not yet, looks like an empty rock."
     "That might make this easier."
     "We'll reach orbit in ten minutes.  Go start pulling the gear out and I'll see if I can set us down."

     Entry into the atmosphere was uneventful, as was the process of landing on an ice sheet.  The surface of the planet was covered in snow and ice but for a few patches of salt water.  Sensor scans revealed that most of the planet was covered in oceans under a thick layer of ice, but the map brought them to a stark ridge of mountains, jutting up from the lonely landscape like a row of dagger-sharp teeth against a sky that was perpetually dark and filled with stars.
     The cold weather equipment consisted of black, skin tight thermal suits worn under hooded fur-lined oversuits.  Thick balaclavas and heavy night vision goggles covered their faces, and a set of long range heavy blasters complemented their lightsabers, along with backpacks filled with survival and mountaineering equipment.  Two compact military speeder bikes had found their way into the ships cargo bay as well, and Edda kicked the engine of hers into life before making a communications check.
     "Jorn, can you hear me?"
     "Loud and clear."  He replied, firing his engine as well.  "Do you have the coordinates?"
     "Already in my nav system.  Race you there?"
     "Last one there's a rotten-" Before Jorn could finish, Edda's engine screamed, and the speeder shot off like a blaster bolt.  Jorn chuckled softly and cranked his throttle to the stop, letting the bike scream forward.  They were approximately ten kilometers from the edge of the mountains, and it didn't take them long to cross that distance, though Edda maintained a hundred meter lead the whole way.  She parked her speeder at the bottom of a tall, vertical rock face.
     "You owe me a drink when we get back to civilization."  She spoke into her comm with a laugh.
     "You cheated."  Jorn replied jokingly as he pulled along side her.  "Have you noticed how damn cold it is?"
     "Yeah.  Wind on the bike cut right through me."  Edda said, rubbing her gloved hands together.
     "What does the map say?"
     "This is where the last set of coordinates brought us.  The next set is a hundred meters that way." Edda pointed at the rock face.  The face was eight or ten meters high, and seemed to lead to a ledge.  "Hang on, I'll lower a rope."  She abruptly leaped, using the Force to launch herself up high enough to grab onto the ledge and pull herself up the rest of the way.  After a moment of silence, the sound of steel striking steel rang out, and a rope uncoiled itself over the edge, followed by a small, hooded and masked face peeking over the edge.  "Climb up.  It looks like we're on the right track."
     "You know, I said I wasn't good at and didn't like Force acrobatics, not that I'm incapable of it."  He replied ruefully, but nonetheless grabbed the knotted climbing rope and began pulling himself up.  Edda reached out a hand and helped him climb up onto the ledge, then unhooked the rope and started coiling it up.  Jorn took in the scene, adjusting his goggles for the darkness.
     Laid out before him was a long passageway cut into the side of the mountain.  It was obviously not a natural formation.  At the end, the passage disappeared underground, into the mountainside.
     "You were right."  He said.  "Looks like we could be on to something."
     "Still think there's a grumpy old Sith down there freezing his butt off and waiting to cut out our hearts?"  Edda joked, stashing the rope back in her bag and setting off down the passage.
     "Oh, I'm sure there's a whole remnant of the old Sith Empire here, just waiting to rise again."  He shot back sarcastically, catching up to his comrade.  An air of unease washed over him as they made their way towards the dark entrance.  Stories of impossibly ancient and powerful Dark Lords sprang unbidden to his mind, even as he tried to tell himself that those stories were mere fantasy.  It's probably just an empty cave. he chided himself internally.
     "Whatcha wanna bet that we're about to be eaten by some terrible ice monster?"  Edda joked.
    Thanks. he thought silently.  He wasn't sure he could imagine anything managing to phase the little Hapan.
     "I'm thinking it's probably an ancient treasure vault full of untold valuables and powerful relics."  He said, trying to shake the fear poking at the edges of his mind.
     "Eh, I already got a couple of those.  I could go for a good lightsaber duel, though.  It's been ages."  She laughed.
     "You know Edda, it occurs to me that you're more relaxed here than you are safe at home or on the ship."
     "This is where I belong."  She said, coming to a stop as they reached the entrance.  "Doing work."
     From here, the night vision optics in their goggles could penetrate the darkness.  The ice faded away to complex stonework leading to a set of massive wooden doors set inside the tunnel.
     "Looks like we're in the right place."  Jorn said.  Edda silently strode forward confidently, and before Jorn could stop her, used the hilt of her lightsaber to rap three times on the ancient wooden door, loudly.  "What are you doing?!"
     "Checking to see if anybody's home."  She said with a straight face.  "Looks like the locks and hinges are rusted together.  Step back." 
     She shifted the lightsaber hilt to her left hand and held it at the ready, then placed her right palm against the seam where the two doors met.  For a moment nothing happened, then Jorn began to hear a hum, followed by a buzz, until, almost anticlimactically, the doors collapsed to dust.
     "Okay, I'm impressed."  Jorn said, eliciting a quiet smirk from Edda, who stepped back and gestured for him to step through first.  He was tempted to argue, but resisted the urge and stepped forward.
     
[cont.]
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Who says red is only for the bad guys?

TheDrunkenConsular
Knight Ensign
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Force Alignment: 44
Posts: 163


Light Side


« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2019, 10:37:37 AM »

The entrance opened up on an enormous hall, with a vaulted ceiling and walls lined with ancient, crumbling statues depicted robed figures.  Without night vision, the darkness inside would have seemed impenetrable, however, the place was warm in the Force, and subtly set the two intruders' minds at ease as the moved forward.  The spaces on the walls between the statues bore complex murals that told endless tales, and the stone tiles under their feet were intricately carved.
     "I wonder how old this place is?"  Edda pondered out loud. 
    "Very, judging by the degradation of this stonework.  It looks like the work of the Old Order.  Could be a thousand, two thousand years old."
     "So far I'm not seeing any doors.  I think this might just be one giant room."  Edda replied.
     "Maybe… did you hear that?"  Jorn said, looking over his shoulder.
     "Hear what?" 
     "Something scraping."  His tone took on a worried pitch. 
     "Keep your eyes open, but I think it was just your imagination.  Scanners didn't show any life signs. The end of the hall is coming into view.  I think I see something."  Edda said.
     "Yeah.  Looks like a pedestal."
     "Might be what we came for."
   
     The end of the hall began to fade into vision almost surreally in their goggles.  There was indeed a pedestal, on a raised dais that led into a tall alcove with yet another statue of some ancient master.  The pedestal was round, and climbing up the steps revealed it's contents.  A grey cloak, folded neatly, and atop it and ancient lightsaber.  As they stepped closer to the pedestal, the brightness of the room's energy grew, until it seemed to warm their shivering bodies along with their minds.  However, there was something even more interesting on the pedestal, beside the ancient artifacts; a data chip, one that couldn't possibly be more than a few decades old.
     "What the hell…" Edda whispered, and reached out for it.
     "Stop!" A mighty voice echoed inside her skull, and she spun around, but froze in place immediately. Jorn didn't hear the voice, but he turned too, following his comrade's gaze.
     Towering over the two were half a dozen animated statues, and even before their eyes more of the statues left their alcoves, moving with impossible silence.
     "You must be tested." The voice returned, but this time both of them heard it.  The pure shall not be harmed.  You must be tested. 
     One of the statues, if they were indeed statues, stepped forward and raised his hand, palm facing forward, towards Jorn.
     This one is pure.
     It turned it's attention to Edda next, who nervously moved a thumb towards the activation switch on her lightsaber.
     This one is not pure. This one has darkness.  It must be destroyed.
     Edda hit the switch, and an unstable red blade screamed into life, but Jorn yelled before anyone could move.
     "Wait!"
     The statues seemed willing to defer to him, at least for the moment, and the leading one shifted it's attention from Edda.
     "Wait.  I don't understand.  How am I pure, and she not?"
     "The one called Jorn Bollin is light.  He is Jedi.  The one called Edda Veek is dark.  She is something else.  Is Jorn Bollin Edda Veek's prisoner?"
    "No!  This woman is my friend.  She is helping me."
    "How could one who is light be assisted by one who is dark?  Is Jorn Bollin confused?"
   "No!  Her heart is just and good, she is not dark."
   Edda Veek uses the Force as a tool of destruction.  Edda Veek must not be allowed to obtain these artifacts.  Do not obstruct us, Jorn Bollin."
     Even as the voice echoed through their minds, something hit Edda in the back, hard, and sent her tumbling down the dais steps.  Jorn drew his lightsaber and activated it, bringing the blue blade around in a wide arc to face the statue who'd crawled out behind them.  He caught it at the waist, bisecting it, and then spun to face the others, who were moving for Edda.  He leaped forward, and Force pushed the advancing stone monsters away from his friend as she picked herself up and reactivated her saber.  The statues stumbled backwards, but did not fall, and began to advance again, moving with frightening dexterity.
     "This isn't good!" Jorn shouted.  In response, Edda clenched her teeth and shifted into a Juyo stance.
     "If they want darkness, they can have it!"  She snarled, and launched into a flurry of vicious acrobatic attacks, propelling herself to the center of the crowd of living statues, lopping off chunks of stone as she went.  Jorn shifted into the Soresu stance he'd been trained with and waded in behind her, dodging the swings of great stone fists, and cutting through what he couldn't dodge.  The rate at which Edda reduced the stone warriors to rubble was almost terrifying, but it took Jorn a moment to figure out why their numbers didn't seem to be  diminishing.  Swinging his saber wide to clear the area, he spun around and looked for the statue he'd cut down at the beginning of the battle.
     It was gone. 
     He looked next to the path of destruction Edda was carving, and at the ground around her.  Slowly, but surely, the pieces of stone were dragging, crawling or rolling themselves back together and standing again.
     "Jorn!  They won't die!"  Edda shouted.
     "I know!  What do we do?"
     "Grab the loot and leave!  I'll clear a path!"

     Jorn turned again, and made to sprint for the pedestal, but as his foot left the ground, stone fingers wrapped around his ankles and he crashed to the ground with a thud.  The air flew from his lungs and his lightsaber rolled away.  As he struggled for air he began to kick his legs wildly, but only caused the grip to tighten.  He looked down and saw a stone torso, missing both legs, holding on to him, it's blank stone eyes boring into his.  Suddenly, a gloved hand clapped down on it's head, and the stone rapidly began to superheat, until it turned red, then orange, and finally melted into magma.  The grip released, and he scrambled away.
     "I got your back!"  Edda yelled, already spinning her lightsaber into a crimson cage around her body.  He struggled to his feet and called his saber back to him, catching it in an outstretched hand before taking off at a sprint.  He quickly gathered the items from the pedestal and shouted back at Edda, who had the statues' full attention.
      "Got it!  Let's go!"
      In one fluid motion, Edda's lightsaber blade retracted and the hilt went onto her belt.  With feline grace, she scaled the statue nearest to her, too fast for attacks that seemed cumbersome in comparison, and leapt into the air over it's head.  She came down to the floor on her hands, and at the moment she hit, there was a deafening clap and blinding flash of light.  The shockwave nearly knocked Jorn off his feet, and the heat wave singed his heavy winter clothes.  The goggles compensated quickly for the bright light, revealing the destruction in front of him. 
     Edda was crouched, but already beginning to stand, in a crater in the floor.  The statues had been flung against the walls and reduced to rubble, and the path out was, for the moment, clear.
     "Time to go!"  She shouted, as the piles of stone began to churn and reform.  Jorn didn't need to hear it twice, and took off at a dead sprint, catching up to his friend in a second.  Both of them dashed headlong for the doorway, each of them afraid to look back over their shoulders.  Both of them were breathing raggedly by the time they had the sky above them, but still they ran, leaping down the ledge to their speeders and kicking the engines to life.  It wasn't until the engines were screaming and they were rocketing away that either dared look back, and when they did, they saw…

     Nothing.  The way off of this icy planet was clear, and with any luck they had the next piece of their puzzle.

CHAPTER END
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2019, 10:02:25 AM »

Edda is definitely a personal favorite of mine so I'm stoked that we get another chapter TDC  Smiley

I love the in-story history of Edda's (and the Templar's) deeds during the Yuuzhan Vong War; gives provenance to Edda's own trials that still haunt her (excellent character development here; I really enjoy the mentor-role that she's assumed with Jorn).  Speaking of: even now she's confused with where her and Tasrii stand; such interpersonal relationships have always made for excellent pathos.  And, admittedly, I really like Tasrii as well  Wink

Wonderful imagery: the ice-cave spelunking giving way to the ancient temple is an incredible setting (wish that I'd've thought of that...  Wink).  And those stone Force golems: perfect foes, especially since they are the proverbial "implacable man" where they just...won't...stop.  Reminds me of when I first saw the movie "Terminator."

Looking forward to the next chapter TDC!
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Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2019, 11:55:20 AM »

echoing Dutchman.   Interesting take on "Light" and "Dark" by the guardians of the relics.  I doubt many Jedi could pass it, especially after the Clone Wars and what happened after. 

Unfortunately, the tenseness of the scene was interrupted for me by the image of the song "Rock Monster" from Veggie Tales - The Pirates who Don't Do Anything...  LOL
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2019, 12:32:00 AM »

echoing Dutchman.   Interesting take on "Light" and "Dark" by the guardians of the relics.  I doubt many Jedi could pass it, especially after the Clone Wars and what happened after. 

Agreed even Yoda wouldn't I think, only 1 Jedi I can think of in the Forumverse who would pass...
Curious though - that purity is what whoever set those guardians wanted of he finder and not necessarily what they were themselves...one wonders why they set that up in that way.
Also agree with Dutch, as was mentioned the war with the Vong marked them all, its almost as real as their current task still.
Let's see where this path leads!
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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."

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