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  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Saga - PT Star Wars: Days of Old (AU)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Antaus, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Preface

    Author(s): Me
    Timeframe: Episode I-II (AU)
    Characters: Rahna (OC), Argoth (OC), Qui-gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Yoda, and more.
    Summary: Star Wars: Days of Old, takes place in an alternate timeline where the movies never happened, any of them. To give people a better idea of what going on, everything in the canon timeline occurred up until roughly 50 years before what would have been the start of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. That's when things started to diverge into the alternate timeline that I'll be using. I don't want to give away too much, however you will see a lot of famous faces, just not fighting their way through the same situations as seen on the silver screen. However, due to these changes, there are a few famous faces you won't be seeing either. Read on and find out.

    The reason I'm doing this is because I wanted to write a Star Wars story within what is considered the 'movie era' without having to try and deal with all the canon events. Plus, as is normal for me, I wanted to kinda do things my way and tell my own story. While I realize I haven't had a lot of exposure on the boards yet, I'm posting this because I like sharing my work. It's not exactly 'professional level', but I do try to maintain a consistent style with paragraphs, punctuation, and PROOF READING! So hopefully people will enjoy it. I know there's probably a good bit of room for improvement, but I just write for the fun of it, so yeah.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  2. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Chapter 0

    The streets of Corellia were filled with people going about their daily business, shopping, talking, and laughing. Land speeders passed by with the occasional honk, and it was all just another day in the life for everyone, except Rahna. From around the corner of a building, a small head of bright red hair slowly peered out, to see if anyone was watching. The tiny wisp of a girl could see all of the adults were busy with their own business, and as casually as possible, she walked down the street. Not far away there was an open front stall with a wide variety of fruit and bread for sale, and that was Rahna's target.

    There was no one buying anything at the moment, and when the man running the stall turned around to tend to something else, she reached up grabbing half a loaf of sweet bread and took off running. Before the man even knew anything was gone, the girl had already disappeared down the alley. Looking over a shoulder to see if anyone was following, Rahna failed to notice the person in front of her. Colliding with them and falling onto her butt, she was barely on the ground before the bread was snatched out of her hands. Standing over her was an older boy with dark hair, holding the bread she'd just stolen. He was flanked on either side by two other boys as well.

    “Hey, that's mine, give it back!”

    “Not anymore shorty,” Gran said. All three of them were scruffy, clad in torn clothing, unkempt hair, and dirt smudged faces. Both angry, and hungry, Rahna grabbed a small length of pipe nearby and struck him in the knee. With a yell, Gran dropped the bread and grabbed his leg. As Rahna scrambled for her meal, one of the other boys came forward kicking her in the stomach so hard she almost threw up. Now without the food and in pain, she began to cough before being stomped in the side. The boy Rahna had hit climbed on top of her and started swinging his fists, as she brought her arms up defensively.

    “Stupid little brat, you wanna hit me huh?” His arms continued to flail. “Not so tough without your pipe are you?” More than a dozen times Gran swung, hitting Rahna in the arms and sides of the head, then the attack stopped as suddenly as it started. Not sure what was going on, she moved her arms just enough for a peek, and saw Gran looking up at his fist.

    “What the?” Gran said, tugging at his arm. “My arm, it won't move.” After that the boy flew down the alley landing on his back, and the others seemed to focus on someone else. Still in intense pain from the beating, Rahna rolled over trying to focus her eyes, and saw the silhouette of a figure no bigger than her standing near the entrance of the alley. One of the other boys picked up a rock and threw it, but with the simple raising of a hand, the projectile stopped, and fell to the ground. With another gesture the boy who had thrown it stumbled backwards as if shoved, and fell down.

    “Forget this, I'm outta here!” It wasn't long before all three were running scared, leaving Rahna laying in the alley... without her bread. Still unwilling to give up, she grabbed the same length of pipe from before and tried to hold it up, but her arm was too weak. With a clatter it fell to the ground, as did her head. Laying there she could hear footsteps approaching.

    “Are you gonna beat me up too?” Instead of saying anything, the figure leaned down placing a hand on her shoulder, and Rahna was overtaken by a sensation of warmth that washed the pain from her body. Able to sit up now, she pushed bolt upright and saw a small green hand holding a paper wrapped ration bar. Not even sure how to react, she looked up into a pair of bright golden eyes.

    “Hungry you are, eat, you must,” Yoda said. That was all she needed to hear to have the ration bar in hand, paper ripped, and half of it stuffed into her mouth, before Yoda could even pull his hand back. When the hand came forward a second time holding a small bottle of water, it didn't last long either. In less than a minute both were gone.

    “Better, yes?”

    “Yeah, lots better. Thanks for the food, and helping me. Gran probably woulda beat me up real bad if you hadn't stopped him.”

    “Glad to have come, I am,” Rahna still wasn't sure what to make of Yoda. He was as small as she was, but walked with a cane and had thin white hair with large pointed ears. She wasn't even sure if he was a child or a grown up. “Tell me young one, strange dreams you have? Know things before they happen, you do?”

    “Yeah sometimes, how'd you know that?”

    “Strong in the force you are, sense it I did.”

    “What's the force?”

    “Great and mysterious, the force is. It is within all things, and all around us. Their power, from it a Jedi draws.” To that Rahna didn't have the slightest idea of how to respond. She also wasn't even sure why Yoda was still talking to her. Most grown-ups would have shooed her away by now, like some annoying pet that was circling their feet.

    “I have no idea what you're talking about.” That only drew a small chuckle from Yoda, and he extended a hand, helping her off the ground. “Is that how you scared those bullies off, with that force thingie?”

    “Yes, with it many things you can do, and many people you can help.”

    “I can't help anybody, I'm too little,” Rahna said, hanging her head.

    Again he chuckled, “When your ally, the force is, size matters not. ”

    “Really? You mean I could stop bullies and help people too?”

    “Mmmm, yes.”

    At that Rahna seemed to get excited for a moment, then stopped to think about it, “But... I don't know how to use the force.”

    “If trained as a Jedi, you were, the force, your ally would be. ”

    “Really, can you teach me?” Seemingly excited over the idea of being able to use the force to help people, she stopped when Yoda held up his hand.

    “Easy, the life of a Jedi is not. Many trials and hardships will you face. Many sacrifices will you make.”

    “But, but, I really wanna help people, honest. I'll work hard and be good, promise!”

    “Then come you can,” The Jedi Master was also surprised when she became excited enough to jump forward and hug him, but used his free hand to return the gesture. Rahna still knew nothing about the Jedi, but for a seemingly inexplicable reason she trusted him. More than anything, Yoda reminded her of a kindly old grandfather. Rahna was also surprised that no one bumped into them in the marketplace, as neither was very tall. Through the streets of Coronet the two walked, until they reached a small landing pad on the outskirts of town. There Rahna got her first up close look at a shuttle. It was a small, sleek, craft that had seen quite a bit of use. To the little girl it looked like a white metal oval with scarred and pitted plating. So fascinated by this, she failed to see the two others approach.

    “Who's this?” Qui-Gon said, speaking to Yoda. When Rahna saw him and Obi-Wan Kenobi nearby, she let out a gasp and ran behind a nearby tree.

    “What in the world?” Obi-Wan said. She peered out from behind the tree to see Obi-Wan approaching, and he stopped as she nearly ran away, then knelt down. “What's wrong little one? No one's going to hurt you.”

    Rahna pointed at Qui-Gon, “Mr. Fuzzy Face is scary.”

    About to say something else, Obi-Wan had to stifle a snicker at the 'Mr. Fuzzy Face' description. “Master Qui-Gon won't hurt you, what makes you think he's scary?”

    [​IMG]

    Stepping out from behind the tree she looked at Qui-gon, who regarded her with a neutral expression. She'd seen him before, even though the two had never met. Rahna was still scared, but felt safe with Yoda nearby, and Obi-Wan was smiling as well. It was strange because none of them were threatening her, so she stepped closer.

    “I saw him in a dream. He had this green thingie that went 'zhoom zhoom' when he swung it,” she moved both arms around as if swinging a lightsaber. “And there was this lady wearing black. She had a red thingie and made this crackley stuff come out of her hand. He stopped the crackley stuff with the green thingie and then... he killed the lady.”

    “Master,” Obi-Wan said, looking back. “It sounds like she's describing our encounter with Lady Vara on Tinnel.”

    “She is, although the girl would have to be strong in the force to have seen that in a dream.”

    Obi-Wan seemed to collect his thoughts for a moment before speaking. “Lady Vara was a bad person who used the red thingie and the crackley stuff, to hurt people and do a lot of mean things. Master Jinn and I went to Tinnel to make her stop, and she tried to use them on us. He didn't want to kill Lady Vara, but she didn't leave him any choice.”

    “So, he was trying to help people by stopping a bad person?”

    “Yes, because that's what Jedi do. We help people.” When Rahna walked up to Qui-Gon, he knelt down and offered her a smile as well.

    “Hello, I do believe introductions are in order. My name is Qui-Gon Jinn, this is my apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I see you've already met Master Yoda. What's your name?”

    “I'm Rahna.”

    “It's nice to meet you Rahna, how old are you?”

    “I'm this many,” Holding up a hand she extended all five fingers. “How about you?”

    “I'm... a few more than that.”

    “Yoda said I could come with him and learn to use the force so I can be a Jedi.”

    “And I'm sure you'll make a fine Jedi one day.”

    ********************​

    By the time the four of them returned to Coruscant it was late at night and Rahna was tired, but not too tired to ask Obi-Wan 'What's that?' no less than two dozen times, all of which he answered. After an evening meal she was taken to where the other younglings were housed, and Obi-Wan had a short conversation with a Togruta woman by the name of Master Waan'cal who looked after the younglings. There Rahna was allowed to shower, given a new set of clothes, and shown to a room with four beds, but only three other female younglings. Clean, fed, clothed, and warm, Rahna was quite happy, but also growing tired and ready for bed. At her request, Obi-Wan had waited while she showered, and helped her into bed. Then she tugged on the leg of his pants.

    “Obi, will you tell me a story?” Rahna had no idea if he would or not, but it came as a pleasant surprise when he sat down on the side of the bed.

    “A story? Alright, let me think.” Looking up at the ceiling he finally for a time, he settled on an idea. “I'll tell you a story about how a Jedi padawan once saved an entire village. Once upon a time there was a Jedi master and his padawan, who had been sent to a planet to help settle a land dispute between two neighboring villages.”

    “What were their names?”

    “Their names? Oh, uh... the Master's name was Jinzo and his padawan was... Wan-Ken.”

    “Was Wan-Ken a brave padawan?”

    “Oh yes, very brave, and handsome too. Master Jinzo and Wan-Ken had gone to the planet because two nearby villages were arguing over who got to use some land, and while there, they heard about this big scary monster that was attacking one of the villages. Wan-Ken went to see if he could help, while Master Jinzo spoke with the village elders. The other village was some distance away, so by the time he got there three people had been kil- er- hurt really bad.

    Wan-Ken didn't understand why it had attacked, because according to the villagers they had been tending their fields and not doing anything out of the ordinary. So he tracked the monster to a nearby forest to find out where it was hiding. While Wan-Ken was walking through the forest, the monster jumped out from behind some bushes and swung it's really big claws at him.” For added effect, Obi-Wan made a claw with his hand and swung it. That caused Rahna to gasp and pull the blanket up until it was almost under her nose.

    “It didn't get Wan-Ken did it?”

    “No, Jedi have really good reflexes. It missed, and Wan-Ken managed to scare it off. That also let him track the creature back to it's nest, and that was when Wan-Ken learned something very important. The monster, wasn't a monster at all. Even though it had big claws and really sharp teeth, it was a mommy and it had babies that were too sick to move. The creature attacked the villagers because it felt threatened by how close they were, and it was just trying to protect its children.”

    “What did Wan-Ken do?”

    “Well, after using the force to convince the mommy that he wasn't a threat, he healed the babies. That allowed them to move further into the forest away from the people, and there were no more attacks after that.”

    “Did Master Jinzo get the people to stop arguing?”

    “Yes, he did. Once everyone calmed down and talked about it, they found a way to use the land so both villages got what they wanted, and everyone lived happily ever after.”

    “That was a great story, will you be my friend Obi?”

    “Of course, but right now you need to get some sleep. There's a lot to do tomorrow.” After Obi-Wan left, Rahna curled up in bed and began to drift off to sleep. Warm, fed, and safe, she was no longer just some kid on the street fighting to make it another day. Now Rahna was a Jedi, or at least she would be eventually.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
    GregMcP likes this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    YODA! =D= [face_dancing] And Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan! Rahna could not meet a better trio ;) They are warm and caring and Yoda especially rescued her from those awful bullies! :cool:
    Great debut & I love AUs where all the canon/movie stuff never happened. @};- :)
     
  4. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Well, we've got a young Padawan to follow.
    Let's see where it goes.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  5. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    I actually wasn't sure about posting Chapter 0. In Chapter 1, Rahna will be padawan age. This was mainly to show how she became part of the Jedi order.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  6. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Chapter 1

    With a sigh, Rahna closed the book in front of her. Reading through the archives was something she had always enjoyed, but even that couldn't help distract her from the current plight. Tomorrow would be her 13th birthday and she still hadn't been chosen as a padawan. The temple had been her home for years and the last thing Rahna wanted was to be shipped off to the Service Corps. There were so many places she wanted to go, things to do, people to help. That was when a head appeared over a shoulder, and then tilted to the side to look at her. She grinned a little and shoved Argoth to one side. Her friend responded with a small growl, and sat down next to her.

    He was one of the more interesting students at the temple, as no one knew exactly what race Argoth was. Found floating through space in an escape pod as an infant, his species and homeworld had remained a mystery. Like Rahna, he'd been taken in by the Jedi as a youngling due to being force sensitive, and the two had become fast friends. About five feet tall with light brown skin, he didn't have a very friendly look about him, despite usually being such. With narrow red eyes, a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, the menacing appearance was only made worse by the two small black horns on the side of his head, and cranial plate that adorned the forehead.

    “Chur up.” The words came out fairly mangled as Argoth's physical construction didn't lend itself to speaking Basic easily.

    “How am I suppose to cheer up? If I don't get chosen as a padawan, it's off to the Service Corp I go.” That was followed by another sigh. It wasn't a thought that Rahna relished very much, ending up on some backwater planet while other younglings got to continue their training with their new masters.

    “Ave faith, get choosen.”

    “Yeah, easy for you to say, you've already got a master... dweeb.” Something else Rahna had considered was leaving the order if she didn't get chosen. It wasn't out of anger, but she wanted to do more to help people than just grow food or some other bland daily task. Rahna had also noticed a lot of the others looking at her as well, most likely sensing the growing unease within. Argoth's new master soon came to collect him, and she gave Qui-gon a polite smile when their eyes met, soon she was alone once more.

    There was still one option left Rahna could try. She could go to the Council and ask to be assigned a master. It wasn't something they did very often, but under certain circumstances it had happened before. The odds of the Council agreeing didn't seem good, but there wasn't much else that she could do. Despite learning quickly, and being told she was quite force sensitive more than once, Rahna had never seemed to 'click' with anyone aside from Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Qui-gon. The first was more teacher than master now, and the other two had padawans. All of her other friends were padawans or initiates themselves.

    This was one of the times she wished that Obi-Wan were here to talk to, but he was off on a mission with his padawan, and had been away for some time now. Determined not to let her worry turn into depression, Rahna took a deep breath, and decided to move forward with her request. Leaving the archives, she walked the serene halls of the Jedi temple with a destination in mind, her second favorite place, the garden. After a brisk walk she could hear the sound of rushing water upon approach. That brought a smile to her face as there weren't many indoor structures on Coruscant that could brag of having a waterfall.

    The gardens always smelled of grass and fresh flowers, dotted by colors of all hues, which put many at ease, though it wasn't quite peaceful at the moment. As Rahna walked through the large arched doorway she could hear the sound of laughing and splashing, knowing well what it was. There were a number of younglings playing in the pool at the base of the waterfall.. As she walked around a large boulder on the edge of the grass near the walkway, the pool came into view. It wasn't just the younglings this time, Master Waan'cal was swimming with them as well. That brought a smile to Rahna's face and she stopped for a moment to watch them. Always taught to look on the good side of things, she thought that if nothing else the Jedi had given her 8 years of safety, security, and a life better than she would have had on the streets of Corellia.

    As was often the case this time of day, Yoda was seated on a small rock in a back corner, quietly meditating. He didn't move or look up at Rahna's approach, nor did she speak. Instead she sat down on the grass in front of him. To help pass the time, she began to meditate as well. Closing her eyes, Rahna cleared her mind of any thoughts or emotions that she had, and focused on the Force. Through it she could feel everything around her. She could also focus on specific things as well, Yoda, the younglings, Waan'cal, the other Jedi in the garden, even the rocks, trees, and grass around her. The only problem she was still having involved not focusing on any one thing in particular. To feel everything around her as part of a larger whole was difficult, because her mind wanted to draw toward a single person or object, out of curiosity if nothing else.

    “More practice to calm your mind, you need. Yet troubled you are, I sense.” Opening her eyes, Yoda was looking at her with that same bright golden gaze she'd come to know so well. Rahna was troubled, and wasn't sure how to approach the matter of what she wanted to ask. The request was as unusual as the circumstances in which it normally took place. Mulling it over in her mind, there didn't seem to be a way to approach this in a diplomatic manner, so it just came out.

    “I don't want to be shipped off to the Service Corps. I know tomorrow is my 13th birthday and I haven't been chosen as a padawan, but I have what it takes to be a Jedi, I know I do. So... I wanted to ask if the Council would consider... assigning me a master?” Rather than give an immediate answer, Yoda sat there watching her. Rahna knew patience was one of the core tenants of the Jedi philosophy, but right now every second seemed like an hour with her future hanging in the balance.

    “Unusual, this request is, but ask them I will. Tomorrow, an answer you will have.” The ease with which the request was agreed to came as a surprise, but it was a welcome one. Although Rahna had seen a future involving farming tools and fields, there was still at least a chance she could become a padawan. To come this far and be so close to failure was also frustrating, after passing her initiate trials two years ago. Perhaps she would be able to attract the attention of a Knight or Master at the Apprentice Trials tomorrow, and the Council wouldn't need to assign a master. The rest of the evening was quiet, and after a meal and a bath, Rahna decided to turn in for the evening.

    ********************
    The next morning she was a mixture of nervousness and excitement, enough so that it made morning meditation difficult. Even though this was her last chance to be selected as a padawan before turning to the Council for help, it was also something that she enjoyed. This would be a chance to pit her skills against fellow initiates, but it wasn't ambition to defeat them that drove her. It was Rahna's chance to see how her skills had grown. In the last tournament she'd placed fifth, after losing to Argoth who was noted for his extremely aggressive combat style. He wouldn't be a concern this year however, as Qui-Gon had chosen him a week ago.

    With her meditation nearly finished, Rahna sat there with a disassembled lightsaber floating in the air. This was something she did every morning to keep in practice, and carefully reassembled each piece one by one, until only the cover was left. Unlike most which were metal, Rahna had chosen to cover her lightsaber with what was known as iron wood. The name was a little misleading as there was no iron involved, but it was much stronger than normal wood. Rahna even carved two figures engaged in a lightsaber duel on it, afterward noting that wood carving was not one of her better skills.

    Closing her hand around it as the last pieces snapped into place, the blade ignited with a 'kssh', and she was greeted by the brilliant blue hum of a familiar blade. Each Jedi seemed to find peace and solace in their own way, and for Rahna it was the steady pulsing of her blade. The sound, the tiny vibrations it sent through her hand. It was steady, constant, and something she could focus on almost without effort. It also allowed Rahna to do something even some Jedi had trouble with, she simply stopped thinking. Watching the blade, and listening to it hum, this seemingly frozen moment in time allowed her to find that inner peace many often sought for so long. There was no thought, no room, no temple, no other people, just the sound of her own breathing and the steady pulsing of the blade. Releasing the handle the lightsaber remained in the air. The truth of what Yoda said seemed so clear now, so simple, Rahna wasn't trying to hold the weapon in the air, she simply was. 'Do, or do not. There is no try.'

    That quickly ended with a pounding on the door of her personal quarters, and deactivating the blade, she got up to answer it. The door slid open to reveal Argoth who was standing there, and nodded down the hall before walking in that direction. The tournament would begin any minute, and the last thing she wanted to do was be late. Following Argoth, the two made their way through the temple to one of the many training chambers throughout. There she found a number of other initiates along with a mixture of masters and knights. They had formed a semi-circle around the chamber with initiates on one side and knights/masters on the other. Most of the chatter was coming from the initiates who were excited. They were all waiting for the first match to start. There were several members of Lion Clan nearby which Rahna was part of, so she walked over to them exchanging a few nods and smiles. Being the oldest in the group she was also the tallest.

    “Think you'll do better than fifth this time?” The question came from a human girl with dark hair only a month younger than Rahna, Gemma by name. Another Lion Clan member, the two had a friendly on and off rivalry.

    “Nope, I know I will. I'm taking first this year.”

    “If I don't kick your butt first.” Rahna smiled and shoulder bumped the girl while waiting for the first match to begin. She also noticed that Gemma hadn't looked at her the whole time, seemingly focused on someone else, and followed her line of sight to a knight on the other side of the room. He was tall, well-built, and had a very handsome face, but wasn't familiar to Rahna.

    “You want a bucket to go with that drool?”

    “What? He's cute.” That was something that seemed almost universal, even among the Jedi. Despite being trained in self-control they were people as well, both Rahna and Gemma were at the age were young men were becoming a lot more interesting than they had been before. Initiates however were less likely to make 'hasty' decisions in this regard. When the crowd parted, all eyes were on Master Windu as he stepped into the middle of the chamber.

    “I want to thank all of you for coming here. As you know, each year we hold this tournament for Initiates so other Jedi can see the best and the brightest that we have to offer. So without further ado, let the match begin.” There wasn't a set in stone commencement address for the Apprentice Trials, and Rahna appreciated the fact that Mace wasn't one for long speeches. She was more interested in who would be involved with the first match and how it would turn out. It was Ki Adi Mundi who stepped forward holding a small data pad to announce who would be involved in the first round.

    “The first match will be between Initiates Posnel and Rahna.” Hearing her name, Rahna stepped into the ring, and waited for Posnel. The young man in question was two years her junior, three inches shorter, and possessed of a slightly disheveled appearance. His dirty blond hair was unkempt and it wasn't the first time the two had crossed blades. Lightsaber combat wasn't one of Posnel's better subjects, but Rahna knew better than to underestimate any opponent. With the force as your ally, almost anything was possible.

    Rather than taking the hilt off the belt loop, Rahna pulled it into her hand using the force, and adjusted the power setting to match that of a training saber before igniting it. Trying to maintain a look and sense of confidence, she stood there. Lightsaber extended out to one side, Rahna waited for him to make the first move. Posnel opted for holding his blade directly out front with both hands, then came forward with a quick overhead swing. Even though the stance appeared to leave her open, the attack was easily deflected with a single swing, and the two were soon exchanging a rapid series of blows.

    Posnel wasn't holding back and the attacks forced her to take the defensive. It was obvious that he'd put in a lot of practice since their last duel. She also noted that Posnel was too focused on offense and not paying attention in other areas. When he came forward to renew the attack, Rahna delivered a kick to the shin that dropped him to a knee. That was followed by a tap to the side of the shoulder with the lightsaber that scored her a point, and left a small burn mark on the robe.

    The two parted and resumed their combat stances. Posnel attacked again in much the same manner as before. When he brought the blade down, Rahna moved to block, only to have him stop short and drop a hand to deliver a point blank force push. It caught her off guard and the next thing she was looking at was the ceiling. He tapped the lightsaber on the side of Rahna's leg to score a point, before they once again readied themselves.

    The duel continued on for several more minutes with hectic, sometimes sloppy, blade work. Sometimes their blades met, and others they missed each other altogether. They were also using just about every trick that came to mind. Pushes, leaps, old-fashioned head-butts, whatever it took to score a point, which each of them did. There was also a small chuckle from the crowd whilst amid a rapid series of blade swings, Rahna aimed for a thigh, but ended up delivering a blade slap to the backside. Posnel responded not to long after with a smack right between the eyes, leaving a visible burn mark on her forehead that Rahna had to concentrate on to heal . As it was a three point match, the next one to score would win. The last thing she planned to do was be eliminated in the first round. This time Rahna took the offensive and charged at Posnel with a flurry of attacks both high and low, turning the match into quite a light show of hisses and pops as their blades met. The only pause was when their blades met and they pushed against each other.

    [​IMG]

    “Give it up Posnel, this match is mine.”

    “Oh yeah, you and what army?” He smiled, then blew in Rahna's face causing her to blink as a reflex. That split second was enough time for Posnel to knock the blade from her hand. She could see him swinging around to make contact, and her hands weren't in a position to deliver a force push fast enough. Acting more on reflex than conscious intent, she channeled the force through her leg instead and stomped a foot, sending out a wave that knocked Posnel's legs out from under him. The impact of face meet floor stunned the boy, and pulling her own lightsaber back in hand, Rahna ignited the blade and gently touched it to his back scoring the winning point. Once Posnel had regained his senses, she also gave him a hand up.

    “What was that thing you did with your foot?”

    “I dunno, just kinda winged it on that part really.” After Posnel reclaimed his lightsaber, the boy seemed rather crestfallen over losing in the first round. “Don't take it so hard, you've improved a lot since we last dueled. I'm sure you'll become a padawan soon enough.”

    He offered a bit of a smile in response, but she could tell his pride had taken more of a hit than his face. Returning to the sidelines, she received a number of pats on the back from other Lion Clan members, except for Gemma.

    “Getting sloppy there Red, letting him catch you off guard like that, twice no less.”

    “Yeah yeah yeah, just wait your turn.” There was truth to what Gemma had said however, Posnel had caught her off guard twice, and it nearly lost her the match. If Rahna wanted to come out on top this year, she would have to stop worrying about finding a master and focus on the task at hand. The Council didn't hold all of the matches in one place, and they weren't always announced beforehand, so she would have to keep her guard up. There were two more matches held in the training chamber before they adjourned, and she clapped at the appropriate times, but paid little mind beyond that.

    Right now Rahna was trying to think of ways to improve her performance. After the first three matches, the initiates started to socialize with the knights and masters. Two were even picked without having to compete, but as always Rahna was left standing. She was beginning to wonder if there was some giant grotesque horn growing out of the middle of her forehead that she couldn't see. On the way out of the training chamber, someone fell into step beside her.

    “That was an interesting technique you used in the match, what do you call that, force stomp?” The pleasant bearded face baring a smile, was Rahna's oldest friend at the temple, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    “Obi, you're back. How did the mission on Basilar go?”

    “The negotiations were dull and boring for once. The Council also asked me to relay their decision about assigning you a master.” That this was coming from her friend and not the Council directly, it seemed to her as if they were trying to pad an incoming blow. If that were the case the tournament would be Rahna's last hope before having to face the Council of Reassignment.

    “They rejected my request didn't they?”

    “I'm afraid they did.” Hearing that caused Rahna's heart to drop, and now she had to fight back the tears. The Service Corps seemed to be looming closer and closer, and to her, that was worse than being tossed out wholesale. Ever since that day in the alley on Corellia, when Yoda came to her rescue, the only thing Rahna had wanted was to be a Jedi.

    “Did they say why?”

    “I believe it was something to do with a padawan only being allowed one master.” Obi-Wan stopped two steps ahead as one could almost hear the brakes squealing as she stopped. That brought a look of confusion to Rahna's face as no part of that last statement made sense. She didn't have one master, let alone two. Still trying to piece that together mentally, she began to notice the expression on Obi-wan's face. It might seem normal to most, but Rahna knew it as the 'he's up to something' look, accentuated by a tiny upturn of one corner of the mouth. Obi-Wan was waiting for her to figure it out.

    “Alright, what's the deal? I don't have a master, you know that.”

    “You do now.” The first thing she did was look around to see if there was anyone else nearby, only to find the two of them were alone in the hallway. All of the others had since departed while they were talking, leaving the two of them alone.

    “No way! What about Asja?”

    “She passed the knight trials before I left for Basilar. Happy birthday?” Rahna let out an ear piercing squeal and almost power tackled Obi-Wan with a hug. What was starting out as one of the worst days of her life, had just become the best birthday ever. Rahna about shook his robe off from excitement, before finally regaining her composure and taking a step back.

    “Feeling better I take it?” Obi-Wan said, adjusting his robe.

    “Better than ever, what do we do now, Master?”

    “How good are you at solving mysteries?”
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    WONDERFUL and the best outcome Rahna could have dreamed of!
     
  8. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Chapter 2

    Jurna Melon in hand, Argoth ate with the grace and manners of a Rancor. It was something that did seem to annoy his new master, but so far Qui-gon hadn't said anything. The thick red skin and juicy orange center were both being inhaled in equal measure, as the padawan walked down the hall to the landing pad on top of the temple. Qui-gon had been given a new mission by the Council and as a padawan, Argoth would dutifully follow, learn, listen, and tear anyone in half if they tried to hurt him or his new master. With a slight forward hunch in his walk, the padawan had been listening to Qui-Gon explain that they had been dispatched as part of a peacekeeping mission to prevent a possible civil war.

    “So talk nice?”

    “No, we're not going to Habel as mediators. There are elements on both sides of this conflict who oppose the peace talks. Our job is to make sure the delegates remain safe while they work out the details of the treaty.”

    “Not local s'curity?”

    “Neither side can trust local security enough to allow them into the conference room, that's where we come in. Our job will be to escort them to and from the meetings, and keep them safe while they talk.”

    Argoth tried to say something else three different times, but his difficulty in speaking Basic made it almost impossible. Frustrated by this he finally cut loose with a string of 'colorful metaphors' in the one language he could speak well, Shyriiwook, drawing an arched brow from Qui-Gon. More than once he'd been referred to as the 'short hairless wookie', though it was normally a playful jest. <S>”Do you think someone will try something while we're there Master?”<S>

    “It's possible, but for once I hope the Jedi's reputation as warriors will precede us, making anyone think twice about foolish decisions.” Argoth said nothing, but secretly hoped that someone would try something stupid. It had been some time since he'd had a real fight, and the padawan was getting antsy. With nothing but a few seeds left in his hands, Argoth reached into his robe and pulled out of box of six ration bars, and began to eat those as well, wrapper and all. Capable of biting through and digesting solid bone, he rarely let packaging stand in the way of a meal.

    “Are you alright? You been eating almost non-stop since breakfast.”

    “Hungy.” Qui-Gon let the matter drop, yet when Argoth thought about it, his appetite had picked up over the last few days. He could eat enough food for three human sized people, and be hungry ten minutes later. It was also dismissed as a case of the munchies as they walked out onto the rooftop. The building spread out on either side of the exit, into large work bays were the vehicles used by the Jedi were housed and maintained. The open air landing pad was home to a wide variety of vessels, but one in particular caught Argoth's attention. A Jedi starfighter.

    The single pilot vehicle was wedge shaped and appeared to have seen its fair share of battle. Even after being repaired and repainted, one could still see small dings and cuts along the surface. Losing himself in thought for a moment, Argoth wondered what it would be like to fly one through a battlefield, surrounded by enemy vessels, weapons blazing to the sound of tearing metal and explosions.

    “Mind the present Argoth.” He blinked a few times and quickly caught up to Qui-Gon as he walked up the ramp of a small transport vessel. Designed for a half dozen people at most, there was a modest sized compartment in the back that led directly to the cockpit. Argoth took a seat in the co-pilot's chair, and looked out the window. This would only be the fourth time he'd been off Coruscant since being found by the Jedi. After a moment when the engines didn't start, he glanced over to see Qui-Gon sitting there quietly watching him.

    The ignition chip had already been slotted and Argoth realized that Qui-Gon was waiting on him. With a toothy grin he rubbed both hands together and began to work the controls. Going through the pre-flight check, he pressed a number of buttons, flicked switches, then pressed the ignition... nothing happened. Furrowing his brow, Argoth pressed the button two more times, then began to look over the control panel. Muttering under his breath, the engine limiter safety was turned off, and with a fourth tap the vessel powered up.

    Minor embarrassment aside, they lifted off and soon the bright blue Coruscant sky gave way to the dark void of space. Piloting was one of Argoth's better skills, and he was enjoying the chance to be behind the controls of a vessel for more than a simple atmospheric flight. After looking up the coordinates for Habel in the nav-computer, he punched them in and waited for the calculation to provide a safe jump route. Once they were ready, he looked over at Qui-Gon who gave a slight nod. Almost punching the button to activate the hyperdrive, the stars lunged forward in streaks as they entered hyperspace. Even if this was a low risk peacekeeping affair, Argoth was excited to go on his first official mission as a padawan.

    “Now that we have some time to spare, how about some lessons in strategy and reflexes?” The one thing Argoth wasn't in the mood for were more lessons. Since becoming Qui-Gon's padawan, he'd been drilled almost day and night on more aspects of being a Jedi than he was able to remember at the moment. Regardless, he played the part of a dutiful padawan, and followed his master into the back of the transport. Taking a seat on one of the benches, he watched as Qui-Gon retrieved a small cloth bag from one of the overhead compartments.

    From within, he produced a small hologram board and turned it on. As he sat down, Argoth could see chess pieces on a square grid board. The strategy part of the lesson he could see, but didn't understand how chess played into reflexes. After placing it on a small stand between them, Qui-Gon took out a memory crystal and replaced the one that was already there. The chess board faded and a slowly spinning logo that read 'Eternity Fighter 7' took its place. That really perked Argoth up, because this was a one-on-one fighting game, and something of a guilty pleasure. The Jedi always advocated peace and tranquility, so the only time he got to play was running errands at the temple that involved deliveries. On the way back he would sneak off to the local arcade for a game or two, before returning to avoid raising suspicion.

    Not sure how to react, he looked at Qui-Gon, only to see a smile and wink, then they got started. Argoth won the first few rounds easily, but Qui-Gon was a quick learner, and soon they were tapping buttons furiously and fighting an even bout. Argoth chose a fighter that was large and powerful, because it embodied the one thing he'd always desired on a personal level. Qui-Gon used a fighter with a glowing metal sword that was an obvious Jedi rip-off. It was also a nice change of pace, as the two had spent a lot of time together as master and padawan. Yet this was the first time they'd just kicked back and had some fun. From the temple's archives, Argoth had learned a lot about his new master, but knowing and experiencing were two different things. As was often the case, words were a poor substitute for an actual person. It was also nice to learn the Qui-Gon wasn't a stickler for rules. After nearly two hours they finally stopped playing and the game was put away.

    “Now, study and listen to what I teach you, and next week we can have a rematch.”

    “Awesome.” They both returned to the front of the shuttle, and Argoth checked the nav-computer to see that they were only a few minutes away from their destination. When they finally dropped out of hyperspace, the bright blue world of Habel was anything but welcoming. There were a dozen ships from both the factions involved, engaged in a firefight above the planet. Only two were medium sized, the rest were small crafts not much larger than the transport they were in. About that time the ship's comm-system activated.

    “This is Captain of the Elltiri vessel Armok. On behalf of the provisional government, I order you to withdraw from Habel space... Jedi.” This was followed by a burst of static.

    “...no right to speak on behalf of the Talran people. Master Jedi, proceed to the landing coordinates I'm sending you, we'll cover your descent.”

    “Peace fail.”

    “I noticed, but we still need to see if there's a way to bring this conflict to an end before there's more bloodshed. You might want to strap in.” They both did just that, and Qui-Gon switched from computer guidance to manual, grabbed the U shaped control stick, and steered them away from the fight. As soon as they moved, three Elltiri fighters broke formation to pursue, and three Talran fighters broke to pursue them. Argoth immediately switched the deflectors to double back, and began to work the controls for the single laser turret on the top of the ship.

    Before long the space behind them lit up with both Elltiri and Talran laser fire as the small side battle got underway. Qui-Gon was flying in an erratic pattern toward Habel, while Argoth fired at the three pursuing vessels. At one point he nearly shot a Talran fighter, but was fortunate enough to miss. One of the fighters pushed his engines hard to close the distance, and Argoth was able to get a target lock. They exchanged fire and the transport's deflectors held, the fighter's didn't. The laser bolts tore through the triangle shaped vessel's wing and sent it spiraling out of control.

    As the planet got closer, much heavier fire from a turbo laser screamed through space in front of them. Argoth looked in that direction to see the Elltiri command ship breaking away to engage them as well. Angered by this, he fired back scoring a dozen or so direct hits against their deflectors, but might as well have thrown a rock out the airlock for all the good it did.

    Three more shots flew by, each one getting closer, and even Argoth knew that a single direct hit would scatter them across space. From the other side of the window he could see the Talran command ship flying directly into the path of the incoming fire. Wider than it was tall, the vessel rotated ninety degrees to show their top to the enemy. Argoth couldn't believe what he was seeing, because most vessel were designed to fire forward at various degrees, and this angle would only provide a small targeting solution.

    <S>”Is he crazy, that's suicide!”<S>

    “No, that's a captain who doesn't want to see his world torn apart by war.” The Talran fighters had destroyed the other two Elltiri fighters, and Qui-Gon pushed the ship's engines 20% past what they were rated for to reach the planet as fast as possible, ignoring the small warning bleep and flashing light on the console in front of him. By the time they had to slow down to enter the atmosphere, there was an explosion from behind powerful enough to rattle the vessel. Even Argoth could feel the sense of triumph from the Elltiri, and loss from the Talran. They hadn't even landed on the planet and he already disliked one side in the conflict. The Elltiri had tried to kill them, while the Talran had sacrificed some of their best hoping for peace.

    It put Argoth in a sour mood as they came in for a landing, because it was a fight that he'd wanted, not a full scale war. There was a difference between busting some heads and the wholesale slaughter of entire armies, because a few people in positions of power couldn't get along. Even at the tender age of thirteen, Argoth didn't like warmongering governments, because of all the innocent people who were sent to their deaths, just so someone could feel justified that their point of view was better than the person on the other side of the line on a map.

    The space port they landed at was small, located in a rural area just outside a community. In truth it was little more than a square of pavement with some paint on it. The landscape was a valley surrounded by a large canyon on three sides, with the town between them and the exit. As they disembarked, Argoth could see quite a bit of activity. There were soldiers on patrol as others worked on a large shield generator in the center of town, and several surface to air batteries. Argoth could see the strategy here. An assault on the ground would have been hard pressed to force their way into the valley. The only means of inflicting serious damage was from the air, but between the shield generator and the anti-air batteries, even that would be risky. The town may have been small, but they were digging in for an extended siege.

    The population of Habel was almost entirely human, so there was only the odd alien here and there. They were approached by a small delegation in colorful robes, in the lead was an older man with gray hair and a small goatee. They seemed to be in good spirits despite the dire situation, but Argoth could feel that it was an act. Under the calm exterior, they were as upset and distressed as everyone else. As was often the case, it was up to the leaders to appear calm and rational no matter the circumstances.

    “Fair day to you Master Jedi, I am Kelim, leader of the Talran people. I'm sorry we can't offer you a more hospitable greeting, but as you can see, the situation has deteriorated since we last contacted you. Please, follow me.”

    “What happened?” Qui-gon said. As they walked toward the town, Argoth made it a point to keep an eye out. When there were open hostilities like this, anything was liable to happen.

    “Three days ago the Elltiri provisional government launched an attack against the capitol without warning, razed it, and most of the Talran government. Prior to the attack, I was the Minister of Education if that tells you anything.”

    “What about the peace delegation?”

    “They were in the capitol when the attack started, and most of them were killed as well. Chancellor Garrik is with us and I suggest you talk to him for the Elltiri side of this.” Argoth noted that his master was still calm, which was no surprise, but he was still trying to figure out why the Elltiri would kill their own people in an attack. Because the Jedi served the Republic, it was almost impossible for them not to get involved in political matters to some extent, but that was one thing Argoth hated. Were it up to him, the Jedi would help people who needed it, rather than letting politics dictate the majority of their actions.

    The town was comprised of less than fifty buildings, and few of them were more than two stories. As they walked through the town square, the shops appeared to be closed, and only a few civilians could be seen peering out through windows. Argoth could tell they were expecting an attack any minute, and the fear was almost palpable. The building they entered wasn't in the center of town, nor highly visible, which was a good tactical decision. Instead it was a small one room structure that was brightly lit. In the center there was a large wooden table with maps, charts, and what appeared to be other information related to the Talran military.

    At the opposite end was a man who appeared out of place. Unlike the Talran who wore mostly robes and simple clothing, Chancellor Garrik, an older man with wrinkled skin and white hair, was dressed in a solid black bodysuit, covered by black armor with glowing blue lines running along the edges. It was a very advanced suit of armor and even Argoth was slightly impressed. He was also rubbing his brow with a hand, and only looked up as they approached.

    “Oh thank the Creator you made it in one piece. I feared you'd been shot down.”

    “Jedi no die ersy.” With a few soldiers scattered around the room, Kelim, Qui-Gon, and Argoth took seats near Garrik and waited for him to continue.

    “To answer a few questions, the Elltiri government didn't order this attack. Three days ago High General Dehgo Sarnis led a coup in the capitol and seized power. He then executed the First Minister and his entire cabinet. I was trying to negotiate the peace treaty with the Talran and barely had time to hear about the coup before the attack started.”

    “Did the High General oppose the peace negotiations?”

    “No, he didn't. I knew there were elements in our military who didn't want peace, so I talked with Dehgo a few days before I came here to gauge his opinion on the matter. He didn't have one, and I quote, 'I'm getting too old for this crap. All I want to do is ride out my last two months and retire.'”

    “Why Elltiri Talran fight?”

    “That's... part of the problem,” Kelim said, lowering his head slightly. “The Elltiri and Talran people have been fighting with each other on and off for over 400 years. The truth is, we don't remember what started it.” That caused Argoth to actually face plant the table in frustration.

    “Do you know why the High General attacked?”

    “No, I honestly don't. I've known Dehgo since we were at the academy together. He can be a hard man, and quite stubborn at times, but he's not a warmonger. He cares about the lives of his soldiers.” By the time Argoth sensed the hostile intent in the room, Qui-Gon was already coming out of his chair. In a single smooth motion he turned, lightsaber ignited, and one of the soldiers lost a hand as he thought to point a blaster at Kelim. Of the four remaining guards, one of them yelled traitor, and three of them shot the wounded guard. The fourth tried to complete the task his compatriot failed to, during the confusion that followed.

    Now it was Argoth's turn to act, but rather than draw his shoto saber, the padawan launched himself out of the chair, mouth first. Jaws closed around the soldier's forearm as teeth tore through flesh and broke bone, causing the man to let out a horrendous cry. The limb came loose and was tossed aside with a snap of Argoth's head. With his head slumped against the wall, the second guard held what was left of his other arm, and looked at the padawan with a fearful expression. Argoth was standing with one foot on his chest and vibrating his jaw, so blood soaked teeth made a menacing chattering sound. In the past he'd discovered that a lot of people found it unnerving. The other reason for staring the man down at such close range, was so the other guards didn't shoot him. They needed someone to interrogate.

    Once things had calmed down, Argoth looked at the man, waved a hand, and tried to say something in Basic. The soldier responded by blinking a few times, then looked at him oddly. When nothing happened, he let out an annoyed grunt and stepped back. Qui-Gon then approached the man and knelt down, doing much the same as Argoth.

    “Are you an Elltiri spy?”

    “No, I'm an assassin sent by the general to destroy the rest of the Talran leadership.”

    “Who else were you supposed to kill, and how many more of you are there?”

    “Just Minister Kelim, the only other person I knew of was Waln,” the man said, nodding to the dead soldier. As Qui-Gon stood up, the other soldiers in the room dragged the assassin outside, and the door had barely closed before a dozen carbine rounds were fired.

    “This is worse than I thought,” Kelim said, shaking his head. “If General Sarnis is sending assassins to wipe out the rest of the Talran leadership, I think he means to destroy us entirely.”

    “If Dehgo did try to wipe the Talran out, that would be the single stupidest thing he's ever done,” Garrik said. “Even during times of war there's still trade between our people. We can't survive without each other.” That rather interesting comment drew the attention of both Jedi, and they looked to him for a further explanation as they retook their seats at the table. “Have you seen the land that the Elltiri Republic sits on, it's not exactly prime real estate for growing crops. Over eighty percent of the food we eat comes from trade with the Talran.”

    “Yes, and most of the metals and other precious ores in Talran come from the Elltiri. It's a rather dysfunctional, but symbiotic relationship that we have,” Kelim said.

    “Get Dehgo, war stop?”

    “Unfortunately not,” Garrick said. “If Dehgo is taken out of the picture, his subordinate General Ransin will only take his place, and he's not very fond of the Talran people. The only way to stop this conflict, will be for Dehgo to issue an order to stand down and withdraw.” Before the conversation could continue further, from outside they heard the sound of explosions rippling across the shield, and someone yelling that they were under attack.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Enjoying reading of Argoth and Qui-Gon :cool: You have set up a riveting, action-packed crisis. =D=
     
  10. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Chapter 3

    Obi-Wan's return to the temple hadn't been merely to accept Rahna as his padawan, it was also to accept a new assignment from the Council. From what she'd been told they normally didn't come back to back so quickly, however this was important. Once more Rahna was in the temple archives, following Obi-Wan to the one place she'd never been allowed, the restricted section. After a short conversation with Master Jocasta Nu, she unlocked the door and Rahna was all eyes. This was one of the few places in the temple that she hadn't been, and while Obi-Wan was tracking down a reference number nearby, she was taking in the title on the spine of every book in sight.

    One in particular titled 'Nightsister Magic' caught Rahna's attention, and she reached out with a hand, only to stop short hearing Obi-Wan clear his throat. Hands now stuffed in the pockets, she stayed close after that, and when the book in question was tracked down they left the restricted section. They took a seat at a nearby table and the title of the book, 'The Lightsaber Assassin', told why it was restricted.

    “That's not a cheesy book title is it?”

    “Unfortunately no, it's the Council's collected case files on the subject in question.” Rather than immediately bombarding her new master with a litany of questions, Rahna took the book and began to skim through it while he looked over a data pad. This was a case the Jedi had been looking into for over a century. The suspect(s) used a lightsaber as the primary weapon to kill their targets, and always left a calling card in the form of the victim's severed head being laid in their lap. The problem they had was the seemingly random nature of the attacks.

    The assassin would strike without warning, disappear just as quickly, and left little evidence. To make matters worse there were times they would go dormant for years. The victims came from all walks of life, rich, poor, influential, common, but there didn't appear to be any discernible pattern. The assassin had almost been captured once, by Master Dooku, prior to his departure from the order. From that they learned the assassin didn't just use a lightsaber, they had the training to back it up, including substantial ability in the use of the force. The suspect ultimately escaped capture and after that the order lost track of them.

    “Master, didn't you once tell me that Senator Palpatine's older brother was killed in a ground speeder accident some years ago?”

    “Yes, about 20 or so, why?”

    “Look at this,” Rahna said, turning the book toward him. “According to this case file, 21 years ago a Muun businessman by the name of Hego Damask was found murdered in his apartment on Naboo.” The two swapped, with Obi-Wan taking the book and handing her the data pad. From that she learned the assassin had struck again, this time it was on Alderaan. One of the provincial governors had been found by a servant in his personal study, head severed by a lightsaber, laying in his lap. Prior to the death he'd been under investigation for bribery and corruption, but otherwise didn't stand out.

    “Does the Council know if any of the victims were force sensitive?”

    “Hmm? Only a few that we know of. Bring the book, I'll have Master Nu make a copy.”

    “Where are we going?”

    “To see Senator Palpatine of course.” Master Nu took the book at the front desk, and gave them an electronic copy of the information which Rahna held on to, and continued to read over the case files on the way. She'd never met Senator Palpatine in person, but knew that Obi-Wan had a long standing friendship. The senate building wasn't that far away, and soon the two of them were walking through the halls of the massive domed structure to speak with the senator from Naboo. Rahna had her face buried in the data pad looking over years of reports, some of which were older than her or Obi-Wan put together. She didn't look up until realizing that he'd stopped, and looked back.

    “Tell me Rahna, what do you sense?” Not sure what Obi-Wan meant by this, she closed her eyes and focused. Through the force it was possible to feel the emotions of the people in the senate building. There were so many it was hard to sort through them or focus on any one thing in particular, and after a moment she looked at him.

    “Fear, anxiety, deception, tension, curiosity?”

    “Always be mindful of your surroundings, especially here. No one is quite what they seem.” As they continued through the large arched hallways to the offices, Rahna tried to do as Obi-Wan said and looked around carefully. There were species from all over the galaxy represented here, many of them wearing long flowing robes that were quite expensive. Even though Rahna hadn't been exposed to many politicians, she had heard people disparaging their reputation in general, and some outright calling them scum. She tried not to form preconceived ideas about anyone, but also took Obi-Wan's advice and tried to keep her guard up.

    When they reached Senator Palpatine's office and Obi-Wan announced himself, requesting an audience, and the two human guards at the door allowed them in. They came to a small reception area with a wrap around desk that had a door on either side leading further in. Upon seeing Obi-Wan, the man behind the desk offered a bright smile.

    “Master Kenobi, how are you today?”

    “I'm well, thank you. Is the senator here?”

    “Yes, and I don't believe there are any scheduled meetings right now, just a moment.” The man reached down pressing a button on the desk and spoke into it, but no response came. He tried two more times with the same result and seemed to be puzzled by this. Getting up from the desk he walked into the office. It was a modest sized room with the far wall being made of solid blast proof glass.

    Aside from several life sized statues and some painting on the wall, the only thing of note in the room was the large wooden desk. There was a high backed chair turned away from them, and Rahna could see an arm on one of the chair's rests, but there was no movement. She was starting to get a little worried as they approached, until hearing a dull snore. The receptionist rolled his eyes and returned to the front desk, while Obi-Wan walked over and placed a hand on the top of the chair.

    “Hard at work again are we?” This caused the senator to awaken with a small start.

    “Oh goodness, I-I must dozed off. Obi-Wan?” When the Senator stood up, it was the first time Rahna had gotten the chance to see her up close. Almost a head shorter than Obi-Wan and slender, her long blonde hair, pulled back into a neat bun, was beginning to pepper gray. Wearing an elegant blue robed accentuated with silver trim, she had a pleasant face, but a career in politics had begun to take a toll, especially in terms of wrinkles at the corners of her eyes. The Senator placed her hands on his shoulders and smiled, then took notice of Rahna.

    “Who is this lovely young lady?”

    “Anata, I'd like you to meet my new padawan.” The woman walked over and regarded her with a smile, though Rahna wasn't sure how to react. Obi-Wan had warned her that no one here was as they seemed, yet appeared to be on a first name basis with the Senator.

    “Good morning dear, how are you?” She extended a hand. “Senator Anata Palpatine, at your service.” That was something else that took Rahna off-guard, as she did know senators rarely shook hands, it was considered a security risk. Nevertheless she didn't want to be rude, and took Anata's hand, offering a small bow of the head.

    “My name is Rahna, it's a pleasure to meet you Senator.” With the greeting out of the way, Anata walked to a small wet bar at the back of the room, pouring herself a drink from a container with a light brown liquid, followed by a glass of water, then stopped and looked back at Rahna. She shook her head lightly, and the water was handed off to Obi-Wan.

    “Now, I don't imagine you came here for a social call, at least not with your padawan in tow. What can I do for you?”

    “I came to ask you about your brother Sheev.”

    “There's a name I haven't heard in a long time.” The way her faced scrunched up into it was obvious this topic wasn't one she expected. “What about him? He died in a ground speeder accident over twenty years ago.” From the file she'd read in the archives, Rahna knew that his death was ruled a homicide, as there had been evidence the deceleration unit in his speeder was tampered with. Despite this, local security forces on Naboo had been unable to name any suspects in the case.

    “Does the name Hego Damask sound familiar?”

    “Funny you should mention him...” Atana said, sipping at her drink. “I do vaguely recall Sheev having some dealings with Hego, while he was part of the Junior Senatorial Program back home. Father wasn't too happy about it and there was this big blow up over it, then three days later he died. This is all old news though.”

    “Yes, but a few days ago there was a murder on Alderaan, we have reason to believe it may be linked to the Damask case.”

    “Ah, now I see,” She smiled and wagged a finger at Obi-Wan. “And you want me to have Naboo Security release the Damask file to you.” Anata walked to her desk and took a seat, placing a call to Naboo. After a short conversation with Naboo Security, she gave Obi-Wan a memory crystal, and they departed.

    “Do be sure to visit again... any time you want.” Rahna looked back to see the senator watching Obi-Wan leave with an oddly pleasant expression on her face. Not sure what that was all about, she waited until they were some distance away to say something.

    “Master, I could be wrong, but I think the Senator likes you, a lot.”

    “Yes well, we're friends... very good friends.”

    “What do we do now?”

    “Now, we head to Alderaan.” After the short trip back to the temple, they were soon flying through space above the glittering world of Coruscant. Instead of a transport, Obi-Wan had opted to take a pair of Delta-7 light interceptors, which most at the temple simply called Jedi Starfighters. Even though this was just an investigation, Obi-Wan wanted to err on the side of caution in case they ran into any trouble. Connected to a pair of hyperspace docking rings, they were preparing to leave, and Rahna was feeling a little excited. This was the first time she'd flown a starfighter outside of simulations in the temple, even though she was qualified to fly one, if just barely.

    “You okay over there Rahna?”

    “Yeah, this is kinda cool, I'm flying starfighter.”

    “Well, hopefully that's all we'll be doing with them. You have the coordinates set?”

    “Sure do, right R6?” The astromech droid in Rahna's starfighter chirped and bleeped in the affirmative. At Obi-Wan's signal they activated the docking rings, the ships streaking their way into hyperspace. Rahna was already thinking over the investigations, and the problems they would face in trying to track down this Lightsaber Assassin. There was very little information to go on, they didn't even have a name or a face to work with, and it didn't seem likely the suspect would hang around for very long. The jump put them along the Correlian Run trade route, so it wouldn't take long to reach the Alderaan. With time to think, Rahna opened up a comm-channel.

    “Master, what are your thoughts about this Lightsaber Assassin? It seems almost like contract killings, yet... something doesn't fit. I doubt anyone as highly trained in the force as what Master Dooku described, would be doing this just for money. Then there's the matter of not knowing if there's more than one person involved.”

    “It's hard to tell without more information, but I agree that something does seem out of place. Hopefully we'll learn more once we reach Alderaan. I don't like the idea of someone committing murders with a lightsaber, gives us all a bad name.” Ranha agreed with the last part of that statement, and looking down to the control to see how long the trip would be, she thought about the reputation of a Jedi. They weren't liked the galaxy over, by any means. There were some world like Tatooine that were, at times, openly hostile to them. Nevertheless this could prove to be a problem because there were those who would consider anyone wielding a lightsaber a Jedi, not knowing any better, and their reputation would suffer as a result.

    “Rahna, I'm sending you a copy of the Damask case. I want you to go over this with me to see if we can uncover anything.”

    “Do you really think we'll be able to find any useful information from something this old?”

    “You never know when the slightest detail could make all the difference.” With due diligence she brought the file up, and started to go over it carefully. It all seemed fairly cut and dried until she came to the section with the crime scene images. It would seem Anata had given them the uncensored version, as one of them showed Hego, in a black business suit, seated on a mostly destroyed couch holding his head in his lap. Rahna winced at this, then started to flip through the rest of the images.

    “Rahna, are you looking at the crime scene images?”

    “Yes, I am...” As she flipped through them, there were a number of images that showed not only lightsaber marks in the walls, they were in a crisscross pattern that made it look as if the burns had come from more than one source. What caught her interest even more were the images with notations from local security that read 'electrical burns, source unknown.' Even an initiate would know this was caused by Force Lightning. From the number of images taken, and angles, it was possible to have the computer recreate the penthouse in a 3D view. When the image was compiled, Rahna let out a small whistle.

    “Wow, looks like a thermal detonator went off in this place.”

    “One thing's for sure, Hego didn't go down without a fight. From the angles of the lightsaber strikes, and the Force Lightning burns, are you thinking what I am?”

    “Hego was trained in the Darkside?” After that they both checked the notations by the Jedi who had investigated the case. Master Dargon had come to the same conclusion, noting that it seemed likely Hego Damask was trained in the use of the dark side of the Force. Also making an entry that when she walked into the room, it was still a lingering presence. What wasn't found was a lightsaber, meaning the assassin had most likely taken it with them after Hego was killed.

    “While this is interesting, I don't see much here that would tell us anything about the assassin.”

    “Then perhaps you should look again. Both of them used Force Lightning, that's not a technique normally available to dark side novices. Also if you look at the image of Hego, notice the condition of his throat just below the cut. It's been crushed, but the bruise is circular and goes all the way around.”

    “A force choke?”

    “Precisely, who ever this is, is no novice if they're able to take down someone like Hego, and evade Master Dooku.” Rahna thought about that, and didn't like where this was going. The more they investigated this Lightsaber Assassin, the more dangerous they seemed to become. Even without knowing the full extent of Hego's training in the Darkside, he'd put up quite a fight, and still lost. That was when something else clicked, which made her eyes widen.

    “Master, you don't think this assassin is a... Sith Lord?”

    “I don't know, but it doesn't seem likely. The Sith have been gone for 1,000 years. If they had returned the Jedi would almost certainly know about it.” The mystery of the Lightsaber Assassin only deepened the more they looked into it, and Rahna had quite a few speculations, but nothing to back any of them up.

    It took nearly four hours for them to reach Alderaan, after dropping out of hyperspace and making another short jump. That was when the planet came into view which brought a smile to Rahna's face. It was as beautiful from space as it looked in the archive's images. Initiates didn't go offworld nearly as much as padawans or Jedi, so being able to see Alderaan in person was a real treat for her. The planet was buzzing with a number of ships coming and going. The level of traffic told Rahna the world was a considerable center of commerce and tourism. Obi-Wan contacted ground control and they were directed to a landing pad in Aldera, the world's capitol city. Following her master in, Rahna was all eyes as they approached.

    [​IMG]

    “Master, it's beautiful.”

    “Yes it is.” Rahna set the controls to autopilot, then took out a small holoimager with a high capacity memory crystal and began snapping images. She even smiled at R6 and snapped a picture of it, to which the astromech bleeped and warbled wondering why. The mission was very serious, and Rahna had every intention of treating it that way, but didn't see a reason not to enjoy the sights along the way as well. As they landed she also took notice of their destination, the Aldera Royal Palace. That made matters more interesting, and she put the camera away, curious as to why they had landed here. Climbing out of the starfighter, Rahna hopped down and fell into step next to Obi-Wan.

    “Why are we at the palace?”

    “Watch and learn my padawan.” As they moved along the white marble walkway leading from the landing pad to the palace, Rahna could see a small party approaching. There were four guards dressed in white over silver, the colors of the House of Organa, what appeared to be an older functionary, and one person that she would have had to have been deaf and blind not to recognize.

    [​IMG]

    “Master Kenobi, thank you for replying to our request so quickly.”

    “Senator Organa, it's a pleasure to meet you. Although I must say I'm a little surprised. I thought you were on Coruscant.”

    Bail smiled a little hearing that. “Contrary to popular belief, even senators have lives outside the senate. I was here on a personal vacation, or at least that was the idea. Please, follow me.” They walked through a pair of large metal doors, and Rahna looked around at the palace with its high vaulted ceilings converging overhead. Much like the walkway, the floors and ceiling appeared to be made of white marble with pale silver veins running through them, that shimmered in the light at the right angle. There were statues made of stone carved by master sculptors depicting people she didn't know, numerous paintings framed by gold that seemed to display important events or figures, and white over silver draperies, giving the palace a very opulent appearance. Rahna could see the Organa family was wealthy and they displayed it, but not in a tasteless or gaudy manner.

    There were a lot of servants and soldiers moving about, and nothing seemed amiss, but Rahna could feel a strong undercurrent of tension in the air. Looking up at Obi-Wan, they exchanged a small glance that told of him feeling the same thing as well. The situation seemed to be more complicated than they first realized. The conversation didn't resume until they came to a large study with a fireplace, around which four chairs were set. The study had wall to wall bookcases which already had Rahna's attention, with several busts set around the room, and a large wooden desk at one end. Near the fireplace one of the chairs was already occupied, and when the woman stood, they could see it was Queen Breha Organa.

    “Your majesty.” Obi-Wan offered a deep bow, and Rahna followed.

    Breha offered a small bow in return. “Master Kenobi, thank you for coming, and this is...”

    “My name is Rahna, I'm Master Kenobi's padawan.”

    “Well met Lady Rahna.” Breha appeared younger than Bail, with coal black hair that was braided, and intertwined with silver cloth. Wrapped into a bun on the back of her head, a gray cloth flowed from the bottom over her shoulders, and deep brown eyes were set in a face that was pleasant, but also appeared to be troubled. Breha straightened her long silver dress before sitting. The others took seats after that as well.

    “Forgive me for saying so your majesty, but I sensed a lot of... apprehension, when I entered the palace. The report I received from the Jedi Council indicated that Governor Tasid was a man of little influence?”

    “On the surface yes. He wielded little political power, but had ties with many of the ancient houses here on Alderaan, and we suspect of number of criminal elements as well. Governor Tasid was also known to be an information broker. Now with his death many of the houses fear sensitive information may have fallen into the wrong hands.”

    Leaning back in the chair, Obi-Wan stroked his beard, “Has there been any violence yet?”

    “No,” Bail said. “But we fear the situation could erupt at any time. House Organa's military can maintain the peace if we must, but an internal conflict of this magnitude could be very damaging, for the people and our image throughout the galaxy.”

    “That's why we contacted the Jedi. We were hoping you could help defuse the situation before it gets to that point.” Hands in her lap, Rahna listened to everything that was being said intently, but also paid attention to the Force, and what was around her. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, yet it was. There wasn't a disturbance or any hint of the Darkside, but there was a tiny itch in the back of her mind. Rahna couldn't put her finger on where or why though.

    “In light of what you've just told me, how exactly do you expect us to help?”

    “We need you to recover something called the Codex,” Breha said. “It's an artifact that Tasid used to store all of his most sensitive information on, and it disappeared after his death.”

    “Yes, if we could recover this, and destroy it in the presence of the other houses, they would no longer feel threatened by it.”

    “Can't your security forces find this Codex?” Rahna said.

    “Possibly,” Bail said, looking over at her. “But if it was delivered by one of our people, the other houses might suspect that we'd decoded and copied the information on the Codex before destroying it. You might also be interested in this.” From within a pocket, Bail produced a small holoimager and leaned forward, activating it. “This is from a security recording inside Tasid's estate, you'll have to excuse the lack of audio, the device was damaged.”

    Rahna and Obi-Wan were all eyes for this. Tasid was leaning over a desk working with something that was producing a holographic image, and appeared to be heavily coded. Tasid's back was turned to the camera, and the device he was working with couldn't be seen. This went on for a while, before someone appeared on camera, but not by walking. They seemed to slowly unfurl from the ceiling, one hand raised out of camera range, then dropped to the floor. The individual was clad in a flowing black wrap around cape, with a hood that was drawn. It obscured their upper face, and the lower was covered by a solid black mask.

    Without anyone having to say anything, Rahna had a bad feeling this was the assassin, but when Tasid saw them, he didn't panic. Instead the man started to point at them and say something. Even though only the back of his head could be seen, he pointed at the other figure and didn't appear to be happy. The assassin raised a hand from under the cape, palm up, and seemed to be talking as well. Tasid got increasingly angry about something as he stabbed a finger toward the floor, then the other pointed a finger at him in turn.

    When he stood, Tasid was noticeably taller than the assassin, who appeared to have been around 5'6” at most, and stabbed the finger into their chest. At this the assassin looked down, without even moving the pointed finger, then opened their hand and a ripple erupted, hurling Tasid across the room and into a wall. The commotion also knocked the table over which annoyed Rahna, because it again blocked the view of the device he was working with. She suspected it was the Codex, but couldn't be sure.

    When the assassin closed the distance to stand in front of Tasid, he seemed panicked and tried to draw a blaster. They in turn ejected a lightsaber from the sleeve of the black robe worn under the cape, and igniting the red blade mid-swing, cut his arm off at the elbow. Tasid started to scream only to have the blade come back and cleave through his neck. The motions weren't graceful or fluid, they were simple and effective. Sitting the chair up in front of the table, the assassin levitated the body into it, then picked Tasid's head up off the floor and placed it carefully in his lap. Before leaving the assassin stopped, looked directly into the camera, and held a hand up giving a small finger wave before departing.

    "The Codex, they didn't take it. Well, I mean assuming that was what he was working with." Rahna said.

    "It's the same conclusion we came to as well Lady Rahna, we believe it was taken by someone else after his death," Breha said.

    “Could I have a copy of that?” Obi-Wan said, pointing at the imager.

    “I thought you might want one.” From the same pocket, Bail produced a memory crystal and handed it to him.

    “Thank you Senator, Your Majesty. If you'll excuse us, we'll get to work immediately.” Their departure was rather quick, and Rahna already knew Obi-Wan had something on his mind. The two walked out of the palace and back toward their starfighters before she finally spoke up.

    “Are you contacting the Council?”

    “Yes, I also need to access the archives to compare this image to the description given by Dooku. This may well be the first visual image we have of the assassin, and that concerns me.”

    “Why, isn't that a good thing? Now we at least have something to work with.”

    “According to the information in the case files I studied on the way here, the Lightsaber Assassin always avoided being captured in images. Now it's like they're almost daring us to come after them. If that's the case, it means that something's changed. Someone this careful wouldn't suddenly start to be this sloppy without a reason."
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Riveting mystery! Wonderful to see Alderaan and the Organas. Anata Palpatine - an interesting OC. :cool: I have a feeling the questions about her brother are not unrelated. [face_thinking]
     
  12. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    The mystery deepens!
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  13. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    I've finished most of Chapter 5, and a chuck of Chapter 4. Haven't had this much fun writing a fanfic for a while now.
     
  14. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Chapter 4

    Both Qui-Gon and Argoth were out the door as quickly as everyone else to see what was going on. The explosions had come from bombers that were flying overhead, and it would seem that there would soon be a ground invasion as well. Heavily armored soldiers were marching through the valley in columns with ground transports on a ridge in the distance. They both approached the front of the town to get a better idea of the tactical situation. There were about two hundred Talran soldiers behind artificial barriers, four rows deep, and in front of them was a field filled with razor wire and trenches designed to slow the enemy's advance. All behind a shield barrier.

    The armor of the Elltiri soldiers appeared capable of withstanding considerable punishment. They were equipped with tower shields that were a metal frame generating a portable energy barrier, heavy rifles mounted to the underside of their other forearm, and even had a bayonet for close range combat. This concerned Argoth because the Talran only had light blast armor that likely wouldn't hold up to a direct hit, and heavy carbines. To say the armament was a mismatch, was an understatement. The battle wasn't waiting for them either. As the bombers came around for another pass, the anti-air batteries began to fire, sending bright blue bolts of energy into the air. This was no longer a matter of preventing a war, it had already begun. Now it was up to Qui-Gon and Argoth to try to play damage control before there weren't any Talran left to defend.

    “What do Master?”

    “We protect the Talran, come.” Argoth was still working on ideas for how to do something like that, when Qui-Gon revealed what he had in mind. Standing near one of the barriers close to the back, he reached out and concentrated. That was when Argoth saw one of the ground transports on the ridge slide forward. Realizing what Qui-Gon meant to do, he reached out as well and broke the axle restraints that normally kept a parked vehicle from moving. It turned toward them and was soon rumbling forward, picking up quite a bit of speed. Just as the soldiers, marching in four columns, passed the shield barrier, the transport plowed into them from behind. It dug deeply into their ranks, tossing aside the soldiers that weren't run down.

    As soon as they were inside the shield, there was an exchange of thermal detonators on both sides. Qui-Gon pushed several of the Elltiri detonators back, causing them to explode within the ranks of the enemy, while Argoth crushed two in the hands of soldiers before they could throw them. The battlefield quickly erupted into a flurry of blaster fire, explosions, and the screams of dying soldiers, but that wasn't what Argoth was focused on. Even though he didn't have any visible ears, the padawan's hearing was quite acute. This was due, in part, to his ability to feel vibrations in the air and ground around him. For Argoth it was possible to both feel and hear, words and sounds.

    With so much going on around him, it was hard to pinpoint the source of the vibration that seemed out of place. Drawing back from the front, he dropped down on all fours and began to move along the ground. Another aspect of his biology was the ability to move upright or on all fours. Placing his head on the ground several times, the vibrations were getting louder. Minister Kelim was monitoring the situation from afar and leaving command of the battle to the soldiers trained for such, so Argoth ran over to him and stood upright.

    “Have machines ground?”

    “What?”

    “Do... 'ou 'ave machens... in ground?!”

    One of the aides looked at Argoth for a moment and seemed to finally understand what he meant. “I think he wants to know if we have any machinery underground.”

    “No, what does that have to do with anything?” Kelim said.

    “Machens in ground!” Argoth said, pointing at his feet. Kelim was a little slow on the uptake, then something seemed to dawn on him and the man nearly turned white.

    “Great Creator! They're tunneling under the town, the bomb shelter's underground!”

    “Where?!” Argoth said.

    “There, under that building!” He pointed to one of the larger buildings in town, and Argoth took off running, feeling the underground vibrations getting stronger by the moment. Leaping through one of the windows into a warehouse, he spun around looking for the entrance and spotted a trapdoor a short distance away in a corner. He ran over and tried to pull it open, but the door had been barred from the inside. Fearing there wasn't enough time to explain anything, Argoth took out his lightsaber, and with a snap hiss, the blue blade sliced an X through it. No sooner had he dropped down, seeing dozens of scared people not sure how to react, the wall in front of Argoth exploded as an enormous drill broke through.

    “Run, out!” As the people screamed and ran toward the stairs in a frightened mass, Argoth ran toward the machine, and threw both hands out. Calling upon the Force to the best of his ability, the padawan could only manage to slow the metal behemoth down, and even then, not by much. It bought enough time for the people to flee, and once they were out Argoth ran as well, but was still in danger even in the warehouse. The drilling machine came up through the floor nearly hitting him in the process, then slammed down and came to a stop. Over twenty feet long it was little more than a metal tube with a drill on one end and tracks on the sides.

    When the hatch flew open, Argoth could see over a dozen Elltiri soldiers inside. Not sure he could defeat all of them, the padawan held his hand up, then brought it down and slammed the door shut, taking and arm and a leg with it. He then twisted his fist wrenching the hatch on the frame to make it harder to open again. As the soldiers on the inside began pounding on the hatch, he looked around for a means to defeat them, and was thoroughly surprised by what greeted him.

    Behind him there were six men and four women in plain clothes, not a one under sixty, and some looked to be considerably older than that. What they had in common is they were all armed with blaster rifles and looking at the drilling machine. The one in the lead was bald, and had a long white beard.

    “Form rank!” the bearded man said. They all formed a line, dropped to a knee, and aimed for the transport. That was when Argoth realized they were retired military. “On your command Master Jedi.” The waited for a moment to make sure they were all prepared, then hold a hand out toward the hatch once again.

    “Now!” With that command he pulled a hand back ripping the hatch loose, and the soldiers opened fire. As the Elltiri soldiers were cut down, Argoth clapped his hands together crushing the hatch, then hurled it through the opening into those that remained. In less than twenty seconds, there wasn't a single person left alive inside the drill. With the situation under control, the Talran soldiers stood up.

    “I may be old, but I'll be dead and buried before I let Elltiri scum go running through my town.” The bearded man said.

    “Thank help, you protect.” Argoth pointed in the direction the other people had run, and with a salute from the man, they moved out of the building to protect the rest of the civilians. Dropping down on all fours again, he ran out of the building and back toward the front lines of the battle. When Argoth got there, more Elltiri soldiers had been mowed down by another ground transport. By this point, most of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict were either dead or wounded, but Argoth didn't care about that. The soldiers seemed to pick up on the fact Qui-Gon was a Jedi, no doubt due to the green lightsaber, and all the padawan saw was his master taking shelter behind one of the barriers. Over a dozen Elltiri soldiers were trying to blast through it. The enemy ranks had thinned to less than one-hundred, and with a snarl, Argoth lunged forward with a burst of Force Speed, lightsaber in hand, and began to cut down the soldiers who had dared to attack his master.

    “Argoth, wait!” Qui-Gon said. The words came too late as his lightsaber began to spin and twirl, cutting down enemy soldiers and deflecting blaster fire, and soon Qui-Gon was in the thick of it as well. Although Argoth could deflect blaster fire, he was still having trouble aiming where it went, and as a result had to put more effort into his offensive, as most bolts went wide of their mark. It wasn't long before Qui-Gon was almost right beside him, and the two were working as a team to take down the rest of the Elltiri soldiers. Even though they had only been master and apprentice for a short time, and their teamwork still needed training, they could sense one another through the Force and it was enough to prevent each from getting in the others way. What remained of the Elltiri ground troops were no match for two Jedi, and soon there were only bodies littering the battlefield.

    With the battle at an end, they both stopped to take a breath and deactivated their lightsabers, though Argoth was fairly certain he would hear about it for this. Thinking over what had just happened, the young padawan realized his mistake and let out a small sigh. Unlike most people who would consider this a 'victory', he saw it as a defeat, for both sides. There were hundreds that lay dead, nearly as many wounded. The scolding would come later, right now there were people in need of help, both Talran and Elltiri. The Talran naturally dealt with their wounded first, and the two Jedi spent a good portion of the afternoon using the Force to heal the men on the field. There were too many to restore to full health, so as combat medics often did, they healed the wounded just enough to make sure they would reach a hospital for further treatment. By late afternoon they were both tired and hungry, and when the wounded were finally taken care of, they both slumped against one of the shield barriers to rest.

    <S>“I'm sorry Master. I... let my emotions get the better of me. I shouldn't have attacked those soldiers the way I did.”<S>

    “No, you shouldn't have. It was foolish, irresponsible, and you could have gotten yourself killed. You must always be mindful of your surroundings, and those around you. When you attacked like that, it forced the Talran soldiers to stop firing.” Then Qui-Gon reached over placing a hand on Argoth's shoulder. “But I'm glad that you're alright."

    <S>“When I saw them shooting at you I got scared, and afraid.”<S>

    “I can take care of myself Argoth, besides,” Qui-Gon leaned over and pulled a thermal detonator out of his robe. “I was trying to draw them in closer.” Realizing that his master had a plan all along, Argoth gave a toothy grin, and made it a point to try and act less foolishly in the future. When they had time he would meditate on this, remember his mistakes, and make it a point not to repeat them. That was one of the most important lessons the Jedi taught at the temple. Even mistakes and failures were a chance to learn. Having rested for a few minutes, they both got up and Qui-Gon sought out Kelim to further discuss the situation, and found him helping some of the wounded soldiers.

    “Master Jedi, I want to thank you for your help. Were it not for the both of you, I don't think we would have survived. What do you plan to do now?”

    “We'll leave for the Elltiri border tonight, under the cover of darkness. I'll need all the information you have on security patrols, the general, and anything else that might help us move through Elltiri territory.”

    “I'll do what I can, but most of that information was destroyed along with the capitol.”

    “Is there somewhere we can rest?”

    “Over there,” Kelim said, pointing to a modest two story white building. They both gave a nod and departed, with Argoth thinking that right now he could really go for a meal and a nap. It would seem that Qui-Gon had the same idea as well. When they walked through the door, the scene wasn't quite what Argoth had pictured. It had a very rustic out in the country feel. There were wooden tables and chairs, and a bar against the wall opposite the door, set with a number of stools. There were Talran soldiers here as well, yet they were anything but rowdy. The mood was one of weariness as they drank quietly and seemed to be trying to unwind.

    The proprietors of the establishment were an elderly couple, with the man behind the bar serving drinks, and the woman bringing the soldiers food. Qui-Gon took a seat at a table near the door, as did Argoth. His master seemed to be focusing on something, but what remained a mystery. Qui-Gon had been teaching him to live in the moment and pay attention to his surroundings, so he tried, but didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. The soldiers were tired and battle weary, but that was all. There was depression, anger, resentment, but these were all emotions one could expect to find after a confrontation between opposing armies.

    <S>“Master, is something wrong?”<S>

    “Can you feel it?”

    <S>“All I feel are the soldiers and the people in the city.”<S> Qui-gon reached out placing a hand on Argoth's shoulder, and helped focus his connection to the Force, then directed his mind out beyond the village. At first he couldn't feel anything unusual, just those around them, but as he focused, something stirred. Like a tiny stone thrown into a lake, it sent ripples through the Force, and a shiver down his spine. It was the Dark Side. There was a disturbance in the Force on Habel, but it was so small that even Qui-Gon was having trouble pinpointing anything, then it disappeared.

    “We're not alone.”

    <S>“It came from the East, Elltiri territory.”<S> Sensing the presence of the Dark Side made Argoth uneasy, and he shivered a second time. The first thing to go through his mind was that someone or something was manipulating the events on Habel, and possibly behind the conflict that had erupted seemingly without warning. It would explain the General's erratic behavior at the very least. They ordered a meal and ate in silence, and Argoth could tell that Qui-Gon was concerned, and now more hurried than he was before. This new factor in their mission had changed quite a few things. Rather than pressing the issue, he let it go, knowing that Qui-Gon would speak his mind when he was ready. After the meal they rented a room.

    It was small, set with two single beds, and an assortment of furniture. When Qui-Gon sat on one of the beds and began to meditate, it was obvious what he meant to do. It was a technique the Jedi would sometimes use when they needed to rest, but were short on time, which the two of them were now. By meditating for an hour and calling upon the Light Side, then resting for three, they would wake up feeling as though they'd had a full night's sleep. This was only a stopgap measure however, and couldn't override the body's natural need for sleep for more than a few days. Argoth joined his master in meditating, but found it hard to do.

    The padawan was having trouble focusing his mind, but not because of the Dark Side. He was unsettled for some reason, yet didn't understand why. Argoth was experiencing an unusual amount of tension that made it hard to relax, but after nearly twenty minutes, he was finally able to do so. It didn't take long for him to fall asleep after meditating either. Almost as soon as Argoth's head hit the pillow, he was out like a light.

    It was dark when a gentle shaking motion on the shoulder woke him later that evening. With a grunt and a yawn, he sat up, seeing Qui-Gon's silhouette in the darkness before he turned a light on. The sudden flash caused Argoth to wince and look away until his eyes adjusted, and saw his master holding out an envelope. Curious as to what it was, he took it and checked the contents. It was what remaining intelligence reports Kelim had about the Elltiri government and military, and Qui-Gon had a copy as well. He read over the five sheets of paper inside, which contained a basic map of the Elltiri Republic's territory and cities. There was some fairly sketchy information on border patrol routes, and a list of names of Elltiri military commanders.

    <S>“There's nothing here, you could practically get this information from a tourist terminal in a city.”<S>

    “There isn't much to go on, but it's all they had left.” Argoth was starting to like this mission less and less as time went on. He folded the papers up and put them back in the envelope, then Qui-Gon handed off his copy, and with both in hand, Argoth ate them.

    <S>“Master, do you think this war is being orchestrated for some reason?”<S>

    “It's a possibility, we need to find the general, and the source of the disturbance. Come, we need to get moving.” As they walked out of the room, he tried to mentally prepare himself for just about anything.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb and riveting action. Argoth acted with efficiency and quickly; I like his attitude towards possible errors, using them as lessons learned. I love Qui-Gon in mentoring role. :cool: =D=

    The conflict seems to run deeper than everyone realized. [face_thinking]
     
  16. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Chapter 5

    It wasn't a very reassuring thought for Rahna when Obi-Wan used a coded uplink to search through the Jedi Archives. The description of the assassin in Dooku's account was almost a dead-on match, even down to their combat style. They both looked over everything silently, before Obi-Wan opened an uplink to the Council on Coruscant. The starfighter wasn't equipped for a full holographic conference, which only allowed Mace and Yoda to be shown, but she knew the others would be there. This was the part where the padawan was neither seen nor heard.

    “We weren't expecting a report from Alderaan so soon,” Mace said. “Has something happened?”

    “No, not yet, but there is some information you need to be aware of. An image of the assassin was captured on a security recording, and I've compared it to the description given by Master Dooku in the archives. I believe we're dealing with the same person.”

    “The assassin was captured on a security recording, they're becoming careless,” Ki Adi Mundi said.

    “I don't think so, they knew they were being recorded, but this time they made no attempt to hide their activities. I don't have anything yet, but I believe there's more going on here than a simple assassination. The death of Governor Tasid has brought the noble houses on Alderaan to the brink of civil war. According to Queen Organa he was also a broker with sensitive information. They're afraid this information may have fallen into enemy hands.”

    “Stop this you can?” Yoda said.

    “Possibly, the Queen has asked us to recover something called the Codex. Tasid used it to store the information he had, but it disappeared after his death. Rahna and I are about to start our investigation.”

    “Keep us informed of any new developments,” Mace said.

    “Of course.” Instead of immediately taking off, Obi-Wan shut off the uplink and seemed to be contemplating their next move. The two were in a very dangerous and volatile situation that could erupt at any moment. All it would take was a single house to fire the first shot, then it would be a domino effect with the others following suit. They would have to be careful, so Rahna preferred to defer to Obi-Wan's decisions as he had more experience in these matters. Her master however, had other ideas.

    “So, what's our next move?”

    “Do what?” She looked up with a slightly puzzled expression.

    “The question was simple enough, what do you think we should do next?” That put Rahna on the spot as she'd been waiting for Obi-Wan to decide that, and realized that was probably why. Now it was her turn to think the matter over, consider the various factors, and offer up an idea on their next move. There was a lot to think about as well, because they didn't have much to go on in terms of locating the Codex. Right now all they knew was that the assassin hadn't taken it, so they'd need to draw up a of list possible suspects. That meant they'd need information, but the question was, where to start.

    “We'll need a list of suspects to investigate, but I doubt the noble houses will cooperate, so... planetary security?”

    “Why planetary security?”

    “They're under the jurisdiction of House Organa, so they'd be able to handle matters that deal with the noble houses?”

    “Very good, shall we then?” Attempting to determine their next move wasn't the only thing that Rahna learned either. That Obi-Wan didn't need directions to the planetary security office located within the palace, was an indication that he'd been here before. As they walked through the pristine halls, Rahna was still trying to figure out who would take the Codex and why. It was obvious the information it contained would be valuable, but to what end. Was someone after money, did they want to blackmail one or more of the noble houses, there were too many angles to consider without more information.

    The planetary security office was located under the palace, and it was quite a large complex as well. As they walked down the stairs, Rahna could see a metal room filled with monitors along the wall, control panels, and people wearing suits of white over silver, though they were of a different design than the soldiers who guarded the palace. Some were moving about, while others stood at the monitors with headsets, and seemed to be talking to security officers in the field. There were over two dozen people just in this one room, with others moving in and out of doors along the wall, it was quite a hive of activity. No one seemed to be overly bothered by their presence.

    Near the back of the room was an office with large glass windows, and an older man sitting behind a large desk working at a computer. With gray hair and a portly build, it was easy to see he spent more time behind a desk than in the field. At their approach he looked up and motioned for them to enter the office. They both stepped inside and took a seat.

    “Master Kenobi, it's good to see you again. I only wish it were under better circumstances.”

    “Chief Elcal, it's good to see you again as well. I'd like you to meet my new padawan Rahna.”

    The man looked over and his pudgy face pulled itself into a faint smile, “It's nice to meet you Rahna... say, what happened to that Twi'lek woman you were with last time, Anna was it?”

    “Asja, she's no longer a padawan. She became a Jedi Knight not too long ago.”

    “Ah, always good to know there are more Jedi around, shall we then?” It was nice to hear that Chief Elcal seemed to be in favor of the Jedi, and Rahna watched quietly as he typed away at the computer. “Prince Organa told me that you would likely be arriving soon, so I got together some information that could help you with the investigation. When you leave I'll also send a dispatch to the officers in the field to give you full cooperation should you need it.”

    “Chief, do you have any suspects in regards to the theft of the Codex?” Rahna said.

    “Only every person on the planet with a title and their closest associates,” Elcal said, working at the computer. “Governor Tasid had few friends and a lot of enemies, though he usually kept them at bay with the threat of exposing secrets they'd rather not have others know about.”

    “What about other information brokers, I highly doubt he was the only one on Alderaan.”

    “Hardly. We've investigated them as well but made little progress in that regard. There also hasn't been a notable power shift among the criminal elements on the planet, or at least none we've seen. We've been trying to narrow down the list of suspects, but that's not easy in Tasid's case.” When he was finished gathering the information, Chief Elcal handed a data crystal to Obi-Wan.

    “Thank you,” Obi-Wan said.

    “Good luck, hopefully that Force thing... whatever, will help you.” On the way out of the office, Rahna had to stifle a small snicker in regards to the Force reference. While Obi-Wan used a palm sized holo-imager to review the information, they walked to the front gates of the palace and out through the courtyard. As one would imagine the palace was busy with beings of many races and dress styles going about their business. Just outside Obi-Wan flagged down a speeder transport, and as it slowed to a stop, a big grin came across her face.

    “After what the chief said, I sure hope no one tries to cause trouble.”

    “Why's that?”

    “Because,” Rahna wheeled her arms around and pointed them at the speeder, garishly overacting the whole bit. “I'll use my Force thing whatever on them. Ha ha!”

    With the holo-imager still held in one hand, Obi-Wan stood there looking at her, then pointed to the speeder. “Rahna... get in the speeder.”

    Soon the two of them where heading through the city toward the noble quarter, and Rahna was once again snapping images. The tall buildings of Aldera city gleamed in the mid-day sun, like giant sentinels watching the people below. The foot traffic was thick as well, and people moved along the streets, going about their business. The architecture of Aldera may not have been as grand as Coruscant, but to Rahna there was more beauty. There was barely an inch of ground in the republic's capitol that hadn't been built over, but here, a lot of the natural beauty remained. Rolling hills and high snow covered mountains could be seen in the distance, and Rahna thought of how nice it would be just to spend some time here.

    The little site seeing trip came to an end as quickly as it had started, and they both stepped out, with Obi-Wan handing the driver some credit chits. Unlike the rest of the city, the noble quarter was sectioned off by a large wall with a single gate leading in, and quite the collection of guards on duty just outside. Beyond the gate Rahna could see businesses and other establishments that appeared very upscale, some didn't even have signs out front. She also knew better than to take any images inside. The well to do were very paranoid about things like that.

    “Aldera City's Noble Quarter. You will never find a more wretched hive of decadence and debauchery, anywhere on the planet.” While Rahna had never gotten the chance to rub elbows with upper crust society, she decided to take Obi-Wan at his word. The news transmissions on Coruscant did seem rather packed with descriptions of various scandals and other gossip about them, on a daily basis no less.

    “Why are we going here of all places?”

    “Because the noble families have estates scattered all over the planet. It would take days just to visit half. Most of them however, do maintain offices and penthouses here for conducting business in Aldera.”

    “The question now, is who stands to lose the most if the Codex were to fall into the wrong hands, Master?”

    “From the information Chief Elcal gave me, that would be House Marcain. They've been investigated by planetary security more than any other noble house on Alderaan. Though from the lack of charges, I'd say they were very good at covering their tracks.”

    “So we visit them first?”

    “Actually I was thinking of visiting House Nivian first.” At this point, Rahna stopped offering up ideas do to not knowing much about Alderannian noble houses. As they moved through the streets of the noble quarter, they were drawing a lot of stares from people. The sight of a man and a young woman in simple robes was undoubtedly out of place, in a district where everyone looked well to do. They stopped at what appeared to be a large glass office building surrounded by a high wall and a lot of security. There were cameras, armed soldiers, and that was what could be seen. When they stopped at the front gate, Obi-Wan spoke with the guards on duty.

    “Hello, my name is Obi-Wan Kenobi. I would like to speak with someone from House Nivian if they're available.” The two guards nearest the gate, dressed in heavy armor, looked at one another and then crossed their pikes. It was fairly obvious to see that was a no. They spent the next hour trying to make contact with four other houses only to be refused at every turn. No one would speak to them. Obi-Wan was walking casually when Rahna looked to one side without turning her head.

    “Master, I think those three men across the street are following us.”

    “They are, along with the three behind us. Let's find out what they want, shall we?” When the two turned down a surprisingly clean alley, Obi-Wan stopped, waited, and before long they were surrounded on both sides by a motley crew, none of which looked very friendly. There were three Humans, a Wookie, a Duros, and a Twi'lek woman. Rahna turned so that her back was to Obi-Wan's, but neither drew their lightsaber... yet. One of the humans, a blonde haired woman, took a step forward to address Obi-Wan.

    “Your kind aren't welcome around here Jedi, do yourself a favor and leave.”

    “I don't suppose we can talk about this in a civilized fashion?”

    “Move that hand at me and I'll blow it off.” Without even facing Obi-Wan, Rahna knew what he was trying to do, and the woman speaking seemed familiar with what people called the Jedi mind trick. “Now, last warning, leave or die.”

    Before either of them had time to respond, another group decided to join the conversation. Walking into the alleyway they drew weapons, but rather than blasters they were old fashioned slug throwers. When fired the sound they made was barely louder than someone snapping their fingers. The first group barely knew what was happening before they were gunned down, and Rahna was about to draw her lightsaber, when the second group put their weapons away.

    “Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padawan Rahna Demshar, Duke Tanaka would like to speak with you.” She glanced back to see the man speaking. He was tall, well built with dark hair, a hard face, and dressed in a very nice suit, as were the others. There were six in total, all human, three on each side.

    “And if we say no?” Rahna said.

    “Then you're free to go, though I don't think the Duke would be very pleased.”

    “It's alright Rahna,” Obi-Wan said, then looked to the man who had spoken. “After you.”

    They were led to a very expensive looking stretch vehicle, solid black in color with tented windows. They got in and Rahna took a seat, finding it strange that a vehicle had carpet. The seats were covered in leather which made her uncomfortable. The idea of sitting on what used to be the skin of a living animal wasn't something Rahna liked very much, but remained silent on the matter. They were driven out of the noble quarter and Aldera City altogether. Not long afterward, the vehicle tilted upward and the landscape was replaced by what appeared to be the walls of a cargo transport. Then she both felt and heard the unmistakable sensation of engines firing, and they were airborne. Rahna was completely out of her element now, and not sure what to do, Obi-Wan on the other hand seemed fine.

    The ride was silent and took close to an hour before they landed, and the transport's ramp lowered. When the vehicle drove out and turned, she finally got a good look at it. It appeared to be a large armored transport with several weapon turrets. On the side plain as day were the words 'Tanaka Security Solutions'. The look of the Tanaka estate was quite different than the city of Aldera. Instead of mountains there were sweeping fields of green grass, forests with trees that rose several stories into the air, but it was something in the distance that caught her attention.

    “Master, is that at Killik hive?”

    Obi-Wan leaned over to look out the window, “Hard to tell at this distance, but it looks like it.”

    “It's one of the three old hive mounds in the surrounding area.” The man who spoke was the one to extend the Duke's invitation, and Rahna offered him a small smile in return. Unlike the palace, the Tanaka estate boasted money and didn't seem to care about showing it off in considerable excess. As they drove through the main gate, it was down what appeared to be a solid strip of the same silver/white marble from the palace, with a two story fountain made of solid silver as the centerpiece in front of the house. The subtlety of it was almost non-existent. Unlike many who had figures holding pots or animal statues, this one was of the Duke himself, holding an open wallet from which the water flowed. There were verdant green hedges, a lawn dotted by a multitude of colored flowers.

    All dominated by a large white mansion, three stories high and in many ways, the size of a small palace itself. The front doors were large and covered by a small roof that was supported by four large stone pillars. Then the vehicle stopped at the bottom of the steps and they got out, their escorts remained inside. It left the two of them by themselves, and as they walked up the steps, the doors slowly opened to greet them. Rahna was nearly rubber necking to take everything in, and even Obi-Wan seemed at least interested in the design, and looked around as well. The inside of the mansion was as large as it appeared to be on the outside, and opened up into a single large room that was two stories tall. There was a gentle melody playing which Rahna could see was something from a piano that a Duros was seated at.

    There was a grand staircase that wrapped around both sides of the room, leading up to the second floor, but the piano caught her attention, because the Duke was leaning on it with a hand, listening to the Duros play. In a three piece black suit and tie, his eyes were closed, and he was gently moving his other hand in time to the music. At their approach, he stood up, clasping both hands in front of himself.

    “Duke Tanaka, it's an honor to meet you,” Rahna said, offering a small bow.

    [​IMG]

    “Rahna,” Obi-Wan said, speaking in a whisper, he nodded and she followed it to see that there wasn't a ducal signet ring on his hand. This seemed to be a bit out of sorts as she had seen a picture of him in the hall on the way in, including a small name plaque beneath it. About that time they heard the sound of footsteps approaching from behind.

    “Padawan Damsher, it's a pleasure to meet you too.”

    [​IMG]

    Turning around, Rahna blinked, then looked back, forward again, and could see the second man was wearing a signet ring. It took a moment to realize they were identical twins. The Duke seemed to sense her confusion and grinned, pointing to the other.

    “That's my brother Ricar.” Ricar walked around to stand by his brother, and offered both of them a small nod of the head. “Master Kenobi, thank you for meeting with me.”

    “I must say, I am a little surprised by this invitation. So far you're the only one who will even speak to us.”

    “That I don't doubt in the slightest. The rest of those stuffed shirt buffoons that prance around Alderaan are so scared right now they can't see straight. Not that you're helping in that regard, but more about that in a minute. I was just about to sit down for lunch, come, join me.” Obi-Wan didn't offer any objection, but Rahna also noticed that depending on how one took it, the Duke hadn't made joining him a request. She was beginning to wonder if he would turn out to be an ally in this, an enemy, or land somewhere between.

    As they walked to the dining room, Rahna noticed that the Duke was in front of them while his brother was bringing up the rear. When she tried to sense Ricar's state of mind it was hard to get a read on him, then felt his mind slam shut like a door. Upon looking over a shoulder, Ricar held up a finger and wagged it slowly. Turning back around she blinked a few times realizing the man wasn't only force sensitive, he seemed to have some level of control over his own mind.

    'Be very careful.' The words that came from Obi-Wan weren't spoken, they were telepathic. Though unable to respond in kind, she looked at him for a moment. They were taken to a large dining hall with a long rectangular table. Made of wood and decorated with ornate scroll work, there were over two dozen chairs, but only four place settings near the front. The oddity however was the very front where Jopar sat. Instead of a single chair, there were two side by side. The brothers sat down next to each other, and a small group of servants came from a side room carrying covered trays.

    The food was set down in front of them and uncovered, with silverware beside it, and they were both provided with glasses of water, while the Tanaka brothers both had red wine. The food was a small cooked piece of meat with a side salad, and a serving of something that looked like potatoes, covered with cheese and something that was small and green. It appeared to be a garnish of some sort. The meal smelled quite delicious, and Rahna waited for them to begin eating, then tried a piece of the steak, despite this being an odd, and somewhat heavy choice for a lunch. Cutting off a piece she tried it, and chewed a few times before stopping and looking up.

    “Something wrong?” Jopar said.

    “No, this is really good.” Speaking out of the corner of her mouth, Rahna continued to chew.

    “I'm glad you like it, I grow my own livestock to make sure it's the best.”

    “The food is quite delicious, though I am curious as to why you wanted to speak with us, and your comment about the Jedi making the situation worse,” Obi-Wan said.

    Jopar pointed at Obi-Wan with a steak knife while finishing what he was eating, then spoke. “The Jedi are making the situation worse, because the other houses were already worried about the Codex in the first place. Now that you're here, they have Republic concerns as well.”

    “What does the Republic have to do with this?” Rahna said. “Wouldn't matters between House Organa and the other nobles be considered an internal issue?”

    “If they are internal matters, then yes. But what about the possibility of illicit dealings that go beyond the confines of Alderaan? Then it could very well be the Republic's jurisdiction. They would call the noble houses to account for their actions, and as subjects of House Organa, they'd be called to answer for those under their rule. I imagine it would be a PR nightmare, followed by fines, sanctions, and turn into a complete political fiasco. Then when the dust settled, the noble house in question would have House Organa coming down on them with a vengeance as well.”

    “But... we're not here to air anyone's dirty laundry. We're trying to help.”

    “Do they know that?”

    “They might if anyone would talk to us. The Queen asked us to find the Codex as a neutral party, so that it could be destroyed, and this matter put to rest,” Obi-Wan said.

    “That's what I thought as well when I heard about your arrival. The Jedi would be about the only ones who could deliver this damned thing up and not cause more problems than they solved. Personally I want to see it destroyed, if for no other reason than all this tension and backstabbing is bad for business.”

    “You're not concerned about what's contained in the Codex?” Obi-Wan said.

    “What, you mean House Tanaka's dirty laundry? Sure, we've got some, everyone does, but even if it was aired it wouldn't be house shaking. Really more embarrassing than anything else.” Something that Rahna took notice of while Obi-Wan and the Duke were talking, were the interactions between the brothers. They were odd to say the least. At one point while eating, Jopar took a bite of the potatoes only to seemingly dislike the taste. Ricar took a spice shaker and seasoned them which solved the problem, but there was nothing said between them. Then later on when a servant came to refill their drinks, Jopar motioned for Ricar's glass not to be filled, and there didn't appear to be any objection to that. The whole time Ricar never spoke a word, leaving that to his brother, but was hardly ignoring either of them. He watched Obi-Wan and Rahna intently, which made her wonder what he was up to.

    After the meal ended, Obi-Wan walked with the Duke and continued to talk, leaving Rahna and Ricar alone. The Duke's brother seemed to occupy himself by looking at a piece of artwork in the hallway, though she doubted that he was very interested in it. While doing so he also twisted a pair of metal balls in his right hand, in a seemingly absentminded fashion. With her own curiosity peaked, she walked up next to him.

    “Do you actually talk?”

    “When I have something to say. Unlike my brother, I have little use for pointless banter.” While the two may have been identical in appearance, they certainly weren't identical in attitude or disposition. Ricar looked at her in silence once again, but rather than feeling nervous, Rahna tilted her head to one side. There was a question eating at her, and as the Duke seemed to be about as subtle as a sledgehammer, she decided to take an approach he was likely accustomed to.

    “How well can you control the Force?”

    “Not as well as a Jedi if that's what you're wondering.”

    “No, what I'm wondering is how you even learned to do it in the first place.”

    “Jedi, Sith, the Potentium, the Nightsisters of Dathomir, the Voss Mystics. There have been many force orders over the millennia, and they have acquired vast knowledge. Some of that knowledge has also been lost, and rediscovered by others. When you have the resources and influence that we do, some can be convinced to part with it, for a price.”

    “To what end?”

    “Does there need to be one? The Force is a mystery no one truly understands, yet if you had the ability to reach out and touch it, would you not be curious?” Now Rahna was beginning to understand him a little more. The man was a force sensitive who had never been part of any organization devoted to such. From what she could sense he was fairly strong in this regard as well. He stopped twisting the metal balls around, and held them in his palm. As Rahna watched, one of them moved gently, then lifted up into the air, barely moving a quarter of an inch before dropping back down.

    “While curiosity isn't a bad thing, you should be careful Lord Tanaka. Not all mysteries of the Force should be explored.”

    Closing the hand, he turned it over showing the back almost completely covered by a scar she hadn't noticed before. “A lesson I know all too well good padawan.”

    “If I'm not being too... personal, is the Duke force sensitive?”

    “Yes, though he has little interest in such esoteric pursuits. Good luck, I have a feeling you're going to need it.” The conversation ended when Obi-Wan walked up next to her, and they made their way out of the mansion. Walking down the steps, she could sense that Obi-Wan was deep in thought again.

    “What did the Duke say?”

    “He's adamant about wanting the Codex destroyed to restore the stability of the noble houses, but that's not all. If what he said was true, there's more to this artifact than just information.”
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
  17. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    It's a bit funny how I was able to get two chapters out so fast. I had the Rahna arc moving along to the point I wrote Chapter 3, then 5. After that I had to go back and write 4, so I could post 5. [face_laugh]
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb details about the lovely surroundings of Aldera City & Elcal's helpful demeanor. Great intrigue with the Codex and the Tanaka brothers. =D=
     
  19. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Boy I'm really having some fun now. I just finished Chapter 7 and I have to say, it turned out a lot better than I thought. Now I just have to write Chapter 6.
     
  20. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Chapter 6

    It was dark, and the only light to see by were the stars outside. The Talran transport had cut their lights more than an hour ago to avoid being seen, and now they were five miles from the Elltiri border as Qui-Gon and Argoth stepped off. The moment the five foot padawan stepped out, he wondered why the conflict had to happen so far north. Habel had some cold nights and tonight was no exception, his breath came out in little puffs of white mist. The discomfort wouldn't last long, as the Talran soldiers had warned them of the temperature and before departing, they were given knee length jackets. They provided good protection against the elements.

    The landscape had also changed, and Argoth could see why the Elltiri Republic wasn't prime farming land. Unlike the rolling hills and valleys the Talran lived in, here it was as if some great invisible fist had smashed itself against the ground. Ahead of them was an expanse of steep hills and jutting cliffs, and though not desolate, it wasn't nearly as inviting a scene. Qui-Gon took a small electro-compass from his travel pack, and calibrated it to the planet's poles. Having memorized the map before Argoth ate them, the soldiers told them there was an Elltiri town called Rimost, due East of where they would be dropped off. It was nearly a day's walk on foot, and from there the capitol was 300 miles south, south east.

    They walked in silence and Argoth looked up at the stars, recognizing some of them by the constellations, and thinking to himself how he'd been there, and there, and even over there. The one thing he liked about being a Jedi was the chance to see the galaxy, as most people spent the better part of their lives on one planet. Were it not for the war, it would have been a nice night. What little bit of information they did have said that patrols along the border were fairly regular, so they would have to be on guard. Things were calm at the moment, and Argoth didn't sense anyone nearby as they walked. The only thing out at this time of night were mostly small animals, that gave them a wide berth as they passed by.

    Argoth tried to think of how they would deal with the situation once they reached the general, and he had no doubt that Qui-Gon would find a way. It didn't seem likely a diplomatic solution would win the day, nor would mental manipulation. Argoth had noted that people in positions of considerable authority often had the willpower to resist such persuasion. While thinking the matter over, his attention was drawn about the same time as Qui-Gon. There was an Elltiri foot patrol approaching their position. They both quickly ducked behind an outcropping of rocks, waiting for them to pass by. As they approached, Argoth could see there were six in total, heavily armed but only armored in a black body suit with light protective plating.

    The soldiers were a few dozen yards away, and talking amongst themselves as they walked. At first nothing seemed out of the ordinary, then something on one soldier's hip beeped. He took a small hand device and looked at it. Lowering a pair of goggles, he looked in their direction, then shouldered his rifle and walked toward them.

    “Got two hits on thermal. Come out where I can see you with your hands in the air!” That drew a small growl from Argoth as he hadn't counted on Elltiri border patrols using thermal goggles. The other soldiers followed suit and soon five of the six rifles were pointed at them. The soldier in the back was facing away from them and keeping watch. Qui-Gon and Argoth both stood up, causing the soldier in the lead to stop suddenly.

    “Holy crap, it's those Jedi we heard about!”

    “We're not the Jedi you heard about,” Qui-Gon said, casually waving a hand in front of himself. There was a long moment of silence, and the soldier in the lead lowered his weapon slightly.

    “If you're not Jedi, what are you doing out here this late at night?”

    “We volunteered to transport supplies to the soldiers at the front, and our speeder broke down a few miles back. We hid because we weren't sure who you were. There haven't been any Talran attacks in the area have there?”

    “Yeah there was. Earlier this morning some guerrillas hit a medical supply transport near the front,” the soldier nodded his head south. “Heard the 112th took some heavy casualties, and those lousy Talran made off with supplies meant for our troops.”

    “Do you know what I like about nights like this?” Qui-gon said, looking up at the sky. “The chance to sleep out under the stars, wouldn't you agree?”

    “It is a nice night, I think I'll just... take a nap.” The soldiers all yawned, stretched, and laid down on the ground, falling sound asleep. About to leave, Argoth noticed his master walk over and begin stripping down one of the soldiers.

    <S>“What are you doing?”<S>

    “It'll be easier to move through Elltiri territory if we look like them. Anyone asks, we're part of the 112th, we got separated after the battle and lost our way.” The tactic made sense, but it wasn't one he'd expected from Qui-Gon, and following suit he stripped one of the soldiers to change outfits. Even after taking the outfit from the smallest one there, it was still too large for Argoth and sagged in places. He was just glad they weren't wearing helmets, with his horns and head crest it would have been impossible to fit into. Aside from being too small for the outfit, Argoth also had to tear a hole in the back for his tail, which was long and slender, but made of flesh and bones rather than hair. His robes were free flowing enough that he normally just kept it underneath them.

    The armor plating was dark gray and covered their chest, waist, forearms, and shins. They also had backpacks which were dumped out and used to carry the robes and jackets. The last thing they did was pick up the blaster rifles. Hefting the weapon, Argoth didn't much like the idea of using one. Like most Jedi he considered the weapons crude and uncivilized. Never the less he did know how to use one. All Jedi were given basic marksmanship training with blasters, that way if it was the only weapon available, they would be able to defend themselves. Argoth also stopped to look at the both of them, and snickered at the way they were dressed up. Qui-Gon in turn smiled and gave him a little shrug.

    Now posing as a pair of lost Elltiri soldiers, they continued the trip toward Rimost, and for most of the night it was uneventful. They encountered two more patrols during the night, but both were far enough away to avoid being detected. It was close to dawn and the horizon was growing lighter when their third encounter became unavoidable. It was in the form of a winged transport that flew overhead, then slowed and began to circle back around. It landed some distance ahead of them and the side of the transport slid open. From within a young woman with dark hair got out, waved and arm overhead, and started to walk toward them. The encounter seemed to be starting out friendly enough, and the two exchanged a small glance before approaching her. As she got closer the woman grinned.

    “What are a couple of low rank Tegs doing walking around out here?” Argoth glanced at his shoulder armor which bore a single vertical white strip with a small sphere on the left side, and made a mental note he was ranked as a Teg.

    “We're part of the 112th, got hit by some Talran guerrillas and separated from the rest of our unit.”

    “What'd they do, strip you guys too? Where's your comlink and the rest of your gear?”

    “On stolen transport...” Argoth said.

    The woman arched a brow and gave both of them an annoyed look, then reached out tapping the rank insignia on Qui-Gon's shoulder. “And amateurish mistakes like that, are why you two are still Tegs.” Walking away she waved for them to follow. “Come on, we're headed to Rimost for redeployment. You can catch a transport there to wherever the 112th regrouped.”

    Seeing no other alternative, and not opposed to shortening their trip to Rimost, they got into the transport. There wasn't much room inside with the other six soldiers, two human men, three women, and a Wookie. Argoth arched a brow considering it odd to see a Wookie in a uniform. The pilot in the front reached up flicking some switches, and soon they were airborne. The soldiers had a variety of different rank insignia, none of which were Tegs, and had the look of battle hardened veterans. The Wookie even had an artificial eye, and was staring at Argoth.

    <S>“What? I got something on my face?”<S> Argoth said.

    <S>“What are you? Never seen anything like you before.”<S> The question put Argoth on the spot because he didn't know the name of his race. Up to this point he had simply been Argoth. It would seem that Qui-Gon was able to sense his unease, and once again came to the rescue.

    “He's Ratakan, his people aren't from this sector.” The Wookie thought about it for a moment, but didn't say anything, no doubt unsure what a Ratakan was. Thinking back to his history lessons at the temple regarding the ancient Infinite Empire, Argoth had to resist the urge to smile, thinking that was a pretty slick response.

    <S>“Ain't you a little small to be in the army?<S>

    <S>“Small?! I'll show you small fur ball!”<S> Both leaned forward, growling, only to have the dark haired woman hold an arm out between them.

    “Alright children, let's take it down a notch. The enemy's out there, not in here.” They let the matter drop with a few more grunts and snarls. The reaction Argoth had to being called small was a complete act, as he knew a soldier would take something like that as an insult. Having grown up around Yoda who was even shorter than he was, and having some idea of how powerful the Jedi Grand Master was, only being five foot tall didn't bother him.

    "And what about this guy, ain't he a little old to be a Teg?" The man speaking was bald and had a hard, weathered face, and looking at Qui-Gon.

    "Not really," a red haired woman said. "Probably from Gimnel, you know how they are. They'll draft anyone to meet the levy demands."

    "Gimnel huh?" The bald man looked at Qui-Gon who said nothing, and it was hard to tell what the soldier was thinking. "Looks old enough to have been around for Telbrook."

    "I was a combat medic at Telbrook, fresh out of training," Qui-Gon said. Hearing this Argoth knew what he was doing. His Master was sensing their emotions, the unease the mention of the name Telbrook caused, and throwing in a bit of acting.

    "Good Gods, you were at Telbrook? Heard stories about that place, it was just..." The bald man shook his head, letting the sentance trail off.

    The black haired woman looked at Qui-Gon quietly before speaking. "You did your minimum and mustered out didn't you?"

    "Wouldn't you?" Qui-Gon said. For the rest of the trip the soldiers mostly talked about old war stories and the current conflict, but nothing that was particularly useful. From the way they acted, and addressed each other informally, Argoth could tell they'd been together through more than a few battles. When Rimost came into view, it was quite different than the rural Talran setting they'd left. This was a small metropolitan city with tall buildings, paved roads, and quite a bit of air traffic. What Argoth found curious was the mix of wheeled vehicles on the ground. They were rare, and as advanced as the Elltiri were, it seemed out of place. There was no doubt a reason, but it was irrelevant to the mission at hand, so that line of thought was dismissed. The transport landed at a small airfield next to a military base on the edge of town and everyone got out, then it took off again, only to fly a short distance and land behind what looked like an administration building.

    “Where he going?” Argoth said, thumbing over his shoulder.

    “The outbound flight field?” the woman said.

    “Oh, duh.” Smacking himself in the head, Argoth and Qui-Gon walked toward the administration building knowing that's where they'd be expected to go. At this point he was looking around for a place they could sneak off the base and continue with their mission, which was still 300 miles away. The base was walled off with a security checkpoint by the gate. They were stopped and asked for identification, and with another wave of his hand, Qui-Gon convinced them they didn't need to see any.

    There were vehicles coming and going, along with transports, all while soldiers tended to their various duties. To the left was a field where some men appeared to be drilling new recruits and running them through an obstacle course. To the right were more buildings too low to see from beyond the wall. Most of them were mechanic bays with a number of tanks that were being worked on, but one had a sign 'Mess Hall' over the door. It reminded Argoth of the fact he was hungry, but stopping for a meal was out of the question. He knew what Qui-Gon was doing, his master was using the, blend in and disappear, method to enter the city.

    As they walked into the administration building, Argoth quickly discovered it was in fact a hospital. He winced, shaking his head, trying to push back all of the pain and suffering he felt through the Force. There was so many wounded soldiers here that it was hard to simply ignore. As they walked down the hall toward the exit at the other end, he passed by one of the wards, and overheard one of the soldiers asking a nurse to contact his family if he didn't survive. Other people were moaning, and one person was even wheeled down the hall covered by a white sheet. What Argoth was feeling was so intense, that he had to stop and concentrate to block it out of his mind.

    Even though he'd harbored resentment toward the Elltiri for attacking them upon their arrival, he simply couldn't turn a blind eye to something like this. The people in the hospital weren't evil, they were men and women just like anyone else, suffering because of the war. There was so much fear, pain, and anguish, but that wasn't the worst part. All Argoth had to do was reach out with a hand and he could have taken their pain from them, but to do so would have revealed who they were. He didn't know which was worse, being unable to help someone, or having the strength to help them, only to be forced to keep walking and let them suffer. By the time they reached the exit on the other side, Argoth had to steady himself with a hand against the wall, and covered his eyes with a hand to try and hide his tears. Qui-Gon reached out putting a hand on his shoulder, but didn't say anything.

    <S>“They were right there, all I had to do was reach out and touch them, but I couldn't.”<S>

    “I know, I wanted to help them too.”

    <S>“How do you deal with something that hurts this much?”<S>

    “By putting it out of your mind, and focusing on the mission. If we end this war, no one else will have to suffer like they are.” The word spoken by Qui-Gon helped him realize that. If they were able to stop the war, it would end the bloodshed as well. Focusing on that he tried to push the feelings aside, but they were so powerful it was difficult. Taking a deep breath, Argoth stood up and began to repeat the Jedi Code in his mind over and over.

    There is no emotion, there is peace.
    There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
    There is no passion, there is serenity.
    There is no chaos, there is harmony.
    There is no death, there is the Force.

    Using the slow breathing techniques taught for meditation, peace once again overtook emotion. If they ended the war it would help the soldiers in the hospital. It may not have been as directly as he would have liked, but it would help them. Wiping the tears from his eyes, Argoth looked up at Qui-Gon and gave a solemn nod.
     
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Enjoyed the various encounters with soldiers/patrols. Qui-Gon's perspective is important to keep in mind: stop the entire war and no one will have to suffer, but I can completely understand and empathize with Argoth's distress at being able to help but not in a position strategically to do so.
    =D=
     
  22. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Chapter 7

    Duke Tanaka was kind enough to provide them with transport to their next destination, Governor Tasid's estate. It was obvious that the noble houses wouldn't be providing any help, they were too busy trying to cover their own butts. There was some good news however. Obi-Wan had told her on the way to the shuttle they were in, that the Duke would put out word they wanted to destroy the codex as well. With as many agents as the various houses had out and about, it likely wouldn't take long to spread. It was no guarantee they wouldn't run into more hostilities along the way, but it could still work in their favor.

    “What did the Duke tell you about the Codex that might involve more than information?” Rahna said.

    Obi-Wan was stroking his beard again, looking over at Rahna when she spoke. “He told me about Governor Tasid. According to Duke Tanaka he was a fairly mundane governor once. He did his job, kept the wheels of government turning, but was otherwise unremarkable.”

    “So what happened?”

    “He also had a penchant for funding archaeological digs into the old hives. It was a personal diversion unrelated to his work, and had managed to build a nice collection of Killik relics for himself. The way the story goes, about three years ago he was at one of the digs, which is where he supposedly discovered the Codex. He quickly took possession of it, wouldn't allow anyone else to see it, and disappeared into his mansion for some time after that.”

    “Yeah... I'm not liking the sound of this. I take it there's more?”

    “Yes, after that his personality started to change as well. He became paranoid, greedy, ambitious, and was heard more than once saying, knowledge is power.”

    “Great, now it's a Killik relic that makes people go nuts.”

    “Think about it Rahna.” Doing that, Rahna thought about it for a time, trying to formulate an idea about where this was going. After a bit of deliberation she shook her head.

    “Nope, I'm coming up empty. Where were you going with this?”

    “I think there was already something on the Codex when Tasid found it. Whatever it was, it had a profound affect on his mind.” That was a possibility that Rahna hadn't considered before. Had Tasid found something hidden within the Codex that had had such a profound affect on his mind that it turned him from a mild-mannered governor, into a power hungry information broker willing to seek knowledge at any cost. The conversation would have to wait as the transport landed just outside the front gates of Tasid's estate.

    As they exited, Rahna started to wonder just how much provincial governors got paid on Alderaan. It may not of displayed the wealth of the Duke's estate, but his home was nearly the same size. The mansion appeared to be quite old, but well maintained, with three stories and large floor to ceiling windows, and gray walls. The lawn, having not been mowed in almost a week, was starting to overgrow, and the hedges lining the road leading through the front gate could do with a trim, but otherwise it looked quite nice. There were four planetary security officers outside the front gate standing watch, but only offered a polite nod as they approached.

    “Do provincial governors normally live in estates this large?” Rahna said, asking one of the officers out front.

    “No, they don't. That's part of the reason House Organa launched an investigation against Governor Tasid in the first place. He was living well beyond his means.” She nodded a little, baring that in mind, then caught up to Obi-Wan who was walking toward the front door. They stood open and from the outside she could see a few more officers moving about in the foyer. The inside of the house was spacious, well lit, and arrayed with fine furniture, paintings, and lush carpet that was no doubt quite expensive. Once they were inside, one of the security officers took notice and motioned to another. He disappeared down a hall and returned a short time later with an older man. With black hair that was mostly gray, slicked back, and a neatly trimmed mustache, he had a very professional appearance.

    “Master Kenobi, I'm Chief Investigator Thrad. Her majesty conveyed to us that we are to extend you full cooperation in this case. What can I do for you?”

    “Investigator Thrad,” Obi-Wan said, giving a small nod of the head. “I'd like to see the crime scene if I could.” The man held out an arm in the direction of one of the halls, and they moved further into the mansion. As they did, Rahna was able to sense something unusual from Thrad. He was suspicious, almost to the point of being distrustful. Inside the study where Tasid had been killed, the first thing Rahna did was approach the table that had been knocked over. She knew the chances of the Codex being there were almost non-existent, but had to see for herself.

    The only thing behind the table were piles of books and papers. There were several bookshelves in the room filled with considerable collections, but not much else. Above them was a skylight which told Rahna how the assassin had gotten in. She also didn't feel the presence of the Dark Side, but given the length of time since the murder, any lingering traces would have already dissipated. While looking around and finding little that would help in the way of clues, the body having since been removed, the feelings she sensed from Thrad were beginning to get annoying. Rahna finally spun on a heel to face him.

    “Investigator Thrad, do you not like Jedi for some reason?”

    “Excuse me?” Thrad said, looking over at her from the door frame he was leaning against.

    “I just get this... vibe, that you don't like us.”

    “Quite intuitive, but it's not dislike, it's suspicion.” She was surprised by how readily he admitted to something like that, but had a good idea why.

    “Let me guess, it's because the assassin used a lightsaber and had knowledge of the Force?”

    “Spot on young lady.”

    “I can assure you they were not Jedi. Contrary to popular belief, we aren't the only order of Force users in the universe, nor are we the only ones who know how to build lightsabers. Besides, if it were a member of the Order, we'd know.”

    “Really now?”

    “Yes, really,” Obi-Wan said, browsing through the books and papers behind the table. “You can learn a lot about a person through the Force. If it was a member of the Order committing these crimes, they wouldn't be able to hide it from us for very long. That, and the Jedi don't use red lightsabers.” Strolling around the room after that, Rahna began to look over the books on the shelves, noting that a lot of them were about Alderaanian history. There were others related to the Killik and archaeology, and quite a few other subjects. That aside, she was also looking for hidden switches, or anything else that might be out of the ordinary.

    “I can assure you we checked every book and every inch of the shelves, there are no hidden switches,” Thrad said.

    “Are you coming?”

    She turned to see Obi-Wan standing by the door. “In a moment, just want to look over the room a bit more.”

    When Obi-Wan and Thrad walked out, she quickly snatched one of the books off the shelf. The title was 'Nightsister Magic'. It was a copy of the same book that she'd seen in the archive's restricted section at the temple. Quickly looking left and right to make sure she was alone, Rahna leaned against the bookcase and started to thumb through it. The material was restricted, and Rahna knew her mastery of the Force wasn't nearly enough to attempt anything contained within, but she was still curious. There was also the fact the Nightsisters drew upon the dark side of the Force, something she found to be repulsive.

    More than anything she found the commentaries in the book to be quite interesting, including their opinions on the use and application of the Dark Side. From Rahna's point of view, the Nightsisters had a very warped outlook on both life, and the Force itself. Stuffing it into a pocket on the inside of her robe for later reading, she was about to leave when the title on the spine of another book caught her attention. It read 'Tasid's Guide to Easy Living.'

    Naturally curious what someone like Tasid would consider easy living, she took the book and started to flip through it. Skimming over the pages it was written quite well, and discussed a number of ways to make money quickly, easily, and legally. There was also a section about money management, tips on playing the galactic stock exchange and more. Rahna chuckled to herself, thinking it sounded like one of those get rich quick guides that seemingly everyone in the galaxy had. They usually worked too, the person selling the book got rich at the expense of others. That part she didn't consider funny.

    Flipping another page, something caught Rahna's attention. It was so subtle at first she almost missed it. Enough so that Rahna had to hold the page and move it back and forth a few times to find the something. There was a single letter on the page that had been gone over in ink. At a glance you wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary. It was only at an angle when the light reflected off the letter, that she could see a slight discoloration.

    At first Rahna thought it was a trick of the light, but on a hunch she held the next page up, moving it about, finding another letter out of sorts, then another, and another, and another. They weren't just letters, it turned out to be two words. Putting them together in her mind, Rahna rolled her eyes, thinking this was definitely Tasid's doing.

    “Leave it up to a crazy governor to single out the words 'unlimited power' in a book.” The moment she spoke the words 'unlimited power', the bookcase she was leaning on flipped around, she hit the floor, and went tumbling down a set of stairs. Coming to a stop at the bottom in a heap of robes, she let out a small groan, sat up, and tried to collect her thoughts. The whole ordeal was quite disorienting and left her with a headache. After the former subsided, the latter was dealt with by Rahna placing her hands on her temples and focusing on the Force. Once the pain was gone, she opened her eyes. The stairs led down into a dimly lit hallway cut from the stone foundation the mansion sat on.

    “Great investigation skills... Thrad.” Taking the book, she walked back up the stairs to the back of the bookcase and looked around for any sort of switch to open it, but found none. She tried pushing on the bookcase and got nowhere, then spent the next few minutes looking for any sort of pressure switch, but once again came up empty. Walking half way down the steps, she looked up at the back of the bookcase.

    “Fine, tried to do this the nice way.” Extending a hand she sent out a powerful force push. As it hit the back of the bookcase, a large red rune glowed briefly, and the force energy dissipated. “Uh... what?”

    Rahna tried another force push and the rune glowed a second time, negating that one as well. Starting to get annoyed by this, she took her lightsaber, ignited the blade, and drove it into the back of the bookcase. The blade diffused across the surface of the metal in long blue veins of crackling energy, and drawing it back, there was no apparent damage. Placing her hand over the same area, it was barely warm. Now Rahna was starting to get worried. She'd heard about materials that could diffuse a lightsaber blade, but they were usually rare and extremely difficult to come by. As a last resort, she took out her comlink and pressed the button on the side, only to see a small red light appear indicating it couldn't get a signal.

    “Funny, this is starting to feel a lot less like a secret passage, and more like a trap.” Without a way to go back, the only option left was to move forward. Walking down the stairs and further into the slowly darkening tunnel, Rahna used all of her senses, including the Force, to stay alert. She didn't feel anything out of the ordinary, but it was getting too dark to see. With a bit of a sigh she took out her lightsaber as the hallway opened into a room.

    “Defender of the weak, protector of the innocent, and part time flashlight.” With a snap/hiss the blue blade came to life, and that was when she saw something out of the corner of one eye. Turning to see what it was, Rahna came face to face with the gaping maw of a Rancor. Nearly force jumping away she held the lightsaber, waiting for it to attack. Her heart was racing, blood was pumping, and she could nearly hear the pounding of her own heart. Standing there she waited, and waited, but it didn't move. Carefully inching closer, she was finally able to see that the head was just that, a head, mounted on a wall plaque.

    “What is wrong with this guy? Who keeps a Rancor head mounted on their wall, geez!” Still breathing heavily from the adrenaline rush, Rahna's hands were shaking as she continued into the darkness of the room. It was so silent the only thing to be heard was the sound of her own footsteps, and each breath as it was exhaled. Rahna looked around, unable to see anything beyond the dim light coming from the blade of her lightsaber, and also found herself having other problems as well. The Jedi were always taught to control their emotions, and be at peace, but right now she was scared.

    When a spray of colored lights appeared in front of Rahna, she jumped back, swinging the lightsaber around wildly a few times, before realizing it was a hologram. The light took shape, and there in front of her was the image of Governor Tasid. It was the first time she'd seen his face, and he was quite attractive on the surface. He had a strong chin, square jaw, and a slender nose, all set below a pair of jade green eyes. Yet there was a look in them, and the way his lips curled back into a smile, that spoke of an inner darkness that ran far deeper than some might realize.

    “I have to congratulate you, whoever you are. There aren't many who would be able to find this place. Welcome to my own little secret repository of knowledge,” Tasid said. Having been leaning forward ever so slightly, the image stood up, and seem to be looking down on her. It was from both the height difference, and the look of contempt on his face. “I'm sure you're wondering to yourself, if this place is so secret, why did I leave a means for someone to find their way down here. It's quite simple really, to deal with nosy little busybodies that are too smart for their own good. I would say enjoy what you find down here, but you won't live that long. As I figured it would most likely be one of you blasted Jedi that found your way down here, you might have noticed that I've discovered ways of dealing with you too.”

    When the image faded, three bright overhead lights came on. The room Rahna was in was completely empty, and hearing the sound of something slamming, she turned around to see a door behind her with the same force resistant material. When Rahna heard the same sound behind her again, she let out a sigh.

    “Cue the killer walls?” When the walls began to slowly close in, she looked from side to side. “Could you possibly be more cliché if you tried?” Both doors were covered in metal, and the walls were closing in which left Rahna with few options. Rather than panic, she kept calm and thought about the situation. In order for the walls to be moving like this, they had to had been cut from stone, meaning they were thinner than the walls of the passage. Walking over to one she drove the lightsaber into it, listening to the blade hiss and spit in response. The rock began to turn a bright orange and a bit of it even ran down the wall. It took several seconds for the resistance from the blade to stop.

    When she pulled it out, it proved to be a dead end. The lightsaber had burned through, but it had taken much longer than she thought. The wall was too thick to burn a hole through in time to stop it. By her own estimations, Rahna had less than thirty seconds to go before being turned into a human pancake. Walking back to the middle of the room she looked from side to side again, trying to think to herself about what Obi-Wan would do in a situation like this. He would tell her to look beyond the obvious, beyond what she could see, hear, or even feel. As that last word went through her mind, Rahna did feel something, physically.

    It brushed through the tiny hairs on the back of her hand, and Rahna turned around, furrowing her brows. Moving the fingers on her other hand, she felt it again, a tiny little breeze. That was when she saw the source. It was coming from the divide between the door and the wall, and perhaps it was just enough... Reaching out through the Force, Rahna pushed it through and around the door, ignoring the walls as they grew even closer. That was when she found her opening. It wasn't between the door and the wall, but the metal itself. It had separated just enough for the Force to push between them.

    At this point Rahna didn't even bother worrying if she would be able to pry it loose. This was literally a do or die situation, and pulling her arm back in a single powerful gesture, the metal wrenched and screamed as it was torn loose. Drawing her hand back a second time, Rahna struck the stone door with as powerful a force push as she could, over and over again, causing it to crack and finally shatter. Seeing the hallway beyond she nearly dove into it. Unlike action holo-vids the walls didn't slam closed the second she was out, but it wasn't much later. Propped up on her hands, Rahna let out a deep breath and laid back on the floor.

    “I think I'll just rest here for a minute... and have a heart attack, no biggie.” After taking a few minutes to collect herself, Rahna stood up and continued down the hall. It wasn't long before it opened up into another large room, and she could see a table by itself, with a single book sitting in the middle of it. Instead of simply walking inside, she poked her head through the doorway and looked around, not seeing anything else. “This is so a trap, and it totally wants to kill me.”

    The room was fifty foot squared and twenty feet high. Once again with forward being the only direction to go, Rahna stepped through the door, and three steps later it slammed shut behind her. She immediately spun around, lightsaber in hand, but didn't ignite it seeing nothing to threaten her. Rahna carefully looked around only to see she was alone. Approaching the table, the first thing she did was look at it and the book from every angle possible to see if there were any wires or triggers, but couldn't see anything, it was just the book and the table. The last thing she wanted to do was open the book, because she knew that was the whole point.

    Taking a deep breath, she reached out and opened the cover. The pages of the book had been cut out to fit a small electronic device with a photosensitive panel on it. As soon as it was exposed to light, there was a tiny click and a red light started to blink. Above it on the page were five words written in ink, 'You're going to love this.'

    “I seriously doubt that.” Behind her a panel in the wall slid open and the Dark Side energy hit Rahna so hard it made her skin crawl. Diving over the table she rolled, turned, and came up in a kneeling position to see what awaited her, then looked up...

    “Mother f...”
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ooh, Rahna has certainly stumbled on something! [face_worried]
     
  24. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    I en;joyed seeing Qui-Gon displaying his penchant for 'bending' the truth; nice reference to the Ratakan Empire.

    Warped? Wellll, okay. *pictures what Asajj would say to this*

    Ha!

    Nice intrigue throughout your story!=D=
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  25. Antaus

    Antaus Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Thanks, I appreciate the comments. Haven't forgotten about the story, new job's just eating up most of my time.