Feb 18 2010 3:34am
Aleister nodded, bowing his head toward Master Dolash.
He had come this far, the answers in his mind were clear. He must continue.
He bowed his head, in meditation, and once again, was lost to the concept of time, not even beginning to notice when the rains started pouring, striking against their faces, the sharp sting of the rain somehow, enjoyable, as if to prove that they were indeed alive.
After a few moments of this, Aleister's eyes snapped open.
He did not speak a word, but simply looked at Dolash, and nodded.
It was all that needed to be said. The final challenge would come next.
Feb 21 2010 6:25pm
The storm at last broke upon their mountain-side. Thick clouds, whipping winds, thundering hail surrounded the two figures on all sides - and eventually parted them. Aleister could no longer see Dolash, or indeed the hand in front of his face. He was blind, deaf, to sodden to fly, too frail to linger on the precarious precipice.
Just inching back from the point of the peak to the relative safety of the mountain wall was an ordeal. Staying exposed would be suicide when any errant gust might send him toppling flightless over the edge. Even clinging to the rock gave precious little protection from the stinging barrage of ice and rain. It sapped strength, heat, and will from the helpless little figure lost in a raging sea thousands of feet off the ground.
The Force could hardly be heard. Its words were buffeted by the wind, lost and garbled. Aleister was without a guide, nor guidance beyond the instruction to climb to the top of the mountain or retreat defeated. What he would do next was up to him, what he could do was precious little.
Dolash was gone. Wherever he had been when the storm had struck, he had vanished even from the sight of the Force. The Force itself was gone. Sight, sound, even touch numbed by cold slipped away. Still the storm grew greater.
The test was on.
Feb 22 2010 4:24am
Aleister pondered his options for mere moments, knowing that to take much time could be the key to his own demise. The test here he could tell, was simple... What do you do, when that which you rely on for your abilities dissapears.
He reached out against the slippery rock, and dug his claw like fingernails into the rock, finding a grip. hand over hand, grabbing roots, or handholds, he continued to climb, slowly, carefully, and safely. It would take him time, but he would make his way.
As he climbed, the weather worsened, seemingly determined to stop him from reaching the top.
As the weather worsened, his resolve grew, confident in not only his abilities but in himself, that he would survive and reach the top.
What seemed like hours was no more than 3 quarters of one, but, time lost all meaning in the slow climb to the top of the mountain in the treacherous condition. To fail was to die, and Aleister had no intention of dying this day/night.
Climbing slightly faster, moving his body from left to right to avoid the stinging rain as much as possible, he climbed, and as exhaustion set in, he saw a flash of a young woman who looked not unlike him, wings and all, in his mind. She smiled, and looked down at a young child, and he realized that she was his mother. He paused for a second, as her face turned from joy to horror, as the brilliant blade of a lightsaber cleaved her in two, and the dark red blade continued its carnage, shaping the face, of the murderer.
He knew that this man, whoever he was, was his father. As he climbed further he was overcome by the visions, until just then, the face revealed itself to him, as the cloak was removed...He saw, himself.
Confused, shocked, and frustrated, unsure of what this vision meant, he continued to climb, knowing that knowledge would only come from surviving this climb, and asking Master Dolash, or the Force directly.
Feb 28 2010 1:14am
A lone figure, lost in a sea of ice and fog, Aleister clung doggedly to life as the wind and snow tried to pry him from the cliffside. The mountain swept upwards quickly out of sight, seemingly endless. The cold stole the heat from his hands and the breath from his lungs.
From above there came a sound, growing over the roaring gale. It was a deep rumbling - an avalanche triggered above rained down on the pitiful boy. First mere fistfuls of snow and flecks of ice no more notable than the storm that already beat at him, soon the fog parted and revealed a thundering tide of snow threatening to crush anything in its way.
The only salvation came in the form of a shallow depression in the otherwise shear rock. By sheltering feebly in it the snow could pass safely overhead, though the pain of brancing in the narrow crevice and the vertigo of watching the snow fall into the infinite void below were terrible.
When Aleister looked again he caught a glimpse of the vast mountainside above freshly resheeted in snow and ice, ever more forbidding. Before the fog closed in and concealed it from view again he thought he caught sight of another vision, a black cloaked figure stood impossibly upon the near-vertial stone. It was of the same strange consistency as the ghosts of the mountain's underside, but it seemed familiar to Aleister. It fixed Aleister with a piercing, faceless gaze before disappearing underneath the fog.
A sense of hoplelessness pervaded, no mortal could climb that deadly traverse. Icicles forming on his wingtips, hands numb and possibly frostbitten, Aleister faced a cruel and nigh-impossible task.
Mar 3 2010 11:55pm
Aleister paused, sizing up the black cloaked figure, determined to put the pain behind him. He entered into a meditative trance with the Force, allowing himself to remain conscious and move, but divide his attention enough to ignore the pain, without causing him to lose his focus and understand his objective and complete it, though with difficulty.
The more the mountain tried to be rid of him, the more he found new ways within the Force to avoid catastrophic death. He had braved cold, it was not destined to destroy him. He had braved wind. It was not destined to permanently make him flightless, but, for the moment the lesson that it taught him was more important than many others. Wings can be a Godsend, or they can be a curse. Relying on them instead of the Force, entirely, can cause disaster. However, the same be true of the Force. The way of survival would be to use his physical strength, on top of the assistance of the Force, not overtaxing one or the other, and never giving up. After a short restful moment in his trance, he climbed out of the snowbank, and continued to climb.
He found it was interesting though, that the rain seemed to doubt itself, either that or it was toying with him, pouring in painful sheets for several minutes, before clearing up for a few less. Aleister slowly climbed through the sheeting rain patiently understanding its patterns, ducking for cover into crevasses, that were tight, but did their job, when the rain sheeted, and climbing when it lessened.
Time was not a factor, With the Force, anything was possible, even a manipulation of time.
As he climbed, he meditated on the visions that he had received.
As he began to contemplate those visions, another overtook him, and he took solace in a crevasse until he was sure the vision had passed.
He saw a planet he had never seen before, and one person he had never seen before, a woman, who carried the lightsaber of a Jedi Master.
She held a serene Peace about her, as she looked upon her adversary, who's eyes had turned red with hatred, though there was something very....very wrong about the entire situation.
"Organa, You can never defeat me. I have felt what it is to know true power, and something that the Light Side could never give me. I know things, things that you will never learn, and I am just simply better than you." Han spoke, spitting at her feet.
"Silence, Skywalker. You have betrayed the Jedi and given in to the utmost of your arrogant pathetic emotions. You stand before me not a great and powerful man, but a pitiful boy who has betrayed all he knew, for a taste of an illusion. I pity you, child." Organa smiled ever so sickeningly sweet at him.
"Do spare me the Jedi bullshit, cousin. It doesn't suit you. Now, the only way this ends, is if I die, or you die; and I don't intend to die." Han smiled and light his bloodred lightsaber, as well as his auburn saber.
"It'll be a shame to lose such a precious artificat as that auburn saber, Han... It is of course the only one of its kind, we both know that." Organa quipped.
"Well then I sha'nt lose it now shall i?" Han growled, swinging his lightsaber at her. For several minutes they were locked into an excellent battle of flashing sounds and lights, until Han slipped, and Organa buried her saber into his stomache. As the last breaths left his body.... He pulled Organa close and told her of the son he could not kill.
"Make sure he gets these, pleaseeee." Han's final breath hissed out as he collapsed on that planet, the self same one that Aleister had met Han on to begin with.
As he came out of the vision, Han appeared in front of him.
"I am sorry that I could not tell you before now, son. You bear the blood of the Skywalker clan, the same line as both the Greatest Jedi Master to ever live, and the most deadly sith lord. You bear much in your blood, and I had hoped to spare you from the sins of your father but i see now that even the Force will bring things up we wish buried."
Aleister stared at him.
"Son, I died that day on Yavin, and it took me that death, and crossing over into the Force to realize the mistakes that I had truly made. I knew that I could not leave you alone to fend for yourself any longer... That is why i called for you to come to Yavin, to find me, it was destiny that this happen. You will be a great Jedi Master one day in the future, but remember, Trust in the Force and it will not betray you. The rest of this journey you must face alone with only the strength that you possess. When you survive, I will see you again, I promise. I only hope that you can find the compassion to forgive me, that I did not myself possess in my life of weakness. Be safe son, and carry the love of your father with you."
With that Han vanished, and Aleister looked up the mountain, more determined and confused emotionally than ever to complete this obstacle.
Mar 6 2010 6:10am
The storm continued, with no sense of fairness or consistency - now lightning streaked the sky, thunder cracked overhead. The fog would alight as bolts flew past, hurled as if by some capricious deity seeking to pelt Aleister from the mountainside. Still he climbed. Ever onwards, ever upwards, progressing inch by inch over the snow. Mere discomfort and difficulty was clearly insufficient at slowing his ascent.
It was then another figure formed out of the fog, coalescing into the ghostly image of a Jedi Aleister did not recognize. she must have been a Jedi, for she wore a Jedi's robes and comported herself in that manner, albeit perpindicularly to the nigh-vertial mountai to which Aleister clung. She pulled back her hood and revealed an ethereal face, framed with tight braids of hair.
"You have done well, Aleister," she said, her voice echoing with a supernatural edge. "Dolash is pleased with your progress. He bids you come no further, as the danger is too great. Turn back, and climb down the mountain where it is safe. You have proven your dedication and he will proclaim your test passed, and your road to joining our ranks is assured. Turn back, Aleister, and know contentment."
The spirit was strange, not quite looking at Aleister but rather his general direction. Her ghostly countenance and odd angle were also worrying, but with little access to the Force there was no way to investigate what she had said. Only the choking fog, deafening thunder and flashing lightning shared their company as all waited for Aleister's answer and acquiescence.
Mar 6 2010 1:03pm
Aleister paused and looked at the woma, and while she looked the part, something troubled him. If she could appear in this manner, so could Dolash. Why would he send a spirit when he could easily project himself or speak in Aleisters mind which required little to no effort on Master Dolash's part.
Aleister believed this to be a trick. He could not trust this woman. He continued his climb.
Mar 9 2010 4:04am
The spirit of the woman disappeared behind Aleister into the fog, and he continued to ascend the mountain hand over agonizing hand. At each turn it seemed the storm had reached a crescendo impossible to raise, and at each turn this was bitterly disproven as the cold grew ever sharper, the winds harsher, the thunder louder.
Reaching a small plateau, Aleister was able to see further up the mountain. The ground looked totally unfamiliar from his earlier climbs, and in the dark it seemed far more perilous at that. A distant rumbling grew over the sound of the thunder - like the rumbling before the last avalanche.
Before he could react, Aleister saw an absolute tide of snow fall from above through the fog. More snow than it seemed possible for the peak to hold appeared to fall in huge gouts, burying the plateau and the young man in a frosty tide. Aleister was almost crushed by the snow, but as it settled overtop him he was miraculously still alive.
The thunder and rumbling was now muffled through a thick blanket, but a new, ethereal sound could be heard nonetheless. It was laughter, mocking and tinny. Green glowing forms were visible, somehow through the snow, vaguely humanoid and circling Aleister. The spirits had returned. They did not seem inclined to aide Aleister, but from their laughter it appeared they took great amusement from his suffering.
"So proud!" One shouted, his voice cutting almost as deeply as the snow. "Do not think we could not hear your vision. A legendary bloodline - do you think your fabulous pedigree makes you worthy by dint of birth, now?"
"All these gifts were thrust upon you!" another voice mocked. "Physical marks of blessing such as your wings, a proud lineage, the guidance of the Force, none earned, all to enhance your vanity and splendour. Look at you now, Aleister! Look where your glorious heritage has brought you!"
"He has learned nothing," voiced a third, deep and dismissive. "Nothing of modesty. Nothing of humility. Let the snow crush him then, as should the weight of his undeserving gifts, or let us see one thing, one talent that he might call his own to save himself with. To see one skill, one flash of learning in his eyes, it is more likely they would dim forever than to reveal weakness and dependance on another."
The laughter of cruel ghosts filled Aleisters' ears, and the trickle of ice-water from the crushing snow filled his eyes like salty tears.
Mar 9 2010 4:54am
Aleister was more determined than ever to not allow the ghosts to be correct. He would not perish in this day. He remembered, from back in their earlier training... He remembered the simplest of things, even the most deadly of foes fall victim to time, but trapped in the proper Jedi Meditation it would not hinder him as much. He knew that his body heat would slowly melt the snow around him, and smartly he had wrapped his wings around his body to protect his extremities when the snow fell.
He decided now was the best time, now was the time to focus through meditation his body heat out through the Force, utilizing his wings to spread it.
Slowly, the snow melted around him, and eventually he sat up, without an expression to the ghosts who wanted him to fail, and he continued to climb without another word. It was not pride that fueled him now, but a desire to complete his mission.
Mar 12 2010 4:01am
The spirits around him dissipated once more, leaving Aleister alone in his climb. The storm had by now indeed reached its terrifying height, but the lone figure was still unshaken. Buffeted, beaten, yes, but not bowed. Though the challenge before him seemed endless, though the pain seemed insurmountable, though he was without guidance, without power, he had pressed on.
Without warning the fog and clouds above him began to part. Though still thick on all sides, the mountain route above him cleared to reveal the very top of the peak. It was far, yes, but for the first time since the storm began it seemed surmountable. What's more, at the tip of this top, a thin streak could be seen standing by the edge. When lightning flashed he was backlit, a humanoid form. No illusion was this. No ghost. His master was watching. He awaited his pupil.
The clouds and storm had not ceased their terrible dance. They swirled around the mountain like a vortex. It was the eye of the storm, comparatively quiet yet on all sides awaited absolute destruction. Lightning arced around the edges in brief spider-webs, thunder rocked the mountainside and echoed in the enclosure.
It was not far now. The last crucial push was surely upon him. It would take everything Aleister had to reach the top. Before he lifted himself another inch, however, something small and silver caught the light as it fell from the mountain peak. It landed in the snow, about half-way up between the mountain's top and where Aleister was. Squinting against the storm the shape could just be made out.
A lightsaber. It was unmistakable.