“No, that’s impossible! Go back to the beginning again.”
Dace was sitting on the floor of his cabin, on the curved wall next to his bunk the projected images from the holocron were displaying something he’d never seen before: a battle among sith and jedi.
Or, he mused to himself, their respective predecessors and inheritors more accurately.
As he had watched the scene unfold his hands had been busy carving into the metal cylinder, shapes and designs were forming on its surface. He was almost done, but he wouldn’t know when it was ready before it was. This was after all, different from putting together a blaster or an engine. More personal.
The ghost of the holocron materialized before him, the weathered form of the old master Kotan calmly spoke. “I’m not sure if you’re ready for this part of the story, Dace. From here on … things get complicated.”
“Life is complicated master! Knowledge is what you’ve told me is important, you could have hid this information from me if you wanted, but you didn’t.” He pointed to the holocron as he spoke insistently.
“And we both know I am adept enough with the workings of the matrix now to dig out files if I have to.” He frowned. “So let’s dispense with the discussion and go to its logical conclusion: Show me what happened, and let me judge for myself its importance.” He exhaled forcibly and plucked the spinning hilt from the air. He turned it over in his hand for a while, letting the apparition have time to think before looking up at the image again.
The old ghost almost looked proud. “Very well, it seems you’ve taking my lessons to heart, maybe you are ready.” He looked contemplative for a short while before adding " … we shall see, observe."
As the scene started again Dace went back in his head over the last part of the chronicles: Kotan and his friends had left the large space station and returned to the battleship, they’ve sought out their mentor and ally; Sun’saith – who was gone.
And they’ve ended up on this dying planet.
Such a tragic and horrible place, so violent and slow at the same time. Watching the images unfold, it almost felt like he was there with them, these bygone heroes from the imperial times.
The lights from the Last Echo barely penetrated the gloom, lighting over the entrance going down into the ground.
In the distance jagged spires of mountains surrounded the old crater.
Highly acidic rain was pouring down making small hissing sounds as it tried to eat everything it landed on.
Heavy footsteps of five sentients echoed down the carved slabs of stone that formed the stairs leading down.
As Onda led them through the tunnels that had been carved by lava in millennia past, the protective garments they had worn were dissolving and falling to pieces. Except the sounds of pieces of cloth hitting the ground and the torrent of the rain above, there was little sound beyond their footsteps.
He walked with an outstretched arm, feeling his way down into the darkness.
His companions, Krankawarrok, Warde, Kotan, and Joe walked silently behind him, their faces grim and worried.
Kotan looked distracted, as he seemed to be struggling with something, maybe the energies of this dying world was affecting him as much as it seemed to horrify Warde.
They entered a large circular dome, it’s floor solidified lava, reflecting the light of Ondas lightsaber from the rain-washed rocks and shallow puddles littering the vast expanse.
Towards the middle there was a rectangular stone slab.
“Are you seriously still working on that thing?!”
Dace was ripped out of his reverie by the intrusion, he quickly grasped the hilt from the air and pretended to be working it by hand. Glancing over his shoulder he took in the silhouette of Tara, standing in his doorway.
“You know me, when I can’t sleep I got to build something, it helps me unwind.” he replied with the most casual tone he could muster.
Tara picked her way through the clutter of parts on his floor, her naked legs moving like a dancers as she came up behind him. She kneeled behind him, the silk kimono she wore was barely belted and threatened to slip off her any moment. “I can think of some things to help you unwind, gearhead” She purred into his neck as she pressed herself against his back. “I’m sure you can use those fingers for something more fun than than this clutter.”
Dace forgot what he was about to say, the smell of her so close overpowered whatever clever thing he had planned to use as a comeback.
This was a recent change on the ship, and they were both unsure of exactly what it was and where it was going. But they were having damn fun finding out.
She was already back to the doorway, smirking at him, her hips swaying as she walked out. “Don’t keep me waiting too long, I’m not a graceful loser, especially if I lose to a wrench.” She disappeared down the hallway
Dace made to follow her, but his gaze glanced over to the images of the holocron.
He froze and kept watching, this was the part where …
The dark warrior hit the wall with a crash and slumped in a heap as rocks fell on top of him, Kotans hand were extended out toward him, he exhaled "Finally. "
The entire chamber echoed with the impact of sabres and was lit up by the blades as the remaining eight combatants spun around each other. Most of the blades were red.
Krankawarrok roared out again as his opponent found a way though his defences, he already had several deep cauterized cuts across his fur. He threw himself at his opponent, lost in the battle-rage he ripped the sabre from his opponent and threw both their sabres away across the floor.
Further in, Onda had just sundered his opponents sabre and was engulfed by force lightning that was arching from his opponents fingers to his sabre, trickles of energy snaked along his arms and he gritted his teeth against the pain.
To their left, lost in the gloom of the massive chambre, Warde was duelling an armoured figure with two sabre, the glow from them and his green sabre was all they could make out at this distance in the darkness.
Joe was trying to get a clear shot in all this madness, but before he could line up a shot Krankawarrok flew across the room and destroyed part of the wall with his bulk, rubble rained down around him.
Shortly after Warde was kicked across the room and landed at Kotans feet, he was covered in bruises. “she is strong, be careful” he breathed ragged gasps and was holding his side.
Behind Kotan, the image of Ondas opponent falling to pieces like a jigsaw man revealed the blade-master, looking slightly sweaty but untouched.
“I’m getting fed up with you fools meddling with my work!” Striding out of the darkness the supple and armoured form of Kiados approached them. “This will be the end of you, my disciples will …”
She trailed off as the she observed the crumpled form of her dark warriors strewn across the arena. Her gaze ended at the lone warrior standing unarmed with Onda edging towards him. She eyed him almost accusingly for a moment, he looked sheepishly at the floor.
“It seems you need better apprentices, Kiados, we are almost done with these.”
Kotan walked towards her, his armour scarred by lightsaber strikes, his poise relaxed.
Joe remained a bit further behind, Onda strode up past the altar together they formed a triangle with Warde at it’s centre. “What is it really you want to accomplish with all this mayhem? The death of Sun’saith? Is he really worth all this?”
“Sun’saith?” the sith laughed. “He’s not my goal, that lying, scheming, being is more something I have to manoeuvrer around as he throws your kind of people at me.” Her voice grew cold.
“No, my goal is to find and kill Kath’ritt! And he won’t let me … what does that say about him? "
Kotan nodded to himself and put a hand on the shoulder of the injured Warde, with the other he placed something in the old masters hand.
“This is the part where you run away, Warde” he said, a sadness to his voice.
The old mentor looked up at him, "what do you … ? " his face crumpled with confusion, as he recognized the item in his hand the realization replaced it with fear. “No, you can’t!”
He looked around at the scene playing itself out, and made a choice. He ran to the exit, his battered frame disappearing in the darkness.
Kotan turned his head toward the last warrior, who had picked up a lightsaber and was sizing up targets. “Son, you really should put that down before you hurt yourself.”
The dark clad warrior looked taken aback and looked to his mistress for guidance.
She cocked her head coquettishly and shrugged, "If you plan to serve me you must prove it … " Her gaze travelled over the remaining four people standing in front of her, assessing.
Onda smiled and leapt at the last warrior, the fight lasted seconds before he was the only one left standing. He was about to turn and say something, when he suddenly lurched in the air and flew across the room.
His impact on the far wall shook the stones and partly embedded him into the rock , rocks clattered around him as he became obscured by dust. A small river of something dark began trickling out between the stones.
Joe whirled and turned his blaster towards where the new threat had emerged; standing with his back to him, one arm thrust out to where Onda had been and his other hand holding a red lightsaber; Kotan glanced over his shoulder and met his eyes with cold calculation.
“You should run too, little bug.” He taunted as a vicious smirk cut across his lips.
Dace had seen enough.
He dropped his work and stood up, he couldn’t make sense of this.
He decided not to, leave it for another day, he thought.
There was a hot selonian waiting in this ship, and it suddenly seemed like a good idea to take a study break.
He stalked out of the cabin, leaving the holocron to it’s story, wanting to put as much distance between himself and that thing.
Behind him in the darkness, Kiados voice commanded her new apprentice.
“Kill the wookie.”