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Join Date: Aug 2005
Current Game: Guild Wars 2, VtMB, TOR
Thanks to Emperor Devon and Jiara for the betas.
Chapter 19: The Xi-ro Form
“We have the data from the navcomputer and the timestreamer, and we’re sending you the information as we speak,” Kiol’ad informed us the next day. “It appears Dycen’a has made frequent trips, though why he has gone to Telos, Ossus, and Nar Shaddaa, we don’t know.”
Jolee cocked his head slightly. “Telos and Ossus make sense. But Nar Shaddaa?”
“We were curious about that as well, and thought you might have some thoughts on that.”
“Hmm, none at the moment, but when we find something out we’ll make sure to contact you. Was there anything from the timestreamer?”
“There are frequent instances of travels in time, and they coincide with the vortices. Dycen’a was the only one who could have done this. Since he can no longer cause these swirls, the gravitophoton count should drop and our planet’s weather system will hopefully return to a more normal state.”
“We were happy to help with that mission,” Talin said.
Kiol’ad nodded. “We’re happy to have that help. We gave you all the data on his travels. We’re not entirely sure what to make of the rest of the information. Perhaps you’ll have some insight.”
“We think Dycen’a was working with an Exchange boss on Telos. The travel information might give us some clues on where to find him,” I said.
“Good. If we find out anything more here on Li’adin, we’ll make sure to forward the information to you.”
Talin added, “We’re very grateful for your help. If there’s anything we can do, please ask.”
“Just look in on Dycen’a for us when you get to Coruscant. The Jedi Masters believe he will live. Any information we can learn about his activities will be very helpful.”
“We’ll do that,” Jolee said.
“We have found your visit both enlightening and enjoyable, in spite of the difficult circumstances. We hope you will return to us soon, as we now consider you part of the Li’adin family. May your time and travel be enjoyable,” Kiol’ad said, bowing slightly as the holovid image faded.
Talin downloaded the information onto several datapads. “I’d like to evaluate the data from Aklar’an right away.”
“That’s a good plan. We’ve got a couple of days before getting to Coruscant. No sense wasting it playing Pazaak,” Jolee said.
“I’ll miss out on practicing my Pazaak face, you know,” I said.
Jolee snorted as he handed me a datapad. “You’ll need a lot more practice than one or two evenings.”
Talin raised an eyebrow. “Do I even want to know what this is about?”
“Ask Jae sometime. Less play. More study. It’s been a long few days already playing in a couple bad storms, fighting a Sith a couple times, mending you, and getting the ship repairs finished. I’d like to get something constructive done on this before my eyelids get other ideas.”
We spent several hours poring over the data before Jolee called us all back together. “Let’s do a quick review and then call it a night.”
I pulled up a holomap of the region. “This point in Li’adin space is the planet itself. This spot over here in space is where the vortices always appear.”
Talin furrowed his brow, studying the datapad. He added his information to the map. “I’m starting to see a pattern in his travels. He occasionally went to Nar Shaddaa, but most of the time he went from Telos to the vortices and back. He started to return to Li’adin itself more frequently starting about three months ago, probably for recruiting Singles.”
“Can we find out how far back in time he went? Did he go back in time to Ossus, too?” I asked.
Talin scrolled through the timestreamer information. “Those are very interesting questions. Ah, here it is. He did go back in time about 45 years. We can double check in the archives for any reported anomalies around Ossus and the other planets then.”
“I wonder just what he was doing on Telos for Norelden. We need to find this crime lord,” mused Jolee, looking from the datapad to the map and back.
“Aklar’an gave us his ship registry. Maybe we can see when and where he stopped. That might give us some idea,” I said.
“We also need to find out what he was doing on Nar Shaddaa. By the way, is that registry a legit number?” Talin asked.
“I doubt it. We’ll search through the normal channels of course, but I’d be surprised if he was using the same number once he left the Li’adin system. If it’s not the same, we can ask Mik’oth to help us track it down,” said Jolee. Then he grinned. “I’m quite sure he’ll be delighted to see you again, Jae.”
“No doubt. Maybe I should tell him I bought a dancer outfit. Do you think he’ll prefer something with sparkly blue sequins or a rainbow one with strategically placed flashing lights?”
“I don’t think anyone will care what it looks like as long as the coverage is the bare minimum,” Talin smirked.
Jolee chuckled. “Talin, you’ve obviously recovered completely.”
“You men….” I rolled my eyes, and then smiled slyly. “You know, Talin, Mik’oth does have a Ladies’ Lounge. With your manly physical charms, I’m sure he’d find a place for you with no trouble.”
“I have an out. I’m a terrible cantina dancer.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I never meant to imply you’d be dancing.” I got up from the table and gave him a wink.
Talin blinked, opened his mouth, and then closed it again.
Jolee burst out laughing. “You walked right into that one, lad.”
“Goodnight, boys,” I called out as I headed to my room for the night.
The Sith Lord sneered, “You’re not strong enough to kill me, Jae. And I’m not going to kill you. I’m going to turn you.” Jolee was lying on the ground motionless, eyes closed. Talin, wracked with pain, was moaning weakly on the ground, twisted with the horrible plague. The Sith Lord drove his blade down for the attack, and we began our duel. He matched my blows, our lightsabers whirling furiously, blades snapping together. He feinted a blow to my leg, and when I moved to defend, he raised his saber high to bring it down on my head. Too late to block!
My heart raced as I awoke with a gasp. A few deep breaths did nothing to restore calm, so I went to the galley for some tea. I sank down into the common room sofa with the hot drink, hoping my shaking would abate quickly.
Talin padded silently out of his quarters. “You OK?” he asked.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“You didn’t. I was meditating and felt the emotion wave. Was it that dream again?”
“Yes. Jolee’s still asleep?”
“Snoring away. Do you want me to wake him?”
I nodded no as a violent shiver overcame me.
He caught my mug of tea as it slipped. “Your hands are ice cold,” he noted, trying to warm them in his for a moment. “Let me go get a blanket.” He returned and placed it around my shoulders, then sat down next to me on the couch.
“We’re not supposed to fear,” I said in a tight voice, huddling under the cover.
“No, we’re not supposed to allow fear to control us. No one said being a Jedi made us immune to feeling it.”
I shivered again at the vivid images. Talin frowned in concentration for a moment, and I wondered if I had somehow done something wrong.
“Come here,” he said as he put an arm over my shoulders, drawing me in close. I had another spasm of shaking as I laid my head on his shoulder. He adjusted the blanket and then held me tight to calm some of the trembling.
“I can’t sleep. That awful vision will return.”
“You have to sleep sometime. I’ll stay so you don’t have to worry about those nightmares.”
“I’d be keeping you up too late. You won’t be able to rest yourself.”
“I spent way too much time resting last week. Besides, you saved my life. At least let me repay the favor a little by sitting here.”
“What would the Council say about this?”
“Have you ever seen them complain about a Jedi helping someone? Besides, I’m not worried about the Council, I’m worried about Jolee. He’d shove me out the airlock if I left you alone shaking like this.”
“We wouldn’t want Jolee to do that.”
“No, we wouldn’t. You’re almost doing me a favor by letting me sit here.”
I gave him a half-smile at that ridiculous logic and settled against him. We lapsed into a comfortable silence, and the trembling started to calm down.
“I’m glad you decided to stay,” I said after awhile.
He gave my shoulders a little squeeze. The shivers stopped, and I was finally able to slip into a deep sleep, free of the visions.
“Caffa’s hot,” Talin said as I walked into the galley that morning. I poured a mug and joined the two men sitting at the small table.
Jolee looked up at me from his breakfast. “Something wrong with your room? You like hanging out on the sofa a lot lately.”
“My room’s fine. I had the vision again,” I replied, sipping slowly on some of the steaming liquid. The heat counteracted the chill from the memory.
“I know this isn’t your idea of a good time, but describe it again for me,” Jolee said, sitting back in the chair. “Give us every detail you can see this time, even the tiniest ones. I’m missing something in the other descriptions, and it’s sitting in the back of my head nipping at my brain like an irritated oller. Ever been nipped by an irritated oller? Those pointy little teeth aren’t dangerous, but they’re sharp enough to be really annoying.”
I sat back and closed my eyes, visualizing the scene. “I can’t see any room details. Everything looks dark and foggy around us. Jolee is lying on the ground, still. Talin is on the ground in severe pain, twisted up from the Scourge, blisters everywhere. Then the Sith Lord appears. He’s human, but it’s too dark to make out his features very well. All I can see is dark hair, a pale face, and eyes glowing with hate.”
“What is it about these Sith and glowing eyes? It’s like a bad holovid,” Jolee said.
I grinned and continued, “Then the battle starts, and the Sith Lord and I trade blows. After awhile he feints for my leg, I go for the block, and he comes at me from above. Since my blade is down, I can’t defend myself. It stops just as I realize he’s going to slice me in two.”
“Hmm. Go through the battle sequence move-by-move if you can. I think there’s something more there,” Jolee said.
“Let’s see…” I pictured the vision in slow motion. “The sequence is rather long.” I went through the set of attacks and defenses.
Talin copied down every move on a datapad as I called them out. He took a few moments to review the entire sequence. “I think I see the pattern. You said in this section here that he’s striking at your head. Show me how he’s doing that.”
Standing up, I pantomimed the moves.
Talin looked back at the datapad again, and pointed to a different sequence. “Here, on this attack. Show me that one.”
He watched closely as I stepped through the stances, mimicking that series of blows. Talin’s eyes widened in surprise as he and Jolee looked at each other. “That’s the Xi-ro form he’s using.”
“Looks like it to me, too.”
“What’s the Xi-ro form? I’ve never heard of it,” I asked.
Jolee said, “It’s a rare form. Doesn’t surprise me you haven’t heard of it.”
“Master Vrook’s the only expert in it. Not very many other Jedi know it.”
“Why would this Sith Lord use an obscure form?” I asked.
“Could be any number of reasons—his master was an expert in it, he wanted to use a form few others have seen to gain an advantage, maybe he just likes the name. However, it narrows the field of people considerably for us. Now we know he’s had Jedi training along with his Sith teaching, and he’s part of a select group. That is, unless Vrook’s started teaching a bunch of students that form,” said Jolee.
“He only teaches it to the lightsaber specialists,” Talin said.
“Then add Master Vrook to the list of people we need to talk to on Coruscant,” I said.
Jolee ticked off the list of people on his fingers. “Yes, Vrook. Then Supat to check on Dycen’a and you two. After that, Telos port authorities and possibly Mik’oth. Finally, Vandar about the information we’ve found and those visions.”
“Oh, not the visions again,” I groaned.
“I’m glad to see you’re cultivating a mature attitude about this. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love listening to complaining. Let’s add it to the Padawan curriculum and have more of it.”
I smiled slightly and then sighed. “All right then, let’s see if we can get an appointment with him first and get it over with quickly.”
Last edited by Jae Onasi; 01-22-2007 at 01:08 PM.