This is the posting thread for RO team 5
RO team 5:
The Run-on rules can be found here
This is the posting thread for RO team 5
RO team 5:
The Run-on rules can be found here
Sprawling in all directions lie a vast network of passages such as this beneath Kuku-Hawene. While a select few passages are maintained for travel, this one in particular still retains an elegant appearance attributed to refined Maia’toan architecture. Smooth columns line the passage walls, their highest segments encased in a spiraling shroud that supports the arching ceiling, which is covered in a tapestry of red banners.
However, the comfortable, lamp-lit passage can be deceiving to those who let their guard down. Countless ceramic plates rest beneath the solid ground—when pressed, the mechanism is activated that turns the most harmless route through the temple’s depths into a deathtrap for the uncautious. Only through following the correct path, one might cheat death when traversing across the delicate surface.
Hanging from the vaulted ceiling and between the decorative pillars, the crimson drapes and banners hide the passage’s deadliest tools—blades that swing the width between lanterns and venom-coated darts that shoot from the walls and ceiling.
“Enter the labyrinths of Kuku-Hawene, face the trials, find the Heart of the Force.” That had been the charge to all the Odanite teams as they entered the lower levels of the ancient city. Force user and non Force user alike had been permitted to face the trials, only the worthy would reach the end. What the “Heart of the Force” was and what trials awaited those brave enough to face the trials remained a mystery. Vorsa halts the party accompanying her to get their bearings and plot their next move. The real trials lie beyond the passageways.
Arca Praxeum Council Chamber
24 hours earlier
A soft, warm breeze fluttered through the open window and rustled the finery hanging from A’lora’s garments. This last Council meeting bred enough suspicion amongst those gathered to leave her in contemplation for hours. Had she done the wrong thing, letting the Ascendant have their way? But it was Mar Sûl who led them after all, and he was one of the Clan’s most loyal sons.
Her visions gave her little explanation, though he had searched the Force for answers all along. Her body would tense every time a vision carried her, building up the pent up stress that already weighed down heavily on her shoulders. It was unnerving, having to decide things based on one’s own beliefs, but her ability to foresee the future had never failed her before, and it would not do so this time.
In her meditative trance she could barely feel the world around her and chose to ignore whatever sensations broke the veil, but this new sensation she felt came through all too clearly. It was a warm feeling, like hot water pouring down her neck. A caring feeling. A’lora smiled even before opening her eyes, sensing her sister’s presence not ten feet away.
“Vorsa.” She sighed the word as if it gave her relief. She relaxed visibly as her lavender eyes opened to observe her visitor. The Neti sat down, cross legged in front of her and assumed the exact pose she did, mimicking her posture perfectly.
“Sister. It is good to be home,” she smiled and answered the silent question. They sat there in silence for a long while, gazing into eachother’s eyes. To any observer it would seem as though they were merely meditation. Their communication needed no sound, or gesture: they simply knew each other’s thoughts and feelings.
“So, Mar is stirring the pot, and you are bewildered,” the message rang loud and clear in A’lora’s mind. As it reached her, so too did Vorsa’s feelings on the matter.
”You support him?” she replied, truly surprised.
”I do,” the Neti replied simply, as if no further explanation was needed.
”Even though you do not share his vision? Why?” A’lora’s suspicions slowly rose to the surface in anticipation of her sister’s answer.
”Because I…no, we need him to succeed.” Finally she whispered. “The Dark Council is moving the pieces on the board ever so subtly, behind the backs of the Clans. While they squabble amongst each other and play their children’s games, the Grand Master plots his domination. Very soon, we will require warriors to lead us into war. Again,” she spoke the last word as if it were the hardest thing in the galaxy.
A’lora remained silent at the ominous threat that information posed for her Clan. Sle looked away in contemplation. Was war coming to New Tython again, or were they to leave their home unprotected and fight the Council’s wars again. Either one posed a very real danger to what they had built so far.
“I know you doubt my decision to join the Dark Council, A’lora. I have always known. But i ask you to trust me, just as I have trusted you for all these years. War may well come to New Tython, you know this. You have seen it.”
A’lora’s eyes flashed back at her friend, intently searching for an explanation. “I have had no other visions.”
“I know you have. It is all in the meld, A’lora. I can feel your anxiety every time we meet and talk. I can sense it in your body language. I know you too well. The vision was about me, was it not?”
A’lora sighed and looked away again. “Yes.” She bit her lip as if to keep herself from talking further but under Vorsa’s gaze she wavered. “I… I saw you die on New Tython.”
Vorsa smiled brightly. “There is no doubt that I will die in combat, sister. I am who I am. But until my day comes, I will do everything for my home. And right now that is to help Mar succeed.”
A’lora sighed again, knowing full well how hard it was to sway the veteran general. “Will you be joining the trials then?”
“I shall, and I already know who with.”
Lu’aisha sniffed the damp, smelly air as she paced another circle. She wasn’t as nervous as she expected but this place still affected her, and she could notice it’s effect on her companions as well. Xantros and Edgar seemed to be contemplating their own musings, settling an awkward silence on the trifecta. The eerie feeling all of them got from the surrounding ruin helped very little to ease the tension.
“So who are we waiting for, Chief?” Edgar broke the silence sharply.
“Seraphol, as far as I know,” Xantros replied in her stead shrugging as Edgar gave him a sidelong glance.
“Yes. Apparently only four can enter a trial,” Gresee added with a small smile of encouragement.
“So how much do we know about this place,” Edgar continued, waving his hand at the large entrance into the temple, “and what can we expect inside?”
Xantros remained silent as Gresee contemplated for several long moments. “I…don’t know. Nobody does. Not even the lady Consul.”
“Be prepared for anything, then?” he raised an eyebrow at his commander. She nodded somberly, unsure of what was in store for them inside the massive edifice.
Xantros raised his head at the sound of engines in the distance, breaking the echo of nature that surrounded them. The staccato bass of the grav lifts resonated through the clearing as three Low-Altitude assault gunships broke the thick fog covering the skies, and landed right in front of the trio. The engines revved as they came to a halt, hovering inches from the grassy ground.
“Three gunships for one man?” Xantros asked standing up from the rock he named his chair. Obvious curiosity and a slightly visible surprised covered their faces as the side doors to the main gunship opened and three hulking behemoths stepped out. Clad in black armor of an unknown design, assault rifles leveled, they spread into a standard search pattern followed closely by half-a-dozen Melewati rangers and TDUC commandos.
Seraphol jumped from the lead gunship with a thud and splash of mud beneath his boots. He cracked his neck as he observed the trio gathered in front of the edifice. The man’s clothes fluttered in the calm breeze as he looked back inside the gunship. Following close behind, Vorsa stepped out, clad in her KUDF armor and long black robe.
“Clear,” Echo-1 sounded off through the speaker on his helmet, his voice slightly distorted by the effect.
“Of course it is, Kintan,” Vorsa replied calmly, “this is our home, and these are our people. You can relax…momentarily.” She smiled at the human as he lowered his blaster and remained at rest. The other members of his unit followed suit before Echo team’s helmets came off with a hiss and click of metal.
The Councillors walked over to the trio waiting for them as the soldiers followed suit, keeping one eye on their surroundings at all times.
Vorsa bowed deeply before her three companions in a traditional Jedi greeting. “My friends, it is good to see you.”
Just after a warm greeting from other members of the team, while looking at the entrance to the complex, Vorsa asked, “Do you know what kind of trials will we face in there?”
“Not at all, but I guarantee you will see deadly traps, scary monsters and other nice things, which all adventurers seek,” replied Xantros with a slight smile.
“Monsters are overrated,” spoke Edgar. “Only small children are afraid of monsters and we are not small children anymore. We are powerful Jedi and the Force is our ally.”
“Certainly, it is our ally, but we also need to be careful,” said Greese. “Like Xantros said, we will face various obstacles, which may turn out to be deadly, on our way to the Heart of the Force.”
“So, what is the plan?” asked Seraphol.
“Well, as far as I know, the trials have been aimed for four participants at once. Still, A’lora has agreed for me to join our team,” answered Vorsa. “I believe that she is aware of the true nature of what we shall face in the temple and that five of us will suffice.”
“You say five of us?” asked Edgar. “What about your guards?”
“They will stay outside the temple. The trials have been designed only for members of Clan Odan-Urr,” replied Vorsa.
“Technically, you are not a member of our Clan any longer,” pointed out Xantros. “Thus, if you go with us, they could go with us. Any help would be appreciated during the trials.”
“I am still a loyal servant of the light side of the Force and a Councillor of Urr,” replied Vorsa with calm voice. “Though I have been chosen to be me a member of Dark Council, my loyalty within the Dark Jedi Brotherhood still lies in Clan Odan-Urr. It seems to be enough for the leaders of the Order of the Force Ascendant to let me undergo the trials with you.”
“But, ma’am, our task is to protect you,” spoke the leader of the soldiers. “We will join you at the temple.”
“Your task is to carry out my orders,” replied Vorsa. “The best way for you to protect me is to stay here and guard the entrance. I do not want anyone or anything interfering as I do not know what might happen if you go with us. I cannot risk that we will fail the trials or, even worse, we will all die because you joined us.”
“But…” started the man, but just one glance of the General was enough to silence him.
“So, what’s the plan?” asked Edgar a bit impatiently.
“It is hard to make plans with little to no available data,” explained Xantros. “The best and the only plan I can come up with is that we enter the temple and move carefully, looking around and smiling politely.”
“Well, I think that it is indeed a good plan,” said Greese with a smile. “Shall we?”
“Ladies go first,” spoke Seraphol.
“So, We just walk in the front door and wing it from there? I Like it! Let’s go!” Edgar commented loudly.
The team of five Jedi walked towards the entrance of the temple.
“We have come here to undergo the trials of the Order of the Force Ascendant in this temple at Kuku Hawene. We request to be allowed to enter the temple and meet our destiny,” spoke Vorsa with loud voice, as she had been instructed by the members of the Order of the Force Ascendant.
Few seconds later, the door to the temple started to open with loud, unpleasant rasp. The members of the team noticed beautiful columns and decorations on the walls, as they slowly entered the corridor behind the door.
“Now, stay alert,” spoke Vorsa. “One wrong step and we may all stay trapped in here.
“Yeah, it’d be a really stupid way to die, especially just a few moments after the beginning of our trials,” Edgar added as they followed the Neti inside.
As the five Jedi slowly moved into the next chamber, each of them felt uneasy as the stale air washed over them and a strange smell permeated the air. The Jedi walked in at a walking pace with Xantros, th eexpert trap finder, leading. Seraphol and Councilor Vorsa following close behind.
Lu’aisha Gresee was only several feet behind them and seemed to be in awe of the place. Edgar, who instinctively took his place by his battle team leader’s side, spoke with mild irritation in his voice, “You know I trust and believe in your judgement and it’s great to be on a mission with Vorsa again, but I can’t see the need for me on this mission. With Vorsa alone you could handle just about anything, but those other two just makes me the most expendable man in the room! It’s not like the Summit would ever cast me aside and leave me for dead again,” he said sarcastically. “If i have to die for you or Vorsa fine but I don’t want to die for those…!”
“Stop it!” Gresee said loudly. Loud enough for the other three to turn towards the conversation. “My dear Edgar you’re the one who swore to protect me when you become my Sergeant in the Disciples of Baas and even though I’m perfectly capable of protecting myself, it’s reassuring to know I have a trusted ally by my side. So you are here to fulfill your pledge and this will help you put the past behind you and learn to forgive the Clan’s summit and more importantly Turel. He still…”
Now it was Drachen’s turn to interrupt, “You want me to forgive and forget them after the pain they’ve caused?! And you want me to forgive Turel?! Now that’s a laugh…”
The conversation was interrupted by the realization that the others had stopped. Only then did the argument end, as they joined the others in staring in awe of the mind boggling place. The group had seemingly arrived in the center of what appeared to be a large circular chamber with a very high ceiling maybe twenty to twenty-five meters high and thick columns at the midpoint between the center of the room and the walls.
The floor and the columns showed definite signs of battle with the amount of dried blood, old weapons and the few scattered skeletons. It was difficult to see the other side of the room for the only light source they had was the open temple door behind them.
Just as each member was taking in the sights and smells around them the light got dimmer in the chamber and only then did they realize that the chamber door was shut with a loud thud. Suddenly everything went dark.
The Jedi ignited their sabers in a flash of Green, Orange and Red light to help illuminate the room… all except Xantros and Lu’aisha, Neither one is quick to wield their weapons. Now with the lights out Xantros’s perception and investigation went into high gear. “I’m sensing something strong in the force within this place… it’s further inside but I can’t see a clear way to get there. It seems like there are countless paths but only a few will reach the center of the temple.”
“Paths! you see paths all I see is darkness. How the hell are we to find anything in this place if we can see!?”
Vorsa placed a hand on Seraphol’s shoulder and said softly “Easy my child the Force will guide us to the correct paths if we let it.”
“Yeah well I hope it doesn’t take to long, by the looks of this place I don’t know what happened here and to be honest I rather not find out!” protested Edgar.
Only then did Edgar turn towards the body his leader was examining only to find her gone… panicked he screamed “Aisha! Aisha! where are you?!” All four Jedi turned about, looking and starting to spread out to look for their compatriot when on the far side of the room an unusual sight appeared…the green glow from Gresee’s lightsaber… “I’m over here and I have found the way out!” The four Jedis rushed over in the direction of her saber.
The Jedi rushed towards the faint green light of Greese’s lightsaber,
in order to rejoin with her as soon as possible. Suddenly, Xantros
shouted, “Stop, Edgar!”
Unfortunately, he was too late. The human made another step and pushed a small tile
slightly risen from the floor. The team heard the sound of hissing as
the air filled with a strange greenish gas. Only a moment passed
before they felt dizziness and fell unconscious on the ground.
Undefined time later, Kuku-Hawene temple
Xantros woke up. He found himself lying on the ground in the temple, where he
and the rest of the team underwent a trial. He looked around and
noticed remaining four Jedi standing nearby and leaning against the
wall of the room. They were looking at him with a piercing gaze.
„Due to your mistake, we have failed the trials,” spoke Edgar. „You
have not warned me soon enough. Now, we are trapped here and we will
all die, as every door is closed and we can do nothing to open them.”
„We have been left alone to die of hunger. No one will come here to
rescue us,” continued Greese.
„It is your fault. It is another of your crimes,” added Seraphol. „You
hoped to redeem yourself, but you have committed another crime.”
„You hoped to become a Jedi, in order to save yourself. You will neither
become a true Jedi, nor you will save your soul,” said Vorsa. „You
have failed us all and yourself. You are not worth to call yourself a
Terrified Xantros looked at them. Why did they say such things? Were they
actually right? Was it his fate not to succeed in redeeming his
The Duro shook his head and looked around again. He noticed that the
other members of the team were still lying unconscious on the ground.
„What just happened?” thought Xantros. He recalled a gas spreading all
throughout the room. He could not remember what happened later, but
the strange vision. The gas had to make him hallucinate. But…was it
actually just a hallucination?
Everything was still dark when Lu`aisha Gresee opened her eyes. She quickly sat, took a deep breath and closed her eyes again for a moment. The Tythonian Jedi tried to recall the last moment before passing out. She still remembered the event of pushing Edgar aside, releasing the tile knob on the ground that he stepped on. However, four strays of greenish gas from different corners had been filling the room, no matter how Gresee launching her connection to the Force, creating a barrier against the gas to protect her fellows and herself, but it was already too much.
She saw her clan mates were falling on the ground one by one before finally she could not hold her breath anymore. When the greenish gas was reaching out her lungs, dizziness struck her head, turning the dark surroundings into blinding light. Gresee knew she underwent the effect of the gas, thus as her body went limping and touching the ground, the leader of Disciples of Bass tried her last effort to connect to the Force, hindering the advancement of the gas effect within her body, before losing her consciousness.
Her head still went numb, as Gresee blinked her eyes several times to adjust her vision in the dark environment. She did not fear darkness, just not like it. Her left hand touched her waist pocket, searching for a compact lamp she usually used at medical work. Finding the tool, Gresee tied it on her forehead, and touched it slightly to turn it on. A few moments later, she saw Xantros stood across to her, while Vorsa, Edgar and Seraphol were still lying on the temple’s ground. The Tythonian Jedi made her way to her feet, and slowly approaching Xantros.
“Are you okay, Xantros?” Gresee asked.
The Duro did not answer, instead he just stared at her. Gresee’s right hand moved forward to grab Xantros’s wrist however unexpectedly, Xantros brushed it off and launching a push toward Gresee through the Force. Not ready to block the attack, the medic was thrown backward and her back landed on one of her lying clan mates. Quickly she rolled aside, and regaining her strength.
“Ugh… sorry… Vorsa,” Gresee realized on whom she had landed on. She checked the Herald’s wrist pulse and it was still beating regularly, “Vorsa, wake up.”
Yet, the Neti still did not respond.
“Xantros! I am Gresee, don’t you recognize me?” The Leader of Disciples of Bass shouted at her fellow member of DoB.
Gritted his teeth, the Duro finally replied, “ Don’t…you… ever… touch me…You… can’t… kill me.”
“Kill you? Oh my, I just wanted to check your pulse! We are all suffering the effect of the gas. Use the Force, Xantros. Negate it and then help me. Our friends needs help here,” Gresee said firmly. A bit of command tone on her voice was heard. She usually prefered to ask persuasively but in this case she think that was her best choice.
“So, you didn’t blame me for what have happened?” Xantros asked.
Gresee sensed the tone of confusion in his voice. Lowering her tone, the Battleteam Leader replied,” I never blamed anyone, even it was Edgar who accidentally stepped on the tile knob. Glad the gas finally subsided, maybe went through the exhaust pores in this temple or something. Our mission hasn’t done yet, instead, we have friends still suffering the gas effect.”
Xantros silently sat and crossed his legs, starting his meditation. Meanwhile, Gresee saw blood gushing from Vorsa’s right wrist and upper arm, but when she attempted to apply pressure to the wound, she did not feel any bleeding at all, contrary to what she saw.
Shaking her head, she realized she might have suffered the hallucination effect as well. Reaching her medkit pocket on her wrist, she grabs some antidote pack injectors. She only had two injectors remaining since the rest were broken. Fortunately the adrenal strength medpacs were still full. Gresee quickly injected the antidotes to Edgar‘s and Seraphol’s arm, along with the adrenal shots. She placed one adrenal shot to herself before giving another shot to Xantros.
“Don’t… throw me. This shot will speed up your effort to heal,” Gresee said pantingly. Her heartbeat had already risen to elevated levels. Fortunately Xantros did not move when he received his adrenal shot.
Gresee sat near Xantros to began her meditation. She did not have the antidote on her, thus she should ask the Force solely to negate the effect of the gas. She just hoped the other mates could survive as well.
He awoke to the sounds of whispers in his ears, sitting crosslegged, in the position of meditation. The room was bare with a single light source over his head. He kept hearing the whispers like they were coming from the darkness. He could finally make them out, one voice, one word, in many tones.
Closing his eyes he attempted to meditate and remember what had happened. He had heard one of his teammates shout something, then a gas then nothing until now. Had he been placed in the room by someone? The whispers stopped all of a sudden and become one clear voice, his voice.
“Heh, always jumping to the conclusion that someone else put you somewhere. You’ve always been a pawn at someone else’s whim. All while I’ve been stuck inside looking out in horror” it said.
Opening his eyes and jumping to his feet Seraphol began to reach out with the Force, but felt nothing.
“Yea that doesnt work to well here. It’s kind of sad that you don’t recognize where you are. You’ve failed in life to make yourself happy, so this place is empty. At least when I was around you found joy in combat, a thrill in life. Now you’re just a stuffy Jedi, can’t even get up the nerve to talk to that Miraluka Knight in the other House, the one you fell in love with while training.” said the voice. Sounding like an angry father to a child.
“Wait, this is all in my head?” Seraphol asked, “Well who are you then?”
“I’m you, you moron. Or at least I used to be you, now I’m just a shadow, though even shadows have power. Remember all those times you felt an urge in combat, the voice in your ear to do something, to commit to your path? That was me.”
Before Seraphol could speak he heard footsteps approaching. The man that stepped into the light in front of him was, well it was him. Though he had a harder look on his face, like a man driven to do something. The only peace that the man had on the exterior was in the shine of his eyes. This was the man he was born as this was the one called Daniel Stephens.
Within seconds it all hit Seraphol. He remembered, the programming set within him in House Revan in the event they were disbanded. He was that programming, he was that shine in the eyes of Daniel, he was hope for something new.
“Well since we are in the same head, I know it just hit you. The thing is, while you’ve been here figuring things out, so have I. I’ve just been figuring out how to force you back down. You’ll still be here, but watching like a shadow, like I have for the past few years. Stay here, enjoy our mind. Until you can figure out how to cope with the fact that we are the same, well I will just have to deal with you as I can.”
Turning around to walk back into the darkness, the figure of DS turned his head back around.
“Oh and we are waking up.”
All things happened after the Disciples of Bass Sergeant accidentally stepping on a tile knob still run clearly in Edgar’s memory. His breathing became labored in the large cloud of green gas in his hasty attempt to reach his battle team leader as fast as he could. The cloud had surrounded them all as he felt dizzy and losing his balance.
Edgar could hear his comrades screaming in the distance and quickly as he looked up, his saw the treacherous Duro threw their Battle team leader across the room …He pushed himself to stand up again.
“You dirty scu…!” Edgar could not finish his word as he slipped and fell down to the ground with a loud thud. Before passing out, he muttered … “I will murder them all…”
For what seemed like hours the Mystic had been unconscious, he was awakened by what he felt like a swift kick to his gut. Choking and gasping for air, Edgar woke up with a start and desperately tried to ascertain where he was and what had woken him up. He heard a familiar voice behind him, “Oh Edgar, my friend. Only you would rush into an unknown situation with no regards to yourself, but you managed to kill off almost your entire team.”
"Dead!? Who is dead?!?!” Edgar asked and without a second thought, he ignited his sabers both as protection and a light source.
“Who are you?! Step into the light, you coward!” Edgar shouted. The room shone in a color normally never associated with a Jedi but nonetheless a figure stepped into the red light and to Edgar’s amazement and shock.
“Turel! What are you doing here?! What game are you trying to play? Telling me that my team is dead if you’re here, then obviously this is just one of your games. I am sure they are fine and you’re just trying to teach me yet another one of your lessons!”
“Edgar my friend, you know me too long to lie to you and your are right, “ Turel replied determinedly,” This was just a test, not only to your skills but also had an aim to bring you back into the Clan. Your exile has tainted your thoughts and made you more reckless than ever before. Even Gresee is about to give up on you."
Just then Lu’aisha walks into the light, “Yes Edgar. My only hope was to bring you back to the light. When I found you out in the woods living on your own,you were in great despair and pain. I know you embrace the dark side now more than ever and it was my task, nay, my choice to return you fully to the light and to the clan.”
It was then she looked him in the eyes and he could finally see her battered and broken face and body clearly , “You promise to protect me and look what Xantros has done to me. The gas made them all go insane and I was overpowered until they all killed each other, except for Seraphol and I. He came at me and almost killed me but I was forced to take a life, and not just a life but a life of a friend and ally. All because of you Edgar!”
Edgar felt another kick to his gut as an overwhelming fit of coughing racked his body.In the back of his mind, he could hear his name being called but the voice was so distant. It was like it wasn’t even there.
“So you see, Edgar,”Turel sternly said ,” Your actions are no better than your father’s or your uncle’s. You’re a murderer and a thief and always will be. Unless, you let go of yourself and your past, and finally fully embrace the light! I’m glad I got rid of you as my Battle Team SGT. You were too impulsive and would have gotten us all killed.”
Hearing those words had brought back the memories of the day Turel Sorenn had sent his Battle Team Sergeant off on a mission for the team and while he was gone, on the contrary Turel cut off any Edgar’s access to the battle team and its support. Edgar was left deep undercover with no back up and little chance of surviving the mission on his own. After many dark things Edgar had to do to complete the mission and return home, he only found himself forgotten by the clan.
Apparently, Turel and his former friend had disappeared, leaving New Tython under unknown reason. . Edgar came back home with no appropriate greetings, thus he felt empty and went into exile,foregoing the path of the light side.
"Just as Edgar was about to offer his rebuttal, the pain in his body was so intense. He felt as if his chest was being slammed upon by large mallets. His breathing was almost impossible as he then collapsed under the pressure.
Fighting back the pain, he was again cut off by a deep rough voice from the other side of the room. Out of the Darkness, stood an old tall graying man in Mando armor,“My God, look and see how my son has turned into a weak pathetic creature? You once had your chance with these losers and now you are finally embracing the glory you can share with your family.Join me.our Uncle can teach you to become more powerful than these ‘Jedi’.”
Choking again, Edgar now laid on the floor, heaved and threw up so much blood, giving him certainty of the truth of the situation. He could hear more clearly the voices in the back of his mind, calling for him to come back. However, he knew he still had to choose. Using all of his strength, Edgar finally stood straight up and looked at the three figures in the room. First, at Gresee he spoke, "I know you want me to reject the darkness and become dedicated to peace and the light side, my dear Gresee. My father also wants me to forget all bonds of fellowship and become worse than I have ever been. I’ll admit the power I have felt is very tempting and very very appealing to me.”
The Sergeant of Disciples of Bass continued,”But I have to make a choice for, as some would say for the first time in my life and I have made that choice. I don’t know where it will lead me or who I will save or who I will hurt.To do what I think is right, but in the end I reject both of your paths. The light side and the dark side … for now there is only me and the path I choose will be my own."
Edgar turned around, switching off his sabers and let darkness surround him once more. In front of him he clearly saw the outline of a greyish door. Knowing that the Force has finally revealed to him his true path he started to move in that direction when he was hit with the strongest convulsion yet. The pain knocked him to the floor and before he finally passed out Edgar was finally at peace and for once understood his place in the Universe. As Edgar laid there losing himself to the Force he felt himself being pulled back and heard familiar voices calling his name.
His eyes slowly opened again and this time he was greeted by Vorsa and what seemed to be a very worried and haggard Gresee.
“You’re a lucky one, child. If it was not for Aisha, you may not have come back to us.”
Edgar looked over at his battle team leader and before he could say anything, she smiled and ran off to help one of their other companions.
He woke with the sound of his heart beating in his ears and a headache. He was cold from being on the stone floor and was laying in the recovery position on his right side. His vision was blurred but he could make out the human form of Gresee running to him.
“Don’t move, you’re in that position to allow the adrenals to pump around your body faster. Are you okay, do you feel any pain or…?” She stopped suddenly. “By the Force, your head, I missed it when I was checking the others.”
She knelt down, reaching her hand for his head. Seraphol swatted her hand away. “Don’t touch me woman.” with a far more harsh tone than she had heard before. Her eyebrows knitted together and raised in an expression of concern and a scowl. “Thats are nasty head wound.” she stated and pointed to the small but growing pool of blood on the stones.
He reached up and felt of his head where the blood was coming from. “It’s just a flesh wound, I’ve survived worse. Now go and look after your other buddies, Im fine.” he said harshly. Standing up, Gresee looked at him one more time with an expression bordering on anger and sorrow. This wasn’t the man she was used to interacting with, it was if his entire personality changed. She turned to walk away to check on the others and have a word with Vorsa about this.
He knew he only had a few minutes at most to get his head together. The transition between him and the Seraphol Program had been seemless in the mind. He had not been expecting to take on a head wound when it happened though. Sitting himself up and against one of the pillars in the room he gazed at his surroundings. Gresee had nearly everyone situated, the woman was an excellent medic. The rest of the group was either awake or slowly coming to.
Taking a deep breath he concentrated on the Force to help clear his head of the headache. He could feel the blood from his head wound dripping down the back of his head. He gathered some dust and dirt together off of the floor into his hand. He presed the dirt into the wound and his hair to help stop the blood. After a few minutes he began to notice the headache subsiding. He stood up and looked around noticing the entrance to the temple open. Before he could move, he felt tendrils of the Force trying to creep into his mind. Turning around he noticed Gresee talking to Vorsa. The General was staring him down. He knew he had to get out of there immediately.
He turned and ran for the entrance. Hearing the others call his name, he exited the temple.
Xantros, that was previously remained quiet in his meditation, hearing Gresee shouting after Seraphol, woke up himself. The Duro examined the situation, quickly yelling at the running figure.
“Seraphol! That’s not the exit!”
Seraphol refused to hear the warning, as he maintained his inadvertently zigzag pace towards the “exit” in his vision. It was the light at the end of the gate, as he remembered it in his mind, with fresh air of forestry leaves and trees, not isolated like this gloomy temple. He needed the egress to recover.
Edgar, who finally gained his composure and awareness, ran after Seraphol. Gresee, Xantros and Vorsa yelled at both of them in vain. However, the intention Edgar had was different than Seraphol’s. Edgar was not trying to leave the temple, but he was following his Battle Team Leader’s order: Seraphol must not go anywhere without consent.
Gresee finally decided to run after them herself. They had to be stopped, even if she had to shoot them with tranquilizer darts.
When Seraphol reached the near edge between the dark temple room and the bright exit gate, he slowed down. As if he was the champion of a marathon competition he raised his arms, fisting the air, celebrating his “victory”. Out loud, he yelled, “I won! Only the sane one wins!”
Just at that moment Seraphol’s right foot stepped on the tile on the temple terrace, he actually stepped on nothing. Below was a dark pit with an invisible base. With a loud shriek, Seraphol fell forward, going inside the murky pit.
Edgar reacted quickly. With the Force, he pushed the ground below him to allow himself a high jump forward. His right hand opened, hoping to catch Seraphol. On time, Edgar grabbed Seraphol’s left ankle as he bumped against the ground. However he could not slow himself down, as the cumulative weight of the two men dragged him closer towards the pit.
Seeing her Sergeant in dire circumstances, Gresee flopped herself down forward as far as she could to catch Edgar. She took hold of both Edgar’s ankles, and with all of her strength tried to prevent them from falling over the edge. Her vigor could not match with the weight of both men, as she was also helplessly being dragged forward to the hole.
Vorsa responded swiftly, as she stretched out her right arm, growing it like a fast creeper, enlacing the Tythonian woman. The tendrils did not stop at Gresee as they moved further, winding Edgar’s and Seraphol’s bodies as well. Taking a deep breath, with the Force to empower her, Vorsa snatched them backward, her arm moving like an elegant whip. Gresee, Edgar and Seraphol flew through the air, and before they reached the ground, Vorsa released her twinning grip. The three Jedi landed on the ground with a loud thud.
Gresee gritted her teeth, as she landed on her back. For a moment, she laid there, reducing the pain before slowly sitting up. She looked around and suddenly she felt the ground beneath her was quivering. She quickly stood, as Edgar and Seraphol followed suit. Astonished, Gresee said, “It seems the floor is moving…”
Vorsa confirmed the event,” Yes, apparently it is…”
A moment later the sound of heavy gate opening was heard in sequence. Doors in four directions of the chamber opened. The torches on the wall lit up by themselves, showering the hall in perpetual light.
All members of Clan Odan-Urr drew closer to one another, as they were readying themselves against any impending threats coming from the opened doors.
Several people in golden robe and hood, along with some others with golden armor walked inside the hall from the four directions. Gresee narrowed her eyes, trying to identify some people walking before her. She noticed something familiar within one of the people in the golden hood. Asking in disbelief, she released her wondering, “Master? Is that you?”
Vorsa lowered her saber first, sensing no threat from the gathering. It was, after all, Mar Sul in front of them. As the gathering encircled the Odanites, Sul removed his hood, eyeing each of them intently and with a stern gaze.
“Your trial is over.” He spoke with a commanding tone, giving no room for debate. It felt as if he was disappointed. “But it was particularly difficult. The five of you were chosen for this particular trial due to your…dissimilarities.” He looked at Greese first, and then each in turn. “The healer, the helpful one who always cares for everyone. I knew you would put yourself in harms way to help your friends — or those you perceive as friends.” His remark was cold, even to her, his own apprentice.
“The loyalist.” He looked at Edgar next, eyeing his somewhat disdainful expression. “Your loyalty to Lu’aisha was almost your death. You never think for yourself, always following her orders even though they may be false.” Edgar released a silent growl at the blatant insult.
“Xantros, the thinker. Or should I say over thinker. You seem to do that quite often. Your insecurities put everyone in danger. Your misguided belief that you are somehow looked down on is your undoing and one day it will cost you, and your people, your lives.” Xantros simply lowered his gaze at the truth of Sul’s words.
“The impulsive one, Seraphol. You nearly killed half your team, yourself included.”
“That’s because you bastards poisoned us with the damned gas.”
“That was part of your trial. Overcome an obstacle together and you build trust. Had you listened to Vorsa and Lu’aisha, you wouldn’t have fallen.” Seraphol twitched at the last word but otherwise remained silent.
“And you.” He turned to Vorsa. “Vorsa, the latecomer. Your presence was not unforeseen.” His gaze shifted towards one of the women in the circle whom Vorsa knew was Theleesi Anu, one of the order’s farseers and one of the Paladins in opposition of the Herald. “This was your trial as well.” He said simply. Vorsa knew what those words meant. ever since she joined the Dark Council, doubt and suspicion, even rumors, spread through the Clan. Rumors of her fall to the dark side, or Darth Pravus’ menacing influence over the Neti. Some went so far as to claim she was a slave to the Dark Lord. Even her sister, A’lora, had her doubts, all of which were unfounded in the Neti’s eyes. This trial was as much her test of loyalty to the light as it was her comrades’.
He raised a hand to draw attention to his final verdict. “You have failed your trial. The heart of the Force is object you must find to pass, and you have failed to do so." One of the paladins shifted, gripping his sword in one hand as if to challenge, but Sul stopped him with a pointed finger.
"However, it is the manner in which you treat your peers as well as your lessers that determines your fate in this temple. It is the worry for one’s friends, the spirit of helping one’s allies that is looked for by the Ascendant. This spirit is, after all, the essence of the opposition to the darkness. Though all pieces on the board were aligned against you, you still helped each other in dire need. This is what you will learn from this lesson today.”
Sul raised his sword up in front of his face in salute and pointed at the far end of the room where a large wall slid open, revealing the exit they sought for. The Paladin holding his sword looked at his commander with a deadly glare, which Sul returned in equal measure. “Leave this place with the knowledge and pride that you have accomplished something many others have failed to do, even if you have failed in your task.”
Without a single word the five companions walked away from the assembled Paladins, out through the door and into the open. The smell of trees and grass filled their nostrils as the doors shut behind them and commando unit stationed outside approached.
“What was that?” Edgar asked quizzically.
“We failed the trial.” Gresee mumbled morosely.
“I meant the other now, with the sword. He looked like he was ready to pounce.”
“He was.” Vorsa replied, removing her white toga to examine a bruise she had received minutes before. “We failed the trial because it was never intended to be passed in the first place. It was rigged to make it impossible to finish. Anyone exposed to that gas would suffer hallucinations and inadvertently put himself and others in danger. We were lucky Mar stepped in when he did," she sighed. "The Paladin Edgar mentioned was ready to fight me, you four would most likely have been spared.”
“What do you mean?” Xantros remained confused.
“I should not have joined you. It put your lives at risk. Even though I am a supporter of the Ascendant order, some of the Paladins feel I should be thoroughly tested for my association with the Dark Council.” Vorsa looked at Seraphol with a pointed stare but quickly shared a smile with the others. “Mar Sul simply extended me the courtesy of the doubt and spared me a trial by combat that many of his seconds required of me simply for being on the Council.”
“So you’re the reason we were in a mess in there. Big surprise. Why’d you come back anyway?” Seraphol gave an irritated retort.
“Sera!” Gresee countered.
“It is alright, child. He is right. I should not have participated in these trials. I wanted to see the extent these Paladins were willing to go to test me, and I put everyone in danger by doing so. To think that they would go so far.” She mused for a moment and looked at them again. “Go now. The transport awaits you. I shall need to talk to your Quaestor for a moment.” She pointed Seraphol away and gave a bow to the others.
“You will always be one of us, Master Vorsa. Always.” Gresee gave her a stern, unflinching look of confidence and determination. A look people with conviction and belief in their own truth usually had.
“She’s right. Whatever happens in the Clan, you’ll always be my ally.” Edgar added with the same kind of certainty. Xantros remained silent, waiting for the other two to join him. He simply gave Vorsa a nod and a bow before leaving.
As the transport flew away, Vorsa pinned Seraphol to a nearby tree none too gently. “Explain yourself.”
“What’re you talking about, woman?” He struggled against her strength in vain.
“I felt your aura change. I have seen too many of these shifts in others to be amused. I shall tell you one last time before I report you to the Consul, explain yourself, now.”
“I ain’t got nothing to tell you. Holding and threatening a Quaestor is an offense before the Justicar. You lay a hand on me and his lordship Taldrya will have a handful of Herald to play with.” He gave her a pointed stare and self-satisfying grin. “Now let me go.” His last was a clear threat.
Vorsa released the man before turning to her body guard. “Kintan, take the “Quaestor” with us. He has some explaining to do before the Council,” she ordered before boarding the second transport. “You may not answer to the Herald, but you do answer to the Consul, and she will be delighted to speak with you,” she said finally before the doors closed and the transport thundered away into the clear blue sky.