Before The Sith Maiden - Volume Three of the Gessa Saga - Complete!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Casper_Knightshade, Sep 15, 2003.

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  1. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Three years, and six if you count all three stories. Not necessarily the 'one story a year' idea I had hoped for. It was just I had so much to write about. But I can't thank my fans enough for sticking around. It's a long haul to read just as it is a long haul to write. I just appreciate your time here, and I hope I can end this well under all the circumstances lately.

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    CHAPTER 115.2

    The days became weeks, and before long it was a month that had passed. Casper and Alluetia had remained at Rapier Manor with their friends; the Jedi Order did not order their return to Coruscant after Casper?s report. Nowen was much better and spent his time with Destiny and Mathaniel still awaiting the call from Naressa Rapier for the cure; but not so much as a text message made their way to them. Juna remained constantly busy, dealing with each and every issue that would arise; Rose, as always, remained dutifully by her side to serve her. Muriel began to help Juna as Dizzy and Alluetia spent the down time fixing both their ships; the others gave a hand in the repairs. Three weeks would pass, and the Millennium Falcon was flyable once more.

    One more week would pass after that, and just as the tide against Rapier Technologies waned enough for Juna to catch a breather the inevitable happened. Time had been against the Trio from New Paradasia every since they left the planet Isen with Alluetia. As they awaited for Naressa?s signal they did the best they could to analyze the genetic materials for a cure, even outsourcing it genetic labs. The labs were just as baffled as the overworked Rapier computers; there was no cure to be found in the genetics, no explanation why it happened in order to reverse it.

    Inevitably, as Juna visited the trio again, Magus Mathaniel said, ?It?s time we went home. We can?t wait for your mother any longer.?

    Before long there was arrangements made. Alluetia was bored out of her mind and agreed to take the trio home. But to everyone?s surprise except Juna?s Casper decided to go with Alluetia to drop Destiny, Mathaniel, and Nowen off. He had his reasons and never said why, but Juna knew them.

    And so on a bright, beautiful day late in the tenth month of the year Juna, Rose, Dizzy and Muriel escorted the others to the Landing Bay. Much of the talk was small and covered some of the basics of the topic of conversations over the past month. As much as the departures were inevitable, it felt very strange to them all to leave. There was so much sentiment left unspoken among everyone.

    ?I hope it stays this quiet for you,? said Casper to Juna, walking on her left side perfectly as if he hadn?t lost his legs. Rose, as always, walked on Juna?s right.

    ?I can only ask so much for my birthday,? chagrinned Juna. ?The election cycles start in a month. I?ll be everyone?s favorite target practice; loudest head-lopper wins their seat.?

    ?It?s crappy, that?s what it is,? chided Alluetia. ?You don?t deserve it, Juna. I wish there was somethin? we could do.?

    ?There is: don?t get involved.? Juna lead them to the Hailstorm?s Hauler. The group going separated from the group staying behind and they faced one another. ?Take comfort in knowing that it will be all right: I?ve fought worse.?

    The little take in humor got the groups loose enough for just a moment, but then there was that sentiment again getting in their way. Each one of them had their different experiences with admiration for their allies, their friends, and those they fought along side with. This was different in some strange way, so much so they didn?t want to say goodbye. They didn?t want it to end.

    Juna said to the others, ?I?m sorry that my Mother had more or less tricked you into helping me.?

    Mathaniel said, ?It was our destiny; it took her to show us that in her own, unique way. I have no regrets.? He had been on speaking terms with Juna whenever she could get the time, but at first there was stiffness but for awhile now there had not been. ?I am proud to have fought along side
  2. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    I have a slightly bad feeling about this... however it is good to see the gang settling slightly into the 'happily ever after mood', they deserve it after the big war.
  3. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    It isn't so much bad until you figure in the 'The Phantom Menace', and then it's bad....

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    CHAPTER 116.0

    Momentarily distracted, Darth Sidious pondered a feeling that washed through him that he had not felt before in the months since Dantooine. The pause he gave caused a subtle stirring from the Hutt on the other end of the holographic transmission before the Sith Master. Until now it had been nothing more than him demanding answers and Jabba providing them. Much was discussed in terms with what had happened a month ago on Nal Hutta, with Sidious having to go through Jabba to find answers since his contacts in the Republic had no clue; the Jedi Knightshade?s report was woefully incomplete, and it was wise for the Sith Master not to use Naressa?s slicer program given every technical expert was still trying to determine how Rapier-exclusive technology controlled the Republic.

    Jabba, as with the agents on Coruscant, had become too complacent and feared him a bit less since he had went cold months ago. He could tell Jabba was going to dare a question. Sidious cut him off immediately, doing so with business.

    ?Very well, Jabba,? broke Sidious, ?your services however are not complete. I want you to continue to hold ?ownership? over the Bothan?s array until I tell you to let them have it.? After reconnecting with the crime lord and hearing about what had occurred Sidious had to remain flexible to his overall plans, including anything that may provide opportunities for him in the future. ?Neither the Bothans nor the Republic has the will to reclaim it by brutality. Concede and negotiate nothing. Humor them at the table, but by all means do not relent until I say so.?

    ?[Yes, my Lord],? said Jabba, still caught off guard clearly by Sidious? return and Sidious return to normal time in their conversation.

    ?I will need slaves, Jabba: lots of them with comptrollers to command them,? at least until his recruited and trained Sith?s Hands take over; then the comptrollers? services would no longer be required; they would be taking the Sith retirement package, just as the slavers will when the delivered the goods. ?Two hundred Humans immediately; age and gender does not matter.?

    ?[Two hundred Humans will be difficult to come by so quickly,]? said Jabba with some hesitation.

    ?You have plenty on that sand trap of a planet of yours. No one will miss them.? Sidious then emphasized, ?No aliens, Jabba, none whatsoever.? Jabba understood Sidious? demands; the Sith paid well, plus Sidious made Jabba believe he would figure deeply into his plans; Jabba was his tool until he had no use for him anymore. ?You have a day; at that time, I will transmit the coordinates that will complete the transaction.?

    Sidious did not wait for Jabba to answer; he just shut off the transmission; he was tired of talking to the slug anyways. He would compensate the Hutt accordingly and the Hutt knew better not to question the compensation. Having the Sith so close to his demise made Jabba appreciate the quiet relationship he had with Darth Sidious all the more: two hundred slaves were going to be found in one hour, but Sidious was merciful if not a dire motivator.

    Hood still draped over his head Sidious left the Aeol Methda to face the wintry outdoors of Dark Ridge Point, in the Misa Mountains on Korriban, and not far from the ruined foundation of the home of the Sith Maidens. The location was where Darth Maul had landed several months ago and had been confronted by one of the Daughters of the Dark Side, Fawni Nimh. They landed there for it offered a good location for communications since the Sithian Monastery was unsalvageable. Not far from their location was an ancient Sithian palace the Suel; that ancient structure of the Old Kingdom of the North and Dark needed repair but it offered great potential for a forward base with repairs. He and Darth Maul had made trips to the old palace and read many of the legends scripted on the walls, words left behind by some unknown author whose remains still l
  4. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    wooo... so this is the chapter that you were referring to.....

    what a family gathering to interrupt, Sidious. Now, are the Sith Maidens going to settle for second best?
  5. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Considering both Sidious and Juna's replacement worked out oh so well.......

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    Sidious jumped aside and turned to face the ghost that had stood behind him. He really didn?t care if Nefarious was actually talking about Faradi Nimh. All he was certain about was protecting himself from the likes of the late Sith Maiden and late Dark Mistress of the Sith. He would have thought to smile or gloat over his reaction to her, but her posture was of one that found nothing amusing.

    ?Surely,? started Rune again, ?you mean him??

    Honesty trumped diplomacy. ?I speak of all, Rune, those who do not listen like you.? Nefarious stood up but quickly he settled the ?children? down with raised hands. Sidious just assumed as the other Sith Maidens had and backed away from Rune a few more steps. For a graveyard, there was great tension. ?There is no need for violence here, or distrust. Everyone calm.? Sidious honestly had to wonder what ghosts could actually do to one another since they were all ready dead. Ironically Nefarious? concerns were overly legitimate.

    ?Now no one here should get their panties in a wad,? laminated Rune. ?They?re getting what they wanted. They traded in gold for? she head gestured towards Sidious and only could say ?this.?

    Sidious only contained himself as Rune continued on. ?Apparently I was not evil enough for you, Nefarious.?

    ?On the contrary, Rune, you were more than we needed,? said Nefarious. He looked to the Great Mother and asked rhetorically a question actually directed to Rune, ?By the way, did you instruct her to kill the Republic the way she had planned it??

    The Great Mother shook her head, but Rune was answering the question anyways. ?She gave me the responsibility of the Dark Hope, Nefarious! The prophecy was mine to dictate! But you screwed me! You all screwed me!!?

    Nefarious only turned around and spoke with a dawn full of calm. ?You were punished.? To give meaning to that statement he walked back to where he had left Faith and consoled the child by his side. ?You had deviated from the agreed upon vessel and put yourself into this innocent.?

    Rune scoffed, ?Innocent? Her!?

    Undeterred he said, ?And then through her, where we could not see, you took it upon yourself to claim all of the thrones.? Nefarious shook his head. ?Dear Faradi my Daughter, where did we go wrong with you??

    ?Don?t call me that!? Rune?s form flexed with a form of vibrations shock. Her skin became purplish, and her hair white and she had no eyes, and a long forked tongue extended from her mouth. In a blink of Sidious? eyes she was normal again, but still very angry. ?I am NOT your DAUGHTER! I was that which you and she had used!?

    The Great Mother rose up and went from elderly to about Rune?s age in that span. Younger and angry, the Sith Maiden of All barked, ?How dare you! You begged us to bring you back! You assured us you would put it all right! You dare stand there, believing you are still more than all of us!?

    Nefarious stepped back and put gentle hands on Luna Mystery Nimh?s shoulders to calm her. He said to the rest of the Sith Maidens who appeared to be ready to join in a fight, ?This is between us here on the bench and those on the outside looking in. Go, and be in peace.?

    Just like the area emptied with the vanishing of so many children. Rune, Sidious, Nefarious, Luna, Fawni, Faith, and Little One were all who remained. The only living creature in the vast cemetery used the space wisely and put himself further away from Rune, but made sure he was not immediately in the middle of any fight that may occur. A battle between Dark Spirits would be interesting to see, but not be apart of. Still, some of his questions were being answered.

    ?Not all of them.? Nefarious spoke to Sidious; it took a moment for Sidious to realize that he was spoken to, and that Nefarious might be?. ?Reading your mind is not difficult when there is only one reason why you would be here. I will be with you shortly.?

    ?He?s worthless!? Rune shot a fing
  6. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Intriguing. It's good to have final validation of Sidious's rather second-hand, by-the-way, oh-well assumption of dark inheritor. :)

    The ghost spat between Great Daddy and Rune is quite nicely done too. [face_alien_1]
  7. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    But is the validation set in stone?????? :eek:

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    ?These plans were afoot long before I became the Master,? clarified Sidious. He remembered the intricacies the Sith Maidens had taken the ones Luna had explained to him.

    ?Don?t be so narrow minded,? said Nefarious with the first hints of disgust in his kind voice. ?Such plans were contingent long before Rune had asserted herself as our Dark Savior. If the Sith Order folded, which it has happened before, the Sith Maidens would have to take over. The Dark Side can exist without Sith Lords.? He then grew very, very serious in tone. ?But without going into deep details, the Dark Side as we would like it to be cannot exist without the Sith Maidens. Believe me, Master Sidious, the last thing you ever do wrong to gain your destined power is to have no Sith Maiden alive. Yes, destiny will find a way, but you would agree to have some control over that destiny, how it eventually plays out. After all, the Enlightenments are vague for a pretty good reason.?

    Darth Sidious mulled it over in his head. He then said, ?The Vhinech could have easily replaced me. She was a much more powerful creature. She could have ruined your plans.?

    Darth Nefarious took Faith to his side and consoled her with a fatherly hug. ?I should not have to correct you, Master Sidious, on your observation. In hindsight, it would have been wiser for Darth Rune to resurrect in Faith?s body than in her own. Faith had no desires on the universe like you, or her father Magus Prophet, or Rune did. She only wanted her mother.

    ?Of course Faith?s animalistic instincts made it difficult for Rune even to attempt to trick her. Unlike Juna at her most desperate time over a year ago Faith would have never given up her life. It was in Faith?s nature to find a way.? He looked at Faith to draw her attention towards him. ?She did fall for Rune?s trickery. Believed Rune?s lies and efforts. You did forgive your mother, yes?? Little Faith nodded her head. Nefarious kissed the top of her head. ?Good girl.

    ?Rune?s vengeance was predicated on the acts of the Tragic Hero,? continued Darth Nefarious. ?She had the right to kill him, but she went outside what was allowed in order to achieve it. It is dangerous for one to have too much power in the Force during a time of great imbalance, be it the Light or the Dark Side. She was supposed to be the arbiter of many things; instead she sought to be the heavy weight that tips the scales.?

    ?I?m that arbiter, I presume?? questioned Sidious.

    ?Oh yes,? assured Nefarious. ?Unlike Rune you do have wisdom, though at times you cloud it with passion, even fear. Those who rule control the scales more than they tilt them in their favor.?

    Nefarious looked at his counterpart with disdain; he even pointed sternly at Sidious. ?Fighting Naressa Jaina on Dantooine was inexcusable on your behalf even when it was Rune?s trick.? He sighed heavily, the finger put away. ?Then again it had to be done. I can?t explain to you every little thing that had to come to pass because of how badly the Daughters of the Dark Side had altered the prophecies.?

    Sidious worked his mouth around on that. The many questions he had were going to have some very deep answers. It sounded as if it would take years to have each answer explained. He did not have years, so he had to use that wisdom Nefarious said he had to narrow them down. He kept it simple. ?Such as??

    Sighing again, Nefarious said, ?What happens when one is not patient and takes strides to make certain the prophecy on its face comes true. With the gaps in the known prophecy even the dead do not know the true future, so the living and the dead inject something to it. Prophecies, predicted destinies on their face, are really outlines of an idea even when someone sees that future. In all honesty, non-future seers have just as much luck predicting the future as the ones who can see the future.?

    Nefarious stood up and paced about slowly. ?As you know not every plan is executed precisely. Never did we see where
  8. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Was that the Oracle and/or the Architect??!! (sorry, wrong universe) Same spooky feeling, too. Probably the after effects of walking around in a graveyard.

    I like how Nefarious's words forshadow Sidious's ruthlessness in the years ahead. There's still a lot of Dor-Li Nimh in there, the same determined.ruthless Grand Jedi Master who went about his crusade to wipe out the Sith all those years ago. Now though, he seems wiser.
  9. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Thanks, Delight: I thought the chapter was very iffy, but I had to have it in there to explain things.

    I haven't really talked about Nefarious (Nimh) for a while, and that's because I feel folks do know where I am coming from with him. For those who don't, here's the skinny.

    For too many years now I have seen too many instances of a characterization I like to call Mister Nice Certainty: that combination of a particular nice and agreeable person that miraculously has no selfish desires and sure as hell correct in their view of the world, which is shown for all the readers to read and movie goers to see. A good example of this is Doctor Stephen W. Falchon in the movie 'War Games'. At that particular time, under the whole situation it made sense but.....I was annoyed by it when I got older. I'm like the guy knows you just want to say 'give Matthew Brodrick the damn answers all ready'! Nothing like learning a life lesson with half the Earth ready to be nuked, eh? The dude leaves you with the impression that everything will be all right, so long as you can guess the correction solution he had just thought of.

    I wouldn't have minded it much if that was the only instance. Unfortunately over twenty years and perhaps a thousand movies later I've encountered too many instances of Mister Nice Certainty. Yes, it's always a guy; yes, the dude is always right; yes, all the guy does in the movies is provide the examples that he is right, and then gleefully smiles or just continues on his merry way, and sometimes this guru of sorts just doesn't take a side. I had created Dor-Li Nimh's Force (not Sithian) characterization years ago to put a knife in Mister Nice Certainty's popularity.

    The twist, that spooky feeling Delight alluded to, was a bit of the graveyard but it was the essence of Dor-Li Nimh. Here's that Mister Nice Certainty guy, who has really given himself over to the Force, and one hand you're like 'well, that's very Jedi like', and then he turns around and says he wants the Sith to ultimately prevail and supports what they do to do it and then you have the smile of disbelief on your face. When this character comes around, you don't want him to say "Go for it, Sidious, be the man, stand up for your evil ways and lay down those by force who will oppose you.". Really, some people just don't want to hear it from such a guru of enlightenment (no pun intended).

    That determined ruthlessness, built up from the Sith War, is carried over by the Force because the Force, as Life, is cruel to all as it is good to all. That in itself is reality: things happen for a reason, and because of that we really, really, really do want those things to favor our way. But if it did that all the time, we wouldn't have life as we know it.

    Nefarious understands the Will of the Force; if he had lived during the rise of Palpatine he, unlike Yoda, would not fight back; the old Dor-Li would have, but not the Dor-Li that had come from such a bright light, journeyed through a dark shadow, and was left with only his conscious. He understood his Nature, as the E'sithorpians would say.

    I could go on for hours, but I won't bore you too much more with this. I will say this: there is an inside joke in this chapter. Care to guess what it is? :)
  10. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    I'll be posting pretty soon, here.

    As for the last post, the mentioned 'Inside Joke': the whole chapter was a critical shot at me! [face_laugh]

    The whole thing was a metaphor for my creative writing style: I know the beginning, I know the end, it's just the stuff in the middle that connects the two. And to that I have to wonder what good is a prediction to a historical event at its exact moment when none of us know the circumstances that lead to that particular event? In that vein, Nostradamus was an excellent fan fiction writer! :p

    FORWARD!
  11. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Well, you know what they say about Ends justifying Means..... But hey, if you were muddling through, I certainly couldn't tell!

    More soon!
  12. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    SOON! :D

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    CHAPTER 117.0

    To the delight of those on the Hailstorm?s Hauler the planet Isen was right where they had left it. It appeared at least to have avoided the disaster that was the Shut Down, which those on board the ship kept track of situation involving Juna Rapier via various news sources -- Casper held the most interest when he was not busy thinking about his life alone. But what they could see was all they really knew; from afar the calm appearance of the destitute world offered nothing in terms of what had occurred in Destiny?s, Mathaniel?s, and Nowen?s absence.

    Alluetia piloted the ship away from the main continent?s line of sight even though she knew the central city of Isen had no real spaceport control. Conveniently it was night time on the quiet continent where New Paradasia was located. No one noticed the vessel entered the atmosphere high in the northern hemisphere. It turned south close to the artic realm, finally reaching an all too familiar, if not frightening, place. Casper nearly talked the group out of it, but in hindsight that the dark side nature of the Last Lines of Fortal Coal cloaked them from the rest of the Vhinech. The reasons for landing there made sense.

    For starters if the Shut Down had affected the Guardians and their base in New Paradasia, and there was no reason in Nowen?s estimation that it could not, and their was an uprising, the Vhinech were in control and all they would need to escape, or some of them at least, would be a ship. Because of the possibilities that existed it made no sense to land in New Paradasia, or too close to it; putting the Gospels mountain range and the structures of the Reversal Drain and the Dam of Gerale between the chosen landing site and Little Mountain created travel time reasonable enough for the trio to get home and trouble time for any Vhinech weary of their return looking for a ship for escape. The trip home was going to be easy because it was spring and the snows in the lower elevations were gone.

    They landed just outside the Last Lines of Fortal Coal, just past the statue of Exe Kriple. Casper was out first to survey the land immediately around them; they were just as blind over long distances because of the dark side. Mathaniel came out right behind him and took more careful looks around while the Jedi Knight relaxed.

    When the others came out, Mathaniel relaxed considerably. He said, ?Maybe we are being a bit too paranoid.?

    ?I prefer the hike,? said Nowen as he slipped he re-equipped helmet on; he had his armor upgraded and restocked after the Cofka mission. ?Need to build more strength in my knee anyways.?

    Mathaniel nodded and agreed with the Guardian?s original wisdom; it was Nowen?s idea to land where they did; not too far away where it would take forever to find out their worst fears; not too close to where Alluetia and Casper were put in danger. And he personally wanted to get use to the air of this world again; not that Naboo?s air was bad to breathe in. He just wanted some time to get use to home again. After lots of days spent in hyperspace, he still believed they wouldn?t find a massacre. The wise live long because they were wise.

    Destiny looked towards the primary mountain amongst the Gospels, Little Mountain, and wondered aloud, ?No one is living in my home, are they??

    Mathaniel smiled at that in humor. Destiny had spent the last moments of their flight looking at the top of the mountain to see if she could see any lighting. He would have thought that she would give up the lonely life on top of the mountain because she appeared to have broken through some fears. He was curious as to find the source of her breakthrough spiritually.

    ?You can?t tell from here,? mused Mathaniel. ?And would you kick them out if they were squatting there??

    Double taking, she said empathically, ?They did not ask to stay there while I was on the mission. ?Those who steal now or later are stealing; even compassion?, so said Presence herself.?

    ?Well, you?re a Wookiee,? pointed out Alluetia,
  13. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Interesting. We're winding down.

    A peaceful 2007 to everyone!
  14. Whiskey in the Jar-Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2000
    star 4
    It seems that all the parts are falling into place the way they should be. Sidious is now the chosen one to bring the Sith back into power, things are returning to normal amongst the Vhinech, and it seems Casper has a few loose ends to tie up before he can really consider himself at peace.

    Yep...definitely sounds like the home stretch now.
  15. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Getting closer and closer. ;)

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    CHAPTER 117.1

    The morning came sooner than expected and none of the party had really slept; their clocks were set different, to Naboo time, and after some time they did end up talking the rest of the night. Much of their conversations were just repeats of similar conversations they had have for the past month; little stories from Nowen about his experiences on the Device lead the conversation. To Mathaniel the Guardian?s quest was much more of a dire adventure and it was made all the more impressive by the fact the Nubians accomplished so much with very little of the Force for help. Destiny was impressed as well, but she shyly went silent whenever Mathaniel praised her throwing effort against Darth Rune.

    Hearing the battle Team Nal Hutta had with the Sith Lord, and they agreed with that fact all around that Rune was a Sith Lord, Nowen was deeply impressed by Destiny?s involvement; it was so very significant and he told her she was just as responsible for saving billions of lives with that one act of bravery as anyone else. By that point Destiny?s nose was so dry with embarrassment the two males laid off the praise for a while, but both agreed that Destiny was being too modesty and humble. They were going to make sure when they got back to New Paradasia that she was equally praised for their efforts.

    They all agreed as well that the new information regarding Presence was not going to be revealed to the rest. Though Destiny believed everything was fated, Mathaniel and Nowen firmly believed that many would not accept it. Under the potential circumstances that laid ahead the trio collectively agreed there would be great tension among the Vhinech even if they accepted the Vhinphyc-births, or perhaps for the time being they tolerated the births, waiting for some excuse to attack those who had such children. For now it made no sense to stir up more debate when one debate was going to be bad enough with the trio?s return. They even agreed not to tell those of power: Magus Orrick, the Council of Towns, and any friends and relatives, including even Oggie Newhausen: none of them, for now, would know the whole truth; just the truth that no cure was found.

    At the dawn of the day the group packed and began to six day hike to New Paradasia with Nowen having more reservations than the other two about their return. It was great that they had saved the galaxy, but unlike Mathaniel the Guardian did not quite share in the Magus? hope. Being a student of history Nowen knew that great enemies that never gave quarter to each other have never accepted one another in peace. There were still worlds, members of the Republic, that held hatred for one another for past transgressions; rarely was there a physical war between them, but there was skirmishes sometimes; most of the time, they were on opposite sides of political issues, even when the arguers held the same political philosophies on every other issue. Mortal enemies always carried an odor on them and that stink could not be so easily washed away with the soap called hope.

    Nowen kept quiet about his fears throughout the march; it was easy since Mathaniel and Destiny did not talk about home. As the days continued those fears grew a little on a personal level. For all he knew Oggie and the rest of the Guardians were dead because of some surprise attack or there was a battle going on right now over a Vhinphyc-born. Nandia would side with Oggie, and if she was dead Nowen then lost any chance to tell her that she loved her. Just as he thought the worst he fought down the fears; the old habits of a hating Bealas Nowen were easy to return and so hard to suppress. It did help to think of the late Nach, who had hated everyone until he saw the error in it. Nach did have his moments, but he was a sorry Vhinphyc afterwards.

    It was ironic that Nach and Nowen did share a common point. The men gave up on living on hate because of the intervention of women. Nach had his Valk, and the memory of her alone helped him in th
  16. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    And now, some answers revealed.....

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    CHAPTER 117.2

    The remains of the day were spent talking and having exchanged information, and afterwards many of the people escorted the three heroes to the Steps of Eternity. For several hours, on this day at the very least, battrition appeared to be nothing more than a child?s game not worth participating in. The three ran into the other leaders of towns, Nerdi K?ul?ui of Flat Rock and yaltma Kinder Blessing of River Delta; Nandia headed Valleys United and Alouka Little Mountain. During the long walk back to the towns Meggie had brought Nowen up to speed on much with Nandia walking along side of him, hearing it silently; she had sent one of the Guardians back to Fort Angelleia, and the dispatcher met Nowen and Meggie with a primitive file folder, along with a rolled up parchment just below the Steps of Eternity.

    The Steps were still a long ways from complete, but the lowest, enlarged steps were far more complete than any of the three has last saw of them. Destiny, Mathaniel, Alouka and Maddie ascended the initial steps until they reached the Honor Guard; a mezzanine level before the Steps continued on, where only the most honored were buried or memorialized; and there, it was where they spiritually protected the rest that rested in peace in the Steps.

    Maddie lead the group to a rough statue of Wobble, complete with the Quermian-Vhinech?s name etched cleaning on the base. There was still much needed work to be done, but there was no mistaking Wobble?s smile. It was hard on Destiny as she held on to Mathaniel, but even the young Magus was breaking down. They did not need to tell everyone how Wobble had saved them; it was clear the people of New Paradasia knew a hero, a real hero. There was no sign of Ryax or his partners anywhere on the Steps in memorial.

    Eventually Nowen would see the tribute to Wobble and smile, but he did not ascend the steps for Wobble alone. The others had seen it, but Nowen had much to read before he went to see the late Ogwa Newhausen?s final resting place.

    Oggie too was buried in the Honor Guard, right next to Wobble; the Vhinech were still working on the Order of Guardian?s statue in another location. They had placed Oggie, as they usually did for all major and honorable military leaders, by the guard position by the First Step; not too far from Blessed?s and her child?s resting places. After a while the weight of it all just made Nowen sat on the edge of the First Step to look at Oggie?s resting place. The time would tick away and almost everyone would depart. There was going to be celebration haphazardly put together for the night; there was so little time to prepare for it.

    During all the commotion and noise and demands for stories and the passing of folklore Nandia had gotten separated from Nowen, and then got stuck taking in debriefings from Mathaniel. No one really demanded the location of Nowen. She learned from Meggie that Nowen was last seen haunting the grave of his late mentor. Nandia had a feeling Nowen wasn?t haunting it, or waiting for his headmaster to return from the grave to explain to him some things Nowen had unexpectedly inherited during his absence. The Steps of Eternity were quiet. Nowen was the only one there, and so Nandia made her way up the large, imposing steps to see him; often she had to use her hands to help herself over the ledges.

    Nandia took a moment to catch her breath, and she said aloud, ?When we commissioned this project, I should have told them to make the steps less for a giant. Whew!? She was warm with exertion but made sure her wrap was around her body before she continued towards Nowen. She almost thought he was asleep, with him sitting there quietly and his head down.

    ?Snake eyes.? She stopped short. Nowen looked up at her with a serene, tired face; Nandia had seen such a face, on so many Vhinech who have seemingly fought themselves out of the lust for battle. ?That first night here, Ogwa told me he was compulsive gambler when it
  17. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    A good start for a good year ahead. And they shall have peace!
  18. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Thank you, Delight: There is no peace with the absence of victory.

    ---------------------------------------------

    CHAPTER 118.0

    It was nearly two months and a whole galaxy later, and Alluetia Hailstorm still hadn?t forgiven herself or Casper Knightshade. It was over a short question. Only the answer made the question complicated.

    ?Home?? she had asked without a daring bone in her body, without false pretense, and with clarity of mind. Yes, home for them was in the center of the galaxy navigation wise for them and everyone else. Home was a tall spire filled with many different species with a common denominator, on a planet called Coruscant.

    ?Yeah, I would like to go home,? said Casper with very little time given to contemplate it. He followed it with, ?Set a course for Lone Star.?

    From that point on in the orbit of Isen up to their orbital insertion of Lone Star Alluetia had spoken minimally to Casper. They did have talks because the journey was long, but that was the small time killer between HoloNet News transmissions that made it past Bespin. She had kept it to simple terms he would understand otherwise: ?Dinner.? ?Wake up.? ?Breakfast.? ?Morning.? The expected fair from what was expected from a jaded woman. It was not a season of winter from her to Casper, but there was no mistaking the days of cold snaps.

    The funny thing was Casper would have honored any request Alluetia would have made, including not returning to Lone Star. He would have gone on alone, taken another ship to the distant planet on the very edge of the known universe; he doubted Alluetia would have let him borrow the Hauler. She had her own reasons, and she could have reminded him that because he was a Jedi Knight he no longer had an obligation to return to Lone Star; though the Jedi Council had not bestowed Knighthood officially, they did not object to his lack of Padawan braid, and they did not order him to return when he did transmit where he was going next after Bespin.

    The Jedi Council had taken Casper?s report with very little reaction after Casper began his report with the deaths of Enothchild, Ros, and Nue. He didn?t know what to make of that, but it was the Council?s way as it was the Jedi way: a loss of life was sad but they could not dwell on it. Of course they knew Casper had to tell of so much more, and so much more he did. During his recovery Casper submitted a correction amendment to his official investigation report, changing his recommendation that Naressa Rapier was the prime suspect.

    As the time passed Casper let his thoughts and feelings grow out with his hair and beard, and the thoughts and feelings obviously thickened like many plots in a long journey. Towards the end he began to believe Alluetia was supposed to go back with him. The reasons were many as to why, some good and a few bad. The Force would only assure him of his decision, and he was right to believe that included not leaving Alluetia Hailstorm behind.

    Towards the end of the journey, Casper had realized he didn't tell her why exactly this trip was necessary. She never did bother to ask. Nor did she asked the question that had kept her up at night after night since the trip had started, and with the evaporation of hyperspace tunnel had brought the trip to an end: why, twenty years ago, did Yoda chose her?

    The answers were on the surface of the bright world ahead of them. Alluetia piloted the Hailstorm's Hauler through the system totally void of any starship traffic, to the planet with absolutely no traffic control tower or an atmosphere without a bunch of flight vehicles overshadowing the green and yellow and red and vibrant array of color land below. There was only one real spaceport, and that was only due to the fact that ships as old as or older than Yoda were parked collectively in one bare, flat spot; a few newer ships were there, but obviously they weren't owned by the local populace. With their ship landing, added one more to the unique and the different.

    "'Welcome to Lone Star'," Alluetia commented after she and C
  19. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Interesting. This return to Lone Star has shades of the Scouring of the Shire to it. Not much, just a little bit. Curious.

    But I think Casper the Jedi Knight will prove wiser than Alleutia makes him out to be.
  20. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    CHAPTER 118.1

    The flight was relatively short compared to the landspeeder ride Alluetia and Yoda had taken two decades before. Still, there was a walk in Casper?s future. It was not ideal to take the ship too close. Since there was no real threat of danger, it was just prudent to land on the other side of the lumber expanse by the road that would eventually lead them to the Nightshade homes. The geography hid the homes from their elevated view and therefore they couldn?t see anyone or anything ahead of time.

    After landing Casper exited the ship and had not expected Alluetia to join him. She just quickly came up beside him and pretended she had not run from the ship. He asked, ?Why are you coming along??

    ?Aren?t you going to your parent?s house first?? asked Alluetia. He nodded. ?Good, then I would like to see your family again.?

    ?They may not recognize you.? Casper played at her straight brown hair, remembering from previous conversations that she had always dyed it a bizarre color since she had left Lone Star many, many years ago.

    ?Those days are so long gone,? she instructed.

    Enjoying both the conversation and her clarity Casper sought to keep her talking. ?So what is my family like??

    ?Oh, you don?t know!? She realized that, knowing the Jedi and Yoda specifically, no one would have really told him about them. ?Well, I only know what I know from twenty years ago?.?

    It was a long walk but the conversation filled the time. Casper had indeed never known anything about his family. It was eerie for him to learn that his father Orion had lost his legs in a battle; however that was all balanced by how Orion was able to deal with the limitations by running a farm and having a large family that he loved and they loved him back. Alluetia had never been left with the impression that the family was off kilter, save for the issues they had with Reverend Nightshade over Casper specifically. She went into some deeper detail about the problems that awoke when Yoda had come to take him. Again it was news to Casper but he took it in stride. Unfortunately for Alluetia she could tell it did not change his opinion about where he stood with his grandfather. She had wondered to herself in private if the time he had spent with a once-evil Juna Rapier had anything to do with his point of view more than his Jedi ways had.

    Upon the Nightshade farm entrance they happened upon four men sporting the attire of Path clerics, one whom Casper recognized from his previous visit. Both he and Alluetia became apprehensive; the men looked too dignified and had taken great lengths to remain clean out of respect. It was not just because Reverend Nightshade was paying a normal visit to the family.

    The man whom Casper knew eyed them both and raised a hand to the others to signify they should relax. He said, ?Brother Nightshade, it has been a while. Do you remember me? Hansel Materler.?

    Casper bowed to him and said, ?I do. What?s happened??

    Materler looked amongst his fellow men and appeared very embarrassed. ?You don?t know??

    Alluetia bit her lips tight. She wanted to state the obvious that Casper wouldn?t be asking if he knew. Casper shook his head. Materler became very somber. ?I had thought your grandfather had contacted you.? He took in Casper?s appearance; he was aware what a Padawan was supposed to look like. ?That was why you came home finally.?

    Materler took a moment and then said with sincere regret, ?I?m sorry to say that your mother had died a few months ago. Her funeral is today. We?had to wait for the thaw.?

    Casper was aware of the universe again when Alluetia put both her hands on his shoulders to comfort him. The others around him showed no expectation of a response from him. He slowly began to realize the news of Cassiopeia Nightshade?s death had an affect on him. The emotion and the pain were very different than from anything he had ever experienced; so much so the missing part of his legs stopped itching. He did not quite know what to make of his reaction. He tried to rationalize the feelings, trying
  21. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Hmm. So the scouring didn't happen! :) Nice post, nice resolution (?) for this arc.
  22. Whiskey in the Jar-Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2000
    star 4
    It's good to see that Casper's story has ended (?!) on a positive note. He's finally found himself and is ready to move on with his life rather than constantly live in the shadows of doubt and self-loathing.

    To me it seemed like a fitting tie-up here, mainly because there was no fanfare, no victory parade with horn-blowing Gungans and floats and all that. It was simply 'Hi, Grandpa...here's my Padawan braid. Take it and have a nice day.' Then, after that, he's finally 'introduced' to his family...at least, the ones who really love him.

    I can almost see the credits rolling now. :D

    Excellent work...and that ending tagline's got me curious now.
  23. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Delight: I thought about that, but then it would be too LOTRish and add ten chapters. Couldn't do that because.......

    :eek:

    Well, I can't tell you that now. (Double :eek: )


    Whiskey: (Mr. T) I pity the fool that wants to see credits roll too soon! (/Mr. T) [face_laugh]

    Yeah, I really didn't want more fighting. The elements of the story are wrapping up so that would just tangle it up in a bad hair weave. The chapters being posted now are just about running into what I'm finishing. I know I got about one more chapter to complete and one more chapter to start, and then the all important epilogue, and then a shower. :eek:

    BTW - I had a little problem with your link, so I found the Episode 14 links here I can't wait to hear the sound of your sexy, Gungan voice. :p

    SNERT! More......


    -----------------------------------------

    CHAPTER 119.0

    The time would pass, as time should, with all of time?s positives and negatives. Of course how it is perceived is always based on the individual. Circumstances and interests and environment all played a role in perception. For Casper Knightshade he did wish in a small way the trip back to Coruscant was not so long. During the journey Casper and Alluetia shared the information saved by their respected message accounts derived from the HoloNet once they were within range of the mining colony of Bespin; so much had happened since they had last heard anything about their friends on Naboo and anything related to their collective adventure, which added to the tabulation of what was known on the way out to Lone Star. It gave them something to do: concern and worry and exasperation replaced all that was removed by their return home.

    To begin with it had not taken the elected predators of Senate House very long to accuse Rapier Technologies for being solely responsible for the Shut Down. Just prior to their departure from Naboo to Isen the Republic had barely recovered and it was one month away from general elections. As Juna had openly predicted the key strategy for ensuring election victory was one to make the loudest noise against her company. Despite the various forms of political philosophy no one spared that political logic from their platform. The few -- candidates and incumbents -- who hadn?t complained lost so badly no one remembered their names the next day. The other losers who just couldn?t scream loud enough took their losses and called them victories, with some continuing to campaign their points of view around the central issue; sore losing had never been so irritating. The winners, of course, never had to say a word about Rapier Technologies again, but it did not mean some would drop it unless they got some more mileage out of it.

    Outside the electorate position the pundits, critics, and anyone close enough to sound and sight recorder had an opinion about what the Republic should do to Rapier Technologies. In the first month prison was not good enough for Juna, the board of the directors, every lawyer under retainer, the employees, every person that had stock in the company, and whoever continued to use Rapier products. By the second month, in the heart of the election cycle, prison sounded sweet, the forfeiture of entire Rapier fortune was even a sweeter note sung, and so many experts were certain the latter was guaranteed and the former was conclusive. After that there was the first class action lawsuit: five worlds with the combined casualty number of over twelve thousand deaths attributed in some way to Rapier Technology failure, whether or not it was the direct cause of such deaths and injuries.

    The point of consensus that both politicians and lawyers -- how the two were considered different was irrelevant to the people -- was that the Shut Down was actually a purposeful act done by Rapier Technologies, ordered by Naressa and executed by Juna. The idea was and continued to be a constant drumbeat produced by a freshman Republic Senator by the name of Bly Coaxial.
  24. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Yay. Intrigue! Bendian's clever legislation is quite something, eh? :D
  25. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    You'll find that Bendian and Naressa's ploy, though off the books, will still have an affect on the Gessa Saga's political universe.....

    Meanwhile.......Neimoidian females can be creatively vindictive........



    ------------------------------------


    CHAPTER 119.1

    There were a few minutes of very unpleasantness, which Mace and Casper had walked into. Both Jedi felt it had been lingering for quite a while, but Mace knew more than Casper about the Lur family situation. Unfortunately for Branch Lur, he knew it too very damn well. His immediate family -- his wife of many years and the youngest child of four they had that was too young to live alone -- looked out of placed and very strained in the room provided to them by the Jedi in the Temple. Serva, Lur?s wife, did not enjoy Coruscant, the Jedi Order, and the fact that Casper Knightshade had finally arrived. The conversation was one sided. She settled on throwing a vase at the wall as a replacement to a slamming door as she and the child went into the other room.

    Sighing, Branch picked up some of the mess his mate left behind. ?Forgive her. It has been difficult to live here.?

    Mace and Casper helped the Neimoidian pick up the plates and food but stopped on the insistence of Branch when it came to the grayish, rather smelly, and uncomfortably solid looking substance that had missed the Jedi?s heads by mere centimeters upon their entry. The female prior to her final departure had slipped into the other room and came back with two handfuls of the substance. Branch was dark green in embarrassment while cleaning the Neimoidian excrement up.

    Washing his hands, Branch apologized, ?Neimoidian females can be?.rather vindictive and creative on the spot in terms of vengeance. Natural defense mechanisms of the past become today?s debate enders in many Neimoidian households.? He shook his head, if anything to loose the feelings of humiliation. ?I fear she had been saving that one for you, Padawan Knightshade.?

    ?Its Jedi now, Inquisitor,? stressed Mace before Casper did. Casper let him; he just sounded more official when a Council member said it.

    ?Jedi, yes,? Branch said with a nod.

    Casper said, ?If it?s because I took so long to come back, I am truly sorry.?

    Branch shook his head and used the towel in the kitchen area to dry his clean hands. He tossed it away and gestured for the Jedi to enter the lounge part of the quarters. ?None of it is your fault, young man. You are a Jedi, you have duties. All we can be is outcasts.?

    ?So I just heard,? said Casper. ?Just not the why.?

    Branch chuckled a bit. ?You are still a little young in your ways, Casper. To gain the ire of the Trade Federation, my people, is to court death.? He sat down and offered the Jedi seats on a couch in front of him. They accepted and he continued. ?I could not, on the other hand, allow an innocent woman, Naressa Rapier, to die.?

    Casper leaned in and asked, ?You believe my report??

    ?I have read your amended report. My belief in her innocence began on Dantooine after I had interviewed her.? Branch stood up and paced around his chair; the thought of the questions months ago of the Sith Maiden brought back memories of that damned uncomfortable seat; his ass began to phantom hurt. ?Without the need of, as you put, ?dark spirits?, I had almost the answer that could be recognized legally.?

    Branch walked over to a desk far in the room and continued talking. ?After the conversation I recalled what your Master Ros had requested us. Sorry for your loss; Ros was a good man.? Casper nodded and Branch continued bringing with him a sealed evidence case that was considerably thin but wide; it had Trade Federation property markings all over it. He gave the case to Casper. ?Inside the case will aide you as I explain.?

    Casper opened the case and noticed that Mace paid little heed to the contents; Mace had seen what was in it all ready. Inside Casper found a data pad that had the case file about Hapes on it; both the Jedi report and the Trade Federation prospectus. Then, there was a toi
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