Sep 22 2009 7:22pm
Something was different. A new awareness had appeared, like when you realize something for the first time and say " Oh, thats how it works." It might have always been there, lurking under the surface of consciousness. Now though, now it appeared in a brilliant revelation before the eyes of a man. The being standing at the bridge of a Star Destroyer rolled these thoughts over in his mind. A sudden thought repeated over and over in his mind, go here, seek here, find it. This thought had started ever since he had found an old heirloom from his family. A holocron shaped in a pyramidical form. As soon as he had placed his hand on it images flashed before his mind. They were his family history. This device had shown him what once was. How his ancestors were once powerful beings and all feared their might. That a royal and ancient blood flowed through his veins did not seem to matter all that much to this man. For what truly mattered to him was the power that his ancestors had held. It was deep, dark, and ancient. Perhaps it had been forgotten. But no, it could not be forgotten. He felt it flow through him, dark and mysterious. Something, something powerful. The holocron itself was something different. It appeared to be only part of a larger holocron. The message it held revealed only the location of the other device, but not in words. This ancient device spoke through feelings, through emotions.
Tycho turned suddenly and walked quickly to his quarters. He needed to find what this was. What power he possessed. Who were his ancestors? The Imperial Officer quickly set a course for himself. He would be taking a leave of absence and find this missing holocron. Tycho made up his mind. He had already obtained a six week leave, but he did not wish anyone to know where he was going. While Tycho was lost in thought a lieutenant entered the room.
" Sir, your shuttle is ready."
" Do you require a pilot?"
" No, I shall pilot it myself."
The lieutenant saluted and left. Tycho sank back into his reverie, then seeming to have come to some sort of decision, he stood up and began to put on his civilian clothes, which consisted of black pants, black boots, and a grey black shirt. He put on a dark cloack as well. Soon after, a stark white vessel left the hangar of the Destroyer and headed out into deep space before making the jump to hyperspace.
A cloaked figure sat in the pilot's seat of the Imperial shuttle. He toyed with a curious object shaped like a pyramid. Suddenly, he sat bolt upright. The cloaked man seemed to listen for a while then he grasped the controls of the shuttle and piloted the vessel towards the surface of a nearby planet. Tycho felt a chill run over him as he felt the savageness and anger of this planet. The holocron had lead him to Onderon and on Onderon he would search.
In contrast to the planet's anger and viciousness, a deep feeling of sadness and calm mingled with a tinge of cold fury came from Tycho. The sadness in him ran deep within him and seemed to make up part of his being, without it he would be different. While the calmness showed how he would control himself during all things. The icy anger however, was not directed at any one person, unless it be himself, but it seemed to strike out at the galaxy in general. It struck at the hate and malice, the greed and avarice, the unordered chaos of the galaxy. It seemed to say " Here am I! A pillar of order and a bringer of peace. Strike me if you dare!" It was another essential part of this being.
Tycho settled the ship down upon the surface of Onderon, but now that guiding force was directing him not towards the holocron, but towards another ship. Curious, Shorn walked over to it. Still cloaked in his dark clothing he presented a dark figure. The paleness of his face beneath the folds of the hood made him appear almost a specter and those who gazed into his icy blue eyes shuddered and averted their gaze. For to look into his piercing gaze was like looking into the eyes of your executioner. They accused and bared the soul, revealing all the horror within.
Two beings stood outside the ship, conversing with each other. One was a woman, of around twenty years of age. She was short with dark hair and....a curious feeling past over Tycho. It was almost as if the woman was staring at him even though she was not directly facing him. Shaking off the feeling Shorn looked in turn at the other. This one was still just a boy, of around nineteen. The most curious thing about him was that, at least from Tycho's perspective, the blonde haired youth did not seem to have any sort of eyes at all. He too seemed to be staring at Tycho without looking in the officer's direction. Still urged on by that curious outside energy, Tycho walked up to the two beings and waited for something to happen. Surely this guiding force had a plan. All Tycho had to do was follow it.
May 24 2010 3:05pm
The shuttle landing was nearly flawless.
Of course, ‘nearly’ can encompass a broad range of possibilities. Whenever one strays from the exact definition of flawless, there are any number of things that can go wrong. Usually, most of them do.
Or at least it seemed such to Skygge.
In this case, it meant the airspeeder that just happened to be fleeing Onderon Security for one reason or another – probably drunk driving, if the weaving of the speeder was any indication. The driver was either so inebriated that he couldn’t see the descending shuttle, or so focused on the Security speeders behind him that he didn’t see it. Either way, the pilot decided to cut across the no-fly-zone over the Iziz Planetary Spaceport and directly in the path of Skygge’s shuttle.
The resulting explosion disintegrated the speeder and its criminal occupant and rocked the descending shuttle, skewing it off-course enough that one stabilizer clipped the wall of the docking bay. The stabilizer broke loose, the shock freeing the starboard repulsorlift from its bindings and dropping it from the old craft to the docking-bay deck. The loss of the repulsorlift imbalanced the craft, sending it careening towards the deck much faster than intended and at an angle.
By the time the shuttle hit, Skygge had managed to right the shuttle, but she was unable to slow it. Furthermore, her quick reactions – which probably saved their lives – required rerouting immediate power to the engines and the remaining repulsorlift. In the process, she’d heard a loud crack and a muffled explosion from somewhere near the engine compartment. Probably a power coupling and the hyperdrive
, she thought. Great. So we’re stuck here.
It took a moment for her to collect her wits and respond to Spaceport Control’s repeated comm queries regarding her condition. “Control, this is Shuttle 234-C-48A3-TR7. We’re alright. Permission to exit craft?"
“Approved,” came the voice over the comm. “We are sorry for the inconvenience. Of course, you know we are not liable for the damage to your shuttle. Do you have insurance?”
Skygge scowled. The Sith account was deep, but their credits were only available through Imperial banks. And she didn’t have the funds here. “No,” she replied. “But we’ll get it repaired as soon as possible.”
“Very well. The docking fee is seventy-five credits per week. Make sure you either set up an account with us so we can draw on the account every week, or come see us weekly to pay the funds. If you don’t pay every seven days, Onderon Security reserves the right to impound your vessel.” Double Sithspit!
Skygge thought. That’s a lot of creds. And if the ship has to stay here while it’s being repaired…
“Understood, Control.” Thinking for a moment, she added, “I don’t have to pay the docking fee.”
A chuckle came over the comm. “Yeah, that’s funny, lady. What’s your account number?”
Skygge closed her eyes and sighed. Apparently either she wasn’t adept enough with the Force to influence his mind over this distance, or he was simply strong-minded and alert. Either way, she was about to lose seventy creds. “Yeah, I thought so. I don’t have an account set up on Onderon yet; this is our first trip here. I’ll pay this fee in hard cash and get you an account number later.”
“Understood, Shuttle TR7. Exit the craft at your leisure; you should pay the Security officer on duty at the Bay Control station near the door.”
Flipping off the comm switch, Skygge sat back and sighed. “Just great,” she muttered, exasperated. This part of the trip was already turning out to be less than successful.
“Master?” came the inquiry from Calen, who she’d nearly forgotten about until now. “You could just kill him, couldn’t you?”
Skygge sighed again, then swiveled her seat and stretched out her hand. Calen felt the muscles of his throat constrict, the Force beginning to squeeze and crush them. “As I could kill you,” she said calmly. She held him for a moment, watching him try to grapple with the invisible tendrils of the Force, then dropped him to the deck. “But what purpose would that serve? He exasperated me, he ridiculed me, but he did not and cannot harm me. He is simply a pawn doing his job; his death is neither necessary or useful. In fact, considering that it would certainly put us out of favor with Onderon Security, it would probably hurt our purpose here. We’ve already drawn more attention than I would like.”
Calen, still gasping for breath, could only nod.
When they exited the shuttle, Skygge found someone waiting for them already. Even better, she thought. A simply sweep of her hand could send him flying into the wall; an electrical discharge from her fingers could double him in pain, a simple thought could turn his worst nightmares into a reality in his mind. She did none of these, though; she simply nodded to him and began to walk past.
Then she stopped. And turned around, slowly.
She snaked a thin tendril of inquiry towards him. The result was as expected; this one could touch the Force. He was untrained, but perhaps…
She glanced at Calen and smiled. His broadening scowl told her that he too had felt the power within the man, and that he had noticed her inquiry. He was jealous, and fearful of losing his position.
Refocusing on the stranger, she asked, “Who are you, and what exactly are you doing in our docking bay?”
Jun 10 2010 4:51pm
Night had already fallen when Ben and Tenea walked into the edge of Limeri, the capital and largest city on Ryadi. More accurately Ben was the only one walking as Tenea slept in his arms. He had carried the girl for the past two hours, letting her sleep as this was the first calm rest she had had in since the rescue. In the four days since their rescue the girl had one had perhaps ten whole hours of sleep and most of that was a restless slumber filled with nightmares.
Ben was actually surprised at the resilience of the little girl and admired her for not crying the whole time. Every day she had gotten stronger mentally and Ben had no doubt that she would recover fully from her ordeal. The scars would always be there, of course, but she would make a good life for herself. Maybe this episode in her life would actually give her some direction in her life. To this Ben smiled, imaging meeting this girl later in life to find her in a law enforcement position.
"Tenea, wake up." He smiled and nudged the girl sleeping his arms.
She opened her eyes slowly and yawned, blinking quickly as she looked around. "Where are we? It's night time. We should rest."
He gave her another smile as he set her down on the ground and stood back up. "Tonight you will sleep in your own bed. We are back in Limeri. In an hour we should have you back with your parents."
The girl's eyes lit up and her face brightened as she looked around quickly, as if trying to remember this place. She hugged Ben's waist tightly and he laugh softly as he rubbed her back and looked down at the excited girl.
"Momma and pappa must be sooo worried!! Lets gooo Lets goooo." She took her hand and pulled them down the road without thinking.
"They will be very happy to see you again, but Tenea...you house is that way." Ben pointed in the opposite direction and laughed.
Within the hour they were walking through the gates of the private estate on the outskirts of the city. Up ahead was a large house belonging to the CEO of Ryadian Shipping, Chalita Bolinar. The company was one of the largest on the planet and was responsible for most of the material imported and exported to and from Ryadi. It was because of this man's money and power that put his daughter in danger. She had been kidnapped for a massive ransom. A ransom that would have almost bankrupted the whole family as well as the company they controlled.
Ben saw the front doors slam open in the house and two people rush out, almost falling as they ran down the porch steps. Behind them came a large six legged animal, probably the family pet. Tenea let go of his hand and run forward with her arms open towards her parents. As the three of them reunited, Ben smile and simply stood there letting the family have their moment.
His mind flashed back to his childhood, the only memories he had of his parents before they had died while on vacation. There should be more memories of them, Ben thought, but someone he could only remember certain things. Maybe he had just been too young to form cohesive mental images. Whatever the case, at this moment of joy, Ben left alone in this vast galaxy and fought the urge to simply run away from here.
A touch on his shoulder snapped him out of his thoughts and he felt another pair of warms wrap around him as the mother hugged him and kissed his cheeks. "Thank you so much! Thank you! We don't know what to say. I don't think we will every be able to repay you, but please please come inside."
Ben smiled and looked at both of the parents. "It was my pleasure. You don't owe me anything. I'm just glad I got there in time and that Tenea is safe. I think I'm going to go back just rest in my ship."
At that moment he felt Tenea's hand tighten around his and the girl smiled up at him. "No! You will stay! Have food with us, please."
Her father smiled and looked at Ben as well. "You heard her Ben. Come in. We have a spare bedroom warm food and water. You can rest here before you have to go. How can you say no to Tenea?"
Ben shook head and smiled. Of course he could not say no and so with Tenea leading the way he walked towards the house with the family. He was actually glad to get a real shower and at the mention of food, his stomach growled. With that he realized just how hungry he really was. Perhaps in the morning he could talk with Chalita about getting a spare Hyperdrive for his ship.
Sep 6 2019 8:51pm
The young man smiled and took a step towards her. Skygge narrowed her brow, hand darting to her side where her lightsaber should have hung. But it's not there, is it? she thought, even as her hand came up to stop the man in his tracks. "No need to come closer," she said, fumbling for the blaster instead. Caden stepped forward, the initiate ever so eager to defend her already.
The man's eyes widened, then he said, "Something led me to you." He paused, looking at Caden, then at Skygge. "I don't know what or how or why, but I'm supposed to be here."
Skygge frowned, still prepared to strike the man down. "Something?" she asked, possibilities rising to her mind.
"Yes," he replied. "I can't explain it more than that."
Skygge nodded. "It was the Force," she said, more confidently than she felt. Something about this youth resounded within her. She quested out with her senses, feeling his excitement, enthusiasm...and there was something deeper. Sadness. She smiled. This, she could use. "The Force has brought you here for a purpose," she said. "My ship is," she looked back over her shoulder, "somewhat crippled. I need you and this one to transfer our belongings to your own ship. You will conduct us the rest of the way on this journey." She added a nudge with the Force, an urge to be helpful and not complain.
The youth, whether eager to please or just weak-minded, nodded enthusiastically. Skygge motioned to Calen. "Help him. See that he doesn't break anything. I will return here when my business is concluded." With that, she left the two behind and proceeded into the city.
She had been here.
It was a faint trace, one that was difficult to follow. The assassin had not remained long on the planet; her business concluded, she'd departed in a shuttle. Skygge could not yet guess the location; meditation would be required. For now, it was enough to learn what Ventress had done here.
Even that was difficult to discover. Eyes closed, she followed the Force trail. The layout of the city had changed in the last fifty years, but the trail was still there. She occasionally had to skirt a building, and twice she lost the trail only to rediscover it some streets over. But she followed, doggedly. It wasn't until three hours had passed that she opened her eyes to find herself in a dark alley. The trail had vanished again, but this time she discovered she was not alone. Three men stood blocking her exit.
They were ragged, unkempt creatures, broken by a society that honored the wealthy and ignored the poor. Skygge pitied them as the came at her, charging, teeth bared, vibroblades out. She didn't need the Force to see that they were hungry; their emaciated bodies were enough. And the best thing to do for such creatures was to give them a quick end.
Leaping forward into the attack, she drew her blaster and fired, catching the first attacker in the gut. He went down without a sound even as she fired again, catching the second in the eye. The third widened his eyes in surprise, but lunged forward anyway, sweeping his blade for her throat. She batted the weapon aside, then kicked at the man. He dodged back from her kick, eyes wild as he lunged once more. This time she grabbed his arm and twisted. He twisted with it, spinning and attempting to break free of her grip.
"Enough," she said, then sent a jolt of energy into him, electrical bolts dancing from her hand into his arm. He screamed in pain, stumbling away and cursing. She fired once more.
As the man dropped to the ground, she extended her senses once more. There, she thought, feeling something hidden in one of the nearby building walls. It was an old building, certainly one that was here when her quarry had arrived. She reached out, grabbing one of the stones, and with a tug from the Force the stone lifted free. Skygge knelt, and suddenly she was once again caught in a vision.
The air was still. The bodies of those she'd slain lay scattered around her, in pieces. Unfortunate; she hadn't wanted to kill them. They'd simply been trying to find a meal, or some credits. A waste.
Now she was injured, again, and they would have her trail. She'd made too much noise in the Force to be unnoticed now. And they would come for her. They always came for her.
So she quickly wrapped the item in a spare cloth that one of her attackers had worn. Prying up one stone, she carved a hole and dropped the item in. It would be safe her. She replaced the stone, then ran, heading back to the spaceport. She had to run, far away, where they would never find her again.
Skygge snapped back into her own mind, then doubled over with another splitting headache. These visions were helpful, but they were kriffing annoying, too. When she managed to get the pain under control, she examined the back of the stone she had pried from the wall. There, wrapped in cloth, was something. Carefully, Skygge reached in and pulled it forth, gently unwrapping the device. A holocron, with a datachip beside it. She could feel the energies in the holocron; a strange mixture of dark and light, one she didn't fully understand. She took both, depositing them in her pouch, and turned back for the spaceport.
When she arrived, she stopped short. The new youth lay in a puddle of blood, throat slashed. Calen was in binders, raging, trying to bite his captors - captors that were, apparently, officers of the Onderon Security Force. One approached her.
"Ma'am, we need to ask you some questions," he said, all business. "Do you know these two?"
Skygge frowned, then nodded slowly, lies forming in her mind even as she spoke. "I hired the prisoner as a pilot to get here. He was the one that crashed the shuttle. I then fired him and hired the other as a new pilot, and paid both to transfer my belongings from shuttle to shuttle." She added a Force suggestion to her words, hoping the man was weak-minded enough to accept her story.
"Ah," he said, writing something in a datapad. "So an employment squabble. That makes sense." He frowned. "The prisoner keeps calling for his Master. Do you know what he means?"
Skygge shrugged. "Couldn't say. Maybe he thinks he's my slave or something? He seemed a little off the whole time we were flying here. I tried to stay away from him."
The officer nodded. "Well, we might need you to stick around for his trial. How long will you be on planet?"
Skygge nudged with the Force again. "You don't need me to stay. You want to let me leave."
The officer nodded. "You don't need to stay. You're free to go. Do you have transport?"
Skygge pointed to the dead man's shuttle. "I paid for that shuttle," she said, adding another Force suggestion. "I will take it."
The officer nodded again. "Happy travels, then."
Within minutes, Skygge was blasting away from the spaceport into orbit. Before long, she laid in a quick hyperspace jump into open space. Then, while the computer was running calculations for the next jump, she inserted the datacard into the ship's console and scanned the files. There was only one. A hologram of Asajj Ventress popped up on the display and began to speak.
"I am recording this for anyone who finds it. What you hold had long been thought lost. It is a very special holocron, made by an ancient Jedi. She was a companion of Revan for a time, and traveled with him into the Unknown Regions. I intend to follow her path. Perhaps there I can lose myself and finally be free."
Skygge, eyes wide, took the holocron and held it before her. Ventress spoke once more.
"Skywalker, Kenobi, if you find this, please do not follow me. I know you can follow my trail. But know that I have abandoned who I was. All I wish now is to be free. To be left alone. I have no desire to fight you anymore. Farewell."
Skygge activated the holocron, then laid in coordinates for her next jump. It was time to finish this journey.
Sep 9 2019 7:44pm
The shuttle dropped out of hyperspace well outside Bakuran-controlled territory. She knew she was getting close to the end of her quest, to the final resting place of the Dark Apprentice, to claiming the lightsabers that were to be hers. But she had reached the end of charted space; from here it would be a leap into the unknown.
The holocron had given a location, coordinates deep in the Unknown Regions, where something was to be found. The Jedi had been less than forthcoming about what that something would be, but Ventress had followed, so Skygge would as well. She tasked the navcomputer with calculating the next jump. It would take some time, and she began running the numbers herself as a precaution. Too much was, well, unknown about these regions; it would be far too easy to make the jump and land in the middle of a star. When she'd finished, her numbers and the navcomputers did not match. Sighing, she tried running the calculations again, then again, then again. Finally, she came to a conclusion within an acceptable margin of error and entered the new coordinates. With some trepidation, she engaged the hyperdrive and launched herself forward into the unknown.
As she traveled, she began watching the holorecording once more. A Cathar - she'd called herself Juhani - appeared and continued to speak.
"I know I'm not supposed to be making this," it said, "but the Jedi Council is ignoring the threat. They believe that the Sith were defeated with Revan and Malak. They are wrong. Unlike them, I have touched the darkness. I know its power, and it is growing. There is something malevolent at work, and it is the task of a Jedi to stop it.
"Do not think that I abandon the Jedi or the light without thought or consideration. It is possible to leave the Order and still remain true to what is right. I have now known two who have done so, and they are among those I consider the closest of friends. And it is possible to walk on the edge of darkness without becoming its thrall. It is a knife's edge, and it must be walked with extreme caution, but it can be done. The Jedi are scared of the dark, because they neither understand it nor recognize it in themselves. I have embraced it, and I understand it. It is a constant companion, but one that does not dictate my choices. Those remain my own."
Skygge paused the recording, and the image of Juhani vanished. This was worth consideration. Before Korriban, she had been prepared to embrace the darkness fully, to throw herself into it to achieve the power needed to enforce justice across the galaxy. Then she saw what had become of Ithron. She saw herself betrayed by one whom she had called ally. She saw the destructive nature of the full dark, and having begun the plunge she withdrew. But she had been caught nonetheless; she saw that now. In her actions following that destructive venture; in her ambition to please Darth Vicirus, in her actions taken on Katarr. The darkness had her in its grip. Before her now lay a choice: embrace the darkness fully, completely, and become as Ithron and Vicirus, or try to scramble back to that knife's edge. If she even could.
Before she'd come to a conclusion, reversion alarms sounded. Something in the engines made a loud cracking sound, and the ship reverted abruptly to realspace. Skygge's eyes snapped open, and she grabbed the controls as proximity alarms blared in her ears. She whipped the shuttle into a tight turn even as it continued deceleration, and only through a nudge with the Force did she miss the gravity well of an uncharted planet's moon. She put the ship into orbit and began to study her surroundings.
She found herself in an eight planet system, orbiting a moon of the last planet in line, a massive gas giant. Further in, the system's yellow star burned brightly, and she found herself drawn to the fourth planet, on the opposite side of the star. She set the systems to a scan of the fourth planet, and while she waited she made her way to the engine room and began examining the damage her abrupt reversion had done.
She wasn't pleased. A quick glance showed the hyperdrive to be inoperable without significant repairs, repairs she was not qualified to make. The communications unit installed on the shuttle would be insufficient to reach known space, and she'd certainly be unable to reach friendly assistance. Unless she found another ship, she was stranded.
Sep 11 2019 3:21pm
After a few hours, Skygge had a full report of the system. The fourth planet - the only habitable one - was primarily water on the surface, with scattered islands. Most of it was too hot for humanoid life, but the islands near the poles seemed promising. In particular, one island drew her attention, as it contained what appeared to be the ruins of an ancient temple of some sort. She engaged the thrusters, leaving orbit and heading for that island.
Almost immediately, her rear shields lit up with laser cannon fire. Instinctively, she put the ship into a dive, causing the next flurry of shots to pass overhead. Jinking the shuttle, which had certainly not been meant for combat, she scanned her displays. Behind her and closing fast was a craft unlike any she'd seen before. It reminded her of a Chiss clawcraft, but it was larger and seemed less responsive. A quick dodge confirmed its maneuverability was less than the feared Chiss fighters but about on par with her shuttle.
Slamming the thrusters forward, Skygge pulled back on the yoke, then rolled the shuttle and dove. The quick maneuver strained the inertial compensator, and she nearly blacked out, but the craft behind her couldn't follow, and she gained enough distance to make a run for the planet. The shuttle careened through space at breakneck speed, rapidly approaching the fourth planet, while her unknown attacker struggled to catch up.
Skygge slowed just enough for atmospheric entry and dove for the island with the ruin. The Force was with her, as she quickly found a flat space on a beach to set down. Grabbing her essentials - blaster pistol, scattergun, Juhani's holocron, and a few supplies - she sprinted for the nearby jungle and reached the cover of trees just as the unknown craft dove out of the sky and began blasting the shuttle, sending laser fire through the engines and hyperdrive. It came back for a second, then a third pass as Skygge watched. Then the ship landed and disgorged its passengers.
They were a motley crew - one human, two aliens Skygge didn't recognize, and a Nikto - all heavily armed, but otherwise rather ragged. It was apparent they had been stranded out here as well and were hoping to salvage parts or supplies from her shuttle. The irony would have been amusing in less dire circumstances. As they made their cautious approach to the shuttle, Skygge considered her options. She could steal their ship, though that would do little to help her in the long term. She could attempt to kill them, but four against one were not good odds without a lightsaber. Or she could explore the island and see if another opportunity presented itself. As they entered what was left of the shuttle, Skygge made her choice.
Two hours later, Skygge was beginning to regret her decision. The overgrown ruins of the temple lay before her, but it seemed as though there was nothing here. Besides that, she could feel her assailants trailing her now through the jungle, and she was running out of options to lose them. Finally, there was life - substantial life - in this jungle, creatures of all sizes, but some clearly enormous, with a dark and malevolent presence in the Force.
With a deep breath, Skygge leaped to the top of the Temple wall and dropped down the other side. As she did, she was suddenly struck with the realization that Ventress had been here too. She was close now - very close - to where the Dark Lady had met her end. And as she landed, the world faded and the vision came.
She dropped to the ground, lightsabers out and ready, and stalked forward through the undergrowth. It was thin here inside the Temple. Her pursuers were close now; she could feel them gaining on her. And she could feel the thing stalking them. That scared even her.
There was something here, something she had to find, something that would give her the next step of her journey. But she had to find it fast.
Within minutes, the screams started behind her. She heard the terror and anguish, the report of blaster fire, the roar of the creature. She started running even as the last screams stopped and the jungle fell still. The presence behind her was not sated. It fed not only on the flesh but on the Force, and she was strong enough to satisfy it for years. It reached out, feeling for her, hunting her. And then it started running.
Terror filled her. She thought she had overcome her fears, had buried them in anger and hate. But she was too jaded for hate now, to tired for anger, and she had lived too long in the darkness for the calm to overcome the terror. She ran, sprinted, through the Temple, through doorways and staircases too small for the creature to navigate; yet still it came, relentless, hungry.
She reached the top of the Temple, or what was left of it. Stone, bare stone, and nowhere to hide. She felt the creature now, scaling the outside wall. Her end was coming. She looked up and took a deep breath, sending something out into the wider galaxy. A call, a message, a cry. Then, looking forward, she said, "One will come after me. Know that to revel in the dark is to know fear. That fear can be buried, but it always lingers, hidden and waiting. And when the anger and hatred fail, that fear remains. Do not let fear destroy you. Take my blades - you will know where to look. Use them to redeem me." And then, with a flash of dark energy, she was gone, cloak and lightsabers clattering to the stone floor.
The vision ended. Skygge stumbled, weak, to the wall and rested against it for a moment. And then she heard the screams.
Sep 11 2019 5:36pm
Skygge ran, breath coming in gasps as she scaled the stone stairs. The blaster fire still sounded behind her, diminished now. Only one weapon now. The roars of the creature resounded through the jungle, and Skygge's terror gave her an edge. Faster, faster, faster, her pounding heart seemed to cry.
One final scream, then nothing. Silence in the jungle, but for her boots pounding on the stone. She ran, terror urging her onward and upward. She came to a hallway and sprinted down it, drawn inexorably to the top of the Temple. There was something there, something she needed, something that would help her survive the next hour.
And then she felt it. A presence, just brushing hers. Powerful. Malevolent. It brushed again, then it latched on, its full attention on her. She could feel its triumph, its joy, its hunger. It was hunting her.
She stopped. Ventress had been pursued by this same creature, and she had been unable to overcome her terror. But Skygge was not as steeped in darkness as she had been. Perhaps...
It had been a long time since her days with the Jedi, but Skygge thought back to the basic techniques she had learned under Corran Horn. Center yourself. Breathe deeply. In and out. Find calm. Find peace. She began to breathe intentionally, abandoning terrified ragged gasps for slow, centered breaths. Her heart began to slow, and she reached out through the Force to the creature following her. And SHOVED.
The creature's howl echoed through the temple, followed by a cacophony of bird cries and animal roars. Its torment rang through the Force like a gong, sending Skygge to the ground, screaming and grabbing her head in pain. The anguish drove through her like a lightsaber, burning her inside. Then it was gone, the presence returning. It was angry, furious at having been touched. And it was coming once more.
Skygge took off running again, still sprinting for the top of the temple. Nothing had changed...yet, everything had changed. No longer did she run in fear. Whatever this thing was she faced, it was a creature. Malevolent, strong in the Force, but a creature nonetheless. And it could be harmed. She had a purpose now, a goal - to find whatever was at the top of this ruin and use it to defeat the temple's guardian.
For that was what this creature was - she was sure of that now. It was bound to this place by whatever dark force had crumpled the stones and destroyed the walls, whatever had brought the structure down. The creature would hunt anyone who entered the temple, and it thrived off those who could wield the Force. It was an aberration, a creation of the dark side, and it was ancient. She could feel the weight of years, centuries, perhaps millennia behind that presence. For hundreds or thousands of years it had guarded this place, keeping its secrets from spreading. But now, she decided, today is the day it meets its end.
Sunlight struck her as she emerged to the top of the Temple. Warmth bathed her as she glanced around, stretching out once more. She felt the creature scaling the outer wall of the Temple; it was coming for her, but unlike Ventress she was at peace. She took a deep breath and extended her awareness further...and felt something new. Another presence nearby, faint but familiar. Grabbing a stone in the Force, she hurled it backwards towards the wall the creature was climbing and peered at what had been hidden there. A cloak, and under the cloak...two lightsabers.
Their hilts were curved, more than she'd seen on most sabers she'd known. Silver, with handgrips of black. Connections at the base to join them together. Red activation buttons and a slightly raised handguard. She knew these blades. She reached out her hands and called them to her, and the hilts smacked into her hands with what seemed a welcome, familiar weight.
"Hello, young Sith," came the voice inside her mind. Skygge started, eyes wide. She knew that voice. She'd heard it before, in her visions.
"You..." she choked out.
"I have only a short time to communicate. I transferred my presence into these blades many years ago, and I was the one who called you across the stars. You are on my path, and you are on the verge of making the same mistakes I did. If you let me, I will guide you now. I cannot speak to you again, but keep these blades, and I will do what I can to help you walk the line between dark and light."
With that, the voice was gone. Skygge stared in amazement at the lightsaber hilts in her hand. Ventress herself, or her presence...what a coup!
So absorbed was she that she nearly forgot the beast that had been chasing her until it crested the lip of the temple and roared. The sound was loud enough to shake the stones beneath her feet and send her stumbling. Rooting herself in the Force, Skygge took a deep breath, then straightened and turned. Eyes closed, she breathed in and out for a moment, centering herself. Then, her eyes snapped open, and she ignited her blades.
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Twin columns of red sprouted from Skygge's hands. Her arms, crossed, held the blades straight up, one on either side of her face. The crimson flame reflected off her blue eyes, eyes narrowed in determination. This was her fight, her destiny, and she was going to win.
The creature roared again, but Skygge instinctively threw up a protective shield in the Force, battering aside the shock wave. A rock near her cracked under the sonic pressure, but she stood firm. The beast was grotesque, clearly a product of some form of Sith alchemy. Large and imposing, it reeked of dark side energy, from its massive claws to its spined back to the tusks on either side of its enormous mouth. It stood hunched like a rancor, with arms long enough to reach the ground, and it bellowed a challenge.
Skygge charged, committed fully to the Force. The creature swung, its claws whooshing through the air towards her. She leaped, a Force-augmented jump that carried her above the sweeping claw. As she landed, she rolled and came up swinging, her new blades slicing towards the creature's legs. They bit deeply, carving a burned gash in the creature's calf. It bellowed in pain, whirling on her and swiping again. She backflipped over the claws, landing lightly on the edge of the temple roof. Drawing the temple's lingering energies through her, she lashed out at the creature, lighting forking from her fingers, only to vanish as they touched the creature and were absorbed. Her eyes widened as the claws came flashing towards her again, and she stumbled back over the edge.
Dropping through space, Skygge reached out through the Force for some sort of anchor and found nothing. Then she felt a reserve of strength flood her, as though someone were lending her aid, and she pulled on the temple itself, yanking herself towards it. She hit the wall hard but managed to stick herself to it enough to slow her descent. She landed and rolled, coming to her feet just as the creature bellowed and leaped off the roof after her. As it fell, Skygge leaped to meet it, twisting out of the way and bringing her blades up between its massive legs.
The impact spun her around and away from the beast. Disoriented, she slammed into the wall, then tumbled in a heap to the ground. She groaned in pain. At least one rib had cracked, a collarbone had shattered, and she wasn't too sure about her left leg. She rolled to her side, then opened her eyes and looked around.
Five meters away lay the creature, her lightsaber blades still burning halfway up its body. The momentum of its fall had driven them through its thick, energy-resistant skin. They'd cut almost halfway up its body before she'd been thrown free. Still it moved, twitching and trying to reach for her. Skygge managed to stand, her weight on one foot, and reached out her hand, questing for the creature's presence. When she found it, she pulled - not on its physical body, but on its life essence. Life rushed into her, dark power and energy and healing and life. Her ribs reknit, her leg straightened, and the life in the beast's eyes winked out.
And still she continued to pull. She began draining more and more, dark Force energy washing over her, smothering here. She tried to let go, to stop, but she couldn't. The darkness was consuming her, eating her alive. She screamed in pain, utterly helpless before the darkness of this place, this creature.
Then something else was screaming with her, beside her, in front of her. A shield slammed between her and the darkness, buffering her. She felt the presence that was Asajj Ventress fade to almost nothing, screams of anguish filling her mind as the life force of the Dark Apprentice was consumed. Skygge fell to her knees, gasping for air. As she caught her breath, she could barely hear what seemed to be a voice on the wind, saying, "Thank you."
At the Sith Temple on Xa Fel, Darth Vicirius' eyes snapped open. Meditations interrupted he quested out for the source of the disturbance...and found it. And he smiled.