1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

  2. Hey Fanficers! In fixing the prefixes something happened and now you can't edit titles. Don't panic! We're looking into what happened and trying to fix it.

Beyond - Legends Agharta - (Mara and Jaina adventure: pre-NJO) Chapter 11: Past Excuses; Mara questions Trogan

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by madman007, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    JediMara77 - Jaina asked, "So why was this one in the form of a vornskr?"

    "Because I was just thinking about them," replied Mara absently.

    Jaina cried, "Wait a minute. You mean you just thought of this thing and it turned into one?"

    I hope they don't think of the Stay Puft marshmallow man.

    I didn't even think of that. Very funny! [face_laugh]

    And creepy is the direction I'm going for in this. Thanks for reading!

    - She was positive that Luke had similar regrets if he had not succumbed to his passion on Dagobah and completed his training.
    I'm not so positive here. thinking I think, if Luke could return to the past he would change nothing about it - that's who he is.

    I don't think Luke would change the past either. What I had Mara believe was that maybe Luke would second guess his actions but at the same time accept what he did then on Dagobah and treat it as a lesson learned. The same as Mara would. I was trying to draw the same comparison in both of them here.

    He reminds me of Jaina's father more and more.

    Yeah, Trogan does have some similarities with Han. More than you know!

    Wow. Such intriguing twist - and it happened exactly when everybody thought that all mysteries were solved.

    That's usually the trademark of my stories. One small detail that's skimmed over becomes a huge plot point later. I really get my readers to really read everything or they'll miss something. Thanks for reading!
  2. kataja

    kataja Jedi Master star 4

    May 4, 2007
    Sorry for being so late in replying. RL hasnt been kind ? and I wanted a longer peaceful moment to read and reply ? one without ten other things I needed to do. That moment didn?t arrive until today.[face_worried]

    Do you think she will find the truth on Neekro?"

    Aaah? - and it can be manipulated. Intetrsting? [face_thinking]

    we should pray that Mara Jade's investigative skills are not equal to her Jedi abilities
    Your prayers will not be answered.:p

    Unbeknownst to them, another figure beyond the office door also heard them and understood.

    She cringed every time she thought about what she would have done if she had succeeded. She was positive that Luke had similar regrets if he had not succumbed to his passion on Dagobah and completed his training.
    [face_peace] =D=

    "We seem to have both skipped our kid phase."

    "I don't know. You still have more kid in you than you think. And so do I. I wouldn't be married to the biggest kid in the galaxy if I wasn't."

    Awww, that was a sweet moment![:D]

    At least there's one comforting thought. Agharta is no Sith Lord.
    Hmmm? but at least you?d know how to deal with a Sith Lord?[face_mischief]

    "And speaking of that data."

    "It's coming, it's coming. And I thought my dad was impatient
    Really love how you write these two together! =D=

    She turned and faced her new foe. She almost did a double take with recognition. She had just thought of these creatures not seconds ago.
    - a gurlanin, interesting... and the "skull" and the revelations! Great suspecsion here - and fab tempo. You reveal everything so clearly - yet leave so mny mysteries! Bravo! @};-

    Jaina finally replied absently, "She's gone. She led me here. It wasn't a gurlanin. She was real. She's led me here before but I didn't realize it at the time. I didn't understand then. She tried to reach Seria but she was too young. But I can understand. I can help her on her way."
    :eek: Jaina said that!? Ok, my reward for replying late is taht tehre can't be so long to next update - can there!? ;)

    Superb update! A pleasure to read!!!
  3. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Thanks to all who are reading what will probably be my last epic. These just are too much work for me against DRL.

    But I do have Chapter 8 written, just not typed in yet. And it's a longin', sorry. But this next chapter is what I consider to be the climax, and it presents the reason why I wanted this to be a Halloween-themed story.

    You'll see what I mean. Just a hint; don't read it in the dark. [face_skull]
  4. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Alas, my next chapter. And this time you really won't have to wait long for the next one. I just kept writing this one but it got too long so i split them up. As far as Ch 8 goes, you'll soon see why I originally planned to write this during Halloween last year. Well, the timing is off, but here we are at Halloween again. As I said, don't read it in the dark.

    For those who need a summary, in the last chapter Mara and Jaina were taken to Neekro Island where the Mahra Spirit Leader, Krun Li, showed them around. But Krun Li was holding back some history of the gurlanins and Qiilura. They found a remaining gurlanin who took the form of a vornskr, which Mara defeated quickly. They found a former lava bed hardened in black over the millennium. They found old bones of humans chained to tree limbs, suggesting human sacrifice by the gurlanins. If that wasn't enough, Jaina saw the little girl in the white gown who wanted to show her something. No one else saw her. They followed Jaina to an ancient symbol of Qiilura. The same symbol that Jaina saw in her dream that morning.

    And now, Chapter 8...

    I'll send out PM's later, but enjoy and review how you see fit!


    Chapter Eight: Such Strange Mysteries


    Qiilura: The return from Neekro Island

    Mara did not need the Force to tell her that Jaina was confused. It was written all over her face. Throughout their trek back into the same woods they came through, Jaina was distant and silent. Even when they all climbed in the water skiff to return to the Mahra compound, Jaina hardly said a word. It was in her eyes where it was evident that something dominated her thoughts. Mara's niece stared blankly into space for the entire journey back to the complex. It made Mara worry more because her demeanor was so unlike Jaina's true self. Mara could safely use words like vibrant and lively to describe Jaina. Not this time. Granted, the young girl had been given many challenges in the past year with the Shadow Academy. But she had come through that experience better than most adults would have. Mara had never seen Jaina this far out of reach.

    The real problem was that Mara had no clue as to how to help her niece. Mara herself could not see the young girl in the white gown as Jaina claimed she did. Not only could she not see her, she couldn't feel her in the Force. Mara figured it would be treading on thin ice if she suggested to Jaina that she was seeing things. Her trust with Jaina might be in danger if Mara did that.

    It was times like these when Mara Jade cherished the wisdom of her husband's advice. And that was what she intended to receive soon.

    When they hit the mainland, Jaina exited the skiff wordlessly and headed straight to Trogan's speeder. Even Trogan seemed worried about the girl. "Is she going to be all right?"

    Mara sighed heavily. "Honestly, I'm not sure."

    At that moment, the Mahra Spirit Leader, Krun Li, came up to Mara as Trogan headed to the speeder and said in a low tone, "I do have your assurance that you will discuss our peace agreement with New Republic officials."

    "It may not be as simple as that. If you get this agreement, it would mean the New Republic will have representatives here. No more secrecy. You will have to update your facilities, including irrigation and plumbing. We will have to comb through that mini Raxus Prime that Trogan has stashed away. It would also have to include a spaceport that will be much closer. Trade routes work better that way. That trek through the woods to get here is quite unnecessary."

    "What about recruiting more members?"

    "The New Republic can establish a site on the HoloNet for that." She paused before saying, "The time for secrets are over, Krun Li. Despite what you will eventually receive, I will have to report your reluctance to inform us about the gurlanins' past on Neekro Island. Of which, I'm still have trouble understanding why. That was the reason they sent me first. They knew I would sieve through and find secrets like that and I wouldn't sugar coat them.
  5. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 5, 2004
    Oooh, very creepy indeed. Seems like Jaina just got sucked into Poltergeist!

    Nice to see Mara being responsible and wanting the best for her niece, and yet she's still got her edge.

    Now they want to off Jaina? Yeah, that's not going to go very well. Luke's arrival can't come soon enough!
  6. Piper057

    Piper057 Jedi Youngling star 2

    Nov 26, 2009

    Cute girl, indeed. [face_skull]

    Sounds creepy...

    Great news! It's always better to have Farmboy around.)))

    Looking forward to more. =D=

  7. kataja

    kataja Jedi Master star 4

    May 4, 2007
    Chilly indeed!!! [face_skull] [face_devil] Well done!![face_peace]

    You now know. You will help me escape. We are joined.
    Not joined for long, I suspect - but it will be most interesting to follow! :D Really a great chapter and can't wait for next!!!=D=
  8. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Ah ha! Thought you would have to wait another month for an update. Actually, this was originally part of the last chapter but as you can see it got too long for one chapter so I split them up. In the story I'm getting close to coming back around to the Prologue so if you want to refresh yourselves go ahead. I'll be writing the next chapter and I'll try not to make it so long this time. Thanks to all of my readers and enjoy the next chapter!


    Chapter Nine: The Prophecy


    The Jade Sabre - approximately one standard hour later

    The trek back to their ship was similar to the one from Neekro Island. Silent and uneventful. Jaina was the same mute self. While Mara was tracking down Trogan to leave earlier, she also managed to grab a few Nilluk strips on the way back to their hut. With the confusion of how she found Jaina among the mess in the hut, Mara had forgotten she had them. She handed them to her niece in the transport and Jaina did finally eat. She ate in silence though. When they arrived at the Jade Sabre, Jaina made a beeline to her bunk. After he helped Mara with their packs, Trogan gave her a nod.

    "Take care of her."

    "Will do," she replied, failing in hiding her surprise at his concern. She heard him leave in the old transport and then headed to Jaina's quarters. There, she found her niece flopped on her bed.

    Mara truly was in the dark at how to handle her niece's dilemma. She already tried the hands on approach back at the Mahra compound. She wanted to talk to her niece about what happened in the hut. Where would she start? If she kept on questioning her it might sink Jaina deeper into seclusion. Mara decided that she would wait until Jaina talked to her. Mara allowed a smirk when she realized that this was the Skywalker method of therapy.

    She said to the body lying on the bed, "Finally resting now?"

    "Hopefully alone this time."

    "I'll let you alone while I contact Luke and then Bastion." She spotted the pouch given to her by Ristina Tai'lor. "I'll get this out of your way." She was just about to reach for it when Jaina stopped her.

    "No! Leave it there, please."

    "Jaina, it stinks. Glyphic spice may do well in all kinds of meals but it's not for helping you sleep."

    "Then put it over there on the table. I want to keep it in here with me."

    Mara tilted her head as she reached for it and moved it. "You're not seriously buying into that old tale about glyphic spice warding off spirits, are you?"

    "Just humor me, Aunt Mara. I'm so confused right now that I can't think straight. I just want to rest now."

    "Try a Jedi trance."

    "Not sure if it will work."

    "Sure it will. Just reach into a place of relaxation and concentrate in the Force to keep you there."

    "And if that doesn't work?"

    Mara shrugged. "I know a mug of Luke's favorite chocolate drink always helps him out of a depression. And I know you can never resist sugary drinks."

    Jaina smiled so softly that it gave Mara a glimpse of her old niece. "And you're afraid you'll be a bad mother?"

    "One issue at a time. Now you rest."

    Jaina's eyes were already shut as she muttered groggily, "Not a problem."

    Mara placed a light cover over her niece and closed the light down before she left her quarters.

    Mara reached into her own ship's food tray and grabbed the last of the ribenes. She was famished as well. She chewed on them as she entered the cockpit and sat at the pilot's seat. She keyed in the encryption and comlink codes for the Millennium Falcon. She rubbed off a smudge of ribene sauce off of one of the keys before she sat back and waited in front of the holo-projector. Within a few standard minutes, a small blue-white image of Luke Skywalker formed before her. He was sitting at the controls of the Falcon. Alone.

    For a few seconds, Mara cherished the sight of seeing her husband for the first time in weeks. The feeling washed over her as he spoke.

    "Ah, Mara, my darling love," he greeted.

    "Darling love? Han and Chewie must not be within earshot if you're calling me t
  9. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 5, 2004
    Uh-oh! Jaina seems to be in deep now. :(

    Luke to the rescue...again. [face_laugh]

    You showed Mara's intelligent side very well. And her conversations with Luke, Gilad, etc. were all very in character.

    So we're getting back to the prologue - very exciting!
  10. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Thanks for this. It was my first try at writing Pellaeon. Hoping to get his interaction with Mara just right and not overblown.
  11. Piper057

    Piper057 Jedi Youngling star 2

    Nov 26, 2009

    I really enjoyed it. Pellaeon is a wonderful character, with a great potential... I miss him.

    I also love that Mara feels guilty about her outburst but doesn't let herself time to reflect. Very in-character.
  12. kataja

    kataja Jedi Master star 4

    May 4, 2007
    My favourite chapter I must say! Absolutely loved Mara and Luke's conversation - they were so in character and both (plus their relationship) were so mature it was a joy to read. M's exchange with Pelleaon was also excellent - and very enjoyable! He's really a great character who's used far too little in fanfic! [face_peace]

    Add to this a great cliffie and the perspective to have Luke in the story form now on - and it couldn't be any better!!! =D= :D [:D]
  13. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Thanks to my readers. Sorry it's been a while but life, work, and the holidays are making it hard to write for more than 30 mins at a time. Almost done with the next chapter, so should have it before next year. :D

    Everyone have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

    See ya in 2012!

    * and I've reached 1500 posts!!! =D=[face_dancing][face_peace]:cool:
  14. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Well, here I am again. Finally got through the holidays working retail in returns which is more or less chaotic. Whenever I did have time to write I was too tired. So here is the next chapter and I promise I will be working on the next one. This may be my last huge epic. These are a big undertaking. But, as always, enjoy and review as you see fit.

    In case you need a refresher summary, we last left Mara and Jaina when they left the Mahra compound after Jaina's latest encounter with the strange spirit girl. She then proclaimed to the Mahra Spirit Leader, Krun Li, that she has seen and spoken to the Mahra goddess, Agharta. Krun Li seemed to give his Security Officer, Trogan, a mysterious command unbeknownst to Mara or Jaina. Once Jaina was asleep on the Jade Sabre, Mara first contacted Luke, who announced his arrival on Qiilura within several hours. Then she contacted Grand Admiral Pellaeon on Bastion to research the Mahra even further. Pellaeon directed her to an historian who found an ancient scroll of a former Mahra member who found a Mahra prophecy that stated only the Spirit Leader can speak to or see Agharta. The member hinted that several small girls had claimed this but disappeared thereafter. When Mara went to her bunk that night, she saw the shadow of Jaina but was knocked out cold.


    Chapter 10: Truth of the Faithful

    Qiilura: Day 4: Jade Sabre infirmary

    Mara Jade allowed herself to bask in her husband's shadow for a few glorious moments. Then she focused on his words. Jaina was gone. How was that possible? Was it Jaina who hit her and knocked her out? Mara could only feel Jaina's presence in the Force as if she were sleeping. How could she be awake enough to create violence? Unless...that dark shadowy figure she encountered last night was not Jaina. But she looked like her. The sudden thought of how that could be possible on Qiilura entered her mind.

    Mara tried to speak but it came out a mumble.

    "Don't try to speak yet," commanded Luke.

    "" Mara lifted her head and received a searing pain. She eased her head back on the pillow and muttered, "Oh, that was a mistake."

    "You've got quite a welt on your right side. We can put a bacta patch on it now that you're awake."

    "Sounds like a plan." After he placed a thick blue patch over her wound, Mara managed to say, "Not like Jaina to knock me out."

    "From what you described to me last night, it seems Jaina is going through something unique."

    Mara sighed. "You always put things so mildly. Jaina has been an emotional wreck because of what she's seen."

    "She's seen Force spirits before. Why would this one be any different?"

    "Maybe this one has nothing to do with the Force."

    Luke took almost too much time to reply. "I'll never believe that."

    "Then why can't I feel her in the Force?"

    "You can't feel her. I can. You're still too weak right now. Jaina is there. She's faint as if she's asleep."

    "Or unconscious. That's how she felt to me last night. Peaceful. Then she took me out. How could she act that violently when she's sound asleep?"

    A familiar sound suddenly emitted from her right side. She turned her head to see Chewbacca sitting beside her. "Oh, Chewie. I didn't see you there. What was that you said?"

    Chewbacca slowly repeated his phrase.

    Mara looked confused. "I'm sorry. Guess I'm rusty on my Wookie speech. Did you say 'death walk'?"

    Luke added, "That's what it sounded like to me, too. What's a death walk?"

    When Chewie looked frustrated, another voice coming from the entrance to the infirmary spoke. "He said walk of sleep, not death. Sleep walking," said Han Solo.

    Mara considered. "Jaina has no history of sleep walking. Does she?"

    Han shook his head slowly. "No. But she's been through so much lately. Hell, even her attempt at a vacation turned into a small battle."

    Luke assured him. "She's strong, Han."

    "Yeah, I know. She's got the strength of heroes in her blood."

    Mara sat up with less pain in her head and cried, "Would you two wake up? Jaina only tries to be as strong as
  15. kataja

    kataja Jedi Master star 4

    May 4, 2007
    Not only was this an exciting and well written chapter - it was also specked with a row of delicious exchanges! Just loved Mara in this chapter! Bravo!!! =D= =D= =D=

    Mara Jade allowed herself to bask in her husband's shadow for a few glorious moments.
    You write her so perfectly non-nonsense in character so this stand out even more brightly! I just love to see how she's softened - and how good that is for her!

    "You've got quite a welt on your right side. We can put a bacta patch on it now that you're awake."

    "Sounds like a plan
    No-nonscenes Mara indeed! :p Even to heal is a plan.

    "From what you described to me last night, it seems Jaina is going through something unique."

    Mara sighed. "You always put things so mildly

    That's why you two complete each otehr so well, Mara dear! [face_mischief]

    Would you two wake up? Jaina only tries to be as strong as you and Leia. She creates that illusion of strength because she feels she has to live up to the both of you. She's only fifteen. How strong were you two at that age?"
    Another, new side of Mara - how she understands her niece better thn two men who've known her all her life! I'm not sure she'd been that tuned with her emotions only a few years earlier...

    Lando, wearing the latest men's fashion and at least a liter of cologne

    If it's the same '40 that you've been bragging about for more than two decades then that's one big bottle."
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] [face_laugh]

    "Just be careful, Mara."

    "Don't worry. I can be subtle."

    Han muttered, "As subtle as a cruiser wreck."

    Mara bemused, "Watch your mouth, Flyboy, or you'll find yourself floating home."

    "Cute," Luke remarked
    This was perfect! [face_laugh]

    Mara grabbed the front of the Spirit Leader's robe and twirled his huge body around 360 degrees so that his back was to one of the ramp's metal pillars. She thrust him back hard and his head hit metal. "Where is she?" she bellowed.
    very subtle, yes... :p

    They walked up the ramp as it closed behind them and she looked back at him and surrendered to his charm. "I love you, Farmboy."
    Awwwwww!!!! [face_blush] I love the way you write this in! It's just perfect!

    To believe in a god or goddess because someone tells you to is the height of stupidity. Our senses determine what we do with information given to us and intelligence allows us to understand that information. Yet, each being must figure it out for themselves. The members are not just following one man's belief in a deity. They truly have faith in her and therefore, themselves."

    Mara suddenly stopped to consider her husband. "When did you become so introspective?"

    Luke shrugged and replied casually, "It comes with the job
    And I love to see Luke so professional! Yes, it would come with the job, but it's still lovely to hear.

    "There! That should work."

    "Mara, that has to be a century old."

    "It'll work. Come on, Farmboy. I'm piloting
    And great to see Mara so eager! Yesss!!! Great characterization indeed!!!!=D= [:D]

  16. Piper057

    Piper057 Jedi Youngling star 2

    Nov 26, 2009

    I do, too. :D
    Of course, I love reading mush, but we can't forget that he isn't just a farmboy - he is a Jedi and has military background. Great description of them working together! =D=

  17. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    kataja - Would you two wake up? Jaina only tries to be as strong as you and Leia. She creates that illusion of strength because she feels she has to live up to the both of you. She's only fifteen. How strong were you two at that age?"
    Another, new side of Mara - how she understands her niece better thn two men who've known her all her life! I'm not sure she'd been that tuned with her emotions only a few years earlier...

    I tried the angle of who better to know about a female teenager's life than another woman close to her? Not to take anything away from Leia, but in my view, Mara may have been closer to Jaina at this time than anyone else. @&$#^& Profic never delved into this idea in type, but have only hinted at it.

    "They walked up the ramp as it closed behind them and she looked back at him and surrendered to his charm. "I love you, Farmboy."
    Awwwwww!!!! blush I love the way you write this in! It's just perfect!"

    I think sudden bursts of squeeee surprises Mara, too.

    Not only was this an exciting and well written chapter - it was also specked with a row of delicious exchanges!

    Thanks so very much.

    Piper057 Of course, I love reading mush, but we can't forget that he isn't just a farmboy - he is a Jedi and has military background. Great description of them working together!

    I don't try to write mush. To me, instances of sudden romance happen in fan fic just as in life; naturally. And I have always written Luke Skywalker as more than just a serious Jedi Master ($#@* profic! :mad:. People keep forgetting that he still has that naivete of a farmboy still in him. You can take the boy out of Tatooine, but you can't take the Tatooine out of the boy!

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  18. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    For those who are reading and reviewing this (hears crickets...:confused:) I am currently typing up Chapter 11 and soon it will be posted. I believe I only have two more chapters to go on this. I can clearly see now this wasn't a subject people were interested in. But I'm plodding on anyway. Thanks to those who are reviewing.
  19. kataja

    kataja Jedi Master star 4

    May 4, 2007
    Plod on! This is a great story! And write on - 'cos you're darmed good at it! But your stories aren't lightly chewed so you don't get so many readers! So what? You're not the only one - some of the best stories here have only a couple of readers. But you don't manage to read all the stories that would be worthwhile either. None of us do. It's not fair - and it never will be. Instead take delight in the praise of us who do follow and love your story![:D]

    Yeah, I know, it's much more easily said than done - but it's still the best way forward... [face_peace]
  20. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    And here I am prodding on. Thanks for your words of support, kataja. [face_love]
    And below is the latest chapter. Things are getting hairy now. I figure I have two more chapters after this until the end.
    And as always...enjoy and review as you see fit!

    Summary: When we last left the story, Jaina was missing and Mara had confronted Krun Li with Luke. Luke realized that Krun Li was hiding something. Luke and Mara set out to find Jaina on the compound with Han and Lando's help from the Falcon. Luke and Mara approach Trogan Eclaine's maintenance facility outside the compound and come upon Trogan and the gurlanin, Ruht, carrying the comatose Jaina into their ship. They manage to take off before Mara can reach them, but Mara finds an old skiff to go after them. The results are in the Epliogue in case you need a refresher. That is where Chapter 11 begins...


    Chapter 11: Past Excuses


    She opened her eyes into the darkness. Her head lifted up without any pain. Without any feeling as a matter of fact. She looked out into the shadow of trees that held no color. She sat up and raised her arm. Her movements felt like she were inside a vat of bacta fluid. Thick. Slow motion. Unreal. Was this a dream?

    Jaina tried to think. Last memory? Sleeping in her bunk on the Jade Sabre.

    Maybe I'm still there, she thought.

    She looked down at her arm as the upper portion suddenly stung. She rubbed it with her other hand.

    You had help in your inactivity, said a voice around her.

    Jaina twirled around to find its source but found further darkness. "Who is that? Where are you?" As if on cue, a faint image of a little girl with blonde curls appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Her gown was glowing white so brightly that it almost hurt Jaina's eyes. The gown flowed back against a wind that Jaina did not feel. "Oh, wonderful. You again. Where am I?"

    Neither here nor there. Where I am now. Where I have always been.

    Jaina muttered, "Of all the ghosts I can see, I get the one that makes no sense." She addressed the girl. "Agharta, I assume."

    The label is wrong. Yet, I am the myth of power from which the elders created me. They needed a name for their fault.

    "For a girl your age, you do have a large Basic vocabulary."

    My age is seamless. Wrinkled through the fabric of time. No constant in worth.

    "Yeah, whatever. Can you tell me why I'm here?"

    You have come through. Those before you faded before reaching the post.

    "Why me?"

    You possess the power to understand and the will to action. You can release me before the dawn. Many rocks and grass will disappear.

    "Release you? From what?"

    Eternal turmoil.

    "That doesn't sound good. Where can I find you?"

    Everywhere. But tranquil in one place.

    "Guess I'll have to figure that one on my own.

    Seek the sacred post mortem.

    "Wonderful. Another vague clue."

    Must be done before it's time.

    "Time for what?"

    Instead of the spirit answering, the ground beneath Jaina started to rumble. Jaina tried to steady herself while the girl stood completely still. Not moving. Almost as if she were floating just above the ground's surface. The ground quickly graduated from rumbling to violent shaking. Jaina almost fell over from trying to balance herself. She started to see cracks in the soil that bled out bright yellow-orange light. Jaina could already feel the extreme heat exuding from the cracks.

    "What is this? What is happening?"

    The blonde girl frowned and replied, The end. And within seconds, the wind carried her image away from existence.

    Jaina could hold on no more. The ground began to take the shape of a large staircase and she slipped and collapsed onto the next lower slab. The yellowish light was just underneath her. The heat was too intense. The slab she lays on rises and another forms beneath her. She grabs hold of the edge, holding on for dear life. Her fingers can't take the pressure. She slips. There is no other slab beneath her. Nothing but yellow orange light. And the heat.
  21. Piper057

    Piper057 Jedi Youngling star 2

    Nov 26, 2009
    I'm saying it again - I love your writing. And I'm only sorry that you don't do it more often. :D

    And I'm almost starting to like Jaina - the girl really takes after her father.)))
    Wonder more and more about Agharta's fate now...
  22. kataja

    kataja Jedi Master star 4

    May 4, 2007
    Extremely interesting! I'd never figured all of this out but it makes well sense! =D=

    And here I am prodding on.
    And we're some who appreciate it very much!!! [face_peace]

    Thanks for your words of support, kataja.

    Have I mentioned I really appreciate the summary! I'm fairly certain I remember everything "important" but after a long break I always start reading with that feeling in my stomach that i miss something important. Thanks to your summary I don't have to here!

    Oh, and I've forgotten to tell you that chapters back, just when I was reading about Jaina and that girl she saw and the hairs of my back were rising I saw a movement in the corner of my eye and lifting my head I see two sets of eye staring at me through the window. My mouth was just opening for a scream when I realized it was only my neighbour's cat. Talk about timing! My heart thudded hard for several minutes!!![face_sick]

    Anyway: a handful of comments directly in the text:

    "Oh, wonderful. You again. Where am I?"
    It's only Jaina Solo who culd say something like this in such a situation! [face_dancing]

    Neither here nor there. Where I am now. Where I have always been.
    And what a voice you give Agartha! Bravo!!!

    My age is seamless. Wrinkled through the fabric of time. No constant in worth.

    "Yeah, whatever
    [face_laugh] This is SO Han Solo's daughter!! And Mara's apprentice...;)

    Jaina could hold on no more. The ground began to take the shape of a large staircase and she slipped and collapsed onto the next lower slab. The yellowish light was just underneath her. The heat was too intense. The slab she lays on rises and another forms beneath her. She grabs hold of the edge, holding on for dear life. Her fingers can't take the pressure. She slips. There is no other slab beneath her. Nothing but yellow orange light. And the heat. She falls. And falls. She lands hard on the?

    ?metal grating. Jaina opens her eyes. She catches her breath from the...dream? Vision? She couldn't say. She remembers everything from it in detail. She looks around at her new surroundings. Her movements don't feel as slow now. This must be real
    VERY, very good!!!!!!=D=

    "I never had half of the modifications it has now when I had her. She's your ship now."

    "So, are we done gambling over her now?"


    About time, wasn't it?:p

    All right, Plan B."

    Chewie snarled a question.

    "Yes, I do have one

    "Jaina, is that you?"

    "The one and only."

    "You all right?"

    "Fine. Just woke up from a drug-induced nap, courtesy of my captors here."

    "Your captors?"

    "Hi, Lando. Yes, my captors
    Absolutely fab dialogue here![:D]

    "Anything you want me to tell them?"

    Han gave his famous lop-sided grin. "Tell them to expect extreme pain."

    "Take a number. Too bad Aunt Mara will have to be last
    She'll never forgive you Jaina ;)

    "Then why did you run when we saw you carrying her to your ship?"

    "It was too close to the compound to talk to you. Plus, you looked like you could kill a gundark with your bare hands."

    "She always looks like that," said Lando
    Yeah, I always thouight Land had a death wish for trying to impress her ;)

    And Krun Li wasn't what we thought either.... canøt wait to see how this turns out!!! [:D]

  23. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Wow. Here we are in the new forum. [face_party]
    Now that we're here, I can add the latest post to my current epic permanently. And there was much rejoicing. Yayyyy! [face_dancing]
    I actually wrote this months ago and I have yet to even think about the last chapter. Now, I've noticed that the earlier posts do not include all of the post. Don't know if this is a residual effect of the move, but just in case you are new to this story, I have the full story posted on here :
    In the meantime, enjoy the new/old posts here in the new/old forum and enjoy my story that I've spent two years to create. And as always, enjoy and review as you see fit!
    Chapter 12: The True Messenger

    Millennium Falcon, en route to Mahra compound
    The trip back to the compound was relatively quiet. The shock of C3PO's revelation that Krun Li and Croaga were less than human affected all aboard in varying degrees. Because of Threepio's proven inability to exaggerate, they were all forced to believe his findings as fact. It affected Luke and Han the least since they had less exposure to the Mahra leaders. Mara and Jaina had to replay memories of the past few days with Krun Li and Croaga with this new information as a variable. Mara now had a piece of the Neekro puzzle that she didn't know was missing. Krun Li's behavior on the island spoke to his reluctance to show the atrocities of his own people. Perhaps the one who was most affected by the news was the person who had spent the most time with the Mahra leaders. Trogan knew that gurlanins could stay within one form for long periods at a time. He would have never have guessed that time would be several decades.
    On the way back, Trogan kept silent and distant, evidence of a state of shock. Mara could relate to having the quintessential rug yanked out from under her like Trogan was experiencing. Through the first several years of her life she had been loyal to a man who had trained her since she was a child. It was a gradual shock after she learned of his true status as a monster underneath. The difference was that even Palpatine was still essentially human.
    They released Trogan's binders at Luke's request and Han's dismay. Luke pleaded to his friend that Trogan's reaction to Threepio's information was genuine and he no longer posed a threat to them. Luke knew that Trogan's intention of bringing Jaina to them instead of Krun Li as he was ordered was true. That almost made Han back off of the Mahra Security Officer for kidnapping his daughter. Almost.
    When they once again approached the barren field inside of the compound, there wasn't a soul around. Trogan mentioned that this was common on the morning of Advent Day. All of the members would be inside the mess hall converted out of an old Star Destroyer mess hall. Han landed the Falcon and Mara was already at the ramp's entrance.
    Luke met his wife at the entrance ramp. "I think it would be better if I started this confrontation."
    Mara sneered, "Don't worry, I won't do anything violent."
    "That's what you said this morning before you slammed Krun Li against the ramp pole."
    "Do you have to be so technical?"
    Before he could answer, Jaina came up to her aunt and uncle to proclaim, "I'm coming with you." Off her Uncle Luke's look of protest, she quickly stated, "I'm the one who started all of this. I'm the one who's seen her. Or it, whatever. That's the whole reason why Krun Li wanted Trogan to bring me to him. If he sees me, it'll look like an act of defiance. He would look weak to the Mahra members."
    "Is that our goal here?" Luke asked firmly.
    Mara said, "We have to discredit him. What they've done to these people over the years...disguising themselves as humans and creating a false goddess–"
    The gurlanin, Ruht, shouted from behind Chewie's guard in the lounge, "Agharta not fake goddess!"
    Mara gestured to him. "See, they even have his own kind believing all of this."
    Trogan uttered as he came up beside them, "Now I know why Ruht was never allowed on the compound. He could have sensed his own species."
    Luke gave Trogan a nod, but went back to address his wife. "Look, I agree with you. We should do something. But I also believe we should be cautious in confronting them. Especially Krun Li. We don't know what he's capable of."
    Jaina cried, "Krun Li meant to kill me."
    "We don't know that, Jaina. Even if you accuse him of it, he'll just use the crowd to back him up, whether it's true or false. And there's something else to consider. The members themselves. If you pour all of these accusations on their leader at once it's possible they could form a riot."
    Mara's features softened, indicating to Luke that she hadn't considered that angle. Jaina, however was persistent.
    "I'm still going with you."
    "I don't like it, hon," said a booming voice from the cockpit tunnel. Han came around the corner and added, "It could be dangerous."
    Jaina actually sneered at her father. "Don't tell me about danger, dad. I've been living with danger during the last several years. Or haven't you paid attention? Exar Kun. The Shadow Academy. Multiple kidnappings since I was three. This isn't nearly as dangerous. I can handle myself. I'm going!"
    After a moment of silent reflection, Han stood and looked at his daughter proudly. He sighed in mock defeat. "Leia's defiance and my gumption all rolled into one woman. There's nothing in this galaxy that can stop you."
    After that was settled, Luke began, "All right, I'll go in first, followed my Mara and Jaina. I'll be the one to speak to–"
    "No!" cried the voice of Trogan.
    "Now what?" exclaimed the usually patient Jedi Master.
    "I'm going too. I'll talk to him first. When Krun Li sees me," he gestured to Jaina, "then you, he'll know his plan failed."
    "We still don't trust you," grumbled Han.
    Lando stepped in from the lounge as he was listening in and said, "Then I'll go to watch him."
    Luke said quickly, "All right, we got everyone who's going. Chewie will stay here and guard the gurlanin. Han, you're welcome to–"
    "What? Me in the same room with the mastermind behind my daughter's current kidnapping? My blaster might have a reaction to that." Chewie added a long series of growls and Han said, "And I'm not even going to translate what Chewie here wants to do with him."
    See Threepio called from the Falcon's computer station and exclaimed, "I do believe Chewbacca said that he wants to hang this Krun Li by his–"
    "Keep it to yourself, Goldenrod!" snapped Han.
    Luke and the others grinned before Luke addressed the droid, "I suppose you want to sit this one out, Threepio?"
    "Oh, yes, I quite agree, Master Luke. I am afraid I'm not good at confrontations."
    "Noted, Threepio. Lower the ramp, Han. Let's get this over with."
    As Han pulled the manual lever to lower the ramp, Luke felt Trogan's nervousness as he made his way to the front. Luke nudged him. "Hey, are you going to be all right?"
    "What? Sure. I'll be all right. Frankly, I'm not surprised it's come to this. I've disagreed with many of Krun Li's decisions over the years."
    Mara asked, "Do you know what you'll say to him?"
    "I'll improvise," Trogan said as they all walked down the ramp.

    They approached the former Star Destroyer mess hall with Trogan taking lead and Lando behind him. Jaina and Mara were followed by Luke bringing up the rear. The compound was dead with no one in sight. Trogan assured them the members were all in the mess hall. Sure enough, when they neared the security door to the hall, they could hear the low rumble of Krun Li speaking. Trogan was about to enter the security code that unlocked the door, an action he mindlessly performed several times over the years. This time he hesitated.
    Lando snickered. "Having second thoughts?"
    "No," Trogan replied. "It's just all the times I've been in here...and all the things I've done for all ends as soon as I open this door."
    Luke assured him, "I know how hard this must be for you."
    Trogan shrugged and said, "Not really. Just needed to say that out loud to hear what it sounded like." He flashed a confident smirk before he entered in the code. The doors slid open at once.
    The entire clan of Mahra members were present. They were sitting at several long tables. Echoes of their half-eaten breakfasts still lingered on their plates. The Mahra people were facing opposite of the newest visitors entering into the hall. The members were focused on their Spirit Leader, who was speaking to them. All Krun Li had to do was lift his head to spot Luke and company. He went on speaking about how their goddess, Agharta, was proud of them. He didn't notice his newest visitors.
    Trogan stepped forward into the hall and the others followed him. Trogan stood defiantly at the center of the hall in a spot where Krun Li could easily see them. Mara and Jaina stood beside Lando in a single row and Luke came up to stand next to Mara. Yet, Krun Li continued to speak with no indication that he knew they were there. It wasn't until Croaga spotted them standing behind the members, when he slowly went over to Krun Li to tap him on the shoulder. The Mahra Priest gestured to their new guests and Krun Li finally saw them. He abruptly stopped talking.
    For an instant, Mara thought she could feel a sense of anger coming from the Spirit Leader. She wasn't sure since she could never read Krun Li's emotions well. Now she knew why. She then felt a nudge of verification from her husband through the Force that anger was the correct emotion coming from Krun Li. But it dissipated as quickly as it arrived.
    Krun Li was now speechless for the time being. His eyes were fixed on the group standing in a row at the back of the hall. Because of his abrupt end to his speech, the Mahra members became curious and one by one they started to turn their heads in the direction in which their Spirit Leader was facing. The members started mumbling to themselves as they identified their guests along with their Security Officer.
    Jaina could distinguish the voice of Ristina Tai'lor calling out her name. "Jaina!"
    Jaina spotted the girl in the crowd sitting with her family and gave her an assuring nod. Curiously, she noted who was sitting next to the Tai'lor family. Seria Rayne. She gave her own smile to show her gratitude for what Mara had done for her.
    These would be among the last moments of peace before Krun Li boomed, "Trogan! I see you brought some guests."
    Trogan replied wryly, "Ironic that you now call them guests. Just yesterday after Mara and Jaina left the compound I was under the impression that you considered them a nuisance."
    "A misunderstanding on your part, no doubt. Why have you brought them here?"
    "Oh, I'm doing exactly as you told me to do yesterday. I've brought you Jaina Solo to 'eliminate your problem'. I believe those were your words to me."
    Before replying to Trogan, Krun Li glanced at the Mahra members as they slowly took in what Trogan was saying. Confusion was dominant all around them and it seemed Krun Li planned to take advantage of it. "Congratulations, Trogan. Members of Mahra, we must give our Security Officer a great deal of gratitude. I am not sure if all of you were aware, but Jaina Solo was reported missing early this morning. It seems Trogan has found her." He gave a proud nod to Trogan and said, "Well done, sir!"
    The feint made Mara ill. It possessed no emotional response from anyone in her group. They knew Krun Li's truth. Admirably, Trogan didn't reduce himself to the same level.
    "I'm afraid the members here won't understand, Krun Li. They don't know that you told me to take Jaina captive overnight by any means necessary. You knew this before Mara Jade confronted you this morning about Jaina's disappearance. You lied to not one, but two of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy."
    Krun Li stepped off the small riser that acted as his homemade pulpit and eased his way towards the tables. "That is quite an accusation, Trogan. And one that I didn't expect from you."
    "I'm done pretending to be your henchman who does your dirty work."
    Krun Li actually started to chuckle. "I'm sure we are all amused by your tales of fiction, Trogan. As you can see, I am rather busy at the moment. Perhaps we can talk this over in my office after the service, along with your...collaborators."
    It was Mara who spoke this time for Trogan. "I always say there's no time like the present."
    Krun Li glared icily at Mara and hissed, "You have no idea what you are doing."
    Trogan stated casually, "We're exposing you for what you really are. Just in case there's any confusion." He gestured to Jaina and spoke more to the crowd than to Krun Li. "This girl has seen the spirit of Agharta. So has Seria Rayne. And there have been others since I've been here. Always young girls claiming to see a spirit of a girl."
    "That is nonsense," cried Krun Li. He pointed at Jaina and exclaimed, "That girl is an abomination! She is a Jedi, like her Aunt and Uncle. It seems you have fallen under their influence, Trogan."
    Trogan lurched forward. "It's not their influence. I've just now opened my eyes to what you've been doing for the past several decades. You take these girls who say they have seen Agharta and you try and quiet them or destroy them. I'm not letting that happen again. You did order me to take Jaina by force." He hesitated before he said, "And years had me place Seria Rayne on Neekro. She didn't just find a boat. I put her in it when she was unconscious." The crowd started to mumble. "You thought the wild gurlanins still on Neekro would kill her. She was too smart for that. What she couldn't overcome was what she saw on Neekro. It scared her so much that she lost her sanity. But she came back. Only to have you order that she be left alone. See, you still got what you wanted. Hush Seria Rayne about Agharta. Until a Jedi comes here and claims to have seen the same spirit. Not as easy to keep a Jedi quiet, is it, Krun Li?"
    The murmurs from the crowd expressed emotions in the Force that ranged from confusion to anger, all directed at their Spirit Leader. Finally, Ristina Tai'lor spoke out to Jaina for verification. "Is it true, Jaina? Have you really seen the spirit of Agharta?"
    Jaina was caught off guard by the sudden attention she was getting by the girl's question. Jaina cleared her throat and replied, "Honestly, I'm not sure if it was Agharta herself. I know it is a spirit of a girl." Jaina hesitated and blurted out nervously as if she were afraid the crowd would laugh at her, "I think...she needs our help."
    Krun Li finally spoke proudly, "That proves that she is not Agharta. Our goddess does not need any help. She helps us."
    Jaina was in thought for a moment before she asked Krun Li, "You are the only one who can see and speak to Agharta?"
    "It is so written, so shall it be."
    "I'll take that as a yes. Let me ask you a question. What does Agharta look like?"
    Krun Li held his head high and stated, "Agharta's appearance is insignificant. She can take on any form."
    Jaina gave the Solo grin. "Much like a gurlanin. Interesting. But she doesn't come in any form. Just one. A pale young girl with long blonde hair in braids on both sides of her head and wearing a free flowing white gown that's so bright that it blinds your eyes. When she speaks, it's the sound of a eerie whisper." Jaina looked over at Seria and confirmed, "Is that a good enough description, Seria?"
    The woman hesitated as all eyes were on her and she uttered, "Yes, that would be her."
    A female Rodian spoke out in broken Basic. "Me thought you are healed by Jedi woman."
    "I am healed," Seria said. "Mara brought back my sanity. She did nothing to my memories. Those will always be there."
    Edyn Tai'lor, Ristina's father, spoke up to ask the crowd, "Why would this spirit of Agharta come to these young girls and not our Spirit Leader?"
    Krun Li replied before anyone, "Because it is a fallacy. There is no spirit coming to these girls. It is the Jedi who are controlling your thoughts. We have seen them do this before in their history."
    Luke spoke to Krun Li with a harder edge than usual. "I can assure you, Krun Li, that the Jedi are not controlling anyone's thoughts. Furthermore, you cannot blame the Jedi for multiple sightings of this spirit by various girls in your history. To my knowledge, we are among the first Jedi to arrive here for generations. On the contrary, we are not making this up, either. Jaina herself has witnessed a Force spirit before. If she claims to have seen a spirit then I believe her."
    Krun Li then stated emphatically, "Then we must agree to disagree. I am afraid that means that you and your friends are no longer welcome among the Mahra. I must ask that you leave the premises at once."
    A human member of the Mahra, whom Mara or Jaina did not recognize, cried out, "Wait! If you banish them, then what about our merge with the New Republic? We voted for this."
    Amidst the rumblings of agreement within the crowd, Krun Li addressed the group as a whole. "They can offer you no more than what Agharta can offer you here."
    Edyn Tai'lor stated, "They can offer a connection to the galaxy. Think about it. We have to rely on our Security Officer to smuggle us in food and second hand equipment. All we have with ties to the galaxy is the HoloNet. We've been too alone out here."
    Krun Li lowered his head and uttered, "Then you do not know what it is to be a Mahra."
    The crowd was silenced at this until Edyn finally said, "I guess I don't. In fact, with the information given to us here by the Jedi today, I'm not so sure Agharta even exists."
    As if on cue, there was a sudden spark in the far corner of the hall and burnt embers of electricity began to spew out of the generator that controlled the lighting in that area. That section was then darkened. Within seconds, the next generator in the opposite corner also started to emit sparks and the lights in that section died. The pattern continued with the two remaining generators going out systematically. The former Star Destroyer mess hall was never intended to be used on a planet's surface. The construction of the roof was originally part of the metal frame of the ship itself. Without that structure, the Mahra members had to improvise their own roof made out of thin layers of sheet metal. The open spaces where the flat sheets overlapped created only hints of daylight. The illumination inside the hall was now dimly lit.
    The members all gasped at their sudden plunge into semi-darkness. Luke tried to inject a feeling of ease through the Force as he bumped into Lando.
    "What the blazes happened?" asked Lando.
    Luke answered simply, "The generators went out."
    Jaina replied wryly, "Nice observation, Uncle Luke."
    "They went out all at once?" questioned Lando.
    Nearby, Trogan added, "It is a bit strange for all of them to go out like that."
    Luke suggested, "Why don't you and Trogan check it out?"
    Lando retrieved a compact lamp from his utility belt and said to Trogan, "Let's take a look."
    Meanwhile, Luke could feel Krun Li's sudden confusion at the generators' breakdown. The Spirit Leader didn't look like he was going to take charge anytime soon, so Luke did. He spoke to the crowd in a calming voice, "Everybody be calm. Please don't panic. My friend Lando and Trogan are looking into what happened."
    Lando and Trogan went to the first generator that went out in the front corner. Lando noted the brand of equipment. "ANewton-Roush. Not bad."
    Trogan boasted, "Had a good deal for them on Ossus."
    "Not a brand that breaks down suddenly."
    "One, maybe. Not four at the same time."
    Lando inspected the generator all around with his lamp. "Contact points are clean. Transformer relays are intact. There's no carbon scoring around them."
    "That's weird for a blowout."
    "You're telling me. What in hell happened here?"
    "I'm not sure."
    Lando stopped looking and asked, "Do you hear that?"
    Trogan took a moment to listen but replied, "No. What is it?"
    "Sounds like...trickling. Like something's leaking."
    Trogan blew out a breath. "Tarkin's Ghost, that better not be the alkaline fluid. That stuff will eat away at the floor."
    Lando shined his light at a point below the generator. "No. Nothing coming out of the tanks. I still hear it though. Let me get up and look again." Since the generator was flush against the wall, Lando had to place his other hand on the wall for balance. As soon as his hand touched the wall, however, he shrieked and retracted his hand so quickly that the compact lamp fell to the floor with a clang.
    “What is it?” asked Trogan.
    “I…don’t know. It feels like some kind of oil.”
    “On the wall?”
    Lando hesitated out of disbelief and then admitted, “Yes. Here, pick up the lamp and shine it up there.”
    Trogan complied and the light hit the wall.
    Both men stood in shock as to what they were seeing.
    A thick black liquid was oozing down the wall from an unknown source. It wasn’t just in one spot. Trogan panned the light across the wall in both directions and the liquid was coming down evenly.
    “What…in…Hell,” Trogan muttered.
    Luke came up behind them, unknown to the situation, and put a hand on Lando’s shoulder. Lando and Trogan yelped in fear before recognizing Luke. Luke expressed surprise at their reaction. “I was just going to ask how things were going.”
    In answer, Trogan shined the light on the wall and Lando asked, “Unless you can give a reason for that, you can understand why.”
    Luke examined the wall with interest and uttered, “Well, there’s something you don’t see every day.” He glanced at the crowd, still confused and scared just from being in the dark. He said quietly, “Let’s not panic. We don’t want a rushing crowd.”
    “I agree,” said Lando.
    “Yeah, it’s just oil. What’s the worst that can happen?”
    No sooner than Trogan said his words than a fire started to appear on the wall. Being that the substance was oil, and very flammable, the fire rapidly spread across the wall to the other side where the other generator had blown. It then spread to the next generator and then the next, until the entire four walls of the mess hall were engulfed in flames.
    Lando said wryly to Trogan, “You had to ask that question.”
    By this time, the crowd saw the fire and the shrieks of horror began. Panic began to rise as they started to move toward the exit. Unfortunately, there was only one.
    Luke found his wife and niece in the crowd as Mara tried to cry out to the crowd. “Please, do not panic! Stay calm!” Luke then cried out with the same intention of easing the crowd.
    Seeing how Luke and Mara were failing, Trogan thrust the compact light in Lando’s hand and headed into the crowd. There was no need for a lamp, now that the fire emitted a glow with which they could see better. Trogan waded through the crowd to reach the entrance, shouting at them to keep calm. Once he reached the door's controls he quickly tapped in the security code.
    With a jolt of high-powered electricity, Trogan was catapulted backward into the air. He landed amongst the crowd, who gasped at Trogan’s failure. Jaina was the closest to him and she helped him up from the ground. Without thinking, Trogan said to her, “Thanks. By the way, I’m sorry for what I did last night. No hard feelings?”
    “Yeah, whatever. What happened at the controls? I’ve never seen a circuit board short out that hard.”
    Trogan got back on his feet with Jaina’s help. His clothing smelled of ozone and was smoldering. He told her, “We’re seeing a lot of never befores today, dearie. All I know is that something doesn’t want us to leave.”
    The fire was billowing wildly along the walls now. The roar from its cry was almost deafening. The crowd had nothing more to do than to accept their fates. Luke and Mara could feel their despair and regret. Krun Li stood and watched bewildered. Luke could not read him so well in the Force. Perhaps gurlanins were hard to read. They did possess a form of telekinesis. It was at that same moment when Krun Li suddenly turned to Luke. The Jedi Master squinted his eyes, wondering if Krun Li had somehow listened to his own thoughts. Before Luke could react, his wife nudged him.
    “Luke, do you notice something about the fire?”
    Luke tore his gaze away from Krun Li and watched the flames. “Other than being normal fire?”
    “Look up at the ceiling. See anything missing?”
    Luke looked up and examined where the thin slates of metal met the structure of the hall. Then he saw what she meant. There was no smoke. With the amount of fire in the hall, there should be smoke as thick as soup and everyone should be gasping for breath by now. But there was no smoke. Only fire.
    Luke ultimately stated, "Smokeless fire. There's something unnatural at work here."
    Lando exclaimed nearby, "You think?"
    Mara noted the crowd of Mahra members looking towards their Spirit Leader for answers as to why this was happening. So far, he gave them none.
    "He simply doesn't know," said Luke, answering Mara's unspoken question.
    "I do," said Jaina. "I know exactly who is doing this."
    "So do I," boomed the voice of Krun Li, who suddenly appeared behind them. The members were hushed as they anticipated answers to the current phenomenon. Krun Li exclaimed loud enough for the crowd to hear, "I know who is doing this. It is them!" He abruptly pointed to Luke and Mara. "They are causing this with their Force!"
    Luke stepped forward and snapped at Krun Li, "We are not using the Force! Jedi cannot produce fire out of thin air! This is something else. Something that's been disturbed and shouldn't have been."
    Krun Li scoffed and became sarcastic. "Another one of your Sith lords?"
    "No," Luke replied. "Something worse."
    The crowd was silent while they took in Luke's words. But something else started happening on the fiery walls. Starting at the far edges, the fire began to extinguish itself on both sides. The flames disappeared from the entrance to fade away towards the homemade pulpit where Krun Li was preaching several minutes before.
    "What's going on now?" Lando directly asked Jaina.
    "I have no idea," was her answer.
    The flames thinned out at on the wall at the opposite end of the hall. It began forming a single vertical line. Three quarters down from the top of the line a second line formed horizontally and a wide arc flowed out above it. Underneath the horizontal line, three small triangles formed upside down. There, the symbol stood.
    "What is it?" asked Lando.
    Jaina uttered, "Life from the Sun above. Death from fire below. It's the symbol of Qiilura."
    "Why is it being shown here?" asked Mara.
    Jaina looked deep in thought as she looked out at the crowd and then back to the symbol. She then said, "Proof."
    "Proof of what?" asked Luke.
    "Existence," his niece replied. She went on to explain as much as she could. "This all started after Ristina's father said he didn't believe Agharta existed. This is the spirit's way of showing us that she does exist in one form or another."
    "So, it is Agharta," Trogan said.
    "I'm still not sure of that," replied Jaina. "In all the times she allowed me to see her, she always denied that name. It has to be something else outside of the myth."
    "A myth created by gurlanins?" suggested Mara. "The same gurlanins who now control the Mahra members?'
    As if on cue, Krun Li came over and shouted at them. "What is the meaning of this? Why are you doing this?"
    Mara snapped, "Oh, for kriffin' sakes! How many times do we have to tell you that we are not doing any of this?"
    Krun Li barked, "I told you of this symbol on Neekro! It is too ancient for anyone else in here to know of it! No one else alive is aware of it!"
    I am aware and among the long departed.
    The sudden voice was in the tone of a loud whisper. A quiet echo. It contained no source. It was everywhere. And all who were present inside the hall could hear it. Everyone. The Mahra members went into a stunned silence. They were almost too afraid to speak. Jaina watched them in turn as they mouthed the name on their lips without sound. Agharta. Various phrases from the members expressed different levels of awe and joy.
    "She has come to us!"
    "We can all now hear her!"
    "We are now worthy of her voice."
    The only one among them who was not pleased was their Spirit Leader. He looked on at the members of Mahra in disbelief. His rage grew as he spoke vehemently to the voice coming from nowhere. "What trickery is this? Who are you? You are not our goddess! This is not supposed to happen! Speak at once, you false deity!"
    I am what you made me. A deity not in name, but in spirit. I am a victim of a crime committed long ago that turned truth into myth. Only the elders remember my forgotten name.
    Lando uttered, "What is talking about?"
    Mara answered loud enough for all to hear. "The myth of Agharta. The elders know of her name. And crime." She looked straight at Krun Li. "Her torture."
    Lando asked, "How do you know this?"
    "I know," said Mara.
    Krun Li came over to them and softly said, "You already know too much."
    "Who are the elders?" asked Luke.
    Krun Li started to say, "It is best for some things stay hidden. I am not at liberty–"
    "The elders were ancient gurlanins who lived a thousand moons ago," interrupted Croaga as he stepped beside Krun Li. The Spirit Leader shot his Priest a quick glance of warning but Croaga stopped him before he could speak. "No, my friend. It is time. Time for the past to dissolve into the future. You can fool yourself if you want, Krun Li, but I have just witnessed a power that is beyond any Jedi abilities that we know of. And I can finally say for a fact that this spirit who is speaking to all of us is not our beloved Agharta."
    "Why do you say that?" Mara asked.
    He looked at Krun Li first before he stated, "Because Agharta was never a real person. She is a goddess made purely from myth. A myth that is based on truth and turned into a story handed down by each generation over the years."
    Luke stepped toward Croaga and asked, "Can you give us the true story?"
    Without taking his eyes off Krun Li, who was shaking his head in protest, Croaga replied, "Yes, I can. It is time, like I said." At this moment, the burning symbol of Qiilura was secondary. All the members' focus was on Croaga. He began with a small chuckle. "I'm afraid I'm not much of a storyteller, but I will do my best. A thousand years ago the first settlers came to Qiilura. Human and non-human alike. The gurlanins at that time did not approve of their new...roommates, if you will. There were many attacks by gurlanins, many done by deception. The gurlanins would take the form of their captors and subdue them by surprise. Many humans and aliens were killed quickly. But there was one among the human settlers who was different. A young girl. It was found out by the gurlanins that this girl possessed magical powers. She knew what people were thinking. She could levitate objects into the air. She had the ability to destroy things in anger."
    Luke instantly registered the facts. "She had the Force."
    "That's what the settlers thought as well. The gurlanins did not know of the Force. Their magic was only in the land of Qiilura. Anything else was blasphemy. To them, the girl was an abomination." He turned to Krun Li in echo of his use of the same word earlier.
    Mara surmised, "Not all of the gurlanins felt that way, did they?"
    "No. There were but a few who were sympathetic to the girl. Saw her as special."
    Jaina followed the thought. "They formed into humans to comfort her."
    Croaga nodded. "And to protect her. This was after the other gurlanins took away her parents and killed them."
    "Oh my stars," uttered Jaina.
    Croaga continued. "The gurlanins who were helping her tried to hide her from the other gurlanins who set out to destroy her. The gurlanins who became human to help her shunned their way of life once they saw the wild gurlanins' true colors. They were cast out of their clan. Became one with the humans as they protected the child. They were, in the ancient gurlanin language, mah'ra. Traitors."
    "What happened to the girl?" asked Luke.
    Croaga breathed outward. "Unfortunately, the two gurlanins were not enough to protect the girl. She was captured by the others. She was tortured almost to death."
    "By the lava pit on Neekro," said Mara.
    "Yes. But they didn't perform the rituals with lowering a prisoner in the lava pit. She was burned slowly but alive. Barely. They presented her body to the settlers so to prove that their gods were the only ones who had power."
    "Just like the myth," noted Jaina.
    "Yes, but with one difference," continued Croaga. The settlers were not given a chance to bury the girl. She was still alive when the gurlanins took her back to Neekro. And to this day, nobody knows what they did to her." The crowd was deadly silent now as they absorbed the new version of a myth they had heard hundreds of times. Croaga continued with a more hoarse voice. "After that, the human-gurlanins formed an alliance with the human and non-human settlers. The former gurlanins rejected their own heritage and stayed human. As a group they would call themselves Mahra. And the girl would forever live in their hearts. She was, in the gurlanin language, agharta. The word for eternal."
    A Mahra member cried out, "So you deceived us! All along we thought we were following a goddess of peace. Instead, she is just another girl killed by the ancient gurlanins."
    There were murmurs of agreement amongst the other members before Croaga defended his position. "She was not just another girl. She was brave and strong when her parents were taken and murdered. And when she herself was taken, she defied the gurlanins by staying alive for as long as she could. She was an innocent. In that act of peace, she became immortal. She became our goddess. We honored her memory by creating this organization. It is a tribute to her bravery."
    Another female human member cried out, "But it's still a deception. We should not be following such a travesty." The members chimed in all at once at their angry agreement with their fellow member. Soon the cries were heard as one and seemed uncontrollable. While the crowd continued to voice their resentment toward Croaga and Krun Li, Jaina stepped up and screamed to be heard.
    "Hey! Everyone! Listen to me!" The crowd heard her and stopped shouting in curiosity of her sudden control of them. "Haven't you thought of why you follow Agharta in the first place? You live your lives in peace the same way that innocent girl wanted. I saw how happy all of you were the other night at the gathering on the beach. The same strength in her is the same in all the girls she made herself known to over the years. Maybe that's why the spirit goes to young girls. She tries to connect to them. Communicate even. Seria Rayne survived living on an island alone despite the odds. She made friends with a spirit whose only crime was being lonely. Except Seria couldn't distinguish fact from reality where the spirit was concerned and it took her sanity. It allowed itself to be seen by me because it sensed the same power that it had in life. The Force. The last time it...she spoke to me, I felt that she needed me to do something. I think it's in pain. Now, what Mahra member would refuse someone who was in pain? Do you think that girl who suffered at the hands of the gurlanins would refuse? She died a horrible death for all of you to live. I think you owe her that respect, regardless of how she came to be your goddess."
    Jaina felt herself tense up at the end of her words. Had she spoken so outwardly in the past? She must have by the looks of admiration on her Aunt and Uncle's faces. After a moment of silent thought throughout the members, Edyn Tai'lor finally spoke.
    "Jaina Solo is right. Whether or not this spirit is our goddess, or just a spirit in turmoil, she still deserves the title of agharta. Eternal. We shall treat it with the same respect as we had before." He paused before he said, "There is only one question." He turned to face Croaga and Krun Li. "How is it that our leaders of Mahra know the ancient gurlanin language? We've researched it on the HoloNet for years and no data has been produced. It is a lost tongue. So, I ask again, how do you know it so well?"
    The Jedi in the hall could feel the tension coming from Croaga. Krun Li was almost a blank slate of emotion. The Spirit Leader's only hint of feeling was the slow shake of his head to Croaga. In response, Croaga nodded his head.
    Croaga began slowly. "We know it...because it is our native language."
    The crowd that was near deafening a few minutes ago, was now dead silent. The confusion hovered like a cloud in the mess hall.
    Ristina's father finally said, "But...that means you and he...are..."
    "Gurlanins," Croaga finished Edyn's sentence.
    The same female woman member who cried out before noted, "But, you both look so human."
    Croaga explained, "We have sustained human form for quite some time."
    "How long?" demanded Trogan.
    Croaga just smiled and said, "Longer than you can imagine."
    It was Luke who deduced, "You two were the gurlanins who tried to protect the girl."
    Croaga looked mildly surprised but then replied, "Well done, Jedi."
    Another Mahra male cried out, "But that would make you over a thousand years old!"
    "Gurlanins have an excessively long lifetime," Croaga explained.
    "Not much different than Wookies or the Anzati," noted Mara.
    Edyn Tai'lor expressed his concern with the new information. "So, we've been deceived not by humans, but creatures."
    Before the crowd could shout out their agreement with Edyn, Luke cut in at once. "They may be creatures on the inside, but with their banishment of their own race, all to try and save an innocent girl, they have grown to become more human on the outside."
    That made the crowd fall silent as Croaga added, "I assure you that the truth of our heritage was not hidden out of ulterior motives. Both Krun Li and I believe the same as you believe. We seek the same peace and tranquility that Agharta stands for."
    A female member almost spat out, "You are not real. Agharta is not real."
    Croaga stepped toward and chose a soothing voice to tell the woman, "No. Agharta is very real. She always is, regardless of how she came to be. She's real inside of each of you. In here." He motioned to the center of his chest.
    Luke could feel the members' realization of this fact. After the members took in Croaga's words and started to understand, the ground started to rumble and shake for a few seconds. The looks on the members' faces expressed their weariness as they seemed to wonder what else could happen to them that day.
    "What was that?" asked Lando.
    "An earthquake?" suggested Edyn.
    Jaina nodded. "There is a fault line that runs straight through Neekro island."
    Mara replied, "That's still several kilos away for us to feel it here."
    "What else could it be?" Trogan asked.
    The eerie voice of the spirit returned.
    The elders know my station. The land is fertile. It will not endure until one is set free.
    "There's your answer, "said Lando wryly to Trogan.
    "Maybe I can speak to her," offered Jaina.
    Trogan tried to be honest without sounding ridiculous. "You do know you're talking to a ghost."
    Jaina shrugged. "Wouldn't be the first time." She stood out before her aunt and uncle and called out to the spirit. "What is it you want from us? From me?"
    The child with power knows no bounds. The foil of the dominant. Spot the fresh flowers on the ridge. Yellow is the code. I must be redone before the skies claim me. Less than the soil. Before the end.
    "The end? Like in my dream?"
    Mara snapped, "Dream? What dream?"
    "Tell you later."
    Dream is reality magnified. No sense of false hope. The glow will consume before the location.
    "What is she talking about?" Trogan asked.
    "Haven't you heard ghost-speak before," Lando questioned casually.
    Jaina ignored them both and repeated some of the spirit's words. "'I must be redone' That could mean refreshed or returned somewhere. 'Less than the soil' Less than...subtract the soil? Under the–" She abruptly stopped speaking and snapped her head at Croaga. "Where was the girl buried?"
    Croaga looked surprised at the question. "I'm afraid that has always been unknown. We never knew what the gurlanins did to her."
    Krun Li finally came out of his silence from Croaga's confession and stated, "If they used the lava bed for torture, like the others, there may not have been anything left to bury."
    "No," said Jaina, "that would be too good for her. She used magic that, to them, she wasn't supposed to have. Only their gods could perform magic. They had to punish her severely. Pain not just in life, but in death. For eternity."
    Krun Li sighed impatiently. "I tell you we do not know. The horrors of what they did should be unspoken."
    The voice returned.
    The mark of the land hides my true nature.
    Jaina kept repeating in a whisper, "Mark of the land. Think, Jaina. Less than the soil. Mark of the land."
    Mara asked her niece, "Jaina, what does it mean?"
    Jaina snapped, "I don't know, yet." She turned away from her aunt and closed her eyes, still repeating phrases. She finally opened her eyes and caught site of the fiery symbol on the wall. She gasped. "Yellow is the code. Fresh flowers. Mark of the land hides her nature." She slowly turned back to her aunt and uncle and finally said, "I know where she is."