Jasra’s men took one last bow before their master, then turned and exited the alley and headed for their ship. Jasra in turn began walking towards the main street to exit the alleyway. But once again she froze as she walked by the spot where a cloaked Linduu was hiding in the shadows. She tarried for a moment, standing there with a look on her face that suggested she could sense a presence nearby. But after a few moments she shrugged it off and kept on walking.
(Once again that was too close.) Linduu thought to herself as she began walking back towards the warehouse where T-4 and the raider were. (If what Jasra was saying is true, then I need to follow her men and make sure they succeed in disabling the cloud.) Linduu skillfully weaved her way in and out of people’s paths as she remained cloaked on her way back. Upon seeing the warehouse she let out a sigh of relief. (Now to get inside and fire up the ship’s engines.) Upon entering the old broken down building Linduu found T-4 guarding the ship like an obedient Kath hound.
“Come here T-4 I have a mission for you.”
The tiny little robot rolled away from the ship and stopped at Linduu’s feet.
“I have to leave now, but I will be back.” Linduu paused for a moment in thought. “I need you to find the nearest access point to the Palace’s main frame. Once there I need you to find out all the information that you can on that big structure they are building in orbit. Do you understand?”
“Beep beep.” T-4 acknowledged in affirmation.
“Good.” Linduu said as she climbed into the raider’s cockpit. “I will see you soon then. We will meet back here.” Linduu hit the ignition button and the engines roared to life. She gently lifted the ship off of the ground and carefully exited the warehouse through the hole in the wall. Once out she cloaked the ship, pointed it upwards and soared into the atmosphere. Once she got back into space she cruised in tight circular patterns until she spotted Jasra’s destroyer leave orbit and head towards Dxun. She waited for a few seconds to put some distance between them and then turned her ship to follow. As they drew closer and closer towards the moon of Onderon a dark and ominous feeling crept over Linduu. (This is even worse than flying through the cloud. Control yourself Lin, you can’t let fear overcome your thoughts and emotions.)
Closer and closer the two ships moved towards Dxun. It seemed now as if they were flying directly into the teeth of the cloud’s source. Linduu kept her distance from Jasra’s ship, that last thing she wanted to do was notify the larger vessel in any way that it was being followed. The two ships descended and broke through the atmosphere only to be treated by a bevy of horrific visuals. The planet itself was lush with green forest everywhere. Waterfalls could be seen scattered about along with fields of wildflowers. But the moon’s beauty was far outdone by the devastation of wars long since past. Graveyards of ships as far as the eyes could see. Craters from bombs, paths of torn up earth from tactical ground vehicles. Skeletons everywhere lain out in the open. It was clear to Linduu that many battles had been fought here.
(How fitting that a cloud of darkness originates from this place of death.) Linduu thought to herself.
Jasra’s ship landed in a grassy field that rested in front of what appeared to be an underground complex set inside a small hill. Linduu spotted a patch of trees not far off and decided to land the raider in them for cover. This way she wouldn’t have to worry about keeping it cloaked, as that would put a strain on her force using abilities. Once on the ground she shut down the engines and exited the ship. For some unexplained reason she felt a nagging in the back of her mind to take Jor-el’s lightsaber with her. So she attached it to her belt opposite her own and closed the cockpit. She kept herself cloaked and moved closer to Jasra’s vessel, waiting for them to make the next move. The loading ramp lowered and the 10 men that Jasra had sent poured out of the ship. Linduu followed them up to a massive gate which seemed to lead underground. There were four Sith marauders stationed at the gate along with six destroyer class droids. As they approached one of the marauders held up a hand, signaling for Jasra’s men to stop.
“What business do you have here?” He asked them.
“We are here to see the keeper of the tomb.” The lead assassin replied.
“On who’s orders?” The marauder barked out.
“Lord Lantill herself has sent us here to speak with the keeper. It is of great importance.”
A devious smirk made its way onto the marauder’s face. “Lord who?” He asked as he drew out his red saber.
(Obviously they haven’t gotten the news about Jasra being promoted.) Linduu thought as she backed away from the group so as not to get caught in what appeared to be a fight brewing.
“We don’t have time for this.” The lead assassin said as he drew his own saber. “Kill them all men!”
Linduu flattened herself against the ground so as not to catch any blaster fire from the droids. All she had to do was remain cloaked and let the battle play itself out. And what a battle it was indeed! Blaster bolts flying everywhere, the crackle of lightsabers meeting and separating, droids exploding and screams of pain as human limbs were severed. It was a massive battle, but swift. When all was said and done all of the marauders and droids had been killed and destroyed. But four of Jasra’s men had fallen as well. Now only six remained. Linduu got up off the ground and followed the assassins as they opened the gate and proceeded inside. As she passed through the entrance she saw some words engraved into the rock ceiling above. It said “The tomb of Freedon Nad.” Linduu didn’t know why but that name sent shivers up and down her spine.
Farther and farther Linduu followed the assassins into the tomb complex. The deeper in she went, the more fearful she became.
(What a place of darkness. I don’t know if I will be able to focus in here if it gets much worse. Oh Jor-el, I wish you were here with me now.)
There were guards posted every 50 feet of so. Obviously Vandar didn’t want anyone getting near the source of his power. But the guards had no clue what had taken place at the entrance so they assumed that the group of assassins were cleared to be there. After 10 minutes of walking Linduu and the assassins finally arrived at a massive metal doorway that dwarfed the big gate at the tomb entrance. The lead assassin walked to the doorway and pounded on it with his fist.
“State your business.” A gruff voice said from the other side of the doorway.
“We are here to speak with the keeper on Lord Vandar’s orders.” The lead assassin replied. He surely wasn’t going to make the same mistake again of saying Jasra’s name rather than Vandar’s.
“Yeah yeah, gimme a sec.” The gruff voice said.
A moment later the massive doorway opened and Linduu quietly followed the assassins inside. The door shut behind them.
(I hope things go well in here. But I am going to have to figure out how to open that doorway. It’s obviously opened by some sort of mechanism.) Linduu thought to herself. But her thoughts were quickly interrupted as they entered into a huge round room. Her jaw dropped at what was before her. What appeared to be a massive power generator of some sort was resting right above Freedon Nad’s sarcophagus. A massive machine that stood 20 feet high and just as many wide. It was supported by four massive legs that weighed at least 2000 pounds each. The dark red cloud seemed to be emanating from the sarcophagus and into the machine. But it was small and weak. However it seemed to travel up through the generator and become magnified by a focusing lens at the top. It was magnified to 20 times its original size. Linduu followed the cloud up with her eyes to the top of the cavern. Where once again it was met by another lens that seemed to shoot it out of the complex and send it on its path towards Onderon. Standing in front of the machine was the keeper.
“What is your name?” The Lead assassin asked.
“I have no name. I am just the keeper.” He replied. “Why has Vandar sent you here?”
“Lord Vandar has sent us to learn about the secrets of the cloud from you. He wishes for us to more fully appreciate our Sith history. And he thought there would be no better way for us to start than to learn about the tomb from which this cloud emanates.”
(Is that the best lie you can come up with?) Linduu thought as she almost let out a chuckle. (I wouldn’t buy that in a million years.)
“Very well then, I shall tell you of how this cloud gets its power.” The keeper replied.
(Oh you have got to be kidding me. Surely you aren’t that stupid?)
The keeper began. “This is the sarcophagus of Freedon Nad. He was a most revered leader. He was one of the most powerful Sith lords in history. In fact he was so powerful and in touch with the dark side that once he died and was buried here, the essence of his power still remained. Back a little over 1,000 years ago when Revan was our leader, a few young Sith apprentices discovered this tomb. They noticed this very same red cloud seeping through a crack in the sarcophagus. They could feel the power of the dark side within it and studied for two years. After that short time they had finally discovered that they could tap into the cloud’s power and use it for themselves. But it only worked if they were here, surrounded by it. The Jedi known as Breia of Echana came to this place and somehow defeated the three Sith masters about 13 years later. This place lay dormant for a few years after that until Lord Vandar was drawn here by the clouds power. He had such wisdom and knowledge that it didn’t take long for him to think of a way to use the cloud’s energy. I believe that the cloud’s power is what has kept him alive all these years. Eventually he formatted a plan to build this amazing machine. It takes the cloud and magnifies it 20 times over. Then it sends it to Onderon, covering the whole planet. Thus making Onderon Vandar’s permanent home.”
“I see.” The lead assassin said. “Is there any way for the cloud to ever be destroyed?”
(Surely you aren’t that stupid as well? But please, by all means. Tell us how to destroy this thing.) Linduu thought to herself.
“It is said that the only way for the cloud to be destroyed is for a force, object or energy of purity and righteousness to be placed inside the sarcophagus. But the only thing I know of that fits that description is a rare kind of midichlorian crystal. And Vandar had all of those destroyed a long time ago.”
The lead assassin whipped out his lightsaber. “Thanks for the history lesson pops, but I think we will just destroy the machine instead.”
“What are you doi…. No…. destroying the machine is impossible. It is protected by a shie…..” The Keeper frantically shouted out as his head was severed from his body by a red saber.
(There’s no way I am going to let these buffoons dictate what happens here) Linduu thought as she uncloaked herself and ignited her pink staff-saber. She turned around and used the force to push the doorman into the heavy metal doors, killing him instantly upon impact. She then turned back around to see all six assassins staring at her in disbelief and wondering how she had gotten in here.
“Alright boys, it’s time to play.” She said as she leaped high into the air, staff-saber twirling in every which direction. She landed right in the middle of all six men and instantly went on the offensive…………………….
T-4 had rolled himself into the city near the palace. He was just a droid after all, so he didn’t attract much attention. He stopped near a wall that had a computer screen on it that was displaying Lord Vandar’s daily orders to the slaves. He plugged into the port interface that was right below the screen and started looking for information on the huge station they were constructing in orbit. Little did he know that Jasra was not far away, watching him with suspicious eyes.
(Where have I seen that droid before?) Jasra pondered. (I know I have seen it before, but where. Wait a second, yes, that’s right. I saw him on Korriban. Odd that it found its way here so quickly. And tapping into the city’s computer system unsupervised no less.)
T-4 found the information he was looking for and disconnected from the terminal. He began his trip back to the warehouse where he was supposed to meet with Linduu. Once again he was not privy to the fact that Jasra was following him at a distance.
Linduu had made short work of Jasra’s assassins.
“Obviously they just aren’t being trained like they use to.” Linduu said as she chuckled to relieve the emotion of the battle she had just went through. But just as she had spoken she noticed one of the assassins about twenty feet away from her trying to get back to his feet. She quickly drew Jor-el’s saber-staff from her belt, ignited only one side of it and sent it flying through the air and into the assassin’s spine. He dropped immediately and the saber disengaged and fell to the ground beside him. She now turned to look at the machine and sarcophagus.
(Now how in the world am I going to shut this thing down?)
No sooner had she finished her thought when she felt a warmth, a peace, coming from behind her. She turned and saw Jor-el’s saber on the ground. But it was glowing a bright blinding white, from the inside of the saber hilt it seemed.
“Linduu, come closer.” A voice from the saber’s direction beckoned her.