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MsFicwriter 08-22-2011 11:32 PM

SW: TOR: Questions and Answers
 
(Author's Note: I have edited the ending of my last story, "ConFessians of a Jedi Consular", in what is now going to be a series! Thank you to machievelli for his insightful suggestions, which have inspired me to continue this tale...)

SW: TOR: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Part Two of an Old Republic Tale by MsFicwriter

CRYSTAL CAVERN, GROVES OF REFLECTION, TYTHON, 1500 HOURS

After I had implored Master Yun to come to the cavern and assist us, I knelt by the Trandoshan's side. "Will you...let me place my hands on your forearm and try to mend some tissue damage, at least?" I hoped he wouldn't be too reluctant to accept what little help I could provide, seeing as how his kind believed in the survival of the fittest. After a moment, he nodded and swallowed hard. With my fingertips barely touching his scaly flesh, I fell into a Jedi healing trance. It was not very deep, nor especially permeating, as I was far from perfect in this technique. Still, it seemed to bring some comfort as his breathing became more regular and he relaxed. We both waited together, with my blue eyes focusing like lasers on the kognath queen. She did not move.

I sensed no fear from her, but rather a deep caution. She was waiting, I suspected, to see if I would attack her instead of attending the fallen reptilian. I kept my gaze as level and calm as possible, making no sudden moves of my own. An odd thought occurred to me at the moment: Why is she reared up on her hind legs right now, if it seems she's not going to strike either one of us? Then I realized that she was trying to avoid touching the contaminated focus crystals.

They don't LOOK contaminated, I mused, yet in the visions that I received from the kognath queen, they were filling up with a poisonous blue-black vapor. If there really is a toxic gas inside them, then it must be colorless. Are the much smaller color-based gems dangerous as well? I guess we'll find out once Master Yun arrives.

I heard the sound of panting and running feet approaching the entrance to the cave. "Padawan!" a familiar voice cried through the breath rushing out of his lungs. "I'm sorry I couldn't get here sooner. I was doing a sparring lesson with some of the Jedi Apprentices and had to turn it over to Master Karos once I heard your call for help through the Force. She definitely knows the exercises, and..." Trailing off, he suddenly spotted the Trandoshan. "By the Force! Whom do we have here?" He was not only puzzled, but there flashed an expression in his eyes that I couldn't place...

The kognath queen, whom I had completely forgotten in the moment of rendezvousing with Master Yun, suddenly let out a screech. She'd seen the stranger arrive, too.

I tried to contact the insect's mind through the Force again, but he stopped me.

"Let her be, Padawan," he advised. "As long as none of us moves suddenly toward her, we'll be all right for now. If she attacks, I'll project a Force barrier around us so that she can't. I sense this kognath queen has been traumatized enough for one day." I abruptly realized the emotion Master Yun had tried to hide: accusation. "Right now, I'm more concerned about another sentient creature." He fixed a glare upon the lizardman. "Who are you, and why do the bodies of dead kognath drones litter this cavern? Were they the primary aggressors, or...is the story different from your point of view?"

"By your people, I am called Qyzen Fess," the Trandoshan answered, "although my own know me differently. These insectss attacked first, and as for the Jedi? She--!" He trailed off as a spasm of agony shot through his left forearm. I released my hands from his skin, breaking the healing trance because I'd been accidentally startled. "She wanted to study the various crystalss within this cave. As for me, I sought jagganath points. Revering the Scorekeeper brings honor to the worshiped AND the worshiper." He paused, gritting his teeth and trying not to roar. "Killing these kognath, I surmised, would increase my score greatly. I had come to Tython to taste its power, and now I have. In the skirmish, these insects' mighty queen shattered my left forearm with her potent and poisonous mandibles." He grunted. "I have lossst to her..."

As if to reinforce this point, the gargantuan kognath female directed a sharp HISSSSSS! toward Qyzen and raised her head triumphantly. With one last glower at all three of us, she turned with unusual grace and began to march into the lower depths of the cavern. Away from the crystals.

Master Yun sighed heavily. "I see. Well, if you're willing to come with us, we'll give you medical care back at the Jedi Temple if you wish," he told Qyzen Fess. "I am Master Yun Xiaolin, and this is my Padawan, Per'dra Yllari."

I blushed. My first name was no secret, but it came from an ancient word meaning to lose. I certainly hoped that Qyzen didn't know that...

His scaly brow arched up. "Yesss? Very well, then. I shall return with you from this--valiant attempt--and begin to heal. We Trandoshan can eventually regenerate our limbss," Qyzen continued, "but the process is rather slow. It shall take some time for my forearm to make itself right again, and in the meantime? Thank you." He said no more, and Master Yun helped him to rise. We exited the cave at last. Only Master Yun did not reek of blood, sweat, and battle!

On the way back to the Temple from the Groves of Reflection, I explained how I'd tried to calm the kognath queen down and find out why she and her kind had become consumed with aggression. As for the visions, I downplayed them, as I was still confused by them myself. Still, Yun listened intently. As for Qyzen, who leaned on my Master's left side, he remained utterly silent.

Finally, Master Yun announced: "The focus crystals that we've been collecting are contaminated, and possibly the ones that give our blades their color, too? That's what we'd hypothesized before, but we might have to wait a bit longer to test our theory. Let's get this Trandoshan into medbay, and then we'll decide what to do."

"Address me as Qyzen Fess," I heard out of the blue, barely a whisper, "or do not address me at all." Through his pain, the tall reptilian maintained his pride.

Master Yun blinked. "Sorry," he said. Still, I thought I saw his jaw clench...

machievelli 08-25-2011 09:37 PM

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