Title: The Apprentice Timeframe: Around 232 BBY Characters: Original Characters Summary: The Apprentice has one mission. If he succeeds, if he can face the challenges that come his way, he will rise. Notes: So this is my first attempt at writing for the Star Wars universe and I've tried to write it so it could easily fit into both Legends and Disney Canon The Apprentice The Apprentice exited his ship into the humid air of the jungle. He took a deep breath, breathing in the smells of the planet he had landed on, his finely tuned senses picking up every bird call, every growl from every predator that surrounded him. He raised his modified macrobinoculars and looked through them, scanning the vegetation. He smirked to himself as he came upon the peak of a structure, a temple. His target. With the rangefinder software disabled by his master the Apprentice did the calculations in his head, three days walk. He lowered the macrobinoculars and placed them in their holder on his belt. Taking a moment, he assessed his options and his resources. He had been given strict orders not to land the ship at the temple, his master would know, and he could only use what resources and materials were on the ship, his master would know. That left him with very little, a modified macrobinocular, a vibroblade, a few ration packs, some rope, and a blaster with only a small amount of charge left in it. It would be a challenge to complete his task but that was the point, this was his final task as a mere apprentice. Complete this and he would rise. He nodded to himself before twisting round to lock the ship up. As he twisted, however, a shooting pain coursed through him taking him by surprise. He let out a gasp and fell to the floor in pain. The wound that festered on the side of his body sent out another shooting pain through his body and the Apprentice’s mind flashed back to the circumstances in which he had received the wound. The Master and the Apprentice stood together in silence, looking up at the wreck of the spaceship that stood in front of them. “The ship will get you there and get you back, but no more my apprentice. I have seen to it.” His master stated simply, a smirk present on her face as it always was when she presented these tasks to him. The Apprentice nodded in silence, he had learned long ago that silence was a formidable tool in his arsenal, if you were silent ordinary people tended to speak more to fill it, sometimes with useless words but other times with useful and important information. Even though this would never work on his master, who had taught him it herself, it had become a habit of his and one that was not easily dispelled. His master’s smirk deepened, and she turned slightly towards him. “Inside you will find all you need to help you.” Once again, the Apprentice nodded before starting towards the ship. He had only gotten a few steps when he sensed danger behind him, he moved quickly to try and avoid it but moved too slow. He let out a grunt of pain as a blaster bolt hit him in the side and he fell to one knee. He looked up at his master, feeling anger and pain surging through him. His master still had her smirk on her face as she tossed the blaster to him. “Just to make things a little more interesting.” With those parting words she pushed with the Force, sending him sliding up the ramp into the bowels of the ship, leaving him with only his pain, his anger, and his task. Jerking back to the present the Apprentice grabbed the pain and the anger that coursed through him and called on the Force to sustain him. He rose to his feet and shook off the memories of the past, steeling himself for his journey as the Apprentice headed into the jungle. During the first day of his journey the Apprentice found the journey an easy one. He could sense creatures watching him as he moved and could feel their eyes on him. He expanded his awareness outwards, picking up the movements of the creatures. He smiled grimly to himself as his awareness hit upon something big, he stopped and closed his eyes to focus. After a moment he opened his eyes and nodded to himself, it was a Rancor. He ran through his inventory again, taking note of the significant lack of offense materials he had that could hurt the fearsome beast. The beast was a distance away, at least 2 days away he thought, possibly a guard, but it never hurt to prepare in advance. He chewed his lower lip thoughtfully as he ran through his options before chuckling to himself a little. He had forgotten his greatest tool; the Force. There was no greater tool than the Force and he would use it to overcome the Rancor. The next day as he was moving through the jungle the Apprentice came across a small clearing. In the clearing there lay a small pool filled with water and a statue of some woman from the distant past. The Apprentice approached the statue with curiosity and examined it. The statue was looking down into the pool with a satisfied smile on it’s face but at the same time the Apprentice could sense that the subject of the statue had held great power, her face appeared soft and gentle, but the Apprentice knew that she had been a hard and fierce warrior. The realisation came to him in a flash; she was one of the Sith of old. He turned away from the statue and regarded the pool, taking his water bottle from his belt. He scooped down and filled the bottle, taking a long drink from it, it tasted fresh and cold with a slight metallic twang to it. He eyed the pool suspiciously for a moment before looking back at the smirking statue. Shaking his head slightly he continued on his path towards the temple. As he moved between the trees he could feel the heat sapping at his already depleted strength, his blaster wound impeding him further. He knew he would need to rest soon and meditate but he was resolute in his determination to get a little further before then. As he took a step, he felt his strength leave him and he stumbled and fell, he let out a gasp for air as he felt his throat closing on itself. His mind flashed back to the water at the pool and the smirk on the statue, poison. It was the only thing that made sense to him. Still gasping for breath, the Apprentice reached through the Force into his body, seeking out the poison. He managed to identify it but found that he lacked the strength to destroy it. He let out another gasp and clawed at the dirt, pulling himself along. He became dimly aware of a creature approaching him and he weakly lifted his head to look. A small bird had hopped down from its tree to examine him, and it eyed him curiously. With the last vestiges of his strength the Apprentice reached out with one hand and grabbed the bird. It let out a cry and struggled to escape but the Apprentice held on and squeezed. He kept on squeezing, feeding off of the creature’s pain and life as it died. With a final squeeze the Apprentice killed the bird and fed of its death. With some of his strength restored he dove deep into himself, found the poison, and destroyed it, eradicating it from his system. He shakily got to his feet and looked up at the trees surrounding him, there were a number of the same birds looking down on him. He reached out and could sense their puzzlement at what had happened to their own kind. He smiled coldly and reached out with the force taking hold of all of them. He slowly squeezed and fed off of their suffering. He drew their pain out, giving himself more to feed on, before finally snuffing their lives out. He let out a breath as his strength returned and he elected to make camp for the night. On the third, and final, day of the walk he encountered the Rancor. The Apprentice stumbled upon it quite by accident. He had been sat on the floor, meditating, gathering his strength, when the creature came bursting out from the trees. He had risen from the ground as the creature examined him, he could feel the little black eyes fixed on him, feel the curiosity of the creature as it tried to fathom why this new prey was not running. For the Apprentice he stared back at the creature, marvelling at it’s mass and muscle and sheer power it held. It truly was an apex predator in this environment...until he had arrived. The Rancor let out an almighty bellow and started to close the distance between it and him, outwardly he kept calm and patient but inwardly he marvelled at the speed the creature could move at. When the creature was only 50 meters from him the Apprentice raised a single hand up and reached out with the force, touching the creature’s mind. The Rancor stumbled to a stop as it felt the unknown presence touch its mind. The Apprentice flinched slightly as he felt the creature’s mind fight against his, a further reminder of the injuries he had suffered on this mission and how much he still had to learn. Shaking his head, he shoved his wavering thoughts aside and delved into the Rancor’s mind, the temple was close but the creature shied away from it due to the presence of something, or someone. The Apprentice frowned, had someone else come here for the object he had been tasked with retrieving? As before he shoved the thoughts aside, he would face that when he arrived at the temple. Seeking the Rancor’s predatory instincts, he found them and enforced his will upon them, forcing it to moan slightly as it was bought under his dominance. Keeping his control on the creature he stepped closer to it and placed a hand on one of the creature’s legs, feeling the sheer power and muscle that resided in it. For a moment he contemplated using the Rancor to travel the remaining distance and using it to help him confront the unknown being already at the temple. Just as quickly the Apprentice discarded the idea, the temple was close, and the Rancor had already shown that it’s aversion and fear would not allow it to be of use. The Apprentice closed his eyes and delved further into the Rancor’s mind, once he had found the right spot his pushed hard, the creature let out a moan and knelt low as he forced the creature’s body to shut itself down, killing itself. The creature fell with a loud thud as it died, the Apprentice eyed for a moment before dismissing it from his mind and moving on to his ultimate target. The Apprentice let out a sigh of relief as he entered a clearing and the temple. Up close it was bigger than it had first seemed. It had a large base with four towers thrusting up from the corners and meeting in the middle to create a form of pyramid. Moss and vegetation were slowly encroaching on it and had fully overtaken one corner of the temple and was beginning to overtake more portions of it. A large entrance whole was situated directly in front of him and he could feel the call of the object he had been sent for. He took a step towards the temple and stumbled as pain from his wound washed over him. He gritted his teeth and shoved the pain aside before taking a quick sweep of the surrounding area. With a jolt he stopped and pulled his Force presence back into him, restricting his access. He had felt another Force user. Had his master sent another? Was this a further test? Had she broken the rule of two? With the Apprentice having restricted his access to force so severely he could feel his wound all the more clearly now, the pain emanating from it threatening to take him under into the nothingness of unconsciousness. He shook his head fiercely, he still had things to do, he still had his mission, his task. He let out a cry of pain as he stumbled and fell to his hands and knees, his vision beginning to darken. With a final gasp he fell to the ground. Dimly he could hear a voice calling out to him but he was already lost to the numbing embrace of oblivion.