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Cbaoth
19 December 2007, 08:15 AM
Below is a story I wrote many moons ago when Dark Horse had its Tales of the Jedi series. I hope you're all fairly forgiving, enjoy.
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TALES OF THE JEDI: VENGEANCE & BETRAYAL

IT IS A DARK TIME IN THE GALAXY. THE TIME THAT WOULD, IN YEARS TO COME BE KNOWN AS THE GREAT PURGE OF THE OLD JEDI ORDER. IN VIRTUAL DISARRAY AND CLINGING TO THE LAWS OF THE DECLINING REPUBLIC, THE JEDI WERE LITTLE MATCH FOR THE TREACHEROUS VADER AND HIS EVEN MORE SINISTER MASTER PALPATINE.

THREE LONE JEDI EXPLORERS WISHING TO LEARN MORE OF THE MYSTICAL FORCE WHICH WAS THEIR ALLY WERE SOON TO FIND OUT JUST HOW TREACHEROUS.


Hatred is only matched by the desire for revenge

The crimson star which the ancient world of Kiost orbited had hidden itself behind a distant cloud bank, as if so repulsed by planets very landscape that the only way to ignore it was to place a kind of mask between it and the object it would otherwise illuminate. But to the three Jedi who had made the long trek to get here this world was more than some barren waste.

Much more.

Tylia Rannon looked about the crumbling edifice, hardly able to believe that although it was for all extents and purposes falling apart, that it was still intact enough for her and her two remaining apprentices to explore. She had always been interested in the past. In Jedi history in particular. It had taken her a long time to learn what she could about what it meant to be a Jedi Knight. Studying where she could. Peering through all the texts she could get her hands on. And of course trying to learn of all the aspects of the Force, good as well as bad. Only to find that in regards to the Dark Side there seemed to be something lacking. The other masters, for their own part, all but refused to even so much as discuss that aspect.

How short-sighted of them. How was one able to fight against the Dark Side when they are blocked from the knowledge of what it entails?

If only the Holocron could be found.

Well..it was she who was the Jedi master now. It was she who had her own breed of students. Where the others were afraid of knowledge she would teach her students of the fundamental differences between the light and the dark.

Who knows..perhaps in doing so she could help in bringing about a kind of second Jedi "Golden Age" which was so desperately needed right about now. With the Imperial senate growing weaker and weaker by the day and Palpatine lobbying for more and more power; it was only a matter of time before everything came to a head.

And so here they were. Looking at this place which was supposed to have been destroyed during the fall of the Sith empire. Overlooking this structure that seemed like the remains of some perverted demonic temple.

All encompassing.

All foreboding....and uninviting.

According to Tylia it was at least some five thousand years old. Dating back to the time when Naga Sadow, the disciple of Marka Ragnos was the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith. A lasting reminder of how a lust for power can lead to ruination. It had taken her a long time to find this place. Checking out rumors. Looking into old data files. Now she was here and she was anxious to explore it. As a Jedi master and a professor she felt it was her duty to find out just what secrets this planet held. If her intuition was right she would have much to show those stuffed shirts back at Yavath University. Then maybe she would visit Coruscant and see her sister and what remained of her own immediate family. Her sister had spoken much of her own daughter, Tylias niece. Mentioning that she had great aptitude, particularly with space vehicles. Rannon had not seen her niece since she was a baby and was most curious as to whether or not she did indeed have her eyes, as well as perhaps a rudimentary understanding of the Force.

"Do you feel it?" she asked without turning to meet the gaze of her apprentices.

"Yes master. Its as if we're cut off from the Force," replied Jod Andaris. Like his fellow apprentice he too was training to become a Jedi. In specific a Jedi "Battle Master" like Tylia.

Still not turning, still focusing her gaze on the ruin. "No. Not the entire aspect. Just one part. That part we cling to."

"Does that mean that the dark is stronger than the light?" asked Tylias other student. Like her master she also hailed from the planet Brentaal. With the same color and style of curly black hair and a bodysuit similar to Tylias own. Tylia so disliked the hooded robes that other Jedi tended to wear. Tylia felt that Jedi were supposed to be knights not monks.

Though Andra Dorovan was not yet as athletic or as confident in herself as her master she was working on it.

"It would certainly appear that way, would it not?" Tylia retorted. "It seems the case here. But the answer to your question is 'no'. Its more..seductive. Quicker yes. But by no means stronger." However there was no discounting the fact that this place, no, this very world itself was powerful in that facet. It was only natural. After all this was one of the worlds which composed the Great Sith empire of some five thousand plus years ago.

"C'mon," she said turning to her students with a knowing smile. "we have much to explore." Beginning their trek, she allowed herself to think of Sevek. Sevek Karr had been her first student, An Ubese warrior and as such a natural to become a Jedi "Battle Master" like herself. He nonetheless chose his own path to follow shortly before the trio came to this world. It was Rannons hope that one day he would come back to the fold.

"So cold," remarked one of her students as they got closer to the structure.

"It is the Dark Side you feel. Don't let it overwhelm you," Rannon answered back. They stepped inside what was once the perimeter of the edifice. As Rannon expected, it was timeworn, weathered from century after century of neglect. There was something else also. Something which Tylia couldn't quite place at first. But then it dawned on her.

It .. felt .... cold.

But not just simply the kind of cold one feels from the external environment, but cold as in the aesthetic sense of the place.
And dark; very dark.

They began to explore. Going down a series of fragmented accessways. Finding little. Though each was feeling a foreboding sense of something. The trio came into one room with archways leading into other parts of the ruin but whose walls, what remained of them, were completly covered by some sort of symbols from the crumbling ceiling to their dilapitating bases. Jod walked up, fishing a small piece of cloth from his inner trench jacket pocket.

He started wiping away at the dust and as much of the soot covering the symbols as was possible.

Tylia ignited one of her lightsabers, letting its orange-white glow surround the area around her. She began trying to decipher the symbols. But they were terribly old and equally obscure. It was
almost as if they were attempting to prevent her from reading them. Rannon chuckled to herself.

Imagine Jedi master, professor and amateur scholar Tylia Rannon after years of searching for something exactly like this having to go back home with little or nothing to show for it because she couldn't understand a few symbols. At first it was extremely difficult, but the more she concentrated and the more Tylia seemed to will it the easier it began to get.

"Master.." said Andra thinking she witnessed something moving about outside the chamber.

"Just a moment." Amazing, Tylia thought as she continued reading. This place actually amplifies....

"Master."

Rannon turned as did Andaris to see what it was that was so important to Dorovan. There was something there. Not clearly visible but definitely humanoid alright from what she could tell. More than one they couldn't tell for certain. Was it the foreboding presence they felt?

Tylia was not so sure.

Jod went to go find out what that something was. Too bad they were cut off from the light side of the Force, otherwise it would be just a simple matter of feeling out who or what was out there. But that was where the problem currently lay. Andaris had all but approached one of then archways leading to the halls when he was pushed back into the chamber. When they looked they saw a blaster rifle attached to the man who had shoved Tylias pupil back into the room. An Imperial stormtrooper.

What in the galaxy was going on?

"Master.." said Andra, obvious anxiety in her own voice.

"Yes I know." Tylia heard the muffled sounds of the other stormtroopers moving about the outer area of this inner room, obviously trying to surround the three Jedi and prevent any avenue of escape. "What do you want?" she said glaring at that first white armored soldier. He said nothing and merely held his blaster rifle pointed at the three. Tylia did not like this at all. Right now there was only this Imperial but his friends were setting about into moving into position to encircle them. As if they were being put into a line of crossfire. But how could the squad have known where the triumvirate Jedi would be? Rannon had told no one of their trek except .. except....

Then it came to her in one horrific flash of insight.

Sevek.

Why her old student would set them up, though it appalled her, was not important at the moment. What was now important was finding a way out of here. If she had read the symbols correctly Rannon knew that the temple itself offered one option. Rannon was loathe to use it, for she remembered the last time she had unintentionally given into it. But it did exist.

"Why are you doing this?" Dorovan pleaded. Again no answer. Most of the troopers comrades were finishing moving into optimum firing position.

Rannon cast a quick glance to Andaris who got the hint, nodded, and started to slowly move en flank to the stormtrooper. His people had just about finalized their maneuver.

Come on, come on, come on, come on.

"Stay where you are," and the trooper pointed his weapon at Rannons male student.

Tylia saw the opening. Flinging her already ignited saber at that stormtrooper while at the same time reaching for her other weapon and commanding her pupils to arm themselves. The first stormtrooper out of reflex had just pressed the trigger on his rifle when Tylias first lightsaber hit it right down across its center causing the weapon to explode in his face, sending him careening back. She ignited her other blade even as her students did in likewise manner.

Two of the other stormtroopers opened fire with their weapons. Rannon dodged one and barely ducked under another shot. She tried to call upon the Force, but it was like trying to punch through a wall using only your fists. She and her students were essentially on their own. One of the duo came up attempting to get a more precise bead on the Jedi master. As the laser escaped his blaster rifle Rannon did a forward flip landing in front of the utterly astonished trooper and slashed him from gullet to bowel. His comrade, seeing this, screamed his partners name and cursing the Jedi opened up on her. The Jedi master ran and dodged and ran and dodged. Skirting around the stormtrooper as he continued to try and kill his Jedi prey.

All in all, considering that she and her students were cut off from the light side of the Force they were doing quite well. At least that was until Rannon heard the agonizing screams. Rannon turned her head for a quick second only to witness the horrifying sight of her two apprentices being cut down in a hail of laser blasts.

"No God NOOO!!"

It took but a mere moment. One milliseconds lapse of concentration, but for the second time in her life Rannon had lost control and given in to her rage. Only this time her own master was not there to calm her. More importantly however, was that this time there was a Sith temple to amplify that violent emotional state tenfold if not more. Almost totally oblivious to her surroundings, she was to see little more than a red haze all throughout that time. Hopefully, she would not remember that, in her anger, she used her telekinetic abilities to thrust her all but forgotten first lightsaber through the bodies of two Imperials. Hopefully she would not remember that, in her grief, she caused the hearts of four others to explode from inside their chests. Hopefully she would not remember that, in her furor, she used her lightsaber as a kind of nail to pin the stormtrooper who had before been firing at her to the wall by his throat. Hopefully she would not remember that, in her passion to avenge, she did even worse things to her remaining adversaries.

But even through this, unless some happenstance was to take place it was only a matter of time before they all whittled her down. Only a matter of time before she would become one with the Force.

Then the happenstance occurred. In the form of a scream.

It has been said that a Force Scream has been called a quote,"wave of hatred, amplified and fueled by the dark side, that is capable of smashing through mental and physical defenses with ease."

Eight of the Imperial troop, so taken by surprise, were to go down immediately. Their mental capacities and physical nerves instantly breaking apart and then simply ceasing to exist. Another troop of four quickly going into a catatonic like state from the sheer impact of the screams power.

Still others were simply hurled back as if they were mere feathers being tossed around by the wind.

Then there was what remained of the ruin itself. Its age, the melee and the Force Scream all contributing factors causing it to fall apart. Several of the archways leading both to and from this chamber collapsing in on themselves..and any unfortunate Imperial unlucky enough to be directly underneath them. The walls of this room falling in on themselves as what remained of the stormtroopers, so sure that Rannon would herself be destroyed in the ensuing calamity, opted to make a hasty retreat and save themselves.

When it was over; if one were to look at the structure from the outside they would be sure that a section had fallen in on itself due to its own weight. Upon examining that particular section one would find nothing but a mass of rubble and debris. At least on the outside.

The seek and destroy unit had done its job.

But inside that section there was a part that had not collapsed in on itself. It was in this pocket that Jedi master Tylia Rannon had survived. Weak, both physically and mentally. She nonetheless pulled the dead bodies of her former pupils to her, and then she began to weep. "You see .. you see," her voice clearly breaking, cradling one body and rocking it back and forth like a mother would a child.

Tylias mind refusing to comprehend what had happened. "I saved you..I saved you," then she looked at the bodies of her two students with their eyes rolled back and dead to the universe. Cradling one and casting a passive smile at both of them, crying at the same time. "Oh, you don't have to thank me. Thatís why I'm here. To protect those under my care. To protect those under .. my .... care." She was to grieve for a long time; and in her grief her desire for revenge would build.

The long road back was going to be nearly impossible to tread.