MOTF Book II: Ascension Chapter 10

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MOTF Book II: Ascension Chapter 10

Post by Emperordmb on Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:10 am


Mother Veliya strode towards the edge of the front wall of her mighty fortress, the fringes of her robes floating and twisting through the air around her, tugged in various directions by the power of the Spirits. Staring into the heart of her own fortress from the front wall, Mother Veliya saw several Nightsisters and Nightbrothers ready to fight. There were several red robed hunters amongst the Nightsisters, wielding energy bows, and occasionally an enchanted sword or two here and there. Some of the Nightsisters were shadow killers, wearing the black wraps of night and carrying silent weapons, such as daggers and poison darts. The Nightbrothers were imposing and lethal warriors, trained since birth to wield a variety of melee weapons, each warrior wearing the cuffs and shoulder armor of those who had withstood the Cucible. Very deep in the fortress sat an elder Nightsister shaman named Elirocha evoking the spell of resurrection, summoning the dead Nightsisters and Nightbrothers to fight for them.

Many of the warriors, hunters, and shadow killers began to depart the castle, heading off to join their sisters and brothers in the fight against the triumvirate. When they had finished their departure, Mother Veliya was left observing those who remained, those would fight with her in the upcoming battle with Grand Master Mongooku and his fellow Jedi. She was not certain of whether or not the Jedi expected to catch her off guard, but she was aware that they were coming. She had, after all, seen it. Through the power of heart shadow derived from the Winged Goddess, Mother Veliya had divined the future and seen the Jedi coming for her, and she was prepared. Those who remained at her castle were the elite of the Nightsisters and Nightbrothers, the most powerful and skilled among them. The greatest of the hunters were given longbows for greater range, accuracy, and power, and were perched upon the fortress wall with Veliya or in the very tops of the trees around the fortress. The best of the shadow killers were shrouded in a mist conjured by Mother Veliya herself, rendering them invisible. The Nightbrothers who remained stood a head taller than their brothers, bore a much larger crown of horns, and each was a mountain of raw muscle and fury. These warriors looked different because they were different. They had been transformed into avatars of primal anger through the magicks of the Fanged God, Spirit ichor within their bodies shaped into hulking bone and muscle by Mother Veliya and a coven of crafters. Many of those very same crafters were gathered around the top of the fortress wall with Veliya, ready to aid her in summoning her most powerful magicks when the Grand Master and his friends arrived.

“Mother Veliya!” She heard from behind her. Mother Veliya turned her head to see a familiar Nightsister standing before her. It was Quiallia Ventress, one of the most powerful and skilled Nightsisters, even among the elite. She was clothed in the wraps of night, and her entire form was shrouded in the mists of invisibility, though Mother Veliya could still see her perfectly clearly through the spiritual plane. Like the elite Nightbrothers, Quiallia had been empowered by the magicks of the Fanged God, granting her a hulking physical form, as well as greater speed and agility. Quiallia was descended from the infamous Asajj Ventress, who had been a prominent Dark Jedi, Nightsister, and Bounty Hunter during the Clone Wars. As such, Quiallia was part of a very powerful bloodline, and Mother Veliya was honored to have a Nightsister of such noteworthy ancestry in her coven. Still, she could not help but wonder how powerful a Nightsister from a greater bloodline would be. During the time of the Clone Wars, there were two Dathomirians more powerful than Ventress, the great Mother Talzin and her son, Darth Maul. Veliya briefly pondered whether or not it was possible that Darth Maul had propagated his bloodline elsewhere in the Galaxy before death, though she quickly dismissed the notion, given the loss of Maul’s reproductive organs at the hands of the legendary Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Still though, despite the fact that Quiallia was not descended from a being as powerful as Mother Talzin or Darth Maul, Asajj Ventress had been very powerful herself, and Quiallia had proven time and time again that she was one of the mightiest Nightsisters on Dathomir, second only to Mother Veliya herself. “The Jedi are almost here!” she announced. Mother Veliya felt a twinge of anticipation as she heard those words.

“Good,” Mother Veliya replied, her voice echoing with the power of the Spirits. “When the Jedi arrive, we will destroy them!”

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Darth Umbravon stepped inside of the temple and immediately felt a wave of raw passion and darkness sweep over him. Inside of the temple was another ebony statue of the gargoyle, this one larger, but still encrusted with a set of two red gems for the eyes. Suddenly, he heard a whisper. “Darth Umbravon…” a powerful and deep voice spoke out, seemingly emanating from the statue. The deep red gems that served as the statue’s eyes began to glow, surrounded by a crimson hue. Umbravon felt his hair being blown back as a powerful gust of wind was unleashed from the statue in every direction. Yet despite the wind blowing against him, Umbravon felt himself inexorably drawn forward. “I have been waiting for you, my… friend,” the voice echoed through the temple again. Suddenly the room became darker, with shadows and darkness seemingly oozing from the walls and creeping across every corner of the temple’s interior. “The darkness can take many forms, just as a silhouette can take many shapes.” Suddenly, the shadows began to twist and warp. The darkness coalesced in front of the statue, materializing into the form of a powerful looking man in dark armor, towering over Umbravon. He had a craggy face and a bald head, his skin pale but flawless, and running across his face were two dark red stripes, and two more ran across the top of his head. His eyes were glowing red. Then, the image changed. This time the darkness morphed into the shape of a fountain filled with dark waters, shadows and mist swirling around it. Again the darkness changed, this time into the form of a gargoyle with blazing red eyes, like the statue, but far more vivid and fierce looking. A booming laughter suddenly echoed around the room as the gargoyle spread its leathery wings and lifted a few feet into the air before dissolving back into the shadows. The darkness once again reformed itself, the shadows twisting and swirling through the air like a dark fog, this time reforming into another man. This man stood at a similar height as the first, and was clad in a broad set of armor as dark as the Maw itself. Shadows twisted and swirled around this man converging and breaking upon his armor like a tide around an outcrop of stone on the beach. Umbravon could not make out the man’s face however, as it was completely shrouded behind a shadowy visage. The man dissipated, the shadows and darkness separating from each other and swirling around the room. The red eyes of the gargoyle statue began to blaze more fiercely than Umbravon had seen before. The shadows began to creep towards him, surrounding and converging upon him. He felt them seeping into his very flesh, bone, and spirit. A feeling overwhelming of raw power filled him as the shadows festered within his very soul. For a brief fleeting moment, Darth Umbravon felt as if he could tear down the Jedi Temple itself with a thought. Then, as inexplicably as the feeling began, it was gone. The shadows seeped out of his body and dispersed as the glow in the eyes of the statue began to die down. Before everything returned completely to normal, Umbravon heard one last whisper. “Embrace your destiny.”

Darth Umbravon shook his head as the temple returned to the way it had looked when he first stepped in it. Was this real? Or was it all in my head? he asked himself as he turned to exit the temple. When he emerged from the entrance of the temple, he saw Nighthawk and Ignus sparring, likely bored from having nothing else to do. Sangara was sitting on the ground cross-legged, the tips of her fingers pressed into the soil in front of the temple, and her head bowed in concentration. Umbravon could feel Sangara drawing upon the dark energy that permeated the entire temple, pulling it into herself and focusing it. She began to lift her head, in what Umbravon assumed was a response to his presence. Her eyes slid open, revealing not the deep brown irises Umbravon had grown accustomed to seeing, but instead a set of ruby red irises, softly glowing with the power of the Dark Side. Despite being initially taken aback by the surprise, Umbravon found them strangely beautiful and attractive. “Are you ready to begin?” he asked.

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“Yes,” Sangara replied her voice barely containing her excitement. She closed her eyes and bowed her head again. She reached out with the Force and continued to draw the power of the Dark Side of the Force into herself. She drew it from the soil, she drew it from the temple, she even drew it from the very core of the planet itself. Sangara felt invigorated by the power of the Dark Side as it concentrated itself in her. She could feel the power of this place from the very moment she began to search for it. Upon arriving at the temple, Sangara had attempted to use the Force to lift a boulder. Surely enough, the boulder had risen into the air, but Sangara felt the task come with no more ease or power than it would have on any other planet. Now that she was drawing directly from the source of the power she had sensed, she felt far more powerful. Thinking back on the past few years, her application of the Force felt no weaker off of Korriban when she had traveled to various planets with her fellow friends and Acolytes to engage the Jedi in combat. This however, was something different.

With her powers now heightened, Sangara expanded her senses across the planet itself, looking for one specific thing; Jedi. In less than a minute, she felt the presences of several Jedi, and they were connected and interlinked, just as their minds were. Sangara could feel dozens of connections linked to each Jedi, connecting them to the other Jedi spread across Dathomir. Sangara probed each of the connections until she found one between two Padawans, neither being very powerful on their own. That is my entry point Sangara thought to herself. She latched onto that connection and felt her senses flowing through the subconscious of the Padawans’ minds. From there, Sangara spread across the web of connections formed between the melded Jedi. Sangara probed within the subconsciouses of the Jedi, her unspoken presence made invisible to the Jedi, next to the dozens of connections each one had with every other Jedi in the meld. Unbeknownst to the Jedi, Sangara had made herself an unnatural part of the Force meld they had formed amongst themselves. She sought out the weakest and most unstable mind she could find, settling upon a young padawan conflicted by feelings of grief and turmoil. More likely than not, he had lost his master in this battle. Sangara reached with the Force into each of the connections and links between the Jedi, strengthening the degree to which each Jedi experienced the feelings and sensations of those who they were connected with, placing particular emphasis and focus on the connections formed with the unstable Padawan, and the way in which other Jedi received feedback from his mind.

Then, Sangara reached into the Padawan’s mind and reached into his feelings of pain and loss, calling them forth into her own mind through the meld. As unpleasant as it was, Sangara reached into her own mind, dredging up memories she would rather forget. She remembered being told her parents had been killed by the Lightor as a little girl. She remembered believing Umbravon, or Dylan as he was known then, was dead, not once, but twice, as well as the unspeakable horror she felt in her heart when Gingus and Riva had each been a second away from killing him. She felt her own feelings of pain and agony, guilt and helplessness, and crushing depression. With great effort and discomfort, Sangara merged her own feelings with those of the Padawan, focusing both in her mind as she maintained a grasp on his mind. Then, Sangara plunged herself as far into the depths of Dathomir’s power as she could, drawing upon it with every ounce of her will. Then, with great effort and willpower, Sangara channeled these focused feelings and an unspeakable amount of Dark Side energy into the Padawans mind with the force and instantaneity of a lightning bolt. Almost immediately, Sangara felt an explosion of terror within the Padawan’s mind, along with a variety of other unrelenting, completely overwhelming emotions. She felt the Padawan’s horror and agony radiate from his presence into those of the other Jedi. She continued to push, driving these feelings harder and deeper into the Force meld. There was a massive multi-voiced cry of anguish as the other Jedi felt the Padawan’s pain. Sangara intensified these feelings in their own minds as well, pressing into them with the raw power of the Dark Side. The result was complete and utter chaos as the Force meld was thrown into disarray by a storm of unchecked emotion. Some of the Jedi in their confusion and pain died or were injured. Sangara used that death and injury to her advantage, spreading the feelings of pain and the loss of life through the minds of the Jedi like a wildfire, a disease, or a… poison. A poison corroding the very bonds that hold them together. A poison in their very minds and spirits. A poison commanded by Sangara.

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Grand Master Mongooku, Blademaster Amoye Ilu, Sage Master Nalaniel, Arthur, Jaira, Terro, and about ten other Jedi made their way towards the front wall of the Nightsister fortress, seeing Mother Veliya standing behind the parapet grasping a strange looking carved wooden object in her hand. “Mother Veliya!” Mongooku began, amplifying the sound of his voice with the power of the Force. “We are here to negotiate the terms of your surrender.”

Mongooku’s announcement was met with an eerie cackle coming from Mother Veliya’s mouth. “No Master Jedi! You are here to die!” Mother Veliya said, her voice echoing with every word. As soon as the last word left her mouth, Mother Veliya held out both of her hands, the carved piece of wood now glowing orange. Suddenly, a large ball of fire billowed forth from the Nightsister Mother’s hands, flung towards the Jedi with the velocity of a missile. Many of the other Jedi took a quick step back, but Mongooku stood firm, casually extending a hand and erecting a barrier of Force energy around himself, and the Jedi nearest to him. An inferno raged around him, but the flames never came within two meters of his body, held at bay by a shimmering sphere of Force energy.

As soon as the flames died down, several Nightsisters clad in red robes approached the parapet, each armed with an long energy bow. Mongooku groaned in exasperation. He hadn’t expected it to be easy, but it never hurt to ask for a surrender before engaging one’s opponent. Mongooku had expected to take her by surprise, but evidently the Nightsisters had been expecting them. Perhaps they had underestimated them. The hunters fired their bows, and the fight began.

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Terro fell into the blast deflection cadences of Shii-Cho as plasma arrows whizzed towards him and the other fifteen Jedi from over a hundred energy bow wielding Nightsisters. As they rained towards him in a relentless hail, Terro utilized the Form I moves he had honed with hundreds of hours of blast deflection training with the Jedi temple’s training remotes. Every five seconds, dozens of plasma arrows or more would threaten to pierce his flesh, only to be turned aside by the inexorable green line of Terro’s blade. Terro glanced over at his master, Amoye Ilu, only to see a whirlwind of speed and precision as his violet blade almost effortlessly to deflect the hailstorm of arrows that flew his way. At one point, Terro was sure his master had deflected at least twenty plasma arrows in less than a second. Every so often, when nearby Jedi’s defenses slipped up, Amoye Ilu and his blade would seemingly teleport in front of them to intercept the shot.

The other Jedi were also busy deflecting plasma arrows, many of them utilizing the moves of Soresu, Shien, Shii-Cho, or Niman. Jaira was brandishing the blue bladed saberstaff she had constructed on Ilum, twirling it around her body in the sequences of Niman meant for blast deflection, meanwhile maneuvering herself out of the way of the most concentrated areas of fire on the battlefield. Her master, Nalaniel, was standing perfectly still amidst the chaos, her four Force arms whipping around her body to intercept the plasma arrows before they struck her. Each time a plasma arrow struck one of these Force manifestations protruding from the Zabrak’s body, its energy would instantly dissipate, the purple arrow melting away as if it had never existed to begin with. Terro noticed Arthur and Grand Master Mongooku standing almost back to back, working in conjunction to deflect the plasma arrows coming their way. Arthur utilized a variety of different techniques to deflect and evade the arrows, ranging from the blast deflection techniques of Soresu, the evasive acrobatics and twirls of Ataru, and the versatile array of moves of Niman. Master Mongooku’s strategy and use of forms was almost the exact same, but his technique was far more advanced, his moves faster and more precise.

Terro turned his attention back to the plasma arrows being fired upon him, deflecting each and every one of them with simple, but effective movements. The battle raged on like that for several minutes before something began to change. Terro suddenly had a feeling that something was about to happen, causing him to jerk his head upwards to see Mother Veliya and her coven of crafters beginning to chant. “I have a bad feeling about this,” Terro shouted to his master as the Echani also took notice.

There was a sudden scream from one of the Jedi. Terro spun around just in time to see a Jedi Knight fall into a seemingly bottomless abyss that had not been there before. Terro glanced around as several sections of the ground suddenly began to disappear, the edges of the resulting chasms lined in green mist. The surviving Jedi desperately dashed from side to side to avoid the disappearing sections of the ground. Arthur and Grand Master Mongooku leapt from disappearing ground to safe ground as new chasms began to open up around them. He saw Jaira stepping from spot to spot, relying on her senses to determine which sections of the ground were safe and which were not. The only Jedi remaining relatively still was Master Nalaniel, still relying on the exact same strategy she had used before. Every time a hole opened in the ground beneath her, she did not panic as she fell into the chasm. Instead she slowed her descent drastically with the Force as she plunged her telekinetic manifestations into the walls of the chasm, using them to swing herself out of the pit and back onto solid ground. Some sections of the ground rematerialized as others vanished forcing the Jedi to constantly adapt to the needs of the moment. None did this better than Amoye Ilu, who, like his blade, always seemed to be exactly where he needed to be in a fight. Terro on the other hand, desperately threw himself from side to side to avoid the dangers of the shifting terrain, floundering with desperation as he tried to avoid the chasms and deflect the oncoming volley of plasma arrows at the same time.

Fortunately there were not as many arrows for Terro to deflect, now that the Grand Master was conjuring dome shaped barriers of Force energy to intercept many of the arrows before they could reach the Jedi. As the Grand Master raised a temporary barrier in front of Terro, the young Jedi realized he had to come up with a strategy quickly. He growled in frustration. He was never good at coming up with strategies on the spot like Arthur was, he couldn’t think in complex ways like many of his friends could. He felt just like he did on Ilum when he didn’t know how to reach his lightsaber crystal. Ilum! Terro began to realize. Of course! Now knowing what he had to do, Terro crouched down and pressed one hand to the ground feeling the structure and vibrations of the terrain beneath him almost as if they were a part of him, just as he had done on Ilum. He could feel the Nightsister magic starting to ebb away at its solidity, threatening to dissolve it into green mist. Unlike the other Jedi however, Terro stood his ground. Reaching into the dirt and stone beneath him through the Force, Terro began to impose his will upon it, holding its structure and solidity together through sheer force of will. A circular section of ground with a half a meter radius remained beneath him as the area around it dissipated. With all of the strength and power he could muster, Terro began to push back further, increasing the radius, and watching more and more mist solidify into the ground around him.

Realizing what was happening, Jaira raced over to Terro, leaping onto the section of ground that Terro was holding together, and twirling her saberstaff in front of Terro to deflect the blasterbolts heading towards them. As the Nightsisters began to focus more of their fire on Terro and Jaira, Jaira began to deflect them with far more difficulty, desperately spinning her weapon to barely catch each plasma arrow in time. Just when it seemed like Jaira could not hold out any longer, Amoye Ilu leapt in front of them both deflecting volley after volley of plasma arrows to the side. Suddenly, Terro felt a hand on his shoulder and began to feel more powerful. Looking up, Terro saw Jaira’s face, her eyes closed in concentration with her hand on his shoulder. He suddenly realized she was empowering him with her own energy. With this newfound power, Terro expanded the portion of solid ground further and further as more of the Jedi began to head his way and take refuge upon his area of the battlefield, most of them panting and sweating.

Suddenly, Grand Master Mongooku deactivated his lightsaber and outstretched both arms to the side with his fingers splayed. Suddenly, a protective field surrounded them, defending almost every Jedi from the volley of plasma arrows the Nightsisters were raining upon them. With most of the Jedi gaining a reprieve from combat, Master Nalaniel was making her way through the ranks, plunging one of her Force arms into each Jedi that was injured, channeling the power of the Light Side of the Force into each of their bodies to rejuvenate them and heal their bodies.

There was one Jedi who was not protected behind the Grand Master’s barrier however. Amoye Ilu stood at the front of the crowd, his violet blade taken up in both hands. Terro watched as his entire body and blade became little more than a blur, deflecting dozens of plasma arrows every second. Terro always marveled at his master’s application of Juyo-Kos, watching as he became a living weapon, in perfect harmony with the will of the living Force. The Echani Blademaster’s technique was utterly flawless, each and every move a work of perfection attesting to tens of thousands of hours of practice and experience as a swordsman. As more and more plasma arrows flew at Amoye Ilu, the Echani deflected one of them twice, the first time as it flew at him, and the second as it began to fly away from him. He began to bounce the arrow from side to side, trapped between the ever changing position of his blade as he continued to deflect other plasma arrows. After a few more seconds, Amoye Ilu caught a second, and then a third one, continuing to bounce them from side to side with his blade. He whipped, slashed, and stabbed his blade from side to side, weaving a cage of purple light around more and more plasma arrows, keeping them entrapped in the area in front of him. Once Amoye Ilu had caught twenty five of the plasma arrows in his cage of blade work, Mongooku extended the protective barrier around him. Now protected, the blademaster twirled his blade around the entrapped plasma arrows in a pattern arranging the direction of each arrow as he prepared to unleash them back upon the Nightsisters. After a few seconds, the Grand Master lifted the barrier, and Amoye Ilu flicked his violet blade forward, unleashing the twenty-five plasma arrows back upon the Nightsisters in chosen vectors, each aimed perfectly at a specific target.

Seventeen of the returned plasma arrows found their mark, and seventeen of the elite hunters of the Nightsisters collapsed to the ground, dead. Two of the hunters had been able to throw themselves out of the way in time, and the six arrows redirected at Mother Veliya and her coven of crafters, forcing them to break off their concentration to catch the bolts with a green bubble of protective energy. Seizing their momentary advantage, the Jedi pressed the offensive. Terro watched as Grand Master Mongooku, Sagemaster Nalaniel, and his own friends Arthur and Jaira stepped forward. He could feel them gathering the power of the Force, and drawing a river of energy into them. After five seconds, all four Jedi threw both arms in front of them, and in conjunction, unleashed a massive wave of Telekinetic energy. Mother Veliya and her coven of crafters desperately threw a defensive field in front of the fortress to intercept the Force wave, but the wave still shook the massive and heavily reinforced front wall of the Fortress, throwing half of the remaining hundred elite hunters off of the wall, and staggering the other Nightsisters. Mother Veliya’s eyes flashed with anger as fifty of her greatest hunters plummeted to their deaths behind her. Suddenly, Mother Veliya unleashed an inhuman screech of fury. Terro collapsed to the ground clutching at his ears as the very air around him thrummed and vibrated with the echoes of the Nightsister’s scream. As Terro staggered back up to his feet, he noticed several of the other Jedi doing the same. One of the Jedi near the front of the group did not rise back up to his feet. His teeth were shattered to dust, blood pouring out of his ears in streams across the ground beneath him.

“You have braved the volleys of the hunters,” Mother Veliya began. “You have overcome the shifting of the ground. You have risen from the Scream of the Ssurian. But can you survive the Army of the Dead?!”

“Army of the Dead?!” Terro cried out. “That doesn’t sound good!” As if to respond to his outcry, hundreds and hundreds of undead Nightsisters and Nightbrothers enshrouded in green mist began to charge towards them. This fight had only just begun.

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Jaya Fynera and Bado Varren watched as Staz and Than Rostu, their masters, cut a swath of destruction throughout the fields of Dathomir, the four Jedi racing towards the location of the one disrupting the battle-meld between the Jedi on Dathomir. The teamwork of the twin Jedi Masters in combat was renown in the Jedi Order, having been a crucial part of many Triumvirate victories throughout the war.

A Nightbrother raced towards the duo, only to be immediately be put down by a swift kick to the face from Staz, just as Than blasted a hole through a Nightsister’s chest with an advanced slugthrower pistol. Jaya could see the smile coming to Bado’s face as Than pulled the trigger. She knew that Bado himself had upgraded his master’s slugthrower pistol, as well as Staz’s, with a larger clip size, use of compressed gas to fire the slugs, and magnetic acceleration to drastically increase the velocity of the slugs. The metal slugs themselves were fitted with electrical charges so they could electrocute whoever they struck. Bado was immensely proud of his creation, knowing it had helped he and Jaya’s masters fight for the Jedi Order, and the Galactic Federation Triumvirate.

As a group of Sith Lords and Acolytes closed in on the Rostu brothers, they both drew their green bladed lightsabers and retaliated through a swift demonstration of Juyo, each of their strikes perfectly coordinated with each other, leaving each of the Sith smote upon the ground. As a group of Nightsisters began to fire upon them from the tree line, the brothers both drew their slugthrower pistols and fired back.

One Selkath Sith Lord approached Jaya, unleashing a blast of Force lightning upon the two Jedi Padawans from his fingertips. Bado immediately leapt through the air towards Jaya, his blue blade raised to intercept the forks of lightning meant for Jaya. Jaya raised her blade as well, and together, the two best friends intercepted the blast of lightning before it could strike either one of them. The Selkath flew at them in a rage, unleashing a wild and aggressive sequence of Shii-Cho moves and maneuvers upon them, driving the two Padawans back with his aggression. Jaya parried with her own skills in Makashi, deflecting many of the Sith’s blows with precise and elegant counters and parries. Bado backflipped through the air, landing a few meters behind them before drawing something from his belt. Suddenly, Jaya felt herself yanked backwards through the air by Bado, several meters away from the Sith Lord as a small metalic ball flew in front of the Lord’s face and suddenly exploded forcefully, staggering the Sith back a few feet. A stun grenade! Jaya realized. Bado always has tricks like this up his sleeve!

Now it was the Jedi who pressed the offensive, with Jaya unleashing a sequence of precise stabs and cuts, and Bado striking with an aggressive series of blows, occasionally leaping and twirling through the air. The Selkath Sith Lord was forced to fall back on Soresu, the defensive form, as he slowly retreated under the combined assaults of the Padawans. In an attempt to open up some distance, the Selkath unleashed a blast of telekinetic energy upon Jaya and Bado, hoping to throw the two Padawans off of their feet. Jaya and Bado both absorbed his blow with the Force before simultaneously unleashing their own power upon him. Unable to defend against both Jedi at once, the Sith Lord was thrown backwards. Bado immediately pulled the Selkath back towards him with a compressed-air grappling hook, and Jaya stabbed the Sith through the head with her sapphire blue blade before he could get back up.

Suddenly, Jaya realized where the Sith disrupting the battle-meld must be. “Bado!” Jaya exclaimed, “I know where we’re going!”

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“Where exactly are we going?” Bado asked as he and Jaya wandered through the forests of Dathomir.

“The Temple of the Fanged God,” Jaya replied.

“And what makes you so certain the Sith disrupting the battle-meld will be there?” Bado asked, a hint of skepticism in his voice.

“I studied the history and culture of Dathomir before we came here,” Jaya explained confidently. “The Fanged God is one of the Nightsister’s most sacred and dark deities, and the Temple of the Fanged God is the only temple or signficant area even remotely close to our location.”

“Won’t the temple empower the Sith?” Bado asked, his voice betraying a sense of nervousness.

“Not unless they are actively tapping into its power,” Jaya replied. “They aren’t going to suddenly get a substantial increase in power from standing near it! Don’t be so silly Bado.”

As they continued to walk forwards, the temple suddenly came into view. Sitting in front of the temple was a teenage girl with dark hair clad in the robes of a Sith Acolyte. Bado could feel the power of the Dark Side concentrated and emanating from her. Bado began to ask, “Is she-“

“Drawing on the power of the temple? Yes” Jaya replied, knowing what he was going to say as they approached the edge of the clearing around the temple. “We’re going to have to kill her or bring it down.”

“I can probably rig up a few explosives we could use to bring it down,” Bado began as they slowly stepped into the clearing. “I have the materials wi-“

Bado was cut off as a blond haired Acolyte dropped from the nearest tree, activating a saberstaff with twin red blades. We can take him, Bado thought to himself, We did defeat a Lord after all.

The Acolyte sprang towards them, unleashing an aggressive Ataru sequence upon them, twirling both blades of his saberstaff in graceful, kinetic arcs as he pressed the offensive. Bado and Jaya staggered back under the sheer force of the Acolyte’s strikes, desperately moving their blades to catch every blow of his fast paced sequence. Bado had only ever felt this amount of force behind the blows of one this age when facing- Arthur Jaira or Terro! With a gasp of fear, Bado realized that this Acolyte was most likely an Innamortan!

The blond haired Acolyte twirled and leaped through the air as he drove Bado and Jaya into a quick retreat towards the temple, the two Padawans desperately trying to mount a counteroffensive with Makashi and Ataru respectively. At the end of one of the Acolyte’s Ataru sequences, he flipped over their heads, twirling through the air to land on the other side of them. Immediately, the Acolyte charged at them again, this time attacking with a vicious series of stabs and strikes that Bado could only attribute to Juyo. The Acolyte’s bright blue eyes now almost blazed with his fury as he drove them back, this time away from the temple and towards the tree-line. Desperate to do anything to escape or defeat this Sith, Bado backflipped away from Jaya and the Acolyte, before unleashing a blast of telekinetic energy at the Acolyte. The Innamortan almost casually absorbed Bado’s blast with a barrier of his own as Jaya ran over to him. With an outcry of fury, the Innamortan thrust his hand in front of him and unleashed a telekinetic blast of his own upon the Jedi. Bado and Jaya raised force barriers to protect themselves from the blast, but they still ended up thrown back several meters and toppled over onto the ground.

Bado leapt back up to his feet half a second before Jaya did, and the two Jedi immediately raced towards the tree-line, knowing they were not going to reach this fight. Before they could reach the first tree however, Bado felt himself lifted into the air by his neck, an invisible hand squeezing at his throat. “What a surprise…” Bado heard as another Sith Acolyte stepped out from behind the tree, this one with brown hair and cold unfeeling brown eyes. His left arm was extended towards Bado, and Bado could feel the hatred swelling within him. Bado heard an outcry of anger from Jaya as she raced forward to defend him, swinging her blue blade at the brown haired Acolyte. Without warning, Bado was suddenly slammed into the ground with enough force to knock the air out of his lungs and break his back. He screamed in pain as he watched the Acolyte respond to Jaya’s offensive with a sequence of overhand chops, the third one knocking Jaya’s blade from her hand and knocking her to the ground. “Well now,” the Acolyte said as he reached down to cup Jaya’s chin in his left hand. “I’ve never known a Zeltron before. You’d make a great Sith and… girlfriend… if you decide you’re into me…”

“Get away from her!” Bado screamed as he tried to rise to his feet, but failed on account of his broken back.

The Acolyte stood up straight once more, extending his right hand towards Jaya and pinning her to the ground as he pulled a blaster pistol off of his utility belt with his left hand and aimed it straight at Bado’s head. Bado struggled to move, but the action only caused him agony. By this time the blond haired Acolyte with the saberstaff stepped up behind Bado and Jaya, his own weapon deactivated in his hands as he looked on in interest. “Get away from this if you can,” the brown haired Acolyte said as he started to pull the trigger. Time seemed to slow to almost a crawl for Bado as he readied himself for death… but it never came.

Suddenly, the brown haired Acolyte’s arm jerked to the side and the blaster went flying as a shower of purple blood burst out of the area just beneath his wrist. He fell to his knees as an electric current raced through his body. Bado turned his head just in time to see Staz Rostu racing out of the forest with his slugthrower pistol in hand. As Jaya’s master reached them, he holstered his pistol before drawing his green lightsaber blade. Staz Rostu engaged the two Acolytes as Jaya rose to her feet and pulled Bado over to the nearest tree several meters away. As Jaya pulled out a medpack, Bado watched from where he was lying as Staz met the aggression of the two Sith Acolyte’s with his own aggression, driving his Juyo against their Djem So and Ataru respectively.

Suddenly, a dark shape whizzed past Bado and Jaya. Looking in the direction the shape moved, Bado immediately realized that it was his own master, Than Rostu, racing towards the female Acolyte meditating on the ground. Not wasting a second, Than whipped out his slugthrower pistol and aimed it at the girl’s head. He pulled the trigger, and Bado gasped in astonishment as the bullet stopped mere inches from the Acolyte’s forehead. Glancing behind her, Bado saw a fourth Sith Acolyte. This Sith Acolyte had dark hair, and yellow eyes blazing with fury, a single hand extended towards the bullet that was suspended in midair. After a single moment of tension, the dark haired Acolyte charged towards Than in a blur and unleashed a blast of telekinetic energy at the Korun Jedi Master. Than rolled back with the momentum, landing on his back and thrusting both of his legs out just as the acolyte reached him, driving both feet hard into the Acolyte’s stomach.

The dark haired boy was sent hurtling back several feet from the strike as Than raised his slugthrower and fired several times at him, only for the Acolyte to leap back to his feet and evade the slugs with lightning fast speed, twirling away from the projectiles before charging at Rostu once more. Moving in a blur, Rostu charged forward and twirled through the air and kicked the Sith in the wrist, knocking his arm aside as he attempted to swing at the Jedi's head. Bado's master then raised his pistol and aimed it at the Sith’s head. Just as Than Rostu finished pulling the trigger, Bado saw the young Sith move faster than he had ever seen any Acolyte move before, leaning backwards in a blur of motion as the accelerated slug whizzed harmlessly over his head. Bado saw the extreme shock register on his master’s face for a brief moment before he took advantage of the incident and punched the Sith right in the throat as he leaned back forwards. As soon as Than’s fist struck the Acolyte’s throat, he jumped up and kicked the Sith hard in the chest before throwing his hand out in front of him and blasting him back with a surge of Force energy.

The dark haired Acolyte flew backwards, but astonishingly was able to leap back up to his feet before Than could fire his slugthrower again. As Than fired off three more shots, the Acolyte extended his right arm and stopped each slug in the air a foot away from him with the Force before throwing his left arm forward. A blast of blue lightning shot out from the Acolyte’s fingertips and surged forward, knocking the pistol from Rostu’s grasp. Rather than retrieve his slugthrower, which was now too damaged to use, Bado’s master grabbed his lightsaber from his belt and the green blade sprang to life in his hand. Simultaneously, the dark haired Acolyte drew his own weapon, the crimson blade flaring to life in front of him, bathing his face in a red glow.

The Sith Acolyte and the Jedi Master traced the outline of an imaginary circle as they stepped a few feet to their sides, Than Rostu standing protectively between the Sith and Bado, his Padawan, just as the dark haired acolyte interposed himself between the Korun Jedi Master and the female Sith Acolyte, his yellow eyes burning with hatred. As Jaya injected him with bacta, Bado watched the Sith Acolyte angle his crimson blade towards his master, dropping into a crouch as he did so. Bado’s master, Than Rostu, took a step back and held the green blade of his own lightsaber in front of his body angled forward. The Sith Acolyte and the Jedi both eyed each other, each ready to charge, each ready to kill, each ready to defend those they loved, and each ready… for the real duel to begin.

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Emperordmb
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