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Before - Legends The Curse of the Jedi's Tomb (JA-era, OCs, repost)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mistress_Renata, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. Darth_Drachonus

    Darth_Drachonus Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 4, 2005
    I like the longer chapters. Short chapters leave me wanting more in a fidgety way, the longer chapters leave me wanting more in an anticipatory way
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  2. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    Beard vs. Arwen, Round 2: Winner - Beard.
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  3. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    I'm a little afraid to try posting things, what with all the instability on the boards. But it's Tuesday, and Tuesday is Curse Day. So, even though I’ve had two false starts so far, let’s give this a shot!
    Ball is in the Master's court, now! :p

    Okay, good to know. Some people feel that long is harder to read and off-putting, so I'm always a bit uncertain. Tonight's is shorter, simply because that's where there was a natural break. But in future, if the chapter runs long, I won't worry so much about trying to find a comfortable way to break it.

    * * *

    Arwen shivered, wrapping her cloak more securely around her as they walked down the ramp of the Viceroy's shuttle. Compared with the soft, balmy weather of Tonkata, it was harder and harder to come back to the chilly, damp air of Necropolis. And the feeling that surrounded her, the sad, dead feeling didn't improve things any. Even the miraculous beauty of the snow didn't make it any better.

    Trett was very pleased with his meeting last night. He refused to admit it was a date. They had watched the holovids over breakfast. Arwen thought they were interesting, but not particularly useful. Mostly, they were skillfully edited versions of the history that was known, with eerie, atmospheric shots of Necropolis to give an additional flavor. Trett had mentioned the timing of the phenomena, and Arwen had to agree that it seemed convenient that the number of sightings had increased shortly after the Visitor's Center opened.

    "Especially if you consider the admission fees and the business from the gift shop," she added.

    Trett nodded. "I'm going to take a look at the security cams and droids in the area," he said. "They've recording sightings, and such, but I wonder if they couldn't also project something? Could you see if you can get any idea of the financial records for the Center?"

    "Going back how far, Master?"

    Trett thought for a minute. "Six years," he said. "Gastle took over shortly after that." Arwen nodded. Even if she couldn't get to the restricted records, that information should be available in the Director's Annual Report, which was a public record.

    Trett headed back towards the Tomb, using one of the staff hovertrams. The crowds parted in front of him. He was used to the stares by now. The conservators and security crew weren't happy with his plans for the day --neither was Gastle. Trett wondered if the Director knew he was a suspect. Reva Nova fell into step beside him.

    "Hi!" she said. "What are we doing today?"

    "I am going to have a look at the security cameras. Then I want to take a look at the top of the tomb."

    "And what are we looking for?"

    Trett frowned at her. He knew she was teasing him, but today he wasn't in the mood for it. "Evidence of foul play," he said. Reva nodded, catching his mood, and keyed up her camdroids.

    He pulled the small repulsor platform out of the tram, and set it up. It was a long morning, slowly elevating himself to the level of the security cams, opening them up, and examining them. He was pleased with what he found. They were, as he'd suspected, designed to transmit as well as record. All he had to do now was find where the "ghost" recording was in the security center.

    He stood on the ground, looking up at Callo's Tomb. He didn't want to tackle that with all the crowds around. He had an idea, but he'd have to clear it with Gastle. The question was, would Gastle agree?

    Trett replaced the repulsor platform in the tram and headed back to the Center. Arwen was up in the Archives, going through the records. He hoped she'd be able to turn up something else he could use.

    Gastle was in his office, and welcomed him politely. "Yes, Master Trett, what else can we do for you? I trust you are making progress in your investigation."

    "Thank you, Director. I have a few ideas, but I need to examine the Tomb more carefully. It is, as you know, difficult to do when there are so many crowds around. I was hoping we could get permission to spend the night here on Necropolis."

    Gastle frowned. "With all the vandalism? Master Trett, with all respect, I'm not sure it would be safe."

    A memory of his former Master flashed through his mind. Trett folded his arms in his sleeves and looked at Gastle, raising one eyebrow politely. The man flushed. Trett let him squirm for a moment, then said gently, "I'm sure the security on Necropolis will be more than adequate to protect us, Director."

    The Director shifted in his chair. "The guard droids patrol regularly," he admitted. Trett nodded.

    "Of course," he said smoothly. "No doubt you can provide us with a transceiver or some such sort of thing that Arwen-dai and I can carry which will signal to the droids that we are not intruders. After all, I believe that, according to your records, other investigators have spent the night here without difficulty."

    Gastle's shoulders slumped in defeat. "Yes," he admitted. "In fact, I've agreed to allow Reva to stay here tonight. You may as well stay, too, I'm sure she'll be pleased to have company." He punched a few orders into a commpanel. "You can pick up transceivers at the Security desk. There will be two human guards on duty there tonight, if there's an emergency." He hesitated. "Will you need shelter, or--?"

    "We have everything we need in our survival kits."

    Gastle nodded. "Reva usually puts down a pallet in one of the tombs. She's a better soul than I am; although I don't consider myself superstitious, I'd get the willies."

    Trett rose, and bowed politely to Gastle. "Thank you for your cooperation, Director. We will do our best to cause a minimum amount of disruption to your staff." Without waiting for the Director's acknowledgement, he turned and headed to the Security office, anxious to pick up the transceivers before Gastle changed his mind. He couldn't tell what Gastle was thinking, but he sensed that Gastle was nervous. And nervous men often did dangerous things.
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  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Late again, but I'm all caught up!

    I loved the non-date between Trett and Reva (and I was drooling all along at the description of their food!) Some of the things they said amidst all the flirtatiousness were no doubt important to the story, and now I'm doubly-triply curious to know why the opening of the visitor's centre has to do with the ghost... especially since we know that there's at least one non-ghost doing weird stuff out there, and a little bird is telling me that it's not Gastle.

    I laughed out loud at Trett's realisation that what Arwen didn't like is his beard. She went very heavy on the hint this time... and I love the idea that he won't shave right away to show who's boss.

    And now I'm curious to see how the elements that appeared in the discussion between Trett and Reva are going to play out. Will the financial records show something? Or maybe show that something is missing? What about the security recordings? And, most importantly, I can't wait to see what happens during a night that Trett and Reva spend in the graveyard with Arwen as a chaperone! (Okay, I'm also curious to see how he'll investigate the fountain...)

    And, ahem, hey, it was Tuesday two days ago and you didn't update, and I like long updates too... *hint, hint*
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  5. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Sorry it's been so long getting back to this! It's been tricky having time to get online while I was visiting my family. Now I'm back, unpacked and (mostly) sorted out.

    You're asking all the right questions, @Chyntuck, and picking up all the clues! Maybe I need to be more subtle next time? ;)
    * * *

    It was a quiet morning, spent poring through databanks. Arwen noted that Trett's hunch was right, and copied the public financial reports for the last six years. When Gastle came in, he'd launched some ambitious fundraising efforts to build the Visitor Center, and there had been a huge increase in tourism, even though there wasn't much of an advertising campaign to attract visitors. They all seemed to have come in response to the book. Arwen made a note to herself to send a message to the author, and ask her about her contacts with Gastle. She also wanted to see if the Viceroy's staff could give her any help on gaining access to some of Gastle's personal financial records. The Director's salary seemed modest, but he lived in one of Saffrilla's most fashionable districts, and his clothes seemed to be very high quality.

    She hoped to brief Trett on her findings over lunch in the Museum's café, but he didn't show up. She decided to take a break and went back to the Crypt, ignoring the groupies, who, for the most part, stayed at a respectful distance from her. Apart from a few holocams aimed in her direction, they left her alone. She was sure she could find the entrance, if she could just focus. As she had before, she dropped to her knees on the snowy path, and took up the litany of the mantara... "There is no fear, there is strength. There is no anger, there is peace. There is no hatred, there is the Force." She felt someone move to stand at her shoulder, and she ignored him. "There is no fear, there is strength. There is no anger, there is peace. There is no hatred, there is--"

    The Force.

    Arwen opened her eyes as she heard someone else finish the mantra. She could see across the moat into the smooth fall of water over polished black rock. It reflected her image back with mirror-like clarity. No one else was there. And yet she could sense someone, standing behind her, a little to the right.

    The hairs on the back of her neck rose, and she stared back into the waterfall. She was alone on the walkway --but someone else was reflected there now, beside her! A figure in white--

    She jumped to her feet and whirled to look behind her again. Nothing, and then--and then something shimmered, an amorphous pale blue light, beginning to form a shape, a person, close enough to touch... Startled, she stepped back, and the sole of her boot skidded on the snowy crust covering the walk. And then she was falling, backward, into the moat...

    The water was so cold it burned, tearing the breath from her lungs. She swallowed a mouthful of frigid water, and choked, instinctively trying to kick her way back to the surface.

    Her head broke the water, but she couldn't get any air. For a moment, she felt a ringing in her ears, wondered frantically what to do...

    Then something had her by the back of her collar, heaving her up to drop her on the solid ground. For a moment, she lay there, coughing up ice water, and gasping for oxygen. Someone was gently rubbing her back. She blinked ice out of her eyes. Trett looked back at her anxiously.

    "What happened?" he asked.

    I saw a ghost and fell in the moat.

    "Slipped," she gasped.

    He frowned. "You'll have to be careful," he warned her. "The snow makes things slick." He glanced across the moat at the smooth waterfall. "They should really have a guard rail here. Are you all right?"

    She nodded as he helped her to her feet, steadying her. She coughed some more, and finally drew a deep breath, wincing as the cold air sliced through her chest like a vibroblade. Trett shook his head.

    "Take the shuttle to Tonkata," he said. "You'd better go back and change into dry clothes. Then come back and bring the survival packs with you. We're going to spend the night here. We'll probably have better luck tracking down this 'ghost' without mobs of tourists following us around."

    Arwen stared at him in disbelief, then nodded, shivering. She'd thought she was losing her mind!

    Three hours later, she was in the soaking tub in the Viceroy's guest quarters, immersed up to her ears in wonderful, hot, sweetly-scented water. Outside the window, she could see the sunshine on the elegant formal gardens. The guest chambers were palatial, her bathing room was as big as most Temple classrooms! The food would make the most jaded gourmet weep for jealousy. And her Master wanted to sleep in a tent in the snow surrounded by a city of dead people.

    Reluctantly, she levered herself out of the tub, rubbed herself dry with a thick, soft towel, and dressed, adding a few extra layers for warmth. The survival packs were ready to go. She just wanted to check for messages before catching the shuttle back to the Necropolis.

    Emma3Jane's cheerful faced shimmered into view.

    "Hi, Arwen! Hope it's going well there. I did find out something about the Necropolis on Saffrilla. Believe it or not, it's the site of one of the last battles of the Sith War! Master Iggiri Grox and his Padawan, Tom Callibo, fought and killed the last Sith Lord there. Grox was killed, and Callibo died of his injuries a few days later. That's all there is; I would assume their remains were sent back to the Temple, but it's possible the Saffrillans built a memorial there to them. There isn't much in any other records, but you know all the Sith stuff is pretty well restricted. I'll keep looking, just in case I can turn anything up. And I'll ask Master Morsai if he can get into those restricted records. Anyway, let me know if this helps." She hesitated.

    "I'm sorry what I said about Trett," she added. "I know I was out of line. I know his reputation, but if he was really like that, the Council would have dismissed him long ago. Please don't be angry at me. If you trust him, then there is more there than anyone talks about. I know your judgments are usually good ones. Please, Arwen, let me know if you can forgive me. Please? May the Force be with you!" Emma3Jane's face faded out.

    Arwen looked thoughtfully at the empty screen. The pyramid as a monument to the Jedi? That would explain the legend. And if a Sith Lord had died there, could that dark energy have somehow been absorbed by the surroundings? On top of all the sorrow permeating the graves...But the actual entities, their life spirits, would have gone back into the Force, they wouldn't be hovering around! What was that dark thing she'd followed? She hadn't imagined that.

    Perhaps none of this was relevant. She'd tell Trett when she got back to Necropolis. He could decide what to do with the information.

    She bowed her head. It was difficult to forgive Emma3Jane's aspersions on a man she had learned how to trust, a man she was growing to love and admire. But she felt that Emma3Jane had been sincere in her apology. And Trett didn't have the best reputation with his colleagues. He was considered much too impulsive. That could change. She'd help change it. She'd find a way that they could show the others in the Order that he was as strong and committed to the teachings as anyone! Of course, it would help if he'd start by getting rid of that fargling beard. She couldn't believe he hadn't taken the hint she'd left on his pillow.

    With a sigh, she sat down at the terminal to send Emma3Jane a response, and to see what she could get on Gastle's background before she had to go up to Necropolis again. At least it meant she'd be warm for another half an hour.
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  6. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    O-ho! The plot thickens! If Gastle is indeed skimming money off the tourism revenue, he wouldn't want the ghost sightings to stop, would he? And, ahem, it actually does begin to look like there's a ghost, even if Arwen thinks she's been having a hallucination. Plus, Emma3Jane's info does seem to indicate that there's something Force-related going on here... but where's the baddie?

    Oh, and Arwen vs beard, Round 3: the winner is, once again, the beard. I wonder if Arwen will come up with an even heavier hint, now that she thinks the previous one didn't work!
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  7. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Layers and layers... like a good detective, Trett will follow the money! But there are layers... [face_devil]

    Get comfy and grab your popcorn. From here on in, things get...interesting...:cool:
    * * *

    The shadows lengthened, and grew blue as the tourist crowds wandered back to the shuttle pad. Guide droids and guards gently herded the last few stragglers away. Trett waited until they were alone, and together they set the temporary shelter up in a bare stone plaza, only a short distance from Callo's tomb. Callibo's, Arwen reminded herself.

    Trett was preparing to climb to the top of the Tomb to find evidence of tampering. He hoped that whatever had released the colored dye into the water would have left something concrete behind. Arwen uncoiled the rope, and looked up to the top of the pyramid unenthusiasticaly. It was going to be a long, cold climb. Trett aimed the cable launcher, and hit the marble near the pinnacle of the pyramid. He pulled at the cord. The girl shifted from foot to foot.

    "Are you sure you don't want me to come with you, Master?" she asked. He shook his head.

    "No, I don't think that's necessary. It shouldn't take me long to look around up there, and it will be very cold walking through that waterfall. You can stay down here with Miss Nova."

    Arwen sighed, and sank to her knees, pulling her cloak around her, and watching anxiously as he slowly began to climb up the side of the pyramid. The sun had dropped over the horizon, and it was bitterly cold. She looked up at Saffrilla, looming in the sky overhead, a deep, hazy violet, then looked at the four moons which were visible. The other tombs were stark and white. With the crowds gone, there was a deep, utter silence; a different sort of silence from the hush of the Temple. There, there was life, a warm, living vibration in the Force all around, so that the hush seemed welcoming. Here, there was nothing. No life. Just cold, empty stillness.

    Reva had been moving around, filming Trett's cautious ascent, and now she dropped down to kneel beside the girl.

    "He's very brave," she said.

    Arwen nodded. "I hope he put glove liners on," she said. "It must be freezing up there."

    Reva looked at her curiously. "Have you been together long?" she asked.

    Arwen did a mental count, never taking her eyes off the figure slowly ascending to the top of the pyramid. He had two steps of the pyramid left to go. "Four months," she said.

    "That's not very long. Did you know him before you went with him as his student?"

    Arwen didn't respond. She felt her skin prickle. It had to be the cold. Trett had reached the top. Arwen held her breath, watching as he moved around cautiously on the slick platform crowning the black pyramid. He crouched down for a while. She couldn't see what he was looking at.

    Reva punched a control on a hand monitor, trying to angle one of the remotes and elevate it to get a better shot. "What is he looking for up there?" she asked. "The entrance?"

    "No, he's looking for--"

    Trett straightened, waved at her, and threw something down over the side. Arwen stood up and caught it easily. A cylinder with a time valve. She unscrewed the top and looked inside. There was a thick residue. She dabbed at it. The substance that had turned the waterfall red.

    "Here's the 'blood,'" she said. Reva directed a handcam at it.

    "Great," she said. "What's the chemical name?"

    "It's a mix. Glyceriolate as a thickener, myozene as a stabilizer, red dye six as pigment, and traces of some other stuff. The conservation lab got that off the sample we took at the waterfall, and I'm sure this will turn out to be the same."

    Reva grinned. "Bet a packet of vweilieu nuts that you're right!" Arwen looked at her curiously, then looked up the side of the pyramid. Trett was descending slowly, more carefully than he'd ascended.

    When he was about halfway down, she heard something approaching, and turned her head to see.

    Reva glanced sideways. "Guard droids," she said. "We've got the transceivers. They'll ignore us."

    Except that the droids suddenly brought up their sidearms and fired. Reva dived sideways while Arwen rolled under the bolts. Trett looked down, then let go of the cord, and jumped, doing a backflip in mid-air. He rolled, to absorb the shock of the impact, and came up with his lightsaber blazing, deflecting the deadly bolts.

    "They're shooting to kill!" cried Arwen in shock. She fumbled for her transceiver. It was transmitting the clearance signal, why were the droids attacking?

    "Arwen, run!" ordered Trett. "Get Reva back to the Visitors' Center! Tell the guards in the booth to shut down the droids!"

    "But--" Arwen bit her lip. How could she leave him like that, alone, to fight off the droids? The blasts were fast and thick. She pressed herself behind a stone gargoyle. Reva had ducked around the side of a crypt, and peered out.

    "Go!" He didn't have the breath or the time to say much else, he was completely absorbed in deflecting the bolts from all of them. Arwen's heart ached. As his Padawan, she should be fighting at his side! Without a lightsaber, she was useless. Or...maybe not.

    He couldn't order her to run again, he couldn't take his attention away from what he was doing. Arwen crouched as small as she could, and reached out with her mind, with the Force. She felt the mass of the droids, cold, lifeless objects. She envisioned the Force as a great scoop, and shoved. One droid reeled, wildly firing bolts off over their heads. She hadn't quite managed her objective with that. The other one, though, she successfully shoved off the walkway and into the icy moat surrounding Callo's tomb. It sank, too heavy to float. The first droid turned, blasting with renewed energy. Arwen ducked, flinching as a chunk of the gargoyle's snout crashed down past her left ear.

    "Go!" panted Trett, whirling to put himself in its path. Arwen took off down the snowy walkway, grabbing Reva's arm and racing towards the hovertram. The shaken journalist took over the controls.

    "Get in!" she cried. Arwen shook her head, and tossed the cylinder at her.

    "Go to the Visitor's Center," she said.

    "He told you to run!"

    Arwen shook her head again. "My duty is to help him." She gasped as a blast bolt shot out from another side alley. More guard droids! She avoided the shots –barely-- and scrambled backwards. The droids moved towards her, ignoring Reva completely. Understanding flashed into her head.

    "The droids are tracking us, not you!" she cried. "Your transceiver is working! Go back to the Security office and tell them to shut down the droids!"

    The journalist faltered, then a grim look came over her face as two remotes swooped past her, ignoring her in pursuit of the young Jedi apprentice.

    "I'll be back!" she called, pushing the hovertram as fast as it would go. Arwen didn't wait to watch her leave, and instead summoned the Force. Between that and the lower gravity of the moon, she vaulted easily over a high, spiked iron gate, then ducked into the doorway of a nearby crypt, hoping to elude them. She paused for breath. The remotes could go over the gate, and the other droids could fire through it. She wouldn't be safe for long.

    Panting, she pulled out her commlink, and punched in the number for the security center. There was no answer. Shavit! She looked over her shoulder. Somehow, she had to find a way to help Trett. She had failed Tyri, and lost the Mistress she'd loved. She would not fail him. She couldn't bear to live if she lost him, too.

    The remotes had located her and she had to run. How many droids and remotes were on the planet? They weren't tracking Reva, they were focusing on her and Trett. If she could draw them away from him...

    She gathered herself, and climbed up over the gate again, trying to avoid the metal spikes. A bolt crashed near her head, and she jumped to the ground, running to the left. She began to trace a wide loop through the walkways surrounding the Jedi's Tomb, noting several guard droids headed towards it. Deliberately, she ran across their path, putting herself in their targeting computers. Now all she had to do was lead them away from her Master. She peeked once over her shoulder. There were five of them! And three remotes! She bit her lip, and concentrated on running. This might not have been one of her better ideas...

    * * *

    Now is the time. Now they are vulnerable. I was told not to attack them. But when they die, no one will ever know I was here. It's perfect.

    Silently, he began to move.
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  8. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    I already had popcorn. :p
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  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    I ate all my popcorn and had some of the bucket too...

    Okay. Wow. So. A can of dye with a time valve on top of the pyramid – how did it get there, and how was the timing chosen? Or was it actually Force activated? And then, guard droids that ignore transceivers, or transceivers that don't work, or... Either the baddie has a contact among the cemetery staff, or he's much stronger in the Force than I thought.

    Also, the baddie is taking orders from someone... but whom? *scratches head* Could it be that he's in cahoots with Gastle? That would explain why the visitor's centre isn't answering, but... [face_dunno]

    Meanwhile, it was nice to see Trett in lightsaber-wielding mode, and Arwen in reckless mode :p This night in the graveyard is turning out to be full of adventures, and the ghosts haven't even turned up yet!

    Bring on more popcorn! I'm ready for the next chapter whenever you post it.
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  10. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    *Sits on edge of seat, munches popcorn* Can't wait to see where this goes.

    #Beard Wars
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  11. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Okay, sorry for the delay! It's pretty much action from here, all the exposition is done.

    Glad you got a refill! I promise, the Beard Wars will be resolved by the end. :D

    Layers and layers...

    Give it time... :D

    * * *
    Gone. Safe, he hoped. Trett didn't know if a hovertram could outrun a guard droid or remote, and right now he didn't have time to worry. The main thing was that Arwen and Reva were out of danger. He was in good condition, but it seemed as if he'd been fighting these things for hours. He originally hadn't wanted to damage them, but he couldn't last forever. Gastle would be upset, but he'd have other things to worry about soon enough. Especially since Trett was pretty sure Gastle had arranged for them to get altered transceivers.

    Grimly, Trett deflected the blasts, trying to relax and let the Force help him. One shot he aimed back at a remote, which veered and smashed into another.

    Arwen had pushed one of the droids into the moat --he felt a tingle of pride at his young Padawan's quick thinking-- and he ducked under the remaining guard droid, bringing his saber up in a smooth arc that slashed through the metal arms, severing them and leaving it helpless. It continued to track him with its targeting computer, but at least it couldn't shoot.

    He paused, winded, and slowly began to walk back in the direction of the Visitor's Center.

    A noise to his left alerted him, and he spun out of the way, activating his saber in time to fend off a stream of shots. Three more droids rolled into view. Spawn of the Sith! Where are they all coming from?

    He moved then, trying to ward off the blasts and get closer, slashing one into scrap and disarming the second. Something struck him in the back, on his right side, above the kidney, and he collapsed in agony. He hadn't been aware of the remote that had moved in behind him.

    The remaining droid closed in, pointing its sidearms straight down at him.

    Focus, Trett! He found the remote in the Force, and hurled it at the guard droid, rolling out of the way and scrambling to his feet. A surge of adrenaline gave him the energy to run as the droid, with its targeting computer smashed, began firing wildly in all directions.

    He found cover temporarily in a niche, beside a statue of a weeping woman, and sought strength. The AgriCorps was always looking for recruits, he thought wistfully. And it was a healthy life, working outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine.

    He'd better keep moving. He was beginning to feel light-headed, and his side was getting numb. Going into shock, he warned himself.

    There was only one droid in sight when he slipped out from his refuge. It opened fire like the rest. He deflected blasts, dodged, and they missed him now only by millimeters as he lost his concentration and began to succumb to exhaustion. A bolt went wild, hitting a shiny strip of metal making a delicate curve to a gargoyle's wing, and he wasn't able to dodge fast enough to avoid it, able only to bring his arm up to protect his face in an ancient reflex.

    "Aargh!" He staggered, spun to avoid a final shot, wondering how long he'd last left-handed.

    And then the droid froze, with its blasters ready. Trett waited, then moved cautiously. It didn't move or turn its scanners to track him.

    He did collapse then, as his knees buckled in relief. They'd gotten through! He reached for his commlink.

    "Arwen." Silence.

    "Arwen?" After several minutes with no answer, he began to worry. He'd at least had a lightsaber, she'd been defenseless! Had something happened to her on the way back to the Visitor's Center?

    Have to find her. That was the first thought in his head, the only desire in his heart. His body had other ideas. Only pure will was keeping him upright at all.

    And now that he'd finished all that physical activity, he was beginning to feel chilled as the sweat-dampened tunic froze against his skin.

    Okay. Right foot on ground, balance on left knee. So far, so good. Palms on ground for balance, left foot on ground. Come on, you can do this, you know you can!

    Eventually he made it upright. He didn't know how long he was going to be able to stay there. He groped his way to the side of the walkway and leaned against the wall. He tried to find the Force...on a planet with no life, it was very hard to find. There was a deep humming noise, and he closed his eyes, certain that he was going into shock.

    "Need a lift, hot stuff?" Trett opened his eyes, and saw Reva in the hovercar. She lost her grin quickly as she realized what condition he was in. In a moment, she'd leaped out of the hovertram and ran to support him.

    "Shavit, you've been hit!" she said. He turned his head.

    "It's not that bad."

    "Liar." She tried to help him into the tram and he hissed in pain.

    "The arm..." he said.

    "Sorry, here..." She went to his other side, ducked under his good arm, and supported him as she lowered him into the passenger side.

    "Just relax, we'll be there soon."

    At the Visitor's Center, the security guards came rushing out to him, and helped him into the administration area. Trett waited patiently while one of the guards began to put a pressure patch on the blast wound. He looked around.

    "Where's Arwen?"

    "Oh, I forgot about her! I'd better go look for her."

    "Look for her?" Trett forgot the exhaustion and pain as he sat up to stare at the producer in horror. "She's with you!"

    "N-no. My transceiver was working. She sent me back to the Security Center, and said she'd go back to help you!" Reva stared back at him, turning pale. "She--she never found you?"

    Now he really felt sick. "No," he said hoarsely.

    Reva bit her lip. "I'll go get her."

    "No, that's my job!" He started to get up, but Reva put her hands on his shoulders and pushed him down again. It sent rivers of pain through him, and he had to listen to her, because he was temporarily unable to talk.

    "Listen to me!" she said. "You have been shot! Twice! That is a major physical trauma and by all rights you shouldn't be standing at all! If you go out again, you'll probably go into shock. I don't care if you're the Lord Imperial High Master of all the Jedi, the human body has its limits! So how is she going to feel when you go into shock and collapse, coming for her, hmm?"

    Trett opened his mouth to argue, then shut it again. To an extent, Reva was right. It would be hard enough convincing Arwen that his injury wasn't her fault. She still felt guilty over Tyri's death, though Force knew she'd nearly died herself, trying to prevent it. She'd blame herself for this, too.

    He glared up at the woman looming over him. "You're bossy!" he complained.

    "And you're stubborn. But you know I'm right. Stay here until I come back, then we'll all head down to the Med Center. I'll find her, I promise!"

    She turned and ran for the door while Trett fumbled for his commlink. Still no answer. The churning in his stomach increased, and he was sure it had nothing to do with his wounds.

    The second security officer finished bandaging his side, and Trett nodded a thank you. Then he pushed himself out of the chair, and moved slowly to the security console, flanked by the two worried guards.

    "Can you cue up the vidcams around 1138?" he asked, breathless. Even that short walk had taken a lot out of him.

    "Sure." The man pulled in the views for Sector 18. Trett concentrated as several images flashed quickly across the flat screen. He spotted Reva in the hover tram, headed back towards Callo's Tomb as quickly as the small vehicle would allow. He also saw the remaining guard droids, deactivated and frozen in place. But there was no sign of a small, black-haired girl. He waited, watching the vids through several cycles.

    Then he spotted something and said, "Hold it! Go back!"

    The guard bent over the controls, studying them. "Go back, cue cam...sixty, Lys," he said. His colleague made an adjustment, and they looked to the young Jedi Master for confirmation.

    Anxiety swept through him, leaving him lightheaded. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes to center himself, and looked at the screen again.

    It was a small pile of light beige fabric, crumpled by the walkway around Callo's Tomb. He'd mistaken it for snow. Arwen's cloak. But no sign of Arwen.

    "Can you run that cycle again? A bit more slowly?" he asked.

    "Lys, run it again at 45," said the security chief.

    She wasn't there. She hadn't answered the comm. There was only one way to be sure.

    Trett sank to his knees, ignoring the complaints of many nerve endings, closed his eyes, and gathered the Force into himself, letting it penetrate and fill him. Then, he reached outward. It shouldn't be hard to find her. There were only six living beings on the whole moon, and her signature was familiar. Come on, little one, where are you? Their bond was very new, very fragile.

    But it was there! He could sense her now, so faint. Eagerly, he reached out to her through the Force. Where are you?

    Her response came back, weak, a muzzy ripple of distress. Trouble! She was in danger. The droids had been deactivated, she couldn't be in danger from them. But if she'd been wounded--

    And something else came through suddenly, battering at his shields, a powerful swell of cold hatred that made him queasy. He didn't know what to make of that! Except that he had to find his Padawan now, injury or no injury!

    He pushed himself back to his feet, holding himself still until the room stopped spinning, and headed for the door. The security chief ran up to him and grabbed his good arm.

    "Master Trett, please! You must stay quiet!"

    "I need to get to Arwen right away!"

    "Look, you don't mess around with blast wounds! You heard what Miss Nova said about shock! Why don't you just settle down and-"

    Trett looked him straight in the eyes and said quietly, "I am going to find my Padawan now." Don't even think of trying to stop me! His eyes narrowed.

    He didn't need to use the Force at all to make his point. The man swallowed.

    "I'll go get a hovertram," he said. "Just wait out front."

    Trett went through the Visitor's Center, moving like an old man, ignoring the pain that vibrated through his body. Leaning against the wall, he sent out one last wave of the Force towards Arwen, strength to keep her going until he could rescue her.

    You're not alone, little one! I'm coming! Hold on!
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  12. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    Gosh, Trett sounds like he's trying to compete with Obi-Wan for Stubbornest Patient! [face_laugh]
  13. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    [face_laugh] What Cowgirl said!

    Great action scene with Trett and the droids, and then Reva coming to the rescue. I particularly enjoyed that bit and then when she's schooling Trett, she's my kind of gal.

    Interesting that the droids got deactivated while Trett was on the trip to the Visitor's Centre. Hmmm. I can't imagine who did that [face_thinking]

    And what happened to Arwen? If the baddie is in the vicinity and she doesn't have a lightsaber, this could be bad [face_nail_biting]
    Mistress_Renata likes this.
  14. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Trett is older than Obi-Wan (who is Arwen's age), so I suspect we know who OWK had as a role model! It is not ENTIRELY true that Trett ended up in the Healers' Ward at the end of every fic about him...but he didn't have a good track record. The Jedi must have an excellent health care plan.
    I never actually wrote any other stories with her in it... hmm... maybe I need to remedy that. For Halloween. [face_pumpkin] She, of course, is responsible for the deactivation of the droids, having taken the tram to the Visitor's Center to notify Security before coming back to help. The timeline might seem confusing, but these segments are all sort of happening simultaneously.
    I am an evil author, of COURSE it will be bad! [face_devil]

    Sorry to keep you hanging so long...

    * * *

    Arwen was almost completely winded, and getting a sharp pain in her side. The droids were relentless. She scrambled under a bench, crouching there to let them go past. She didn't know what kind of scanners they were using; their initial sensors were visual only. She might have a few seconds before they turned back in full scan mode. She tried to raise the Security Office on her commlink again. No answer.

    Suppressing a groan, she pulled the transceiver out of her pocket, and looked at it. It was powered up, and sending out a signal, but not the right one, apparently. Her mind raced. If she could alter the signal to cycle, she might hit the correct one. She slipped out from under the bench, looking quickly to see if the guard droids were following, and headed back for their shelter. She couldn't hear blaster fire in the area. Either Trett had left the Tomb, or-- No. There was no "or". She would not allow herself to consider any other possibility, except that he had somehow escaped the guards. And Reva would be at the Center soon. Maybe.

    She moved quickly around the shelter, looking for the small tool kit. She was anxious to get back to Trett. Something stirred her, a presence. Arwen held her breath for a moment as she felt the hair on the back of her neck rise. Slowly she turned, staring into the corner. The air there was moving, rippling like the surface of a pool in a breeze. As she watched, there was a pale ball of blue light beginning to form and coalesce. She heard the voice in her head.


    Involuntarily, she stepped back, disbelieving what her eyes were telling her. And then she was aware of someone else, a second presence, a darker one.

    She spun and leaped backward as the side of the shelter was slashed open by a glowing red saber blade. The dark one wielding it moved forward. Instinctively, she sent the Force at it like a wall, pushing it back. She had barely enough time to duck out under the flap as it attacked again, bringing the shelter down into a pile of rubbish in the snow. And then it --no, he!--was after her.

    She raced down twisting walkways, past the unseeing gaze of gargoyles and replicas, mummies staring coldly through the windows of the crypts. Ahead, she spotted a remote float by. It beeped out an alarm, and swooped at her. I don't need this! She dove, and rolled to avoid the bolts it shot at her. These wouldn't kill her, but they'd injure her pretty badly. And the person would probably finish her off. If she could only get to the Visitor's Center!

    It was small comfort to realize that she wasn't the only target. The remote aimed a stream of shots at her pursuer as well. He deflected them easily, and too well. One went back to its origin, and the drone crashed to the ground with a shower of sparks. Another he'd sent towards her, and she veered right sharply, feeling a rush of warm air as it missed her left ear by centimeters.

    She saw something ahead of her, something pale. A Jedi? Master!

    This way!

    Only it wasn't Trett. She faltered then, and had to slide left, rolling again as the dark pursuer brought his saber blade crashing down where she'd been standing. There was a hiss and shriek of metal as it slashed off part of an elaborate trellis.

    She sought the damaged chunk of metal with the Force, throwing it back up at her attacker, and took advantage of the precious seconds to duck down another twisting walkway. She was hopelessly lost. She heard blasters as the guard droids appeared on the main path, and opened up at the dark one.

    Arwen slipped into a niche, trying to catch her breath and get her bearings.

    Here! Arwen stared at the figure in the distance, shimmering. The Jedi. Callo? No, Callibo. A Padawan.

    "There's no such thing as ghosts!" she whispered.


    Undecided, she looked behind her. It was a mistake. The dark thing --a renegade Jedi?-- was coming. Trust your feelings, trust the Force. Trett couldn't help her right now, and she hadn't done a very good job of helping him. If he was still alive. Arwen ran towards the shimmering figure.

    It appeared in front of her, always a distance away, and she followed it blindly, racing over icy bridges, ducking under low filigree metal arches, threading her way through fields of statues and candles, observed by the blank eyes of the dead. And the dark thing was right behind her. Gaining on her. Ahead of her loomed Callo's tomb. Callibo's tomb.

    It--he was coming after her. Without a saber, she was defenseless. She tried to reach out, to find that fragile thread that bound her to Trett, to warn him. But the dark person was coming too fast!

    She raced around a corner, wondering what to do. Something shimmered in the waterfall beside her. She skidded to a stop, staring.

    Her face stared back, pale and anxious. And the other face beside her, the other Padawan. He was there too, somewhere, somehow. Not now, not here, she didn't have time!

    Help me! she begged. The figure gestured, pointing down. Into the moat?

    Arwen stared into the swirling black water. It would be so cold! The person was getting closer, she could see the dim red glow of a saber blade. For a moment, she looked into the reflection, into the eyes of the strange Padawan. Callibo.

    Then she took a deep breath, threw off her cloak, and dived into the moat, swimming deep.

    It was COLD! So cold! Arwen resisted the instinct to gasp as the shock of cold shot through her whole body. All she could do was swim, kicking down deeper, into utter blackness. Now only the Force could help her...

    And the Force was there. She could feel it, a faint, soft vibration, almost a hum, deep down in the side of the pyramid. She didn't want to open her eyes, the water would freeze them, but she had to see. And she did see. A faint glow of light, a crystal.

    The water swirled. The person was above her, had dived in after her. Oh, Master, you'd better come soon! She touched the crystal, felt a shot of warmth tingle on her fingertips. And a strip of black even darker than the pyramid opened in front of her. Desperately, she kicked, swimming into the crevice which had opened.

    She'd never held her breath so long. She couldn't hold it much longer. She paused only long enough to touch the Force vibration, trying to close the doorway behind her, and then she kicked upward through the water. There was light now, pale green, filtering through the murky water. She could feel her pulse pounding in her ears, in her chest, in her nose. Spots danced in front of her eyes as her head broke through the surface.

    For a minute she couldn't do anything except thrash in the water, gasping for breath, and fighting off dizziness. Cold. Had to get out of the water. She kicked her way to the side of the pool, and placed her hands flat on the side. She was so cold, she had no strength to pull herself up. She had to. If she stayed there she'd drown. And that person was still trying to get into the Tomb.

    She found it, somehow, some reserve of strength, and she hauled herself out to the cold stone floor. For a long time, she couldn't do anything except lie there, gasping for breath and shivering. She almost slipped into a doze. Hypothermia. Keep moving, Istarri! She raised her head, and looked around the room. The pool was illuminated with a pale, sickly green light. The room was circular, empty, with polished walls of black marble. At one end of the hall stood a low dais, with the Jedi Seal in bronze on the wall above it. The room was empty. Except...there was that feeling again. Callibo. The other Padawan. He was there with her, she could feel him. But she couldn't see him.

    " such th-thing as...ghosts," she gasped, pushing herself to her knees. And then she saw him. He was a reflection in the gleaming stone of the wall. He wavered, and gestured.

    "You're dead," she groaned. "You can't be here." Callibo pointed to the dais. Arwen looked at it. It was empty. She shook her head. She couldn't go any further. She couldn't possibly start treasure hunting. Callibo gestured again, urgently.

    Oh, Master, I need you now! Exhausted, unwilling, she dragged herself to her feet, and staggered towards the raised platform. The Force was all around her, light and dark, warm and cold, there, but elusive. She was so tired, so cold, she couldn't focus enough to grasp it, to use it. She stood there, looking back at the reflection of Callibo. And the platform moved.

    She almost fell down, she was so unready for it. It was a repulsor, and it slowly began to rise towards the ceiling. Arwen shivered. She felt a wave of evil through the air. The person was still after her. He had found the way in. She looked over the side of the platform, but couldn't see him as she was raised through the ceiling into another room.

    This was made of the same polished black stone as the rest of the tomb. The ceiling was domed, set with pin point lights. It took Arwen's exhausted mind a few minutes to realize that they represented the constellations in the sky over Coruscant, in the position they would be in if viewed from the central tower of the Temple. And in the center of the room, two polished sarcophagi. Large blocks of black stone. Uninscribed. Featureless. Highlighted by some spotlight shining down from a source she couldn't see.

    Slowly, reluctantly, she walked towards them. A gleaming cylinder rested on each one. Lightsabers. She walked up to stare at them. The legend, then, was true. Grox and Callibo, or whatever was left of them, were here. She didn't know how to feel. Callibo was present. She felt him. She looked around, spotted him reflected in the wall.

    "I'm sorry," she whispered. He looked at her for a moment, then pointed down. Arwen was aware of that, too. The dark person was coming. The repulsor was already withdrawing into the room below. She had no idea how to stop it. She had only minutes to prepare. She looked up, and around. There didn't seem to be any other way out of the tomb.

    No. Arwen looked at Callibo. He was pointing to one of the tombs. She nodded, and took the lightsaber. It seemed disrespectful to use it, but she needed it right now. Callibo shook his head, and pointed at the square tomb itself. He made another gesture, lifting. Arwen's mouth dropped open. He wanted her to open the tomb?

    "Open it? I can't!" she gasped. Callibo nodded emphatically, pointing, and looked towards the repulsor. Arwen thought of the legends. "The treasure? Is that it?" Callibo nodded again.

    She looked at the hole in the floor. She could feel the evil presence, growing stronger, coming closer. Quickly, she moved to the other side of the room, knelt, and concentrated, putting aside weariness and cold.

    "There is no fear, there is strength," she whispered. She could feel the Force, warm all around her, warm throughout her. She pushed it to the center of herself.

    "There is no anger, there is peace." The dark thing was growing closer. Now she could feel the outline of the biers, their weight, their mass.

    "There is no hatred, there is the Force." The sarcophagus lids moved. They moved up slowly, as she levitated them into the air, and, after a moment, moved them towards the opening for the repulsor. She didn't hate this dark person, she didn't want to kill him, but she needed to slow him down. And dropping two large hunks of stone on him would certainly slow him down. There was an enormous crash, which shook the room, as the stone biers fell through the hole on to the repulsor. She didn't look to see what happened to the dark thing.

    Reluctantly, she went forward, peering cautiously into the tombs. To her relief, they were empty, except for a few rotted shreds of cloth. And something else. Curiously, she picked it up, and dropped it hastily, crying out in pain as a strong jolt of power shot through her body.

    She stared down at it, looked around to Callibo for an explanation. It was a circlet, of some dark metal, set with black stones. And it emanated evil.

    "This is a Sith artifact," she whispered.

    "Give me the Crown!" Arwen jumped, and stared at Callibo in horror. The reflection was looking towards the repulsor, with his hands clenched helplessly.

    The dark thing was there. It was male, and it seemed to be several years older than she was, but she sensed he was not mature. His voice was harsh, and his dark clothing was plastered to his powerful form, as wet as her own lighter, Jedi tunic.

    "Who are you?" she whispered.

    "Give me the Crown!" Arwen hesitated, cold to the core, but not from the ice water. And then she found her voice.

    "No," she said firmly.
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  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Aaaaaarweeeeeeen! You are such a clever, brave young woman! Now take those lightsaber and that ugly baddie will have his arse handed to him like he so richly deserves! (Oh, and Arwen, try not to get yourself too badly smashed up in the process, and be careful not to catch a cold either.)

    I loved this chapter. The action writing was fantastic and the appearances of Callibo's light, then his voice, then his reflection... That was just perfect. I also really liked the fact that the entrance to the tomb is under the water. And, now that we know that the baddie wasn't aware of it, we're left with the question to know who put that tube of paint on the pyramid.

    Also, how in the galaxy is Trett going to find Arwen now that she's inside?
  16. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Yes, absolutely! :D

    Well, the Force, but...

    Thanks for keeping up with this. We're closer to the end...
    * * *
    "You will die, Jedi." The person ignited his lightsaber, glowing an evil red in the dark room. She could see yellow eyes in a mottled face, red and black, or maybe just red?

    "I don't think so." She found the lightsaber, Grox's or Callibo's, she didn't know or care. It was unfamiliar to her grip, but that didn't matter. The blade flashed forward, vivid gold. The creature moved at her, faster than she would have thought possible, and then she was fighting for her life. His blade was set at full power, and a stroke would kill her.

    He was good. He was very well trained, and Arwen hadn't held a saber for months. But she was the daughter of the Temple sabermaster, and she had learned her lessons well. She knew shortly after the fight began that she couldn't defeat this thing. But she could defend herself, and she would make sure he didn't get the Crown!

    They traded stroke for stroke across the room. The creature flipped and kicked out. His heavy boot caught her square across the chest, and sent her flying across the room to smash into the wall. She didn't have time to draw a breath, before she was rolling to avoid the vicious slash he'd aimed at her. She twisted, kicked out at his legs, and rolled to her feet, bringing her saber up again into a defensive position. He easily avoided her clumsy maneuver, but she'd been able to buy the precious seconds she needed to recover herself.

    He moved forward again, but this time she danced, twirling herself closer to him, while avoiding his blood-crimson blade, and touched his shoulder lightly, summoning the Force. Now it was his turn to go flying. He twisted in mid-air, recovering himself before he hit the ground, hit the wall feet first and flipped again to face her.

    Arwen hadn't waited to see what he would do. She ran forward, and their sabers hissed and sputtered as they clashed again. And then he suddenly let go with one hand, and brought his fist smashing up under her chin, snapping her head back. She reeled, instinctively jumping backwards as the very tip of his saber slashed across her midriff, burning a brand there. She fell, rolling, thrusting out with her saber, and he somersaulted in mid-air to avoid her, smashing against her neck with his boot as he landed. And she felt something then, in the Force.

    Trett! He wasn't there, but he was coming, calling! She felt the tug from him, and sent him the Force, even as she slashed upward desperately to parry the thrust intended to kill her. Her attacker kicked at her, catching her under the chin again, and his saber tore across her shoulder blade. She cried out in pain, rolling away.

    He would have come for her, but he hesitated, as the Force, strong with Trett's signature, rolled over them again. He ran to the tomb, snatching up the circlet, and raced for the repulsor. Arwen choked, spit blood onto the black stone of the floor and stared at him helplessly as the repulsor slowly brought him back down to the lower chamber.

    The Crown must be destroyed! The Sith Lord must never get it!

    "I know," she gasped, staggering to her feet. She couldn't feel anything now, she'd passed all thresholds of exhaustion or pain. What was left was will. Pure unadulterated stubbornness. She was not going to let him get that Crown. Arwen ran for the opening and leaped down into the darkness.

    The dark person looked up as Arwen descended, but couldn't dodge quickly enough to avoid her as she landed on him, instinctively grappling at his head. They struggled, unbalanced, and then together they fell off the repulsor platform, plummeting to the stone floor below. Pain shot up her arm and through her ribs and head. She groaned, rolling off the young man below her. She raised her head, trying to focus through a red haze. Callibo. Would he never stop pestering her? Something else, a few feet away. The Crown.

    She reached down now, for the last threads of anything, reached out to Trett, taking whatever strength he could give her, and scrambled to her feet, racing towards the pool, snatching up the Sith Crown as she went. The dark one was behind her, trying to catch her. She put everything she had left into her dash, and dived, headfirst, into the pool.

    It was ice cold, death cold, and the cold burned as much as the red saber had. She stroked, dizzy, towards the entrance, which stood open still. She swam, kicking towards the surface, and suppressed a shriek as she felt him grab her from below. He was trying to snatch the Crown from her, even while he clutched at her throat. She slipped the circlet over her arm, and clawed at him, gouging towards his eyes. She was almost out of oxygen, she couldn't hold her breath much longer. He had her Padawan braid with his other hand, and was twisting her head painfully to one side, trying to snap her neck.

    There is no fear... Arwen loosened her arm and felt the circlet slide down towards her wrist.

    There is no anger... She twisted in his grasp, breaking free from the hand clutching at her throat, and burying her teeth deeply in his wrist. She felt him jerk, and try to pull back, and in spite of the shock of pain through her teeth, she dug in and held on.

    There is no hatred, there is the Force. She gripped the circlet in her free hand, ignoring the powerful vibrations of darkness it sent up her arm, and slashed upwards with it, aiming at his face. She felt it cutting across him, the sharp polished stones tearing his skin, felt him release her, arching backward with pain. It was enough. With a last swell of strength, she kicked towards the surface of the moat.

    Her head broke the surface of the water, and she grabbed the side of the moat, desperately trying to get a purchase on the slick, snowy walkway. She groaned, trying to pull herself out. Someone had her by the back of the tunic, tugging at her. She panted, on her knees, unable to stop shivering, then looked up at her rescuer.

    Reva Nova was there, wide-eyed with anxiety. "Arwen!" she said. "What--what happened? What are you doing in the moat? Are you okay? You're bleeding!"

    Wildly, she looked around. Where was the dark person? Sith Crown. He mustn't get it. She had to destroy it. How? Yes...

    She tried to get to her feet, and staggered. Reva slipped the girl's arm over her shoulders, and wrapped her free arm around Arwen's waist to keep her from falling.

    "You're hurt!" she cried. "Don't try to move!"

    "Help. Yes..." She couldn't run. She could only walk, reeling along the pathway. He would follow her. Reva supported her, trying to keep her still, but the young Padawan struggled towards the Visitor Center.

    "Come on, in the tram."

    "We have to destroy it..." she whispered.

    Arwen leaned back against the seat, exhausted. She did turn her head as they drove away, looking to see if the evil one was following her. She didn't see him, but he would follow.

    "Destroy what?" Arwen felt it then, a wave of evil, of pure hatred flood over her.

    "He's coming. We have to hurry!" she groaned.

    "Who's coming? Rendell?" Reva tried to lead her to the Center, but she pulled away and went left, along a sloping, slick walkway. The door was locked. Arwen disengaged herself from the worried woman, and scrabbled at her belt for the lightsaber. The blade ignited with a hiss, and sputtered. She groaned. It was losing power, whether from its icy bath or from 1500 years of inactivity. Still, it might be enough...she thrust at the locking mechanism, and punched the opening controls. The doors swung open with a groan, and she staggered inside, making her way to the incendiary controls.

    "Arwen, this is insane! Just sit down right now, and I'll call Trett!" The dark haired woman bit her lip as the girl squinted at the control panel. "What...what are you doing?" she added. "I don't think...I don't think you should touch that!" Arwen looked at her. Reva had to get out before the dark person got there.

    "Find Master Trett!" she whispered hoarsely, shaking. "Hurry!"

    Reva wavered on the threshold, then said, "Don't go anywhere!" She turned and raced up the pathway towards the museum building.

    Arwen found the right controls, powered the crematory up to full, and ignited it. A powerful beam of pure energy, glowing as white as a sun, suddenly filled the nearby chamber. Arwen sensed the dark person approaching. Callibo couldn't help her now. She reached, in a dream, for the Force, then tried to unbend her fingers. The metal had frozen to them, she couldn't let go of the Crown!

    She fell to her knees, tugging at it with her other hand. Tears rolled down her face, as she pulled it loose, along with a lot of her own skin. With her last remnants of concentration, she threw it into the beam. There was a hiss, a feeling of darkness. She saw it caught in the beam, and then it was incinerated, melting and collapsing into a pile of filthy slag at the bottom of the crematory chamber, bubbling with white heat. She heard something in her mind, an unearthly chorus, screaming in hatred and fury.

    It was too much, the shrieking sound sent pulses of pain through her skull, and she fell to the grimy floor, trying to fight her way out of oblivion and failing.

    * * *
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  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Arwen, didn't I tell you *not* to get too badly smashed up? [face_shame_on_you] But you did a great job – some terrific brave fighting and some terrific quick thinking to destroy the crown there and then. Our baddie isn't going to be happy about this, and now Trett is probably somewhere nearby – although, being wounded himself, he might need some outside help against the dark man. But I do expect that Reva will come through at the most unexpected time!

    And meanwhile, where is the dark man's co-conspirator(s) while all this happens? Sitting at home and enjoying the show thanks to the security holocam broadcast?

    Hmmmmm... *gets more popcorn*
  18. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Well, of course, Dark Menaces never get their OWN hands dirty! That's why they have minions!

    Only one post left after this one.

    * * *
    She was standing on a vast, featureless plain, knee-deep in a swirling mist. Nothing. Emptyness.

    The Padawan stood nearby, looking at her. She could see him clearly now, a Bothan boy, a few years older than she was.

    "You're Callibo?" she asked. The boy nodded, and stared at her anxiously.

    "You have to go back," he said. "You have to warn them!"

    "Warn who? About what?"

    "The Sith!"

    "The Sith died. You killed him. He was the last one."

    The Bothan shook his head. "There were two! One got away! You have to go back and warn them! One got away!"

    "One got away?"

    Callibo nodded. "That's why I stayed. That was my mission. What Iggiri told me to do. Warn the Council. Now you can warn them. I don't need to stay anymore."


    "That's all you have to do. Just tell them. One got away."

    Something jerked her backward sharply, pulling between her shoulder blades, and she was falling again, falling upwards through the swirling gray fog.

    She fought to open her eyes. "One got away..."

    "Arwen. Little one, wake up. Come on, come back."

    She blinked and stared up into Trett's worried brown eyes.

    "That's it," he crooned, "just lie still."

    "One got away," she whispered hoarsely. He looked puzzled.

    "One what?"

    She tried to sit up, while the world danced around her.

    "Ssh, no, little one. Don't try to move. What happened here?"

    Arwen tried to remember. She could hear the soft rush of the waterfall. Or someone whispering softly.

    "Evil thing," she mumbled.


    There was something important...something she was supposed to remember...

    "One got away," she repeated.

    "One what got away? What does that mean?"

    Her mind searched for a memory. Something flickered at the very edge of her consciousness and disappeared. "I...I don't know."

    Trett leaned forwards, staring intently into her eyes, and spoke over his shoulder to someone she couldn't see. "Concussion," he said. "Probably hypothermia, too. May be going into shock. Let's get her back to the Med Center." She felt him stroke her cheek. "Don't worry about it right now, little one. You can tell me all about it later."

    Later...the gray mist was coming back, and she had to surrender. This time, she didn't dream.
    * * *
    I have failed you, my Master. I will be punished.

    He closed his eyes, let himself feel the fear sweeping through him, the throb of the wound on his face. He had lost the Crown that he had been sent to retrieve, and his Master would not let him forget that failure.

    We learn from failure. It is the Jedis' fault.
    He let the fear be replaced by anger. The anger would give him the strength to endure the torment he would undergo, the desire to learn from his failure. So that he would not fail again. Next time... There would be a next time, the Jedi would not win. And he permitted himself to smile at the thought.
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  19. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    Darth dude sounds like such a Sheevy..... Wait a cotton picking minute! This story is taking place in pre Clone Wars prequel era, yes? His master must be Sheev!

    And what about the Beard Wars? We need to know who wins the Beard Wars!
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
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  20. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014

    Poor Callibo, who "stayed behind" for all these years until he could tell someone his secret... only for the secret to be forgotten. The Will of the Force sure has a terrible sense of humour!

    And poor Arwen, all smashed up, and probably not too sure that anything of what she thinks happened, actually happened. But she's in good hands now.

    As for the sheevy dude, like @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 I've been wondering who he could be. Because you said JA-era I was initially thinking of Xanatos, or possibly a young Sheev... but now,
    between his fighting style and the fact that Arwen describes him as a creature, I'm leaning towards Darth Maul
    . Did I get this right?

    And, of course, I am impatient to find out if Trett will have shaved his beard for the last chapter!
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  21. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Well, of course you are both right! :emperor: I do seem to attract the smartest readers! [face_love]

    Arwen will bounce back, of course. And as for this:
    I would never leave you hanging!

    Tonight... the CONCLUSION! (very short)
    * * *
    "It was the Director all along," said Trett. "The Revenue Service have scheduled a full audit, but it seems he's been embezzling from Necropolis funds for three years. He used money obtained by selling jewelry taken from the tombs to make up for fundraising shortfalls to build the Visitor's Center, and put out the story of a Jedi ghost in order to attract paying visitors. He was then able to skim off the top of admission fees and souvenir sales. I think he may be getting kickbacks from the groupie vendors as well. The more visitors, the higher his income. I'll put it all in my final report to the Council and the Viceroy, with documentation."

    The image of Windu nodded. "Your explanation of Gastle's activities should be enough to satisfy the Viceroy and dispel most of the sensation-seekers on Necropolis," he said, "although there will always be some who will persist in believing the legend."

    Trett added, "Reva Nova is going to do one final episode of the incident for her show, and will include the evidence of fraud. That will discourage a lot of visitors, too. I'm sure Necropolis will still be a popular tourist destination, though perhaps the level of hysteria will taper off now."

    Master Hargan glanced sideways at his colleagues. "We will also ask the Viceroy to do what he can to discourage the groupies, and to crack down on the sale of deceptive souvenirs as well."

    Yoda cocked his head. "And Arwen-dai?"

    "I don't know," said Trett slowly, "I asked her what it meant, 'one got away,' but she didn't seem to remember. She said that she had encountered an evil thing and that there had been another Padawan. I'm sure she's not intentionally lying, but she has a mild concussion, so she could be hallucinating or remembering incorrectly." He frowned. "I'm sure someone attacked her," he added. "Two of those injuries were lightsaber burns. But I didn't detect anyone else on the planet."

    Windu raised an eyebrow. "You don't think it was a ghost, Master Trett?"

    Trett controlled his annoyance. "Ghosts don't carry lightsabers, Master Windu," he said coolly. "Whatever attacked my Padawan was mortal."

    Mistress Yaddle looked at the other Council members. "A difficult year she has had," she pointed out. "Lost Tyri. Abused by Thera. Kidnapped by slave traders. Perhaps time for rest and healing she needs."

    Wiyella Lluworit shifted restlessly. "How badly was she hurt?"

    "Her condition has stabilized. They want to keep her under observation for another 24 hours," said Trett, "and the Viceroy has offered to lend his private cruiser to get us back to Coruscant. I'm anxious to get her back to the Temple as quickly as possible, I want to leave as soon as I'm sure she's strong enough to travel."

    "Do it," said Kinxit. "You can file your full report on your return."

    "And you?" prompted Lluworit, raising a graceful eyebrow. "I don't imagine you're fit to travel either."

    "Um...they, uh, want to keep me for a few days as well. But I didn't hit my head."

    Yaddle waved a hand. "Longer can we wait. When safe it is to travel for both of you, return you will."

    Trett bit his lip. "I can't account for the attack on Arwen," he said. "What should I do about the attacker?"

    Windu sighed. "You report on what you can. When Arwen-dai has recovered, perhaps she will remember more details. We will alert all Knights on active duty to report anything suspicious, but at the moment, I think there isn't much more you can do except recover. Master Kerenyi will continue to search the Temple records for information about Grox's last mission; perhaps that will shed some more light on this." He hesitated. "Good job on this one," he added. "We will expect to see you by the end of the week, perhaps?" The image of the Council faded, leaving Trett open-mouthed in shock. Praise for him? From Mace Windu?

    He sat there for a moment. Yes, he'd actually completed this mission without screwing it up too badly. And he knew exactly who deserved the credit for it.

    Quietly, he got up, and looked in the mirror, running his hand over his chin to make sure he hadn't missed a spot. Then he tucked a packet of spiced vweilieu nuts into his sling, and prepared to head back to the Pediatrics Ward. Master Myron had been right, as usual. He did have a good one.

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  22. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    If I am interpreting the last paragraph correctly, is would seem that Arwen is the winner of the Beard Wars.
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  23. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Yes, you are quite correct!
  24. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 1, 1999
    Haven't been on the boards in years, so I missed this one. Loved it from beginning to end.
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