Throughout the galaxy greed has stripped and ripped apart countless systems, stars, and planets in the name of power. Ifrane was once a beautiful planet, so full of life, laughter, peace and serenity. Yet, with the ancient Jedi long gone, the planet had fallen into corruption, greed, and infighting. Stripped and destroyed of its natural resources, nature lashed out, destroying all of civilization and cultures that had existed on the planet. Millions had perished in the cataclysm and with it came a cry that rippled through the force, leaving the planet barren and filled with a dark pain that any force user could feel when approaching the planet.
Yet, even in darkness light was still present. Whether it was the will of the force a simple coincidence, the ancient Jedi Praxeum still managed to stand among the fire and ruin--the key to understanding the light had been hidden away on a planet that could very well tempt the strongest of Jedi to the dark side. One could suppose that the force had willed it to be the true test of one's commitment to the light.
Jedi Instructor Oren Zapan was not aware of the grave danger he had imposed upon his students and fellow instructor. They could all feel it, the danger the fear, the death, but under it all they could feel the possibility of life and light. Landing on the planet had been no easy task, they had managed to find an old Imperial Landing platform, which they used to touch down, but they would have to make the journey across the toxic and lifeless planet, through the forest of Irontrees and to the entrance of the ancient ruins--the instructors had planned on detailing what they had known about the old Jedi of the past, the origins of their order and the fluidity of the force, yet it seemed things weren't going to be so simple.
As they embarked a sudden ash storm would fall upon the group, splitting them apart. The instructors would have tried to reach out through the force to find each other, but the ash was too thick and too heavy to see one and another and so they were separated. Jedi Knight Maxims (@Nefieslab) would find himself stranded along a bank of a lava river with students Saul Devan (@Nightfall) and Moza Aban (@Cero Serat). Beyond the iron forest and towards the mountains, one could see a distant echo calling to them--surely this was the way. Unbeknownst to them, a group of savage pirates on the run had crash landed within the forest. In such circumstance would one give into their fear of the unknown, would the pirates give into their anger and primal urges?
Emotion, yet peace... the sentiment lingered withing the presence of the area.
He could have been in hell. It certainly felt like it. As the heat lashed out against his skin and the ash fell in waves into his eyes and hair, Saul couldn’t help but question the wisdom of his masters in coming to this Force forsaken place. It felt like one anyhow.
He knew better than to truly think that, honest. There were enough sights and sounds of the galaxy under his belt now that he’d left Virgillia to know that not everything was as it seemed. Ifrane had to be the same if the Jedi had once prized it so highly. But looking around the burning Iron Forest to the hills beyond, he had to wonder what it had once been like to bring them here in the first place. Part of him could see it, in his minds eye, rolling hills and plains, snow capped mountains and forests between. It was that will he had to bring here today, the world he had to see beneath it all,
“Maxims, Moza? Is everyone alright out here?” He checked in on his allies, coughing and spluttering through the choking air,
“A harsher landscape than most, if there’s a path out of here I can’t see it” he continued as his eyes darted about, looking for any signs of occupation or civilisation, though he detected none. Life on Virgillia has been tough at times, scrappy, tough. But nothing compared to what it might have been here. The test that this was then he almost relished, so much that he had learnt in his years would be under a real test now.
It was time to see if all his training had truly prepared him.
Truly, Max was almost feeling wistful for a return to Nar Shaddaa at this point. The ash storm had been an altogether incredibly unpleasant experience and even with the Force as his shield and as his companion it was hard to continue. Heat was an issue that he could deal with, moderate, using the Force but the ash was another matter entirely. Without creating a barrier with the Force itself, he had very little he could do to keep the ash from him.
It clung like a lover, unwilling to release him.
He had taken the half-cape of his robes and wrapped them around his head to cover all but his eyes from the ash storm, a measure he had taken after it had damned near gagged him with the sheer volume trying to enter his mouth. It made breathing easier as well even without the Force.
He didn't speak in response to Saul - mainly because over the winds he could barely tell that Saul was speaking at all and he was relatively close to the other man. Instead he reached into the Force and connected to Saul and Moza with telepathy, his touch light and gentle on their minds as if seeking permission.
The wind robs us of our ability to speak to one another easily, I've connected our minds instead.
He smiled and his 'voice' would brighten in their minds.
At least it's not cold, right?
Trepidation had gripped Moza's being from the moment the gathering of Jedi had entered the atmosphere of Ifrane. For one so attuned to the natural world as the Ithorian was, the wounds the planet suffered cut at his soul like a knife. During their entire search for a landing pad the towering youth could be seen almost gripping at the robes before his chest. His yellow eyes moistened with unshed tears as he felt nothing but pain screaming out through the force. It was truly breaking his heart, as in his mind he couldn't help but compare the ruined world to Ajan Kloss or Ithor. Ifrane, what had she been like before the greed of the Empire drove her to such measures? It was on this that the young Ithorian padawan reflected silently as they landed. Moza not even attempting to hide his feelings from those who might have sensed it on him. The reality though was guaranteed to be worse than what he had felt, and upon exiting their craft he would see the truth of it all.
Shortly upon their trek to the temple the group was set upon by a ash storm that swept across the near barren landscape. Choking clouds of stinging soot soared about them, whipped along by a restless wind. Moza's first thought was to the translator he had attached to himself for the mission. The moment they became aware of the approaching storm he had moved towards Master Maxims, and all the while his hands hurried to remove the device from his back. Detatching the cold metal from his mouths, and squirreling it away into his pack so that the ash wouldn't damage his only means of communicating in Basic. Moza had barely managed to secure the pack in time when that tumultuous tempest fell upon them. Drawing up the hood from his robes over his back and mouths, to rest upon his eye stalk. While it didn't help much to prevent the ash from stinging his eyes, it at least kept his mouths somewhat protected so he wasn't breathing in as much of the ash. After all, if it burned one throat, imagine the burning in four of them.
Moza had tried to feel out the others through the force as they plodded through the storm, but it was to no avail. It seemed in the blinding biting dust they had well and truly lost their path; and though he knew Master Master Zapan was with them the Ithorian could only wish that the force was with them wherever they wound up. In the mean time their troubles only seemed to continue, as the further their group walked the hotter it seemed to get. There was a sound, an almost yelling that Moza took to be his fellow padawan. But the winds made it difficult to tell what exactly was being said. Moza, for his part was about to respond and hope that either Master Maxims or Saul understood Ithorese. But it seemed their instructor had a different plan, as Moza felt the welcome presence on his mind before he could utter his first word.
"A wise decision Master Maxims, I don't think even my voice could cut through the wind easily."Moza offered in reply, making sure to think in Basic so he was more easily understood. The Ithorian padawan even let out a sound, stereophonic in nature, akin to a laugh at the knight's attempt at humor.
"I would happily take the heat any day, but even this is a little much..."Moza thought in reply, the little moment of brevity helping to distract him from the hurt that continued to echo through the force. Pausing then Moza glanced about through squinted eyes, trying to survey the land as best he could. This storm, it would likely not let up for awhile and they couldn't continue just stumbling half blind through the barrens. For all they knew they could have been traversing a bank of a lava river! Which would really put this intense heat in perspective. Moza though, was a student of life sciences, and had a working understanding of geology. As such he knew that so long as they were left out in the open like this, the loose ash coating on the earth would continue to be a problem in these winds. (OOC Dice roll 10 out 10)
"We need to break for the treeline and get off these flatlands. The tree's themselves will break up the flow of the wind, and the forest's roots will prevent any top soil from being swept up by what remains."Moza urged with the confidence born from his years of study. Both under the tutelage of his former herd's spiritual leader Chodau Pefan, and his own continued studies with the Order itself.
His mind began to fill with the voices of his allies, coming in clearly over the winds now as they buzzed within his head.
Telepathy had always been a strange, uncomfortable sensation for Saul, and tended not to use it. As in tune with nature as a Jedi’s abilities were, the hum of others in his head had never sat with him. If he was out on Virgillia, on a hunt or expedition, silence and a clear head was what mattered, he’d grown used to that. But for now at least he shrugged it off, it was better still than choking, to which he followed Maxims lead and wrapped part of his robe about his face, regretting not bringing a rebreather to clear the air,
In which case let’s get away from this as soon as we can
Pulling his cloak about him as it fluttered in the wind, Saul began to head for the tree line Moza pointed out. It wasn’t too far thank the Force, but it felt to him as if there were no safe routes up and out to it. Gingerly he placed his foot down with every step, testing for the stability of the rock as it passed by the flowing rivers of lava.
Too bad then he tested wrong.
As his weight fell upon rock a deep crack crashed beneath him, his foot going down into the stone and sticking in. On instinct he put his hand out to steady him, but in a landscape like this it wasn’t the right one. His leg was stuck in the molten rock, as his arm plunged toward the lava, searing heat rushing around it. Searing pain shot through his body as the boiling liquid burned through his robes and skin. Saul cried out in agony, trying to pull away and back onto hard land, but no matter what his injuries would be severe.
Moza had a good idea of where he was going and Max decided to go along with the Padawan. It seemed to him that the young alien seemed to have a certainty that, in his own experience, only really came when you were close to the Force when you made your decision. Of course their sight was a terrible loss to them all but they were Jedi and they should be able to actually do well regardless of the lack of sight.
Of course none of them thought to use Force Sight.
And, of course, this came back to bite them almost immediately.
Saul went down towards the lava due to a giving way in the ground and Max could feel his panic and then his pain but it gave him only a general direction with which to work with. With all the best intentions in the Galaxy he reached out with the Force as he moved, almost blind, in Saul's direction.
The plan was to grab his ally with the Force and pull him free.
His lack of sure footing ruined that plan as he lost concentration on the Force ability as he put his foot down and suddenly the ground was at a steeper angle than he was expecting. Putting his weight on it, without expecting the angle, Max cursed as he was all-but toppled as he stepped down heavily, painfully, on his left foot. If it was a break or a sprain was currently unclear but it sent him sprawling to the ashen ground, luckily for him further away from the lava.
But unluckily for Saul, not in any real position to help.
Moza had deduced the best path to follow based on what he knew, what he could see in the whirling storm of burning ash. For a moment, just a small moment, he felt accomplished in knowing he was able to assist the two Knights. But as the tide flows so to must it ebb back out to see; and whether by the will of the Force or fortune's capricious nature, a cruel shift was in store for the trio. The first turn could have been considered the storm that swept upon the original band and separated them all from one another. The second the biting, burning ash, which with prolonged exposure would only serve to exhaust them further. Now it was this one that was particularly troublesome to Moza due specifically to the Ithorian anatomy. But these two turns the could endure, they would endure, if only for the sake of reuniting with their compatriots. The third turn though, this was one that was by all accounts debilitating for this immediate coterie. That turn, was when the ground gave way for the Knight Saul Devan and he met the lava.
Moza had thought he knew what pain was, through either the rough training or various injuries he has gathered over his time with the order. But nothing he experienced could prepare him for even the echo of pain that shoot through the linked mind of the Ithorian. From the moment that molten stone embraced Saul's flesh Moza's body nearly collapsed in the shock of mind melting pain and panic that filled him. Moving his arms about his frame the Ithorian padawan held himself for a moment as he tried to shake the sensation, to focus passed the pain and panic that flooded his being.
Emotion, Yet Peace...
The sentiment came on Moza like a whisper. A fleeting reminder to one of the core's of the Jedi's tenets that could have drowned in the oppressive negativity that assaulted the Padawan's senses. Moza took that murmur of the light in the back of his mind and clung to it as if it were the only real thing in this world. It gave Moza a sense of stability, a foundation on which to build from, and when he brought his gaze up he found Maxims had fallen in his moment of distraction. A few seconds, that is all the time that had passed, but it could have been enough and it might still. But Moza was back in the moment and reaching out to where he felt Saul's pain he gave himself over to the force. His one thought, his one focus, being set on saving the man before the harm was irreparable.
<<Please>> Moza whispered softly in his own tongue as he reached out. Pleading with the force, with the universe, his desire to save the other knight enacted his will, and he pulled Saul out of the molten rock and back towards him. Back onto the relative safety of land to where he could act. The very beginning of flames were licking along his clothes, beginning to spread, and the padawan could only hope Saul would forgive him as he beat the fire out with his bare hands. The sickening scent of burned flesh and piteous cries rose from the Knight before him.
<<Master Tionson, his condition isn't good. We need to get him supplies, bacta, anything and quickly or we could lose him.>> Moza called to the fallen Knight. Back was out, Moza knew enough of that since Master Zapan kept a spartan ship to say the least. Even a basic first aid station was missing, although Moza couldn't cast stones as he carried little himself.
<<I know it's not the best situation, but I'll carry Master Devan if you can walk.>> Moza sounded, that stereophonic tone wavering between surety and worry. The padawan trying to keep his head as much as he could considering both knights were now injured.
((OOC: 83 to pull Saul from the lava. Edit to adjust based on moderator ruling!))
Every part of his body burned. Even the parts that hadn't entered the lava felt the intense heat and were now shot through with pain. If he had died here, and in whatever world awaited him someone had asked for his final thoughts he would not even be able to say what, if any, there had been, his mind so overwhelmed in the moment. What he felt now, well, he doubted even the Grandmaster could stay at peace through something like this.
And yet, it would be no Master that would save his life. Through the burning only faintly did he feel the grip of the Force pull him back to land, the safe grip of his ally surround him and spare him. Lying back upon the rock, it was no different, no sensation reached his body initially, cells and senses burnt away across him instead. Every breath was short and harsh, barely continuing with each bark of pain that coursed through him. So broken was he he wouldn't even spot Maxim's own injury nearby.
He could only hope it would not last forever.
If he had the presence of mind to thank his friend he would have. But his body was tired, and consciousness seemed to attempt to evade him. His struggle now would be to remain even that.
But the struggle for his allies was far from over. And though their concern was touching, the injured man was yet another burden on a team already in dire straits. If salvation was to find them, he did not know what guide it would take in this cruel, violent landscape. @Nefieslab@Cero Serat
Didn't worry about rolling this round, as I imagine Saul is effectively beyond any real action . Will roll to see how long until he loses consciousness next round.
Things might have gotten from bad to worse for Saul had Moza not been there. It hadn't been his own efforts that had saved his fellow Knight and that was encouraging and humbling as well. Some might think of that as an odd mixture but not a Jedi - to a Jedi it was almost the perfect outcome.
He learned, once again, to not let himself fall into the illusion of invincibility and Moza proved himself to be quick to think and quick to provide aid to others.
His ankle was a reminder of that, as was the fact that Saul yet drew breath. However, with his fellow Knight wounded so severely bacta would still be needed to actually heal him and Moza was still tired from the rescue itself. Max pushed himself to his feet without a moment's hesitation, but not without pain. He moved over and scooped up Saul, picking up the fellow Knight in a fireman's carry.
Hang in there, Saul.
Reaching out physically, he grabbed hold of Moza's shoulder to steady the Padawan as well as guide him forwards, his sight drastically improved with the application of Force Sight he allowed himself. Carrying his fellow Knight on his back to lessen his pains and guiding the Padawan, Max continued onwards, helping them to avoid similar (or worse) incidents until he saw it.
A freighter of some size had made a path of destruction on it's violent way to the ground within a corpse of trees. The ship was large enough that it would, hopefully, have some bacta on hand. If not a tank of the stuff, Max would accept some applications to be given to the worst effected areas of Saul. Even a minor treatment would assist in perhaps allowing Saul to retain some use of the effected areas without having to undergo replacement surgery.
There was just one problem.
Five people with weapons were crowded around the outside of the ship and they seemed on edge, even if they hadn't actually spotted them yet.
Five people - armed. We can't risk combat, we must find a way without combat.
Moza felt nothing but gratitude to the strength of Master Tionson as he managed to pull himself back up to his feet. The Ithorian padawan's mind had been racing with all sorts of scenarios of what course to take if it proved that Maxims was unable to walk as well. Just seeing the man rise filled the young padawan with a hope that he so desperately needed in that moment. Rising up shortly after the Knight Moza looked to Saul as if to move to carry him. Instead though Master Tionson intervened and took up the burden himself in spite of his injury. Maybe he could sense Moza's mental fatigue from the various experiences shared since they first touched down on Ifrane. Or perhaps it was guilt that drove the Knight not being able to spare Master Devan a few more seconds of that agony? Either way Moza didn't argue with his senior and instead walked in silence with him as Maxims guided them from the lava beds and to the safety of the iron tree forest.
Upon arriving it would prove to be a close summation of what Moza had known. The roots of the trees provided stability for the soil so the top layer wasn't loose. Furthermore the tree density broke the wind up enough that as they traveled deeper into the forest the ash storm would be a thing of the past. One less worry, but in the grand scheme of things there were greater troubles now that faced them. The trio continued into that twisted maze of gnarled wood, and Moza being ever mindful to the natural world couldn't help but feel the oppressive atmosphere their surroundings gave. Bare branches thrust out as wicked lances, and stymied their progress in places were a simple cut could prove disastrous to Master Devan's fragile state. They had to be ever constant to treat him with the utmost care as his health was paramount right now.
Which is why as they drew near to the site of the crash Master Tionson began to feel cautious. Moza on the other hand took the signs of devastation to the trees as a good thing. A wreck meant a ship, a ship meant possible supplies, and that could be life or death for the other Knight. At the core of his nature Moza was a healer and the looming presence of time acting against them was never far from his mind. So as they finally came in sight of the ship, and at a distance the occupants of it, Moza felt another wave of relief. He did not enhance his sight in the force as Master Tionson had been, and so he had no way of knowing about the pirates being armed. Instead he thought like one who had not yet seen the worst of the galaxy; he thought like a healer, and most importantly one who was still young and believed in the inherent good of others. So, while Maxims slowed and was right to consider caution. Moza advanced at a quicker pace. The lumbering Ithorian raising his voice and and his arms as he called out to the people at the ship to get their attention.
<<Hello there, please can you help us? Our comrade lost his footing and tumbled into a lava river. He's hurt badly and needs treatment!>> Moza tried to explain, his desperate need to help Master Devan driving him to action. But, there were several factors that the Ithorian padawan did not account for. One, his lumbering form stood at a full six feet seven inches and with his arms raised the height was increased. Two, he had still had his hood pulled up over his hump and to his eyes stalk to protect his mouths from the ash storm. As such from a distance the Ithorian looked even more beast like in the shadows cast by the weathered iron trees beyond their camp. Thirdly he did not reach out to sense the mood of the pirates gathered about their wreck. Elsewise he might have noted their fear, weariness, and anxiety at being stuck on Ifrane. Lastly, Moza had absentmindedly forgotten to reattach his vocoder, and so everything he said came out in pure stereophonic Ithorese. Now him forgetting this was not the biggest surprise as he did loathe the thing, and it seemed that Maxims understood him. What he failed to account for was that these pirates apparently did not, and when all these factors came together...disaster.
Fear gripped the band as they heard the sound, saw the shadow of something big and loud approaching. One of the men cried out there was a beast attacking. Drawing the attention of the others mere moments before firing upon Moza. The rest wasted little to no time in joining the fray. Sending a hail of blaster fire directly at Moza, who in his initial surprise was slow to react. That is until being tagged in his right arm with the sudden impact that spun him round and sent him to the ground. The pain hit him then like a wave and in spite of himself he let out a brief cry before coming to his senses. His large form scrambling along the forest floor to find a thick tree trunk to hide himself behind. All the while his neck would extend and contract with each suddenly heavy breath that fell from him in the wake of the immediate adrenaline rush.
10 out of 100 on attempting diplomacy with the pirates. Even on which arm would end up being shot.
Sauls senses were coursing in and out. Every image and sound flickered as feeling all across his body came back and forth in waves.
Still, the journey across the ash strewn planet played out before him as he was carried by Maxims. Blasted forest gave way to a scarred clearing, the downed freighter still smoking from its impact. Like a whisper he could hear murmurs, clicks and whirs from the group. And from his own corner he heard Moza speak up, his voice booking across the way as he tried to make himself known.
Whatever it was he said, they certainly did not appreciate it. As the blaster shots rang past Saul felt helpless, perhaps the most he ever had done in his life. His senses were overwhelmed, his body screamed at him to stop, and his mind seemed to fade to darkness over and over. There was little he could do anymore,
“Stop” the word fell from his mouth, but there was no strength behind it, his throat catching in pain, stinging further. Whatever strength had remained would leave him soon, there was little he could do now. He prayed his failure would not spell the end of his allies either.
If they made it off Ifrane, if he survived, he had no idea how he could ever repay them.
He spoke powerfully where Saul was unable to do so as he strode forwards, putting himself between the pirates and the wounded Jedi Padawan with Saul unfortunately still on his back. Max trusted his fellow Jedi Knight would not hold it against him that he had literally carried him into harm's way in defense of Moza.
With his wounded friend now unconscious over his shoulders and one hand held up in front of him, Max had pleaded with the men ahead of them to hold their fire. And, despite being pirates, they actually did.
One thing that had been all-but bred into spacers of all breeds was that a call for parlay was usually a call for aid. In the same way that a distress call was something that all but the worst of people agreed should always be answered, a call for parlay was something that could sometimes be counted on to hold weight.
As it did here.
The men hesitated and Max pressed on.
"Please, we landed here on a quest for our people. One of my friends has already fallen foul of the lava rivers and my young alien friend is almost as bad." He swallowed thickly, "Can you help us?"
There was a pause as the men looked to one another before one of them grunted.
"... lava river got the captain a few hours ago." the acting captain admitted, lowering his blaster slightly, "We have some bacta and some light burn salve. What will you trade for some treatment and a place out of the ash?"
Max only had one thing to barter with.
"My ship. A Quad 5 - you might not all fit but I'll let you tear it apart for scrap and parts to fix your ship if you can help my allies."
The acting captain grinned.
"You got yourself a deal. Boys, get the salve for the burns and the bacta. These sorry little shites look like they need it."
Thank the force indeed, Moza was not in the best of ways as his arm burned with pain. The crouched Ithorian remained steady for a brief period of time, his neck extending and contracting as his twin mouths tried to take steadier breaths to calm himself. It was only when he was sure that Master Tionson was moving forward that he tried to get up. Although that proved a bit of a struggle as he was nursing his wounded dominant arm. With a slightly echoing grunt in that final struggle to get onto his feet Moza seemed to settle. His good hand reaching back almost immediately to pull back his hood and reveal the far more obvious, and less threatening visage of an Ithorian. All the while in his mind reflecting on the misfortune of rushing in and not thinking to his appearance. Especially when Ifrane was proving to be quite the little hellscape as it were.
With his hood drawn back Moza scrambled to withdraw the sturdy and clunky translator from his pack. This portion was a little more difficult to manage as he needed it to get set right on his mouths. So the Ithorian padawan would end up struggling for a minute or so more while Maxims had a chance to approach the pirates and get Saul somewhat dealt with. It was only when this last piece was in place that Moza came out from the safety of the tree line. His wounded arm dangling at his side so as not to strain the muscles worse than they were. His other arm remained up and away from his belt, almost fidgeting a little with the vocoder to make sure it was truly set properly.
"I apologize if I startled you all earlier. This planet is proving trying on the nerves, and I forgot to attach my translator." Moza offered sincerely. Although his tone wasn't as easily conveyed through the mechanical voice that translated the slightly muted Ithorese into Basic.
"Still, we appreciate your assistance. Is there perhaps something we can do to help you while we're getting treated?"
The pirates didn't seem to be friendly but they would honor the agreement it seemed as two of them came back from inside their downed ship with the salve and the bacta-laced field dressings that would help both Moza and Saul. They didn't have a bacta tank and that was, if he was honest, what Saul needed more than salves and minor applications of Bacta.
But he wasn't going to turn down the help just because the road to recovery for his allies was going to be harder than they all had hoped for. The pirate ship itself was simply too small to include a full bacta tank anyway.
"Nah you good - just try not to bleed on anything."
The acting captain dismissed them and Max allowed himself to relax, setting Saul down comfortably to begin tending to him with the supplies they had managed to barter for.
Today was going to get longer he could tell.
At 14 posts, I'm going to say this should be the end of this thread and we can move onto the next thread in the plot with the consequences of this carrying onward.