Disclaimer: I sadly do not own Star Wars
Fate of the Force
The Gozanti class cruiser Indomitable dropped out of hyperspace in the Utegetu Nebula, filled with the two Jedi Chief A'kla had sent on a mission, combined with the teams that they were to have with them at all times by order of the senate. While the two Jedi did find the presence of these Alliance interlopers irritating, in a certain way it was rather a comfort, as this would be the first time that Raynar had encountered the Killiks since the defeat of the Colony in the Swarm War and his rehabilitation.
As such there were two security teams, one led by Lieutenant Javon Thewles. The fact that he was now placed in charge of one of the Jedi security teams had caused no end of tension at home, due to the fact that he was seeing a Jedi by the name of Seha Dorvald. While the assignment had given his Falleen superior no end of delight, it had caused Javon to receive a very frosty goodbye when he had bid his girlfriend farewell when they left Coruscant.
However, despite what he was here to do, he had made good friends with Lowbacca, who was currently schooling him at pazaak, an old favourite of Lowie's which had been taught to him by his infamous uncle Chewbacca.
"Is Raynar alright?" Javon asked as the pilot announced that they would soon be landing on one of the Killik hive worlds, and Lowie let out a snuffling moan, shrugging his shoulders.
All through the trip, Raynar had sat, apparently in meditation, and had only moved to go to the bathroom. While Lowie had explained in an undertone all that had happened between the other Jedi and the Killiks, it left Javon feeling slightly anxious as to what could happen on the planet as the ship descended through the clouds, bound for the hive structures that marked where the Killiks belonged.
Tenupe had been the sight of the last battle of the Swarm War, and following the collapse of the Colony, the Killiks had returned to their previous state with the queens of the various hives ruling their respective parts of the species. Now, while technically sentient, the Killiks were much reduced, though they had now entered into trade and had started to expand their influence through peaceful means throughout the galaxy.
The ship settled down, and the two security teams got to their feet, grabbing their weapons while Lowbacca and Raynar checked their sabers. It was then that the psychiatrist overseer for the mission, a Miralian woman by the name of Indina Colorell got to her feet, her star tattooed cheeks going red as she allowed herself a small, smug smile.
"We have arrived on Tenupe. Now, whatever happens, you will leave me to do the talking." She told the two Jedi, and Lowie growled at her angrily, while Raynar looked at her in disbelief.
"Are you a negotiator, a diplomat?" he asked, and she shook her head, but kept the small, self satisfied smirk on her face.
"No, but I am in charge of this mission as the Jedi can no longer be trusted, as such I will take the lead. If you have a problem, I'm sure Senator Treen will be more than willing to consult with you on the matter upon our return to Coruscant, but until then I will be calling the shots." She told them in a sickly sweet voice, and Javon looked over at the old Sullustan psychiatrist who had also been assigned, who gestured at him helplessly.
"No disrespect doc, but you aren't doing anything on this mission. You are only here to observe the Jedi, nothing else. Master Thul is still in charge of the mission, all you need to do is make sure he doesn't go crazy." Javon said, and she shot him a venomous look.
"I am to oversee their actions lieutenant." She virtually spat, and he grinned at her.
"And you can, but that's all you can do." He told her triumphantly, and her eyes and nostrils flared in annoyance.
"I will report you to Senator Treen, she appointed me personally for this mission, I am to take the lead as the Jedi can no longer be trusted!" she insisted, and Javon shot her a bored look.
"Report me to your senator friend if you want, but I report to Chief A'kla, who kind of outranks your friend, even if she was the one behind this stupid law in the first place. Master Thul is in charge, so, lead on Master Thul." He said with a grin, and Raynar smiled and nodded at the handsome guard as he led the way from the ship, Lowie chuckling and following behind him.
"You, they, this is an outrage!" Colorell spluttered, and Javon grinned and beckoned to the troops, following the Jedi out, the Sullustan falling into step beside Javon as he led the two security teams from the ship.
"Good on you son, she's been nipping my ears since she got on the ship, seems like she's a good friend of Treen." He said darkly, and Javon grinned.
"Yeah, won't be such a good friend when she goes back and reports that we didn't let her take over like she wanted to." He replied, as Raynar came to a stop.
Lowie brayed at him curiously, and Raynar examined the area as the inquisitive Killiks came into view, making Colorell shudder in revulsion.
"Raynar?" the Sullustan asked, and Raynar frowned, his eyes drawn to the various sizes of Killiks coming their way.
"There's different hives here." He said in surprise, and they saw that he was indeed right.
Tenupe was meant to belong to the Wuluw, tiny brown shelled Killiks with yellow eyes, but there were several other Killiks present here, all of them clamouring around a large, blue shelled Killik, who tilted its head as it observed Raynar, and with that, the entire group of the curious insects, of varying shapes and sizes, all swarmed towards him. One of the guards raised his blaster, but Javon shook his head as Raynar seemed quite at ease as the Killiks surrounded him, and he inclined his head to the large blue Killik.
"Greetings your majesty." He said respectfully, and a Nautolan guard looked at his comrades in shock.
"That thing's royalty?" he asked in disbelief, as Lowie let out a low rumble.
"This is the queen of the Thuruht hive. She has come to spread the word to other hives, and we are all just in time to hear her warning." He said as she chittered, translating what the creature was saying.
Raynar looked around, seeing Killiks of various different nests all gathered around, there were members of Saras, Yoggoy, there was a few of the massive Rekker, and even a few of the tiny white shelled Mollom, among others all milling about, looking at the Thuruht queen in wonder, and for some reason, Raynar was struck with an inexplicably bad feeling.
The Fizz nanotech was meant to prevent the Killiks from rebuilding the Colony, but the presence of so many Killiks here meant that there was a possibility that that was what they planned to do. But no, there was no mind, no driving force, so what could bring them all together like this without something to direct them?
The queen reared up on her back legs and began to chitter and clack her mandibles together, and Raynar translated as she spoke, and by the end of her speech, the reason for so many different hives gathering together was made clear.
"Ah Master Thul, Master Lowbacca, I'm glad to hear from you, because I know you are going to give me good news. Trust me, I need some." Chief A'kla said miserably, as she still hadn't heard from Tenel Ka and Lecersen was apparently now courting Ord Trasi.
"I'm sorry Chief, but no such luck I'm afraid." Raynar admitted with a wince, and A'kla sighed wearily, closing her eyes in dismay before she opened them and focused on the two Jedi, now back on the Indomitable, which was preparing for liftoff.
"Let me guess, the Colony is back, dartships are being made and the Killiks want a second Swarm War." She said, losing all faith in the natural goodness of the universe, and Lowie shook his head, shooting her a conciliatory look, howling in reassurance.
"Not quite that bad you say? Oh, there's a novelty. But I've had reports from across the entire nebula, the Killiks are stockpiling, and apparently hives are now facing galactic east, and praying for want of a better word, all pointing due galactic east." She told them, sounding completely at sea, and Raynar nodded.
"Yes ma'am, that's the thing. You see, the Thuruht queen has been travelling through all the hives, how we're not quite sure but we don't think she means any harm. Her hive is the one that helped build Centerpoint. But since it was destroyed, it turns out her hive has been preparing for something, and now she's warning all the others. That's what they're doing, stockpiling, food, medicine, supplies of all sorts, they're building up stockpiles of everything they could possibly need." He informed her, and she looked at him sceptically.
"Why though?" she asked, and Raynar grinned.
"Well, she reckons that something that was kept at bay by Centerpoint has now been set loose, and whatever it is, it threatens to bring about the End of Times." He told her, and she could have laughed with relief.
"Wait, so you're telling me that some queen is a doomsday nut and she's convinced the entire species that the end of the galaxy is at hand? Oh what a relief. Thank you both, safe journey back to Coruscant." She said, almost giddy and her holo flickered out.
The ship lifted into the air, headed back for Alliance space, and Lowie rumbled something at Raynar who nodded.
"Yeah I do feel good, I know now that I'm not going to be a slave to my past with the Killiks forever, I didn't feel the pull of the Colony at all. It was something I needed to face, and I'm glad I did." He assured the Wookiee, who howled and patted his shoulder proudly.
"Yeah me too. Hey, do you and Javon need another hand?" he asked, and the Wookiee nodded, leading him through to the seating area.
Raynar took one last look down at the planet, and inexplicably felt a chill as he saw rank upon rank of Killiks, all pointing galactic east, praying for the end that had been prophesised to come. Dismissing it, he headed through to the others, while throughout the nebula, the entire Killik species were out in their thousands, if not millions, all praying to the Goddess of Many Faces, all praying for salvation in the apocalypse to come.
"Are you ok Chief?" Wynn asked, giving her a cup of tea and she nodded, her mind abuzz.
"Yes I'm fine. It's just odd, I was expecting some major new crisis, not some doomsday nut spreading tales." She assured him, but as she did so, she wasn't quite sure she believed it herself.
After all, this queen of theirs was at least a descendant of the ones who had helped build Centerpoint, and she had taken it on herself to go and warn her whole species that the end was coming, and now the entire hive was starting to behave like the end truly was at hand. At any other time, even during the Vong War, she could have dismissed it, but…she had an awful feeling in her gut, events didn't scream doomsday, and it was all coincidence and severe bad luck on her part but still, the thought was enough to make her pause at least.
"Every species and culture throughout the galaxy has a doomsday story, and some people aren't happy unless they think it's the end." Wynn told her as he took some signed papers off her desk, and she nodded.
"I know, you're quite right. Still, an entire species doing it is a bit odd at least. I'm sure they'll get bored of it eventually." She said as he left the office, but she couldn't help but repress a shudder as he did so as the thought of the entire galaxy ending crossed her mind.
The Fell Defender glided through the mists that made up the Redoubt, entering through the secret back door, now escorting the last parts of the civilian fleet, which included the Chaf Envoy, into the Redoubt itself. It had been a gradual process, some ships escorting the civilian ships to the Redoubt while others had looked for other survivors, or, when the opportunity presented itself, attacked the allied Vong and Vaagari forces, making the most of the chaos that they had caused by liberating so many Chiss from the clutches of the Vaagari at Copero. Now that they had freed several of their kinsmen, it was time to make for the Redoubt, to prepare for the inevitable counterstrike. Raids and attacks like they had been doing were all very well and good, however they wouldn't end the Vong and Vaagari occupation. For that, they would need a fleet, not a ragtag task force, and the task force couldn't be concerned with protecting the civilians if they planned to take the fight to the enemy.
"We're entering the last refuge now." Wreth reported, and Ar'alani nodded, not quite sure what she would find.
While the reports were apparently encouraging, as they were only ferrying the civilians to the door, they hadn't seen what was locked in the depths of the Redoubt. Designed to be the last refuge of the Chiss, there were Chiss military installations dotted throughout, guarding the only safe passages through the star cluster. Ships, space station, garrisons, everything the Chiss could need to fight back against any enemy was held within the Redoubt.
And it was that which Ar'alani needed if she was to lead her people to victory over the Vong and retake their worlds.
"Welcome admiral, to the Redoubt." Wreth said with a grim smile as the Fell Defender emerged into the heart of the star cluster.
Emerging through the mists, Ar'alani looked out at the very nerve centre of the Redoubt, and smiled.
An Ascension class space station, a powerful fortress, hung in space over one of the most habitable worlds in the Redoubt. A feedback loop of planetary shields linked the station to the planet, the planet generating the stations field and vice versa, making the two, in theory, invulnerable. The space station was bristling with weaponry, and was more than capable of taking on a fleet of invading Star Destroyers. Capable of housing hundreds if not thousands of fighters, combined with its powerful weaponry and planetary class shield, the station was the nerve centre for the Redoubt. Beneath them, squadrons of Clawcraft and legions of troops awaited on the planet, as they did on other planets throughout the cluster.
And there were capital ships, with over a dozen Star Destroyers dedicated to protecting the station alone, and on top of that there were many more protecting the planet itself too. This was what she needed, this was the break they had been waiting for.
"Admiral, we have a message coming in from the station. Commodore Trent bids us welcome, and that he eagerly awaits your arrival, so, and I quote 'discuss how best to kill the bastards'" Doshi reported, and she grinned.
"Tell him I look forward to meeting him too. Helm, set a course for the space station, and have the other ships escort us in. This is where our fortunes change." She promised, and her crew cheered as their ships headed for safety, and for retribution.
"Come on Jaina!" Leia nagged and her daughter appeared at the bottom of the ramp, sending her mother a dirty look as the group prepared to head into the burial moon of Kohlma.
"Yes do take your time, it's the only the fate of the galaxy at stake." Lumiya commented idly, earning her a glare from the Solo girl, and she turned her scowl onto her mother.
"If you must know, I was sending a message, I figured with Vestara's dad out for our blood, it might not hurt to have someone keeping an eye out for us. And I've got the droids to shut up the ship too." She explained as the ramp slid shut, and Luke nodded.
"Alright. K'kruhk, lead on." He invited, and the Whiphid gestured, heading towards the massive citadel that seemed to dominate the landscape.
Sharp winds assaulted them, as rain thundered down on the large, derelict looking building. The sky of the moon was grey, and thousands upon thousands of tombstones littered the landscape, cutting into the gnarled, warped greenery as various creatures, with malicious red or yellow eyes glared out at the intruders. The citadel itself was cut into a ragged mountain, set across from the plateau they currently stood on. Glass domes dominated the building, though most of them had been shattered over the years. Ben looked nervously at the citadel, it reeked of death, and of the dark side.
"Yes. There was darkness here, was there not K'kruhk?" Lumiya asked as he led the group over the bridge, all but him struggling in the wild wind, and K'kruhk nodded.
"Quite. As a place filled with the bodies of the dead, a tomb like this, there would always be a dark side aura. But a more malevolent force adopted this moon, twisted it for its own. The Bando Gora." He concluded grimly, and Han looked at him in shock.
"The Bando Gora? I thought they were myths!" he called, staggering back as a fresh gust of wind crashed into them, Alema cursing as K'kruhk's body didn't quite block the wind from shearing into her.
"Oh they were very real. Fortunately, Jango Fett put paid to their evil plans when he killed their leader, Komari Vosa, a Dark Jedi, and worse, former apprentice of Count Dooku." He told them, and Lumiya smiled, her eyes dancing with sick delight.
"And it was here, on this rotten moon, that the fate of the Jedi was sealed, as it was here that Jango Fett agreed to become the template for the clone army." She purred, earning her a reproving glare from the various Jedi, but it was Han who turned to them, looking grouchy.
"Look, I appreciate you guys constant attempts to get one up on each other, but can you can it until we get inside, the weather here's crap!" he yelled, and the kids eagerly agreed as K'kruhk picked up the pace, coming to a stop at the door which he forced open with a gesture, the dull thud echoing into the air, clanging through the abandoned stone halls as they entered the building, closing the door behind them.
"Lovely place." Jacen commented, eyeing the damp, dark walls with trepidation.
"What happened here, why are there so many graves?" Vestara asked as Mara and Leia lit glowsticks, the group advancing through the abandoned building, the wind whistling through the corridors and the shadows playing on the walls.
"Bogden was the site of a terrible war. At the end of it, they sent all the bodies up here for burial. Surrounding systems sometimes use this site too. And when the death toll of intergalactic wars gets rather high, as they are prone to do, any battles that lead to a massive loss of life, sometimes their bodies are sent here too. Particularly after the Vong War." Lumiya explained to her as their footsteps echoed through the abandoned citadel.
"So this is last chance saloon is it? Because I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting really fed up of this tour of the galaxy's nicest tourist destinations." Han grumbled, and Alema nodded fervently beside him, and K'kruhk nodded dolefully.
"Yes, this has to be the last stop. T'ra can't hold out much longer. But, so far Kohlma is the best lead we've had. Problem is, finding this tomb of the Celestials will be no easy task." He said contemplatively, and Jacen edged closer to Luke.
"You feel it too?" Luke asked quietly, and Jacen nodded.
"Yeah. But whoever, or whatever they are, they're good, I can barely detect them, I don't think the others have twigged yet." He muttered, and Luke frowned, closing his eyes as he did so, stretching out with his feelings.
"I don't think they're good, I think they're degenerate, almost furtive, primitive technically, that's why we're having trouble sensing them." He mumbled in response, and Jacen reached for his saber, keeping his hand on it so he could use it at a second's notice.
"Do you even know where we're going?" Leia asked, casting an untrusting eye up at the rafters, sure she had seen something scuttling around but when she looked again, it wasn't there.
"I have no idea. But, there is a dark side nexus here, most likely where Fett encountered Vosa. If we follow that, it might lead us somewhere." K'kruhk mused, and Mara exchanged a sceptical glance with Leia.
They continued through the citadel, though the sense that something was following them was beginning to get worse, and all of them were beginning to sense it. Han however was leading them onwards, blissfully unaware, and to that end he took them up a caved in set of stairs, following the warren like tunnels until he reached the throne room.
A window with a dull blue glow was shining at the top of a symmetrical set of stairs, but other than that, the room was featureless. K'kruhk looked around nervously, then nodded.
"This is the place, the dark side is strong here." He muttered, his hand on his own lightsaber, and Han looked at him curiously.
"Well surely if the Celestials made Abeloth the dark side incarnate, they wouldn't be looking for a dark side drinking spot to bury themselves where she could find them?" he asked, and Mara shrugged.
"Who can figure these ancient types? But the nexus might have been created after the fact, which would make sense if a Dark Jedi snuffed it here." She mused, glancing around the room.
"Look at Dagobah." Luke said before he flipped into the air, green lightsaber leaping into his hand as a ball of green energy blasted the ground where he had been standing a split second before.
"Luke!" Han yelled turning and drawing his blaster and he backed up a few steps as their attackers moved into the dim light of the blue window and the various lightsabers.
There were dozens of them, most of them crawling along the floor on all fours. Their skin was black and mottled, and they all seemed to be wearing tattered, black hooded clothes. Their fingernails were long and ragged, scraped from crawling along in the dirt. And their eyes were glowing shining red, their teeth decayed, or in some cases, they had been sharpened into fangs. And the leader was tall, skeletal, with the skull of some horned creature on his face, a glowing staff in hand, with glowing blue eyes staring out from the abyss of the skull.
"What are they?" Alema asked, and K'kruhk growled.
"The Bando Gora. I thought they were extinct."
"Death cults always have a way of sticking around longer than they should." Lumiya spat in contempt, and Jaina raised her saber into the air.
"And coming out of places they shouldn't." she sniffed as dozens of scuttling Bando Gora slaves started crawling through various holes in the ceiling, their red eyes focused on the group.
"Here we go again." Ben grumbled, as Lumiya made the first move, the Bando Gora slaves giving out a terrible screech as they were cleaved into pieces by her whip.
The monsters swarmed everywhere, some of them dropping down from the ceiling, slashing and grabbing at the group. Jacen and Luke worked in unison, the perfection of team work, the two of them slashing and deflecting, using the Force to augment their attacks as they were swarmed by the death cult, the horrible dying screeches filling the air as more and more of these twisted creatures made their end. Alema leapt from place to place, slashing down and cutting up various slaves as they tried to grab her, her blue blade cutting through them like grass as she fought them off. K'kruhk and Leia were back to back, forming an impenetrable defence, K'kruhk's mighty Force blows giving them a reprieve and allowing Leia to get in close, hacking through the slaves that he felled. Lumiya, her face the picture of hatred, her whip a tempest of energy as she held the creatures off, Jaina finishing those that her whip left alive. Mara was leading Ben and Vestara in a wedge, their sabers slicing through the swarming slaves as they pushed onwards, trying to get the captain.
He however was causing the most problems. Clearly the malevolent force behind these deformed creatures, he was casting balls of deadly green energy from his staff, trying to take them out but they all kept moving, his breath grating through his skull mask as more and more slaves poured down from every crevice.
"Um, a little help!" Han yelped as more slaves scuttled down from on high, and Jaina flipped over to her father, cutting down the closest slaves to him as he fired blaster bolts everywhere, trying to keep the monstrous creatures at bay.
"So much for being extinct!" Jacen snarled, Force pushing several away, and Jaina, her violet saber weaving in and out of slave bodies, cursed.
"Seems like everything that's meant to be dead isn't, just for the express purpose of getting in our way!" she snapped, taking the head off a slave that was about to pounce on her and her father.
"It's the captain, he's using the malevolent energy here, if we take him out…" Luke breathed, blasting several attackers away from him, and Vestara nodded.
"We end the threat. You say these clowns worked for a Dark Jedi? Let's see how they fair against a Sith." Vestara spat, and to everyone's shock, she sent an arc of Force lightning towards the captain.
The captain raised his staff, but it did nothing as the lightning hit him, illuminating his skeleton, prompting a furious, agonised scream as he was blown off his feet, crashing back into the wall where the captain gave a final groan and keeled over, smoking from the attack.
"Well done Vestara." Lumiya purred with a smile as the various slaves began to look at each other in confusion and terror before several of them started to scarper back towards the holes they had crawled out of.
"Ha, that's it run!" Han yelled gloatingly, shooting at those closest to him as they all swarmed towards the holes in the ceiling above him and Jaina.
Lumiya was pushing the advantage, her whip snapping outwards and cleaving dozens of fleeing slaves in half as Luke, K'kruhk, Ben and Mara came together, chasing them from the edge of the room into her reach, while Alema, Jacen and Leia helped Jaina and Han force the remainder into retreat, there agonised screams filling the air as they fled, panicking as they ran for their lives.
The dust began to settle, the corpses of the dead Bando Gora slaves piled high throughout the room, and Luke breathed in annoyance.
"Well that was irritating. Thanks Vestara." He said, nodding at her and she smiled, while Ben grinned at her cockily.
Sensing danger in that regard, Mara flared her nostrils, looking around the room.
"Ok why were they so bothered about trying to kill us here, why not attack us before hand?" she asked, it didn't make much sense, if they'd attacked in the corridors, they could have scattered them and picked them off at their leisure.
"What, you reckon there's any higher brain functions going on there? They were only a little smarter than the zombies, look how they collapsed when Vestara took out their captain. I doubt we're looking at Thrawn level strategy here." Jacen mused, and Lumiya scoffed.
"We weren't even looking at Ozzel level strategy, and he was a complete buffoon." She sniffed, and Han grinned.
"Yeah, thanks to him we're all standing here today." He said cheerfully, and Lumiya shot him a look of pure venom.
"Don't remind me." She grumbled, and Mara grinned, then noticed that Han had abandoned annoying Lumiya and was now inspecting the window.
"Dad?" Jaina asked as he ran his hand up and down the window, before he turned to K'kruhk.
"This Vosa chick, was she a conman?" he asked, and K'kruhk shrugged.
"Well she was once a Jedi. And she was the head of an international drug dealing death cult, so she had to know a few tricks. Why?" he asked curiously, and Han, rubbing his hand up and down a certain bit of the window, grinned.
"Because," he grinned smugly, as he pressed against the window and with a grating noise it slid down into the floor and out of sight, "seems like she had her throne room right at the top of a secret passage." He explained, leaning proudly against the wall.
"Well done young Han. Oh, it looks quite dark down there." K'kruhk said as he peered into the passageway, which was a spiral staircase that was swallowed by darkness long before he could make out the bottom.
"He'll be hell to live with after that." Lumiya advised Leia, who shrugged, and smiled.
"You think he was easy to live with before?" she asked, and the Sith smiled as they joined the others at the secret door.
"You reckon this is the way we want to be going? Cause gotta say, not too keen on following a spooky spiral staircase down into unfathomable darkness, particularly with our Bando Gora friends floating around, maybe looking for round two." Ben commented, looking less than pleased with this development, and the twins exchanged a look, privately agreeing with his opinion.
Vestara laid a hand on his wrist, a coy smile on her lips.
"Scared Ben?" she challenged, and more to stop the Sith girl fondling her son than anything else, Mara barged through the two of them, and looked down into the depths of the secret passage and sighed.
"I don't think we have much choice. After you K'kruhk." She said brightly, clapping him on the shoulder with a smile, and he looked at her in protest.
"Well why me first?" he demanded, and Luke grinned.
"Well, you're the oldest, you precipitated all this happening," he said quickly, catching Leia's glare, the last thing they needed was Lumiya discovering they'd changed time, "and you're the biggest, if we fall, you're the best cushion."
K'kruhk racked his brains, and was stumped, so took the moral high ground.
"Echuta." He swore at them, and wafting at the stale air in the tunnel, he lit a glowrod and entered the spiral staircase.
"Now we will see, now we will know, as brave the long dark road into the depths." K'kruhk muttered as the group, keeping an eye out for any Bando Gora goons, followed him into the passageway, the door sliding shut behind them, trapping them in the complete darkness of the passageway, as they descended into the inky blackness leading down into the depths of the moon.
The Dreadnaught Schism dropped out of hyperspace in the Bogden system, and now, their long chase was over. They finally had their prey within their grasp, and Gavar Khai spread his awareness out, and distantly, getting closer by the second, he could sense the burgeoning light side presence of their Jedi prey. Above that, he could feel the dark star in the Force that was Lumiya, and along with her, his malevolent, spiteful, treacherous daughter.
"We have them. Set a course for the burial moon. And prepare our forces. This time, they will not escape. And Lumiya, and my darling daughter, will pay for their betrayal." He ordered, and Sazat inclined his head, carrying out his orders.
"My Saber, I shall remain with the ship, should they try and escape before you encounter them." Dredity chimed in, and Gavar gestured in acknowledgement, and she smiled at her work station.
Soon now, Khai would confront the Jedi. And when he and their enemies were all in one place, she would carry out the orders of Lord Gaalan, and destroy all the Tribe's enemies in one swift stroke. And that meant her time with her esteemed leader would soon be at an end. Smiling at this thought, she grinned as the Dreadnaught moved towards Kohlma, and the conclusion of the hunt.
They had been descending for hours, in a tightly wound circle, and they'd had to stop several times, due to them all becoming increasingly dizzy as they headed down the stairs. But as they progressed, the Force had become clearer, more focused, sharper, it was a bizarre sensation and K'kruhk couldn't shake the feeling that they were nearing the end of their journey, and in his mind, he didn't think it was a moment too soon. The reports from T'ra were alarming to say the least, magma was now erupting from Kessel's surface, and while she, and the hardy miners and workers who wished to remain, but now massive fungi stalks and glittering silver machinery of unknown origin was shining through under Abeloth's assault. Even if they learned nothing else here, they had to get to Kessel to save her at the very least.
"The Force, it feels odd." Vestara commented, and Lumiya nodded, her eyes glinting hungrily in the darkness.
"It does, it feels almost pure, it's strange. There is great power here." She purred, and Luke glowered at her.
"Yeah, like hell are we letting you get your claws on that." He sniped, and Lumiya raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, and you should get it? Out of everyone on that ship, I would trust Artoo with the power here before I trusted you with it." She snarled, and Ben shook his head as the two of them gave way to bickering as usual.
"I don't know who I feel sorrier for, Luke, her, or me." Mara lamented and Jaina sniggered as they continued to climb down.
"Wait, there's light, look." Alema said, pointing in the half darkness, and Han peered down.
"The psych patient's right, there is light down there." He said, while Alema shot him a filthy look, and K'kruhk edged to the front, feeling a sort of palpable excitement.
"Come my friends, our journey has reached it's end." He said, leading them downwards, and they finally reached the bottom of the spiral staircase, and Han had to resist the urge to sit down on the steps, he was knackered, and all those steps did nothing for his knees.
No such luck was to be had though. The door was ancient, an interlocking stone edifice marked with eroded, ancient symbols. K'kruhk leaned his hand against it, and upon his touch, the stone doors slid away with a grinding noise, revealing the dark room within.
"I swear there better not be any more stairs in there." Han grumbled, and Vestara grinned.
"Getting too old for this old timer?" she asked playfully, and he sent her a disgusted look, though he silently agreed with her sentiment.
The room was massive, stretching far from the citadel so many levels above them. A gentle white light seemed to be coming from somewhere, shining down on them but there was no discernible source. Ancient markings dotted the walls, and were inscribed into the arched ceiling high above them. Stone tombs lined the walls, yet unlike their other visits, there wasn't an aura of death or fear hanging above them, rather, a sense of peace, and acceptance. K'kruhk entered cautiously, his face rapt with reverence as he led the company into the tomb of the Celestials.
"The final resting place of the Celestials." K'kruhk mumbled as he moved further into the tomb, and with that, they all split off, examining the various tombs.
Lumiya knelt down at one tomb, her expression curious. It wasn't that big, about the size of a two person bed and half the height. Crouching down she laid her hand on the small plaque that was at the foot of the tomb.
"Can you read it?" Vestara asked, and Lumiya traced the words with her fingers, and she shrugged.
"Slightly, I can't tell if I'm right or not, but it seems like there's aspects of the Sith language here." She commented, and Leia nodded.
"She's right, High Tionese as well by the looks of it. There aren't that many, do you think the Celestials were wiped out, or this was just a burial ground for the ones involved with what happened with Abeloth?" she asked, and Luke shrugged.
"No way of telling. It's fascinating though, and this light, it's weird." He said, looking in a daze at the shimmering white light filling the room, at least until Mara squeezed his ear in annoyance, sending him a cautionary look as she did so.
"K'Kruhk?" Ben called, as the elderly Jedi was at the end of the room, standing at a pedestal that was shaped like a pyramid.
"I believe I may have something." He replied, and the group headed over to see him lift a large heavy tome into his hands, his expression intense as he beheld the book.
The book was filled with ancient glyphs and markings, which they had no chance of reading. Jaina was about to point this out to him when suddenly the letters blurred and she closed her eyes, and to her surprise, and admittedly slight alarm, when she looked at them again, the glyphs were now in Basic.
"Um did they?" she asked, and Jacen nodded.
"Change into Basic so we could read them? Yeah." He confirmed, looking slightly intimidated by this.
"Should we be pleased or freaked?" she asked, and he shrugged.
"No idea." He replied, gesturing for K'Kruhk to get on with it, as he flicked backwards through the tome, the glyphs on each page turning to their own language as he did so.
"Ah, here we are. We now recount the tale of the Banishment of the Sacrifice. One of our own, a Servant in the charge of the family known as the Ones, viewed their life with greed, and jealousy. Giving in to the baser desires of the younger species, she struck, pushing the Mother into the path of her warring children, and she was killed instantly. She was brought before us, by the distraught Father, and he demanded we do something to punish her for her crimes. The Servant was defiant, believing she had simply been taking her birth right. The Council went to vote, and declared that this creature would be made as ugly on the outside as she was within.
Our decision could have destroyed our consortium. Many believed she should just be exterminated, but we were no longer competent to decide. We were the anointed ones, the guardians of the past, present and future. How could ones such as we create and lead a galaxy if something like this should exist within our ranks? But, what if we should fall prey to the same temptations she did?
We gathered round, and used the Servant as a vessel. We purged ourselves of all that tainted us, twisting it, giving it form within the monster within our midst. But then, too late, did we realise our mistake. Evil was now given form. The Servant, Abeloth, tried to attack us, and we realised too late as she cut down several of us with no effort at all what we had created. Abeloth was evil incarnate. Channelling our power, we sealed her in a wall of light, but it was clear that this would not hold her forever, as we had cast away what we needed to destroy her. This being, this monstrosity, this abomination must be sealed away, lest she destroy all for which we have long toiled. We have created the end, perhaps the end of everything, and we must act, or she shall destroy us all.
We created a planet, and imprisoned her there. From there, we created a barrier, generated by the power of two space stations, which would dampen her power and seal her there forevermore. Around one of the stations, we would place a multitude of black holes, and she would be sealed away, for should she ever escape, she would destroy all which we have built and rebuild it in her own, twisted image.
Now we flee. We don't know the defences will hold. Abeloth. We have given the death of the galaxy form. We have created a warped being, a shade, a shadow, a perversion of life itself, the ultimate ugliness. We have given birth, given life, to death and to the Apocalypse itself. Evil is now given form. We no longer have the power to end her, we purged ourselves of the very weapons we need to end her dominion. She is dark incarnate, death, destruction. She is the End. And we can no longer prevail.
Now we flee, praying she will never be set loose. And should she be, only together can the great destroyer be overcome, by those wielding the blade of that which she fears most in the Force." He concluded, looking confused, as he had clearly reached the end of the tale.
"Is that it?" Jaina demanded, they'd been through hell, and the last stop, the place where they had hoped to find the answer they needed, and that was all it said?
"Indeed. Don't be disheartened young Jaina, I feel there are many more mysteries in this tome to unlock, perhaps the knowledge of her defeat is yet to be found. But at any rate, we have an inkling of what we need to do." He assured her, and Leia looked at him, lost.
"Um how?" she asked, bemused, and he smiled.
"We are together, and they said themselves that they stripped themselves of what they needed. And that is what we have." He assured her, and took a last look around.
"Are you sure?" Ben asked sceptically, and the old Jedi nodded.
"Fear not young Ben. Now come, let us leave the Celestials to their rest." He said, leading them from the tomb which slid shut behind them and they left the mysteries of the past behind, bound for an uncertain future.
"Oh this is terrible Artoo!" Threepio exclaimed in dismay as a squadron of Skiprays blazed down towards the citadel, landing on the bridge, their inhabitants barely sparing a glance for the Falcon as they climbed out, heading within the citadel, just under fifty beings all heading to confront Master Luke and all the others.
Artoo beeped in dismay, and Threepio was frantic.
"Oh my, what do you mean you can't raise them, oh where could they be? I do hope they're alright. We must try to warn them Artoo!" he insisted and Artoo whistled and began the preflight checks, squawking about the Dreadnaught in orbit.
"Oh yes that's quite a good idea yes. But Artoo, we'll be fighting our way up against the guns of a Dreadnaught." He pointed out and Artoo whistled confidently, and Threepio sniffed.
"I wish I had your confidence." He said tartly as Artoo prepared the ship for departure.
The journey back up was silent as the group pondered what K'Kruhk had read within the tome, wondering just how that would help them stop Abeloth. Perhaps he was right, but at the end of the day, they had been hoping to find a clear black and white way of destroying her and all they had had was a riddle. Stopping several times on the way back up as well, it was only when the darkness began to thin that they began to sense that something wasn't quite right.
"Oh no." Vestara breathed, recognising the Force presence above them just as their comlinks starter going berserk with missed messages from the droids.
"Oh heck." K'Kruhk grumbled, and set the tome down as they emerged from the passageway to be confronted by roughly fifty men and women, some of them wielding shikkars and the others wielding lightsabers, sending the room into a dark red glow.
Gavar Khai stood in the centre of the throne room, his saber drawn and eyes narrowed as he glared at the group, his rage coursing through him as he laid eyes on Lumiya and on a frightened looking Vestara.
"Saber Khai, I seem to recall ordering you to Korriban to keep an eye on Lord Krayt." Lumiya snapped, her green eyes narrowed as she surveyed the room, more than half the room had sabers, and there were a few on the edges who had blasters as well.
"I do not follow the orders of traitors, you betrayed the Tribe. And what is more you have corrupted my daughter." He spat, and Lumiya's eyes briefly flicked to the girl, she didn't want Vestara to be forced to fight her father, she might be a Sith but she wasn't totally heartless.
"I haven't betrayed the Tribe. Krayt is the one who ordered the destruction of Kesh, not I. Now, go back to Korriban and await further instructions." She hissed, her hand falling to her whip, she could sense the tension in the room, this was going to turn ugly.
"I think not 'my lady'. You are a traitor to the Sith. And you my daughter, did you think your treachery would go unnoticed?" Gavar ground out and Vestara sent him a defiant look.
"Lumiya is the Dark Lord of the Sith, and she's allied with the Jedi, and we're trying to stop something a lot worse, I'm not a traitor." She protested, and he scoffed.
"That would be more convincing if that Jedi brat wasn't hanging off your arm." He sneered, and Mara narrowed her eyes.
"Hey watch it." She growled as the others reached for their weapons.
"You have corrupted my daughter, thrown your lot in with the Jedi and destroyed our planet. And it is time for your transgressions to come to an end." Gavar growled, and Luke sighed.
"Don't do this Gavar, don't make your daughter fight you in battle." He pleaded, and Gavar sneered.
"After all she has done? She is no longer any daughter of mine." He spat contemptuously, and Ben prepared to strike as a blossom of hurt passed across his and Vestara's Force bond.
"Father…" she said breathlessly, and Lumiya, eyeing her apprentice, glared at Gavar.
"Gavar, this is your last chance. Turn around, now, or die." She threatened, and Gavar grinned.
"It is you and your Jedi friends who will die…my lady." He spat, and moved like a viper, leaping towards her to take her head, but the Dark Lord was already on the move, dancing out of the way as her whip came up to intercept him, forcing him to the ground as blaster bolts started to fill the air as the assembled Tribe members pushed ahead to try and kill their opponents.
Jacen sprang into the throng of Sith, K'Kruhk at his side, the massive Jedi landing in the centre of a Sith formation, his lightsaber making short work of two of the shikkar wielders while Jacen used a Force push to knock several off their feet, before turning and blocking the attack of Sazat. Quickly backpedalling, Jacen countered every one of his strikes with ease, and lunged, the Sith then forced back on the defensive, his shimmering green blade driving back against the red blade of the Sith, but just as he was about to attack, K'Kruhk's green blade cleaved the Sith in two, and he and Jacen pushed forward.
Jaina and Han were picking off those with blasters, Jaina's purple saber deflecting shots back towards those who were firing at them while her father, still an expert shot at his age, picked off the Sith wielding blasters. Ben and Alema were herding the shikkar wielders together, allowing Leia and Mara to make short work of them, and while duels were taking place with the lightsaber wielders, but it was clear that they were no match for the group's skills. Lumiya had forced back Gavar, and he was now in the centre of the room, and Luke and Jacen were both making their way towards him to end him, but it was clear that he was wise to their plans, and was clearly trying to get to his daughter, who merely defending herself, and was trying to avoid killing any of her kinsmen. However, as she deflected another shot towards Jaina, who grinned as she deflected it at the original shooter, Vestara's eyes caught the ceiling, and she went pale as Bando Gora slaves, clearly in thrall to the Sith, came scurrying out of their holes.
"They have reinforcements!" she cried, and K'Kruhk groaned, leaving Jacen and Luke fighting them to head to intercept the slaves with Vestara.
Luke was a whirlwind, Sith were being scattered with Force pushes and cleaved in two with his lightsaber, Jacen mirroring his moves, the two of them splitting the Sith into two groups, and then pushing ahead respectively. Han shot down another Sith, swearing as he saw that Gavar was making a beeline right for his daughter.
"Lumiya, stop Khai!" he yelled, and she snarled, her whip cracking through a throng of Sith who fell with a scream but be cast a blast of lightning at her, forcing her to fall back as he closed in on his daughter.
"Khai, you don't want to do this!" K'Kruhk yelled, slashing several slaves into pieces but he was too late as the two red blades collided together, Vestara forced into retreat as her furious spiteful father used his skills with a blade to push her back.
"Ves!" Ben cried, watching as she barely deflected a slash.
"Luke, can you get to her?" Mara asked as she flipped away from another Sith who blasted Force lightning at her, and Luke tried to push towards to Vestara only to be beset by more Sith, keen on preventing him reaching them.
Vestara blocked her father's savage swing, retreating, not wanting to give in to the dark side and face him in all out battle.
"You've already gone soft." He spat, as she locked their blades, her heart hammering in her throat as he tried to kill her.
"Father, please don't do this, I don't want to fight you!" she pleaded, but she had to jump out of the way as he nearly took her head off, and now she was close to being cornered in the corner of the room.
"Khai, you don't want to kill your own daughter!" Han yelled, shooting at him but the Sith merely deflected the blasts as he advanced towards his cornered daughter.
"You disobeyed me, betrayed me, betrayed our people. And now, much as it pains me, I will end your treachery." He declared, lunging at her with his saber, and she caught the blade on her own, forcing him away from her, and realising that if she did nothing she would die here, she began to attack him, his words burning into her, her anger giving her strength.
"Vestara!" Lumiya called, trying to at least stop her from doing what she was being forced to do, yes Sith had to sacrifice, but this…
"That's better daughter, prove to me you aren't the complete failure I think you are!" he spat, his blade hammering at her defence, and Vestara span out of the way of his next attack, kicking him in the stomach and knocking him back. Gavar grunted, thrusting towards her chest but she deflected the blade away, all the while the disdain and anger rolling off her father was surging into her, making her own anger and fear grow stronger, and hence she was becoming stronger because of it.
The Sith were few and far between now, and some were now trying to make a run for it, but the group wasn't letting them. All the while though Vestara and Gavar went at it, their red blades a blur, Vestara's anger increasing by the second as she tried to fight off her father. Forcing him back, she took a step back to regain her breath, but Gavar ploughed forward, his saber going high to cleave her in two and in panicked desperation, she threw out her arm, and there was the unmistakable sound of a lightsaber piercing flesh.
"Ves-!" Ben cried in shock, only to see her standing in the centre of the room looking horrified as her blade was emitting from her father's back.
Gavar looked down at the saber that had burst through his chest, and he looked weakly at his daughter, and his face then transformed into a proud smile.
"Strange…despite what you've done, I'm now prouder of you than I've ever…been…" he said as the life left him and Vestara pulled out her blade and allowed her father's body to topple to the floor.
"No, father, please…" she begged, going down onto her knees as the last Bando Gora slaves were sent scurrying away in retreat as between them, Lumiya, Luke and Jacen cut down the last of the Sith.
"Vestara…" Jaina whispered as the girl laid her father out flat and began to cry, as the entire group looked on mournfully at the sight of her crying over the body of her father.
"No, no!" the girl sobbed, but to her great surprise someone then bent down and wrapped her in a hug.
"Shh, you had no choice." Mara whispered, rocking the girl slightly, and Lumiya looked at her in slight surprise, she hadn't thought Mara would console the girl.
Alema cut down Grana Takaris, who screamed as she died, then looked worriedly at Vestara. It was then that she cocked her head as a deep boom echoed above them, and a flash of lightning flashed over the top of the citadel.
Wait, lightning wasn't green.
"We're under attack!" she cried, and the entire group turned to look at her as the entire rocked, green light flashing over the building, and Han groaned.
"Oh for heaven sake, not again!" he complained as another turbolaser blast thundered down onto the surface of the moon.
"We must leave, and quickly." K'Kruhk declared, heading to get the tome as Mara pulled Vestara to her feet.
"Come on sweetie." Leia said kindly, resting her hand on Vestara's shoulder and with that, the group, K'Kruhk emerging from the passageway behind them as they started to run from the room, the old Jedi lagging behind slightly and quickly catching up.
Turbolaser blasts continued to thunder down on the moon, and now the ship attacking them had clearly found their range, as the entire citadel was shaking under the assault, green laser fire scorching and blasting apart the building as they ran from the building, and one blast just missed them, scorching through the roof and sending rubble cascading down behind them.
"We need to stop them, they could destroy the tomb!" Jacen cried, and Leia winced as another blast rocked the building, and Lumiya snarled.
"Krayt's corrupted the Tribe, I told you he was a fool!" she snapped as they hurtled down the stairs, bound for the front door, which Luke blasted open with the Force, but as the group thundered towards the exit, he ground to a halt, resulting in a pile up.
"Of all the stupid…" Alema spat, and Luke looked outside in alarm, the bridge connecting the citadel to where they had landed the ship.
"We're cut off!" he cried, but before anyone could say anything more, the Falcon blazed into view, the landing ramp already open.
"Quickly master Luke, we're under attack!" Threepio cried, and the group ran into the ship, the ramp sliding shut behind them as Han raced for the cockpit.
"Out the way short stuff." He ordered and Artoo whistled as he got out the road, allowing Han to sit in the pilot's seat, Leia mirroring him in the copilots seat.
"Captain Solo, there's a Dreadnaught in orbit!" Threepio cried, and Han swore.
"A Dreadnaught, what do you mean a Dreadnaught?" he demanded as he blazed the engines, taking the ship into the canyon as another turbolaser blast pounded into the citadel.
"Well, a Dreadnaught class cruiser of Mandalorian design, what else sir?" Threepio demanded, and in annoyance, Han gunned the engines, sending Threepio hurtling from the cockpit with a cry.
"To be fair to him, you did ask for that one." Leia pointed out as Mara and Lumiya joined them in the cockpit, and Mara swore as she looked at the sensors while turbolaser blasts continued to pound down onto the moon, blasting holes into the citadel and incinerating ancient graves, the forests below them in flames as the Dreadnaught continued to fire.
"He's right, a Dreadnaught, and it's launching fighters, kids, get to the turret!" she yelled as Han ducked and weaved the ship through the canyon, narrowly avoiding several turbolaser blasts.
"We can't rise, we can't go any lower, and soon, we're going to run out of canyon to hide in, can't someone do anything?" Han asked, and Luke poked his head in the door, scowling.
"I'm good but not that good." He told him as a blast rocked the ship, the edge of the turbolaser blast just catching them and Han swore as the ship rocked.
"Fighters coming in, dad we can't do much in this ravine!" Jacen called and Han grumbled as he took the ship out of the ravine, in time for a squadron of TIE fighters to fall upon them, their lasers filling the sky around the ship as green turbolaser fire blasted into the ground, continuing to chip away at the citadel, which was remarkably still standing.
The ship rocked as a TIE scored a cheap shot, but Jaina soon avenged the transgression, the fighter crashing into the already burning forest as Han dodged and weaved the ship in and out of trees, turbolaser blasts and enemy fighter fire, determined to try and escape the oncoming TIEs.
"Goldenrod, how did they even get down to the planet?" he demanded, swearing as he rolled the ship to avoid where a turbolaser blast had just destroyed a cluster of graves.
"They travelled down in Skiprays sir." Threepio replied sniffily from the back, and Lumiya harrumphed in irritation.
"We did alter some Dreadnaughts so they could carry more than one fighter squadron." She admitted, and Leia cast her a dirty look.
"Well why would do that?" she demanded, and Lumiya glared at her.
"To kill more rebel scum like you obviously!" she retorted as Jacen aced another fighter, sending it toppling into the ravine.
"Any chance we can get into space?" K'Kruhk asked as the shop rocked from several laser blasts, and Han shook his head.
"No chance, we'd be slaughtered by the bombardment, our best bet's to deal with the fighters and make a break for it." He replied, but the ship then dropped several feet as a turbolaser shot crashed down on top of them, Jaina yelling in fright as it happened.
"Jaina!" Luke yelled from the back and she coughed weakly.
"Just a little singed, and blinded but I'm fine other than that!" she replied, coughing as she said it, something was clearly burning in the turret.
"We can't keep this up." Leia intoned, and Han shot her a desperate look when Mara yelled in surprise.
"What now?" Han asked, if it was more Tribe ships they really were done for.
"Lumiya, get your patriotism on, it's another Star Destroyer!" she exclaimed, and Lumiya let out a contented sigh as she saw the image appear on screen.
"It's a Star Destroyer, we need to leave!" a crewman yelled.
"No, we have a chance to end them all, destroy that moon and that ship!" Dredity spat, but her orders were cut off as she screamed instead, as enemy turbolaser shots ripped apart the Dreadnaught, and the Sith let out a furious screech as she was immolated along with her ship, having been denied her greatest victory just when it was in her grasp.
"It's the Admiral Ackbar." Mara breathed in relief as the Dreadnaught was destroyed in a roiling fireball, and without the turbolaser fire raining down on the moon, Han gunned the ship's engines, sending the Falcon blasting for space.
"Ahh…even if it is one of yours, still can't beat the sight of a Star Destroyer wiping out pathetic rebel scum." Lumiya purred in contentment, and Leia rolled her eyes as the ship broke atmosphere to see a squadron of X-Wings heading towards them, opening fire on the remaining TIEs her children had missed.
"This is Killjoy Squadron, here to lend a hand." The commander said as the ships blazed past, their cannons shredding apart the remaining TIEs while the twins shot down the last few, and with that, the excitement ended.
"Admiral Bwua'tu, thank you for the save." Leia said into the comm, Luke diving into the cockpit and tackling a screeching Lumiya to the floor as Bwua'tu's image flickered to life, his gaze drawn by the metallic legs now sticking and kicking wildly in the air.
"You're welcome Princess, but thank your daughter, she sent me a message saying you might need help, and I was glad to be of assistance since I was in the area. What was all that about?" he asked, and she sighed.
"It's a long story Admiral, we'll tell you everything when we return to Coruscant." She promised, and he smiled at her.
"Oh that is good to hear, does that mean your return is imminent then?" he asked, and she nodded.
"Yep, we have one last stop to make and we'll be bound for home." She promised, and Bwua'tu smiled.
"That is a relief to hear princess, and I'm sure it will make Chief A'kla's day. What with one thing and another, and now the Killiks planning for the end of the galaxy," he said, and Mara exchanged a frightened look with Han while Lumiya and Luke remained pressed to the floor (which she would make him pay for later), "she could use a friendly face. I'll head on over to Bogden and get them settled down. Best of luck in whatever your endeavour is princess, and may the Force be with you." He said and with a last smile, his image flickered out, and Leia breathed a silent sigh of relief.
Luke then yelped as Lumiya blasted him out into the corridor with a Force push, scowling as she pulled herself to her feet.
"Honestly Skywalker, a simple request would have sufficed, I do not care for being tackled recklessly by horny old men. How dare you lay hands upon my bodily person. If you want my clothes off, all you need to do is ask." She sniped and left the cockpit, leaving Luke looking dazed and bewildered from his spot on the floor and Mara spitting in rage.
"One of these days…" she growled, stomping back and making sure to kick her husband on the way past, who yelped in pain as she did so.
Leaving her brother and sister in law to have their little domestic (Luke was running after Mara and was already trying to explain himself), Leia turned to Han.
"Did you catch the part about the Killiks?" she asked grimly, and he nodded, looking less than thrilled.
"Yeah. You reckon there's anything in it?" he asked, and she pondered, her mind whirring with the possibilities.
"Let's just hope there isn't." she said softly as she watched the VSD that had saved their skins heading towards Bogden itself.
"Good call sis." Jacen said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder, wrinkling his nose a little as she smelled of burning.
"Thanks. I figured that we might need help, so when I saw the Ackbar was in the area, I thought it might be a good idea to give them a call. Oh." She said quietly, looking at where Ben was sitting with his hand around Vestara's, who was sitting on a seat looking miserable, while Lumiya had settled herself in front of her.
"A Sith's life is sacrifice." Lumiya said sadly, and Vestara nodded before looking up at her master.
"I know but…I didn't think I would have to kill my own father. My planet, now my dad, I mean…" she said, her voice thick and Lumiya nodded in understanding.
"I know. We will make Krayt pay for corrupting your father, you have my word on that. You had no choice my dear." She told her sadly, and Vestara breathed before nodding a little, Lumiya patting her hand.
"Vestara?" K'Kruhk asked as he entered, and the girl looked up at him in slight surprise.
"My condolences. On our way out, I picked up your father's lightsaber. I thought you might want to cast it into the void, as a way of remembering him." He told her, presenting the weapon to her, and she took it hesitantly, and gave him a watery smile.
"Thank you." She whispered, and Lumiya smiled at K'Kruhk before getting to her feet.
"Come child, we shall cast it into the void before we head to Kessel." She said, taking her apprentice around the shoulders and heading aft with Ben, Alema and Jaina in tow.
"You old softy." Jacen teased, impressed, and the old Jedi nodded dolefully
"Yes well, having lost a good many friends, I can relate. And to be the one who cast the killing blow herself, it must torment her. Now come, let us, you and I, examine the tome. Captain Solo, if you'd be so kind, once the others are done, to set a course for the Kessel system, Master Saa needs our assistance." He called forward, and Han yelled an acknowledgement, and as the others saw off Gavar Khai, all else that could be heard was an increasingly panicked Luke trying to defuse his increasingly irate wife.
"Lord Vol, we have lost contact with the Schism." One of the crewmen on the bridge of the Crimson Oath reported to Vol, who was sitting in meditation in his quarters.
"A pity. Is the tracking device secure aboard their ship?" he asked, not opening his eyes as he meditated on the power of the dark side.
"Yes my lord." The crewman replied, and Vol allowed himself a grim smile.
He had told Khai that when they finally caught up with them, should the opportunity present itself, they were to put a tracer on their ship, just in case the worse should happen, which it now clearly had. It was a good thing that he liked to be prepared.
"Excellent. Their heading?" he asked, and the man called up the data.
"They have just left the Bogden system Grand Lord. According to our calculations, they appear to be heading to Kessel." He reported, and Vol finally opened his eyes.
The time was now, now, he would make his first move. He would present himself as another contender for the throne, and he, and the Tribe, would take their rightful place on the galactic stage…by killing the Grand Master of the Jedi and the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Skywalker and Lumiya would fall to his blade, and then he, Lord Vol, would reign supreme, and that idiotic usurper Krayt would realise that he was the true Dark Lord of the Sith.
"Can we intercept?" he asked, and the man replied instantly.
"Yes my lord, we aren't far from Boz Pity, and it appears as if their course will take them near there, we can easily get there in time to intercept them." He reported, and Vol grinned.
"Then set a course, and mark this day well. After tomorrow, the Tribe will be in the ascendancy…and the Jedi, and the other Sith, will begin their long inevitable decline." He vowed, his eyes flashing as his Star Destroyer prepared for the jump to lightspeed to take him to his date with destiny…and the so called avatars of the Force.
So the end of the galactic tour has come, and now the group is preparing to confront Abeloth. Lord Vol however has other plans. And in other news, the Killiks are preparing for the end of the galaxy, are they right, is the end really nigh or can our heroes stop it in time? At least Ara'lani is having a good day at the office, about time somebody did
As always please read and review!