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Before - Legends Learning to Fly - OCs - Mystery - Drama - Multi-chapter

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Vek Talis, Nov 14, 2018.

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  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Caught up at last, and I’m glad I did, because the mystery is really ramping up with Craroc’s mysterious disappearance. I should have guessed that cantankerous old krampus of a Jedi Master would ultimately be up to no good! :p

    Vek’s initial snarky comments about loving missions aside, this one has become an excellent opportunity for him to use his abilities to the fullest. His healing talent probably saved the life of that registration desk lady; the descriptions of exactly how it worked and the mechanics of fixing the various kinds of cells and wounds were a very cool touch and something we don’t always get in stories about Force healing. I wonder if we’ll see that lady again; she seems to have made an impression on Vek. ;) And he also gets to use his ability to communicate with animals (in particular cats), with the rynx. (I wonder if Craroc encountered the rynx too when he was on the island, and how he might have handled it.)

    Great job all around with the action scene in the middle of chapter three; those are hard to write (at least for me), so I admire it when people can pull them off in a way that’s still easy to follow. And of course I have to wonder why all those Sith soldiers were waiting for them at the spaceport just then... doesn’t seem like happenstance. [face_thinking]

    And so now, what could Craroc have been up to on this remote Rakatan temple on this island? I mean, more specifically than “no good.” Who met him there? What’s with the “new addition”-looking part of the building? And the one holocron that seems to be reaching out to them (especially to Vizif, it seems?) And good gosh, that Hsiss doesn’t seem like it was there by accident either... so many questions, and I’ll be eager to learn the answers to each as the story goes on, so keep it coming! :D

    EDIT: Your fifth chapter appeared I was writing the above review, so what the heck, I’ll review it too:

    It’s nice to see Vizif and Vek get a chance to relax and regroup after their mission—naturally Vizif’s idea of relaxing is going to be very different from her student’s! :p Fun banter between the two of them, as always, but there’s a lot of mutual caring in it too. It’s kind of cute that they’re both, well, the opposite of neatniks; another way they’re well matched as teacher and student.

    And how great to see Vek at the milestone of building his own lightsaber and choosing his particular Jedi Path. I agree that Sentinel is a great choice for him. :cool: And what’s this I hear, another mission? [face_batting] “Stellar” indeed! Not surprised entirely, though, as they’ve really only started to crack the surface of this whole Craroc business...

    Looking forward to more and seeing where this mystery will lead! :D
     
    AzureAngel2, Master_Lok and Vek Talis like this.
  2. Master_Lok

    Master_Lok Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Vek and Vizif are a great team. They balance each other nicely.

    I enjoyed their moment of relaxation and the lightsaber build.

    And away they go? Soon?

    So the mystery is revealed at last: what is Vek’s favorite color? :D

    I particularly enjoyed this chapter as it’s a light break from what will surely get more intense.

    I know you prefer rare, but I’ll say well done again.

    Keep going.
     
  3. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    They do, don't they? A shame that everybody dies... Even beloved characters, eh? [face_devil] [face_devil] [face_devil] Foreshadowing? Eh, probably not... [face_devil] [face_skull] I'm such a devil. :D


    Old Krampus, indeed. Except he's never been proven guilty of stealing children away from the villages in the middle of Life Day. The jury was hung the last few trials. :p At least that's what Vek thinks of the 'distinguished' Master Craroc.

    Thanks. I think I watched too many reruns of MASH: a sarcastic doctor patching up people's wounds. That's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. 8-}

    Thanks. I find writing action to be a challenge, too. If I can't visualize the scene in my head, it becomes doubly difficult and probably means I shouldn't be writing that particular scene. Or else revisit it at another time. But those soldiers could have been a coincidence... ;)

    That's the question, isn't it? They should call him up and ask. o_O

    Vek's idea of relaxing has more to do with escape, and Vizif's is apparently torture. :p But Vek is very appreciative of her presence, especially because she 'found' him and was kind when he needed answers.

    Yeah, 'neatniks' they are not. :p I'm sure when they move out of their quarters, the housekeeper droids are gonna bad mouth 'em from here to eternity. :p

    They still have to crack the Craroc, eh? Maybe Vek will have to learn to use that lightsaber quickly.


    Very soon. :D

    Um, yes, is the answer that comes to mind. [face_plain]


    Soon, the mystery will begin to unfold and Vizif and Vek's enemies will begin to show themselves. More, as always, coming in a few days.

    Here's a little sneak peek:
    As he sat there, absorbed in the Force, he caught a vision of the ruined Rakatan temple on Litooine. The trail that had led them to the room with Sith holocrons seemed to glow now in his memory. Had the boot prints purposely been left for them to find?

    Then, an image of the pack they'd discovered hit him with a rush. The Force made time stop, just as Vizif lifted the pack. Etched inside it was a word. They hadn't noticed it at the time. Or, more accurately, they noticed it, but only in their subconscious.

    Now that it stared him in the face, Vek's eyes popped open. Shadows crept in the murky twilight bathing their room. They morphed into humanoid shapes clinging to the walls.

    "Master," Vek said calmly. A flood from the Force at last made him aware of the presence.

    He hopped up, grabbing at the hilt of his saber. From the shadows stepped an assassin, his dark cloak blending in with the surroundings. Before Vek could ignite his blade, the Sith slammed him with a burst from the Force.

    Vek shot backward through the door to the comfort room. "Company, Master," he said. Vizif was already leaping from the sonic shower, calling her blade to her. She raced forward with a burst from the Force. Blue and red hummed and whined against one another. Vek stood and hurried to her side, his yellow blade burning.

    The assassin hissed, leaped over them. His feet caught the ceiling and he walked across it, before dropping down behind them. He jabbed with the point of his blade.
     
  4. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Here's Chapter 6!


    6

    The tight, gaseous atmosphere of Dathomir gave the planet a sinister, purplish coloring from space. Storms raged across the surface, stirring the dark shades.

    "The Witches of Dathomir are nothing but legend," Vizif said as they stared out the starship's viewports. "Told around campfires for centuries."

    Vek pointed at a particularly dark spot. "I don't know about you, Master, but that doesn't look much like a vacation spot I'd be interested in."

    Her laugh was amused. "It's impossible to collect the Force from your surroundings, Padawan," she said. "If it isn't already inside you, then you're out of luck. The Witches' power supposedly ebbs and flows with the dark currents of the planet. What rubbish."

    The registered transport wasn't exactly a luxury liner. Jedi had little need for money, so credits were hard to come by. This ship had been a freighter before conversion to a budget vacation transport. It still had a functioning hyperdrive, and that was the best Vek could say about the hulking scrap of durasteel.

    Nearer to the planet, they drew. Then, the transport veered slightly to starboard. From behind the planet, a smaller body, no less bathed in a sinister light, stuck its curves into the viewer. Pock marks from asteroids littered the surface, its atmosphere a mix of deep blues and striking scarlet.

    "Um, this place gives me the willies," Vek said and swallowed hard. His fingers rested on the hilt of his new lightsaber; his emerald stare transfixed on the moon.

    "I admit to feeling the Dark Side here," Vizif said. "But it's not the planet or moon themselves, just the denizens here."

    "That's supposed to make me feel better?" Vek asked. A moment too late, he realized maybe saying it aloud was meant to make her feel better. He clasped her shoulder. "So long as we stick together, we'll be fine, Master."

    In his grasp, her shoulder rose slightly and she nodded. "We'll find Master Craroc and get off this moon as quickly as we can."

    The ship docked at a small port – the only port – on Padomere, near an ancient lake bed. Structures, crumbling and decrepit, rose not far away. Though habitable now, Padomere's atmosphere had been torn away in ancient times by an asteroid impact. Over the millennia it had stubbornly drawn atmosphere from its sister moon and Dathomir itself.

    "How will we find Master Craroc?" Vek asked as they walked down the ship's ramp. "I don't think it would be wise to simply ask the first person we come across."

    "We'll check into our hotel first," Vizif said. "I'm certain a solution will present itself. Besides, I've been stuck on that transport for a week; I'm filthy."

    "Not to mention you stink, Master," Vek said, eyebrow raised.

    His master glared at him for a moment, then turned and continued walking. "That's similar to the pot calling the kettle black, isn't it?"

    Out of her sight, Vek sniffed at his armpit, then shook his head.

    From the outside, the hotel looked as rundown as the ruins beside the dried up lake. Inside, however... "It still looks like a herd of nerfs stampeded through here, Master," Vek said.

    "Agreed," Vizif answered quietly. They approached the check in desk. A bald, pale woman stood there, her face an apathetic mask.

    "How may I help you, folks?" she asked. She wore a red cloak, black piping down the open sides. Her gaunt features and flat affect seemed perfectly in character with her surroundings. Dark energy tensed inside her at their approach.

    "We have a reservation," Vizif said, handing the woman her identicard.

    "Ah, yes. The Jedi." If the woman held any more animosity toward them than came out in her words, Vek would have been very surprised. Red eyes, white pupils glaring, she glanced down at the identicard, then back up, her eyelids nearly shrouding them.

    Vek grabbed hold of his Master's connection to the Force, held on for dear life. He felt her reach into their bond as well. They drew strength from each other, feeling the heavy presence of the Dark Side close in on them as moments stretched.

    At last, the woman behind the counter handed back Vizif's identicard. Behind her hung room cards. She turned, grabbed one and slid it toward her. "Room Thirteen thirteen. My name is Kavia; if you have any troubles with the door, or anything else, come see me." When she attempted a smile, sharp teeth gleamed in the diffused lighting, a shadow over her making the gesture even more sinister.

    "Kavia," Vizif said as they stood in the rickety lift. "Why does that name sound so familiar?"

    "Right on the tip of my tongue, too," Vek said.

    When the lift doors opened, they strode across grimy carpeting. Dried blood caked the walls in places, telling brief tales of gore long gone.

    "They really know how to decorate, don't they?" Vizif asked and Vek could only grunt agreement.

    Room Thirteen thirteen loomed large at the end of the hall. The lock bleeped as she stuck the passcard into it. Red light turned green and the door slid open with a hiss.

    A hanging chandelier cast haunting shadows against walls of black. A dead plant drooped in a corner of the common room. Even the furniture, of black leather, seemed to ooze darkness.

    "Charming place, if you're the Addams Family," Vek said, forcing another giggle from Vizif. He'd told her a little of his home, here and there during off times. "Changed your mind about the Dark Side infesting a place?" he asked after he'd set his satchel in one of the small rooms off the main.

    She stared at the chandelier, watching the ghostly lights dance in an absent breeze. "No," she said, but a chill was creeping up her spine. Quickly, she turned, sucked in a sharp breath. "I'm taking a shower."

    "About time," Vek said, pinching his nose.

    "You're next," she said and headed into the comfort room.

    Rather than dwell on their sinister surroundings, Vek decided to meditate. It took longer to center himself, but then light began to flicker and flow around him. He was learning all he could about the Unifying Force. Dark and Light both had their place in the galaxy. In non-Force terms, it was impossible for good to exist without evil: so why did the Jedi say the Dark Side should be eradicated?

    As he sat there, absorbed in the Force, he caught a vision of the ruined Rakatan temple on Litooine. The trail that had led them to the room with Sith holocrons seemed to glow now in his memory. Had the boot prints purposely been left for them to find?

    Then, an image of the pack they'd discovered hit him with a rush. The Force made time stop, just as Vizif lifted the pack. Etched inside it was a word. They hadn't noticed it at the time. Or, more accurately, they noticed it, but only in their subconscious.

    Now that it stared him in the face, Vek's eyes popped open. Shadows crept in the murky twilight bathing their room. They morphed into humanoid shapes clinging to the walls.

    "Master," Vek said calmly. A flood from the Force at last made him aware of the presence.

    He hopped up, grabbing at the hilt of his saber. From the shadows stepped an assassin, his dark cloak blending in with the surroundings. Before Vek could ignite his blade, the Sith slammed him with a burst from the Force.

    Vek shot backward through the door to the comfort room. "Company, Master," he said. Vizif was already leaping from the sonic shower, calling her blade to her. She raced forward with a burst from the Force. Blue and red hummed and whined against one another. Vek stood and hurried to her side, his yellow blade burning.

    The assassin hissed, leaped over them. His feet caught the ceiling and he walked across it, before dropping down behind them. He jabbed with the point of his blade.

    Twisting, Vek batted it away as Vizif swiped low. The Sith leaped backward, picked up a chair with the Force and flung it at Vek, who turned, allowing the chair to strike him in the side, where it hurt less.

    The Sith locked blades with Vizif, then danced around to kick at Vek. Rather than evade, Vek reached out with his free hand, catching the Sith's foot.

    The assassin jumped, took a swipe at Vizif again to lock blades a second time. His free leg lower than his captured one, he kicked out, striking Vek's shin, making him let go of the foot he'd caught. Free again, the Sith got to his feet, dodging a slash from Vizif, then sent a slew of pans from the kitchen hurtling toward her.

    As she batted away the cookware, Vek waited. Leg sore, he watched as the assassin locked blades with his master again. The Sith gathered the Force around him to use against Vizif. A brief jolt surged from the Sith, but Vek charged at him, lowering his shoulder into the assassin's midsection.

    The Sith flew back into the wall; his blade dropped to the floor. In the confusion, Vek's blade also fell. He tried to twist one of the Sith's arms behind his back, but the assassin was quick, if not physically powerful. He wriggled free and slid the small dining table across the room to block his exit. He ran to the balcony, dove off, calling his blade to him as he disappeared over the railing.

    Huffing and puffing, Vek hurried to the balcony. There was no sign of the assassin. When he turned back, he stared.

    "Padawan, I'd suppose you've never seen a nude woman before," Vizif said, not the least bit ashamed. With outstretched hand, she called a towel to her and soon tied it just over her bosom. She was sweating and breathing heavily, too.

    "That had to be the welcoming committee," Vek said as he dropped to the couch. Then, he glanced at her again. "And I've seen a few, Master." He didn't want to comment any farther on what he'd stared at moments before.

    Her smile lit up the room better than the ghastly chandelier. Then, her jaw dropped open. "Just before we were so rudely interrupted, I remember..."

    "That pack we found on Litooine," Vek said, the image returning to his head. "Kavia. That was the name etched in the pack."

    Vizif dressed in a hurry. They both ran down the stairs; the lift might have taken too long. When they reached the lobby, Kavia wasn't behind the desk. Another woman, also bald and pale, stood there.

    "How may I assist?" she asked, smiling genially.

    "Where did Kavia go?" Vizif demanded.

    "Who?" the woman asked.

    "She works here," Vek said. "Looks similar to you."

    "Many of us have similar appearances," the new woman said. "Our Mother sees to that. But I have no idea who Kavia is. No one works here with that name."

    "Shavit," Vizif said.

    "Oh, you're the Jedi," the woman behind the desk said. She turned, grabbed a flimsy. "This was left for you, only a few minutes before you came down."

    "What does it say, Master?" Vek asked as they took the lift back to their room. She'd been silent since receiving it.

    "Someone who claims to have information wants to meet us in the ruins," Vizif said.

    "Pull the other one," Vek said. "I've gotten about as much information as I care for right this moment."

    "Agreed," Vizif said. "And yet, this is why we were sent here. Tomorrow, we'll go to the ruins."

    "Stellar." Vek's fingers touched the smooth surface of his lightsaber.

    When Vizif noticed, her smile briefly returned, though it was a ghost of its usual self. "You did well with the blade," she said.

    "Thanks, Master," he replied. "You've taught me well." He remembered what she looked like, fresh out of the shower. He pushed that to the back of his mind, kept it hidden from their bond.

    "I suppose I need to finish my shower," she said when they got back into their room. "Do keep a look out for Sith assassins, and I'll do the same when it's your turn."

    "Master, I don't think that will be a problem," he said. If he got any sleep this night, he would be surprised indeed.
     
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Super post and excellent details about the duel with the assassin. =D= Kavia doesn't work there, huh? She's definitely connected since her name was on the pack. [face_thinking] A clandestine meeting in a bunch of ruins? :eek: Nice place for an ambush! [face_nail_biting] =D=
     
  6. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Thanks. Keep biting your nails, though, because nothing is going to be resolved in this chapter. :D Without further ado, here's some more.



    7

    "Let's go, babe," Darrdan Nal Craroc grabbed her around the waist. For his trouble, he received a girlish grunt from his companion. The unregistered transport – colloquially known as a pirate ship – awaited them in the spaceport on Padomere.

    "You're such a charmer." Bald, pale and excitable, Kavia planted a kiss on his forehead. "Do I have a surprise waiting for you," she added as the doors of the ship closed behind them.

    "Glad you could join us," the pirate captain said, giving them a mock bow. Several of her companions wore blasters on their hips and Darrdan didn't like the way the Force felt in the tight quarters.

    In another moment, he understood why. The pirates grabbed their weapons as the ship roared off the landing pad. "You'll get me and my crew a good ransom from the Jedi Council," their captain said.

    "Pity you won't live to spend it." Now, Kavia growled, pushing away from Darrdan, her red lightsaber sparkling in the pale lighting.

    Darrdan ignited his emerald blade and batted a few blaster bolts. His focus was on Kavia. The way she moved – graceful and deadly – made him feel she reacted to an unheard symphony. He felt more alive than ever in her presence. It was a feeling he never intended to give up, not for the Jedi, and especially not for the Sith.

    When the captain's cronies were dead, the captain herself tried to flee to safety. She certainly knew her own vessel far better than Darrdan or his companion, but they could track her through the Force. A false panel in the cargo bay was easily torn from the frame.

    Green and crimson mingled as the blades hummed harmoniously in the captain's face.

    "We can cut a deal," the captain said. "I got credits."

    "Don't worry; we'll find them," Kavia said and made to strike.

    "Wait," Darrdan said. He pulled her aside. "She's defenseless now. We shouldn't."

    She glared at him – milky white pupils studying him intently – then dropped her gaze to the floorboards. "All right, Darrdan," she said quietly. It was brave of her to try and leave her Sith ways behind her.

    "Where's the credits?" Darrdan said when he returned to the pirate. "And where are your other hidden compartments?"

    "And you'll let me go?" The captain hesitated before coming out of the compartment she'd stuffed herself in.

    "Do you have an escape pod?" Kavia asked.

    The pirate's glance told Darrdan the direction of her hidden stash. If it was full – of spice, or whatever smuggled goods – then he might have the money to do what had been on his mind for some time.

    "There," the captain said, but Darrdan was already heading to the other side of the cargo bay. This second false panel was better concealed. Perhaps the scoundrel never intended to use the first, except as a decoy.

    "Spice," Darrdan said. "A good portion, too. The credits we make off this will come in handy to finance the Knights."

    "Agreed," Kavia said. She turned, her blade slicing through the air until it hovered close, too close to the captain's throat. "Now, you mentioned credits, too?"

    "In the cockpit, hidden panel beneath the co-pilot's seat." The pirate licked dry lips, tried not to tremble too much.

    "Don't go anywhere," Darrdan said and went to check. These last few weeks had been the best of his life. The Jedi were relics of ancient mistakes. They'd trained him in their ways, refusing to tell him fully of the rich past that Force users held.

    The first Great Schism was caused by adherents to the light – or so they told themselves, as Darrdan had come to learn they weren't as 'good' as history recorded them to be. They refused to allow experiments outside what they considered 'right', telling others they had to conform or face censure.

    The Legion of Lettow was formed by those who wished to learn all the ways of the Force, not just the rigid applications of the Jedi. And, for their trouble, they were ruthlessly slaughtered by the Jedi.

    Now, the Force, rather than help expand the minds of those born to this galaxy, drew others to it. Frags, they called them. They were a blight, a final insult to all those who would have their own minds about how best to use the Force. The Sith and Jedi were bad enough, but Frags brought an unstable, unpredictable element to the galaxy.

    Through Kavia, that delightfully free woman, he learned there was far more to the Force than either the Jedi or Sith wanted their disciples to know. She had rejected the Dark Side, or at least the part the Sith taught her, and reached for something unknown. Learning was all about testing the waters, so to speak, examining everything and taking what you decided was right for you from it.

    The hidden cashbox was right where the scoundrel said it would be. Darrdan took it back to the cargo bay, showed its contents to his love. "There must be two thousand credits, babe," he said. "That spice is worth probably three times that."

    "S-should be enough to buy one girl's freedom," the captain said. "I have an escape pod I can use."

    Darrdan saw the blood lust in Kavia's eyes. She wanted to slice her up. He reached to her through their bond, stripping away some of the heat, like he'd strip away layers of clothing soon enough.

    He recognized the moment she decided to let the smuggler go. Pale eyes, which had been fixed on the pirate's neck, dropped to the floor, swung over to Darrdan. The red blade disappeared into the hilt and she swung it from her belt again. The captain let out the breath she'd been holding, relaxed a little.

    They stuffed her into the tiny escape pod and slammed the door. The pod launched into the cold of space.

    "It's not like we did her a favor," Darrdan said. "How likely is it anyone will come along to rescue her?"

    That thought spread a wicked smile across Kavia's sensuous lips. Darrdan hadn't known such sexual feelings could exist within him, not after what the Jedi had done to him. A life without passion, a life without exploration or discovery was death.

    "You know how to cheer me up, lover," Kavia said and pounced on him. Their kiss deepened as she drew him closer. When she leaned back to regard him, her grin was mischievous. "Is that a crystal in your robe or are you happy to see me?"

    He felt his own grin widen as he kissed her neck. "Let's set the navicomputer to autopilot," he said, his voice muffled. "Then we can enjoy ourselves."

    "I'll go set it." Kavia bounded toward the cockpit. "You get comfy in the crew quarters." She still hadn't told him where they were headed, or what this surprise she had waiting for him was.

    When she returned from the cockpit, all his questions vanished as they each peeled layers of clothing from the other. They took their time, and he enjoyed every delightful moment of it. Never before had he experienced such passion as when he was with Kavia.

    Up in the cockpit, the hyperdrive disengaged. When they were dressed again, they each sat in a seat, stared out at the green-grey world coming up in the viewer.

    "Metalorn?" Darrdan asked. It was an industrial world, but they were far from the Core Worlds. Metalorn was neither in the Sith Empire, nor in the Old Republic.

    "I've already made a deal for a secluded spot near the north pole," Kavia said. She grabbed the controls, pulling the pirate ship into a turn. "The spice, we can sell after we make the place our own."

    As he pondered the meaning of her cryptic words, the ship entered the atmosphere, dove toward a landing pad. The north magnetic pole faced the sun most of the year, making its climate a bit warm. At least they wouldn't have to deal with snow.

    An inland sea surrounded the small landmass at the pole. Most of the planet's land was taken up by sprawling metropolises, but the pole had some pristine, grass covered hills and a crystalline lake. It was quite beautiful and Darrdan saw it through new eyes, impassioned eyes.

    The small enclave they landed near rose from a hill. Covered in sod, it seemed to blend in with the surrounding hillsides, similarly to the enclave he'd built on Dantooine.

    "You've done an excellent job making me feel at home, babe," Darrdan said, drew her close to peck her on the cheek.

    "I try, lover," she said and shrugged. "Since we're both giving up all we've known, I wanted you to have a little taste of home."

    "It's a pleasant surprise," Darrdan said, smiling happily.

    "The best is inside, lover." Kavia grinned widely. They hurried in. A couple of new recruits Darrdan had met only once milled about, taking care of the day to day operations. Upon seeing Darrdan and Kavia, they stopped what they were doing, crossed their right arms, fists closed, over their chests and bowed. "Lettow Craroc, Lettow Ghent, we salute you," they chorused.

    "Bring the prisoner," Kavia said when they finished the new ritual. They hurried away.

    "I like the title," Darrdan said. "The Knights of Lettow will one day rise to become a rival of both the Jedi and Sith. We will show them the follies of their strictness."

    When the Knights led a third, bound at the ankles and wrists, Darrdan stared. A Frag had an unmistakable aura which surrounded them. Having midichlorians infused into their DNA long after birth was traumatic and left them with a unique Force presence.

    Beside him, Kavia's face lit up. "This was one of the mad, one who thought to make himself a fine Sith," she growled. "He rejected the Jedi, but sought out the Valley of the Dark Lords on Korriban, convinced he could gain power over other Sith. I give him to you as a present, dear Darrdan."

    Not just the Jedi, not only the Sith, it was Darrdan's duty to rid the galaxy of Frags. They were dangerous, too often falling to the Dark Side. Most said the Force brought them to this galaxy with a purpose in mind. Darrdan felt betrayed by the Force, like those born to it weren't good enough. That the Force had a will of its own hurt him; he needed to correct this blight on the galaxy.

    His green blade hummed. Here was a helpless prisoner. Everything he'd learned since being taken as an initiate at four years old told him to never harm someone vulnerable. But Frags drew others to their causes. Frags were dangerous, far too dangerous to let live.

    A feeling of satisfaction washed over him as the body lay strewn on the marbled floor. The Knights dragged away the lifeless husk.

    "Excellent, lover." Kavia's hiss in his ear steamed. It made him hot under the collar. "I know of many who would join us," she said. "I'm sure you can think of a few from the Jedi who don't exactly fit in. Now that the Knights of Lettow have formally been established, we should turn to recruitment."

    "You're right." Darrdan was calm, at peace. He'd been taught that striking down an unarmed opponent would lead to the Dark Side. This didn't feel dark. It felt free. "We should also focus on Teräs Käsi," he said. "The blade is for the weak; we should encourage our Knights to be less reliant on it." The holocron Kavia had first enticed him with held ancient secrets to the Teräs Käsi – a form of hand to hand which was far deadlier than anything the Jedi taught. It was what had first drawn him to Kavia: the experience of learning something new.

    "Of course, lover," Kavia said, a song in her words.

    This was the beginning of something grand.
     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh how fascinating. =D= Darrdan has truly been up to SOMETHING [face_laugh] [face_mischief] and sure wants to be the leader of some kind of interesting group of followers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    AzureAngel2, Findswoman and Vek Talis like this.
  8. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Hmm. Sounds like Craroc has some not-exactly-evil but definitely less-than-legit shenanigans going on.
     
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Catching up, catching up! Plot’s definitely thickening way up in both of these recent chapters. Dathomir (or its moons) has never been exactly the galaxy’s top destination for a pleasant getaway—but even less so when Sith assassins show up as soon as you get checked into your hotel room! :eek: Some definite intense action there, and I’m glad Vizif and Vek were able to hold them off. Someone clearly doesn’t want Vek and Vizif poking around, and I get the feeling this Kavia person may have given the tip-off—especially given Vek’s recollection of the way her name appeared on some of Craroc’s personal effects. [face_thinking] Our two heroes had best be on their guard...

    And the next chapter just goes to confirm my suspicions—yes, that Kavia is up to no good, because she’s in league with the crusty old Craroc, who’s most definitely up to no good with this Knights of Lettow enterprise (as cool as the concept is of having an order that rejects BOTH the Jedi AND Sith views of the Force as too restrictive). Now I begin to understand more of what’s behind his dislike of Frags, too: they’re a bit like the Force’s “Mudbloods” to him, kind of. Given the ruthless treatment he gives this poor fellow, I sure hope Vek is able to stay out of his clutches for as long as possible! :eek: Given that these Lettow folk observe literally no restrictions—and have skills in Teräs Käsi—they are going to make for one formidable enemy for Vek and Vizif. Eagerly awaiting what’s next! :D
     
  10. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    "Interesting" is the optimal word, all right. :D


    "Shenanigans" is another very fitting word. [face_thinking] Interesting shenanigans! [face_idea]


    Thickening like a blood clot. :p

    That's what you get when you don't tip your bellhop. :D

    Yeah, when the leading Sith sews her name into Craroc's undies, you know there's trouble. ;)

    Hey hey, it's Krusty the Craroc! Those stuffy old light and darksiders: when will they ever learn? [face_talk_hand]

    Hmm, I'll have to look those up.

    I'm sure he does, too. ;)

    Well then, wait no further! [face_thinking] Or something...



    8

    Vizif rented a speeder to take them to the ruins by the dry lake shore. The ride there was quiet; both master and padawan knew they were walking into a trap. They meditated and shared the Force back and forth between themselves. The remainder of their stay at the hotel had been free of incident, though it was anything but pleasant.

    Adobe walls, half crumbled from antiquity, rose in piles above the landscape. They remained, elegant, if not functional, long after their inhabitants died out. Much of the site had been picked clean by treasure hunters and scavengers over the centuries, though an archaeologist could likely still glom knowledge of the people, if they spent enough time here.

    "I'd love to have that time, Master," Vek said. No archaeologist, he was a lover of history nonetheless. However, tension filled the air, drawing them into the crumbling piles toward a central courtyard.

    "Stay here, Padawan," Vizif said. "You'll need to escape and inform Master Vandar if I'm caught in this trap."

    "Like hell, Master," Vek said. "I'm going with you."

    "No sense in both of us getting killed," she said, fingering the hilt of her saber.

    "I know. How about neither of us get killed," Vek told her, staring intently into her purple veil.

    She reached up, placed a hand on his shoulder. "You are a good padawan, Vek," she said. "But I mean it; the information we've found so far needs to survive." She inclined her head toward the courtyard, past a decaying multi-story oval shaped structure that might have been an arena. "You can feel the Dark Side, can you not? There's power here; it's not good."

    "But-"

    "Shh," she said, placing her index finger across his lips. "I can't stand the thought of losing you, Padawan," she said, a slight quiver barely hidden in her voice. "I'm going ahead. Whatever you decide to do, please be careful." With that, she turned and hurried on.

    He stared after her for a few moments, then swore softly to himself. "Crap on a stick," he said. "She tried to use that talent she has with people on me." In truth, he could feel the Force gathering together, just beyond the oval shaped building. It was strong, but also familiar.

    Willing his feet forward, Vek discovered an entrance to the oval building. There was no way up to the higher levels, which was good because they were likely so dilapidated they wouldn't hold his weight anyway, so he crept along the fringes toward the opposite side.

    "This was an arena," he said. The building opened up on the other side. The walls got shorter and wrapped partially around the open space it led to. Vek watched his master walk into the open space. A dozen women in red, their heads bald, formed a semi-circle. There, in the center stood the assassin who had tried to kill them yesterday.

    "Who are you?" Vizif asked the assassin as she drew near. "I can help you come to the light, if you choose."

    The assassin snarled. "I am Âtsadush, and my masters want you dead." His red blade danced in his hand and he rushed forward.

    Crimson and azure mingled briefly. The women drew the Force to and around them. Rather than use it offensively, they merely enhanced the assassin's connection to it. Vek suspected the women themselves might not be able to use the Force, only gather it together.

    Whatever the truth, Âtsadush was far stronger than he was on their first meeting. He and Vizif locked blades again and again, but the assassin tricked her several times with the Force, and drew blood from a superficial swipe to her left arm.

    She staggered back and grasped at the tendril of Force surrounding the women, trying to loosen their cohesion. The assassin rushed forward again, his blade nearly skewering her, breaking her concentration. "You won't defeat me so easily this time, Jedi scum," he snarled.

    Vek took hold of his own lightsaber. If he could at least distract the women, his master would be able to break their connection with Âtsadush.

    Before he could move, though, the clanking of metallic feet drew his attention. A small squad of battle droids were heading through the arena. Blasters in hands, their shiny surfaces glimmered in the early morning sun.

    The lead droid took a shot at Vizif. Vek's grip tightened around his saber as the bolt singed her robe about midway down her body. Flinching, she hadn't even known they were there.

    "You're amazing with people," Vek said, igniting his blade. "But I can handle those droids." Simple math. Gathering the Force to him, he ran faster than he'd ever run before, getting between Vizif and the droids. A second, then a third shot deflected harmlessly away from his yellow saber.

    "Padawan," she growled. Her blade came up, just in time to block a strike from Âtsadush that might have taken off her head.

    "You can punish me if we survive, Master," Vek said. One of the bolts he deflected returned to sender, knocking the droid backward.

    The assassin leaped between them. Vek got his blade up to block, but then Âtsadush knocked it away from him with a burst from the Force. Eyes wide, Vek dodged a strike, but then took a swipe that sliced through his robe near his chest. Flesh burned and he yelped.

    Vizif rushed forward as Vek fell backward and away from the assassin. Blue crossed red again. She danced to her left, drawing Âtsadush away from Vek.

    More blaster bolts surged toward her. One caught her in the hip, grazing past at the kissing touch. She staggered back, now with a slight limp.

    That was when Vek realized the women in red weren't just calling the Force to them, they were draining it from the Jedi. His chest wound wasn't bad. The blade had whispered along the top layer of flesh. It probably hurt worse that way than a mortal wound.

    He was having a hard time healing himself. The Force seemed to crackle and whine at his fingertips, rather than surge forth. Instead of try to bring his blade to him, he rolled across the dirt and scooped it up. Yellow light danced.

    "Don't use the Force, Master," he called. "They're draining it from us for Âtsadush." He sliced into one, then the next droid. Rather than try to use it, he simply closed his eyes, let go and allowed the Force to guide him toward the mathematical drones.

    When the last one fell, he turned his attention to the organics.

    Âtsadush's arms and blade blurred. The Force coursed through him and unleashed a flurry that took all Vizif's concentration to defend against. Snarling like a ravenous beast, Âtsadush gathered the Force around him for one final blow. He feinted a downward strike, knocked Vizif's blade away, then struck her in the midsection, his blade scorching through flesh and tissue.

    "Master!" Vek shouted as Vizif dropped to the ground, her blade fallen from limp fingers.

    Âtsadush turned, feral hunger sparkling behind his eyes. He ran forward, batted Vek's blade, twisted, then watched as the yellow saber clattered to the dirt. "I call your efforts pathetic," he said, crimson death humming in Vek's face.

    Vek, calm now, raised an eyebrow. His boot lurched upward, catching Âtsadush in the most sensitive spot men have. When the Sith doubled over in pain, his blade slipping from his grasp, Vek leaned in over him, grasping him around the waist. He lifted the Sith off the ground, Âtsadush's legs coming to rest over Vek's shoulders. Then, Vek slammed him, back first, into the ground. "And I call that a power bomb," he said calmly. Âtsadush was out cold.

    Vek glared at the women. "Stop interfering now, or just kill me already," he said and hurried toward Vizif's crumpled body.

    For a wonder, the women in red did stop. They seemed pensive now that Âtsadush was unconscious. Once again, Vek felt the Force, not as through a blanket. His fingers sparked with energy.

    Peeling off Vizif's robe, he closed his eyes, touching her soft flesh. Sinews, muscle, tissue had all been scorched by the assassin's blade. Fortunately, it hadn't penetrated too deeply. Her internal organs were intact, except her gal bladder. That was where the blade had done the most damage.

    Through their bond, he sent comfort to her as blood vessels glowed in the light of the Force and mended. ==Peace, Master. No more pain.== As he gathered blood to clot, he caught a glimpse of a hidden memory.

    Vizif stared at her Umbaran Master. She lay in bed, sleeping comfortably. Passion welled up within; Vizif was perhaps thirteen and unmistakable feelings of love filled her. Then, the vision changed. Her master, breaking Vizif's heart, telling her she could never return such feelings. Passion flickered, the flame smoldered, then died alone.

    "Vek?" Vizif stirred. She moaned, twisted. "Am I... alive?"

    "No, Master, this is the afterlife," Vek said. "I'm an angel, can't you tell?"

    His master reached up, pinched him until he yelped. "No angel could have a mug like yours, Padawan," she said. She sat up quickly. "Âtsadush?"

    Pointing, Vek said, "There." The women were still there as well, gathered together, chatting to themselves.

    Soon, Vizif was on her feet. "Thank you, Padawan," she said, perhaps unaware of what he'd seen in her mind. She closed her robe again and stared at the women. "What do we do with them?"

    As if on cue, one broke off from the pack, headed toward them. "Please don't harm my sisters," she said. "That Sith made us help him. He said if we didn't his masters would return and slay us all. We don't know how to use what you call the Force; we can only aid someone who is talented in it."

    "I suspected as much," Vizif said. Vek hung back, unable to get words out in the presence of so many people. He would have been a stuttering mess and sounded like a fool.

    "If you return to your homes now, we won't have to inform the authorities," Vizif said. Not that it seemed likely the authorities would take their side anyway. Still, many of the women smiled wanly and hurried away.

    "Thank you, Master Jedi," their spokeswoman said. She bowed and left with her sisters.

    "Let's get Âtsadush bound and ready for transport," Vizif said. "Master Vandar might be able to get him to talk."

    When they reached Âtsadush, the Sith leaped to his feet, called his blade to him. Acting on impulse, Vek threw his body forward, knocked the blade away before it was fully in Âtsadush's hand. The Sith growled, kicked Vizif who was still weak from her wound, and used the Force to run away.

    Vek grabbed Vizif's hand, helped her to stand. "Should we go after him, Master?" he asked.

    Staring in the direction in which Âtsadush ran, Vizif slowly shook her head. "No, Vek. We've tempted Fate enough for one day."

    "But we don't have any leads on where Master Craroc or this Kavia woman have gone," Vek said. His chest wound still stung, even though the flesh had been healed. Even still, he shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, well, back to Dantooine I suppose." He was really heartbroken.

    Sensing his sarcasm, Vizif shook her finger in his face. But then, she smirked. "Actually, you're right." When Vek gaped, her smirk turned into a frown. "We really haven't discovered much, except the name of Master Craroc's kidnapper. But there also doesn't seem to be much else we can learn from the surroundings. We should return to Dantooine and inform Master Vandar of our failure."

    They found the first registered transport they could. When the ship roared from the atmosphere, Vek bid a not so fond farewell to Padomere. However, the Force wasn't finished with them. A passenger walked up to the public comm unit which sat near Vek's seat. She pushed a few buttons, trying to contact someone. When the unit blooped, she seemed agitated.

    "Excuse me, Master Jedi," she said to Vek. "Could you help me?" She was older, with silvery hair and fine lines creasing her face which added, rather than took away, from her look.

    "Uh, wha?" Vek's answer wasn't his most articulate.

    "What seems to be the trouble, miss?" Vizif asked, coming to her padawan's rescue. She helped him stand on wobbly feet and head toward the comm unit.

    "It's not working," the woman said. She smiled at Vek, then Vizif in turn.

    Now that he had a task, Vek got over his fumbling. He pulled out his datapad, examined the comm unit. Absently, he heard the woman whisper to Vizif, "Is he all right?" His tongue clacked against the roof of his mouth. He was terrible with people.

    At last, the datapad came back with the answer. "Master, there's something jamming the signal," he said. "It's a broadband transmission." He pushed another button, then stared down into her veil. "Master, I think it's an emergency signal."

    They hurried up to the bridge. The captain was less than delighted to see two Jedi on his ship, but allowed them entry to the bridge anyway.

    "Please scan for a ship in distress, or a lifepod," Vizif instructed him. After a few uneasy moments, their ladar screen beeped and began homing in on the weak signal.

    In the cargo bay, after the lifepod had been brought aboard, Vek and Vizif opened its door. A startled, blinking woman of about thirty peered out. Red hair cascaded down around her shoulders and she wore a vest and trousers that had seen better days.

    "Where am I?" she asked. When they told her, she tentatively exited the pod. "Them Sith ain't here?"

    "What Sith?" Vizif asked.

    "The Sith what stole my ship," she answered. "I'm Britmar Seclu and two Sith passengers stole my vessel." Britmar described the two and Vizif and Vek glanced at each other.

    "Do you have any idea where they were headed?" Vek asked.

    "They booked passage to Korriban," Britmar Seclu said. "But I got a tracker on my ship, the Osprey, and that ain't where she ended up."

    ==She's not being totally honest with us,== Vizif said through their bond. ==But honest enough.== To Britmar, she said, "Will you help us find them?"

    Now, Britmar smiled widely. It was a charming act, meant to weaken the defenses of anyone she turned it on. She was a scoundrel through and through. "I thought you'd never ask," she said. From her vest, she drew the tracker. When Vizif reached for it, Britmar pulled her hand away. "Uh-uh. I'm coming with you; I got payback in mind. And I need my ship back."

    "Well, we're heading back to Dantooine first," Vizif said. "We must inform our superiors of what has transpired."

    "No problem," Britmar Seclu said. She eyed Vek, turning that charming grin on him. "I'll take some time to get acquainted with you fine Jedi specimens."

    "Stellar," Vek said. ==Are we really going back to Dantooine now, Master? We have her and the tracker.== He couldn't believe what he was suggesting. A little rest and relaxation on Dantooine should have been foremost in his mind.

    ==Yes, Padawan,== Vizif said. ==We will need assistance. It was the will of the Force that we find this scoundrel, but now we should bring help to face our enemies.== Her own grin spread across her lips. ==Besides, I'm interested to see how you handle this woman's advances.==

    ==Wonderful; thanks a bunch, Master.==

    ==The Sarcasm is strong with you, Padawan.== Vizif's grin grew more mischievous than ever.
     
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Action is riveting and Vizif is surely thankful for Vek's healing talents! Although not that he accidentally unearthed a hidden memory. :oops: Fascinating encounter with Britmar, a very unique ally.
     
    Vek Talis, AzureAngel2 and Findswoman like this.
  12. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The sarcasm and wit is strong throughout the entire story. :D

    "I feel I've failed you, Padawan," she said, her voice now a dirge.

    "What?" Vek sat beside her, putting his arm around her shoulders. "What are you talking about?"

    "I wasn't prepared to be a master," she said, staring down toward her knees. "You haven't learned that much from me."

    "Master, I've learned plenty from you," Vek said. "If not for you, I wouldn't know how to heal. The Force was just something I'd heard about. You, Master, helped me to feel it. Are you disappointed that I'm not a kid, Master? Is that what you would have preferred?"

    They have also more honesty & self-insight than Team Ani & Obi.
     
  13. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Very intriguing action and developments here! Vek and Vizif may not have managed to directly learn anything about Craroc’s (or Kavia’s) whereabouts and motives, but I don’t think that the things they have found out during their time in the Dathomir system will be for naught; in particular, I’m guessing this is probably not the last they will see of Âtsadush. (I wonder, too, whether those Dathomiri women will later be able to help them in the future, in gratitude for their having saved them from being manipulated by the Sith.)

    I’m also filing away in my mind this early memory of Vizif’s that Vek manages to stumble upon while healing her—it probably won’t be the last we hear about that, either, and of course being able to read such memories is a pretty prodigious talent in itself. [face_thinking]

    Then a familiar name shows up... Britmar! Of the “Complications” variety! I’m thinking it isn’t chance that the Force sent her their way, either, nor is it coincidence that the people who stole her ship are Sith. And she seems to taken at least a bit of a shine to Vek already, which could make for some interesting dynamics, for sure... curious to see where it all will lead!
     
  14. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Looks like Vek's Plain Common Ordinary barroom brawling skills came in handy. I woulda kicked that Assytush dude there too.

    And yes, the Sarcasm IS strong with this one.
     
  15. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Unique is a word for what she is, all right. ;)

    Aw, you're going to give me a swelled head. [face_thinking] No, you're right: too late. :p

    Not touching that one with a fifty meter pole. :p

    That just goes to show how wise you are. :D

    That should be part of the Jedi code: there is no coincidence, only the Force. ;)

    It comes in handy in barroom brawls, to be sure. :p


    All right, the moment you've been waiting for... We're getting close to the end of this story. [face_plain] Don't all applaud at once now. :p Chapter 9 of 12 coming... now!


    9



    The starship touched down on Dantooine. Vek, Vizif and Britmar Seclu departed, along with a few settlers. Workers hurried up the cargo bay ramp, gravsleds in tow to unload crates, speeders and farming equipment. A Czerka Corp representative strode from the tiny office they kept at the port, datapad in hand.

    "Oh, hello, Masters Jedi," he said. "What brings you to Dantooine?"

    "Just reporting back," Vek said. "And I'm no master."

    The Czerka rep nodded, then his pad beeped and he had work to do.

    "Nice place you got here," Britmar Seclu said as they walked the small enclave. "Lots of room to grow." She eyed the hills and plains as a huckster might eye a fresh mark.

    Vek got the feeling she would have been interested in establishing a small base on Dantooine herself. Her intentions were cloudy, her thoughts always darting here and there. Like she had things to hide.

    Well, who doesn't have something to hide, Vek thought. I never thought she was an entrepreneur, she's probably a smuggler.

    ==My thoughts exactly, Padawan.== Vizif cast him a sidelong grin as they approached the lower level entrance. ==But, so long as she keeps her nose clean with us, we'll look the other way.==

    Vek nodded slightly at that. Glancing between them, Britmar's auburn locks swished around her shoulders. The way her forehead furrowed, she might have been trying to guess what was going on between the master/padawan team.

    "I hear tell you Jedi can talk to each other without words," she said casually as they descended in the lift. The wink she gave Vek was sultry. "Care to comment?" she asked sweetly.

    "No." Vizif squelched Britmar's attempt completely.

    The scoundrel shrugged her shoulders, glanced once again at Vek before casting her gaze to the floor. As she ran her fingers through her hair, her eyes searched upward toward his.

    ==You can stop playing cute with her, Vek.== But his Master was trying to hide a smirk.

    Dear Force, why? Vek asked, easing out some frustration through a sigh.

    When they reached the lower level, the lift opened. Master Vandar was there. "I sensed you had returned," the diminutive master said, then regarded Britmar Seclu. "Though I hadn't known you would bring a friend."

    The scoundrel pushed forward, accepting and shaking Vandar's hand. "Britmar Seclu, private businesswoman, Master Jedi," she said. "Them Sith stole my kriffing ship."

    "Interesting," Vandar said. "Come this way," he said to all three. Soon, they were in his quarters. He closed the door, then looked to Vizif for answers.

    Vizif explained everything that had happened on Padomere, from Âtsadush to the women who'd surrounded him, to discovering Britmar Seclu in the escape pod.

    "Ah, you met the Sisters," Vandar said. "I feared you might, though I'm glad they didn't harm you."

    "Could they have?" Vek asked.

    Vandar fixed his oval shaped eyes on the padawan, blandly stared into Vek's. "Yes," he said simply, then turned his attention to Seclu. "And what was your part in this, Miss Seclu?"

    "That bald chick hired my ship to take her and her boyfriend to Korriban," Britmar said. "Then, they hijacked the Osprey, and murdered my crew. I barely escaped in a lifepod, but I had to leave all my money. I got nothing."

    ==She's still leaving out something,== Vizif said to Vek through their bond.

    A gleam in Britmar's eye drew everyone's attention. She held up the tracker. "But I keep an eye on my baby," she said. "This'll lead me right to the Osprey. You Jedi gonna help me get my ship back?"

    "Of course," Vandar said. "Do you know either of your passenger's names?"

    "The woman, she said her name was Kavia," Britmar said. "Don't know the other one, but they were hanging all over each other."

    "'Hanging all over each other'; what exactly does that mean?" Vizif asked.

    Rather than look at her, Britmar's eyes darted to Vek. "I'd be glad to show this here fella." She winked again and Vek rolled his eyes.

    "I'm certain we get the picture," he said.

    From his robe, Vandar pulled a small holo generator. A blue image of Darrdan Nal Craroc appeared. "Did he look like this?" the Master asked.

    Britmar's eyes bulged. "That's him, all right," she said.

    "It would seem as though Master Craroc has fallen to the Dark Side," Vizif said.

    "Am I the only one who's surprised?" Vek asked.

    "Hush, Padawan," Vizif said.

    After he put the holoimage away, Vandar said, "I must inform the Council. You three should accompany me. Miss Seclu, are you willing to divulge the location of your ship to them?"

    Britmar fingered the tracking device, looked around at the Jedi. "Will you give me your word that I can come with you, so I can help get my ship back?"

    "Very well," Vandar said. "If that is your price, you will be granted your wish."

    "Then what are we waiting for?" Britmar said, that sparkle returning to her eye.

    "Do you have news, Master Vandar?" In blue holoimages, each of the Jedi Council members appeared. The four stood in the circular area in the above ground section of the enclave. Seats had been arranged around the outer portion of the circle, though they all stood in the center.

    As Vandar recited what he knew, Vizif occasionally offering points the Master had forgotten, or missed, Vek studied the Council members. They all appeared skeptical of Craroc's fall to the Dark Side. Their emotions centered on Vek, making him feel like a bug in a science experiment.

    At last, one of the Masters interrupted. "To think Master Craroc would fall is difficult," he said. "His distaste for Frags is well known. Could it be that one who stands before us now is responsible? If Darrdan is truly cavorting with Sith, perhaps he was driven there by one so brash and undisciplined."

    Instantly, Vek felt rising fury. It didn't come from him, but through his bond. Vizif tensed and sucked in a tight breath. All the Masters, including Vandar, turned to regard her.

    "How dare you insult my padawan," she hissed. "Vek is just wonderful. We've made a fine team and his help has been invaluable throughout our mission. Master Craroc had it out for Vek from day one. I know; I was there, too.

    "If we could determine what was in the box Master Craroc received, it might give us a clue as to why he's turned to the Dark Side. Don't presume to blame Vek for the failings of someone else. Vek is responsible for what he does, not what someone else does."

    ==Thanks, Master,== Vek thought to her. In return, she sent him a warm, familial feeling.

    "As it so happens, we have tracked the courier," Master Vandar said, trying to stave off any backlash from the Council for Vizif's outburst. "She should be arriving to this enclave at any time."

    "Then, it seems you still have work to do," one of the Council members said calmly. "Contact us again when you have more information, Master Vandar." The images of the Council disappeared.

    Vandar cleared his throat, looked uncomfortably from Vek, to Vizif to Britmar. "Where did you say the tracking device indicates, Miss Seclu?"

    Britmar appeared more calm and collected than anyone there. Beneath the surface, however, her emotions churned as did Vek's. She'd been affected by the emotional tiff at the meeting as well. However, she collected herself quickly. "When there's a chance to go after my ship, I'll tell you," she said with a grin.

    The sound of a ship landing stole the attention of everyone gathered. "That might be the courier now," Vandar said.

    Out at the spaceport, he turned out to be right. The Czerka emblem stood out on the side of the vessel. It was large enough to have its own hyperdrive, but no bigger than it needed to be. Down the ramp walked a single Czerka employee, her orange and dark green uniform fitting tightly around her.

    "You've sent for me personally, Master Jedi?" she asked. "I'm Olavia Zantar, courier for Czerka Corp."

    "A couple of weeks ago, you delivered a box to Master Darrdan Nal Craroc," Vandar said. "Do you have any information on what was in it?"

    Miss Zantar took out her datapad, scanned back to the date Vandar gave her. "This is highly irregular, you know," she said. "Personal packages are private."

    "This is a matter of some import," Vizif said.

    "Yeah, bastard stole my ship," Britmar put in hotly.

    "I believe your superiors have asked that you cooperate with us," Vandar said. The Jedi had extensive pull.

    "Yes, Master Jedi," Olavia Zantar said. "I just don't like to make it a habit." Her pad bleeped and she stared at it. "Ah, yes. Scans revealed it was pyramidal in shape and metallic, some-" she gasped at the readout. With effort, she steeled herself to continue. "Scans indicate the object to be over fifteen thousand years old."

    "Did it emit energy?" Vandar asked and she nodded. "Lastly, who sent it to Master Craroc?"

    "One Kavia, from Padomere," Zantar said.

    "Well, that changes much," Vandar said.

    He dismissed the courier and the four returned to his quarters. "I must speak with the Council again. This time, however, I would prefer to be alone. Miss Seclu, please tell me what you know. I give you my word you will be included in the strike team we will put together to confront Master Craroc."

    Again, Britmar took out her tracking device. She stared at Vandar for a bit, perhaps trying to work out whether or not she trusted him. At last, she sighed, a very human response and not one Vek had expected.

    "Metalorn," she said after another moment stretched. "My ship landed on Metalorn days ago and hasn't moved."

    "Very well," Vandar said. "If you will excuse me."

    In the refectory, Britmar loaded up a tray of food while Vizif and Vek found a secluded booth. "We've had quite the adventure so far," Vizif said, her eyes dancing.

    "It would be a shame if we let other Jedi have all the fun from here on out." Vek couldn't believe the words which had come from his mouth. Then, he did a double take. Maybe he did believe them. Didn't the Force come with a price tag? Wasn't it his responsibility to help fix things that went haywire? He'd been brought here for a purpose, after all. Things didn't just randomly occur, otherwise, how could the complexity of everything even exist?

    "So you're all right if I ask Master Vandar to include us in this strike team he's talking about?" Vizif sounded surprised at his words, too.

    "I suppose I am, Master," Vek said. He'd gotten a second chance at life. Why not spend it on something important?

    Britmar slid into the booth beside him. "What are you two jawing about?" she asked, taking a bite of something resembling broccoli.

    "How good are you with that blaster?" Somehow, Vek felt responsible for the scoundrel, too. With luck, she would survive to get her ship back.

    "Oh, I'm good," she said and winked.

    "But what about with the blaster?" Vizif asked, her tongue placed firmly in her cheek.

    With a bite of food in her mouth, Britmar snorted, turning the look on Vek again. She was pretty in a rugged sort of way. Of course, Vek had been taught that getting involved with anyone might lead him to the Dark Side. Of course, just because someone said something, didn't make them right. Still, he knew better than to get involved with a scoundrel.

    ==Let's just help her get her ship back, Master,== he said through the bond he and Vizif shared.

    ==I'm sure you could help her with... other things.== No, his Master wasn't going to make this easy.
     
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    That was rather crude and rude blaming Vek for Craroc. His penchant started way before Vek arrived I'll bet. Britmar is serious about pursuing him isn't she? [face_laugh] Vandar seems fair-minded at the very least, wanting to help rather than place needless blame that doesn't solve anything. :p

    And getting involved with a scoundrel -- [face_mischief] one thing's for sure, never a dull moment once you do! (H/L-style) [face_love]
     
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Well, definite progress is being made in the investigation. We know where Craroc and Kavia went, and I think it's pretty clear what the 15,000-year-old pyramidal object Kavia sent to Craroc was: a Sith holocron. Which makes me suspect that all of Kavia's talk about Force paths that are free of the restrictions of both the Jedi and the Sith is more a put-on than anything else... [face_thinking] But questions still remain, mostly centering around Britmar. On one hand, she seems at least party willing to help. But just what is it she has to hide, and why was she so reluctant to share the current whereabouts of her ship? (Is she even telling the truth about it being on Metalorn?)

    It's also hard to know what to make of her little flirty advances to Vek: are they in the service of whatever ulterior motive(s) she has? He seems kind of ambivalent about her at present—though then we also have Vizif playing matchmaker in a teasy-big-sister type of way, which adds yet another dimension to things. Definitely good on her (and Vandar) for standing up to the council on Vek's behalf, though; pointing fingers in a situation like this does no one any good.

    In any case, it looks like the next step is that the three of them will go to Metalorn together to see what's up, and they have the makings of an intriguing team, for sure. Looking forward to seeing what adventures will await this trio! :cool:
     
  18. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    True, but since when are Council members in tune with reality in any way, shape or form? ;)

    Yeah, he'll never get on the Council that way. :p

    I think Vek is more than happy to have some 'dull' moments. :D


    See, I think the first lesson they teach prospective Jedi is: never trust a Sith, or a 'former' Sith. ;)

    Some people like teasing, even in a good natured way. And then there's Vek. :p

    We're coming down to the nitty gritty, aren't we? What will happen next?

    Just a few more chapters to go before the end. :) Things are about to get tense. And just what are crusty Craroc and his girlfriend up to? Tune in tomorrow... and the week after that :p to find out.
     
  19. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    10

    Space was cold. Before coming to this galaxy, Vek had never imagined being able to travel in it. Now, it was more a curse than blessing. He shivered as he walked down the wide corridor toward the cafeteria.

    The Republic frigate wasn't what you'd call a spacious ship, either. Under normal operating conditions, it contained a crew of less than fifty. It was cramped with a full crew. With the extra personnel aboard, it was downright crowded.

    Vek hated crowds. They sent his anxiety off the chart.

    Being in this wide corridor was a blessing, of sorts. "Is it the cold of space, Padawan?" Vizif asked as they walked, side by side.

    Two men and a woman in Republic uniform pushed their way past him. The muscles in his neck tensed, spasmed and he sucked in a breath.

    "Ah, the people," Vizif said quietly. Under normal circumstances, she might have slipped her arm into his, to provide a little comfort. Thankfully, she realized that wouldn't be a good thing at the moment.

    The cafeteria was large enough for about twenty personnel. At the moment they walked in, there was a handful, maybe a couple more. Vek felt the tightness in his chest let go. A pinch returned when he spotted Britmar Seclu, sitting in a corner booth. She waved to them.

    Normally, Vizif might have teased him. Sensing through their bond that he was still anxious on the crowded vessel, she refrained. Maybe there is a God after all, he thought as he took a tray and got in line behind his master.

    "I wish I could eat like that and still keep my girlish figure, Master," Vek said as she heaped all kinds of food onto her tray. Vizif often did this and yet remained svelte.

    To his comment, she turned and said, "Don't forget to sit with your girlfriend." Since he felt better enough to poke fun, she knew he would be able to take it, too.

    The one good thing Vek could say about being aboard a Republic ship was the meat. The Republic didn't have qualms about eating it. Indeed, they had entire agricultural worlds dedicated to raising herds of deliciousness. While Vizif's tray was loaded with vegetables, starchy and otherwise, his was weighed down with nerf burgers and tubers fried in animal fat.

    "I'll have the healers stand by with the cardio stimulators," Vizif said as she glanced at his tray.

    "Hey, I might die tomorrow at the hands of Master Craroc's minions," Vek said. "I should enjoy myself."

    They were headed to Metalorn. Five Republic cruisers, complete with dozens of fighters, and half a dozen frigates made up the small strike team. Master Vandar was the senior ranking Jedi on the frigate with Vek and Vizif, second only to one Grand Master from Coruscant on the lead cruiser.

    "Have a seat," Britmar said when they approached. She scooted over in her seat, patted it while eyeing Vek.

    "Brother," Vek whispered as he sat. He knew she wasn't actually interested in him. Though a scoundrel and good at hiding her intentions from most beings, he sensed she was after her ship, nothing more and nothing less. If she cozied up to a Jedi, to her way of thinking, it was all the more likely she could use that relationship to better ensure she got what she wanted.

    If she'd been interested in him as a person... Well, he might have felt differently. He'd always liked redheads.

    "I been thinking about what'll happen when we get to Metalorn," she said, thumbing through a datapad. "I been there before." She laid the pad on the table, slid it between Vek and his master. "Reckon this is our goal."

    The high resolution picture on the pad showed what might have been Dantooine. Grassy plains behind and a sod covered entrance in the foreground. "The Osprey's parked not far from this place," she added.

    "You say you've been here before?" Vizif asked, curiosity getting the better of her.

    "Yep. I, uh, traded with the workmen who were building the place," she said, quickly substituting the word 'traded' for what Vek suspected would have been 'smuggled'.

    "What can you tell us about the inside?" Vizif asked.

    "They didn't want me going in there." But then, the scoundrel grinned from ear to ear.

    "My bet is you went anyway," Vek said, the infectious grin making him smirk, too.

    "Not quite, but close, handsome," Britmar said. She pushed a button on her pad. The picture of the front of the facility turned into a blueprint of the inside.

    "I should take this to Master Vandar," Vizif said. "With your permission, Miss Seclu."

    "Knock yourself out, honey," Britmar said, then grasped Vek's arm. "I'll keep your padawan safe in the meantime."

    Vizif's amusement nearly burst through the hull of the frigate and spaced them all.

    ==I'll get you for this, Master,== Vek said through their bond as she slipped from the booth.

    "That Vandar fellow, he can thank me later," Britmar said, still clinging to Vek's arm. "You, however, can thank me in any way you like. Think creatively." The tip of her nose gently nuzzled the soft flesh just behind his ear, her hot breath fell a bit lower on his neck.

    "Miss Seclu," Vek said, turning to regard her green eyes. "There's no need for this; Master Vandar promised you your ship for your aid. We Jedi keep our word."

    "Who says I'm doing this for my ship?" she asked quietly. "As a smu- uh, trader, I live life in the fast lane, sweet thing. If I see something I want, I go get it. Who knows what'll happen tomorrow."

    He opened his mouth to say something, but she quickly leaned forward, pressing her lips against his. They were soft and warm. Suddenly, Vek forgot about the coldness of space.

    "Ahem."

    Vek's eyes bulged and he tore away from Britmar's kiss. He stumbled from the booth, nearly tripping over his own big feet. When he stood, he said, "Master Vandar; I thought you were in your quarters. My Master was looking for you."

    A ghost of a grin made Vandar's head appear lopsided. Quickly, his mouth turned into a frown and he made another noise at the back of his throat. "If I was in my quarters, I couldn't have discovered this breach of protocol, Padawan Talis."

    "That cute young girl was bringing you my datapad, pops," Britmar said and Vek's eyes rolled into the back of his head, again.

    "I'm sure it is important Miss Seclu." Vandar had the patience and tact of a stone statue. The experienced master turned back to Vek. "How is the crowded ship affecting you, Vek?"

    "I've had more fun, Master Vandar," Vek answered truthfully. "Like when the Sith were trying to blast me to oblivion or when that apprentice tried to fillet me with his lightsaber."

    At his words, a squad of Republic soldiers entered the cafeteria. The volume in the small room went off the charts as the groundpounders joked, prodded and poked one another. They grew quiet only for a moment as they passed Vandar respectfully, then burst into raucous behavior again.

    Vek felt the walls closing in around him, all over again. The frigate he flew on carried an entire company of Republic soldiers. The cruisers in the strike team, most of a whole regiment. What they thought they would need so many soldiers for was anyone's guess. Of course, they were probably just being cautious.

    "I should find Knight Krat," Vandar said. He cast a last look between Vek and Britmar, that whisper of a smirk returning to his lips. "Carry on, Padawan," he said.

    I'll get them all for this, Vek thought as he dropped heavily into the seat. It's no wonder Frags fall to the Dark Side, with these madcap Jedi for masters. In the next instant, Britmar had her hand in his, fingers interlacing with his, her warm palm pressed against his.

    Quickly, he finished his meal, drank down a full glass of water. "Ah, look at that," he said, trying to slide out of the booth. "I should return to my quarters."

    He dropped his tray into the recycler and nearly bumped into Britmar on the way out. "I'll tag along," she said.

    "Stellar," he whispered.

    "Training to be a Jedi must be hard," she said as they walked. "But I envy the power you have."

    I'll bet she'd make a fine Sith, Vek thought. She covets the Force for her own ends. Charming.

    To her, he said, " A Jedi doesn't desire power for its own sake. A Jedi uses the gift of the Force to help others in need."

    "That's wicked," Britmar said, smiling. "And you're just as needy as anyone else, so you can help yourself, too."

    "A Jedi sacrifices for others," Vek said. "I have little desire to make personal gains. I have food, clothing and shelter; I need no more than that." Maybe I can scare her away with asceticism, he thought.

    "But if you had someone on the outside who cared about you, you could do things for her, right?" Britmar lived in a world where altruism was helping someone along the way to getting exactly what you wanted. Everything else was simple self interest. "I could do things for you, you know." She winked.

    "For me, or to me?" Vek asked and her smile got wider.

    "Now you're talking my language," she said and smacked his rear end.

    His brow went skyward and he shook his head. Yes, she was charming in a gruff kind of way. But he'd already gotten a sense of what self interest was in her mind. She'd denied it, of course, but facts were facts.

    Before he could say anything more, the diffused lighting in the corridor dimmed, turned yellow. A soft alarm rang through the halls. "All personnel to battle stations. Repeat: All personnel to battle stations."

    "What's going on?" In a moment, Britmar's defenses went down and Vek discovered a frightened young woman where the gruff scoundrel had been a second before. Her fingers dug into his arm and she tensed, but quickly recovered.

    "My guess is we've just come out of hyperspace," Vek said. "If this was a real emergency, we would see red, rather than yellow, lights."

    She blew out some tension, barely noticeable and the smile behind her eyes was genuine, right before the mask slid down over her face again. "That's what I thought," she said and Britmar Seclu, pirate and smuggler, was back.

    Of course, that, too, might have been a calculated 'vulnerability' designed to capture his affections and gain her the ally she sought. It was hard to tell with some people, what was really in their minds. Puzzles inside puzzles.

    "There you are, Padawan," Vizif said as she hurried down a side corridor. "We should get to the bridge; there's trouble brewing outside."

    The three hurried back the way Vek and Britmar had come. At the end of the main corridor was the door to the bridge. It opened automatically at their approach.

    The bridge was small and cramped. Vek had to wrap himself in the Force and drown his anxiety in it. Warm fingers slid into both of his hands, Britmar to his right, Vizif to his left. If he'd been dreaming, he wouldn't have wanted to awaken.

    "Republic vessels, you are not authorized in our space." The taciturn voice of a Metalorn naval officer echoed through the bridge. "What gives you the right to invade Metalorn; we have rejected Republic envoys in the past and shall continue to remain neutral."

    "Metalorn Navy, stand down. Our orders have nothing to do with you." That message came from the lead cruiser, from the Grand Master and Council member along for the ride. Vek hadn't caught the female Togruta's name.

    It didn't seem as though Metalorn's navy cared. Large, red laser bolts sliced through the emptiness of space. They crossed the bow of the lead cruiser, but didn't strike it. The cruisers and other frigates reversed course; a standoff ensued.

    "We need to get down there; the longer we stay up here, the more time Craroc will have to prepare a welcome for us," Vek whispered to his master, who in turn whispered what he guessed was the same message to Master Vandar.

    The diminutive, green fellow hopped up on one of the consoles and spoke in hushed tones to the captain of the vessel. When Vandar returned, he said, "I want you at the helm, Knight Krat. The captain is reluctant to disobey orders."

    The officer who sat at the helm regarded Vizif for only a moment before vacating his chair. Vek hadn't known she was a good pilot – all of their training had been on land thus far. Like an expert, she flipped a few switches, grabbed the controls and took the ship into such a tight turn, Vek had to widen his stance or be thrown off, even with artificial gravity.

    Britmar's hand tightened in his and she gazed up into his eyes. "This is what I live for," she said. Her right hand fell to the blaster that swung on her hip. "Soon, sweet thing, we'll get those slimeballs."

    As they broke into the atmosphere, ground based laser cannons began firing. Vizif pulled the ship into another tight turn, weaving between the blasts. Vek felt his master drawing upon the Force. Soon, they flew over the north polar region, dodging lasers fired from the facility they approached.

    "Republic soldiers, to your squads," the frigate captain said. "Drop point Alpha coming up."

    "That is also our cue," Vandar said to Vek. Once passed the ground lasers, Vizif returned the helm to the Republic officer, joined her padawan. Vizif, Vek, Britmar, Vandar and a Twi'lek Master hurried toward the main ramp, lightsabers and blaster in hands.
     
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  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Super blend of teasing and action! =D= Britmar seems so sincere but Vek isn't taken in, all the way at any rate [face_laugh]
     
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  21. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    It's tough being so well liked. :p

    Next to last update!

    11

    Vek rolled for cover. Again. As a padawan, he hadn't been in enough live firefights to get good, especially at deflecting the blaster bolts of organic sentients. That didn't stop him from feeling guilty about it.

    The big hero I am, he thought. A few Republic soldiers worked their way toward his own cover. They occasionally poked their heads up, fired a few rounds, and ran forward while comrades kept them covered. Their training was good, long and strenuous.

    An isolated enemy soldier blasted away in front of Vek. Perhaps he didn't know the Jedi was sheltered so close by. Vandar, Vizif and the Twi'lek were taking a more direct route to the enemy enclave. Vizif had urged him to go at the Alpha drop point with the soldiers, telling him it would be 'mutually beneficial'. Britmar Seclu had jumped off at the same time. She blasted away at anything in front of her.

    For the third time, Vek ignited his lightsaber, drew in the Force as best he could. The Unifying Force spoke more to him these days, unless he was healing, then the Living Force guided his thoughts better.

    A few blaster bolts winged their way toward him. One singed him on its way past. The others, the more important ones, as they would have skewered more than his robes, bounced harmlessly away. The enemy soldier not far in front squeezed off rounds, again and again. He seemed transfixed on Vek.

    That gave the Republic soldiers a chance to get him in a crossfire. He sprawled and groaned as he fell. Republic soldiers moved up. There weren't many more places to shelter before they had taken the grounds to the west of the enclave.

    Most of the soldiers were either down or gone inside. Vek relaxed a bit, remained standing. Britmar stood, too. The Osprey was parked on a landing pad not far to the left, or north of the enclave.

    The door to the sod covered hideout had been left standing open. Vek could sense Vandar and the other Jedi to the east, still battling their way forward. The Force swirled, tugged at the collar of his robe, pulled him the direction of the open door.

    "Wait, Miss Seclu," he said as Britmar holstered her weapon and began walking casually toward the landing pad.

    "Wait like hell, sweet thing," she said, glaring at him. "Time to get my ship back and get off this rock. You been a great help."

    Vek could almost see the muzzle of the blaster rifle stick out through the shadowed doorway. He couldn't, of course, but the Force made it apparent that it was there. I'm gonna regret this, he thought as he rushed toward the scoundrel. Her eyes bulged and she reached for her blaster again, but he was too quick. He tackled her just as the blaster bolt scorched the air she'd occupied only a split second before. Republic soldiers surged forward, blaster rifles barking to take out the enemy at the door.

    Britmar's intense gaze swung from the enclave door up to Vek. Her lower lip trembled for a second before she got it under control. At that moment, her charming smirk turned up one corner of her mouth.

    "Thanks, sweet thing," she said and leaned up to peck him on the cheek.

    Before he could move, she'd slithered out from beneath him, bounded to her feet. Not far away, the last enemy soldier grunted again. He writhed on the grass, clutching at his chest. The scoundrel made to draw her blaster.

    "No," Vek said and hurried toward the soldier. The Living Force crackled at his fingertips as he examined the wounded soldier. "Peace," he said, using the Force to burrow past the enemy's defenses, sending the message as a calming, pain killing wave.

    "Why are you wasting your time?" Britmar asked.

    Inside, Vek frowned. The blaster bolts had burned up enough tissue near the heart to make healing difficult. At best, the man would have severe health problems for the remainder of his pain addled life.

    Do I save him, or let him go? Sometimes, there were no easy answers in life. Oh, he could have reached out to his master, hung the decision on her. If he'd been a young padawan, he probably would have. Though he was new to the position and young in the standards of this new galaxy, he'd lived a full life where he came from. He wasn't about to pawn off a decision he wasn't willing to make himself.

    He eased the soldier's agony as best he could, watching as his soul slipped from the damaged body. Unencumbered by battle armor and the philosophies he'd lived in life, his soul glittered and gleamed for the moment Vek could see it, through the Force. The soldier clutched Vek's hand, then his grip gave way and his hand dropped to the earth, even as his soul escaped upward.

    When Vek stood, he sighed. It wasn't easy watching up close as someone died, even an enemy. That was why soldiers were sculpted into professionals.

    Britmar gaped, then shuddered. Quickly, she bit down on her feelings, not allowing anyone a glimpse inside. She didn't immediately try to make a dash to her ship, either. "I could use someone by my side to help me get to the Osprey," she said, a glimmer in her eye.

    "Then have patience, please," Vek said. "I need to ask my master about it." Something familiar and deadly drew his senses toward the landing pad. He didn't want to tell her, of course.

    "Are you gonna need permission from your master for everything I have in mind for you?" Britmar stared, lopsided at him, amused grin on her face. Her auburn hair flowed from her shoulders in the warm breeze.

    Thankfully, Vek didn't need to answer that question. Vandar, Vizif and the Twi'lek master still unnamed to Vek arrived from the east.

    "Glad to see you're still in one piece, Padawan," Vizif said happily. She looked at the enemy soldier at his feet, then back up at him. He sent her a short message through their bond about what had just transpired and what he sensed near the landing pad.

    "Master Vandar," Vizif said. "Do you mind if my padawan and I escort Miss Seclu to her ship?"

    "That would be for the best, I think," Vandar said, then he turned his head deliberately to the enclave door. "I suspect Master Su'jaki and I will be able to handle what we find in there." He and the other Jedi exchanged glances, nodded at the same time. They used a push from the Force to dash inside. Their sabers hummed.

    "Charmed to have two Jedi protectors watching over me," Britmar said as they hurried toward the landing pad. Her right hand rested on her blaster, all the same. Perhaps she didn't trust herself. It would be impossible to trust others that way.

    Of course, once she saw the Osprey, she whooped with glee and took off like a shot toward it. She pounded up the ramp, then her scream pierced the air. Then, silence.

    "Âtsadush," Vizif said. Blue sparkled in the humid air. A moment later, yellow mingled and hummed along with it.

    With a burst from the Force, both Jedi hurried up the ramp.

    A crimson slash came out of nowhere. Vizif was much quicker than Vek; she blocked the hidden strike. Âtsadush – perhaps hidden using a Force technique? – appeared before them, snarling. He knocked Vizif's blade back, struck again, knocking Vizif back with the ferociousness of his attack. Next time he slashed, Vek's yellow met the red.

    Taller and stronger through the chest, Vek didn't allow the apprentice to do the same to him. However, the skinny Sith didn't seem interested in repeating old mistakes. Rather than try to overpower Vek, he used his superior speed. Both Jedi locked blades with him, but he spun and used the cramped corridor to leap over them.

    Vizif spun as well, turning his blade away from the base of Vek's spine. It would have been a nasty blow, had it connected.

    At the edge of the Force, Vek felt Britmar's life draining away. She was crumpled to the side of the entrance ramp, bleeding profusely. Vek knew he couldn't heal her from a distance, but he tried to ease her pain, at least.

    Unfortunately, in so doing, he left himself vulnerable. Âtsadush had speed and cunning on his side. He kicked at the back of Vek's right leg, then his left shoulder, spinning him around. The slash from his saber was partially deflected by Vizif, but it still tore into the first few layers of skin and damaged nerves.

    Vek groaned as he hit the deck of the Osprey. His saber clattered away. Âtsadush tried to capitalize on his advantage, but Vizif contested him. In the tight atmosphere, Vek felt passion stir within his master. Though she clamped down on it quickly, she had genuine sisterly and matronly feelings toward him. Guilt replaced the passion as she battled the Sith; guilt that she'd allowed herself to feel something again.

    Despite Âtsadush's best efforts, Vizif backed him away from the two wounded humans. They fought around a corner, then disappeared from sight.

    Vek crawled toward Britmar. Agony tugged at his back with every exertion. Getting sliced by a lightsaber was no fun. When he reached the scoundrel, she was nearly gone. Unlike the enemy soldier, however, she could still be saved. Where he'd had too much extensive damage, hers was a bit more superficial. Blood loss was what nearly drained her life. That, for Vek, was an easy fix.

    With his eyes closed, he could get a picture of the microscopic, through the Force. Blood was everywhere it wasn't supposed to be. Guiding it where it belonged, he urged the capillaries and sinews to replicate good cells, discarding the damaged ones. Clots formed, tissues began the mending process and he temporarily numbed the pain receptors in her brain.

    Her head turned and she moaned, down deep in her belly. Emerald orbs, glistened with moisture, stared up blankly, then focused on him. Even that scoundrel's smirk looked more human on her for a moment, before another wave of pain contorted it.

    "You just wanted to get your hands on me; admit it," she said in a groan.

    The belly wound had left her vest and undershirt torn and scorched. His fingers lightly caressed the undamaged flesh near her bellybutton. "I'm just an old softie," he said.

    She blinked, then relaxed. "I sure hope not," she whispered, trying to conserve her strength.

    His chuckle cut off into a spasm of pain. "Don't make me laugh now," he said and tried to stand. The act wasn't complete, as it felt like the skin of his back was tearing.

    "You're hurt, too," Britmar said, her voice distant, weak. That was her body healing itself. She barely had the strength to point at his back before her hand dropped limply to the deck.

    "That's what I get for helping," Vek said. He was about to stop and try to get his hands around his back to heal himself, when he heard the humming of sabers. He called his blade to his hand, but nothing happened. Exhaustion made him feel heavy. His heart thudded in his chest.

    Once again, he slipped off his boots, bent to scoop up his saber. He didn't finish that, either, as new sensations of agony tore through him. Vizif, his master, was in pain. He felt the scorch of a saber to Vizif's thigh like it was his own wound.

    Not wasting anymore time, with the pain from his back disappearing in a rush of adrenaline, he shot forward, silently in socked feet. Through their bond, he homed right in on Vizif and Âtsadush.

    The Sith moved slower, more arrogantly. His strikes were deliberate, designed to wear Vizif out, rather than inflict punishment. Victory seemed inevitable to him and it showed in his actions.

    Of course, when Vek rammed his shoulder into the Sith's spine, all that changed. Vizif brought her blade up and skewered the raving Sith. Breath flew from his lungs in a feral roar and he collapsed, perhaps dead before his head hit the deck.

    Panting, Vek looked at his master. Hair matted to her skull with sweat and a few scrapes and bruises and tears in her robes made her look like she'd just been in a fight. Which, of course, she had.

    The cut to her thigh was bad. It had nicked the artery. "Sorry, Master," he said as he touched her upper leg.

    "Don't apologize for helping, Padawan," Vizif said, breathing heavily herself after the fight of her life.

    His fingers pressed against the flesh, encouraging the wound to begin closing. Through the Force, he sterilized it and started clots. "You'll need a medic to give you some stitches, soon," he said.

    "Looks like you could use some healing, yourself," Vizif said.

    "The pain's gone. Mostly."

    "Come on; we should see if Vandar needs us," his master said. "You need your saber again, too."

    "I know right where it is," Vek said.

    When he scooped it up, Britmar was just getting to her feet. "You really should rest more," Vek said.

    "I will," she promised. "But first..." Before the Jedi could get past her, she grabbed first Vizif, planted a wet kiss on his master's lips, then quickly did the same to him. "Thank you," she said quietly, her gaze falling to the durasteel deck. "I owe you. Both."

    "Think nothing of it, Miss Seclu," Vizif said and shoved her padawan forward. Outside, she wiped her mouth on her sleeve. "That was unpleasant."

    In the enclave, Vek knelt over several bodies. They'd been killed by lightsabers. While the outside had reminded him of Dantooine's Jedi enclave, the inside was different. Twists and turns led them to a training room. Metallic objects lined one wall. "Sith holocrons," Vizif said, sounding like a bad taste was in her mouth.

    "Maybe." Vek was drawn to one. "I think this one is Jedi, Master," he said.

    Despite herself, Vizif was also examining them. "This one appears to predate the Sith. Not the species, mind, but the philosophy."

    "I understand, Master." Some were indeed Sith in origin, but more than half weren't. In the center of the wall, a shelf lay empty. Dust had settled around a holocron that was now missing. "I wonder if that was the one Craroc received in the mail," Vek said.

    Vizif placed her hand in the space where the holocron had been. Quickly, she jerked it away, shook it as though it had been shocked. "I think maybe you're right," she said.

    They continued to search the enclave. At last, they came upon Masters Vandar and Su'Jaki, standing over a bald, pale, female corpse dressed in red.

    "That was Kavia, all right," Vek said, confirming through the Force what his eyes had already told him: she was definitely dead. The Sith didn't have a lightsaber in her hand and none was nearby.

    "She nearly killed me with her hands," Master Su'Jaki said, shaking his head slowly. "I believe it was Teräs Käsi, though I've never seen the variant before. It was almost as if the Dark Side reinforced her actions through her movements."

    Vandar had been quietly staring at Kavia's body. A shudder passed through him as he hung his saber hilt on his belt. "An ancient form, it was," he said, startled into the backward speak Vek knew his species used normally.

    "Any sign of Craroc?" Vizif asked, perhaps trying to distract the masters from their malaise.

    "No," Vandar said. He looked up from Kavia, returning to himself. "This enclave was only just forming; we arrived in good time."

    Vizif told them about the holocrons. The masters nodded to themselves.

    "Great work, Padawan," Vizif said as a Republic medic sewed stitches into her thigh.

    Another medic patched up the flesh wound in his back. "You, too, Master," he said. "I suppose now we'll go back to Dantooine and be bored."

    "Bored?"

    "Now that you've shown me the high life, you think I'll be satisfied with trees, plains and meditation again?" Vek pondered his own words as he allowed them to sink into Vizif's head. Then, with brow raised, he added, "Yes, yes I will be satisfied."

    Vizif chuckled, then winced as her movements threw off the medic and he jabbed her with the needle.
     
  22. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Thanks for reading, everyone. Here's the last chapter, a day early. :)

    12

    The pirate ship Osprey blasted off the landing pad. Darrdan watched it intently. Vizif and her padawan were on that ship. The Force painted the surrounding space blood red.

    He surveyed the smoking ruins of his new enclave from a distance. When he decided no more Jedi prowled it, he went in to investigate.

    "Master Craroc?"

    "Yes, child," Darrdan said to the Youngling: his new apprentice.

    "Why did those people blow up our home?" At seven, young Fyrda could have no idea of the hatred among older, more experienced life forms. Her innocence was honest and pure and ignorant.

    "They think themselves good," Darrdan explained as they drew nearer to the enclave. Kavia had warned she'd had visions of the Jedi's arrival. He'd dismissed them, and now his love was dead.

    Several Knights of Lettow lay, broken and bloody. The small contingent of soldiers they'd had from Metalorn's army were also dead or wounded. The enclave itself had been blown up from the inside.

    Another body, pale and lifeless sang out to the former Jedi. "Oh, Kavia," he said as he touched her cold hand, a tear stinging his eye.

    "They will pay, Kavia," he said. "That Frag will suffer." He cast a hate filled glance up toward the heavens. If not for Vek Talis's arrival, he would never have left the Jedi. Of course, he also would never have experienced Kavia's heated passion, but he wouldn't have lost it, either.

    He focused all his attention and rage on the Osprey. That pirate had somehow survived, he realized. She'd helped them and would pay dearly. So would Vizif, for brashly deciding to take the Frag as her padawan when Darrdan was searching for the best way to expel Vek from Dantooine.

    "Master? What will we do now?" The Force coursed through little Fyrda. It was uncertain, raw and grasping now. She was young and would learn control and patience. Darrdan would mold her into the perfect representative of the Force.

    Inside his robe, the ancient holocron pushed warmth into his chest. It radiated a sense of peace, of understanding with the world around. Dark secrets to manipulate the Living Force through the martial movements of Teräs Käsi, long lost to the Jedi, remained within the holocron.

    "Rebuild, Young One," Darrdan said. He turned to regard his pupil and smiled. "We will rebuild, so one day we may show them the error of their ways."

    While he was away – while the Jedi were busy murdering his love – he'd stumbled across more Force sensitives. The government of Metalorn was also cooperating nicely. They saw benefits to having a Council of Lettow on their planet, to allowing Force sensitives to shelter and train there.

    "Will you show me again, Master?" Fyrda was learning about their master/apprentice bond. She had an idea of the power Darrdan held in his palms: the Teräs Käsi he'd learned as a Jedi paled by comparison to what he knew of the art form now. The power he wielded was intense and Fyrda hadn't shied away from it.

    "I will, Apprentice," Darrdan said and smiled again. He turned back to Kavia's body, gave it a last kiss on the forehead, then stood. "We have much work ahead of us, though, and we should begin."

    "Yes, Master." Fyrda looked disappointed, though it was only a temporary setback.

    "I must make certain the Jedi can't return here," Darrdan said. He still had friends in high places on Coruscant. They would, at last, begin to show their usefulness. "And then, I need to plan for the future." He set his hand on Fyrda's shoulder. "For our future, my apprentice."

    There were some Frags yet at the Jedi Temple. Through Teräs Käsi, Darrdan was learning it might be possible to steal the Force directly from another living being. At its death, of course. And who better deserving than a Frag?

    "One specific Frag, naturally," Darrdan said, seeing Vizif and her padawan in his mind's eye.

    "You're angry, Master." Rather than fear, Fyrda drank in her master's fury. She would make a fine apprentice. Only a week removed from her family home, she felt a part of Darrdan and mimicked his emotional states magnificently.

    "I am, Young One," he said. "One day, you will learn how to harness that and all other emotions." There is no emotion, there is peace. He scoffed at the ignorance of the Jedi. The Sith were no better, stuck in their ridiculous dogma on the exact opposite pole from them.

    "But first, we must rebuild here," Darrdan said absently. "We must discover others and make our numbers grow."

    Then, they would create their own empire to rival the Old Republic and Sith. Only then could ultimate victory be achieved. Rebuild. The message hunted him through the Force. It was his calling. As was the destruction of all Frags. Darrdan smiled down at Fyrda again. The new beginning was now.
     
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Gripping conclusion and nice setup for any upcoming sequel
     
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  24. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Not like we didn't know this before, but Craroc is a slimy slime. He seems to be developing into a fascinating villain that we will love to hate. Though not quite as much as we love to hate the ol' Sheevy Sheevster.
     
  25. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Phew, I caught up. It was quite a reading marathon, because off-line I was busy to steer through dangerous waters. And you @Vek Talis did 4 updates. Wow! I did manage 8 letters and 4 cards to friends only, but not such a brilliant fanfic plot like you did.

    And the last chapter! Especially this sentence:

    "Rebuild, Young One," Darrdan said. He turned to regard his pupil and smiled. "We will rebuild, so one day we may show them the error of their ways."

    Chilling and true alike. There is arrogance in the Jedi way. :emperor:
     
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