Kraft og skjebne

episode XLII

“You lied to me!”
Dace stormed into his room, pointing a finger at the translucent image of Master Kotan.
The image had been waiting there patiently the last day for him to come back.
Dace had processed his anger and dissappointment by working on the ship, or at leat pretending to be working on the ship while avoiding his own quarters.
Tara had left him alone as soon as she picked up on his dark mood.

“I can understand that you feel that way, but it’s not true, I’ve always been candid with you, Dace.” To Dace the holocrons patient demeanour seemed manipulative and cold.

Dace barreled through the image and begun pacing.
“All this time you were teaching me, all the talking of choosing the higher road, about living with peace, all the god-cragging meditation and training of forms, it was all banthapoop – You’re a sith!” Dace kicked a discarded box of parts into the wall and stood there fuming.
The silence stretched out.

Finally the image of Kotan Blen spoke: “Did I ever say that I made this holocron?”
“Hmm, what? you said your name was Kotan, this is your holocron, who else would make it?” Dace’s brow was furrowed in dark thoughts and confusion. “What do you mean?”

“Yes, and I did clarify quickly that this holcron holds a image of the man know as Kotan Blen, but it is not him. I also never claimed that he was the maker. Because of this I am not him, not really: I look like him and think like him, my core personality is built on his intellect, but I am not, nor have I ever truly been him, I am … this”

The image of the old force user started splitting apart into different images, some of them video, some of them still, all of them showed Kotan in different parts of his life, some of them young, other older and wiser, in them he was fighting, talking, frowning, smiling, he was covered in mud, he was wearing fine robes, he had blood on his face, he looked tired, he was shouting, he was resting his eyes, he was speaking at the camera.

The calediscope of Kotan twisted and flowed over, like a man shaped geisyr of images, files of audio from recorded conversation and copies of radio records created a cacaphony in the small room as the myrid images spread out and covered every surface. Before finally folding back in on itself and slowly melding together all the different parts into the familiar image of Master Kotan as he usually appeared .

“Whomever made this holocron used the crystal from Kotan Blen’s old saber and his many journals and diaries, in addition to extensive archives harvested from countless sources to create a likness of the man, his mannerism, his beliefs, his knowledge and some knowledge he did not have, like the results of his actions, the events he set in motion but did not see finished, the consequenses of his legacy, and that of his friends.”

Dace was still stunned by the display of the swirling images "But what happened to …. " he stopped, a thoughtful look crossed his eyes, gently he continued onto another line of questioning “Wait, ‘whomever’ you said, and ‘they’ – you don’t know who created this holocron do you?”

The holocron showed deeply human emotions of embarresment and annoyance. “I have made some calculations, and while going through these logs with you I can point out at least four sentients that MAY be the creator, although since my information is incomplete there may be more that fit the criteria, and so far none of them seem decidedly more likely than any of the other.” He looked sheepishly at his feet
“It’s quite … vexing, I’ll admit.”

Dace stood there staring at the image for a while before he burst out laughing at the absurdity of it, he leaned back against the wall and composed himself.
After some seconds he chuckled wryly again and said “So it seems not even the master I chose knows everything , not even about themselves!” he ran his hands over his braids and exhaled loudly “I guess it figures … my final lesson from you, Copy-of-Kotan.”
The simulacrum winced at the new monkier and retorted “Or maybe your lesson to me, Dace .” he offered humbly.

“But what happened to them? where does Your archives stop? " Dace asked.
“Well, there is nothing recorded directly from the last day” the image put one hand behind his back and used the other for ephasis as he listed up the facts, he slowly paced the cabin like an orator starting on a lecture. “All information is second- or third hand, a lot of it is missing – there were a lot of dead, unfortunatly.”

He turned to Dace and over his right palm text and images appeared. “We know that Kiados and Kotan arrived at Tarillion station with her forces, their goal: the vault holding Kath’ritt. We also know that Onda and Krankawrrok had gathered defenders to stop them, included in these forces were both rebels, the empire and other fring elements like the Gensu’Dai, the Isini and at least one shadow organization … most of these forces tied each other up in a massive space battle outside the station … So we’ll ignore them and focus on the landing party Kiados brought to Tarillion, and the events as they advanced on the vault”

The hand flickered through a plethora of faces, many of the crossed out With a big red ‘X’.
“Kiados forces were seen fighting against both the defenders and the station itself, one account describes how a combination of guerilla tactics and random attacks by the stations droids almost obliterated the soldiers Kiados had brought to the station”
Several documents and videologs of witnessess appeared to emphasise the facts, before being wiped away as the simulacrum continued.
“After that there is not a lot of information to be found, but the last bits of semi-reliable witness accounts comes from a surviving Gensu’Dai defender that was stationed at the entrance to the tower that led down to the Vault. Before he was knocked unconcious by a thrown droid he swore he saw Kiados and Kotan walking towards the vault while fighting a horde of droids using only the force. He described the vision of them battling these machines as , and I’m quoting him here ’ A vortex of metal and destruction, and in it’s center two silhuettes striding through the carnage like gods ’ end qoute … "
The image apeared to sigh." While one witness with a head injury is not really a strong source of info, we can at least assume that they somehow arrived at the vault."

“Old communications logs show that Onda was stationed at the vault entrance and that Krankawarrok chased after Kotan to it as well. More curiously, there are several sources confirming that Vex Ruul arrived with the Void of Integrity and was last seen flying a speeder towards the same location.” the image of Kotan displayed several blurry pictures over it’s hand with a raised eyebrow. “Most curious that bit.”

The mentor clasped his hands behind his back and faced Dace as the other images desappeared “And that’s where we run out of information: Kotan and Kiados, Onda and possibly Krankawarrok and Vex all entered the vault, at different times most likely. And none of them ever came out. When survivors from the battle investigated they found the vault sealed again.”

Dace stood with his arms crossed looking at the floor, looking lost. “So that’s the end of the story?” He slowly shook his head “But could they have survived? or ended up somwhere else? maybe -” Dace went still and tensed up as a force vision came over him with great intensity.

A massive chamber somewhere else, lit by flashing lightsabers, red and green lightning arcing over the room from the hands of an armored woman and a large reptilian and ancient evil, the light highlighting large colums, friends fighting friends, a wookie screaming out in pain and rage, a green swordswaster with burning eyes and a viscious grin as he cuts him down, a shadow striking at him from the darkness, a mask splintering and cracking, the pillars staring to fall down towards them, Kotan Blen standing with his arms reaching to each side, his armor scorched and disintegrating around him, his hair whipping about him weightlessly, face covered in blood and contorted in a soundless scream as the whole room shakes, the ceiling collapsing over all of them.
Just before he is buried by tons of stones Kotan looks at Dace and smiles sadly, then he closes his eyes and is engulfed by darkness.

" … By the force, they’re still in there."
Dace could feel himself gasping for air, that had felt like being there in the flesh.

The holocron hadn’t sensed his vision and reacted only to the words he spoke. “That is a likely assumption” He looked up for some time as in thought
“I’m afraid we are out of time”
“What?” Dace asked.
“Since the day you activated this holocron I have been accessing the ship’s sensors , and I just picked up a large craft dropping out of hyperspace and speeding towards you – most likely there is a hidden transponder in one of the crates you picked up on Tattoine last cycle.”

The ship made protesting sounds as a tractor beam locked on and started pulling at them.
“That cheating, lying, treacherous, worm, he sold us out! Tara, we need to run, they’ve found us!” Dace was dashing towards the corridor.

DACE WAIT!” the bellow from the image of Kotan, an unusual event at any time, arrested Dace’s momentum and he turned back to the apparition.
Kotan held up a palm showing design plans and diagrams of the holocron, as Dace watched the image of the box was opened. “This is my final gift and lesson, Dace: how to open the core of the holocron and retrive the lightsaber crystal within … you’re going to need it.”

“But what happens to your matrix then? are you deleted or do you go dormant? I still have so much to learn!” The simulacrum of Kotan shook his head as Dace felt the holocron settle in his hand.
“To late for that, and I think I have tought you enough to get you on the right path … May the force be with you Dace, it’s been an honor to know you” The figure bowed and added with a grin “Now go save your girl before it’s to late, the past can wait my friend.” the image flickered and disappeared, plunging the room into darkness.

Something large clamped onto the side of the ship and sparks started coming from the airlock down the corridor.
Dace felt tears trickle down his cheeks as he went through the sequence, fingers deftly clicking in place a set of hidden buttons and catches in sequence, the twelve-sided box slowly slid apart and opened to his hands as he gently retrived the green crystal, he stared at it for a moment before slotting it into the hilt he had finished the other day.

Green light lit up the hallway, Dace stood there staring at the blade as the airlock was being cut open by the boarding crew.
As the door fell over he charged at the incoming troops, one hand reaching out and sending several of them flying back out into the boarding tube, he jumped over them.
Landing between them he sliced through a blaster before it got a proper aim at him and did a spinning kick that knocked out the last man.

Wow, that was a big ship … but it probably had the controls for the tractor beam near the engineering like all others. No time to lose.

Dace ran, his dreadlocks whipping behind him, a green blade in his left hand.

Soon to be resolved
Episode XLI - Onda: Tension

Onda felt that things were drawing to a close. There was an imminent vertex approaching. Travelling to Tarillion – a rombic-dodacahedron wonder – Onda felt the force telling him these things. Kranky was fidgety and nervous, there was a mood in the ship that you could feel. Everybody was feeling the upcoming storm.

Entering Tarillion they agreed that Onda would go for the portal farther into the space station and Kranky would make fortifications at in docking bay. Leaving Kranky to it, Onda took a small force of Nela Kohn’s forces and ventured into the station. Managing to lose their trail they we’re beset upon by some of them more vigilant defenders of Tarillion. Losing two of the Gensu-dai, they dispatched the attackers and continued on their way.

Getting near the tower that lead to Kath’ritt they saw that the base was preparing its defences. It positively crawled with droids everywhere. The boys with Onda got a bit scared by this, but seeing Onda’s resolve they managed to follow him into the tower. Ordering the boys to barricade the door, Onda went down to the portal. Kayn Nebulous was nowhere to be seen, and searching for him with his power Onda felt him below, on the other side of the closed doorway.

Knowing that time was of the essence Onda started to delve deep into his powers and look for a way into the portal. Drawing deeper and deeper on his power Onda felt something tear, he felt himself entering a new place. Everything started to fade. Fade into white….

Tests and Conquest
Episode XLI - Kotan

Forgive me for my wrongs, I have just begun.

“You survived the second test, in a way.” Kiados stated.
Kotan was tired, bruised and battered from the duel against the morgukai warrior and irritated by his wounds and the pointlessness of the last fight, he retorted sharply: “I deafeated the one that attacked me yes, for whatever point that makes”

“So you fought the nikto? the weakest challenge there – the most powerful was the girl in chains … " she chuckled at the confused expression he displayed. “I guess you still have much to learn. First answer one question though:Why are you here?

Collecting his composure, Kotan took a breath and answered calmly:
“Two reasons.” he raised a finger.
First; I don’t think you are the greatest threat in this conflict – you confirmed that suspicion in the crypt." He lifted a second finger.
“Secondly; I belive I have learned what I can from the other masters, you are the next logical step.”

“Pride, Arrogance.” Kiados stood behind him as she spoke, Kotan could hear movment, and the hiss of seals opening as she took of her helmet. His curiosity grew too strong and he turned around.
She had short cut dark hair and a regal jawline, but her eyes were covered by a tight fitted dark cloth. No eyes, like the one on Pybus, Kotan thought.
“I can tell that you were trained by jedi, it’s in your stance.” She raised an eyebrow at him.
“the first lesson is that there is always more to learn” Kiados drew her lightsabers.

The bridge of the unfamiliar ship was empty except the two of them, beyond the glass the vastness of space was glittering with similar ships; sleek, arrow-shaped, brown and red constructions, their design mean and agressive. They were preparing for the jump, and the invasion.

Kotan finished the adjustments to his armor and turned to see Kiados enter, his master enter, he mentally corrected himself.
Started pacing slowly in front of him her head facing the stars outside the massive windows.
“Imagine if you will, a community of hunters, nomadic and sceptical to new ideas like: settling in one place, growing crops – a primitive people in all ways”
She was thoughtful, Kotan could tell, this story was for her sake as much as for him.

“Then one day there is a light in the sky and these strange beings arrive.”
“And then these beings kill everyone, with ease, except you – you they take, up in the sky, and they hurt you and test you.”
She opened a hand, lightning crackled along her fingers before she closed her fist.
“All so you can learn this, this was what they wanted from us – to fuel their machines.”

“You were a slave to the Eternal Empire, but you found a way to climb the ranks.”Kotan ventured, facinated.
“Only because they chose it for me, I was property, one of Kath’ritt’s Hounds
Her face twisted in a grimace, a combination of self loathing, and hatred for her old master.

“When the empire collapsed, my master took me and entered the Infinity Gates, and when ”/wikis/sunsaith" class=“wiki-page-link”> Sun’saith and his people came for him I escaped … untill they captured me, and Sun’saith began his millenia of torture on me."

“I am so sorr… " Kiados sharply interrupted Kotan, and hissed angrily “If you ever try to pity me again, I will kill you where you stand!”

She turned to the exit and made to leave “today you will prove yourself” she threw over her shoulder as she reached the door.
“one question, master” Kotan rose from his seat, Kiados hesitated at the door. “What will you do when this is over?”

Kiados turned around and looked at her apprentice, after a couple of moments she opened the door and left “You sound just like Sun’saith now …” she grumbled as she left.

Left alone in the control room, Kotan looked out at the stars and the ships jumping to hyperspace one by one.
He started speaking, "May the force … " he interrupted himself with a snarl and stalked out the door.
Time to get this done.

The arrow-shaped boarding ship came in at a neckbreaking velocity, as it threatened to overshoot the landing area of Zone Zerek it made a agressive halt and partly embedded itself in the durasteel.
The sharp front of the ship split in four and opened outwards, a man in black close fitting armor strode down the ramp his black hair hung loose behind him and his lower face was covered by a stylized face mask showing a sneering beast. He lit his saber as he walked, and dark, armored figures stepped up to form a phalanx behind him, the red light making them seem demonic and otherworldy.
He briefly looked over the gathered denizens and their ugly makeshift barricades, some of the braver souls had started to tak aim at him.

With a gesture the closest militia were lifted up in the air, they spun around themselves in confusion as he adressed the crowd.
“Citizens of Zone Zerek, behind me hell and death follows. Anyone still standing here the next couple of minutes will die screaming.-But worry not, we are not here for you, if you let us pass without incident we wil travel on leaving you to your lives.”
Kotan looked at the ragged defenders, making sure to meet the eyes of several of the weakes ones, they all avoided his gaze.
“Is there really any point in dying here?”, he added. Now to see if they can manage to save themselves, if not I will have to live with their deaths on my hands as well.
Through the magnetic field seperating the station from space, the sharp silhuettes of many more ships started to appear, closing in on them fast.

“well … I’m out, not dying here.” someone mumbled, and like wildfire people left, drifting away and disappearing.

The only one that hadn’t moved was the burly armored and scarred wookie holding the yellow lightsaber.
Of course, you stupidly brave fool, now you decide to be the paragon of virtue, not even you can survive this force alone in the open, but now you decide to make a stand. Kotan thought as he almost admired the sheer bullheadedness of his friend.
The two friends stared at each other for a while, then Krankawarrok broke the silence,.
In his tongue he talked; his gutteral growls and snarls punctuated by expressive hand movements, having made his point he added a last bit and pointed at the ground.

After a while Kotan leaned to his second in command Kehn and whispered “Do you understand shyriiwook?” Kehn quckly translated to Kotan.

“mhm, yup, fighting or the wrong side, aha, leading the enemy against my friends, right and wrong, mhm, not going to move an inch, ok got it”
Kotan turned back to Krank and after a brief sigh said “I’m sorry that you feel that way.”
With a gesture he reached out and suddenly the massive wookie was flying at full speed past him and out into space.
If anybody can survive that it will be you, and that will keep you out of my hair untill I need you, old friend. Kotan justified to himself.

The other ships crashed into the station and landed violently, one of them entered wrong or had amalfuction and was engulfed in a wall of flame before entering.
Troops marched out, forming a perimiter as Kiados disembarked and walked up to Kotan “No resistance, like you promised – well done.” The flames framed their dark shapes and the surrounding warriors.

“This way to the vault” Kotan pointed, and together they started walking into the depths of Tarillion.

Introduction to Episode XLI

The dark chamber was silent again…
Jze crept silently along the walls of the one-part natural and one-part carved tunnels on the nameless, Force forsaken planet… it was nigh on void of life. That is to say, life was leaving the planet itself, through the very ground, through these very tunnels. Jze shivered and pressed on. He had to find Kranky and Onda, he had to get them to safety… the wailing of Warde hadn’t made it easy to convince the crew to stay, but Do Nio had agreed to wait for Jze.

“Why did you spare the Wookiee? Was it intentional or are you just incompetent?”
Kiados strode alongside Kotan through tunnels leading, Kotan suspected, to her ship. Kotan glanced sideways at her, but before he could utter a syllable: “I could still feel he was alive, even after your masterful deception” sarcasm dripping from every word, she continued “it is not exactly a trust making move, but I have come to understand the ways of your people, these times. Sentiment is a strong streak among your kind and the citizens of the galaxy, with a few noteworthy exceptions. It is a weakness easily enough purged.”

They left the underground tunnels through an opening in the side of a massive crater. Not far away Kotan noticed a shimmering field, Kiados waved her left hand and a ship was revealed. Arrow shaped, dark brown and red. Four figures just outside the entryway. Kotan could feel fear, whether his own or someone else’s, he was no longer sure. As they walked through the alien ship, Kotan only half-listened to Kiados as he marvelled at the technology, the strange design and the gentle hum of the engines as he could barely feel the ship start up and take off. “… so, having failed the first test, we must find another, or two… Don’t you agree?” As Kotan realised she had be talking to him, he was gently guided into a room, the door behind him closed.

Leaning back from the navicopmuter, Vex looked out at the galaxy and was not amused by his current predicament.
“Interesting. I’m in the void in the Void… how did I end up here?”
A sound from the cargo hold made Vex tare his gaze from the view of the galaxy and leave the cockpit. He contemplated his current situation, if only he could get things running again. Once more the spectre of Tera Sinube was projected to fill the centre of the cargo hold from floor to ceiling. He was talking, but the only sound was a rasping sound. It was the same recording as all the other times. A three minute recording, before it restarts and repeats itself. It did this repetitive sequence four time. Then it turns off for a time. Vex rummaged through their stores of food and drink once more… he was running out. There was a loud sound and whirr. Someone or something had connected to the Void’s airlock. “May the Force be with me.”

“He did what?!”
Nela Kohn’s voice was strained, and something was off with the cybernetic leg as it kept wobbling and moving even as she tried to stay still. Do Nio sighed, looking over the unconscious forms of Onda and Kranky he gestured to Martail, who ordered some crew members to move the patients to the medbay, Arana one step behind as they hastily made their way to do what they could for these unfortunate, betrayed heroes. Jze made his way to the command centre, to join Kaitai and Nela in the preparations for whatever was to come.

Warde sat meditating.
A green crystal in the palm of his hand. Tears running down his cheeks. How he had failed his saviours. It was a recurring thought. It had gone from irrational fear to certainty in less than a full sentence.

An awareness gathered itself
Slowly coalescing into consciousness. Again. “Once more? Really?” it asked. Something else: “Do you think your chosen path will ever let this end?”

Aeons worth of dust, piled impossibly high. Never moving. A thick crust. A crack appears somewhere in the middle, it spread upwards, downwards, outwards, inwards. An ever so slight shrug, followed by a short sigh. It returns again to a sort of stillness, a stillness that has not been disturbed since it first settled.

“They’ll live.”
“Krankawarrok will probably wake up first, unlike Onda he wasn’t covered in rubble. They should be ready for the next phase in no time. I should say, we don’t have much bacta left, these treatments consumed almost everything from our last haul.” Martail turned and left. Jze turned on the holomap again. Do Nio, Nela and Warde turn on their datapads. Nela started "So, we know from Rebel intel that Sinnius’ ship The Scourge of Elmar has been making repeated micro jumps in deep space between Tarillion and the poetically named system: S74R7, for some time. This combined with the assumed positions of Kiados’ interdictor forces, I think Sinnius is hunting. Also, he may not be alone. This also confirms that going to Tarillion with a too big ship, is inadvisable. The Last Echo may be too big, or just small enough." Nela paused. Kaitai studied the holomap, it showed the area and systems around Tarillion, and the dangerous hyperspace routes to Tarillion was highlighted as orange, squiggly lines.

“Are we really going through with this? With the loss of Kotan to the enemy, how can we hope to prevail against their combined might? Not to forget whatever other forces Kiados has at her disposal!” Warde pointed at the rhombic cube that represented Tarillion, “How can we hope to stop her from entering that station and make her way to the vault?”

Kaitai sighed. “First, we don’t know Kotan’s plan, if he has any, he could be dead, traitor or double agent. We just don’t know. We can’t let that make us hesitate.” Kaitai paused, then continued “So, from what data we do have, from Kranky and Onda, as well as the data Kotan supplied, we can infer that the station must have its own defensive systems. We also know approximately where the settlement they visited is located.” A green area was highlighted. “It is unlikely they will enter any other way considering Kotans awareness of where the vault is located and settlements assumed proximity to the vault, this is most likely their point of entry.” He looked at Nela.

She stared at the map, pointed at a highlighted blue line and said “It’ll take us two runs in the smaller ships to get all of us in this way. The Echo will run on a skeleton crew and make micro jumps as close as possible to the system, and from there go the rest of the way in real space. With some luck the ships our Rebel friends promised will arrive later today, they will join the Echo.” She paused. Warde looked at them both in bewilderment. “What if Kiados knows of another way in? What good will this plan do?” He looked at the two of them, then he turned to Jze.

Jze stared at a smaller holomap above his datapad, one of the entire galaxy. Noticing he had the room’s attention, he peeked at the three in turn. “I have here a map, it shows the trail of a signal I’ve been tracking. Kotan believed this signal could indicate the location of Sun’saith. I think he was mostly right. It led us to the dying planet, then it disappeared. I couldn’t detect it after we left. Not before today. It appears to be … reappearing.” Jze tapped his keys and superimposed on the map in front of Nela, Kaitai and Warde, a cloud of lights appeared. The cloud blinked and moved in a nauseatingly random pattern. It covered the whole map. “I don’t know what this means … but it’s all around us…”

The story of how everything went dark.
Episode XL: Betrayed by Kotan

Ondas view:
“It all started with a bad case of not sharing with the group. I should have suspected something when Kranks secretkeeping was so easily forgiven. Somebody was keeping secrets themselves.”

We had just rendezvoused with the Last Echo and were trying to get in touch with Sun’saith, when Krank finally got a vision. He freaked out of course, but the vision was about Sun’saith being captured by Kiados. It seemed they had him ready for slaughter.

We quickly decided to find Sun’saith to save him. I started searching for him with the force but his defences were to strong, I could not get through. I got some glimpses that could have told us Krank’s vision was a bait, but I could not be sure.

Joe could find him however. With Kotans clever plan to use a hyperspace buoy to triangulate Sun’saith’s position, we could find his current location. Sun’saith could, supposedly, travel through hyperspace at will.

After finding the location we flew our flagship to a dying planet. We disembarked and quickly found a tunnel leading deeper into the planet. I could feel the planet dying and the power this gave me.

We found the altar of my and Kranks vision and started searching for clues. During our search we were attacked by several lightsaber wielding foes, lackeys of Kiados it would appear to be. They were no match for us, although Krank went down again. After dispatching the majority of the foes we found that one of them was Kiados, and she wanted to talk.

She told us that she had the same goals as the rest of us: Killing and stopping Kath’ritt. While this kinda tickled my interest, my current thoughts was that the last of her minions had Kranks lightsaber. I told him to give it up, but he refused. I took it by force, killing him in the process. While picking up Kranks lightsaber I felt Kotan drawing his power and turned towards him. He was directing it at me! In a battle of wills I just managed to gain the upper hand, but he used his power of foresight to boost his powers and I flew away into the darkness. My final thought before everything went dark was: “How could Kotan gain the upper hand?”

Episode XL

“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.”

Harbours and Slipways
Episode XXXIX - Tarillion

Static, a blurry and waving image solidifies – a man with black hair and beard in brown robes leaning forward, he looks tired. He is in a small cabin, possibly on a starship.

“We are safe for now, Ta’lon and Burukut has seen to that, now we …”

He stops his account and composes himself before continuing in a calmer tone.

“It’s best to start with the beginning, rather than to launch oneself at the middle.
Trying to reach both back and forward in time to collect all stray bits of information usually results in flailing around in ones narrative like a child . – my first teacher would say.
I’ll take his advice. "

“Some of this information I’ve gained after the fact or through collaboration with others, some of it is plain guesswork and hypothese – I’ll try to limit that as well as I can.”

“So , after leaving Cato Neimiodia we navigated the hyperspace lanes from the hydian way, past mandalorian space and further towards the edges, our destination was a set of coordinates near Gree space.
But before reaching our destination our ship was forcibly ripped from hyperspace by two of the ships in Kiados fleet, using some unknown technology.”

“There were two reasons why this didn’t become our end:
First; whatever technology that allows to interfere with hyperdrives it doesn’t pinpoint where ships wil appear, so the gunners will have to find their mark before unleashing their firepower on it – I think this was why we were only hit with ion beams before our rescue.”

“The other factor is our rescuers; the Shadow Hound – a Lucre Hulk, the kind used by the trade federation during the galactic civil war, was waiting nearby and ambushed our ambushers. I’ve been told the fight was swift, frantic and inspiring – unfortunately we were unconsciously spinning in space while all this happened.”

“After regaining consciousness and getting the engines back online we quickly and roughly docked with the Shadow Hound before it jumped to hyperspace.
This is when we met Ta’lon, and more importantly his boss Burukut.”

“To clarify things I’m just going to reiterate what we were told during our meeting with him: Burukut has noticed the growing power of Kiados building in the galaxy and also has spied our growing interference with her plans. He has been using his network to keep tabs on both of us and has deciced that he does not like the idea of a future where Kiados gets her way. "

“He also admitted to manipulating us – Golok, on Mandalore was him it turned out, figures.”

“He seems intrigued by whatever it is Kiados seeks and has decided he wants it for himself, Onda was quick to agree with this notion I noticed …
I always suspected, but I guess I’ve deliberatly ignored his craving for power, it is crystal clear to me now – for all the good that does. "

He gets up and paces back and forth while talking.

“I don’t know what to do with this, scold him? like a child? or challenge his desire for strength and safety?
I can see how this is the darks side; the obsession with the ego and personal prowess … but it’s not something I can cure or remove with sweep of a hand. "

He sweeps his hands out to prove the point.

“He has to understand his mistake , he needs to choose a different path himself, I can only stand by him and give him the option, but the first step must be his, if I choose for him – there is no point, the pattern will repeat itself and I might as well kill him to save the galaxy from his growing power and ambition. -AND I WILL NOT DO THAT!”

He sighs, and sits down heavily on the bunk.

“I’ll never do that … no.”

Upset and worried he looks around the room and tries to gather his thoughts …

“Onda told me after our meeting that he sensed the force in Burukut, this suprises me, because I felt nothing … I don’t understand this, maybe it’s because that bothan is mad? or something else? Hmmm.”

“So here we are, onboard the Shadow Hound, we will soon leave for our destination, this time with new hyperspace routes that Kiados does not know. The Velvet Thunder is being repaired as we speak and we have some hours of rest before we leave.”

“Time to get some sleep”

He reaches out and turns of the recorder.
Static and warped images congeal to the same man, the lighting is different and shadows play across his face from a nearby powercell. His voice is soft and careful.

“It’s my turn to take watch.”

He gathers up his robes and gets into a better position before continuing.

“Tarillion Station is a marvel, I feel as though I should want to stay here and investigate it’s many habitats and secrets. There are large creatures living in sealed globes og immense size, droids scuttling around doing all manner of tasks, corridors realigning themselves at their own whim … some claim the place has it’s own intelligence. We’ve barely had time to look at it’s marvels before leaving. "

“But to be honest I don’t feel like staying, maybe I’m not just a scholar anymore? maybe these months have changed me more than I thought …”

" After meeting Jessek and the inhabitants of the outer station. We spent almost a day or more travelling to get to him – this place is enormous as I said.On the way there we met an ancient ithorian: Majora Untaithi. Her map helped us get to Kane Nebolous eventually."

“I could not sense her in the force like Onda did as well, it’s as if I’m deaf to it, maybe the station interferes with more senses than we know … Onda has always been the one with the sharpest senses …. yes, that is more likely.”

He clears his throat.

“But we were too late, Kane had already placed the Sirens’ Soul into one of the locks. Yes you heard that right, whatever these old artefacts unlocks, it’s somwhere here on the station.”

“We discussed with him the artifacts, the station, Kiados plans, our goals to stop her.
I tried my best to instill in him an understanding of the danger in unlocking something he had no understanding of. He was unfaced and kept going on about his research, the potential discoveries, how they could help other …”

“-Was I ever so foolish as this?!”

His look is baffled and annoyed, he shrugs before continuing.

“So let’s list the players in this game: Kiados seeks the artifacts to – according to Sun’saith; free her old master. Sun’saith, who’s morals I question as well as his sanity, seeks to defeat Kiados, possibly to continue his plans for her imprisonment – I don’t trust his reasons, and I’m sure ther are many things he is hiding behind that mask.”

“Then there is Ta’lon and his mad master Burukut, who desire power!”

He makes a dramatic and satirical clenching of his fist, before huffing and shaking his fingers offhandedly

“-regardless of the fact that they don’t know what shape or form it may come in.”

“there is also the explorer Kane Neboulous who wants to open up this vault simply to see what might happen …”

Kotan brings his hand to his temple and groans softly.

“Not one of all these fools consider the fact that if somebody imprisoned something inside a living, thinking, massive station at the edge of known space, it might be for a good reason?!”

“Even my own comrades, are drooling at the thought of power and forbidden knowledge that migh be a potential outcome if we fail. Am I the only one that understands how silly this is, how reckless it is to throw oneself off a cliff before checking if, you can in fact, fly?”

He composes himself after the last outburst and after a while leans back against the wall.

“I’m starting to see where all of this is leading, and what I must do to stop it … "

He sits in shadows for a long time, eventually he speaks and makes a small gesture.

“May the force be with us all.”

Recording ends.

“Sssh, he aproaches, the Betrayer-Saint, the King of Fools, seeking answers that he doesn’t want to hear. Get ready, yes yes, a venerable wise demeanor is what he craves, like so, and so.”

The old Ithorian turned away from her tinkering and sat herself in the middle of the small room, waiting patiently while talking to herself, eventually she grew still.
By the entrance a tall man slid out of the shadows, his long dark hair hanging down loose, his eyes haunted over the black beard that framed his jaw.

“Ah, the young man comes carrying a question, and a heavy one at that.”

“You were expecting me.” the man both stated a fact and asked a question as he stepped closer, the old crone merly nodded.

“The rule of two.” the man started, wringing his hands as he looked around the room, almost expecting it to have changed since his last visit. “It is the law between apprentice and master among the sith, there can only be the two … what if the apprentice takes on her own apprentice when the master is away?”

The old woman chuckled “It would make quite the mess if the master returned, uncertain where any loyalties would lie, who would turn on whom.” she snorted. “But you know this bit young Kotan, ask me what you’re really here for.”

Kotan kneeled in front of Majora, gripping his knees he closed his eyes and hissed. “How much will it cost? How far will it go? Who must I sacrifice if I try this?!”

He opened his eyes and stared at the crone, his eyes serching for hope or truth.
Majora Unataithi opened her left hand and red light from the kyber crystal in her hand spilled across the room, covering both of them in it’s glow.
“Everything Kotan, you could lose everything, but you could save everything as well.”

The young man rocked back as if he’s been struck, his eyes on the crystal, they sat there for along time.
Eventually he asked ,“How do I start? what must I do?”

“She will seek you out and offer you power after you do these two things; first pick up the crystal.” the old gnarled palm lifted up between them. “but know that if you do, you have to take the second step too, no going back halfway young man.”

Kotan held his hand over the crystal, after a minute he took a breath and picked it up. “Ok what now?”

“Now Kotan Blen, you must kill me.”

Episode XXXVIII: Impending resolution.
Plans and travelling

Onda spent a whole lot of time working on his lightsaber. The crystal he had gotten of Suljo Warde was a good addition to his collection. It seemed it could be well used in combat. Now it only needed to be christened in its first battle.

The proximity alarm went of; It was time to pick up Kotan and Kranky from their last foray into danger. Flying the Last Echo closer to dock with the Velvet Thunder, Onda felt it was good to drive something so big. It gave him a sense of power, of welcoming control. There seemed to be a spot of trouble coming out of the Velvet Thunder, after sending both ships into hyperspace Onda went to meet with the returnees.

His friends had returned with three other sentients, among them an unconcious Nela Kohn and a twilek girl that refused to leave Krankawarroks side.
Krank was a sight; he was covered in cuts and blood, but most disturbing was the deep cut in his face -where his eyes were supposed to be there was only blood and swelling.
Weird, he always seemed to be able to take a proper beating before. Onda thought.

“What happened to you down there?” he asked a disheveled Kotan.
“Things … escalated, they got a bit … out of hand.” he looked tired, his eyes were ringed and sunken.

Krank and Nela Kohn was wisked away by the onboard medic: Martail.

Later when she was awake, Nela Kohn and the other surviving Gensu’Dai; Kaitai Norma, got into contact with others of their kind and a meeting was set up in a remote part of space.

“I will not bore you with long speeches, " Nela Kohn said, before she bored them with a long speech about how they had survived the storm and gotten stronger or something.
Onda stopped listening to her drivel after a while and scanned the assembled faces in the Last Echo’s Dojo, almost fifty new bodies had joined the Gensu’Dai, The Last Echo had it’s crew now. More meat for the grinder.. Onde mused.

Having decided upon tracking Jessek and going after him, Onda and Kotan delved out into the galaxy in search of him. Using meditation techniqes they combined their forces and sent their minds out. This time Kotan let Onda take the lead, but it seemed like the universe itself was resisting his strength. This hurts! I need to be more assertive with my force use. The experience was not comfortable for Onda, but they prevailed. They found the system Jessek was currently in: a remote part of space near the Gree-system.
Now they just needed to get there.

The system was far off and needing speed to get there; they opted for the Velvet Thunder, Aach and Kotan had finally managed to get the enviromental controls to work.

Before leaving they made a plan with the Gensu’Dai and Isini: the Last Echo would travel through the outer rim to avoid the empire, while the Velvet Thunder would cut through the the core worlds and use the Hydian Way to arrive at their destination.

A mere two weeks journey got them to Cato Neimoidia, and a terse meeting with Onrein Hasar. She facilitated the refueling of their ship and got Krank a backstreet surgeon, he was tired of not seeing.
He spent an inordinate amount of time installing the new eyes, and there was something not right with the rest of him. Onda decided to keep an eye on him and to press him on it later.
As they left Onrein Hasar made sure they understood thet she was now done with them, and if they ever returned she would not treat them as friends.
Onda just smiled at the challenge.

Travelling onward to the final destination the ship was suddenly pulled out of hyperspace, and bombarded with ion weapons.

All systems failed, the ship was spinning uncontrollably.

Darkness claimed them.

Sensing the way forward.
Episode XXXVII. And So Smote Kranky.

Having agreed to save Kotans mentor, venerable Nela Kohn, Kranky found himself once more on a quest. Maybe even making it out of this one without being grievously wounded. These might yet be a good few days.

Leaving the Velvet Thunder the recently acquired vessel, they went to the Imperial Detention Facility. Having spent a fair amount of time scouting its defenses, they agreed to infiltrate, silently. What could possibly go wrong?

“Plans never survive contact with the enemy, or Kotans ineptitude at hiding.” Or so Kranky thought whilst throwing Kotan between the nearby boulders. Kotan had managed to make enough noise to draw a team from the patrol route. They had to find something. Finding something is better than them finding nothing, or everything. Such went the logic of Kranky as he found himself quickly in restraints and manhandled towards the facility.

The Imperial body search had relieved Kranky of all the weapons they could find. The vibroknife, the shield. Once more the cybernetic cavity implant had concealed his preferred weapon, the lightsaber. Transporting the big wookie downwards into the facility, they chained him to the floor in a damp cell, amongst other cells. The restraints made it impossible to reach for, kneeling, backbound and chained to the floor. Trying to extract it, made things worse. Getting stabbed from the inside, hurts somehow less than from the outside.

Having reached the state of mind necessary to enhance himself. Kranky sought to break the shackles. A heave, and the chains separated from the floor. Another and his hands were free to move. Using the weapon he rendered the chains from his being.
“Always me doing this. Once, just once, I would love to see the others do this bit.”

Breaking through the door, he came upon a small group of troopers. Inelegantly dispatched. One got away. Alarms sounding. “Attichitcuks hairy nostrils, this seems too familiar”

Other cells. Open them.

First cell, Gen’sudai worn, mobile. One of Nelas’. Second cell. Terrified twi’lek, in shock. Need to get them out. Carry twi’lek.

Gen’su dude volunteers to distract. Alright.

Get them to safety. Kotan and Joe, can handle themselves. They should. Cannot watch over them all the time. Others need me now.

Found Gensu’dude. Got them to the Void. Left the dude with instructions to fly if we do not make it back. They should be good. For now. Get back to the others. There is probably a bug in the software, and an idiot on the loose.

There is also a guard, all in red at the front. Pacing back and forth. No blaster. Would have engaged up close anyway, but bad sign.

The crimson guardsman can fight. Blows were exchanged, parried and riposted. Beating down the Guardsman blow by blow, Kranky gained the upper hand. Pressing the attack led nowhere good. Overextending and the parry deflected into Krankys eyes. Blinded. Angry. Still somehow maintaining an advantage. A strike finally taking the guardsman down.

Sounds like Kotan showed up. Cannot see….

Episode XXXVII - Daces' studies continue

A squad of army troopers had surrounded a man, he had his back to them. They were all standing in a clearing, at the start of its autumn cycle, some leaves were already changing colour but the forest was still mostly a vibrant green.
“Raise your hands and kneel!” One of the troopers, a sergeant, most likely, had stepped to the front and was shouting orders at their captive.

Kotan turned around slowly, hands raised. “You will find that there is no need for this , sergeant. I am expected at this compound.” he gestured at his belt and the datapad clipped to it. “If you will let me produce my credentials?”
The sergeant looked to his men and after a brief contemplation, edged forward to inspect the files.

As the man was glaring at the the datapad , Kotan was speaking, his words slow and careful “As you can see, it says here that I’m expected in the compound, everything is tip-top”

The trooper was nodding slowly.
“Yes, expected, tip … – wait, these ain’t no credentials, what the … ?!”

Kotan cursed, and reached forward with his right hand, around him, the troopers were taking aim and getting ready to fire.
Suddenly the sergeant lurched, and turned around in the air, as though a giant invisible hand had grabbed him, and lifted him up. He was screaming as he flew into the rest of his squad, bouncing between them and into a nearby tree

Time slowed to a still.
Dace was walking around the image of Kotan Blen who was standing with his arms pointed at the army troopers, his eyes were closed.

“That’s amazing! … Is this the true power of the force that you’ve told me about?”

The image of Kotan slowly started changing; his hair and beard growing longer, scars deepening, along with some wrinkles. “No, Dace this is not strength.” He turned his head towards the apprentice and opened his eyes, “This is just destruction and death, and it could have been avoided, keep watching Dace”

The scene resumed playing, and Kotan – looking younger again now, straightened up and sighed heavily at the destruction he had caused. He shook his head and briskly started walking toward the Imperial compound, on the way he snatched a stormtrooper helmet and ripped out the comlink, placing it in his ear.

The gates broke apart and warped like paper, between the crumpled forms spinning in the air on each side Kotan walked in, his hair was caught in the wind and he tugged irritably at it.
Somewhere in the distant parts of the facility, screams echoed and alarms started ringing.

The image froze.

Dace stood to the side, looking at the scene, “Why are we stopping? what happened after?” Behind him the older form of Master Kotan stepped out of the shadows.
“This was what I wanted to show you Dace.”
He walked around the young man as he spoke
“At the same time as I was seeking out my own goal, one of my friends was slicing into the Imperial mainframe and gathering info that would save multiple lives in our near future, and another was freeing their prisoners and putting his life on the line to bring the wounded out of the base. Both of them could have needed my help, but I didn’t care.”

Dace turned after the image of his mentor, “But you said this Neela-person was important, so somebody had to go after her, right?”

His mentor put his etheral hands on Dace’s shoulders and getured at the frozen form of the younger Kotan, “That’s not the point Dace, look at his eyes now, really look at them … what do you see?”

Dace glanced at his mentor before stepping up to the image, it felt weird to have the image of a man talk about his younger self like a different person. “Uh, they are dark-like yours, he is squinting slightly because of the smoke and wind …. Uh, he looks kinda scary, what is it you want me to see here?”

“The anger Dace, the intensity and the focus, all of these come from the dark side, I was afraid for the well-being of my mentor, of what had happened to her and what was happening to her, so I focused on her at the cost of everything else.”
He pointed at his younger self.

“So look at those eyes and see what I didn’t see myself that day: the Fear, Dace – that is what will lead you to the dark side.” He paused and sighed. “When you stop caring about what happens to anything else than yourself and your goal, that’s when you lose sight of it.”

Dace stood there for a long time, staring at his two masters.
“I … I think I understand, but what happened after?”
The old warrior waved his left hand dismissively “That is not important to this lesson, we should go back to your training”.
“No! I want to know what happened.” Dace’s pose was defiant and eager, he faced the ghost of the old man and the two of them stared at each other for a long time.

After a while Kotan rolled his eyes and gestured in front of them.
“Very well, apprentice, see for yourself.”

The younger version of Kotan was walking down a dark hallway, heading underground, he entered a dark hallway, the only light from wall-mounted torches

Standing in the middle of the room was a warrior in a crimson robe, with blood-red armour.
“Please stand aside and you won’t get hurt” Kotans voice was shaking, but his eyes were scanning the room confidently.

The red warrior brushed his cloak to the side and raised a metal baton, from both ends vicious metal blades appeared without a sound, he settled into a warriors stance, preparing for battle.
Kotans hand shot out, fingers spread and slightly curled, his brow was furrowed. Across the room his opponent tensed.

Kotan hissed through clenched teeth: “Skywalker … Is at the gates … you need to stop him, yes?”

The Royal Guard charged past Kotan and kept on running towards the exit.

The image of the younger Kotan exhaled audibly and kept walking into the next room, Dace was standing behind him pumping his fist in the air and laughing. “Yes! That was awesome! Who is Skywalker by the way?”
The older version of Kotan walked alongside the younger and answered " I have actually no idea, it was just a name that I overheard in hushed whispers and reverence while we were guests of the Rebel Alliance, it seemed like it was someone important." They entered an arene and crossed over into a cell to the left.

Kotan found the unconcious body of Nela Kohn suspended in the cell to the right, he cut the constraints with his lightsaber and gently lowered her to the floor, she was covered in cuts and bruises.
She briefly stirred, her eyes roamed over his face, not understanding.
“It’s ok, I got you, I’m going to get you out of here’” She mumbled something incomprehensible and drifted off into unconsciousness.
Kotan grabbed his mentor and lifted her to her feet, he staggered under the weight briefly and then started making his way out to the central arena.

The door from the opposite side of the arena slid open and a black-clad figure with a visored helmet stepped through, in his hand he was carrying a lightsaber of a uncommon, disc-like design.

The inquisitor charged at them, red blades appearing from his weapon.

Kotan turned his back on his opponent and carefully laid down his friend, dodging a blow aimed at his back he turned at his enemy. A quick gesture lifted the man up in the air and was followed by a precise cut into the mans torso.
He flailed around with his saber as he was dying, Nela cried out in pain as a leg was cleanly severed.
“No!” Kotan reached out and his opponent was crushed to the floor by a invisible hand.
He kneeled by the whimpering Nela Kohn. “Hold on, general, I’ll get you out of here.” He gathered her up and ran for the exit.

Behind him Dace was staring with his mouth open " I … uh … wow …. when am I learning THAT?!" The scene changed to the outside as Kotan was carrying the unconscious woman towards a gate, a large insectoid being in a trenchcoat was working at the controls.

The holocron image of the older version of Kotan was standing next to Dace “Sloppy, risky, if I had paid attention she wouldn’t had lost her leg, if I had helped my friends she wouldn’t had lost her leg and more prisoners could have survived, the possibilities are endless but they all have the same judgment Dace; I should have done this differently.”

The large doors slid open, standing on the other side was massively muscled wookie, covered in old scars, new cuts and blood. At his feet was the crumpled form of the Royal Guard. The wookie roared in pain and defiance, blood was pouring from his eyes.

“By the ancients! what is that beast?!” Dace was backing away from the image if the imposing warrior.
His mentor turned from the image to his apprentice and smirked at his apprentice
“That is my friend,Krankawarrok"


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