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Nar Shaddaa - Rebel Alliance Headquarters

Raven Nasra

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Kriff, there goes the peaceful option Fate thought as Hugglepup flew through the air. While surprised for a moment, Fate reacted quickly afterwards and dashed forward. 


In her training at the temples, her lightsaber style was often focused on Form III, or Makashi style. Having made herself a curved lightsaber hilt, she figured it made sense to learn how to use a style that would prove most useful in combat against potential Sith enemies. However, when Fate failed to acquire a master at the annual tournament at Corescant, she had to begin practicing other methods of combat to prove her worth. 


While the Enchani Martial arts were easier to learn in terms of availability, Fate found herself deeply attracted to the art of Stava. Like Form III, it relied on speed and precise strikes, as well as endurance. While Fate could never find a fully trained master in Stava, the few holo recordings she could find provided a decent stepping point. And combined with her own natural force abilities…


Fate pulled at the Force around her as she moved forward. Becoming a blur, the Annomid found herself right underneath the leader’s high pitched “ni’s”, jumping and before bringing a hand upwards. Stava focused on striking specific nerve points, and one prime target was the throat of any humanoids. With a hard enough strike, the cult leader would choke and become distracted, unable to use the force properly for a while. 


Following this and landing on the ground, Fate continued to move to the closest cultist and aimed for the nerve cluster located on the leg with a well-aimed knee strike. Fate knew that she needed to keep moving to keep these weirdo’s off beat. The more confused and dazed the cultists became, the more likely Fate would find openings to permanently disable these madmen. 


Plus, I’ve been really needing to let loose Fate thought to herself as she spun around and struck another cultist, aiming for where the liver should’ve been, with a roundhouse kick. Turning back to the cultist she struck in the leg, she quickly elbowed him in the face and charged the next cultist. 


This one already had his sword ready and swung at the charging Fate. With momentum carrying her, Fate barely leaned back in time to  see the blade’s edge up close. However, the cultist overswung and spun around wildly. Seizing the opportunity, Fate brought both hands down and struck at the nerve clusters between the shoulders and the neck with full force. 


Who’s next?!? Fate wanted to challenge as she spun to face the other cultists as her opponent fell behind her. Not wasting a moment, she flowed to the next available foe. Unlike lightsaber combat, martial arts was more of a test of endurance then power. She was not going to stop moving. However, her focus on endurance meant she was attempting to use the Force sparingly. As well trained as she thought she was, she knew that over reliance on the force could prove draining in the long run. 

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The flashing of silvery blades, forged in sacred fires with spells and incantations fused into the metals themselves hummed through the air. The speed with which the young refugee had seemed to move took the initial cultists by surprise, spread as they were one on each differing level. 

Heavily robed and armored the blows did little but upend the mysterious beings. Their magics swirled and grew as their own emotions feed into the sacred words chanted to fill the building with crippling fear. Picking themselves up, the Knights charged after the bouncing Jedi learner. Should she land nearby their heavy blades would swing expertly through the air. 

Approaching the railless edge, the Knight that had been assaulted called out, “You have not answered my question!” The force churned and wretched, shooting the Anomid high into the air out above the empty fountain of the towering atrium.


High above, Hugglepup locked eyes with the flightless Jedi protector. He clung  to the railing of the catwalk with one hand reaching out to try unsuccessfully to grab Fate’s arm before she too began to plummet downwards. The Zabrak watched in horror as she fell through the gloom until the darkness consumed her.


The Knights even in the scuffle continued their chanting. “Ni.” “Ni.” “Ni.” Until, it changed. The towering cultist master’s voice boomed lime thunder. “Ni Pen!”


”Ni.” “Pen!” “Ni!” “Pen!” “Ni!” “Pen.”


The fear was palpable, clawing at anyone not protected by the cursed words, seeking to devour souls and cloud minds, freezing muscles in freezing sweats of absolute terror. Following on it’s tail, the darkness grew until it consumed the entire building in blinding nightness. Inky black tendrils cloaked the building and blocked out the light.


Hugglepup blinked several times. He could not see. It was decidedly uncomfortable and it only served to amplify his fears. It did something else though. The Zabrak’s mind was drawn back in time. Retraced back to the days, more importantly the nights, cloud covered and stormy deep in the jungled wilds far from any signs of civilization. So dark one could hardly see his hand in front of their face. It was wetter then with the rains pouring down and the winds howling. Gripping the railing, Hugglepup reached out, feeling for Bird. He squeezed the great raptor’s wing. It was amazing what less evolved minds, more connected to their animalistic core did when subjected to strong emotions. Bird could flee, but to do so he would have to bypass these attackers in the dark. There was really only one option left.


And Hugglepup jumped into the darkness. Bird leapt afterwards, his great wings spreading in the darkness beneath the Zabrak’s diving body and outstretched arms. As they gained momentum in unison they plummeted until Bird flapped his wings and pulled himself from the dive, his massive wings beating the air as he pulled both he and Hugglepup from the air. The bird’s claws raked at the falling Anomid catching her robes to try and catch her, but only tearing at the robes to slow her descent some.


As she landed somewhere in the pitch blackness below with a crash, Bird’s wings carried he and Hugglepup back in a spiraling motion upwards. Several swords hummed through the air, adding only to the fear that tugged at both Bird and the Zabrak. It was only by the will of the force that they were not struck.


On the floor of the atrium, the towering armored cult leader spoke. His voice sounded line thunder, “We seek appeasement, lest ye never pass from here alive. What say you?” The leader drew his massive sword, holding the enchanted blade before him, ready to strike, the force buzzing about him, empowering him to superhuman abilities.

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For a moment, Fate felt alive. She felt good as she ducked and weaved among some of the blades that the cultists swung at her. She wasn’t sure if these cultists had any kind of martial training or not, but she held her own against them. 


I can do this Fate thought to herself as she dodge a downward swing, even among the cultists odd choice of chanting. I can actually do th-


The Force suddenly grew taught and this time it wasn’t by the Anomid’s choice. The air shifted as Fate felt her momentum turn against her and lift her straight into the air. Shocked and unable to fully process what happened, she flailed about in the air. She felt a rising terror in her body. An unnatural terror began to consume her spirit. 


Kriff kriff kriff… Fate swore over and over as she plummeted into the darkness. These guys are sith! Kriffing son of a motherless nerf!”


Fate crashed into the floor and momentarily blacked out. When she regained some of her senses, the lead cultist  was spouting something about appeasement. Stuck somewhere between terror and confusion, fate tried to get up, but could only manage to turn herself over and wave a hand in surrender, while nodding her head violently. 


I can’t see… Fate began to panic, shivering slightly. She could feel a hot gash on her side as blood oozed out of a newly made wound from the fall. I can’t talk, I have no weapon, Force alone, I’m gonna die in this place to a bunch of Sith cultists with a moran named Hugglepup…

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Even without his eyes, Bird’s senses were super attuned. The changes of air currents against his feathers, the subtle changes in air pressure as his wings best the air against nearby walls, an overall spatial communion with the world about him. It was instinctual. It was something even the radiating fear could not take away. 

Hugglepup clung to Bird’s muscles shoulders. He focused on hanging on, on breathing. The force was there, even amongst the fear. He could feel it as if it was just out of reach. The air ripples through his clothes, across his horns. He pressed himself against Bird willing the creature to find safe purchase somewhere in the pitch black. And then in happened, Bird’s outstretched talons found a rafter high above. He pulled himself into land as Hugglepup fluidly dismounted and held onto a beam with one hand as his eyes strained in vain against the darkness. Still, he could feel everyone below, as if a sixth sense could pierce the blackness.


The chanting continued until the stillness of both Jedi was nigh absolute. The voices faded into the darkness as each Knight regained their composure, their magical blades held once again at the ready. The fear hung in the air, but it did not surge, it merely clung like a fog.


The voice boomed from the darkness as the charismatic cult commander’s eyes seemed to smolder in the darkness. “Lest you seek to leave this place, you must do for us these quests three, first, upon these ravaged lands you must bring to us the last of the greatest shrubberies, shalt you seek to flee this place and make it not your eternal grave.” The giant’s voice echoed unnaturally against the darkness, growing more and more hollow with each word until it seemed more ethereal than bodied; and then the darkness began to fade. Outside the night sky billowed with the clouds of nuclear winter setting in. The results of war wrought upon a world taking its toll.


The darkness that had seemed to last for minutes had in fact lasted for hours and where the grayed afternoon sky had been, it was now late night. Hugglepup squinted.  She could make out the outline of Bate below, but that was it. The unnatural darkness seemed to whisk away on the wind, the fear settling like a dust over everything. Bird coo’d questioningly as he turned his head left and right looking for those who had sought them harm. The creature and naturalist traded a confused glance. Hugglepup shrugged his shoulders as Bird leapt to flight, circling about hunting for they that had seemed to dissipate with the darkness.


Hugglepup inhaled deeply as he looked down the several stories to the floor of the atrium below. He found the force and letting go of the beam he stepped out into thin air. The Zabrak plummeted downward, the air ripping at his worn Jedi tunic and trousers. Like a diving eagle, Hugglepup picked up speed until he would certainly crash, smashing himself against the polished duracrete floor. With a force-empowered focus, Hugglepup swept himself upwards in a flip, redirecting his momentum upwards for a moment before he landed gracefully in his feet.

Overhead, Bird called out, his rainbowed feathers glinting in the weak night light. Hugglepup felt the bird’s confusion in his own heart. Where had they gone?


Stepping forward, the Padawan offered a hand to help the Anomid to her feet. “What did that big feller say to you?”

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Fate took the helping hand gratefully, if a little annoyed and confused. However, she gave a slight glare and then rolled her eyes at Hugglepup. It wasn’t like she could speak at the moment. Seriously, did this one not observe a single thing?


“Pl..t” Fate tried to speak, unable to get the full word out through the static her mask generated. “Shr…ry” 


Fate gave a shaking of her head as a sign of defeat and turned away. 


Still, the cultist’s words bothered her greatly. All of this…for a plant? A plant? What, were these cultists, part Ithorian? Seeking to bring life to their own sacred planet?


Then again… Fate thought as she glanced towards the outside. The result of such a battle on this world would result in drastic ecological changed that would kill most of the plant life that somehow managed to survive so far. Perhaps it wasn’t as crazy as she initially thought. 


Fate took off her mask and found a seat on the ground. It was too dark to go outside and search at the moment. The two would need to wait until daybreak. Until then, she planned on fixing her kriffing vocalizer, if it was the last thing she would do. 


Fate looked up at Hugglepup and thought for a moment. Then she pointed at him, and made pretend binoculars over her eyes. Then she rubbed two fingers on her left over two fingers on her right a few times, and then made an explosion expression with her hands, before grabbing her own arms and pretending to shiver.


Look for firewood to make a fire. It's gonna get cold. Fate hoped she said with her crude hand gestures before going back to trying to fix her mask again. It was going to be hard enough without a clear light source, but maybe if the Zabrack could make a fire it would be easier. 


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“Oh yeah,” Hugglepup sighed. “For some reason you cannot talk. Did you get hurt in the bombing or something? Oh yeah . . .” He smiled sheepishly. “A fire? You want me to build a fire. I’m sure I can something in this place to burn. What if those . . . people . . . come back?” He pondered as he shuffled into the leaning dilapidated mall.


Bird circled and came in for a landing as he glared hungrily down at Fate. If anything, it meant the Jedi was the tastiest morsel on the horizon; so nothing out there worth noting, at least for a large carrion, or soon-to-be-carrion, scavenger.


The Zabrak picked his way through the rubble and debris. With the night sky outside, it was dark inside. Probably too much to hope for lights. But still, it was no worse than any of thr myriad of caves Hugglepup had taken refuge in. He reached out feeling, trusting the force to carry safely. Shuffling onward the lost Jedi Padawan did not stop until his boots crunched on broken glass before a devastated department store. The destroyed storefront displays had a variety of toppled mannequins and furniture. Hugglepup shrugged as he stooped and began to load his arms up with pieces of faux high end furniture. Synthetics ought to burn easily enough. Once laden, Hugglepup began to shuffle back towards the yawning atrium.


In the dried out fountain, the naturalist deposited the armful of debris with a clatter. As big as the ceiling was and with all the broken windows smoke should not be a problem. Kneeling, Hugglepup began assembling the junked chunks of furniture into a teepeed shape. When he was done, he reached for his broken lightsaber hilt. Holding it to the base of the pyre, Hugglepup tapped the activator switch several times. Every other time, the broken hilt sparked, jumping to the pile and catching the synthetic cloths and woods. Deep choking smoke began to curl upwards as flames flickered to life.

“Hey!” He shouted at Fate pointing st the flickering light. “I’m gonna go get some more flammable stuff!” And with that, Hugglepup set off to make a half dozen more trips back and forth with arm fulls of broken furniture and mannequin limbs.

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The Anomid ignored what the Zabrack started saying, focusing herself on her own work. It was something she knew she could do, and she wanted to focus on something she could control and manage. She glanced up at the bird that had landed, but only briefly. As long as the thing kept away from her work, she would be happy. 


However, Fate had to become distracted once Hugglepup started a fire. Fate couldn’t help but look impressed at Hugglepup’s method of starting a fire. It was quite clever. One she would not have thought of right away. Her mind was more inclined towards machinery and temple life, not survival in the wilds. 


She gave a thumbs up to Hugglepup as she moved closer to the fountain, placing her tools in the light. With proper lighting, she could really work on her mask. A few minutes later, she clicked the last piece into place and slid the mask back on. Dubiously, Fate tested the vocoder. 


“Aaaaaa…” the synthetic tone emitted slowly and lowly. Fate began to smile and tested it further. “Aaaa…eeeeee….oouuu…. La la la…laka sha…” 


Fate almost jumped in joy, hearing a voice under her control again. She picked up her words in both speed and volume “Six thick thistle sticks. Six thick thistle sticks. Tinker tailor toil thought taught. A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.. By the Force! Whoo!” 


Fate jumped as she whooped once, unable to hold back her joy. After so many days being restrained to silence and unable to communicate, this accomplishment demanded joy. 


Fate stopped, hearing a crash somewhere. Perhaps it was just a piece of glass falling somewhere, or maybe it was the cultists. Either way, she wanted Hugglepup back sooner than later. 


“Oi!” Fate called out to Hugglepup, her synthetic voice echoing in the building. “Don’t get yourself hurt, I don’t want to have to carry your horned head everywhere. Sooner you get here, sooner I can get you some food”

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Hugglepup careful wove his way through the debris with a carefully stacked armful of flammable chunks when he saw it. It was just a glint, a stray ray of

moonlight reflecting of the broken duraplex in a pile of rubble. The rotund yellow cakes in their cellophane wrappers stood out against the dullness of the world about them. With a clatter, the young Jedi dropped his armful of tinder and hurried forward, carefully kneeling against the duracrete slab that had interjected itself into the front of the vending machine. Correction: vending machines. Hugglepup smiled. Twinkle cakes stuffed with creme, Corvus spiced nerf jerky, and a half dozen bottles of bright red Aqua Alien Power Juice populated the vending machines. Several other foodstuffs had been crushed or forces open, dry against the still air. Those still wrapped, with their artificial preservatives, were still perfectly edible. Shoving what he could into his pockets, Hugglepup loaded up all that he could carry. Beneath the other snacks, he found an even greater variety. In a world where one’s next meal was not guaranteed, it was important to not skimp when a feast presented itself.


It was then that he heard his mute comrade’s shout. The Zabrak smiled. “It was nice while it lasted,” he mused with a smile. Picking up his haul, he hurried back towards the atrium, intent to share the feast he had found.


”You talked.” He shouted with a smile as he climbed over the lip of the empty fountain that now held their roaring fire. “Look what I found. A feast fit for an emperor.” He deposited the pile of individually wrapped foods and drinks on the floor. “Lets eat!”


Above, Bird let out an echoing call. With the flapping of his great wings, he descended on the air to settle atop the lipped fountain edge. The great falcon snapped his beak, staring through the gloom at the pile of what he knew to be food of some sort.


”Oh yeah buddy,” Hugglepup tore open a package of jerky and tossed it towards the  great avian overlord. “I wouldn’t forget about you.” Bird dove into his portion with feral abandoned, using large claws expertly to pin the chunks of meat and tear at them with his beak. It was a site to be seen.


Grabbing a Twinkle cake, Hugglepup tossed it towards his comrade. “Dive in Bate, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do. Left me to do all the talking the last few days. Tine to catch up.” He smiled as he popped open his own and bit into the soft airy exterior.

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Fate rolled her eyes at the zabrack’s comment. 


No duh I talked” her vocoder spoke out as she adjusted her mask again so the volume wouldn’t be as loud as a rancor’s roar. “Trust me, i wanted to say something a lot earlier” 


“And my name is not Bait, thank you” she commented sarcastically as she caught the snack food tossed her way. She looked over the ‘meal’ and sighed slightly. She didn’t have much of a sweet tooth exactly. Back at the temple she couldn’t help but go for the more bitter soups and spiced meats while everyone else went for the Sweetened Crumbly Rancor Teeth and the Doughy Duros Danishes


Still, calories were calories Fate thought to herself as she opened up the cake and took a bite while sitting down.  In terms of survival, every calorie was worth it’s weight in gold. In her short time on this world, she understood that any kind of food would be worthwhile to eat. 


“You’ve done plenty of talking?” Fate asked half-annoyed between bites. One neat trick about the vocoder she had discovered was that with practice, she could eat and talk at the same time, slipping the food into her mouth between statements. “You certainly didn’t talk enough when those idiots tossed us around like playthings.” 


Fate swallowed and took another bite of the food before continuing. “Anyways, the name is Fate, not bait. Blest Fate. And the reason I didn’t talk at all was cause my mask was broken ever since Firefall”


Firefall had become Fate’s term for when the Sith attacked Nar Shaddaa. It was a fitting name given the ruins that had been left behind. Perhaps in the wider galaxy there was a better name,  but she heavily doubted anyone could really beat ‘Firefall’ 


Fate eyed the bird briefly as she took another bite of her food, then pulled out a piece of one of her treasured nutrient bars to take a bite. 


“Whats the story with your pet? I can’t say I’ve seen a bird like that before, and I doubt its native to here.” 

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Hugglepup chuckled softly at the other’s annoyance as he took a thoughtful bite out of a second Twinkle cake. Chewing slowly he waggled his head to show he was pondering the situation. “Sometimes people talk to much when they should be listening.” He finally responded with a shrug before taking another bite.


The large bird of prey cawked a query as he downed the last of his jerky, eying the pile hungrily. The Zabrak kicked at the pile  revealing another baggy of meat stuff. Slouching forward, he grabbed it and tore it open, dumping the contents on the floor between he and the massive avian beast. Bird shuffled forward hos presence towering over the seated Jedi trainees, his four taloned feet clacking menacingly on the duracrete as he delved into the second course.


Reaching out a hand, Hugglepup ruffled the feathers on the back of the animal’s head. “This here is Bird and he is not my pet. He is free,” he paused. “and wild,” he added as an afterthought. “Our spirits are bound within the force. We can sense one another, feel each other’s desires. He’s a scavenger, mostly, or so they say. His presence at the Temple causes a bit of a stir so we usually stick to the jungles on Felucia.”


The bird interrupted with a cry of surprise as he looked up having tasted the new meat he was tearing apart. His cold eyes passed over Blest and settled knowingly on Hugglepup. The Zabrak chuckled as he flipped over the bag the jerky had spilled from. “Ahh. Teryaki. Little different eh Bird?” The Padawan’s jovial response and soothing aura seemed to reassure the creature as he took to returning to sniff and tear at the meat cautiously optimistic.


Hugglepup scooped up a fallen iridescent feather. “Legend says the feathers of a Mantellian flutterplume bring good luck to the bearer.” He extended the bit of plumage to Blest. “We probably need all the luck we can to get out of here. Although maybe we’re already lucky. What did those sword-swinging gentlemen say to you? Bird was busy keeping me from getting sliced up myself.” He pointed up to the rafters several stories up as he tore open another snack cake and plopped it cheerfully into his mouth. If anything, the crackling fire and refined sugars were boosting his mood in this radioactive wasteland.




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“That explains why I didn’t see you that often” Fate snapped her fingers at Hugglepup’s explanation about Bird. “I was usually on Coruscant until Moonfall, and then I was always inside the temple on Felucia. I didn’t venture out too much cause…well..”


At this, Fate shrugged. She honestly wasn’t sure why she never ventured outside the temple that much. Part of it was perhaps that she had no interest in the jungles, despite how much the Force dictated how important places of life were. Or perhaps it was because  she was usually helping people train when she never got a master. Or perhaps it was so no one would assume she would be a natural fit for the Jedi Service Corps and thus be like any other washout. 


Fate took the feather and pocketed it. She couldn’t help but chuckle as she did. “I don’t know about luck. Being lucky isn’t something I’m known for. As for the cultist…He certainly was no gentleman. I still can’t figure if he was human or not. I don’t think I've seen a human that tall before. Wants us to …”


Fate sighed. She couldn’t believe what she was saying. “Find him a plant.”


Fate rubbed her temple. What a weird person. 


“He said we had to do three things for him and the first was to find him the last of the ‘greatest shrubberies.”


Fate looked around, half-wondering if that mad cultist and his entourage were still around. She couldn’t feel anything off in the force, but her senses were not as well-tuned as some beings were. 


“Any idea what that thing was? I have never felt anything like that before, He was just way too tall, and was… there was just something unnatural about him, you know? Just weird. I don’t think he was a sith, otherwise he would have killed us right away. And what kind of sith wants a plant? “  

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Huggelpup chuckled softly between bites. Swallowing he interjected. “Plants are sort of my speciality.”  The Zabrak thoughtfully took another bite of processed snack cake as he pondered what his comrade was explaining. “They were certainly creepy,” he responded in return to Blest’s assessment.  “Maybe he was a Sith gardener. The Jedi have had entire agricultural units, why not the flip side? The galaxy has got to eat.”


Stooping forward to a squat, Hugglepup dug through the quickly dwindling pile of snacks. Finding a packet of gummy slugs he plopped backwards with his arms on his bent knees. He spoke as he opened the packet, “I’m sure there is some doomsday bunker somewhere on this planet. Don’t most planets have them nowadays? At least the rich crazy types?”


Beside him, Bird gave what could only be equivocated to an irritated yawn. It was late and the creature was not thrilled with all the activity and being kept up late. Beside that, the teriyaki just did not seem to be sitting right.


”Yeah Bird, I agree.” Hugglepup looked at @Blest Fate “Where do your kind like to sleep?” He and Bird would find a high perch; but he doubted Blest was willing to trust the large raptor to not eat him in the night.

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Fate shook her head at Hugglepup’s thoughts. 


“Nah, I don’t buy it” she spoke. “From what i was taught in the temples, Sith aren’t big on nature nor patience. They take what they don’t have, and they force others to grow for them. Unless its some kind of toxin, I’m doubtful they want it for a more beneficial reason.”


Fate felt hugglepup’s yawn, but honestly she didn’t want to fall asleep yet. This was the first time she could actually talk to someone, and even if the only person to talk to was this Zabrack, she was going to take advantage of the situation. Besides, he was also a member of the Jedi order. Perhaps he could help get her to become a knight in the near future.  


“Hold on, I still have a few questions…” Fate waved the Zabrack to stay. “After all, what’s our plan here? Find a plant for a couple of loonies and hope they don’t kill us later? Or maybe we just move on and hopefully find a ship to get off the planet. Or at the very least a holo-transmitter, get word to someone that we are still alive.”


Provided the rebellion still exists Fate thought to herself 

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Hugglepup yawned and plopped back down. He shrugged. He did not know what the plan was. At this point anything beyond survive and find a way off this world seemed like it might be a bit more planning than was useful. “I mean, where did they even go? Did the big one say anything about what happens if we don’t find him this plant? His friends sure were not shy about taking swipes at us with those swords.”


“Doubt there is a transmitter anywhere on this world that isn’t smashed beyond recognition. I doubt the whole galaxy is gone, at some point, someone has to come looking don’t they? Until then,” he shrugged again, “Bird and I know how to make due. Why don’t you stick with us. The more the merrier.”

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“I mean, where did they even go? Did the big one say anything about what happens if we don’t find him this plant? His friends sure were not shy about taking swipes at us with those swords.”


Fate shrugged at the questions before she answered. “I dunno. He made a very clear death threat against us. And trust me, if he wanted us dead, he could’ve killed us. The only reason those minions of his couldn’t do anything was cause I was distracting them while you were flying through the air. 


Fate couldn’t help but crack her knuckles a bit at the memory of her fighting the cultists. She had to admit, she was proud how she held up for the most part. Some of the teachers at the Jedi Temple would’ve been impressed. 


Course the only time i do really well is when no one is there to witness it. Fate grumbled quietly to herself. 


And I’m holding out hope that there is a transmitter, or a ship or something. If the Sith are still ravaging the galaxy, then they need every available Jedi fighting them. And no doubt the sith are, cause why else would the Rebellion not have sent ships by now? Don’t you think it's odd that we haven’t seen a single ship fly overhead at all?”


Fate sighed, hating the thoughts that were entering her head. She knew she had to find a transmitter, cause there was very little hope someone would find them. Someone besides the cultists that is. 


“The way i see it, you need me to protect you from those cultists more my merry company” Fate joked, changing the subject. “Ach, whatever, you get some sleep. I’m gonna keep watch for a while. I’ll wake you when i need to collapse.” 


With that, Fate found herself a more comfortable position, leaning against a crumbling pillar, giving the zabrack a little distance to be alone with his own thoughts. 


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The Zabrak slowly blinked at the surge of emotion that seemed to emanate from his newfound traveling companion. He tensed at the presumption that he was useless and this strange Blest Fate bait had been the reason they were still alive. As Blest stalked off, Hugglepup picked himself up and shrugged. Grabbing his staff he shook his head in disgust muttering, “A Jedi does not fight for no reason. Master Sinf taught me that.” He scratched Bird’s head before swinging a leg over the muscled bird’s back. “She helped me find Bird too. We know how to make due,” he reiterated as Bird gave a harsh, almost threatening cry as his large wings beat down in an outward plume of wind driving the wild animal and his bonded companion upward into the darkness.


Circling upwards, the duo spun about the multi-stories chamber. Even though they could have easily landed on the broad rafters and hung oit there for the night, Hugglepup was irritated at his fellow Jedi. It bothered him being able to look down and see her ‘standing guard’ like they’d die without her watchful eye. As much as he wanted to suppress it, his pressed thin lips betrayed his frustration. It wasn’t like the guy had many other options around here. Zipping out the smashed sun roof, the pair circled into the night sky before comping to land atop the parapet’s flat rooftop. The breeze had a slight bite to it against the warm night air.


Hugglepup dismounted. He looked out at the distant horizon. Something blinked, probably a ship. “Not like its the first one I’ve seen,” he grumbled as he walked over to a jutting duracrete platform that held a non-functional ceiling-based temperature control unit for the mall. It was true, he had seen a few ships after the battle. Several had been Mandalorian in origin. Not like I wanted to join up with those Sith affiliates. He thought as he remembered the warships as they seemed to scan the surface looking for something. He and Bird had noped right out of there. One other time, he had witnessed what could only have been some sort of evacuation. The young Jedi had seen several Imperial transports descend in the distance. Try as he might, he could not connect with anyone via the force and they were far too distant to get there before the entire fleet took off and disappeared into the irradiated sky. Not that they had not tried.


Laying back on the duracrete roof, Hugglepup tucked his hands behind his head as he stared out at the sky. “We’ve come this far haven’t we Bird? Sleeping in the jungles of Felucia and all.” His animosity towards the Jedi far below was bubbling to the surface, but then it slowly began to dissipate as his mind traveled back within his memories, reliving countless nights of waking up before a storm unleashed it’s natural fury or a predator crossed their path. Sometimes it had gotten a bit sticky, but between he and Bird’s combined senses, the force, and the natural world around them, they had come out just fine. Hugglepup smiled as he moved his hand along Bird’s feathered wing, feeling the broad soft iridescence feathers atop his muscled form. He trusted the creature with his life and Bird seemed to care for him too. They’d made it this far and from here, anyone coming would be easier to sense than in the rubble down below.


“Everyone thinks we’re dead Bird. Thats why nobody has come looking. Master Sinf, entire battlegroups. Geez whole buildings got disintegrated right in front of us. I’m not sure how we’re going to get out of here alive. Just keep moving and hope some scrappers find us and give us a lift. Probably need to get rid of these Jedi robes.” Hugglepup lay there in the dark with Bird for a long time. He talked for hours. The falcon responded occasionally with coos or squawks of affirmation. Wether he could understand the Zabrak was anyone’s guess, but Hugglepup felt heard and that was enough. Finally, sometime in the wee hours of the morning, they duo drifted off into a light sleep.

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Fate’s sleep was not pleasant. The scarring experience of the cultists had seeped their way into the Anomid’s subconscious, nipping at her metaphorical feet in the realm of dreams. Images of large swords and giants stalking her, deflecting everything she threw at them would not leave. Wicked faces multiplied over and over, filling the dark corners of her mind, shouting their curses. 


Fate’s body breathed harder and harder as the dreams became worse. The girl in the dreams ran from the dark forces. The high-pitched curses from the cultists pulsated louder and louder, making the girl’s ears bleed wildly. Fighting was impossible. Running was undoable. No matter what Fate could do, she could not escape the dark forces that chased her. 


Until suddenly she did. The floors gave way, and Fate crashed into a large, empty room. No light pierced the area, save the small glow from above. Descending from above, a small, baby eel-like thing swam downwards through the air. As it descended, Fates eyes fell upon the purple glow of a clump of Poola Blossom, like a sacred shrine in the darkness. 


Fate took a step forward, hands reaching for the plant life. The Svaper, still descending, suddenly growled.  The foliage purple glow shifted  to a crimson hue, the sound of screeching static filling the air. Before Fate could react, the Svaper, now fully grown, launched forward, its needle-like teeth eager to rip apart the Anomid. 


Fate awoke with a start. Beads of sweat trickled down her face as she came out of the fever dream, adrenaline still pumping through her head. 


“Stupid, annoying…” Fate started to grumble as she wiped her brow, but stopped herself from cursing. She remembered that the Force manifested in various, and unique ways, one of them was with dreaming. However, inside she wasn’t sure if it was a dream or truly a vision. 


“At least Hugglepup didn’t get to see that” Fate commented as she looked around for the Zabrack before remembering how he had flown upwards. Truth be told, she wasn’t sure why he did that. 


Fate packed her things together, debating whether or not to tell the Zabrack what she saw. Eventually she reasoned she wouldn't for now, believing that the dream was nothing more than a dream, stepped out of the building and looked upwards. She had a good bet that Hugglepup was on the roof, and she had no desire climbing all the way up.  Instead, she adjusted the volume on her vocoder and shouted as loud as she could.


“Hey! Hugglepup! You still alive? Think its time to get moving!” 

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The sky had grown from a shrouded black to a dull but lighted gray as the Zabrak and his companion had slept. The breeze across his face, as irradiated as it might be, felt pleasant and was a lulling presence upon a barren landscape. Sometime in the morning before anyone had awoken, Bird had roused himself, spread his wings, and soared off into the air. Breakfast did not wait for anyone. So when Fate shouted upwards, Hugglepup slowly opened his eyes and stretched. “I think so!” He shouted back pleasantly as he mentally evaluated his tensed muscles before standing. Grabbing his staff, the Jedi made his way towards the edge of the rooftop to pear down at the other, “Only, it might take me a few minutes. Bird seems to have gone off on his own. He does that sometimes.”


Disappearing from the edge, Hugglepup turned to surveil the rooftop before him, a jagged piece of durasteel plating that could only have come from a starship shedding itself as it plummeted towards damnation pointed skyward. The rough edges and the slick coating of oils and who knew what other foreign engine fluids made it seem entirely undesirable as a means of egress., even if it had caved the rooftop in where it had impacted. Egen walking towards it, the roof began to give way beneath Hugglepup’s feet causing him to beat a hasty retreat. That would not do.


Wandering around a bit, he finally found the rooftop access door. Of course it was locked from the inside; so when he tried the handle, Hugglepup found it inaccessible as well. The bit of green weeds that seemed to grow within the frack of the frame attested to how little the door was used. Had Master Sinf been there, she would have been able to influence the weed to grow, to burst the seams of the door at the will of a woody tendril. Hugglepup had tried that before. He did not seem to quite possess a firm enough grasp for such a thing. Causing vines to bear fruit or flowers to bloom on the other hand came easy enough, but massive growth? Not likely. Turning, he surveyed his landscape, there was not much else of use. 

Turning back to the door, he jabbed at it, hard, with the end of his wooden staff. It did little but put indiscernible dents in the oxidized outer layer of the door. The door rattled, clearly no longer sealed against the elements, but it held fast. He shook his head, leaning on his staff as he pondered the door, it’s gaping gaps on the top and bottom large enough for a mkuse to squeeze through but little else and of no seeming use. The door seemed like the only feasible option to getting off the roof without Bird and Hugglepup knew better than to bother the bird of prey without some sense of urgency. He shook his head and sighed before walking back to the edge. “Oy!” He shouted over the edge. “There’s  a locked door on the access stairs, can you go unlock it?” He pointed in the direction of the door hoping Fate could figure out how to get to the thing. Then he turned and strolled back towards it himself fishing a slightly smashed twinkle cake from his pocket. He regarded it for a moment, shrugged and took a bite.


By the time he made it back to the door, the Zabrak was licking the last bits of squished cream filling from his fingers. He smiled for a moment before his demeanor turned serious as he stared at the door. He poked it with his staff and it rattled and clunked and thats when he had an idea. Jabbing his staff in the gap beneath the door, Hugglepup used it as a fulcrum, leaning on the other end. The staff bowed and flexed before the door shifted with a loud clang. As loose as it was in it’s frame, the lock did it’s best to hold. Finally the bolt securing the door and frame together, scraped and screeched free from it’s hone and carved a groove in the metal as it popped open. The door swung open revealing an inky black maw that descended down the stairs. Huggelpup regarded it for a moment before gently stepping into the darkness. 

He felt each cold metal stairstep on his way down. He tested each step to be sure it would hold his weight. There was no sense crashing onto who knew what beneath. Eventually, he came to the bottom of the stairs. It was pitch black and slow going, even with the force giving him a limited idea of his general safety and direction. Lots of small rooms, most likely offices, all pitch black; a pair of refreshers that Hugglepup unceremoniously banged his shins upon both sets of porcelain thrones, and some storage closets with mops and buckets and the like; that seemed to be all before he came to the door at the end of the cooridor. Of course, this one was locked too. At least it was locked from the inside, so once he found the handle, the door swung open onto a wide open walkway that connected a myriad of stores on the top level. The faintest of lights cluld be seen streaking in here and there were a window existed in the distance or the shell of the structure had been pierced. Not wanting to bypass Fate if she had made it this far, the Zabrak called out, somewhat hesitantly, “Are you there?”

Something toppled a little ways off in the dark. In the stillness it might as well have been a grenade as it broke the silence. Hugglepup swung his staff up defensively out of instinct as he heard the scurry of small clawed feet fade into the blackness. His heart was beating a hundred miles a minute as he squinted out into the murk. What else might be lurking out there? Hadn’t those strange cultists been hiding somewhere within? What if they had just retreated back into the blackness? Were they here still? Hugglepup reached out on the force hoping to feel something, a presence, anything really. He was disappointed, as fast as his heart was beating, he felt nothing.

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Fate gave a singular thumb up to confirm what she heard from Hugglepup and went back into the building.


“Of course he needs some help with a door” Fate chuckled to herself as she navigated through the ruins, looking for an access door. Utilizing the same path the two had made on the previous day, Fate made her way to the second floor and sought a staircase. It was difficult to say the least, since the filtered sunlight brought very little visibility. 


Still, Fate found a way up. Just not a pleasant one. Part of the next floor up had collapsed on the far side of the area, making a decent stairs up. It just happened to be across the gap that was the center of the skyscraper. 


Fate shook her head and prepared herself. Force Jumping was a simple, if tiring trick. The masters in the temple talked about how proficient users would use the ability on the fly in the middle of combat, but that was something Fate still struggled with. She knew speed well enough and honestly preferred to use that solely in combat. Jumping she still needed to practice a bit more. 


Fate broke into a running start while feeling the Force begin to slacken around her body. She focused on the Force, coiling it more and more like a rope until her foot landed on the last possible space before the gap. Bending at the knee, she pulled at the metaphorical rope tightly and leapt up and forwards. 


Flying through the air, Fate almost smiled at the exhilarating feeling of being airborne. The only thing that stopped her was the realization that she had used too much energy.


“Kriff!” Fate shouted as crashed into a wall, cracks forming in the plexiglass of a display case. Fate fell back onto her rear with a solid ‘thwump’


“Kriffing stupid son of a bantha's -” Fate started to curse, her vocoder actually bleeping some of the more derogatory language. A small thing the Jedi had insisted on when she showed her natural aptitude of colorful 'spacer' language. 


She stopped when she heard Hugglepup’s voice come from somewhere above her. Fate groaned as she picked herself back up. She was still sore from yesterday. 


“Ya, stll down here. Can’t you like, call your bird to you?” Fate shouted up as she climbed some rubble up to the fourth floor. “You know, make some coocoo noises, offer a snack, something? Or better yet, find a way to jump down?”

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The Zabrak, put a hand over his chest, trying to calm his anxiously beating heart at the sound of his companion’s voice. Maybe she had been the source of commotion. Still, that meant this place was not entirely structurally sound. How could it be? How could anything on this hellscape of a planet be?


Hugglepup let out a large chuckle as he heard Blest’s query. It was not an easy answer to explain the intricacies of he and Bird’s relationship, not with more pressing matters at hand. And just because Bird could fly did not mean Hugglepup could. No. Not at all; although, the suggestion made him think. He thought of all the times he and Bird had been sailing through the air and he had fallen. Sometimes he tumbled from a short distance, other times it was quite high.Sometimes Bird caught him i. His claws. Once or twice, Hugglepup had landed on Bird’s back, altogether more desirable a landing although Bird’s spikey spine-ridges did little favor to the Zabrak’s body. There had been times though, when he and Bird did not feel entirely in sync or when they were too focused on their quarry that Hugglepup had plummeted to the ground below. It was not always a garden when he hit either. He still was not sure that gardener on Naboo had bieged him for crushing a prized-flowering bush in bloom. No, more than once it had been hard packed earth or even stone. Hugglepup had walked away bruised each time; but more than once he knew he should have broken something, maybe even died. But Blest’s comment made Hugglepup pause. Maybe it had not been his harsh Zabrak physiology like he always accredited it to. Well, not just that. Maybe it had been the force too.


Without giving a look, Hugglepup took two accelerating steps towards the railing that blocked the walkway from the abyss. Grasping the railing he vaulted over and plummeted into the shadowy air. The wind whipped by him as he fell, cool and biting in it’s intensity. See, he thought to himself, just like falling off of Bird, and then he looked down. The ground below was quickly racing up to meet him and it was not a garden. No, it was not even packed earth or smooth stone. That would have been preferential; but alas, the ground that raced up to meet the free falling Jedi trainee was sharp and jagged. Shattered duracrete intermixed with jutting twisted fingers of shorn rebar haphazardly mixed in. Hugglepup swallowed hard.


In the distance, somewhere out of sight, the alarmed cry of a Bird of prey seemed to echo in surprise and fear.


Hugglepup did not have time to think. He did not have time to fee or even consciously act; for in those few moments he plummeted towards what certainly could be his end; if it wasn’t, having a broken and mangled body in a post-apocalyptic world was as much, if not more, of a death sentence to him and his companion.


No, all he had time to do was close his eyes, at least consciously. He did. Ot clench them. He simply closed them not wanting to witness his own demise. Instinctively, he grabbed at his knees and pulled them towards his chest trying to tuck himself into the smallest shape possible, if for anything, to not be impaled multiple times on rusted and jagged bits of zig-zagged metal.


And then he hit the ground. The top back of his right shoulder first. His momentum carried his body forward in some sort of haphazard rolling tumbled bouncing on and over the shattered surface until he came to rest sprawled upside down w his feet in the air against a column, or half a column at least.


The Zabrak lay there for a moment. Bot did that hurt. His whole body seemed to cry out in pain and the world seemed to swim before him for a moment. Blinking his eyes, Hugglepup looked up towards where Blest was above and offered a lopsided grin, stretching his fingers wide he called out “tada!”


At least nothing seemed broken. Thank the force nothing was broken. As his legs sagged to one side, the apprentice slumped in a heap. He hurt. As he started to stand, his body cried out in protest. It seemed a much better option to lie there until Blest finally got back down. Who knew, perhaps if he was lucky

it would take three or so weeks and he could just lie there and bask in the stillness of not moving. After all, he was a Jedi right? This had to be some

sort of meditation. It was not to be, even as he finally heard Blest picking her way towards him, Hugglepup slowly stood, grimacing in pain the entire time. “Well,” he said waggling an eyebrow at Blest, “I jumped.” It was a joke, and even in the apparent pain in his voice, his smile

could be heard through it. “Now about that fern you say those guys wanted. Maybe we can flag down a rescue ship and they give us that little grass skirt their dancing hula girl on the dash is wearing.”

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Fate raised an eyebrow, slightly impressed with how well the Zabrack fell. A little more training, and some more confidence as some of the teachers at the temple would say, and he would’ve parkoured pretty well. 


Still, it was a wonder that nothing was broken in the fall. 


“No kriff krayt” she quipped at Hugglepup’s observation, using a recent slang that had been generated during Fate’s childhood years. “Here, sit for a moment first, make sure nothing is out of place” 


Fate offered to help Hugglepup to a sitting position if he required it, but nothing more than that. 


The Anomid shook her head at Hugglepup’s comment. “If we could flag down a rescue ship, we’d be getting off world first i’d imagi-” Fate stopped and looked at Hugglepup as if she realized something. 


“That was a joke, right? Sorry, not used to actually having people making jokes lately.” 


Fate scratched her scalp for a bit. The memory of her dream from the night flashed back. She pondered on the images that had revealed themselves and couldn’t help but smile at a thought. 


“Do you think there might be anything…under the building? I’ve heard that plants like Poola Blossom can thrive in places with little light and little water, and anything underneath the surface may have survived the Sith bombing. 


Fate glanced downwards towards where she had come from. If an entrance to a supposed basement existed somewhere, it might be down there. 


“Heck, a survivor could’ve made it provided they ransacked this building before us. I am noticing a very lack of supplies in this skyscraper. Maybe more than cultists live here? ” 

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Hugglepup smiled through the pain. He was glad to be alive.  Bending down he picked up his staff and used it to lean against. “A bit of a joke. I did see some ships in the distance though.”


He did not have much time to ponder as Blest continued to speak. “Poola Blossom? Where’d that come from?” His question was in earnest. It was an odd thing to talk about on wartorn Nar Shaddaa, even if they were going to go questing for a shrub.


Hugglepup shook his head, “Naaaaah. No. No way. I’m not going underground. Bird doesn’t like it. No way. We’re trying to get off this world, not get into it. Whatever lives down there can just stay down there.”  Slowly the Zabrak backed away, fear prickling at the back of his neck through the pain. There was no way he was going underground; even if this strange Jedi learner suddenly had the idea to. They weren’t going to get off world by going underground. “There has got to be a shrubbery somewhere in one of these buildings.”


Turning, Hugglepup ran towards the maw that opened unto the apocalyptic world. He raced out under glowing cloud-filled sky. Overhead Bird screeched, his calm echoing across the empty worldscape. In the scrub and rubble silent eyes watched, shrouded within the chaos of the planet, shrouded within the force itself. Masters of survival, vanishing and reappearing on random worlds across the galaxy.

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Fate threw her hands into the air as Hugglepup ran off. There was no reasoning with someone who was so dense that if they could flag down a ship, they didn’t need to worry about shrubberries. 


“Hey!” Fate called out as she rushed after the Zabrack. “Hold up!”


But it was too late. The Zabrack, thin as he was, was pretty quick when he wanted to be. It took enough effort to keep up with him, let alone catch up with him.


But eventually, Fate managed to do so as the two came to a plaza like area. Judging by the crumbled buildings, it must have been a marketplace at one point, but now, like everywhere, it was a monument to destruction. 


“You idiot…” Fate said as she stopped to take a breather. “You don’t know what lives around here and yet you run like a madman. What, you think we’ll find a bush aboveground?”


“And what the kriff?!?” Fate almost smacked the Zabrack on the head as she regained her breath. “There were kriffing ships and you didn’t say a word? We could hitch a ride off the planet! What do you think i was communicating to those cultists anyway?”  

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Hugglepuff smiled as Fate caught up with him, her irritation radiating from her in waves. As she berated him for running out into the wasteland, his thoughts drifted to her apparently sheltered life within the temple walls. Clearly, his understanding of the real world was limited. “Of course,” he smiled as Bird circled overhead. He pointed at the iridescent flash of feathers. “Where else would one find a plant hearty enough to begin the rebirth of this world? Beside my allies are the force and Bird. We have survived thus far.”


The Zabrak looked out over the ruined cityscape and began to trek towards the horizon, picking his way through the chunks of massive stone rubble. In the distance, beyond where sight would carry, he pointed. An indefinable pinprick against the glowing sky, “If you could get to them before they depart, then perhaps it would have been of use to bring it up. I, for one, did not think the Mandalorians that ravaged the people of this world were keen on giving a couple Jedi safe passage offworld. The Imperial rescue craft were gone by the time I got to them; their camp empty and stripped.” His voice dripped with sarcasm as he shook his head at the foolish thoughts his traveling companion voiced in her frustration. He turned from where he pointed towards the horizon to face Fate squarely. “It seems like right now we are fated to remain here. Perhaps it is the will of the force. Perhaps our work here is not yet complete. When the time is right, maybe we will become one with the force, maybe we will be rescued.”


Behind the horned humanoid a shadowy robed figure, his head adorned in a horn-clad helm seemed to apparat into existence, bits of shadow convalescing into someone, a stone’s throw further up the rubble behind Hugglepup. The air grew cold for a moment, a stark reminder of their quest. Overhead, Bird gave a surprised and hostile cry, breaking into a dive; a streak of glinting rainbow-reflected light shooting towards the sudden arrival.


As Hugglepup whipped around, the wraith-like being broke apart into shadow carried into the sky. In a moment, the being was gone and Hugglepup pulled up, his quarry suddenly gone. Hugglepup whipped around, unsure of what he had just seen, the warrior-monk barely registering in his peripheral vision before it was gone. He looked at @Blest Fate hoping for confirmation for what he may have just seen.

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