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Wolph in the Fold, Part IV

Posted on Wed Jun 30th, 2021 @ 3:21am by Zenarrah Sozo & Amare & Bomoor Thort

Chapter: Chapter VI: The Last Bastion
Location: Reborn Jedi High Temple, Coruscant
Timeline: Mid-Week Three

OLD

“Feel your surroundings. This place… it’s insidious. It draws the curious in like a bug to a spider’s web. We're in the home of the great Reborn Jedi Order, and yet they still permit the rot of the past to fester deep within its hallowed halls. Why hide this beneath an illusion that only one of us could unlock? Why not take these evil things and throw them all into a pit of flames? You see, that’s really why I’m here. I am a seeker of the truth. Yes, I’m a Jedi, of a sort, but if you want a full confession from me, you’ll have to lower your weapon. Or did you fall asleep in class when they told you that testimony given under threat of violence is not admissible in court?”

Clearly not buying into Amare’s suggestion, the Jedi grabbed her wrist and said, “I do not need permission from a court to execute a dark Jedi. I am a Templar of the order and your clumsy apprentice act will not work on me.”

In a flash, Amare had ignited her own weapon and the Togruta pulled back just in time to prevent his arm being sliced off. He pointed his blade at her, now firmly in a combat stance, “I see you will not come willingly,” his voice becoming more monotone, as though he was echoing the voice of another, “You will die this day for the protection of the Light side and the Republic.”

NEW

It was clear to Amare that there was no peace or serenity in the young Togruta as he viciously raised his weapon in an intimidating Form V overhead stance poised to cleave the fledgling Sith Lady apart. She quickly sidestepped, parried the chop with her shoto before it tore her right arm off and riposted by bringing her blade up, around, and cross-slashed at the Templar's right shoulder. She cursed inwardly when she was easily blocked as she found her energy blade--intended to be a defensive off-hand weapon or for a diminutive fighter well-versed in Form IV Ataru--lacked the reach to threaten that far in to her foe's body without overextending and exposing herself to a killing blow. She was growing fearful and frustrated that she did not have a proper lightsaber to engage in a dueling situation; yet another reason to seek vengeance on Nala Sao if she survived this.

'Sith...', Amare heard the ethereal call of an unfamiliar male's voice sweep lightly through her surface thoughts like a cold winter's breeze, '...come...closer'....

"You come so unprepared into the heart of the Light side," the Jedi spoke as he paced around the Nautolan in a guarded stance, "Like a moth to the flame, it will burn you up before your foulness can infect the pure of heart here within these walls."

With only the faintest indication of his movement, the Togruta sprang forwards, pressing his blade down upon Amare's thin shoto, forcing her to bear his full weight upon it with both hands. He edged forwards, the crackling plasma drawing dangerously closer to the Sith's pale blue skin.

"By the high powers of the Templar order, bestowed by Master Lahan and sanctioned by Grand Master Quellus," the familiar names resonated with displeasure in Amare's mind as the man spoke them, "I execute you this day for the preservation of galactic peace and order."

Amare was feeling the heavy pressure of the Templar's full press on her legs and her back, her extremities trembling under the combined weight of her foe's broad frame enhanced by the Force. In that moment, with such close proximity between them, Amare could feel more than a man doing his duty, there was an influence coming over him. She could feel him giving in to anger and hate, but most welcoming of all: his overconfidence. Just as the great winged beast Zenibalas had believed her an easy meal out in the desert of Lorrd, so too was this strong Togruta man seeing her as an easy target. It then flashed in her mind; the sandstorm that blew through, giving her the chance to surprise the beast, and then she remembered the Kaleesh cultist on Korriban and the weakening storm he created just out of sheer will and superior knowledge. Amare realized at the critical moment with those two experiences put together that she had a new surprise of her own.

"You...talk...too much!" Amare struggled to say as she let one hand slip off her shoto and immediately discharged a fleeting stream of Sith lightning right into the Templar's abdomen. The Togruta's quick shout of pain was music to the Sith's auditory canals. Although it wasn't enough to knock him back, or even stagger him, the sudden unexpected jolt did enough to momentarily shatter his concentration and weaken his assault to where Amare could shove him back with her blade off her. She then followed through with a telekinetic strike to throw him hard at a bookcase that was behind him. The impact sent old cracked and dusty tomes tumbling to the floor along with a cylindrical black and chrome object that rolled to the floor. Amare reached out to it, and it snapped up straight to her hand.

Upon catching the lightsaber, however, was an act she instantly regretted. She was immediately assaulted with violent images of mass murder, a battlefield filled with other Jedi and Sith, entire armies butchering each other with reckless abandon. The one who once owned the weapon long ago with filled with blind madness, his entire world filled with shades of red, blood and sweat burning his eyes, and still he could the blows coming, parry them effortlessly, and take head after Jedi head.

The lightsaber, in spite of its venerable age, growled to life in Amare's left hand. Its scarlet blade rippling in a partially distorted fashion as it was barely able to maintain a straight shape, tiny red and white sparks sputtering from the damaged emitter housing, and there was some electrical sparks in the lower part of the hilt where it was damaged just above the pommel. With a weapon in each hand, she flourished both sabers once and stood ready in a classic Jar'Kai stance.

"You Jedi...so self-righteous...slaves to your Republic," Amare hissed at the Templar, her eyes glowing red with a long dead Sith's unquenchable antipathy for the light side of the Force enhancing her own disgust for it. She pointed the Sith lightsaber at the Templar's face. "The Rift Knights were right; you're all bloodthirsty hypocrites!"

The young Templar picked himself up and briefly rubbed his torso where Amare’s lightning had ripped through. He then turned his gaze upon the woman, now not masking his contempt. Both combatants now bore their true essence to each other.

“If you are with the Rift Jedi, then they have fallen far further than even Master Rynseh warned,” he growled, “If that cursed weapon calls to you, you are a blight that must not pain the Force with your existence any further!”

With that, he leapt forwards keeping his blade firmly across him, pre-empting contact with both the shoto and the Nautolan’s newfound blade. They clashed and spun, their blades slicing and burning all manner of ancient tomes that now lay sprawled around them. The man was powerful, but was now wary of the Amare’s dark magic, keeping his guard higher so as not to be burned again.

Amare narrowly sidestepped a chop, dodged a reverse cross-slash whilst almost nearly striking her shoulder against a stone pillar. She kept backing off, finding it far easier to defend herself with two weapons, using her senses and instincts to wind her way around tables, bookcases, even an obsidian armoire that got sliced open in wild slice by the Templar revealing old Sith clothing on the verge of disintegrating. She wanted to attempt to drain him, but there was no time, and it was far too risky, especially with both of her hands occupied. A moment later, she parried a thrust to her right thigh with her shoto, but then as she moved to riposte, the Togruta moved fast to rotate her weapon in quick motion that caused her right hand to lose its grip on the secondary blade and see it get thrown aside. In that same breath, her left hand was bringing down the Sithsaber, but the Templar reacted with such incredible celerity that he managed to bring his weapon up to meet Amare's slash just in the nick of time before his skull was split in twain. Amare used this opportunity to plow her right boot right into the Jedi's gut, right where her lightning had struck, once more staggering him back away from her.

Her confidence rising, Amare was quickly taming the spiritual influence of the damaged old lightsaber, and decided it was time to think as her master does, and stepped back, saluted with the blade vertically in front of her and entered a formal Makashi stance for the first time in a real duel.

"You're a good sparring partner," Amare critiqued through panted breaths having been pushed to her near physical extremes. "It's too bad you're so quick to break your Code in the pursuit of murder. Perhaps you and your ilk are the real enemies of the Republic."

The man, still slightly winded from the blow, readied himself in a crouching position, "How... dare you, filthy... dark one."

He rose up and Amare could feel him focussing his strength, through possibly some taught technique to gather together his emotions in combat, "The code is not some chain to bind the righteous, but you will never know the mercy of the Force, only its wrath."

He rose his blade, its blue light catching a faint beam of dusty light that shone down into these forgotten archives and he recited the final line of the code, "The Force shall save me from death."

The darkness behind the Templar was then broken by a staff of two golden energy blades coming to life with a distinctive activation sound.

"Cease hostility!" shouted the owner of the saberstaff, the voice vaguely feminine and altered through a voice modulator, and blocking the only way in or out of the Bogan Archives. "You are both in violation of the rules governing this Temple. Drop your weapons. Now!"

The young Templar faltered, dropping his blade an inch as he turned to face the newcomer with surprise, "A Temple Guard?" he queried, looking her up and down to seemingly validate his first glance.

The distinctive garb of the Temple Guards had not altered much since the times of the first Republic, aside from a greater emphasis on the gold trim to exemplify the golden age of the Republic in which the Reborn Order existed. The long, creamy beige robe and cowl largely obscured the form of the wearer, as was the way of the Temple Guards, completed by the flat, emotionless face mask. Even if this woman had acquired the full outfit, the distinctive golden saberstaff, she wielded would be impossible to acquire by nothing less than murdering a member of the Guards.

The Togruta continued, "But even you are not allowed entry into here. I have every right to..."

The business end of one of the golden blades was pointed at the Templar. "You both have five seconds to comply," she said firmly as she moved her aim to point at the young Nautolan intruder.

Amare huffed in exasperation, her anger broiling within that her luck had finally run out. It was all over; there was no way she could fight both a trained Jedi stronger than her plus a formidable Temple Guard with more likely on the way. The wild rabid influence from the Sith lightsaber pushed at her, demanding that she fight to the death, but she hated how it dared to consume her thoughts, how it attempted to enslave her to its berserker's mindset. She deactivated both lightsabers and threw to her sides.

"I surrender! Please don't hurt me. I followed this one here into this place when I sensed the presence of the dark side," Amare lied to the guard, a very risky gambit, but she hoped her alignment-masking ritual would help conceal her falsehood of her story. It was basically her word against his at this point, unless the Guard had witnessed the Togruta entering the Archive before she did. "He attacked me on sight."

The guard kept silent and stepped forward slowly, now pointing her weapon back at the Togruta. Regardless of who was was allowed in the room, the Guards were the lawgivers of the Reborn Jedi Order, answerable only to the head battlemaster of the Temple, and by extension the High Council. They had no tolerance for illegal activities within the Temple walls. It was known to all Jedi of all ranks that failure to comply with a Guard's lawful command would be met with a swift and decisive response. To challenge them was always tantamount to folly, for they were among the best swordsmen in the Order, mighty Sentinels one and all, adaptable and prepared to meet all possible threats.

“That,” the Togruta pointed his lightsaber blade, still ignited, at Amare, “Is a lie. This dark-sider entered here and I executed my rightful duty as a Templar to ensure the blasphemous secrets of this vault never leave.”

He turned to the temple guard and respectfully bowed his head slightly, “I respect your authority in the defence of the temple, but a Templar’s mandate to purge the dark side supersedes your own duty in this instance. I humbly request that…”

He did not have a chance to finish his sentence before the guard stepped forwards and, as though it were a casual act, tapped onto the man’s forehead. His posture immediately relaxed and he dropped his weapon down to his side, disengaging it.

“I… humbly request…” he repeated in a daze, his mind seemingly trying to piece together where it had been going next.

"Hold perfectly still young man,” the guard said to him as she stepped around the Togruta and placed her free hand firmly on the muscle between his neck and shoulder from behind. It was then that Amare saw something all too familiar: the guard’s hand engulfed in crimson red light. The Togruta quivered, shook, and convulsed as the guard shockingly indulged in the use of the dark side, draining his Force energy away. In seconds, it was done, and she released the Templar, letting him fall to the floor.

“Y-you killed him?!” Amare asked in exasperation and confusion. “What kind of a Temple Guard kills one of their own, and with dark powers no less?”

The guard slowly turned to the unarmed Amare and pointed one of her saberstaff at her. “Why so shocked, Amare?”

The mention of her true name left Amare utterly dumbfounded. “How…how do you know that name?”

“You’ve done your share of killing before, haven’t you?” The guard pressed the tip of the saber closer to Amare’s face at near point black range. “You should be happy for his death…if he was actually dead, that is.” The saberstaff was powered down and she clipped it out of sight at the back of her belt. She then extended her hand to help Amare up.

“I can stand fine on my own,” Amare said as she rose, back still to the wall, wondering who it really was behind the mask. She couldn’t sense anything familiar, even with the modulated voice. Were it not for the display of Force power, one could have wondered if the guard was actually a droid in disguise. “Who are you? Who sent you? How is that you came to b—“

“I am someone you can trust more than most,” the guard cut in, holding up a hand to stop Amare’s rapid string of nervous queries, “and I was not sent by your master. It’s clear he sent you here on a fool’s errand.” She knelt to check on the Togruta to make sure he was still breathing. “I am very close with your mother, Zenarrah Sozo. I actually came to rescue another from this Temple, but the Force saw to it that I would chance upon you too, and a most fortunate encounter at that. This Knight almost had you.”

“I was luring him into a false sense of dominance,” Amare as a desperate salvage attempt at saving her bruised ego. “I would have taken him on my own just fine.”

“Oh, of course you would,” the guard said sardonically as she telekinetically summoned the worn down Sith lightsaber to her hand. “With this old trinket no less? Amazing the capacitor held stable in this condition. It could have easily overloaded when you turned it on, and you would have been vapourised. Between coming to this Temple and playing with old dangerous artifacts, one would wonder if you had a death wish of sorts.”

Amare had in her hands the “Telos Holocron”, or what was likely a clever fake of some kind. Whatever it was, she wasn’t about to leave empty-handed.

“What is that you have there? Is that what you’re here for?” the guard asked.

“The Telos Holocron, or so I had thought,” Amare said as he slipped it into her travel satchel.

“Seems like an ugly oversized paperweight to me,” the guard commented. “I know of no such holocron, and that thing has almost no Force influence upon it. Look, I don’t know how you’ve managed to conceal your true intentions from everyone you’ve encountered here so far…well, until this idiot zealot on the floor came along, but I think you’ve risked your freedom and life for nothing, and you need to leave this Temple as quickly as you can.”

Amare saw the Togruta was moved to a seated position against the wall where she had been, two old weathered and cracked Sith tomes open next to him, and the Sith lightsaber being wiped with a handkerchief by the guardswoman to remove fingerprints, and then placed in one of his hands.

“Are you…wait, are you creating some kind of crime scene?” Amare wondered. “To frame him and cover up what happened?”

“Indeed,” the guard confirmed as she stood up and assessed the improvised setup, making sure it was above scrutiny. “Those of us in the Temple Guard are none too pleased about the existence of the Templars. The idea alone flies in the face of true Jedi doctrine. If you’re wondering about your so-called holocron going missing, that will be questions for him to answer.” She turned to Amare, “Are you ready to go?”

“More than ready, but I’m not sure how to escape at this point,” Amare replied.

“You mean you came here without an escape plan?” The guard asked sounding none too surprised. “Didn’t Zen leave you a layout of this place? She was one of us for years and knows everything about this Temple…well, almost everything. To be honest, none of us knew of this little outcropping of the Archives even existed except perhaps the Guard Captain, given his rank of Master, and even then, I couldn’t be sure.”

“So most of you are Knights then?” Amare queried out of plain curiosity.

“Do you have a holo-comm?” the guard asked, ignoring the question.

“Yes, but why?” Amare asked pulling out the tiny holoprojector disk and presenting it in her open palm.

The guard began to tap a few hidden computer keys on her gauntlet and the holoprojector received and displayed a three-dimensional layout of the current floor they were on. The guard explained the hidden exit route meant only for extreme emergencies, the dangers to watch out for in those dark corridors and ventilation shafts, and added, “…Once there, use the old tram you see and the platform will take you to the hangar where my ship, the Sundog, is. You can’t miss it. Modern Corellian, red stripe along the outer edge of the hull. Wait inside and do not power anything on, not even emergency lights. Stay hidden and silent. If I am not there within the next two hours, I’ve executed a program that will make the ship’s computer give you its command codes. In that case, fly out of there and don’t look back. Now, time for you to go.”

“Thank you,” Amare said gratefully, retrieved her shoto, and turned to leave.

“Wait,” the guard stopped her. “I closed the passage behind me when I entered. You will need the Force again to leave but be cautious. Remember where you are. Make sure no one is out there, then stay the path I laid out for you. Focus your power on blending into the shadows; no more conversations or spying. It’s clear you’ve a long way to go with a lightsaber, but Zen told me your powers are considerable. Use them, rely on them, and harbour no fear in your heart. Do you understand?”

Amare nodded her understanding, wondering why the guard was being so concerned about her well-being after they only just met. “When we meet again, do you promise to reveal yourself to me and explain how you learned to use the dark side like that?”

“You have my word that it shall be so,” the guardswoman said. “Leave the passage open on the way out. I will depart and allow someone passing by to find it open where they’ll discover ‘Captain Hero’ here having played with things beyond his ken. The spell I used on him will muddle his short-term memory for a little while, buying us some time.”

Amare took a deep breath, glanced at the Togruta, and parted ways with the guard. She had a hidden freighter to catch.

When the way out was opened, and Amare slipped back quietly into and away from the Jedi Archives like a thief in the night, the guard spoke softly to herself.

“May the Force serve you well…my child.”

END




AMARE

☼ New Ability - Sith Magic: False Light Side Aura
▬ Lightsaber Form I (Shii-Cho): Average -> Good
▬ Lightsaber Dual Wield (Jar'Kai): Average -> Good

 

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