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Salliche


Exodus

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Salliche

 

Astrographical Information

Region: Core Worlds

Sector: Agricultural Circuit 

System: Salliche System

Orbital Position: 4

Moons: 2

Grid Coordinates: L-11

 

Physical Information

Class: Terrestrial AgriWorld

Atmosphere: Type 1, breathable

Primary Terrain: Endless expanse of food crops, farms, water aqueducts, and clustered villages

Points of Interest: Capital of Netassa, Harbright Mansion

 

Societal Information

Indigenous Species: Human

Immigrated Species: Humans, Verpine, AgriDroids

Primary Language(s): Galactic Basic, Verpine, Binary

Faction Affiliation: Neutral

 

Defense Rating: Level 1

 

JediRP Canon History: One of the 18 Agriworlds run by the extensive network of the Salliche Agricultural Corporation, Salliche is the oldest operating AgriWorld in the Core Worlds. Its commanding capital of Netassa contains the corporation headquarters of the SAC and the keys to the Agricultural Circuit. 

 

 

(Requested by Delta73)

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  • 3 years later...

She awoke with a start, her right hand reaching towards the lightsaber clipped onto her belt as the starship emerged from hyperspace in the core worlds. The jerking motion of the ship slipping out of hyperspace was enough to break her from the last vestiges of a very bad dream.  Sleep had not been plentiful, and even with a myriad of strange and twisted dreams, she still felt almost human after the long assignment on Falleen. She shook her head and looked towards the viewport where the golden planet of Salliche was slowly growing in size as the starship approached. She took a deep breath and then looked to her apprentice and gave him a smile. A smile that hoped he did not see her twitch or cry out in her sleep.

 

“I hope you slept as well my friend.” Though this was not a combat mission, there would be much to do ahead and it was better to start a day off rested than not. And knowing her luck, some Sith lord would walk out of the wheat fields and challenge her to a duel before the mission was over. 

 

She slowly stood, pulling her satchel straps over one shoulder. 

 

“Did you dream at all?” 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Green eyes opened with a rumbling groan. The Wookiee sat up, examining his surroundings. The ship, having flown a good deal of its route towards the core from Falleen, had made away with many of its passengers, and had picked up some deal more, leaving the ship only slightly less packed than before. The dim lights which illuminated the passenger bay cast a faint glow upon the Jedi's surroundings. They had received one of the low-cost passenger compartments, with spartan accommodations and little in the way of noise insulation. Their small room wore only the accoutrements and equipment of the two Jedi, being otherwise threadbare.

 

Kerriwarr rose, sitting up from his bunk and looking to his right from the bunk he inhabited, gazing through the viewport and seeing still the blue glow of hyperspace, just as he had when his mind had first met slumber. He tapped the flight monitor which sat aside his bunk, checking the progress of their journey and noting that they had nearly arrived to their destination.

Just enough time for tea.

 

He stood from his bunk, being careful to settle his weight into the ship slowly so as not to cause undue amounts of noise, and exited the cabin as quietly as he could. Walking throughout the passenger bay, he gave polite nods to a Twi'lek family as he shimmied around them, weaving his way through the cramped quarters towards the galley.

 

The galley was manned by a simple service droid, from which Kerriwarr ordered a small kettle and a boiler for his compartment. He laid out the necessary credits, and received his order shortly thereafter, filling the time by making smalltalk with a lone Ithorian traveler, discussing her relation to the clan mothers and sky ships of her people.

 

Alas, he soon returned to the cabin he shared with the sleeping Master, and sat down on the floor between their beds. He unfolded and set forth a small, low-sitting table, adorned it with a small cloth from his satchel, and withdrew a series of small leather pouches, filling a filtered bag with the necessary ingredients for a bitter, refreshing brew of Saava root and Orchidfern stems with notes of Syren flower to lighten its taste and offer a sweet note to its flavor. Soon the soft bubbling sound of the kettle filled the space, and out of this symphony, a blossom of floral aromas appeared. Kerriwarr inhaled, tasting the earthy, sweet scent and let out a soft, contented sigh. A day is not started before tea. Kerriwarr closed his eyes, recalling the walks he had taken to harvest the very ingredients he now steeped, remembering the soft misting rain that accompanied his trip to the Saava grove, and how careful he had been not to fall prey to their carnivorous diet. He nearly fell back into his slumber, were it not for the soft whistle of the kettle. He withdrew the heat, extinguishing its flame and grabbing two of the carved wooden mugs from his bag, allowing the tea time to cool before pouring.

It was then that the ship lurched out of hyperspace, and his master stirred from her slumber.

 

 

The aroma of tea, earthy with its sweet hues, emanated to Master Sarna's nostrils as she woke, and she found Kerriwarr sitting cross-legged on a small cushion before her in the small space between their bunks.

 

"I found some rest, but I was not quite in such need as you. It is good that you have slept. You stirred somewhat in your sleep, though I imagine a healing mind stays ever active, even in rest. Should you find need of anything, Master, you need only ask." said Kerriwarr in greeting, pausing a moment to pour the mugs before meeting her gaze once more, "Tea? This is a fine mixture. Saava, Orchidfern, and Syren flower. One of my favorites for early mornings after a long day's toil."

 

He pondered a moment his dreams before speaking, taking a long moment - and a sip from his mug - to recall before answering, taking a fold of his chestnut fur along his jaw and beginning to twist it into a braid, adding the carved stone beads as he went.

"Only of green canopies, blossoms in the springtime, and the rumbling of distant falls. The sun as it speaks its warm and comforting glow about the upper branches and the taste of the Wroshyr berry. I dreamt of home, and I should imagine that to be all I see of it for the coming future. A bittersweet time it is, Master, but I am eager for the future, and for your wisdom."

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Tea. How many long years it had been since she had been spared the thought and small luxury of tea. Its aroma, though pleasant and not a bit overpowering, hit her like a landspeeder. Some of the scent was unfamiliar, having come from relatively obscure vegetation in the shadowlands of Kashyyyk, but the spice undertone was familiar. It brought a hundred memories up in her mind as if they were ripped from the grave. Memories of her middle childhood in a Jedi Order that was not at all like the one she was currently a leader in. A different galaxy, a place at peace. Much like the one they now inhabited. The spice she had smelled before as an apprentice in the gardens of the Jedi Enclave at Gala. And the flowers in the old archive at Tython. 

 

All abandoned now. Left to rot like some burned out homestead. The bodies of its defenders left to decay into the ground that they so diligently tended. Was it a nostalgia for a time not well remembered that now pulled at her mind? Or was it a deeper truth stirred up by the Tree Tender that now proffered her tea. 

 

She gratefully took the wooden carved mug of tea and took a sip as her thoughts continued to spin. Its taste was as comforting as its smell. And she could feel a sense of joy roil through her spirit. It brought in another firmer and less nostalgic thought pattern. A moment of reflection on herself. For how long had it been since she had a moment of non focused thought? Of meditation that was not a preparation for yet another battle? A half dozen years at least since the Sith had begun their affront on the outer rim. Her apprenticeship had ended at fifteen and she had jumped straight into the conflict with all the pride of a young woman who thought herself wholly in the right. Her own rebellion against a council too distant and prideful to concern themselves with the plights of those in the far outer rim. 

 

But now she was in their place. One of the few Jedi Masters left after the long war and she had to wonder how long had it been since the Jedi Order was truly itself? It was not an enriching thought. But it was a necessary one. 

 

She blinked and took another long sip of the tea and pulled herself out of the distraction of her mind to look at Kerriwarr. “Sorry I was in a deep and distressing thought.” She laughed softly and could feel some of the tension in the back of her neck slighten from the conversation. 

 

“I am glad that those were your dreams my friend, and I hope that I can glean at least as much from you.” 

 

A new scent was now filling their cabin as the Ship settled onto its landing gear and opened the recyc vents to let in fresh air to the compartments. She took another sip of the tea then gratefully handed the empty cup back to the Wookiee. 

 

There was much to do, much to think about, and much to discuss. 

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Kerriwarr mused over the porthole as the ship made its descent and his Master found her waking mind through his tea, admiring the swiftness by which the large ship made its way to the planet's surface. As the ship broke the cloud layer, the Wookiee marvelled at the endless sea of meadow and plain, cultivated by great machines, from his height only seeming like worker ants milling through a forest floor.

 

He turned, looking to Master Sarna as she apologized, immediately shaking his head with as soft a smile as his features could muster, "It is no mind, Master Sarna. I am glad to provide you respite." he said warmly as the new aromas made their way to the cabin, complemented by the soft hiss of the hydraulic landing gear.

 

"Shall we?" he said, grabbing his mug and the remainder of his things before standing and following her out of the ship.

 

A verdant array of waving grasses, far as the eye could see, caught his attention first, its waving strands in tandem as the waves on the Kyyyalstaad Basin. The warmth of the sunlight, both in hue and temperature, was a kind and loving embrace. This would make a fine place to live, he thought, save for the absence of trees.

 

"Well, here we are." Kerriwarr said, looking about the area around them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Three old model Toscan fighters of the inner rim defence forces left lazy lined contrails of condensed water in their wake in the upper atmosphere overhead. Adding to the thicker lines of the industrial haulers that crisscrossed the sky as they made their way between outposts and collection points. There was much work to do on the planet, and with the fields being left fallow for nearly half a decade there was even more to do than a regular planting season. But something felt vaguely off. Perhaps it was the air that smelled like fertilizers, or the tired looks of those who had begun to refuel the shuttle. 

 

Or perhaps it was the Jedi Apprentice in pale sunbleached robes that was waving furiously at them from the port of entry. Kayla… what was her last name? Thren-Tir? That sounded right in her head. And Sandy returned her wave with a grin. A grin that pulled at the scar tissue on her face quite painfully, but she kept the smile. 

 

A jedi master and she had never once taken part in a restoration like this. Not even during the great peace that had defined her late apprenticeship. Had they as an order neglected one of the core purposes of the Order? She herself had taken to the task of fighting and killing Sith as she had been asked to, as had nearly every other survivor of the Jedi order from before. Even the great naturalists of the Jedi order had either been mostly killed or in some way removed from the board. Even Roene that dear Cerealan Jedi Master was rarely seen. 

 

How long had it been since the Jedi Order was truly itself? There were so many question in her mind as they walked that sher had no doubt they were leaking from her like a sieve. Pouring into the force and bubbling around her in her wake. Her voice was soft as they approached the long line of entry.

 

“My friend I am afraid that this venture here will be just as much an instruction for me as it may be for you.”

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-- Some weeks later, following the pair's orientation and allowing for some time to settle in. Master Sarna, being a member of the Jedi Council, has taken over operations on Salliche --

Thump, thump, thump
The rhythmic sound of wood on straw filled the small yard as the Wookiee ran through a drill
, his staff whirling through the air as he practiced his combinations. It had been a long time since he drilled Wrrushi in this way. The wrestling form had only a few weapons drills, but Kerriwarr had taken to practicing them in hopes of refining his abilities. Since the battle of Falleen, it had become apparent to the Tree Carer that his role as a Jedi would inevitably involve violence. While he shunned the idea, he would not allow himself to be incompetent in the event that need for conflict arose. As such, he practiced his forms, the rising sun a welcome accompaniment to the Wookiee's efforts. He stopped, savoring its comforting light and warm glow a moment before something caught his eye.

From across the courtyard, a slim figure approached. A Twi-Lek woman who had helped Kerriwarr and Master Sarna settle in not but a few weeks ago. The Wookiee paused his drill, settling the butt of his staff on the ground before him and pulling the hair from his face as the woman spoke,


"I have news for you and your companion, Master Jedi," said the Twi-Lek, "The farmers report a blight just past the eastern mountains. It is spreading quickly. Already it has taken twelve fields, and it is bound to have taken another by nightfall."

The Wookiee listened solemnly, paying careful attention to the Twi-Lek's words before offering her a nod. He turned, making way for his cottage where he rummaged about his belongings before retrieving his Holocommunicator, hailing his Master to report the news of the blight.

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It was strange, almost foreign, how peaceful it was. Even with the hardness of the work, the dirt that was ever clinging to her clothes and under her fingernails, and the still healing wounds that stung under the suns bright light. But still there was peace. Even though her mind fought a battle against it, with every handful of dirt she could feel something in the back of her mind, or perhaps her heart, felt better. The hard, backbreaking work, most of it without any use of the force, had given her time to reflect upon herself. 

 

And with every handful of rich loamy dirt she found she had the wrong spirit for such a task of healing. Her mindset was one only built for battle. Even in planting fledgeling muja bushes was a mind of objective and control. Racing back and forth without peace or contemplation. She was a Jedi Master that had only ever seen horrifying war. She had been promoted from the rank of apprentice in the wake of a hundred Jedi deaths in the beginning of a brutal war. And ten thousand more friends lay in the dirt of countless worlds which had paved the way for her own promotion to masterhood. There was much to learn on the agricultural planet.

 

Ding

 

It was a dim sound, trying its best to be projected from the inner pocket of her travel bag. She wiped the sweat from her forehead with the hem of her grey-green tunic and turned her head to the side. Before she pushed herself to her feet and walked the half dozen metres to the makeshift tent where she had been basing for the last several days. The message was not a good one. And a blight that affected the monocultural food supply was a nightmare that could be measured by the millions of deaths. 

 

She left the tent and the supplies there, climbing onto the old model swoop bike and after dialling the repulsors to their maximum height, sped towards where her apprentice was stationed.

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He stood about the courtyard, returning the holocommunicator to the folds of his robes as he awaited the arrival of his Master. From the entrance of his cottage, he contemplated the devastation wrought by such a blight. To have taken a dozen fields, with another within a day, was something nigh unheard of. He could not recall any native blight to Kashyyyk which moved with such swiftness. Whatever they were about to deal with, it gave the Wookiee a sinking feeling. Something was afoot, he was sure of it. Whatever it might be, he hoped that it would not somehow lead to more violence. After Falleen, he had quite his fill of it, and longed for him - and his obviously jaded Master - to be granted some respite.

He snapped back to focus, returning to the interior of his cottage and finding his things. He gathered his many pouches of herbs and medicines, salves and tinctures, and restored them to their places among his robes and the satchel he frequently carried. Finding his cloak, he slid his arms through its bell sleeves before returning his hands to his belongings and making his way back out - just as Master Sarna arrived.

"Master, what is our course of action?" he would ask tentatively as he approached, watching as she disembarked from her speeder.

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It was hard not to jump to conclusions with such an event as a monocultural blight. True the crops had gone untended for nearly half a decade, but if such a blight was to appear it would have done so then. Not now. Not when the Jedi were finally back, and the Sith defeated. A trap? A long dormant dead man's switch waiting for the time when the galaxy would be left hungriest? It made sense from the puzzle pieces she herself knew. The Sith had disappeared mysteriously, leaving a vast majority of planets unfought for and stripped of resources. Their armies and navy mysteriously vanishing as well. With the majority of their Sith lords unaccounted for. 

 

Even that red faced Sith she had briefly encountered but not fought at the Jedi outpost on Felucia. What was it that she said? That they would keep the blade of the Sith sharp until such a time that they could use it? Something along those lines. A sith lord that she had not seen again. Another one lost to history, lurking, waiting for her time to break the galaxy again into brutal war. And there was no better way to do it than to keep the Sovereign Alliance hungry and weak as they bode their time. Or perhaps that was her own paranoia, her yearning to find someone to cross blades with. It was easier afterall to dream of someone to kill then  to go through the effort of fighting a pathogen that could have already blown to half the world by now. 

 

“My friend. First we must investigate and get there in person. I will reach out to the Alliance to get pathogen experts here but it could be some time until they arrive. In the possibility that it could be something more direct and Dark, we should prepare you for what might come to pass.” 

 

She looked at the Wookiee who towered over her.

 

“Have you ever thought of constructing a lightsaber?”

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Her words passed him by like leaves in a stiff autumn breeze. He was taken aback. Becoming a Jedi with such swiftness was already a whirlwind of change to think of, but taking up arms and becoming a fighter like those he'd seen on Falleen? That was another matter entirely. He could barely process the escalation that had come of this incident, hardly registering his master's response to his query. A blighted field had gave way to a matter much deeper, but unfortunately, necessary, if he was to find his place among the Order. The Wookiees contemplative gaze was brought to a halt as his mind came to focus for mere moments as he spoke, all but sighing out the words as he became subsumed into his mind,

"No, Master, I cannot say that I've given it any thought."

And yet as he voiced his lack of thought, his mind was now ablaze, coursing with ideas and various notions, contemplating different designs and styles. What would he choose? How would he construct such a weapon? He could barely wield the Force, after all, in the way of the Jedi. How was he to complete one of their most sacred of rituals without even rudimentary knowledge of their methods?

This confusion addled his mind as the Wookiee stared vacantly to the horizon, contemplating in nearly a stupor, the stress of the situation and the gravitas of Sandy's question being altogether quite thought-provoking for the newly-minted Jedi. 

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Of course he wouldn't have thought of such a thing. It was far too early. Especially since the Sith had at least temporarily departed their realm. There was so much to teach, so much to learn from and as always so little time. But this was no true emergency of sword and blaster. There were no Sith shuttlecraft shattering through the atmosphere, no contrails of a hundred bombers flying overhead, no Sith lord screaming for their revenge like a little child denied their chocolates before bed. This was an environmental emergency with little indication of Sith involvement, save her own worry.

 

She shrugged, and laid her hand on his arm to draw him out of his deep thought. “Something to consider for the future then. I am still in the combat mindset from so many years of warfare which is not something I should be striving to inflict on you.” She unclipped the long handled lightsaber from her belt and handed it to him. It carried with it the gravitas of a generation of jedi knights. Forged by one master during the troubles of decades ago, and handed from knight to knight until it had been given to Sandy by a master now long dead. One who had turned to evil, and had been slain by the pure white blade. It told the story in its essence of the rise and fall. Of pride, vanity, and the corruption of ideals until they carried only evil. Of suicide, of death, of joy and despair. Of a love hard won then even more harshly lost. 

 

“This carried the memories of my life in its crystal. And the lives of those who previously held the blade. Though it will not teach you directly on how to build a saber. You may take this one apart to learn its mechanical workings and keep it by your side during the mission ahead. If you so desire. If you do not think yourself ready or willing to carry a blade, then do not fret. It's a choice you must make for yourself. We pay a heavy price when we carry a weapon that kills and maims as its primary purpose.” 

 

Behind them the shuttlecraft’s engines began to wind up as the droid inside made his adjustments for the trip ahead. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

He reached out, his fur-covered hands taking the blade as his expression faded to one of solemn reverence. The blade's hilt was heavy, though not physically. It's components were light in the Wookiee's great hand, holding the already larger-than-typical lightsaber in a single-handed grip, and yet its presence in the Force swelled, especially as the Wookiee made an effort toward more carefully studying the item. It was momentous in the ethereal landscape, bringing forth memories not of the Wookiee's own. Ones of strife, chaos, peace, and order, all in one. Generations of piety, and generations of malice, all in one storied and fabled blade, and yet - now, at its core - a presence of peace. A stability. Radiance. Holiness.

Kerriwarr took such care to study the blade that he nearly failed to comprehend Sandy's words, he looked up to her, bringing her gift of knowledge close to his body as he spoke in turn, the gravitas of such an act far from lost on him, even with his lack of knowledge of Jedi custom, he knew this to be an indubitably significant act.

"Thank you, Master. I shall cherish this, and learn from it well," he said, bowing his head in respect for her Concordance of Fealty.

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Fingers, long callused by the whipping of hempen string, touched a long stalk of grain. The fingers reached down, running down until they caressed the bud of the root. From that root a dark stain appeared. A withering stain of black blood that began to creep from root to root. Stretching like some infected vessel until it spread from the patch of low trees towards the distant mono-cultural horizon. A curse, a gift, a revenge. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Shadows swirled in her mind like the turbulent air kicked up by the repulsorlifts. She was glad of course that Kerriwarr had decided to accept the gift, but the heaviness of the thought had buried itself deep behind her eyes. Lost in a reflection upon a past chapter of life that had not been neatly tucked away, of love and triumph, of loss and despair. Not the thoughts expected of a Jedi master, or at least the ones that Sandy had grown up around. Stoicism had always resembled disinterest, or at the worst disdain in those Masters that had taught her and had guided the Jedi order of a generation before. 

 

Her mouth barely moved as she spoke in response to her apprentice. A creature six times her age and at least as many times as calm and stoic as those she had always compared herself to. “There is much to learn from a blade.” So soft were her words that they were almost lost among the whine of the Vengi-Tharrack branded repulsors. Her next words were more to herself than to her apprentice. “And much to unlearn.” 

 

The scenery in front of them began to change as the speeder moved north, the waving fronds of grain began to darken, and though the sun shone bright, the great fields looked cast in a shadow. The air itself seemed to putrefy with the smell of rotting and decomposing vegetation. 

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  • 2 months later...

"And I discern all I can from this great gift, Master. Thank you," said the Padawan, every bit of poise evident in his voice as he expressed a deep and genuine gratitude and curiosity about this precious object afforded to him.

The Wookiee remained still, the saber still clutched in his hands as he peered at its many congruent pieces of metal and mineral, the crystalline core perfectly cradled by the intricate technology which embraced, channeled, amplified, and contained its energy into a single, elegant alabaster blade. Kerriwarr's mind was abuzz, sifting the countless possibilities for his own weapon and its possible construction. This was a strong, bulwark of a blade. Brutish, yet regal in equal measure...

It was the shift in the air that drew him from his intent study of the weapon and shifted his focus to the terrain beyond the speeder they inhabited. The fragrant, fertile aromas of the endless hedges and plains, forests and streams, had given way to a vile contagion of decay and sickness. He looked about to the jaundiced fields about them, withering in the disease which seemed to permeate acres of the eastern flats as far as the eye could see. As he observed the countless blades of diseased grain whir by like waves in a torrential sea, he picked up pieces of information. Yet it was not with his physical senses, but in his minds eye, that a more sinister picture seemed to be forming. It was as if the very environment - not singularly the grain - were symptomatic of a greater pathogen.

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  • 5 weeks later...

What was this feeling? She had felt it before, a decade ago or more, when she had still been an apprentice. Something piqued at the edge of her mind but could not be formed. It was no nurglian plague as she had felt on Felucia. It was pitiful in its lashings, but filled with primordial hate. The smell of rotting vegetation began to overwhelm even the speeders air filters and a glance outside at the spinning ground was dismal. It was almost a black bog of rotten crops. Food that should have been bookmarked for the millions of refugees lay in the welter of decay, each hectare could have fed a hundred families, now even carrion would not land. 

 

Dark Side. What wasn’t Dark Side these days? 

 

Perhaps a local crew, or one of the many Sith that had gone to ground at the end of the Galactic War. And what was better to destabilise the Alliance than to leave the galaxies most vulnerable without food. 

 

But that was not her only concern. She, like her own master in times not worth remembering, had brought her apprentice into a potential conflict zone. Perhaps because he was so much older she had not considered…But that was an excuse. She turned her blonde head to the Wookiee and spoke softly, placing her hand upon his strong shoulder. Her eyes speaking an apology. 

 

“We may face great danger here, prepare, I will do my utmost to protect you, and if I fail. Run and hide, do not try and confront whatever this is alone. It reeks of the Sith.” 

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  • 3 weeks later...

As the vastness of the decay made itself apparent through the malaise which they now bore through, the Wookiee stifled a cough. The stench of the rot was strong, a great cloud of sickness and death. Kerriwarr listened to the words as he squinted, struggling to see through the cloud as he listened intently and deliberately to the words of his master.

As the Dark Side was mentioned, it all fell into place. He felt it, just as she mentioned, the perception of death and decay was not just present within the physical reality of the fields around them, but in the aura of the Force. The ethereal landscape seemed tainted, stained by darkness. It was as if the very light of life were being reduced to nothing, as the leaves of a tree wither in the presence of winter. Listening to her, he met her apologetic gaze with one of warmth and stability, keeping a straight face as he replied, the gruff Shyriiwook piercing over the sound of the speeder.

"Yes Master," he said, his voice unwavering, "I shall do as you instruct."

Despite his tranquil appearance, a growing concern blossomed from the pit of his stomach. A foul flower, borne of the turmoil and malaise of the Dark Side. He looked down, studying the lightsaber he had only just acquired in his hand, preparing for the eventuality in the case that he may find himself in need of it, and just how soon such things may come to pass....

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A sound. Soft as a breath. An inhale. A whispered curse. Danger. 

 

As she stepped onto the ground the ominous danger sense that had been growing in the back of her mind was brought to a pique. A screaming sense of terror and anger that flashed up her spine to bury itself in the nape of her neck. Almost by instinct her lightsaber came up in her hand and ignited, flooding the dark tarry earth with its pale grey light. Her eyes and the force searched for that source of danger until it could be pinned down to an object whipping towards the speeder at an incredible speed. Sandy took a step forward to cover the passenger compartment and brought her left hand up. 

 

She took a breath. Inhaling and filling herself with the force. Projecting it in a wave of defensive energy that would cover both her and Kerriwarr, her lightsaber coming up to intercept what could only be a primitive arrow. An arrow that changed its course and direction as fast as she brought the sabre up. It slipped to the side at a great speed, as fast as her movements could be guided by the force, so that her sabre only intercepted the feathered end of it. Cleaving through the ashen shaft while the arrow slammed into the force shield she had summoned. 

 

Much to her horror It did not stop. Blasting its way through the multiple layers and slamming its dark bodkin head right under her left arm. Its momentum carried Sandy into the sidewall of the speeder where the arrow embedded itself in the durasteel. Having carved itself through her lower ribcage, lung, and out of her back. She gasped. Her breath cut short by the boiling blood that began to fill her lower left lung. 

 

She had brought them into a trap. And now there was something else other than the pain. An ebbing numbness that was radiating from the wound. She gasped again and began to draw upon the force.

 

"Run." 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Mother would be proud. She had no doubt of that. How could there be any doubt? 

 

She let the shattered bow drop from her numb hands. Letting the numb fingers work to bring life back to them. As for the bow, it had served for the years required. Much like this current body which had begun to succumb to the ancient curse. The curse that was now infecting the Jedi master and the very ground they all walked upon. 

 

She stepped out from the dying trees and walked slowly towards the speeder, a grin spreading across her face as she saw the womans struggles. There would be no running for either of them and she wanted that body. It still kept its youth, its lovely form. And what better face to wear than that of a Jedi Master?

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As if a flash of lightning upon the mountains of Kashyyyk, the arrow whistled by him, the hiss and silver glow of the blade arced before his frame, and the sound of arrow hitting flesh rang through the air. He watched with horror as his master's form crumpled into the inside of the cabin of the speeder. Her word of warning, as muffled as it was, was discernible nonetheless.

"Run"

She had given the command not but moments before, now freshly reaffirmed in the face of the very circumstance which had been its precondition. The Wookiee looked upon her with a solemn scowl now about his face. He stood up fully, high out of the speeder, casting his forest-green gaze upon the mire and grime of the wilting fields. The figure, a slim and feminine human, clad in hues of stygian and sable, approached. Her smile a reflection of the grim malice which radiated from her form in the Force.

Kerriwarr thought only for a moment. A split-second hesitation to frame his thoughts. There was no choice. It was self-evident in the Wookiee's scowling eyes. The Padawan looked upon her Master, and upon the first direct instruction given to him within the scope and breadth of his training, he responded:

"I would not dare,"

His form in the Force exploded, a roaring blossom of light and a pillar of peace, springing forth a font of Kashyyykian life in opposition to the Dathomiri plague. The Wookiee's solemn look was reflective of his dedication. His groundedness was certain as he stepped off of the speeder and into the gunge of spoiled flora and grime. He held aloft the long-handled hilt, hands spread upon its haft as the silver plume erupted to life, it's deep thrum as the peaceful rumble of a distant summer storm upon the hills and it's light as pure as the moon.

He would not obey.

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What happened when dread met one unafraid of the darkness? 

 

The resoluteness of the wookiee’s defence was so unexpected that the daughter of Ar-Pharazon nearly stumbled in her advance. A single drop of doubt began to trickle down from the nape of her neck, a worry that a sure prey was not the defenceless apprentice she had thought him to be. Other apprentices had fallen to bow and stone knife, but those had been in fear and crying as the jaws clamped onto their necks. How delicious the tears, how warm the blood. It still stained her hands, trembling fingers covered with mottled dried blood which now strayed to the cord around her neck. Grasping the totem that hung there, its crystalline form a blood red itself. Reflecting in the pale light of the lightsaber as she took another step forward. 

 

Her voice was the guttural growl of a beast. The predatory form of the nightsisters echoing in the tones of her rotting vocal chords. Blood too was there, leaking at the edges of her pretty mouth. Though dark and discoloured as the rotting flora at their feet. 

 

You dare stand while your master falls? For what purpose?” Oh if only he would run. He must escape. The fear of the sprint, she would let him get a head start, it would make the blood all the more delicious when finally drank from his quivering corpse.

 

The stone knife in her other hand quivered as she took another step forward, her spirit beginning to feed on the pain. The horrible pain of wound and poison. Of the death of the life all around them. That pain, that death, feeding the shadows that stretched out all around her. Approaching the light of Kerriwarr’s foolish stand. For what was bravery in the face of death?

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Firm, resolute, and unrelenting.

Such was the disposition of the Wookiee who stood before the dark witch. He had faced the horrors of the Shadowlands, readily and willingly. He was unabashedly unafraid in her presence, and as he noticed her falter ever so slightly, he knew he had the upper hand. Appearances, especially within the realm of dark and twisted things, were ever so often deceiving. Such was the only true power of evil - it's power over perceptions. Kerriwarr knew this, and readied the blade before him. He had some degree of training with Ryyk blades, and such technique would now come to his aid as he assumed a rudimentary, yet cleanly executed, defensive stance. To his dismay, the lightsaber was unwieldy in his yet to be refined grip. He was not used to such an immaterial weapon, and while with good foundation, wielded it somewhat clumsily.

Nevertheless, it was with a deep and rumbling snarl that the Wookiee spat a reply,
"Loyalty - something you must know little of, witch."

He summoned his resolve, his form in the Force now akin a towering Wroshyr tree, a bulwark of light amidst the sea of despair around them. With a deep breath, he began to advance. He would not stand idly in the face of evil - of that much, he was sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Loyalty…

 

She blinked, pausing for a moment as the audacity of his words crashed over her. The naivety, and utter delusion of them almost made her laugh had she not felt the pent up rage of the last decade show its face. Her thoughts dashing from wound to wound, finding the source of her pain and her anger. Stoking them into a rage. How many times had she proven herself loyal to various great Lords of the Sith? How many had she killed or possessed for the Spider? How many throats had she slit from ear to ear in the time of their grand crusade? But like everyone else in her life he too had turned to leave without a goodbye. When had loyalty ever paid off? All it had ever gotten her was a swift kick in the ribs. The Jedi would find that out soon enough. But her anger bubbled inside like a bile. Her voice was like gravel as she spoke, her hands which held the knife twitching with her rage. 

 

“They always betray you.” 
 

And without loyalty, she needed power to keep them in line. If she was powerful enough, then they would have never left. She would have stopped them. She would have held them close until all desire to leave had left them. And why would they want to leave her? There would be no reason. And she needed the power of the two Jedi. She needed to drink it from their blood. Only then could she be happy. With a yell she lept towards the Jedi Apprentice, her knife held before her like a spear. Her darkness would cover his light. It would consume it, it would corrupt it and she would finally have the power she so craved. 

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