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Old 05-07-2007, 12:49 PM   #241
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Well at long last I have finished another chapter in this story. Believe me it is no easy feat when your mind is half consumed by the story of a female archaeologist who insists on making life a veritable hell for her assigned companion. You can check out the excerpt thread in the Outer Rim board.

Anyway, I have finished another chapter and it is quite interesting since I gave an interesting twist at the end. I started on the chapter following it and It is coming along rather creepy like but it gives some explanation for the future and is just an update on characters.

Chapter 48
Tulre stood in the dueling circle staring at Debula as he was flourishing his weapon. He was scared but he remembered what his Dada once said, that he was to use his instincts and let the Force flow. He didn’t understand it but he thought that would work for the Shaak Ti and it did. He even beat his Aunt Reva and he thought her to be the best, next to his Dada of course. Now he was going up against Debula, one of the best there was to be. He steadied his breathing as he watched Debula walk to his spot, eyeing him through the mask he wore.

The contrast in height was a cruel one but it was no different than him standing next to Rowan. Tulre was aware that his greatest disadvantage was his height and size. No one believed a five year old capable of administering a punch with enough power to make a dent. His Dada taught him that if you hit in a good spot, you can drop your foe and make him remember nothing but how much it hurts. However the greatest advantage was his speed and size. He could move faster and maneuver in ways that the older and more experienced warriors couldn’t. He knew he could give a good show and he had to win otherwise Aunt Reva and Uncle Carth would be stuck here. He had a lot to prove and he kind of wanted to show Lilah not to be afraid.

Seeing that Debula was standing there, at ease, Tulre relaxed slightly. The announcer finished announcing that it was a fight to the death and whoever won would receive the highest honor and glory. It was greeted by cheers but Tulre kept his eye on Debula. He was wary of Debula since Debula was known to cheat and play dirty. It wasn’t like how his Dada fought Serena Lightstar but there was plenty of need to watch out for cheap shots. The announcer then finished and asked the combatants to take their positions.

Tulre watched as Debula slid into a standard stance with his blade held pointed up. It was a basic stance for fencing or even introducing swordplay. Tulre wasn’t going to underestimate his capabilities though since he knew that even his Dada played that way too. Still to even things up, he himself took a simple stance. The intent was to make it appear that he was not as tough as perceived though that would be hard considering that he did manage to beat contestants bigger than he was. He held his blade with a firm grip, confident in the upgrades that he put on it. His breathing slowed to a steady tempo as the referee called to be ready and then the call came and Debula came at him running.

****

Michaela should be worried like any mother should when their son was in danger. Yet she was not as worried as she should have been. It made it seem as if she had no feelings for her son but truth be told, she was more worried that someone was watching them. It was a familiar presence as well, much like the one she remembered from NarShadaa. It was a nagging presence at the back of her mind and cast a shadow much like the shadows that chassed her husband in is dreams. As for her son Tulre, she knew he would win and not because he was his father’s son but she knew that he was doing it for someone else. If it had been any other situation, she would have smiled. As it were, she couldn’t or Revan would smell something afoot. She maintained a thoughtful stance as she watched her little one take his place.

Revan noticed the calm expression and she was curious and annoyed at why Michaela wasn’t worried. Rather than create a scene in front of everyone since she was sure that not everyone knew, she whispered in Avalonian to Michaela, “How is it that you can remain calm when your son is fighting for his life?”

Michaela didn’t look at Revan when she heard that. She was worried that Tulre was biting off more than he could chew. True to the custom of her people, to show weakness was a form of dishonor. Weakness was frowned upon in a warrior but it was acknowledged as a means of humbling oneself. In Michaela’s case, it was the typical parental worries though this time it concerned life and death. Still not looking at Revan, she replied in Avalonian, “He fights to help. He has the courage of his forebears and will succeed, Manzibique.”

It never ceased to bring Revan to attention when she heard her Mikkades name. When Kirabaros used it, it was often to wheedle something out of her when he couldn’t put a finger on it. This time though, it sparked a flash of temper in Revan and she responded in a fierce whisper, “This is not one of those rituals to introduce adulthood. He is a child!”

“And at his age Manzibique, he is expected to do his share. You trust Kirabaros’ judgment and now you should trust mine,” Michaela looked at Revan in the eye before returning her gaze to watch the duel.

Revan made a slight face as she muttered under breath, “You assume too much.”

Michaela just smirked. She had heard every word that had been said. A tribute to the hearing of Avalonians. She knew that Revan too needed to come out of her shell of guilt besides Atton and her husband. She said nothing as she turned to watch her son.

****

Tulre was having too much fun as he let Debula chase him around the dueling ring. Unlike his father, Tulre liked sparring but strange enough it wasn’t to show off. In many ways he was like his father in that he would only fight if he had to just as he was doing now. Right now he could see that Debula was getting frustrated and was going to switch tactics.

It came from the left in a wide arc. Bending over backwards, Tulre managed to avoid it. He could hear the blade whistle as it came across. He ignored everything that the crowds did and didn’t even hear the announcer, “Whoa a close call there.” Righting himself, he was ready for the next swing and did a forward somersault on the ground and jumped to his feet with his blade poised. He narrowed his green eyes at Debula and stood there, every muscle tense.

Debula was frustrated that the little runt was dodging his blows. That however took second place to the manner in which the runt fought. It was peculiar but it suited him and he thought he found an opponent worth his salt, even if he was short. After the runt somersaulted and turned to face him on his feet, he decided that he would have to get down right dirty. He knew where to start and he began with a feint downward.

Tulre blocked it with his blade but didn’t expect the punch that sent him hitting the dirt. His blade flew away from him so all he had to react with was his instinct. When he sensed Debula raising his blade for a strike he pushed up and with both feet kicked back, hitting Debula on the knees, knocking him backwards. The fall caused him to lose his own blade but that wasn’t going to stop him. Debula jumped right back up to his feet and charged, intent on hand to hand.

Tulre was ready for the charge. What followed was a series of punch combinations from both competitors and was blocked fairly well. It made a curious dance, as it appeared as if it were planned out. Then a backhand sent Tulre flying backwards onto his back. He reacted with a forward flip and blocked the punch that was telegraphed a mile away and delivered a strike that doubled Debula over. It wasn’t enough as Debula batted him away towards the rack where weapons were stored.

Tulre slid along the sand until he came to a stop next to the weapons rack. Jumping up, he grabbed a staff with a spear tip. It was short enough for him to handle and handle it he did by maneuvering it into the crook of his arm and crossed stepped an angry Debula who managed to pick up his blade again and twirled it into position. Tulre gave himself to the Force and it guided his steps in a series of strikes that allowed him to give Debula some hard blows. It eventually enabled him to hit the blade out of Debula’s hand but when he tried to give another blow, Debula managed to grab the staff and with a show of strength raised Tulre with the intent to swing him behind.

Using the direction of motion and his weight, Tulre added to his rate of fall and flipped Debula over. He jumped on top of Debula putting pressure on a sensitive spot and pointed the spear end at Debula’s face, its blade barely touching the tip of his nose. Debula stared at Tulre and Tulre stared back. “Go ahead finish me,” Debula spat.

Tulre narrowed his eyes. He could end Debula’s life and claim victory but that wasn’t his way and it wasn’t the way of his people. With a quick movement, he struck hard and fast at Debula’s temple, knocking him unconscious. With a deft movement, he plunged the tip into the sand near Debula’s head and jumped off. He stood and nodded to the announcer and moved towards the edge of the ring. The crowd that had been silent when he had the spear pointed at Debula’s face now gave a loud cheer. The announcer was in a state of shock, “I don’t believe it! He spared him. The Masked Stranger spared the champion. The Masked Stranger is the winner!”

****

Michaela knew that her son wouldn’t kill. He was his father’s son in heart and spirit and like his father he spared his adversary. She smiled for Tulre received the honor as a warrior but he learned that compassion is an ally. She smiled at Revan who tried to apologize and nodded understanding while leading the way to greet the Masked Stranger.

They were joined by Atton, Kiera and Morgan who immediately jumped with Lilah as if they were sharing a secret. Atton was sporting a smile as he revealed a fistful of credits, enough to buy the reverse power coupling, that he collected from Tatlo. He said, “Well we have one part. Any chance that we can pull off the other?”

No one had a chance to ask for the Masked Stranger approached them with a bag full of credits. He looked at them, his gaze following each of their expressions. He gazed at Morgan and Lilah who were snickering before heading up to Revan and handed her the bag of credits. When the action was done, he pulled the mask off to reveal the youthful face of Tulre grinning from ear to ear, his green eyes snapping lively. He then said, “Now you can help Dada.”

Mamesa was the first to say, “Little Shang, you truly have outdone yourself,” and smiled. She should have been angry since he entered too young and against her wishes. Still it broke the ice and everyone relaxed.

“I was careful and I practiced,” Tulre replied with a grin.

Revan couldn’t say anything except marvel at the lightheartedness the Avalonians exhibited. Even being around Kirabaros couldn’t soften the blow of surprise she got when awkward situations were met by a joke. She was speechless as she watched her daughter murmur with the boys and giggling over a shared joke that hadn’t been voiced. She was content with just watching them until Carth said, “Well I guess we better get the new generator and install it if we are supposed to meet up on Yavin.”

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Old 05-08-2007, 02:05 PM   #242
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Whew, it has been a long time, but fortunately this chapter retains the quality of the rest of the story. The description of the fight was excellent. A twist at the end? I'm still feeling a little sleepy, so I must have missed it, unless it was Tulre sparing Debula's life. Overall, very good and on a technical note (that's the only thing I could find to nag about ) there were two small typos - a forgotten space between Nar and Shadaa in one place and chassing instead of chasing in another.
Now, lemme check that Outer Rim fic of yours.

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Old 05-09-2007, 12:06 PM   #243
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Yeah the twist was that Tulre spares Debula. Since I said that he was like his father but wasn't in many ways, I figured one of the endearing qualities would be his compassion. After all the little one does have a lot of it for a certain little girl with honey colored eyes and brown hair. Thanks for reading and I put explanations on the Outer Rim thread and my changes etc. A new chapter will be up as soon as I figure some dialogue out.

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Old 06-05-2007, 04:43 PM   #244
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Here is another chapter long at last. I finally decided to finish it and it hit me today during my break what to write. So here it is:

Chapter 49
The corridor was dark and foreboding and conveyed the idea that there were ghosts or something wandering through it. It really was no big surprise considering that that corridor was apart of a temple that was thousands of years old. Still it was rather eerie standing there and looking at the foliage that was growing everywhere and feeling the wind whistling through. For the lone warrior making his way through the temple, it bespoke of a loneliness that he left behind years ago.

For the past three days, the warrior had been making his way through the ancient temple seeking answers that he had been seeking since the end of the war and before. Like the beloved river, he cut his path relying on the Force and Grace to guide him. Along the way were challenges that forced him to cut a new path. He was forced to remember things that haunted in childhood and through his adult years. In the last memory, he was forced to remember the broken look on his friend’s face and the look of understanding of the Miraluka. If anything that was like twisting a knife in an open wound and because of that he severed his connection with everything that he was.

Anger, pain, fear, loneliness, those emotions that the masters said would lead to the dark side guided the swings as he was forced to battle with shadows that brought fruit to long buried emotions and feelings. He gave full reign to his venting and continued through the corridor until he was stopped by a huge stone door. He wanted to vent his rage on it to force it to open but a voice in his head stopped him, “You have visited key moments of the past and now you must face the future.”

The warrior was overcome with a strange sense of calm. Being severed from a full active use of the Force so willingly opened his senses to a degree that Darius could barely describe to him before. He waited until the door slid open with the familiar stone grating on stone. He stepped into a dark room, aware that he was not alone. It was confirmed when he looked at the column of light that shown through the hole in the roof. Standing in it was an apparition of the one who wanted to see him destroyed and next to him was a person he knew well. He stood there facing them until he dredged up, “Were you always there?”

****

Jolee was impressed; well he always was with the Avalonians and their ability to adapt to situations. They had arrived the day before amidst a sea of chaos where two ambushes occurred and only three warriors went missing. It took Lady Mara to explain her suspicions while Amarante treated him as if he were a guest at a party. He had to explain why Kirabaros wasn’t with them but Lady Mara’s reaction was a calm that would have made her worthy of being a Jedi Master. It was as if she had some idea why the lad wasn’t there.

When they left Amshrey, Jolee put his foot down and told them to take off. He remembered that he didn’t want to do it and almost asked Canderous to wait to firing up the engines. It was then that he felt it. The lad projected his thoughts, I know what I am doing and I have to do this. Hold the line in the east. That was last he ever heard of Kirabaros but it gave Jolee the encouragement he needed to call for the liftoff.

Jolee never doubted Kirabaros and in fact went out of his way to say so. It wasn’t the warm fuzzy type for that would have sent the lad into snickering but the kind that got the message through. What worried him was the fact that after the incident onboard Draconis’ ship, he was quiet. He suspected that he bottled up too much of his feelings and that they might explode eventually. He did know that if all hell broke loose, there was one important thing that would keep the lad’s feet on the ground. Next to Carth, he was the only other person who knew completely what that was and why he held tight to it, refusing to let go.

He was thinking about this when he watched Juntau and Juhani walk by talking. When he first met the lad, he was surprised that there was another Cathar other than Juhani since the Mandalorians managed to just about do their race in. When he discovered that it was Kirabaros who convinced the settlement to offer sanctuary to the boy he just smiled. It was so like the lad to put everyone else before him or to find a way to help others. He was called to attention when Mission came up to him and said, “Lady Mara asked me to find you. I told her she should look where they have the buffet line but she said to look for ya anyway.”

“Kids these days. No respect for their elders,” Jolee muttered as he directed his attention to Mission.

****

Nothing was more soothing that the rumbling of an engine on a ship. After his display on Alderaan against the Avalonians, Keegan was heading towards the Outer Rim as Count Draconis told him. The count would be joining them soon along with the supporters he managed to rally from the senators that still demanded blood. Keegan though wasn’t too sure about attacking the Avalonians head on.

The fact of the matter was that no one truly knew the full capabilities of the Avalonians. Sure they showed their strength and spirit in the war with the Rashikians but less was understood about their logic. On the surface with Amstar in the Senate, they appeared to be like anyone within the Republic, reasonable beings with their own petty peculiars. With the declaration by Kirabaros though, it changed things and gave the possibility that Avalonians were different than the other systems. Plus the unpredictability had Keegan most unsettled. The only comforting thing was that they had managed to sully Kirabaros’ reputation by claiming that he dishonored his calling as a Jedi and a traitor to his people. It only flew though with his most outspoken enemies.

He had his orders though and he was to mobilize at Yavin and prepare to take on the Avalonians. The bounty hunter he heard was alive and well and was out to perform the original task of grabbing the brats of the Jedi. The stronghold hidden in the forests of Yavin would have ground reinforcements. It could be a total victory and in the midst, he could get the Jedi that slighted him.

****

Lady Mara knew that the storm was coming and she referred to Amarante and Jolee for their advice and guidance. She may be the Lady Governor of the system but like any well-respected leader, she deferred to those who had seen more of life than she had. Right now they were telling her that the best thing to do was to fortify the settlement and send the young and the old into the forest towards the caves. She agreed albeit with reluctance in that she was hoping they could engage the enemy away from the settlement. It was Amarante that pointed out though that there were no clear battlefields except the settlement and even if there were, there would be an attempt to storm the settlement.

The word was given and fortifications were being made to the settlement along with defense systems that would buy time until the main forces from Belos could arrive. There were difficulties in that someone had mixed up the launch codes for the ships. Improperly entered and the system shuts down and has to be restarted. It had already occurred and put the fleet behind schedule. She had no word from Senator Amstar and didn’t know of the current state of the Senate. All she had was a brief message that Revan was pardoned and that was all. At least Jolee received that with good news since he was fond of Revan.

Lady Mara turned towards the east of the settlement to gaze at the river in the distance. The river brought as sense of calm as it did with all Avalonians in that the river was considered the life force. Though they understood the Force, they knew that the river was life hence the reason they called it the orenda or life force. She continued to stare at it, noticing that the Cathar boy was staring at it too. She briefly wondered at him but was moved by the generosity of Kirabaros. Surely the Council will be able to see that when this is over. Her thoughts drifted to her children in their father’s care though she suspected that he would try to jump onto the next ship here.

All of a sudden, she heard a voice in her mind. It was gentle and calm like the summer winds in the early evenings. It was not the broken voice that she had heard from him before but one that was strong. It whispered, The east, where the river is, will bring the flood. Be wary on all sides but ne’er turn your back on the river. It caressed her mind gently before leaving.

Realizing that she had closed her eyes, Lady Mara opened them. She felt a confidence that she hadn’t felt since she took charge of the system. She walked back towards Amarante’s hut with a determined air. She was met by Jolee who gave her a knowing smirk. They both had heard the same message and knew that he was watching from wherever he was at.

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Old 06-12-2007, 01:01 PM   #245
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Interesting chapter, it brought back a few characters that haven't been mentioned in awhile. I'm sorry it took so long to check this out, but, as you may suspect, I have tons of college stuff to worry about in June and I don't have much time to take a closer look at the forums these days. In any case, I'm still interested in this story, so keep writing.

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Old 06-12-2007, 07:16 PM   #246
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Thanks igyman. Yeah I figured it was time to bring a few people back.

Anyway. The chapters are slow because I am chanign my mind every few sentences and I started a new fic. The new one is set just a year after Order 66 so we are in that part of the EMpire. It is rather interesting but that's another story. Anyway thanks for reading and I am still writing it. A new chapter will be up when it is done.

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Old 09-21-2007, 03:36 PM   #247
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Long at last here is another chapter.


Chapter 50

The bounty hunter had been watching and waiting patiently. He had watched as the boy won the competition against an opponent bigger and stronger than he was. He had to admit that he was rather impressed with his ability. He was much like the Jedi he was once hunting. He couldn’t deny that there was some sort of attachment between the three little ones as they were clustered and surrounded by the adults. That didn’t matter; all he knew was that he had to get the three of them and he had this urge to let the woman who had nearly killed him see that it was him.

He stayed behind them at a distance. His mentor now turned traitor had taught him well in terms of disguising his presence from Jedi. He pressed a button on his comm as he silently followed the group. He would make his move and soon.

****

Nighttime at the hamachi was lively. The maiko were dancing with the geisha in the traditional songs and dances of the tribes. They spoke of victory against all odds, referring to how their little Shang defeated Debula. It was a happy time.

After a brief telling down from Mamesa, Tulre along with Morgan and Lilah went to be with their parents. Rowan stayed and talked to her while they watched the happy parents, “It appears the Force works in mysterious ways Mamesa.”

“So it would seem. I hope this worked out according to his plan,” Mamesa replied.

“It more likely hasn’t but then he would have figured it out. When he came to me, it seemed as if he were out of options.” Rowan paused to look at the scene and then turned his attention back to Mamesa, “He hasn’t been the same since…”

“The Miako incident. Most anyone close to him knows what it truly cost him,” Mamesa nodded understandingly, “Perhaps it is better that the parents see the children before we move out. The maiko are ready.”

Rowan said nothing but turned to acknowledge Caelos who was coming towards him. He didn’t see Mamesa slip away to go watch the dances when Caelos said, “I got the generator fixed and all the other parts ready on the Wayfarer. Lady Onasi and the rest know.”

“Good,” Rowan replied, “You did well but you had the pride. That was your flaw and Revan exploited it.”

“I wanted her to fight Master Jedi,” Caelos replied in the tones of respect that Kirabaros taught him, “She needed to be all that she was and is. She will need it.”

Rowan didn’t have a chance to answer for a sound distracted their attention. He turned towards it and started to take off. Before leaving he told Caelos, “Let the others know what is going on. Try to be circumspect.”

****

It started with a few blaster shots and a few shouts. By the time anyone got close enough, one of the wooden huts of the hamachi was on fire. A few maiko shouted for water as they ran to save what was in the hut. The items like the wardrobes were costly and could take a lifetime to earn. They scrambled about until Rowan caught up to them and began organizing the men into a cohesive unit.

Meanwhile a noise sounded as speeders and men on foot came through the hamachi shooting their blasters. Other maiko and a few of the geisha tried to deal with them as they shot off their blasters and made noise. It grabbed the attention of the Jedi after Caelos told them something was wrong but not bad. Revan was the first to act. She said, “Carth, Michaela and Dustil follow me. Kiera and Caelos take them from the south. Atton…” she nodded at the children who were looking at her.

Atton took the hint and watched as everyone else scrambled in their assigned direction. He figured it was probably Debula causing trouble after losing the Shaak Ti. He told the sprats that it was probably was the case. He didn’t expect Tulre to jump up and say, “Then I have to help. It’s my fault that Mamesa is in trouble.”

Of course that started up the other two claiming their parts in the whole thing. Atton was hard put to persuade them that the best was to stay put. It sounded stupid in his ears until he stopped a small hut, the weapons storage, and he persuaded them to hide in there until he came back for them. They readily agreed and went in. He was just closing the door when he heard, “It seems that we are destined to meet again traitor.”

Atton didn’t turn immediately but controlled the rage of emotions within him. He breathed deeply and said, “It is nice to see you as well Falen.” He then turned to face an ugly look from the one he addressed.

“I told you before that I am not called that anymore. I have a new name, Jaqrand,” Jaqrand replied suppressing the urge to gut Atton.

“I see that I did leave an impact. For that I am sorry,” Atton responded, glancing for any sign of weapons, noting the huge vibrosword. He moved his hand towards his lightsaber slowly while trying to ascertain Jaqrand’s intent.

“Spare me the rants of the Jedi. I’ve heard it all before,” Falen retorted, “The best thing you can do is stand aside and let me have what is in that shed.”

“That I can’t do,” Atton replied. He had his lightsaber in his hand and stepped away from the door. He began to circle Falen who was doing the same thing.

“Don’t make me kill you old friend,” Falen replied and he twirled his blade.

“I’ll do what I must,” and Atton activated his lightsaber. He went into one of the poses that Kirabaros had taught him and waited for Falen to strike.

It came when Falen charged with an overhead strike. Atton blocked it with ease and counter struck with a series of thrusts and parries. He remembered Nar Shadaa well and wasn’t anxious to repeat the incident again. He avoided the low blows that Falen liked to use when feinting a high strike. At one moment Atton backed away from a strike and twirled down low to duck. With intense concentration, he Force pushed Falen back. It wasn’t a hard one that Kirabaros would have done but it was enough to knock Falen off his feet. He said, “You’re living in the past Falen. There is nothing to gain by living in the past.”

Falen struggled to get to his feet. He retorted, “And have you done better? Become the very thing that you used to kill? Who’s living in the past now?”

****

After his Papa shut them in the weapons shed, Morgan looked for an opening to watch. He found it near where the blades were kept. He motioned for Tulre and Lilah to come and look. They watched as Atton fought the angry man with the warblade. Tulre wanted to snort at the quality of the blade the angry man was handling while Morgan scoffed at the stance. Lilah just peered in fascination at the fight. It was Morgan who said, “We have to do something. We have to help Papa.”

Tulre looked down at his friend and replied, “I know but what are we going to do? He told us to stay here.”

“Since when have you ever listened to anyone Tulre?” Morgan asked in a heated whisper. “We can help. You know more about all kinds of weapons. I can do unarmed and swords and Lilah has the sword. We can put use to it. We did it back home.”

Tulre looked at Morgan for a moment. It was true but there had to be a reason why they were stuck here. It was part of the reason why they ended up in Mamesa’s care. A sudden thump on the wall of the shed brought him out of his thoughts. He heard the man taunting Atton and his mouth became firm. Standing straight up, he looked like his father when he was determined to do something. He said, “Ok. Morgan, look for that small blade that Tai Tai likes to do the new beginning dance with. Lilah, your sword I put with the short blades over there,” and he pointed to where the short blades were.

“What about you Tulre?” Morgan asked. “The short blades are too light and the middle blades are too heavy.”

“I’ll use Firebrand.”

Morgan responded with a smile and went to go find his blade and help Lilah get hers.

****

Michaela sensed it like a shiver running through her spine. That shadow that darkened at the back of her mind since that morning came clear. She thought he was gone but he was here. He was here and he wanted revenge and…she then turned away from the group and headed towards where Atton was.

****

Atton felt like he had spent a day in a trash compactor after slamming into the weapons shed. He was tired but determined to keep Falen away from Morgan and the others. Falen was fighting like a madman but a meticulous madman. Atton’s senses were flooded with a burning hate. Unlike Atton, Falen had let his anger and pain consume him and it was his driving force now. Atton couldn’t understand it now but he stood up ready to continue the fight. He readied himself into a comfortable position and waited for Falen to strike.

Jaqrand was rather pleased that he was forcing the traitor to his knees. True he wasn’t begging, well that wasn’t the traitor’s style. He had a desire to make the traitor suffer. First he had to get his hands on the three brats and then the fun could begin. He was so busy focusing his attention on the traitor that he didn’t notice three little figures creep out of the shed. He was focusing on the traitor who stood now and was ready for a strike. He came at him, charging with his blade raised.

Seeing Falen coming with his blade raised, Atton began to run towards him with his lightsaber raised. He anticipated and swung when Falen swung. The result was a shower of sparks and the quiver of metal. Atton felt the force of the strike travel down his arm. It was strong enough to make him want to drop his blade but he held on. His shoulder throbbed but he didn’t stop. He gave it all he got.

****

As usual, Tulre took the lead when the trio left the shed. Morgan was right behind him and Lilah tottered last. Each carried the blades they preferred and other weapons they figured would be useful. They headed around to head towards the front when they were stopped by a Rodian thug. He muttered something about finding them and made a move towards them only to be greeted by a series of punches and kicks from the two boys. They smiled as the Rodian fell unconscious and continued. They came around just in time for the bad man managed to knock Atton’s lightsaber out of his hand and had him on the ground.

Morgan acted quickly. He armed the short bow that he had been learning how to use and aimed. Being calm an deliberate, he released the arrow and watched it sail towards the target he had chosen.

****

Jaqrand didn’t expect his vibrosword to be knocked out of his hand. Nor did he expect the sudden pain on his leg that followed. He pulled out what it was and turned to see two boys, one with some primitive sort of the Wookiee crossbow and the other with a much larger version. They stood poised and aiming at him intent on killing him if they so chose. He was actually dumbfounded that those little boys could even handle weapons of that size. He had to admit he was impressed but it became amusement when the taller of the two boys said, “You and your men are trespassing. Leave now and no harm shall come to you.”

Jaqrand looked at the boys and began to laugh at them while saying to Atton who was watching the scene horrified that his son was attempting to fight, “So you have children protecting you?” He then turned to the two boys who were then joined by a little girl holding a blade drawn. He called out to them, “You are brave little ones and foolish. Do you wish to dance this dance with someone like me?”

“I think not,” a voice sounded from behind.

Jaqrand turned to face the woman who had shoved him out of the window on Nar Shaddaa. He scowled deeply before as he turned to look at the woman who came to stand by the traitor’s side. The traitor asked, “Michaela, what are you doing here?”

Michaela, a mother first and a warrior second, had left the distraction to help Atton. As a mother, she defended her young. As a warrior, she was aiding a comrade. Taking both into account, she replied, “An explanation best served as obvious.”

Atton didn’t need Michaela to elaborate. While not Avalonian, he understood the parent half coming through and was ready to stand by her. He stood and reached for the lightsaber he dropped through the Force. He said to Falen, “Are you ready to stand up against two Jedi, Falen?”

Jaqrand growled and replied, “No mere Jedi has come back the same after I am through with them. You can ask your ringleader Kirabaros.”

The comment confirmed what Michaela had guessed about this bounty hunter. He had done something to her husband but the end result was not what the mercenary was implying. She felt a wave of pity that he had underestimated her husband’s capabilities and would suffer for it. Not rising to his bait she replied, “A pity that you have not seen the end result.”

Jaqrand had no idea what she was saying. She was just like the Jedi that he delivered to his employer, enigmatic and annoying as hell. He merely grumbled and replied, “As long as I get what I came for,” and lunged into attack.

Michaela and Atton flew apart and countered Jaqrand’s attack. They moved in a synchronized movement, pretty good for people who haven’t trained together most of their lives. It was like a little orchestra as the three of them danced.

****

Tulre wasn’t surprised to see his mother come from almost nowhere to help Morgan’s papa. Being a typical kid, he assumed that she was checking up on him and made a slight face at her coming. When she started attacking the bad man, it was an opportunity to run but they didn’t and couldn’t.

At that moment some of the men that Jaqrand had hired came charging at the kids. Of course being kids of Jedi, they reacted. Tulre let loose the arrow he had cocked and ready as well as Morgan. Lilah had her sword ready to defend the boys while they pulled out the blades they brought. The arrows missed the men charging them but it provided the three sprats to jump out of the way and swing their swords.

The hired thugs didn’t expect the kids to fight and were surprised that three little things were flying at them. They managed to get them off and surround the kids. They moved in, one of them saying, “Come on little one.”

Tulre nodded at Morgan who nudged Lilah. They concentrated on the Force, linking their minds together to create a chain. Using what they had, they blasted the Force out in all directions. It was like a surge through the Force that was felt by every Force user as it blasted their attackers away from them. It wasn’t enough for another two thugs appeared and gave chase throughout the compound.

****

Michaela felt the surge through the Force. It was like an energy surge but it didn’t short out. It was like a strong wave that didn’t break its stride. She knew that the three of them together was a strange happening. She would have to examine it later as she fought to keep the one called Falen off.

Atton thought the surge was like a power surge and didn’t think about the kids doing it. He was concentrating on getting Falen into submission. He taunted him by saying, “You are getting sloppy. I thought Nar Shaddaa would have taught you better.” He didn’t see the second man come up from behind.

Michaela did and fended him off. This bounty hunter was smart in recruiting men with blade proficiency. When Atton came by, she said, “We have to get the kids and get back to the ships.”

“Get them and get out,” Atton replied. He blocked the high downward strike that Falen gave but wasn’t ready for the punch to the gut and then a few punches across the face. He retaliated by giving a backhand to Falen who lunged forward with his blade, locking it and giving a kick to the gut.

Falen was enjoying landing blows on his former mentor. He looked at the traitor and said, “I have learned. I’ve learned how weak you have become.”

Atton replied as he blocked a swing, “I’ve moved on Falen. You haven’t.”

“We’ll see.”

Michaela didn’t see it coming as a backhand landed across her temple, knocking her unconscious. She fell to the sand, her saber deactivating. She thought of nothing but the children. They were vulnerable as she saw black.

Atton spared a look when he heard her grunt. It was a mistake for Falen slipped through his defense and gave a kick to his gut. Falen also struck with his blade giving Atton a slice across the shoulder, knocking him down. Atton hit the deck hard as his saber fell from his hand. He sat up and watched as Falen twirled to through a short blade at him. Atton swerved to avoid the blow and it struck one of Falen’s men.

Falen did nothing else but stared, his eyes full of hatred at Atton. He then turned on his heel and walked away. He still had a job to do and he aimed to do. He was going after the kids.

****

Tulre, Morgan and Lilah managed to lead their pursuers to where Revan, Carth and Caelos were pinned down by one of the speeders. Revan and Caelos were deflecting blaster bolts while Carth was firing off shots of his own. He spotted the kids first and beckoned them to hide by the speeders. He was glad that his daughter was safe but was even more surprised when he saw her wield a small sword.

His attention was diverted back to the battle where he could make out Rowan charging like a kataran bull. He often thought Rowan crazy for wanting to get in the thick of things and that Canderous would like him. He did know that Rowan took his duty seriously. If it was his charge to defend something, he would. Right now he was protecting his friends. Carth appreciated him for that as he fired to cover him.

Tulre watched as his Aunt Reva and Uncle Carth and Caelos were fighting the thugs who invaded the hamachi. Like his father, he wasn’t content with hiding but doing something. He looked at the speeder he was hiding behind and saw that it was one that the maiko had borrowed for when they when to hunt wraid. An idea formed and he nudged Morgan who looked at him. He nodded and then turned to whisper to Lilah who slunk off towards the rear of the speeder.

Checking to see if Uncle Carth wasn’t looking, Tulre climbed aboard and gave a hand to Morgan. Morgan went immediately to the pilot’s seat. The maiko had taught him to pilot the speeder and he was pretty good at it. He warmed up the engines and waited. When Lilah climbed aboard, he gunned the speeder out into the fray.

****

Rowan preferred to fight out in the thick of things. He didn’t believe in hiding unless it was absolutely necessary. He was a warrior, not a scout and he took this to heart when he led the other maiko against the invasion of these thugs. He appreciated the cover provided by Admiral Onasi. He respected the seasoned warrior although Carth preferred to be called a soldier. He didn’t expect to see a speeder come charging through, knocking thugs over to stop right by him.

He looked up and spotted three sprats shooting what appeared to be blasters. He recognized them and gave a slight roll of his eyes. He barely climbed aboard when the speeder took off again and stopped to where the Admiral was. He said, “There is no time. Get in.”

“Who’s idea was this?” Revan asked.

“It was his idea,” Lilah pointed at Morgan.

“Was not,” Morgan replied and took off.

They were joined by Kiera and Dustil flying another speeder. She shouted, “Lovely night for a race don’t you think?”

Rowan called back, “You have to get Atton and Michaela.”

“Already did,” Kiera replied. “Back to the ships?”

“We have to lead them away from the hamachi. They are after us not them,” Carth answered.

“Alright then,” Kiera shouted. She led the way through the town of Anchorhead. It worked apparently for the thugs that attacked the hamachi started to follow them. It was chase and would require a lot of skill not to hit the buildings.

She was brushed on the shoulder and a voice in her ear that said, “Let me.”

Kiera looked to see Atton beckoning her to let him take the pilot’s seat. His hand was on the stick so she slid off and he slid on. No doubt about it, he was good. She couldn’t help but watch as he glided through the empty streets. She did revert her attention to helping Michaela who was firing a blaster while struggling with a headache. With Michaela’s help, they managed to disable the speeder following them by aiming at the engines. They met up with the others who just came back from the desert.

****

Tulre knew Morgan would do his best but they had to take that speeder out. He had an idea. He shouted, “Turn left here!”

Morgan turned as his friend said. It led out of Anchorhead and back into the Dune Sea. The Sand People still laid attacks on people and they came out at night since it was cooler.

Revan understood the idea. She wanted to urge Carth to take the stick but Morgan was already turning again. She saw that the speeder was following them, move for move. She didn’t have to see them to know that the Sand People where there. The last time she had an encounter with the Sand People, the tolerated her presence and wouldn’t attack her or her friends. She didn’t know if it was the same group.

Tulre could sense his aunt’s apprehension a mile away. He didn’t know that it was related to the last time she was on the planet. He had to concentrate on the presences he sensed when they made their turn. They made a loop and were heading back to Anchorhead with the enemy on their tail. He whispered, “Don’t do anything. Just keep going,” and Morgan did as he was told.

The shots came out of nowhere as they fired upon the two speeders. Morgan gunned it but the enemy speeder wasn’t fast enough. It got caught and flew out of control before crashing into a sand dune. The only thing that could be heard were the cries of the Sand People as the speeder entered Anchorhead.

****

Atton breathed a sigh of relief when he saw his son piloting the speeder to a stop beside his. He would have went to his son but was stopped by Kiera who began to tend to his shoulder. Revan was already tending to Michaela and the others where checking each other out for injuries. Rowan commed the hamachi and asked if everything was alright.

Tulre, Morgan and Lilah jumped down to check the speeders out and the surroundings. They had their weapons at the ready as they were taught. Their parents didn’t notice them as they looked around.

Tulre felt the yank first as he was grabbed roughly and turned to face the one who went after Atton and his mother. He grunted and heard Lilah and Morgan grunt as they were plucked up by a big man. They squirmed and grunted but didn’t hear their parents yell for them as they were taken away.

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Old 09-21-2007, 05:53 PM   #248
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*Jae does a happy dance at the new chapter*

I haven't had as much time as I'd like to read the series, but as always I love seeing what you do with the culture. It's fun to watch the 'kids grow up', too.


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Old 09-26-2007, 03:31 AM   #249
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An interesting chapter, without a doubt. The quality of your chapters is still on the level, the only thing grammar-wise that I can complain about is that a few commas in the right places would have been great.
When it comes to the storyline, due to the huge time break between the latest chapters, I have slowly started to forget the details of this story. I still remember the overall plot and most of the characters, but the huge pause is a bad thing for anyone who wants to follow the story and the events in it.

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Old 09-26-2007, 12:21 PM   #250
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Again I apologize but that;'s on me and my thought processes. My brain had it but it wasn't working so I had to walk away for awhile. Again though I thank all who have been reading this story and my others.

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Old 10-17-2007, 02:52 PM   #251
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Another Chapter for you all.


Chapter 51

Jolee sensed the sadness when the ships landed. It was like a thick cloak that was more dreading than the dark side itself. There was also a sense of failure and anger. There was also a sense of calm. That was what made him uneasy when he and Lady Mara greeted the two ships.

The Ebon Hawk looked a little worse for the wear but intact. As for the Wayfarer, it looked like it had been hit by an asteroid and survived. It still bore traces of the damage from the hyperspace incident from their escape from Coruscant. Still it was a good ship and no doubt about it since it was Avalonian. As the ramps lowered, Jolee and Lady Mara advanced to greet the new arrivals. Lady Mara was quick to notice that Revan and Michaela had the distinct impression of loss on their faces. She said, “Welcome.”

Revan gave a polite nod of acknowledgement while giving the customary hug of greeting. Michaela did the same but whispered in Lady Mara’s ear, “We have a problem.”

Lady Mara understood the intention behind the whisper and prudently said nothing but led the way to make introductions with Amarante. Jolee tagged along behind with Rowan, Caelos and Dustil just observing the source of the grief, rage, and calm. He asked Rowan, “What happened on your pit stop?”

Rowan, still reeling from the disappointment that he had failed Kirabaros was reluctant to answer. Still Bushida stated that a warrior must have courage in the face of any danger. Taking a breath, he replied, “We lost three.”

“I could see that sonny. You know who?” Jolee countered.

Rowan wasn’t used to Jolee’s mannerisms and was taken aback by it. Being taught to respect his elders, he maintained the respectful pose by keeping his head down. Caelos, who knew Jolee slightly better, didn’t for he knew that formalities made Jolee cranky, a source of amusement for Kirabaros. Rowan answered Jolee’s question, “The one who hit him before we left for Coruscant. The bounty hunter.”

“I think Jedi Rand knew who it was because he called him by name. Falen I think,” Caelos supplied with a cautious tone. He had actually heard Atton mention that his name was Falen after the little ones were taken. He saw Atton’s burst of rage at the bounty hunter and he still felt it, sure that everyone else could. He pitied Lady Revan who was so kind and with Michaela, he admired her for her strength.

Jolee caught the scent of caution in Caelos’ voice and put two and two together. Looking at Atton, he could see the rage bottled up inside. The rigid shoulders, the bland expression, it said it all. He knew that Revan was grieving. He remembered back to the days of the Star Forge after the Leviathan and how Revan reacted to her past. Michaela was a mystery to him. While grieving herself, she maintained a stoic calm. Her face was the face of the quintessential Jedi: calm, at peace…serenity.

It made Jolee wonder if she were harboring any thoughts that were before the surface ones that Jedi awareness could sense. He saw it once before when Kirabaros came into the tent after that battle in which the Republic arrived to help the Avalonians. The difference was that the kid had a more thoughtful look on his face as he studied the jasilyn blossom in his hand. It made him feel uneasy but he had to trust the lass. She had been the voice of reason so far for them. No reason that she shouldn’t now.

Caelos, sensing the change in demeanor with Jolee, moved next to Dustil and proceeded to speak on mundane things. They were actually lessons in Bushida, ones that were taught to help young warriors cope with loss. It gave Rowan a sense of pride that Caelos would teach but he knew the reason why. When they were out of earshot, he said, “I believe the bounty hunter took them as a means to make Kirabaros suffer.”

“Take the younglings to make him suffer?” Jolee asked.

“Family is important to him. He will protect them. Matter of honor.”

Jolee nodded, understanding.

****

Amarante greeted his guests with the politeness that all Avalonians had in spite of circumstances. He was well aware of the situation having being briefed by Lady Mara in the warrior dialect. He noted the grief, the guilt and the anger from each set of parents and the worried and troubled looks of their companions. He began by offering tea to his guests which was accepted albeit reluctantly.

Atton was angry and it showed. He berated himself in his mind, I couldn’t even keep my promise to her. Some Jedi I am. It made him angry and when roused to anger, he saw Falen’s face. His body reacted by becoming rigid, like stone.

He didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings but all he saw now was his guilt and rage. Morgan was his son and he let Falen take him. They could be anywhere now in the galaxy and there was nothing Atton could do about it. Still he did have the power to strike out and find him and was aiming to do that when Michaela came to him and asked him to stay.

It sounded so much like how Darius asked him to stay that he roared and stomped away. It only served as a painful reminder that Darius was dead and now he lost Morgan. It was too much to bear. However, when Kiera came and said that the best way to find Morgan was to stay with the others, he listened. She wasn’t full of sympathy, he had enough of that. Instead she spoke plainly and bluntly. Thinking about it calmed him down. She was so much like Morgan’s mother and that started another guilt trip, fouling his mood until they landed.

He calmed down enough to be civil when the ship had landed. When the leader, Amarante offered tea, he snapped, “How can you offer tea at a time like this?”

The collective gasp was audible from the family members of Amarante and the curious warriors who wanted to meet the Jedi. Amarante himself put down his cup and looked at Atton. He knew the feelings of a father well and couldn’t blame him. He allowed for the outburst for he was an outsider as well. He was about to speak when Rowan indicated he wanted to speak. He nodded his permission.

Rowan knew that Atton was angry and would have said something along the lines that it was no excuse for his behavior. Instead though he felt he should explain a bit about what had happened. He got up and stood in the center of the circle. He said, “Friends, do not grieve for the young ones.”

“Why not?” Atton retorted not in the mood to observe ‘protocol.’

“He cannot hurt them for he has a larger target in mind,” a voice sounded from outdoors. It had spoken before Rowan could speak and had everyone’s attention.

Amarante spoke to keep order, “And who are you warrior? What brings you here?”

****

It had been awhile but he had felt the call from the little ones and traveled as soon as he could get a ship from the Mandalorians. He followed the call that resonated to him where he was meditating. He felt their little cries and it cut him to the heart. He also saw the one who had taken them and his heart burned to take revenge. Yet he would not allow the one who caused so much pain to see that and he would not let it consume him.

He traveled to Yavin IV where he knew as it was in his dreams the one who nearly tore the Republic apart would be. All things must come full circle, that was the way of things. He knew this as he revealed himself much to the shock of the people in the chieftain’s home.

Kirabaros looked none worse for the wear as he stepped in the center of the room. He greeted Rowan in the traditional warrior’s grasp and gave a respectful nod to Amarante. He repeated his earlier statement, “He cannot harm them for he has a larger target in mind.”

“And what might that be great Kirabaros?” Amarante asked.

“As it has been since the Republic has become our friend and ally, there have been some who resisted the path of change,” Kirabaros explained reciting what was known, “Some believe that we should remain autonomous. Others regret the wave of change within our sovereignty.”

“You refer to the war between the Blood King and Avalon?” Amarante asked.

“Yes my Lord,” Kirabaros replied, “and no.

“Before that war, there was a small boy who learned of the injustices within his own world. He questioned the way of things and resisted the ways of the Argonons. In the end, all the tribes had equal say but there were some that did not like this.”

Kirabaros gazed at his friends and family staring at him. He of course was referring to his movement on Mikkado when he first met Michaela. While on Amshrey, he had time to come to terms with all that had happened and it in turn cleared his mind to allow him to see the hidden threat. He was called by the children and he answered and now he was here. This was where it would end. He sensed though that he wasn’t convincing enough and this was confirmed when Atton replied, “So this is something related to events that took place long before?”

“Yes,” Kirabaros replied, “Blood to be repaid carries a long reach.”

Amarante understood what that meant. Blood vendettas, while rare, were detrimental to Avalon. If someone felt they were slighted in their honor, they usually engaged in the code duello. This was unusual however in that while Kirabaros had many threats against him, the slandering of his own honor was unheard of. He asked, “And how does this relate to the children?”

“Blood honor of the guardian of the family.”

Carth sat up straight when he heard that. He knew exactly what that meant for Kirabaros. It was a promise made four years ago on a spring day. He remembered well the blood mixed with the gold band and the writing on the band. He caught Kirabaros’ eye and saw that he was right and was confirmed when Kirabaros added, “And frankly what has occurred is intended to wound the guardian of the family and make him come to him, whoever it is.”

****

The jungle was beautiful on Yavin IV. It was hard to believe that Exar Kun had ever brought the taint of the dark side there. It was there though hidden amongst the Massassi temples that were just beginning to be reclaimed by the jungle. It would have been fun to have been able to explore this but for the dirty faced boy trudging behind the man, that wasn’t a possibility.

Tulre looked around and saw nothing but plants as he was shoved to keep moving. In front of him were Lilah and Morgan tottering on shorter legs than he and just as dirty. They had been taken from their parents on Tatooine after a chase through the hamachi and the desert by someone that knew Uncle Atton.

The man in question was pushing them towards some sort of base made in a cave. In front of them was one of the creatures that he had only heard about in the stories that his Dada told him. He wrinkled his nose in disgust because of the bad smell. He had no idea that it was the stench of death that clung to every Rashikian. All he knew was that it was a bad smell. He couldn’t take it anymore and asked, “Hey why don’t you take a bath? You stink.”

Lilah and Morgan joined in, “Yeah you stink.”

The Rashikian growled, displeased that the brats were so rude. Jaqrand laughed at the sprats and added, “You know they are right whoever you are. You do stink something awful.” He then looked at the sprats looking at him in defiance, the more prominent in Tulre and Morgan. He pushed them forward up the trail, “Keep moving. You are just going to have to put up or shut up.”

“Shut up is a mean word,” Lilah piped up. She glared at Jaqrand mirroring her mother’s posture while looking like her father.

“I can do meaner things if you don’t keep quiet and keep moving,” Jaqrand growled at her. He did have to admit that he was impressed by her show of backbone.

“You are a mean person and I don’t like you,” Morgan added. He didn’t like the man who took him away from his poppa. He didn’t like it that he was the one who tried to hurt his poppa.

“You and everyone else now KEEP MOVING!” Jaqrand gave Morgan a hard shove than sent him into the dirt.

Tulre was there quick as a flash and looked at Jaqrand with fierceness in his eyes. He was in a basic unarmed combat position standing in front of Morgan as he stood up to dust himself off. He muttered something in Avalonian that had the Rashikian turn his head to look at the boy.

Tulre had used the language that Avalonians never uttered. Avalonian language has always been described as three rivers. The common tongue is the gentlest, a stream. Everyone speaks it. The second is referred to as the swift river or the warrior language. It is language employed by those that defend Avalon but Bushida and Jedi Masters alike. The third is referenced as the river of death. The harsh tones were spoken only by the Rashikians. If it was heard it was said that death was brought to the ears of Avalon. Tulre had used that language in a fit of anger.

The Rashikian eyed the boy carefully. Apart from members of his clan, he had never heard an Avalonian utter his language. They preferred the other two rivers to get their point across. Still there were rumors that the one who defeated the Blood King spoke in the language of death just before he killed him. He wondered if the boy was just idolizing a hero to the do-gooders. It never occurred to him that the boy was son of the one who defeated the true great threat of Avalon and that stagnant beast called the Republic.

Jaqrand didn’t understand a word what was said by the boy. He was annoyed that they were proving more trouble than they were worth. He interpreted what the boy said was a threat and made a move to strike him. He was surprised by the boy blocking his strike with surprising strength. The boy wasn’t ready for him when he grabbed him and held him eye level to him. He said to him, “You will do as you are told and not another word.” He then tossed him to the ground while saying, “Get a move on it.”

Tulre dusted himself off while casting a dirty look at Jaqrand. He had uttered a curse at him in the unforgivable language. He had heard the phrase before and knew its meaning from hearing his father read it in one of the old texts in the library at home. He should have been in bed but he was curious and he had asked his Dada what it meant and he explained it to him, making him promise never to speak the words aloud. Till that day he had kept his promise but this was a time when playing nice wasn’t going to get you anywhere and he was mad that the man had pushed Morgan.

Morgan tugged on Tulre’s sleeve to indicate that he was fine and that they should listen to what the man said. Tulre looked at him and seemed to speak without words much to the annoyance of Jaqrand. He was surprised when Tulre gave him a dirty look and herded the girl and the boy to follow the Rashikian.

Not another word was uttered from the brats as they trudged through the bloody jungle. Jaqrand though was watching them carefully. They had become unusually compliant and he figured they were up to something. Most of the time his captors were when they became cooperative. It never occurred to him that they had no plan to escape, that they were following Tulre’s lead. Still he wasn’t afraid to use the tranquillizers on them even though it would mean more work for him to get them up to the base.

It wasn’t until they got to the base that the brats started acting up again. They had sensed something wasn’t right in there and were most reluctant to go in. Tulre tried to bar them from entering. Morgan kicked at Jaqrand and the Rashikian and Lilah bit Jaqrand when he tried to pick her up and toss her in. He finally managed to get them inside and shoved them inside a room decorated with a personal altar. Standing in front in the shadows was a tall figure. It turned to show only the eyes in the light. The three children looked up in a weird sense of horror and curiosity.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:19 PM   #252
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Here is another chapter and I am cranking them out as fast as I can finish them. Thanks to all who have bee reading them.


Chapter 52

Draconis was pleased that he finally had the brats. With them standing in front of them he could feel their collective power. He would ruin Kirabaros and to add insult to injury turn the brats into doing his bidding. Fitting justice in his mind. He spoke first in Avalonian, “I know you can understand me so listen closely,” and then switched to basic, “You three are important. You will bring the taint to me.”

Morgan replied, “And what if we don’t? What if we get a little…lost?”

Tulre and Lilah looked at him as if asking him if that was the best he could come up with. Draconis merely laughed. Using the Force, he brought Morgan eye level to look at him. He chuckled, “You have strength little one. You are your father’s son.” He then lowered him to the ground. His eyes rested on the little girl.

Lilah stared at the big man full in the face. She didn’t like the man at all. He didn’t feel right and he was out to hurt her uncle and mama. She blurted, “You bad man!”

Draconis laughed again. Children were easy to get information out of because they express what they feel at the moment. He grinned and replied, “Yes I am. I want to meet the taint face to face little one. He brought nothing but ruin to Avalon.”

“From what I hear Avalon is better off now than then,” Tulre interjected. He knew that the man was talking about his Dada. He hoped his Dada would come and rescue them but he didn’t want the bad man to hurt him.

“You may think so little one but the tribes have gotten arrogant. They are no better than the kataran bulls they milk and feed on,” Draconis replied. “The Jedi are worse believing in equality. No sense in hierarchy. Tis a pity that they will have to suffer along with the Republic.”

“What are you going to do?” Morgan asked. His papa was a Jedi and he would come for him. He didn’t want his papa hurt.

“Force the Republic to sever ties with Avalon and destroy the very thing that ruined us so that we may be restored to former glory.” Draconis grinned at the children, “And I will have new followers beginning with the young. The sands of time have already begun to pour against the Republic.”

“My Dada is going to kick your butt, sangtahut,” Tulre glared at Draconis.

“I do not think so little one. Take them to their cell. I want them to be able to see what will happen to the Republic,” Draconis motioned to the Rashikian who came in. He was surprised at the spunk of the brats. They worked together well that was true but they all had distinct personality. Soon we shall see if you can bear it Kirabaros.

****

The encampment had the stirrings of preparation as the warriors reinforced their walls for defense. It was an unnecessary precaution since the battle was to take place in the shadow of a temple but he wouldn’t tell them that. Better to be safe than sorry.

It was the same as in his vision. Every tree, bush and the temple not far from there were exactly like it. Even the same emotions were there. The need to defend honor, family and life. There was also hate but it was not from the encampment but from the mountains near the temple. The hour was nearing and there wasn’t much time left. Perhaps the Republic will see who has been manipulating their thoughts.

****

Keegan was like the furnaces of Mustafar. After making sure that he had the men Draconis wanted he was busy scouting space. He had better things to do than a grunt’s work but his partner said to. For what reason he had no clue since the Jedi were on the surface and therefore most likely will meet their end.
What surprised him the most was that the systems who still wanted Revan’s head joined in by sending troops. They had little reason to trust Avalonians as well so there were no qualms about killing one. What Keegan wanted though was the Jedi Revan and made to suffer. He wanted it more than anything.

That fool Onasi is blind to not see that she is a murderer, he thought to himself. He still smarted over what happened in Dodonna’s office and wanted to lash out at Onasi. He never liked Onasi much even when they fought against the Sith. He thought him too cocky for his own good and he didn’t even care when he nearly became suicidal over his wife’s death. It didn’t matter anymore.

A Rashikian came up to him and informed him that the sector was clear. Keegan acknowledged the information. He then added, “When the time comes, see to it that the Jedi Revan be brought to me. I want her alive.”

The Rashikian nodded and went about its business. He may be partners with an Avalonian but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t carry out his own private mission. The Jedi had to pay and this was the way he knew how. Screw the planning of the Avalonian. They put too much into planning and not enough action.

****

The cell was dank and dark. It had three walls as rock and one as a shield. Not good odds if trying to escape, as if that were a challenge. Tulre looked around after being shoved in by the guard with Morgan and Lilah. They had just seen the man who wanted to hurt their parents and the Republic and to tell the truth, Tulre wasn’t impressed. He definitely was his father’s son in that respect. He motioned to Morgan and Lilah and they followed him to the back. Once there, he asked, “Morgan did you see the guards?”

Morgan replied, “Only two on the way in and one on the door. How are we going to get out?”

“I don’t know,” Tulre muttered, “If I had my toolkit I could do something.”

“What about what Granpa Jolee did?” Lilah asked. Her mother told her the story of how Granpa Jolee tricked the Sith into letting him go. She had never tried it before but it could be worth a try.

“What did Granpa Jolee do?” Morgan asked.

Lilah looked to make sure the guard wasn’t listening before whispering, “Mama said that Granpa used the Force to trick the Sith.”

Morgan thought it a great idea. He asked Tulre, “Can we do it?”

Tulre pondered a moment. He once heard his Dada teasing his mother about using her Jedi Mind Trick over him. Maybe that’s what Lilah meant. He answered, “I don’t know if I or you can do it by ourselves.”

“Maybe if we work together. Mama always said that she worked best when people work together,” Lilah replied.

“Why not Tulre?” Morgan asked.

“We can try but we need to be ready,” Tulre replied.

“We can meditate,” Morgan nearly shouted the answer.

“Yes we will meditate.” Tulre then went to the center of the cell and sat cross-legged like when he saw his Dada meditate. Upturning his hands he steadied his breathing a closed his eyes.

Morgan and Lilah followed suit, one on either side of Tulre forming a triangle. They sat there breathing slowly and steadily, reaching out to the Force. For now they were safe in their own world.

****

Carth knew that sooner or later Kirabaros would have to live up to the blood bound promise he made about five years ago. When Kirabaros walked in an explained that whoever was sabotaging the Republic and Avalon, he understood better what it meant that Kirabaros would do what it took to protect his family. He didn’t like it but he had to admire the fact that Kirabaros was willing to risk his life for others. Revan said that was what the Jedi did but somehow it felt different with Kirabaros.

He managed to contact Admiral Dodonna who was relieved that he was alive and well as well as Jedi Revan. He was even more pleased to find out that Senator Amstar was able to convince the Senate to give Revan full pardon and that Avalon was not being held responsible for what happened on Alderaan. That was minor though compared to the reality that someone would try to harm many while attempting to destroy one. It was that sort of thing that was beyond his understanding in terms of the evils that lurked out there.

He was thinking about this when he caught up with Kirabaros who was gazing towards the east where a large stone temple was. Carth recognized this posture well. It usually meant that Kirabaros was deep in thought or sensing out using the Force. Or the simple matter could be that he was scouting the surrounding area. It was difficult to say and there was no way to know but ask. He stood next to Kirabaros and asked, “You know something?”

“Yes and no,” Kirabaros replied, his gaze not once leaving the temple.

“It is about the battle coming up isn’t it?”

“Yes. It will be fought away from here but all is not certain.”

“Then why is Lady Mara making defense plans for the encampment?” Carth was curious about why Kirabaros said what he said and he raised his brow in a questioning glance. “Shouldn’t defense be a concern?”

“As a soldier you should know that,” Kirabaros replied, “As for my knowing, the Force does mysterious things.”

Carth saw that was all he was going to get in terms of why. Better to change the subject. “Just don’t take any unnecessary risks then. You are family.”

“We do what we must. That is the way of things,” Kirabaros said. He disliked the coldness in his words but he had to put sentiment aside. It was as Tergis said before, he could run from his past or learn from it. He learned that it was best to face it head on when it greeted you and while exercising caution, do what you had to do. Still he had to let Carth, his mentor and friend, know that things would be all right more or less. He added, “You understand war brings sacrifices but there is a chance to avoid war altogether.”

Avalonian speak was difficult to understand and were more frustrating at times than the Jedi. It made Carth wonder if the Jedi learned from the Avalonians. Still he understood that Kirabaros was telling him that while we have to make choices that hurt, there is always a chance that things will change. It was his usually mantra that the future was not set in stone just worded differently. He nodded his understanding and turned to walk away when he say Kirabaros go rigid and reach for his lightsaber. He asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Trouble.”

****

It took a great deal of meditation but Tulre, Morgan and Lilah were able to combine their power within the Force. After becoming centered, they attempted the Jedi Mind Trick on the guard. It was undisputed that Tulre be the one who would engage in the act. The others would supplement their power with his. He approached the force field where the guard was standing. It was a Rodian smuggler recruited from Nar Shaddaa. Tulre said, “Hey Bug Eyes.”

The Rodian guard turned to look at the sprat and asked in Rodiese, “What do you want boy?”

Using the Force, Tulre suggested, “There is a leak in the cell. You better come and check it.”

The Rodian repeated, “There…is…a leak. I better check it.” He deactivated the shield and went in.

Tulre and the others jogged outside and reactivated the shield. The Rodian saw that he had been tricked and started cursing in his language and Huttese. It was lucky for the kids that he didn’t have a communicator since it was assumed that the kids wouldn’t try anything. It was even luckier that they succeeded. There was that moment when the Rodian seemed to falter. Morgan remembered that it only worked on the weak minded as he once heard his papa say.

After locking the guard in the cell there came the daunting task of getting out of the base and jogging through the jungle. The problem was they really didn’t know the way out. It seemed like a maze to get through the base and out into the jungle. All they could do was rely on what they remembered when they were taken there. Morgan was especially good at that since Master Karas had been teaching him memory games while his Papa was away. He led the trio through the maze until they came to the main hall where the guards were patrolling.

They didn’t have any weapons so fighting them wasn’t an option. Lilah saw the vents and motioned its location. It was low enough on the ground so they could reach. Tulre was the best at messing with things of mechanical nature and set about working with the screws with a kit he stole on their way out. When the last one was removed, he tried to pry the grate loose. It was stuck and Tulre tugged harder.

It popped free and landed with a clang on the ground but that was the least of their problems. An alarm sounded off from somewhere and the guards started coming towards them. Tulre grabbed Lilah and pushed her in and then shoved Morgan in before scrambling into the vents. He had no idea where to go so he followed the vent in the general direction that they had been heading in.

****

Draconis had been meditating after an annoying conversation with the Republic Admiral when the alarm sounded. He was meditating in a peaceful calm while praying to his ancestors. They were the ancestors who believed in the old order with the hierarchy. The Argonons, his people, had the right idea by putting the tribesmen in their places. They were nothing but savages.

When he finally destroyed Kirabaros, he was going to restore the old way of life. Kirabaros was slandered on Avalon. The Council of Governors was divided. Unfortunately the only thing that stood in his way was the Lady Governor of the system, Lady Mara. She was like the rest of those bleeding hearts. They were the kind that destroyed ways of life like how they were doing for Avalon.

The Jedi had a part in this as well. Ever since Revan arrived, she brought these outlandish ideas of equality. The other one was worse but at least he paid for it in the end. It was a straw that was one upon many that would break the dewback’s back. The Jedi for all their pacifism failed to realize that there were times when you had to fight and take what is yours by might. If you didn’t then you didn’t deserve it. He had to admit that Kirabaros knew that. He left the male Jedi behind to suffer his fate.

The source of his hatred would truly suffer in this. The children would become his pupils and he would teach them the old ways. They will learn of what it means to subjugate the savages. It would be a low blow to the great Kirabaros. If what they say is true, then he will come after them. If Kirabaros valued children, he will come and when he comes, he will be there to challenge him. Kirabaros may have defeated the illustrious Blood King but there was no way he could defeat that which has no face: guilt.

Guilt if anything was Kirabaros’ one flaw. Some said it made him human. Others said that made him sympathetic to the plight of others. Draconis saw it as a weakness. It was a weakness in that it distracted him from the goal. It forced himself to get boxed in until there was no way out. Draconis knew that feeling well having exploited it from others he tortured. His goal was to make Kirabaros suffer the fact that he couldn’t save the thing that mattered the most to him. The brats will be his undoing and then all will be right again as I restore Avalon to former glory.

Draconis thought these sweet thoughts to himself while he prayed to honor his ancestors. He thought the ancestors would be pleased even more so his father who was killed so long ago and his brother now dead for two years. If he failed at least there were others that would carry on the mission. Those that the simpering Republic Admiral didn’t know about. Oh yes, there plenty more where he came from.

His thoughts were interrupted when the alarms went off. He thought it was a screw up in the system. The gods knew he was surrounded by incompetents. He started towards the door when one of his Rashikians entered and said, “My lord the…”

“The children,” Draconis interrupted. He knew.

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Old 11-03-2007, 04:17 PM   #253
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Two very interesting and exciting chapters. I'm not going to go into details about what I liked, because you've already heard it. I am going to suggest that you reread both chapters, since I noticed some grammar mistakes. Keep writing.

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Old 01-04-2008, 03:21 PM   #254
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At long last I have another chapter up. Don't worry I am back on track. Oh and on a side note, the last bit about 'death is your gift' I borrowed from the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Chapter 53

“Find them now!” Draconis yelled as he stormed through the halls. The brats had escaped him.

The Rashikian who was trailing him said that he would and motioned for his men to spread the word to look for the brats. The nodded and started down the halls looking for the three brats. He didn’t understand why three children would spark so much emotion in his patron. It was better to not ask questions but to do what you are told. They came upon the cell that formerly held the brats. Inside was the Rodian trying to beg to be let out.

Draconis stopped before the shield and gave a cold hard stare at the Rodian. He then said, “Lower the shield.”

When the shield wavered, he stepped through and walked towards the Rodian until he stood toe to toe. He eyed the Rodian with a mixture anger and contempt. He then said, “You were supposed to be guarding the brats. What happened?”

The Rodian stumbled, “I was guarding them like you ordered. They were huddled in the back looking scared. It sounded like they were crying.” He looked at Draconis whose expression hadn’t changed. He cringed slightly and continued, “They then sat down and stared at the shield wall. They were like that for hours.”

“Then tell me how could three brats get you to be locked up inside,” Draconis replied, his voice carrying a threatening tone.

“I…I was doing a routine check when the thought came across my mind that there was a system leak. I went in to change it.”

Draconis stared at the Rodian, listening to his pitiful explanation. He turned to look at the Rashikian who was waiting for orders. When he heard that the Rodian had a thought, he whirled around so fast and asked, “You had what?”

“I had a thought. There was a leak and I had to fix it.” The Rodian was scared now. His boss looked more imposing than the famous Darth Revan before Malak. He looked like he was going to blow a fuse.

Draconis reached out and grabbed the Rodian by the throat and squeezed, “You thought you had a leak?”

The Rodian gagged trying to breathe. He managed to get out, “The… brats… did… it. Felt… needed to…” He felt faint.

Draconis dropped him and looked at him, “Felt you had to?” He then turned to the Rashikian. He said, “Double the search. Look everywhere.”

Before the Rashikian could do what he ordered, a mercenary came up and said, “My lord, I think we found where they may be hiding.”

Draconis looked at the Rodian struggling to get back his lost air and said, “You got lucky. I would have done far worse to you than what I am going to do now.” He then motioned for the Rashikian to take him. He then spoke to the mercenary, “Where are they?”

“In the ventilation shaft. They can’t have gone far.”

“Search every vent. Find them. I don’t think I need to remind you of the penalty if you fail.” Draconis held up a warning finger. He had little patience now with the morons he was forced to use to meet his ends.

“Yes sir.”

“Oh and this could work to our advantage. Tell the troops to move out.”

“Yes sir.”

****

It seemed that whoever that bad man was not into keeping things clean. The vents were full of dust and dirt and it clung to their tunics as the three children crawled through the vents. Morgan led the way since he remembered more or less which way they came. He had only taken a wrong turn twice and they had to back track but they were making good progress. Tulre kept looking behind them as if to make sure they weren’t being followed. He asked, “Are we close Morgan?”

“Almost there,” Morgan replied, “I think.”

Tulre nodded acknowledgement. They really had no idea where to go but they trusted each other to get where they were going. He checked again behind him and then said, “Well let’s keep moving.”

“But Tulre, the alarms have gone off. Won’t they be looking for us?” Morgan asked.

“Yes but that is why we have to find one that leads us outside or as close as we can,” Tulre replied. He looked at Morgan who was looking forlorn. He then smiled and said, “You can do it. You’re better at the memory game than all three of us put together.”

Morgan’s grin came back and for a moment he looked like his papa. He looked forward and continued to crawl through the vents. He got lucky when they came to the end of the tunnel they were in. It was low to the ground and hidden behind some crates. He peered through the grate to see if anyone was there. No one was so he motioned for Tulre to come.

Tulre crawled past Lilah who was looking all around as if there were shadows going to jump out at any moment. Tulre had just put his hands on the screw when she whispered, “Wait.”

She didn’t need to explain why. They heard the boot steps thump just outside the crates. It was the man who talked to them earlier. He was angry at their escape and was ordering them to be found. Then they heard a voice, a familiar one, “Maybe it would be best to wait and see.”

The other one made a curse and said, “Do what you will but I want those brats alive and in tact.” He then left grumbling and cursing along the way about shutting the damn alarms off. The other one stood there before walking off.

Tulre peered through the vents to see if anyone was there. He couldn’t see anyone so he looked to Lilah. She shook her head no to indicate that there was nobody around. Tulre went to work on the screws grateful that the blaring alarms masked any noise he made with the screws. It was a long and tedious process since he was working backwards but having played enough with HK and various computer panels at home, he knew what he was doing. It was slow going but not a problem.

He finally got the last screw undone and began the painful process of pushing on the grate to get it off. Like the first one, it was stuck so he exerted more pressure until it popped out. He managed to catch it before it clanged to the ground. He peered out to make sure no one was around before jumping out to help Lilah out. They were hidden by the crates so they weren’t in danger of being seen. Tulre peered around the edge of the crate and looked around.

The door that they had been shoved through was to the left and to the right…some men like the stupid Rodian came around the corner. They were standing there and looking around. Tulre brought his head back around too quickly. He whispered for Morgan and Lilah to be quiet and listened for the sound of approaching boots.

It was a group of four mercenaries, two Rodians and two Humans. Not bad odds, if you were full grown adults. Problem was they were not adults but kids. Tulre got in front of the others and waited until the four came and stared at them in the face. One was going to reach out and grab him but he gave him a kick to the knee.

Actually the kick was aimed too high and the merc was singing soprano. It stunned the mercenaries more than the kids. Tulre didn’t pause and pushed one of the others aside. That woke up the others and they made a grab but were thrown back by an invisible force and two smaller kids were running past them. They didn’t pause but instead headed straight for the door and out to freedom. They made it outside but were stopped in their tracks.

****

“Movement has been sighted nearing the vicinity of the Temple to the east,” the scout reported.

“Make ready to mobilize. We’ll take them out on their own ground,” Lady Mara replied addressing General Chung, “Make sure the defenses are set.”

“Yes milady,” General Chung replied and moved to organize the warriors. He came across Rowan who was coming to see the governor and respectfully nodded to him. Rowan was one of the old heroes from the war and one of the most respected by young and old.

Lady Mara knew Rowan was there but kept her attention to the transmission that was on. She spoke, “Any evidence of an attack from above?”

“None so far. It could be that the gravitational forces of the other moons could be obscuring their signal. Hiding if you will.”

“If that is the case then we may not know the numbers at all,” the fleet admiral replied, “We could be going into this blind.”

“Still we must hold. If we don’t our settlement could collapse and the ones responsible for our near breach will never be caught,” Rowan affirmed.

“Any word from the Republic?” Lady Mara asked.

“Only a transmission that they will send what they can,” the fleet admiral replied.

“We have held out with less,” Rowan replied, “The Republic’s resources are stretched too thin to be of much help though they will do what they can.”

“And what are our other options?” the admiral looked at Rowan in a challenging way.

“Ask our newest friends on Amshrey.” Rowan had said it simply as if it were the obvious thing. There was a reason the Mandalorian came from Amshrey and it was mostly do to a fierce loyalty to Revan and Kirabaros. Still there was a reason the Mandalorians had gathered on Dxun and why they moved to Amshrey. The Shreyites would be helpful as well. “They have a purpose, everything does. The leader of the warriors is loyal to Kirabaros and Manzibique. He will help.”

“You would trust Mandalorians to obey an order from us?”

“They helped before and they will do so again,” Rowan said it in a finalizing tone, “Do not question their honor. It’s insulting.”

“I’ll send a transmission but I am not sure if it will get there. Someone has been garbling our communications,” Lady Mara interjected to prevent a verbal fight. “At least we know that Jedi will be coming as well. Our bases will be covered.”

“I’ll send the signal milady. The Mandalorians shall get it,” the fleet admiral replied and disappeared after he received a nod from Lady Mara.

Lady Mara waited until the admiral disappeared before turning to Rowan, “I wish you wouldn’t do that at times. The admiral is a good soldier and a proud one. He might end up doing something foolish.”

“Lady Governor,” Rowan replied respectfully, “I was merely giving forth an option that no one else suggested.”

“It was at the back of my mind to suggest it,” Lady Mara fired back, “By you suggesting it, it makes me appear weak. If Avalon is to maintain a strong sovereignty, it must be done by my hand. Kirabaros understood that.”

“Kirabaros knows people,” Rowan allowed, “but he hasn’t yet fought a true war. Blood to be repaid has been declared and he was had been blinded to it since Miako. The Blood King in the year of Sanghart was hatred but not blood hatred.”

“And you know this?” Lady Mara queried.

“My mother actually.” Rowan made a sweep of his hand to indicate that it was a closed subject. He then motioned for Lady Mara to follow him outside. He then said, “This battle will change the course of everything. I have seen it. True the deception will come to light and the perpetrators be revealed but this battle will change things.”

“Isn’t there another way?” Lady Mara asked.

“No matter how much we wish it, you can’t stop the change. No more than trying to stop the suns from setting.” Rowan looked towards the temple. He caught a glimpse of Kirabaros running into the jungle and Admiral Onasi following but was stopped by someone. He motioned to it, “There. It begins. Have the troops double time to the temple. We may have a chance.”

****

Kirabaros took off into the jungles of Yavin, running as if he were back on the plains of Mikkado. He felt the disturbance in the Force and connected it with the children. They were not the disturbances caused by adults. That he knew for sure. He headed in the direction of the temple being that was where the armies of Avalon were marching.

He didn’t notice until it was almost upon him, the recognizable figure of the Blood King. Kirabaros stopped in his tracks and asked, “What do you want now? Haven’t you pestered me enough?”

The Blood King just smiled in his old hideousness, “You know that you will always be bothered by the ghosts of the dead. It is your gift.”

“And I wish it never happened to me or that I had my other talents,” Kirabaros grumbled trying to regain his sense of direction.

“If you go to the Temple now you will lose.”

“We lose anyway if anything happens to them,” Kirabaros retorts and set off towards the Temple once again. This time he walked at a fast pace so the ghost companion could keep up.

“Blood to be repaid doesn’t stop at one always. Whole families have been destroyed by them.”

“You should know. I killed you,” Kirabaros said it with a slight hesitation.

“Spare me the sympathy,” the Blood King replied, “Your sense of morality is pathetic. You killed me because you were better than me. That’s the end of it. I wanted you dead because you killed my father.”

“Your father was guilty of attempted murder. He would have killed an Argonon, a capital crime back then.”

“The laws of the Avalon,” the Blood King chuckled at the thought, “Your precious Republic doesn’t respect them. You had to go into hiding to protect the one you call your sister. Kidnapped, tortured, rescued by an old man, a tin can and a feline whose precious secret you guard. Sounds like this alliance isn’t worth it.”

“Obviously you never looked at the larger picture.”

“Spare me Jedi philosophy. I’ve heard it all when you were my prisoner and from Avalonian Jedi I captured before you.”

Did you come here for a reason or are just going to bother me for the sheer hell of it?”

The Blood King cast a glare at Kirabaros before saying, “As much as I would get a pleasure out of tormenting you I regret to inform you that is not the case. I am here because your time is near.”

“Time for what?”

“That is for you to decide. After all you are the one who has said we have been defined by our choices.” The Blood King shrugged his shoulders in a don’t care fashion.

“Is that it?” Kirabaros asked. “If that is the case then I would really like to get back to finding the children.”

“That’s pretty much it,” the Blood King replied. He waited until Kirabaros turned to swipe at some foliage before saying, “The children of the Jedi will set the precedent for the future. The gift of the Heart of the Guardian is death.”

Kirabaros paused. He wheeled around to face the Blood King and asked, “What?”

“Death is your gift.”

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Old 01-07-2008, 03:02 PM   #255
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Very nicely done. I admit that at the beginning of the chapter I thought these long pauses were starting to affect your quality of writing, but after finishing the chapter I have to say I'm glad I was wrong.
However... [Grammar mode on] I noticed two serious mistakes that need fixing, I'll quote them here so you don't have to search for them:
Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
It seemed that whoever that bad man was, he was not into keeping things clean.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
“Do what you will but I want those brats alive and intact.”
*the bolded parts are what I think those sentences should properly sound like.
Other than these two, I haven't noticed any bigger problems, some commas missing and a couple of other stuff, but nothing too serious and nothing you can't fix.[Grammar mode off]
Anyway, I am glad this fic has not died out and I hope you'll keep writing.

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Old 01-08-2008, 02:38 PM   #256
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No the long pauses are due to my lack of creativity and I get stuck banging my head on the wall. I can say that this fic is almost finished though it is not going to be what you would call a happy ending per se. Believe me this is where it took me on the story. Though I do have some ideas for a brand new fic that picks up on some of the implications in my shorties. Thanks for reading.

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Old 01-24-2008, 05:21 PM   #257
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Another chapter out. I'm getting there and am on a roll.


Chapter 54

Tulre put his arms up to protect Lilah and Morgan when he came to a full stop. In front of them was the bad man that had them imprisoned. He was bewildered that the bad man would have found them so quickly when they had been quiet. He said nothing but tried to breathe.

Draconis stood, blocking the path of the children and looking pleased in his malicious way. He asked them, “Going somewhere are you?”

Feeling more brave than foolish, Tulre stood straight and replied, “We are not going to be your prisoners!”

Draconis laughed at the boy. He found it amusing that this little scrap of a boy would stand up to him when grown men wouldn’t. He replied, “You will do what you are told. After all we don’t want to have any accidents.” He then raised his hand but he never got to do what he wanted.

The three of them together were quicker on the draw and they sent Draconis sprawling backwards. They took the opportunity to run and run they did. They headed towards the temple that could be seen above the trees. Tulre, tugged on Lilah’s hand and said, “Come on.”

They didn’t stop to see that Draconis was following them.

****

The lines were formed and advancing towards the temple. The main bulk of the army was the settlement warriors and a few were from the Avalonian system. At the head of the troops were the heroes of the Star Forge. Next to them were friends and comrades Rowan, Dustil and Caelos. All were going to battle and all were going to fight.

In the shadow of the temple was the enemy, waiting. The Rashikians in their black armor brandished their weapons with malice. The hire mercenaries looked bored. Most of them wanted to get in, get out and go spend their credits. They waited anxiously for the call to charge.

Revan, her tactician’s mind at work, scoured the soon to be bloodied field. She had a memory of a previous battle. It had to be Dxun because there was jungle in it. She could see in her mind’s eye the troops waiting to go on her command, the Mandalorians on the other side waging their attack. It was very much like it is now. Revan remembered that heavy losses were suffered then and she briefly wondered if that was going to happen now. She was reassured by a large and calloused hand covering hers and squeezing it gently and she hoped that she would be able to see her little daughter again.

Carth shared her apprehension. He fought in the Mandalorian wars too so he understood the risks that came with battle and war. He also fought in the late war on Avalon. This time though it was different. Someone from the Republic was directly undermining everything. He looked at Canderous who was impatient to get going and sighed.

A cry sounded from the Rashikians and the mercs as they raised their blades. Revan, for her part unsheathed her lightsaber and ignited it. She gave the Avalonian cry for battle ad it was echoed by Rowan and the other warriors. The Jedi shouted “For the Republic!” Revan then pointed her blade at the enemy. With a deep breath she began to run as hard and fast as she could. Following her came the warriors and her friends. She let out a louder scream and charged forward.

The Rashikians replied with a cry of their own and lowered their blades to fight. The leading lines began to charge and the others followed. They ran just as hard towards their former brethren and the Republic dogs. They were fighting for Avalon and her former glory, one of power. They charged like the typhoon waves of the Corellian Sea and it clashed with their adversaries like waves upon rocks. The battle had begun.

****

High above the skies of Yavin IV, Admiral Keegan looked down at the planet below. He smirked at the thought that finally they would be able to put the plan into action and he would finally get to punish the Jedi Revan. He was distracted by one of his underlings who brought the report that there was a huge fleet amassing and that they were armed to the teeth and ready to fight.

Got all your bases covered just like the war Revan, Keegan thought to himself. He waved his hand impatiently in acknowledgement and went to the bridge. He ignored the fact that the underling had reported that it was the Avalonian fleet but as far as he was concerned Revan had a hand in it.

Once on the bridge, he could see the Avalonian fleeting in attack formation. The pilot side in him acknowledged the smooth design of the ships and he took a moment of appreciation. He brushed it aside when he gave the order to assume attack formation. It was going to end here and now. “Fire.”

The Avalonian admiral faced the Republic fleet and ships belonging to systems within the Republic. He wondered how in the galaxy it had come to that. He did know however that it was only a small faction that was firing at him but he still could not help thinking that they were Republic vessels. They were vessels of sworn allies and friends. He thought no more as his aide said that the enemy was charging weapons. “Maximize shields.”

When the first volleys hit, the blast waves rocked the ship. Gripping the back of the seat he vacated, the admiral said, “Return fire and prepare to launch fighters.”

****

Juntau ran through the jungle forest. He had seen the great Kirabaros run into it and he was determined to follow. His friend Juhani and the only Cathar he knew would have wanted him to stay with those that could not fight. He was a Cathar, a warrior and he wanted to fight. During the confusion he slipped out and headed in the direction of the temple.

He knew that the children of the Jedi were missing. It was hard not to pick up the tell tale hints of despair in a persons voice as he did with his ears. When he learned that one of the children belonged to Kirabaros, he wanted to help too. When the alarm sounded and he saw Kirabaros run into the jungle, he knew it was time. He took a roundabout way to get out of the village after the troops left. He then took off running hard and fast.

He passed the temple and found a path leading towards the mountains. He decided to follow it thinking that it may lead to where the children were. He was running so fast that he didn’t see the children until they collided with him. He landed hard on the ground first and three bodies fell on top of him. It nearly knocked the wind out of him but he managed to push them up and stand to take a look.

Two of the children were human boys and one was a girl. The one who appeared to be the oldest looked at him and asked, “Who are you?”

It was a funny thing to say given the circumstances but Juntau had to admit that the kid was being cautious. He gave his name and the boy said, “I’m Tulre. Are you a friend of my Dada?”

Juntau figured that he must have meant Kirabaros. He replied, “He brought me here after my friend Juhani saved me.”

“You know Auntie Juhani?” the little girl asked.

“Yes,” Juntau a bit puzzled that the human child would call Juhani an aunt. “I came to look for you and bring you back.”

“Funny however that you should step in my path Cathar,” Draconis answered coming out of the brush. He was still a few feet away but he stepped up the pace to catch them. “Now turn them over to me and you will be spared.”

Juntau watched as the kids crowded behind him. He started to back up when the smaller boy put a hand on his arm and shook his head. He eyed Draconis and retorted, “Why should I? They are not yours.”

Draconis laughed as he walked closer. “Foolish boy. Don’t you know who they are?”

“Children of the Jedi,” Juntau replied.

At that moment a huge branch came swinging downward from the right. It struck Draconis and knocked him off the path. Juntau looked at the children who looked back. It was Tulre who said, “We have to go,” and took off running.

Juntau followed them trying to figure out what just happened. He knew Juhani was a Jedi and a bit about the Force. He couldn’t help but wonder if that was what it was like to see it in action. He kept close behind them until there was a fork in the path. One led deep into the jungle and the other led to the temple. He stopped them and said, “This way,” and led them to the Temple.

Draconis growled as he pushed the branch off him. That was the second time those brats managed to trick him and catch him off guard. He knew they were strong in the Force but this was getting ridiculous. Now there was a Cathar in the picture. Obviously just a boy but an interesting turn of events. He knew that Kirabaros was fond of the Cathar Jedi so it could be used as another way to ensnare him. He got up and checked to make sure none of his limbs were badly damaged before continuing the chase.

When he got to the fork in the road he paused. Then he gave a slow grin. Of course the brats would head towards the temple. If they wanted to get to their parents, that way was the path of least resistance. He then remembered that the battle was going on. Oh well and he continued following, aware that he was starting to catch up.

****

“Death is my gift?” Kirabaros repeated the question in annoyance as he slashed through the brush.

“Hey I don’t make these things for your amusement. I just deliver them,” the Blood King replied as he watched in amusement as Kirabaros slash away.

“Yeah and I suppose all the dead Jedi came up with that one.” Kirabaros slashed through the last bit of brush to see the battlefield. He had taken the hard way to get to the temple and now the battle was raging as it did in his dreams. “Sithspit.”

“You always did have such a foul mouth even when you hurled insults at me,” the Blood King drawled on looking bored.

“It wasn’t anything you didn’t deserve,” Kirabaros retorted. He looked at the battle raging. He could smell the familiar copper smell of blood. He could smell the smoke and hear the blades clashing and clanging. He stood there looking at the scene unfold in front of him.

“Once again we meet on the battlefield. Such is the destiny of warriors like us.”

Kirabaros closed his eyes. The same words that he had in his vision or dream after Jolee, Mission, Juhani and HK rescued him were now being repeated as plain as day. He opened his eyes and replied, “Destiny is made by our choices.”

“Always comes back to choice now,” the Blood King replied, “You Jedi always sound so preachy.”

“Actually that was the Lordes tribe,” Kirabaros replied. He stepped out to start walking through the raging battle. A Rashikian saw him and attempted to kill him but he was thrown off by an attack of Kirabaros. Kirabaros looked around as the rivers of blood began to flow. He then asked, “Is this to be the future? One of wars?”

The Blood King shrugged his shoulders and replied, “You know the rite of blood to be repaid.”

“Yes one of your brothers declared it upon me and my family.” Kirabaros looked sullen. He knew Draconis was the Blood King’s brother. It was found out at Miako. “Why did you not end it with me?”

“Never wanted blood to be repaid. I hated only you not your wife or your brat. My brother was the idiot.” The Blood King brushed it off as if it were an unimportant matter.

“If he is the idiot then why did he come up with a careful plan to destroy me and my family?” Kirabaros asked the question as he flipped another Rashikian over. Every time a Rashikian or merc would attack him, he would brush them off life they were flies and continue his conversation with the Blood King.

“He’s an idiot. Nothing I can do about that.”

“Some help you are.”

“Glad to oblige.”

Kirabaros shook his head at the Blood King with a benevolent expression on his face. He looked around and four figures caught his eye. Just like in his vision a while before, Tulre was tugging on Morgan and Lilah’s hands and pulling them into the temple. Juntau was following them and making sure none of the mercs or the Rashikians touched them. It was like a wave of déjà vu from the vision as he watched Draconis follow them in. His first instinct took over and he went to protect the children.

The Blood King followed him and said, “Always the self proclaimed protector Jorscop.”

“A father’s responsibility.” Kirabaros followed them in. He was a fair distance from his quarry so it would take some time to get into the Temple.

****

The temple was dank and dark and would have scared any kid right out of their mind. For the four running through the passageways it didn’t matter. They tripped through the stone passageways climbing up. Neither of them had a clue as to where they were going and when one fell, the others helped to pick him up. Up they continued to climb the slopes until they were at the top of the temple. The light filtered in casting shadows on the floor and the walls. There was no where else to go except the parapet and beyond that was the ground.

Tulre was the first to stop and the others collided into him. Juntau asked, “Why’d you stop?”

Regaining his feet, Tulre looked at the Cathar boy and said in a scared voice, “No where to go.”

Tired, Lilah piped in, “I want my mommy.”

Juntau looked at the three kids in front of him. He didn’t know what to do either. They came this far. Maybe they could hide on the parapet. He was going to say something when they heard, “There you are.”

Juntau turned around and pushed the kids behind them and said, “Stay back.”

Draconis laughed at the attempt the Cathar boy was making. He replied, “Fool of a boy,” and waved his hand.

Juntau felt his body being lifted up and brushed aside. He collided with the ground and slid feeling his guard fur become agitated. He looked up and saw the man advance towards the little kids. He was saying, “You three are important. I want you alive and to serve me willingly.”

Juntau let a growl and pounced. He landed on Draconis and gripped hard and said, “They will not!” He held on tight, a skill he honed since the boys in the settlement taught him how to tackle the larger beasts of the jungle. He tried reaching around Draconis’ neck in an attempt to cut off his air supply.

Draconis was losing his patience with the Cathar boy and said, “You…are…a pest!” Getting a firm grip on the boy and with all the strength he could muster, he flung Juntau off of him. He grimaced when the boy raked his cheek with his nails, drawing blood. He cursed in Avalonian as he put a hand to the bloody mass.

Morgan was tired of the bad man himself. He wanted to be with his papa again. While the bad man was distracted, he raced forward and pushed with all the strength in his little body to try and knock him over. It was futile so he began hitting and kicking the man.

Tulre saw what Morgan was going to do and followed suit. Lilah came last on her little legs and began kicking and stomping on the bad man’s feet. Tulre aimed a well placed kick in the same area that he kicked the merc while Morgan stepped on the instep and Lilah kicked the shin.

Draconis was roaring with anger that he used a Force push to knock all three kids back and he didn’t do it gently. He roared, “You little brats!” and gripped his bleeding cheek.

He didn’t have a chance to do anything for he was blown off his feet and a voice said, “Perhaps I should inform the governors about a scum who picks on small children.”

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Old 01-28-2008, 03:47 PM   #258
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Chapter 55

Draconis looked towards the door to see none other than Kirabaros. He was standing here, his hands empty of weapons but they were not far from his lightsaber or his sword. He grinned and said, “I am a scum for picking on small children? What would you say if they started it?”

Kirabaros looked at the children getting to their feet. Tulre had scraped knees, Morgan had a scratch on his cheek and Lilah a scratch on the arm. Juntau had blood coming from his nose but none were worse for the wear. He looked at Draconis and said, “Sounds awfully childish coming from you.”

“And who would have thought that a child would ruin everything in our system?”

“Not ruined but for the better.” Kirabaros made a slight motion to children indicating that they should leave.

Draconis chuckled, “Jedi philosophy. You bring the ruination of our people and you spout Jedi philosophy in my face.”

“Well what should we do?”

“Well that depends on you Kirabaros,” Draconis stood up and faced his enemy, “I never liked what you did to Avalon no secret. Hell I practically orchestrated events so that your friend Darius died, your Jedi sister is pursed by the Republic and try to have you and her killed all in an effort to destroy you. But that wasn’t enough. No I want you to suffer and for that to happen, your whole family has to suffer.” Draconis drew out a lightsaber. He watched the puzzled look on Kirabaros’ face. He continued, “Surprised? Yes I too was once a Jedi. I can command the Force. I left the order because they had no vision. We outnumber the Jedi of the Republic, we could easily influence our ideals.”

“That is not our way,” Kirabaros replied softly.

“No but it is the way of survival. Something that the Jedi seriously lack.” Draconis ignited the blade to reveal a bronze-orange blade. He smiled and said, “Not the traditional red. Too clichéd.” He twirled the blade in the first position.

Kirabaros was quiet before his hand went to his belt. He withdrew the bronzium gold blade he had carried and ignited it. “I will do what I must.”

“You will try,” Draconis replied. With a quick movement, he leapt forward to bring his blade down in a hard strike.

****

The battle raged on around Atton’s ears. The last time he’d been in a war was in truth Avalon but the Mandalorian wars had left a big impression in his mind. He remembered slaughtering them and now he was fighting alongside them. Must be one of those what goes around comes around things.

He turned his focus to the ensuing battle. Beside him was Kiera blasting away with her blasters. She was quick. He would give her that and she complemented him. He used his lightsaber and she used her blasters. It was almost as if she could read him perfectly. It wasn’t that far off from the team Revan and Carth made. They plowed their way forward when Kiera stopped. He turned to see what she was staring at.

Standing there amidst the fighting was none other than Falen or Jaqrand. He looked like he had seen better days but it was like staring at a ghost. He was holding the war blade he had fought with on Nar Shaddaa. Jaqrand grinned and said, “What’s the matter traitor? You’ve looked like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Finding his voice, Atton shouted over the din, “If you were a ghost Falen, I wouldn’t see you.”

“That is not my name!” Jaqrand hand his hands clenched tight. The one holding his war blade turned white at the knuckles. They then relaxed and he added, “Besides I am owed a big payment for delivering your son. He makes a fine dark Jedi.”

Kiera growled, “You lie!” She was fond of the boy and she knew how much he meant to Atton.

Jaqrand was amused that the girl would speak so heatedly. If he wasn’t mistaken, she was fond of the boy as much as she was fond of the father. He smirked at her, “Do I?”

Kiera lost her temper and charged at Jaqrand before Atton could stop her. His plea fell on deaf ears as she charged firing her blasters at Jaqrand. He dodged them and when she came close enough, she used his blade to swipe her blasters from her hands. Then with a deft movement he had her flat on her back and his foot on her chest. His bladed pointed at her face. He looked at Atton and said, “She dies.”

For Atton time seemed to stop. He watched in quivering fury as Falen taunted him. For Kiera her eyes never left the point of the blade. She kept a steady eye on it and a plan began to form in her mind. Atton watched this and still quivering from anger he managed to say, “Your fight is with me. Not her.”

“Glad to see that you recognize that,” Jaqrand replied, his eyes on Atton. Now they would be able to finish this.

He wasn’t paying attention to Kiera who managed to wrench his ankle off her and set him off balance. She rolled out of the way while he cursed at her and made a move towards her. He was stopped by Atton’s lightsaber blade stopping the war blade. Jaqrand looked at Atton and said, “Glad you have the nerve.”

“Where’s my son?” Atton responded his anger forgotten in the quest to find his son. He backed away to give Falen some room.

“Now, now, that would be telling.” Jaqrand twirled his blade and made ready to charge. He struck out with powerful swings. They sent ripples of shock down Atton’s arms as he countered. Jaqrand added, “Besides I want the pleasure of eliminating a traitor before the Jedi.”

“I taught you yes,” Atton replied, “but you never learned.”

“Enough to be the best assassin and bounty hunter,” Jaqrand roared out, “Better than that red head. She wouldn’t take the risk to kill.”

Atton knew he was referring to Mira. She didn’t kill because she preferred not to. It was one of more endearing qualities that led him to have a relationship with her. That in turn led to Morgan being born. It was insulting to hear such things but Atton knew he couldn’t lose his head. He had to find Morgan. He replied, “She was a better person than you ever were.”

“Yeah right. She got herself killed in a fit of weakness. That’s not what you stressed when you taught us.” Jaqrand smirked at Atton.

Atton responded with a downward swing that Jaqrand countered. He adopted one of forms of the Jedi. A new thing for him but Kirabaros did say that in any sort of battle anything and everything was a weapon. He slipped into the Shi-cho the most basic and the one he was most comfortable with at the moment. It caught Jaqrand off guard with the positioning but it didn’t deter his attacks.

Kiera watched the two fight each other. As much as she wanted to help she knew that Atton had to fight this battle alone. Her only regret was that she wasn’t able to tell him how she felt. It never occurred to her that she did when she charged at Jaqrand in anger when he taunted them about Morgan. She found her blasters and holstered one of them and stood to watch.

She watched as Atton was worn down by the power of the strikes that Jaqrand gave. She had to admire though that Atton wasn’t giving up. It wasn’t scoundrel’s luck but all the same she was glad he was fighting back. She couldn’t watch for long since a merc came face to face with her and tried to take her out. She had to fight. She did have one last thought and hoped with all she could that she could send it. You can beat him.

Atton heard the thought. It was a charge to his system and he came back with a harder swipe than Jaqrand anticipated. He also switched his for to Niman for the superior balance. He swung faster at Jaqrand and managed to get a swing through his defenses landing a blow on the shoulder. “You’ll find I’m full of surprises.”

Jaqrand growled at the pain. He glared at Atton before saying, “And I have them for you.” He swooped low and swung.

****

The smoke was thick in the chamber from the clashing lightsaber blades. Kirabaros wanted to dab at the sweat that was pouring from his brow but a moment’s distraction could be his end. Draconis wasn’t lying when he said that he once was a Jedi. He fought like one but he fought with a mean a brutal streak. It took every ounce of what Kirabaros knew to keep Draconis from delivering the final blow. In the end he had several cuts from the lightsaber on his arms.

Draconis wasn’t in the best shape either. His methods earned him some glancing and painful blows himself. It only served to fuel his rage at Kirabaros and he struck harder. When they locked blades he said, “Why do you persist on fighting? This could all be over if you would step aside.”

“And let you destroy a good woman and family,” Kirabaros retorted, “I think not.”

Draconis pushed Kirabaros back by shoving his blade. “Fool! Did it ever occur to you that the Republic and the Jedi Revan were collateral damage?” He held his lightsaber up.

“It did occur to me. It’s more your style. Stomping on people to get your way. No care for oth…”

“The only thing that matters is survival,” Draconis interrupted, “Survival of the fittest. If you are weak you die.”

“Sith teachings!” Kirabaros spat. He began to circle Draconis who followed suit.

“Labels bah. You would risk everything for them. You are weak!”

“It is not wrong to value life!”

Draconis charged.

****

Tulre normally would have obeyed his Dada but this was one time he wouldn’t go. Even though they could run back to the settlement he decided to stay. He didn’t know why but he felt he was needed. He muttered to Morgan and Lilah who nodded at him. He crept along the walls to a corner where they couldn’t be seen, Juntau following them.

Juntau knew that they had a chance to escape yet the brats didn’t want to go. Instead the older of the two boys had the idea to stay and the other two agreed. He hissed at them that they had to leave but they didn’t listen. He followed them back into the room in annoyance and watched as they crept to one of the darker corners. It was on the tip of his tongue to ask what they were doing but given that the evil man and Kirabaros were in the same room, it was better not to ask. Besides he might find out if he just watched.

Tulre found a spot and sat down as he did in the prison. Morgan and Lilah imitated him, sitting just like they did when they escaped the bad man. Tulre waited until they were seated and closed his eyes. He spoke through the Force to the others, Let us help the Heart of the Guardian.

How? Morgan responded in his mind. It was an interesting feeling to talk without speaking. He had subtle hints when he was helping Tulre and Lilah to escape but to be able to do it like this, it was neat. He listened for the response.

Like Master Shan, Lilah gave the answer, Papa said that Master Shan could influence people.

How? Morgan asked.

Tulre merely listened. His Dada once told him that a good leader listens to advice from all people. He had heard of what Lilah was speaking off but he was unsure as to what it would do.

Mama called it Battle Mediation, Lilah fumbled to pronounce the second word, She said that it can influence entire armies. Something about giving a will to fight while taking it away from others.

Will it work? Morgan asked.

I say we try it. We just have to ask the Force to help Dada, Tulre answered. He had no idea how it worked but it worked by asking the last time. Maybe it will help this time.

Okay, both Lilah and Morgan chimed in.

Juntau watched as they sat and closed their eyes. He had seen some of the elders sit in that manner but he had never seen kids do it. He saw a strange sort of calm and peace overcome the kids as they sat there. He sat crossed legged watching them but also keeping an eye on the combatants and making sure that the bad man didn’t come near them.

****

Admiral Keegan looked out at the havoc his ships were wreaking on the Avalonian ships. The ones not too severely damaged were scrambling to reform the line and the fighters were just little exploding balls of light in the sky. It was like the celebrations he attended at the defeat of the Star Forge. That was before he knew that one of the Jedi on the mission an being honored was Revan.

He clenched his fists in rage as he stared out. His second in command interrupted his thoughts by saying, “Sir there is movement coming in from hyperspace. Two points.”

Before the admiral could say anything, a fleet of ships appeared in his view. He recognized the ships as Mandalorian and cursed in Huttese. Of course the Mandalorians would fight for Revan. They liked her hardball strategy during the Mandalorian wars so it’s no small wonder they would agree to working with her. He didn’t see the other mark that was supposed to come out. He barked at his second, “Where is the other mass?”

The second fumbled at his station but tried to hurry. It was no use trying to inflict the admiral’s wrath. He pounded at the controls with his fingertips trying to find the second mass that had come out of hyperspace. He saw the result and gulped. He said, “S-sir?”

“Well?” the admiral barked.

“The second mass did come out of hyperspace around the planet but…”

“What? I don’t have all day.”

“They exited on our rear flank. They have us surrounded.”

“Then send out more ships. Keep the enemy at bay.”

“Sir, there is something else.”

“Out with it,” Keegan barked. His fury was well know in the fleet and the underlings feared him. All except that damned Onasi.

“Sir, they are the Republic ships.”

“Good. They will help us put an end to this mess.”

****

Master Karas stood at the bow with Admiral Dodonna, a rarity for him to see her away from her desk. Bastila was observing the positioning of the fleet as it arrived. Their arrival was coincided by the arrival of hundreds of Mandalorian vessels thus making it a baffling experience.

Karas looked through the window at the fleet that Keegan had amassed. It had took considerable time and effort but he managed to obtain information that it was Keegan. He had reported to Dodonna who shook her head. It was then she explained about Keegan and she added the rider that she thought he had put it behind him like everyone else. Karas then came across and said that hatred was a festering wound. You could feed it or heal it. Keegan chose the former. It was then that Dodonna took it upon herself to amass the Republic fleet and head to Yavin.

They had exited hyperspace behind Keegan’s mass. The time had come. As the ships loomed in the bridge Karas leaned over and said, “Admiral, Keegan would have seen us. He must think that we are here to help him.”

“You may be right,” Dodonna replied. Then to her fire control, “Fire upon command.”

“Admiral are we to follow upon our own ships?”

“Aim for the propulsion and weapons systems on our vessels. Any others, shoot to kill,” Dodonna replied.

Karas said nothing but merely nodded. Rashikians were his people but they betrayed their own. The constituted the enemy. Very unJedi-like but then again he was a soldier of Avalon. Things were different in that respect. He cast a glance at Bastila and nodded.

Bastila saw the look. It meant that she was going to use her Battle Meditation in this battle. There was a place on the bridge where she could sit and use it without being disturbed. She went to it and sat.

Karas watched her every step and move. It wasn’t that he was suspicious of her. More or less he was worried. He had sensed some doubt in herself and it troubled him. He didn’t know that it this brought back memories of another time when the fleet needed Bastila. With a mind focused on battle, he turned to watch with Admiral Dodonna the proceedings of the war.


Last edited by JediMaster12; 01-29-2008 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:48 PM   #259
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Here is another chapter. I am on a roll here so looks like I'll be finished with this soon. Anyway there are a few notes: Some of the fight scenes here I based upon from The Mummy Returns. They just seemed to fit where I stashed them. I also have credit for Sebastion DeLaOsa from kfm seeing as he simplified whom the Force protects and I thank him for that idea. Other than that, enjoy and the ending is coming soon.

Chapter 56

Revan fought hard, trying not to notice the numbers slaughtered. It was a painful reminder that she had killed before and she was doing so again. This time it was different. She had to find her daughter and nothing was going to stop her. She was determined and she was knew Carth understood that. They both loved their daughter and would die for her.

It was hard though fighting in the shadow of the temple. It bore traces of dark side influence, not unusual since Exar Kun made his rampage there. It seemed to drive the Rashikians mingled with the mercs. Sort of like the evil version of Battle Meditation. She wondered if it was having an effect on Kirabaros. She hadn’t been able to sense him out since he sprinted towards the jungle. It had her worried.

Her worry then seemed to disappear. A strange feeling of confidence seemed to wash over her. She paused to look at the Avalonian warriors. They fought like a unit and they fought harder and faster. Jolee managed to end up next to her. She asked, “You feel that?”

Jolee didn’t have to ask what she meant. He had felt it as he was sure all the Force users did. It didn’t take a master to tell you that it was Battle Meditation. He replied, “You me and every other Jedi on this blasted planet.”

“But Bastila is not here,” Revan pointed out confused.

“Doesn’t mean she’s the only one who can use it,” Jolee pointed out, “Sometimes you gotta look in the least likely of places.”

****

Atton was in a rut. He had endured his share of injuries before and he always got back up but this deadly dance with Falen was getting to him. He knew Falen must be exhausted because he was carrying his share of wounds himself. Yet Falen stood there taunting him with that smile, one he used to wear when he tormented Jedi long ago.

Jaqrand looked at Atton with such a hatred in his eyes. He wanted to kill the traitor. He was a Jedi after all. That was what he did, hurt them and kill them. He felt hatred for the one who made him. Until now he refused to admit it but now it was as clear as the seas of Manaan. He heard the agreement in his mind. It didn’t occur to him that it was the temple giving influence. He came at Atton with a combination of swings and parries. The last slice gave a deep cut on Atton’s shoulder and Atton tripped and fell. He stood there looking at Atton and said, “Admit it. You’ve lost touch what it was all about.”

Atton grimaced at the pain from the blow. He could tell it was deep and he couldn’t waste his Force powers on trying to heal it just yet. He managed to get to his feet and say, “I haven’t lost touch with anything Falen. My eyes have been opened.”

“Yeah and you sided with them.” Jaqrand then swung upward and hard.

Atton barely had the strength to deflect it. He felt the tremors throughout his arm and nearly dropped his lightsaber. He countered with an attack of his own. “Falen I am sorry I started you down this path but it was your choice to continue down it.”

“More Jedi speak,” Jaqrand spat back. He swung again hoping to cleave the traitor in half and be done with this. “You really have become weak.”

Atton dodged the swing and stepped back. “No, I have not.”

“Siding with the Jedi. Going for peace and pacifism. Weakness,” and Jaqrand spit at Atton’s boots. “It’s a good thing that I delivered your brat to them. They will teach him not to be as weak as his father.”

Atton should have felt rage but strangely he did not. Instead he felt a calming reassurance. He felt himself believe that he could beat Falen. It was then he heard a little voice in his head, Don’t worry Papa. We will help you. He knew right then and there that it was Morgan calling to him through the Force. It was rather difficult to contemplate at the moment but he couldn’t stop to think. Instead he stood straight up and faced Falen with determination in his eyes. He held his lightsaber up and said, “To care is not a weakness. To have no compassion is.”

Jaqrand noticed the change in Atton’s demeanor and felt a slight moment of unease. For the first time, he thought that maybe he couldn’t win this. He quickly brushed it aside and glared at Atton. He replied then, “Compassion is for fools.”

“The Force protects the innocent, children and fools,” Atton replied, “You are none of those.”

“Then I guess I am the lucky one.” Jaqrand swung again at Atton.

Atton blocked the blow and began a series of parries and thrusts at Jaqrand. Jaqrand managed to deflect them but he seemed to have trouble making contact with his own strikes. True a few did make their way in and nicked Atton but it didn’t slow Atton down. It was down to the last moment when Atton made a slice across Jaqrand’s abdomen and then another quick strike at the chest. He held his lightsaber as Jaqrand fell to his knees looking stunned at Atton. He had the same look as he fell over and hit the ground with a sickening thud. His eyes were empty, void of life.

Atton looked at the body and took a deep breath. He had killed before but this felt different. He had killed someone who was once a friend. He began to realize though that he had changed and that his true friends would back him up like Darius, Kirabaros and the others. He was contemplating this and didn’t see the merc come upon him until he felt the blaster to his back. He heard the shot and gave a slight jump and gasp. Turning he saw his would be assassin looking at him and falling over dead. Looking around he saw Kiera with one of her blasters smoking.

She had seen the merc come upon Atton and reacted as she did when challenged. She killed the merc and in one shot. She once had been told she should have joined the elite unit in the Republic, the sharpshooters. She chose the life of a bounty hunter and it worked for her and her instincts bailed her and others out like they did with Atton. She stood looking at him and he nodded a thanks to her. She gave a smile back and turned her attention to the battle. No time for sentiments.

****

The battle had been going badly for Kirabaros as he struggled to maintain his concentration and a good stance in front of Draconis. He had more wounds than he cared to remember from this spat and the loss of blood was tolling on him. His arms felt like rubber as he felt the power of Draconis’ strikes shoot down his blade. He nearly dropped it and earned a laugh from Draconis, “You are growing weary. I can feel it. Now you see that your so called dark side is more powerful.”

Kirabaros slowly backed away to regroup and adjust his stance. “The light is just as strong.”

The laugh was a grate on his ears, “Tell me are you still the gullible little orphan boy from Mikkado?”

Kirabaros glared at Draconis but didn’t act. “I’ve learned a great deal about your kind.”

“But all this time and you still haven’t been able to stop me. Even after I had that Jedi killed.” Draconis laughed at Kirabaros. He was enjoying the physical and emotional suffering of the one who caused the ruination of Avalon. “Yes I had your Jedi friend killed. In fact a small part of you always knew it was me and you hid it from everyone who cares about you. Even your own family.”

“I protect them just as the Force protects the innocent, and the fools.” Kirabaros stood up straighter despite the pain from the cuts on his body.

“I guess the Force has been good to you since you are the fool,” Draconis replied, “but even then it will not help you against my power.”

“A power that will consume you as it did your brother,” Kirabaros replied. He had the sneaking suspicion that Draconis was going to tell him something that wasn’t going to be pleasant.

“I am nothing like my brother. Look around you. The temple carries the residual power of Exar Kun. Surely you remember the history?”

“He was defeated like every know evil is.” Kirabaros brushed it off as if it were a minor thing. It would serve the purpose of infuriating Draconis and possibly drawing on more dark side energy but that was a risk he was going to take.

His suspicions were right in that Draconis launched a violent attack on him. In so doing, he managed to nick Kirabaros on his leg, the one that had been damaged three years ago. He watched as Kirabaros backed away and cried out in pain. He said, “Does it look like I will be defeated?”

The memory of that moment on the cliff surged through Kirabaros senses. He felt like he was facing the Blood King all over again. He heard Draconis taunting him but it was drowned out by the pain. Suddenly it cleared as he felt a sudden inspiration. He recognized the signs of Battle Meditation but this was different. He sensed not one but three trying to achieve it and it was working. He felt an inspiration to fight and he stood up, ignoring the pain in his body. He said, “Defeat will come to those who let their power consume them.”

Draconis noted the change and he felt it two. Bits of doubt were tearing at him. He may not be a Jedi but he can recognize Jedi abilities especially the rare ones like Battle Meditation. Like Kirabaros, he could sense out where it was coming from and it told him that it was three presences within the Force. He replied to Kirabaros, “Power is might and can be used against anyone even those trying to help you,” and made a sweeping gesture towards the children.”

Kirabaros saw the children in the meditative pose. They were vulnerable to being struck down and he would not let that happen. He leaped in front of them and said, “Not if there is someone standing in your way.”

Draconis smiled. At last he would get the challenge from Kirabaros. He would test the boundaries of Kirabaros and eventually kill him and his family. “I reckon I’m going to enjoy this.”

It was a fierce battle. The smoke grew thicker as they blades clashed with fury. The colors whipped so fast that it had a hypnotizing effect. Grunts from being pushed and stabbed at were the only sounds that could be heard. It wasn’t until Draconis came with a vicious swoop that his blade came across Kirabaros chest.

It wasn’t deep nor a killing blow but it had enough power to knock Kirabaros back onto the ground. He watched as Kirabaros groaned and tried to sit up. He then turned towards the children. They had their eyes opened now as their concentration had been broken. They were staring at Draconis with their eyes wide at him advancing. The Cathar boy was quick and tried to tackle him. Draconis took care of that by sending a wave that sent the boy into the wall. He advanced towards the children who were frozen in fear. “This will be a pleasure,” and he raised his blade towards the children.

He didn’t get far for he was sent off his feet and into a wall. It was executed with such a force that it left a dent in the wall. He saw stars but what he heard infuriated him more, “Why don’t you pick on somebody your own size?”

Kirabaros had managed to get back up and saw Draconis advance towards the children. He was at a loss at what to do but he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was none other than the Blood King, come to torment him yet again. He would have said something but the children were his concern. Apparently the Blood King had the same thing in mind for he stood ready and gave a nod at Kirabaros. Interpreting it correctly, Kirabaros sent a Force wave at Draconis, sending him flying into the wall. The effect was a bit shocking as Draconis made a dent in the wall. He let Draconis know it was him and he ignited his saber again.

Draconis responded with a growl and he jumped forward. He replied, “Impressive but how long can you last? I have the full backing of Exar Kun.” He made a gesture to indicate everything.

“What? A piece of rock?” Kirabaros replied knowing full well that it would get Draconis to show him what he meant.

“More than that,” and Draconis reached out.

There was a slight rumbling that could be felt through the soles of his boots. Kirabaros stood his ground however and watched. Out of the walls it seemed that a whole bunch of dark energy leeched through. It swirled to form the shape of a man. It looked at Kirabaros and at Draconis and said, “Who dares trespass? A Jedi?”

“What is to a ghost?” Kirabaros replied.

“Why do you cling to old ideals that would never work in a sea of squabbling and greedy bureaucrats? Join us and a new golden age will come.” The spirit looked at Kirabaros, beckoning, pleading. To Draconis it said nothing.

“Heard that one before. Not interested,” Kirabaros twirled his lightsaber.

“Then you must die!” The spirit then turned back into the energy and it shot like a blaster shot into Draconis.

Draconis writhed as if in agony. He hunched over groaning. Then he stood up and opened his eyes. They glowed a blood red. He spoke but not in his own voice, “Fear me puny Jedi!”

Kirabaros backed away slowly not sure what to do. He then saw Tergis, the Blood King and Cronus appear in front of him and the possessed Draconis. It was Tergis who spoke, “We have come to help. Let us in.”

Kirabaros nodded. The three spirits shot forward into him like what happened to Draconis. It wasn’t painful however for he let them in willingly. He closed his eyes to absorb their power and then opened them. The golden eyes he had acquired from becoming Heart of the Guardian glowed more brightly than before. He twirled his lightsaber and said, “I do not fear death.”

The spirit possessed Draconis charged at him and he charged himself. They collided like two asteroids and bounced off each other. Kirabaros landed in a crouched position, ready to strike again while Draconis landed on his feet and back stepped. They charged again and clashed their blades. The speed was incredible as both fought with energy that no living sentient could posses after a collision like they did. The heat was intense as the smoke built up around them. It was then that Draconis backed off to look at Kirabaros. The spirit within said, “You are strong Jedi but you will fall as well as all you hold dear.” He then used the Force to break loose a section of wall and hurled it at Kirabaros.

Kirabaros dodged the flying chunk of rock and threw his lightsaber at the same time. It flew with deadly accuracy. Draconis dodged it but wasn’t fast enough as the blade nicked him before returning to its owner. Kirabaros stood up and said, “It is the heart that lives on. When one has none, they die.”

“So says you!” Draconis replied and charged again. He came with attacks and parries that were too fast but they were blocked by Kirabaros. He was getting angry and frustrated and drew more on the dark side for his power. He backed away and seized the chunk of rock that he had thrown earlier. Putting more into it, he hurled it hard at Kirabaros.

Time seemed to pause as Kirabaros ran at the rock and slide under it. The chuck of rock crashed through the wall, shattering it and falling to the battle below. Kirabaros rolled to get back on his feet and tried to adjust to the sudden source of light. He barely saw the blade coming at him and he managed to block it at the time. He stepped back into the light from the big hole and allowed him the full view of Draconis.

Draconis’ eyes glowed the red of the Sith that possessed him. His face looked terrible from the burns caused by the lightsaber sparks and cuts from the rock. He advanced hard and fast at Kirabaros. Neither of them noticed that another section of the wall had crumbled and fell away to the ground below. This was a fight to the death.

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Old 01-29-2008, 06:21 PM   #260
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Wow. Three very interesting and tense chapters. Me likey. I noticed the reference to the Revenge of the Sith duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin in Chapter 54. While I always prefer originality, this was a good one. All the scenes descriptions and the characters' contemplations were really enjoyable to read. Great work there. You said above that you based the fighting scenes off The Mummy Returns, but the one between Kirabaros and Draconis seems as it was based on the Jedi Academy duel between Jaden Korr and Tavion. Still, nice work there too.
On the bad side, I noticed some typos in each chapter, which I'll leave for you too find out of purely selfish reasons (I'm hungry and exausted ).
Like I said in the beginning of my post, three great chapters, too bad the story is soon coming to a close, but after more than fifty chapters I guess it was time.

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Old 01-29-2008, 06:25 PM   #261
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Actually I was thinking of that battle between Tavion and Jaden in Jedi Academy but some of the dialogue that I used did come from The Mummy Returns. I was thinking about it some and I figured why not have a possession of some sort. I was trying to figure out how to take the ending. Glad you liked the chapters. Another is in the works.

Yeah it's time this story ends but there is always a story to be told which I kind of have slipped up my sleeves.

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Old 01-31-2008, 12:51 PM   #262
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Chapter 57

Rowan saw heard the rumble before the chunk of rock came hurtling through to the ground. He saw it and shouted, “Clear out!”

Warriors were scurrying around trying to get out of the way. Most made it out but those that didn’t were crushed. It was no consolation that some of the Rashikians and the others were crushed along with them. In fact the effect was unexpected. Everyone stopped fighting and looked towards the temple.

High above, Rowan could see two distinct lightsabers clashing at a violent speed. The hole caused by the rock was a gaping one and allowed a full view of the fight. Rowan thought he could pick out Kirabaros and the other was the traitor. He would have gone on staring at the sight if it had not been for the subtle prompting that urged him to go into the temple and up to where the fighting was.

Clasping his bloodied sword, he ran towards the temple. No one seemed to notice him as all their eyes were focused upward at the sight. He jogged through the halls, guided by blind instinct. He had no idea where he was going but trusted that it was the right direction.

He found the room by the amount of light shining through. He walked in and came across an unexpected sight. The children were huddled in a corner watching the fight while a fourth, the Cathar boy was on the ground, struggling to regain consciousness. Rowan headed towards the boy to check him out and was immediately engulfed by the children who clung to him.

There was little to do and he made the decision to take them out of the temple. He made ready to pick up the boy when he was pulled by an unseen force and flung across the floor. He slid right off the edge and gripped the surface. He thought he distinctly heard the sound of laughter but it was unlike any kind of laughter he had ever heard before.

****

The enemy ships exploded in balls of fire. Karas could just imagine the cheers coming from his people and their ships. Bastila had done a huge job and the payoff was even bigger. He glanced at her and could tell she was exhausted. He walked over to her and whispered gently, “Thank you Bastila.”

It was enough. Bastila stopped what she was doing and looked at Karas. When he smiled at her, she returned it and made ready to stand. Karas stopped her guessing that she would teeter when she was on her feet and suggested that she wait until later. He didn’t wait to hear her argue but instead when back to see the view with Admiral Dodonna. They had several more ships but they were Republic vessel. The time to disarm had come. Dodonna was speaking to the head of the Avalonian fleet and the Mandalorians, “Take what fighters you can to distract the Republic vessels. We will target the weapons and propulsion systems. We want to take the vessels as whole.”

The Avalonian admiral nodded acknowledgement before saying, “Done Admiral Dodonna. I will have boarding teams ready to go. Perhaps the Mandalorians may help us in that?”

Kex agreed, “We’ll coordinate strike teams to neutralize anyone who will fire upon us. We will shoot but we won’t kill.”

Dodonna nodded but Karas said, “Be wary with Keegan. He has dislike for Jedi and Mandalorians. He might try something but we need to take him alive.”

“We’ll try on a Mandalorian’s honor,” Kex replied before disappearing along with the Avalonian Admiral.

Karas knew they would keep their word. The Mandalorians had proven themselves time and again. He could only hope that Keegan wouldn’t try anything foolish. Dodonna turned to him and said, “I want you to head the team to capture
Keegan.”

Karas nodded and when to assemble a small team.

Keegan was in a spitting rage as he watched his fleet vessels getting blown up by both fronts. What he thought was aid turned out to be his enemy. Still he would not fire upon the Republic vessels. He watched as the merc ships and the Rashikian vessels blew up in fiery orange balls and resisted the urge to swear in all the languages he knew. He then gave the order to destroy the Avalonian and Mandalorian vessels and disable the enemy Republic ships.

The orders were taken with reluctance. The Republic soldiers were loath to fire upon their own vessels and began to voice it. Keegan was in a ripe mood to lash out and declared them mutineers. He ordered the Rashikians on board to lock up the traitors in the brig and to take over their stations. It was then he gave the order to shoot to kill on the Republic vessels. Nothing mattered now and he would have his revenge.

It was short lived however when one of the Rashikians reported that their engines were offline and the weapons were disabled. Keegan ordered auxiliary power online and anyone to go and fix the problems. Auxiliary would buy him some time but he forgot that it took power from the shields. It was this moment that the strike teams docked with the Republic vessels.

Karas met up with Kex in the hangar bay and led the way towards the bridge. The only guards in the bay had been Rashikians and they had been dispatched quickly, much too quickly. It made Karas wonder if it wasn’t some kind of trap or if Keegan was so blind with his anger that he didn’t bother to watch his own borders. He advised that they proceed with caution.

There was no argument there as the team made their way through the ship. They came to brig and took out the security to release the prisoners. Karas asked what had happened and they explained why Keegan had them locked up. It only went to serve the opinion that Keegan was not in his right mind.

Kex sensed that and waited for the Avalonian to make a decision. Though he was a Jedi he was not like the Jedi he had met and had come to know. Avalonians were different in their thinking and they weren’t afraid to make the difficult decisions required of them. He listened as Karas gave the order to proceed towards the bridge. They had one more deck to go. They had been met with little resistance but they did not let their guard down. Their resistance came when they had the stretch off ship left before the bridge. There were many Rashikians poking their heads out and firing at the team. Karas gave the order to take cover.

Karas ducked behind a bulkhead and reached for a blaster he had lifted and began firing back. Kex and the Mandalorians followed suit. They fired their weapons whenever they found a lull. For every kill hit they made, two more Rashikians popped out and fired. It was as if they had been waiting there to make a stand. Karas and Kex both knew that they could and would get pinned down there. They had to do something fast and Kex had the answer.

****

Rowan held on for dear life at the crumbling bits of rock fell around him. He heard the laughing that was not like the laugh of any sentient he had known and it disturbed him. He gripped the rock and hoisted himself up just in time to see Kirabaros charge at the traitor with a spear tackle. They both sprawled on the ground but Kirabaros was back up on his feet quick as a flash. Rowan saw that Kirabaros had a strange glint in his eye as he was fighting. Rowan was curious and missed the hold and slid back down.

He was caught by the arm by a small pair of hands. He looked up to see Tulre pulling on him and behind him were the little boy and girl and the Cathar boy was holding onto them. He was surprised at the strength the four of them had. He tried to help them by pushing himself up with his feet and other arm. Once he was up they crowded by him except the Cathar boy who was trying to be like the younger warriors. He asked Tulre what was going on. Tulre answered scared, “Dada pushed the bad man away from us and then something went into each of them and now they are fighting again.”

“Bad man. Two of them,” Lilah piped up.

Rowan pieced it together quickly and assumed that it had to do with some sort of Jedi thing of Kirabaros. He quickly got up and started ushering the children to get out of the temple. They were almost to the door when the entryway collapsed in front of them. Rowan barely had time to pull the children away from the rubble before it crashed, sealing their only way out. It was compounded by a laugh that did not sound like a laugh. Rowan turned to look and saw the traitor looking at them through red eyes. He said, “Going somewhere?”

Rowan drew his blade ready to defend them. He said, “We are leaving.”

The creature in front of him just laughed.

****

Kirabaros found new energy drawing upon his old masters and adversary. He found strength and speed that he never would have felt in the state he was before. He became briskly aware of a desire and need to defeat the evil being in front of him and at one point seemed to lose touch with who he was. He was snapped out of that phase when he noted the presence of Rowan in the room with the children. His old and trusted friend was there to help.

When the possessed Draconis used the Force to shove Rowan off the edge, he jumped in to attack. It wasn’t his style but then again he had three different ones inside. He clashed again with Draconis and it provided distraction for the children to help Rowan and get out. Unfortunately Draconis beat them to the punch.

After shoving Kirabaros hard into the wall hard, he turned on the escaping children and forced the entryway to collapse, sealing off their exit. Kirabaros shook his head as he heard Rowan say they were going to leave. He let his vision clear a moment and saw Draconis laughing at them. When Draconis raised to strike, Kirabaros sent him into the wall. Kirabaros then turned to look at Rowan. He asked, “Are you alright? Are the children alright?”

Kirabaros was aware that he must seem a strange sight to the five people there. He didn’t let it bother him as it was only temporary. He looked at Rowan expecting an answer. Rowan gave him one, “We are fine.” The children were cloistered behind him looking in awe. Rowan added, “Kirabaros, what happened?”

Kirabaros looked at his friend and children. His attention was distracted from Draconis and that was not a good idea but he felt it that he owed it to them. He replied, “I am fighting Draconis. He is the one who betrayed us all. All because of me.”

“Because of who you are?”

“Who I was and who I am.”

“What about the Republic Admiral?”

“Misguided by lust for vengeance. He will be dealt with.” Kirabaros gazed at the children. He then spoke to Rowan, “Get them out whatever way you can. Just g…”

Rowan watched as Kirabaros groaned in pain. Sticking through his side was a lightsaber blade and it glowed an orange color. It then retracted out leaving Kirabaros to fall to his knees. Rowan’s first instinct was to rush forward and attack but the children were still there. He couldn’t prevent the Cathar boy from making a flying jump onto Draconis and scratching the living daylights out of him. It was enough of a distraction for the lightsaber to fall out and Kirabaros to stumble away.

Juntau held on as long as he could, biting and scratching as he was wont to do when pushed to the limits. He was angry at the man for hurting his friend and even more so that he was doing everything he could to not let them leave. His efforts did some good even after he was thrown off. He landed on his feet lightly, remembering what happened after the first time he jumped on the bad man. He looked at Kirabaros who was struggling to regain his feet. He then crawled to be with the little kids.

It had been a painful blow to Kirabaros and he did everything he could to prevent from blacking out. He stood back up with his back to the children and Rowan was by his side and faced Draconis who was grinning at him, mocking him. Draconis said, “Feel the pain Jedi?”

Kirabaros would not give in. He replied, “The only pain that will be felt is yours when you die.”

“Well I wouldn’t want that now would I?” Draconis looked disappointed. It was almost as if the spirit within had allowed his own personality to surface.

“It would be so much easier on all of us that way.” Kirabaros glared at Draconis. His amber eyes continued to glow indicating the presence of the spirits within. He felt them fading though and knew he had to end it soon. He figured Draconis must be feeling the effects as well.

Draconis returned the glare with one of his own. He wanted to end this. He was so close. He had mortally wounded his enemy and now the time to finish it. He said, “You can end me but remember that blood lasts generations. It will never stop until vengeance is sought.”

Kirabaros then knew that the blood to be repaid was to last generations. He knew then that even if he destroyed Draconis, another would rise to take his place. He was at a loss of what to do. If he were a padawan he would have been allowed to panic but he was a Jedi Knight and a Bushida warrior. Fear can be used as a weakness and it was a weakness. He was contemplating what to do when he heard a voice inside his head, Death is the gift of the Heart of the Guardian.

Rowan was watching the exchange and used the opportunity to move the children towards the parapet. He had rope on his belt and he could use it to allow them to swing to the lower levels. The damage from the fighting hadn’t affected those levels and they could use the stairs. He beckoned the children to follow him towards the parapet. He hated leaving Kirabaros alone but it was the opportunity needed to get the children out. It disturbed him that Kirabaros seemed frozen in his body yet he was alert to every move that the traitor was making.

He had heard the entire conversation and he was worried that the wrath would be turned to Tulre. He knew enough about blood to be repaid that whole families have been destroyed by it. In his mind it was stupid and foolish but blood oaths had much power. It was said that it could even be carried out when the person was dead. He feared that if the allegations were true, Tulre would be next unless measures were taken now. He ushered the children to follow him and he led them to the parapet.

There was a chunk of rock that looked like it would hold the rope. He untied what he had from his belt and began to tie it around the rock. He spoke to them, “I’m going to tie this rope and you four are going to slide down the rope to the window below. You get in and head for the stairs. Ok?”

The children nodded but Tulre spoke up, “But we have to help Dada.”

“He would want you to be safe and that is what you are going to do,” Rowan replied in a no nonsense voice, “Be little warrior you are.” He tied the knot and tugged to make sure it was secure. “Alright go on.”

Juntau was the first to go since he was the eldest. He slid down the rope with the swift ease of practice. He reached the window to the level below and swung in. He then poked his head out to indicate he was ready to receive the next one.

Rowan sent Morgan down next. He was a little afraid but a quick smile and the promise of seeing his papa was enough to get him to move. He scampered down the rope like a lizard on one of the judan trees. Juntau grabbed a hold of him and hauled him down. Next was Lilah. She started down just as scared as Morgan was. Tulre encouraged her by reminding her of the game they played with HK. She started to move faster.

It was during her descent that a shudder occurred and a huge chunk of rock went flying off the parapet. Lilah lost her footing and was hanging on by her hands. She couldn’t seem to get a footing on the wall. Rowan was going to go down but Tulre beat him to it. He was scurrying down the rope quickly to her.

Rowan looked for the source of the rock and found Kirabaros and Draconis exchanging blows. Draconis had been trying to wear down Kirabaros by throwing chunks of rock in between swinging with his lightsaber. Kirabaros was holding his own pretty well and countered it with rock throwing of his own. Rowan watched and then turned to check on the children.

Tulre had managed to get to Lilah and set her on her feet. He climbed down with her to Juntau and Morgan who were waiting below. Seeing that they were safe, Rowan waved them off to go. He cast a backward glance just in time to see Kirabaros get thrown to the ground and Draconis was laughing.

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Old 01-31-2008, 01:13 PM   #263
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Wow, these things are popping out of your head really fast these days. This latest chapter is just as good story-wise as the previous ones, but you seem to have rushed it a bit too much, since I've noticed quite a few grammar mistakes and typos. I even noticed a mix-up of "when" and "went" in two places. Tsk, tsk, JM, get your polishing equipment and get on it.

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Old 01-31-2008, 02:57 PM   #264
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Yeah I was getting excited a bit. If it seems rushed that was the intention since when you are in a fight things happen really fast. I did promise that I would finish this fic and I am doing that while the creative juices are still running.


Chapter 58

Karas had lost his patience. If they stayed a moment longer in that corridor, they were going to get pinned down. They had to get to the bridge and distract Keegan from the battle ahead. Dodonna wanted him taken alive and she will have him alive. Taking the initiative, he ignited his lightsaber and stepped out to deflect the blaster bolts being shot in his direction. He advanced as he deflected, sending the shots back to their owners hitting them effectively. Occasionally he disabled using his lightsaber.

When he needed to duck, he ducked. When he needed to advance, he did. He didn’t pay attention to the Mandalorians who were right behind him, following a similar move except they shot at their enemy. Karas was first through the enemy fire. By then all the Rashikians were either dead of clutching limbs and body parts that had been hit or cut off. He ignored their groans and rushed forward towards the bridge.

Kex had been impressed with the whole maneuver and said so, “For a Jedi I thought you would stop to spare them. Guess I was wrong.”

Karas looked at Kex and replied, “I am also Avalonian. In time of war, we have to remain objective.”

“Makes sense and that is why we agreed to fight with you. We respect your kind in battle.”

Karas looked at the door that sealed the bridge. It was sealed with a code, one he didn’t have. It would take some slicing skills to bypass the codes and open the door. He looked for the panel he needed to work with and removed it. He began working with the exposed wiring. While doing so, he said to Kex, “The Echani say that you can tell a person’s heart through battle. Is it the same for Mandalorians?”

Kex thought about it, “Um sort of. Action not inaction usually sways our opinion.”

“That’s why you respect the Jedi Revan from the Mandalorian wars,” Karas replied more as a statement of fact. It was just making conversation while his fingers fiddled with the wires. It passed the time.

“Yes.”

The door made a clicking sound and Karas said, “Got it.” The door slid open to reveal Keegan on the bridge surrounded by Rashikians manning the stations. Karas marched forward to just inside the door.

Keegan turned to look at Karas and the Mandalorians. He replied, “So this is what the great Revan sent to catch me? A Jedi and low down Mandalorians?”

Karas put his hand up to stay the Mandalorians who bristled at the comment. He took a step forward, “Admiral Keegan, you have violated the treaty established by Avalon and the Republic by firing upon innocent civilians. I have been instructed to bring you in alive.”

Keegan thought it ridiculous and amusing that the Jedi would remain so formal in spite of the odds that threatened to overwhelm him. He replied, “Violated? I am trying to save the Republic from the biggest mistake it ever made and in the process I can destroy my enemy.”

Karas thought Keegan to be mad. Then again he realized that this human harbored much hate for a person that really didn’t exist anymore. It had driven him to madness. Karas had a moment of sympathy for Keegan. He said, “What enemy? There is none but an ally for the Republic.”

“No. Not as long as Revan is still alive. She will pay for her crimes!” Keegan was getting angry.

“The Revan you know no longer exists. Why fight an enemy that no longer exists?” To the Avalonian mind you couldn’t fight what you couldn’t see but if you can see on many levels then you can fight. Karas was simply applying logic in the hopes to distract Keegan and bring him down.

“Revan is still alive. Oh you may say she is changed but I see her for who she really is. A murderer.”

“Bold accusation on one who can’t remember it all,” Karas eyed Keegan with a firm look. Compassion was going out the airlock.

“An excuse she made and now you make for her. It was a mistake to trust the Jedi again.”

“Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice. Bushida are warriors. Avalonians can be one and the same.” It was a stalling measure but it seemed to work.

“All talk and no action. Revan acted though and then she betrayed us all and will do it again.”

“So certain are you?” Karas looked at him doubtfully.

Kex watched the exchanged and wondered if the Jedi was deliberately provoking the admiral. It was something that Kirabaros would do but for this Jedi it was rather strange. Still he had to admit it prevented the Rashikians from attacking. That didn’t mean that he would take his eye off them. He had his weapon lowered but ready to be raised at the first sign of trouble.

Keegan for his part was getting angry at the Jedi. The Jedi didn’t understand what he was trying to do and it infuriated him. He replied, “I tire of this game Jedi. You and your Mandalorian friends can either join me or die.”

“I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request,” Karas replied, “Means no.”

It was the breaking point for Keegan. “Then you will die. Attack!”

The Rashikians sprung from their stations and began the attack. Those without blasters pulled out their serrated blades and advanced. Keegan himself withdrew a vibroblade and made ready to attack.

Karas was quick on the draw and leap forward unsheathing an Avalonian blade that he carried besides his lightsaber. He locked his blade with Keegan. The Mandalorians used their skill with a blaster or their blades to fend off the horde of Rashikians. Kex would keep them at bay. Karas had that much faith in him. Right now his concentration was locked on Keegan. He said, “Keegan You are coming in whether you like it or not. There is still a chain of command to be observed.”

“Funny, I don’t recollect you being on that chain,” and Keegan swung away.

Even in his anger, he was good and Karas could see that. Karas deflected the blade as best as he could and remained on the defensive, trying to get a sense of Keegan’s ability. It was a well known tactic among Avalonians and Kirabaros was especially good at it. He exchanged parries and strikes until he locked his blade with Keegan’s and said, “Admiral Dodonna sent me to ask you to come in. She is higher than you, no?”

Keegan paused for a moment. He was torn by his need to whip the Jedi and a sense of duty and loyalty to the chain of command. It was just what Karas needed to execute a move to knock the blade away. He then used his hands and feet to knock Keegan to the ground . He straddled Keegan and prepared to tie him up. He looked around and saw the Mandalorians handling the last of the Rashikians. He looked at Kex who was favoring a leg and trying to hide it and nodded.

Kex returned the nod and lifted his comm. He said, “We have the admiral.”

****

Rowan watched as Draconis advanced on him. The rope was still attached to the rock and it led to the children. It was like everything in motion was suspended as Draconis advanced towards him. Rowan heard the children pleading him to follow them. He looked at the rope still tied to the rock and the blade in his hand. He made the decision. With a quick swing he cut the rope.

Draconis shouted in protest and raced to grab the rope. It fluttered out of his reach and fell to the ground. He let out a roar in protest and started towards Rowan. He knocked his blade away and grabbed him by the throat. “You. You took away my victory! For that you will pay!” He then flung Rowan to the ground.

It hurt where the rock cut into his skin but his adrenaline was up and it didn’t bother him. Rowan looked at Draconis as he stared at him. He replied, “You may kill me but you will never touch them!”

“We’ll see about that.” Draconis, in his possessed state, began to channel the dark side energies. He was going to make a statement that would demonstrate his power. He was more powerful than the Jedi and the great Kirabaros.

Rowan didn’t have to be a Jedi to see the power that was manifesting in the traitor before him. Still he was willing to die if it meant protecting the children from him. He stood up and stood in a basic fighting position. He didn’t have his sword but he will go down fighting. He watched as the dark energies began to get larger. It seemed as if he was going to cause something like an overload in computer circuits except this would make it more like a thermal detonator. Still he stood his ground.

Draconis kept his gaze on the pitiful Avalonian. If he wasn’t mistaken, he was going to attempt to fight him with fist and foot. It was amusing but he suppressed a laugh. He needed to gather as much energy as he could. He did manage to say, “Fool. You might have been able to overpower me in the past but now your fate will be everyone’s below.”

Rowan charged just as Draconis released the energy at him. He was going to die but it would be for a good cause. He was Bushida. The light came at him with a blinding light and he nearly shut his eyes. It was coming.

When he opened his eyes he saw Kirabaros standing in front with his arms extended to repel the energy blast. Rowan watched as Kirabaros struggled to maintain his hold on it. He stood up from where he had crouched to spring and looked on. He could see the distinct sweat on Kirabaros brow and how pale he was. The same was for Draconis. Rowan realized that whatever was inside them was killing them and the expended energy was killing each other. He shouted to Kirabaros, “Stop. You have to break free.”

Kirabaros didn’t look at him but replied, “If I do, we are all doomed.”

“Why?”

“Death is the gift.” Kirabaros gritted his teeth as the force of energy nearly knocked him over but his concentration remained. “Blood carries over from the dead.”

Rowan was well aware of blood oaths. He understood what Kirabaros was saying but he didn’t want to acknowledge it. He replied, “It carries over but so does youth.”

“It was always my gift from the day it was made. Know that he will come to depend on you and I trust you to do the right thing for him…and her.” Kirabaros then managed to spare a glance at Rowan and lock eyes with him. “Youth will go on but only if someone is watching.”

It was then Rowan understood why. He didn’t have to like it but as a Bushida warrior, he was honor bound to keep his word. He nodded and stepped back. He couldn’t escape because the way was still blocked and he didn’t have any rope to snake down so he backed away to where he wouldn’t interfere. He watched as somehow Kirabaros reached deep within to counter with his own energy. It differed in that it glowed a light blue compared to the dark purple. It started to grow bigger and larger until both were straining under the influence. Draconis shouted, “You will never defeat me. Remember blood carries over!”

Kirabaros shouted back, “But it will be blood that resists!” With a cry, he made a shoving motion and the blue energy collided with the purple and it exploded. It sent a shockwave that rippled throughout the land.

****

The fighting had stopped when the two Jedi could be seen fighting in the temple. It was as if by instinct that it was an unnatural fight and it had everyone gaze up in awe. Even when the rock came hurtling out, they still watched.

Revan watched with concern. She recognized Kirabaros was one of the combatants and began to ask the gods, the Force, anything to keep him safe. It was during the fighting that she managed to spot a rope being flung over and a Cathar boy sliding down. Then a small human boy and then a little girl whom she recognized was her daughter. When her daughter nearly lost her footing, she took off at a run towards the temple. She didn’t see Tulre snake down the rope to help her.

She ran up the steps through the temple until she ran into the children. Her daughter collided with her and cried, “Mommy!”

Revan clasped Lilah into a hug but held back the tears. She had to get them out so she told them to follow her. They were barely out of the temple when a shockwave sent them flying. Looking up, Revan could see people thrown to their feet but where the Rashikians once were, they fell down dead. Something had happened. She reached out to find Kirabaros. There was nothing.

****

Rowan brushed the dirt off him and made his way to where the two were last standing. He saw two bodies on the ground and four spirits staring and looking at each other. One of them said, “Be gone. You have no more power here.”

One of them snarled and disappeared. The other three looked at the bodies and then at Rowan. One he knew well. He couldn’t believe that Kirabaros would have allowed him to be within him. He stood up and stared at the Blood King. The Blood King spoke, “What has been done is done. What is to come is safe for now.”

They then faded leaving the dead. Rowan slowly walked over to the one he knew was Kirabaros. He gently turned him over and saw that he was still alive but barely. Kirabaros smiled at him and said, “It is done.”

“Yes. And I will watch over him,” Rowan replied.

“A great line I see. The greatest is yet to come,” Kirabaros said weakly before closing his eyes as the last breath left his body.

It was unbecoming for a Bushida warrior to cry. It was weakness but this time Rowan shed a few tears. Always giving was an unspoken code and Kirabaros gave the ultimate gift: Life at the price of his own. Rowan knew this and shed his tears. He watched at the body faded, becoming one with the Force.

Leaving Draconis where he lay, Rowan started to make his way out. The explosion had knocked the rubble loose allowing him an escape access. He crawled through the hole and began his descent. He felt numb at what he had just seen and wondered how he was going to tell Michaela. A dozen of such thoughts were wandering through his head as he made his way down.

He went through the door of the temple into the light. At the front were Atton with Kiera and Morgan, Revan with Carth and Lilah, Juhani and Jolee standing with Juntau and lastly his eyes met with Michaela standing with Tulre. Behind them were the village warriors and Avalonian warriors. The mercs had run off and the Rashikians were dead. They were all staring at him, expecting him to say something. He walked towards Michaela and Tulre.

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Old 01-31-2008, 03:19 PM   #265
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Alright my loyal readers. Here is the last chapter. If you think this is unfair well live with it. Besides I have more where that slugger came from. Thanks to all who have followed the story of the Heart of the Guardian which I am working on to make worthy for the Archives. Keep a sharp eye out for a new story.


Epilogue

The last of the ships were getting ready to depart and Rowan had to hurry. Still he could not leave without saying good bye. They were family after all.

In the months following Kirabaros’ death, the council of governors declared Draconis’ family treasonous and dishonored for the false accusations while the name of Kirabaros was pardoned. It meant much but little to those that knew him best.

As for Admiral Keegan, he was returned to the Republic. Undergoing evaluation had found him to be insane and therefore recommended that he spend the rest of his days in a mental facility. The Republic and Avalon shook hands and forgave each other for the insults and Senator Amstar continued to serve to the best of her ability.

As for the Onasi family, they decided to return to their home on Avalon but they would return alone. It was decided that for now the three children should be separated after it was discovered they had an involvement in the battle at Yavin. Rowan didn’t want to do it but he had a promise to keep and he aimed to.

Before he boarded his ship he stood in front of Admiral Onasi. Revan was holding Lilah and Dustil was standing next to her behind Carth. Rowan extended his arm out and grasped Carth’s wrist. Much was said through the eyes and when Rowan said, “Till we meet again.”

Rowan released the wrist and started up the ramp. He walked past the dormitories where Atton and his family were. He acknowledged Atton with a nod and headed towards another set of dormitories. He found Michaela sitting, watching Tulre sleep. He walked up and placed a hand on her shoulder and said gently, “Are you ready my wife?”

Michaela looked up at Rowan with soft brown eyes and nodded. She then stood to look out the window as the ship made its ascent. She was joined by Rowan who placed a hand on her shoulder. Together they watched as their friends became little specks on the ground. For a moment Rowan thought he felt a slight breeze and a hint of familiar laughter of an old friend. He that he was watching and he gave a slight smile and looked towards the future.

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Old 01-31-2008, 03:49 PM   #266
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Quite a turn of events. A shame that Kirabaros had to "go", but I'm guessing the children are the important ones now. I've enjoyed this fic, chapter by chapter and one day when I'm free from all my college obligations I'll have to read it again, but when that happens it'll take me less time to do it and the story will sink in better.
I have only one question: (You already mentioned that you're working on an Archives version of the Heart of the Guardian) Will this be in the Jedi Archives?

P.S. I did notice the Pirates of the Caribbean reference.

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Old 01-31-2008, 04:25 PM   #267
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Yes Heart of Deception will be in the Archives. I'll start tomorrow when I have more time. Other than that I am glad you enjoyed the fic. You are right that the children are important. It was starting to show when they made their escape and the trouble they made for the bad guys.

I couldn't resist on the Pirates quote. It was just funny to use. Still there is room for hope...

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