It had taken some time, but Oren had slowly begun to piece together everything from the Star Map. It had been difficult, and many of the cryptic clues had finally pointed him to the last piece of the puzzle, Lotho Minor, with one last cryptic clue, Resilience. Oren had a few ideas or theories on what the clue could mean. Maybe it was a message warning one of the trials they were about to face, or maybe it was the name of a crashed ship--The Jedi Master hadn't quite decided on it yet. He wore a set of simple black and grey tunics as he watched out over the dark orange sky, as the smell of acidic garbage and rusting ships filled the air.
Large industrial ships hovered above, raining trash onto mountains made of scrap and garbage. It was going to be messy, and the Jedi Master could only guess as to what Nashyr would have thought about this planet, he missed her deeply--but he knew she was there, her kyber crystal had been fastened into a necklace that he wore hidden under his tunic. Clipped to his belt was a reforged lightsaber which bore parts of his old destroyed saber, Nashyr's, and his late master. The crystal inside hummed a gentle pure white, and had been recently cleansed after he confiscated a saber from a Knight of Ren.
He felt he was on the cusp of discovering the answers he needed, and a long painful and somber journey it had been. @The Arcanist was here with him today, and Oren was interested in how things would play out between the two of them. it had been some time since he had seen the man on Ajan Kloss, and he was curious as to how his own path was coming along.
"I hope you don't mind smelling like old batteries and rotten Dewback cheese," he'd grumble as he kicked a few rusted cans about. "There's a small junker city a few kilometers out, we should head there and see how we even traverse these catacombs of garbage.." They were going to have to rely on the force to guide them to their destination and teamwork, for something sinister lurked within the heaps...
Talak was still trying to figure out his place in the galaxy after the showdown at the Coruscant prison. No more a Sith and uncertain of the Jedi, he had decided that it was time to reject the dark side and find more about the Jedi once again.
But he wasn't just here for himself. He was here for the Jedi Master as well. The pain radiating off of him in the Force, and it was a pain that Talak, himself, had known in the past.
When you took these two combined with some news about a virus that was tearing up the galaxy, Talak couldn't turn his back on it.
Arriving now in his regular clothing with a pair of sabers clipped to his belt - one the blue blade he'd acquired from a dead Hutt's horde and the other his old red one - he met up with Master Zapan as they started out over a trash world.
It's not exactly a destination, but I'll manage, he said as he looked out over their surroundings. Worse still, he had to smell it for the next unknown number of hours. The entire planet reeked to the point of being almost unbreathable, and while he would have liked to say he'd been to worse, he was beginning to wonder...
You've had more experience with this... virus? he asked. He had exactly 0 experience with it, and felt wildly underprepared for whatever they were walking into. It may not have been the best opening look for him, but it wasn't like the real details were easily accessible to the public.
He continued to pick his way through the junk, sticking to paths that took them between the giant mountains of trash, and always keeping an eye to the sky to ensure they wouldn't be crapped on by one of those giant transports.
Oren followed along the small trail that descended over the hazy orange sky, the twin suns that looked over the planet filled the sky, but it seemed no brighter than dusk or dawn. It was extremely warm on the Junk moon, and the stench that seeped from the mountains of trash seemed unbearable--the fact that people lived on this planet seemed strange. Why would a Jedi artifact be hidden away on this planet. It seemed strange that such a place would have any connection to the Jedi, but maybe that was the point.
Whatever puzzle he had found on Ifrane had to contain something important, a greater mystery that possibly could aide the Jedi Order in the times to come, or maybe it was nothing, and it was another pilgrimage of self reflection on his own failures. You're doing it again, thinking too much..
He'd peer back towards the man, he still didn't know his name, but that seemed to be the run of the mill -- he still hadn't known Lilith's, and the two of them had known each other for years. He listened as the man asked about the virus, it was a peculiar question, but it seemed that cases had slowly begun to pop up more and more across the galaxy. His mechanical right hand would raise, "I first discovered it three years ago, a whole under city on the planet of Utapau had been infected."
He would slowly work his way up a mound of trash as he continued to talk, "I ran into your apprentice and I was arrested before I could continue my investigation. I was released and Officer Aran and I found a whole factory overrun on Kafrene...someone is planning something, and with it could come the end of all living life in the galaxy." He didn't mean the words lightly, but he felt it could be the case.
He would stop as he reached the top of a trash mound, peering out to see the endless wave and sea of trash. It could be anywhere, this Resilience, whatever that may be. But, he had time, and the more he could push his mind away from thinking about Nashyr, the better he would be. "Take a deep breath and center yourself, tell me what you feel when you look out along the haze."
Talak listened to the story of the virus and bristled at the mention of Trys being involved. He hoped it wouldn't be too obvious in the Force. He knew that she was capable of taking care of herself, but he didn't like the idea of her dealing with the virus. Despite... the fact that he was now doing it. Okay, fine, double standard.
He continued on toward the hill of trash and reached the top alongside the Jedi Master. He didn't really know what they were looking for here, but he crested the top and instead of using his eyes to survey the horizon, he closed them and reached out.
He could sense and see the world with the Force. The trash falling from the ships, the desperation that emanated from inhabitants of this world, and... something else. It was even more wrong. Out of place... like a defiance of the Force itself. It wasn't unlike certain arcane techniques he had sensed.
Ahead and slightly to the right there's something... wrong, he said, his eyes opening as he frowned.
His fingers ran across the hilts of the sabers absentmindedly before he started heading down the hill again.
So what set you on course for... this place? he asked. They were clearly looking for something, but he didn't know what or why. It hadn't even occurred to him that he'd not told Oren his real name, but at this point there was no point in keeping it from the man. He'd seen his face now anyway. @TWD26
The Jedi Master had his assumptions or thoughts, he could feel the man's hesitation at the mention of Trys through the force, and it brought a slight smile to his face. He saw the way he looked towards her that day and it reminded him of the way he used to look towards the golden-green eyes of Nashyr. Oren had only been in love once, and he had reckoned that it was something that you didn't choose to happen, it just happened at times you least expected it. Oren knew he couldn't love again in such a way. He would cherish those moments and he knew that in death it would not be the end for them--they would be reunited in the light.
People still needed him here, and he would do everything he could. But, he couldn't worry about that now, all these burdens and emotions would have to wait for the solitude of his cockpit or his bed, he needed to focus on the task at hand. He would close his eyes as he felt out through the force, he could feel the emptiness of the planet, a void that he had felt on Kafrene. Dust and echoes...
"I feel it too," he'd say gently as he peered towards the valley of trash off into the distance. Something was lurking there, and Oren had a terrible feeling. He would begin to slowly descend down the garbage pile in the direction of the valley. "Years ago on a pilgrimage I found this puzzle, that slowly revealed itself to be map that took me across the stars, where more clues would eventually lead me here..."
Maybe, that's not what he meant. Why are you here...Why care about something you don't even know exists. He thought about the plans he had made, and everything he wanted to do with his life. "It's stupid, I know.." His voice would trail a bit, "Running across the galaxy for long lost secrets about the lightside, about the Jedi of old when I know the secrets are inside of me. Nashyr and I were supposed to do this together, and well..I feel I owe it to her to see what is at the end."
Talak couldn't help but notice the conflict within the Jedi Master as he reached out to the Force. He could only assume it was because of his recent... loss. He didn't know what type of relationship the two Jedi had had, but it was evident they were close.
Talak listened as he explained the origin of his journey. It didn't sound entirely unlike something Talak probably would have done.
Any idea what lies at the end? he asked. It was a long journey to take without even an inkling of what might be at the end. Sure, he may not have been sure about what was at the end, but surely he had an idea... a goal? Or perhaps not.
He could hear the pain in his voice as he talked about Nashyr.
It doesn't sound stupid at all, he corrected. Neither feeling he owed her nor pursuing something through a compulsion in the Force.
He didn't typically share about his past, but with the loss that Oren had experienced, he wondered if it wasn't appropriate. Moreover, the man seemed like a good man who was in pain.
At least you can continue what you both started. In her memory, he said. Small consolation as I know that is, he said.
He didn't prod further, but the door was open if he wanted to talk. He was sure the last thing he wanted to do was to focus on it any longer though.
What will you do now? he asked. He knew that for himself it had been a hard turning point in his life. @TWD26
Oren thought about the end destination, it was a great mystery, but wasn't that life? Oren had never expected to be where he was today, to have found the people he did and to fight the battles he had already fought. Nothing in life was ever a guarantee, and the Jedi Master knew that much. It could be something physical and grand or it could turn out to be nothing. The Jedi Master did not know it then, but it was a journey to accept her death and to accept his own failures, so he could build something knew. These people he met and the planets he visited were conduits that pointed to the different walks of life, each with their own stories and struggles, together they were bonded and connected, and they needed someone to stand for them when no one else would.
"I assume it's something, no Jedi would go to great lengths to just..." He'd pause as he thought back to some of the old Jedi Masters and the writings that Luke had on the old Yoda individual, "..Okay, a Jedi would go great lengths to just prove a point..or a message. It may be something or it may be nothing, but I'll never know until I look."
He listened to the man as he talked about Nashyr's loss, it seemed he had experienced something along similar lines. He knew the man had his own demons, they all did, but the way he carried himself showed that he was finding himself walking evermore along the path of the light. "I will see her again one day, I know.." He'd peer back, "You remind me a lot of myself..it's interesting how different interventions in our lives can put us on a different path.." He knew if it hadn't been his master that had found him, but someone else--he could have very well been what Talak had been once. "What was your life like?"
The two of them would slowly descend into the heart of the valley, finding themselves within a small junker town. It seemed empty, and a strange sensation could be felt through the town, and the sound of trash slowly shifted, but when Oren turned back he saw nothing. Oren would peer towards the sign of a cantina, having a bad feeling about the situation, but they needed answers. "We should have a look around." He'd say as he slowly walked towards the entrance, where a group of the dead would be waiting for them..
Talak quirked an eyebrow as he mentioned that a Jedi would do all this just to prove a point. That seemed like a big waste, but maybe that wouldn't be the case here. He could just imagine a Jedi getting up and saying that "it's about the journey, not the destination."
He thought about his own life as the Jedi asked about it. What was it like?
I was raised a Legionnaire... one of the sects of the Sith Eternal, he said. Despite having left the Sith, he bristled at saying the name. It was years of training and instinct he was trying to overcome.
I was trained to fight, and... taught to use the dark side, he said. The details of those memories were still not things he enjoyed thinking about, but he would likely have to talk about them eventually.
Dueling, killing, the Force... the Legionnaires originally wanted to help perpetuate the cycles of life and death int he Force. Now... he shrugged. He barely even recognized most of the Legion anymore, and even if he did, he didn't agree with them anymore.
What about you? What's it really like to be a Jedi? he asked. Clearly as a Master, the man had made his way up in the organization.
He followed along to the junker town, but where there should have been people, there was no one. Silence apart from occasionally shifting garbage without any sign of why. His fingers brushed along his saber hilt and he pulled it free.
Something's wrong here, he said quietly. He was sure the Jedi could sense it as well, and he peered into a small hut. Blood pooled on the floor and chunks of what appeared to be... flesh or skin sat in the center.
Oren, he turned back with not quite a shout and stepped aside so the Jedi could see it.
Thoughts on what could cause this? he asked. He didn't like the answer that was already forming in his own mind. @TWD26
Oren would step into the cantina to see the pool of blood and the mangled flesh, it was evident what had caused this. He had experienced the same with his own right hand on Utapau, and the same echo permeated through this valley as it did on Kafrene, it had to be the workings of this virus. His own hand would un-clip his newly forged blade, which consisted of remnants of his old saber and the parts of Nashyr and his master's saber.
He would have been willing to talk about the man's past, but that would have to wait for another time, because slowly the scene in the building would get much worse. The sound of cups and pans falling to the ground could be heard and slowly a few corpses would rise up from behind the barcounter--their faces covered in blood. One was a Duros whose flesh had fallen a sickly looking white, the other twas a pale rodian who had his internal intestines ripped out, all snapping and barking as they shambled towards them. These ones weren't fast, and Oren suspected that it was most likely due to the duration of them being deceased.
He'd activate his blade, a pure white blade revealing itself as he peered towards the former Sith Eternal, "You take the Duros, I'll take the Rodian." He wouldn't wait for the man's response, instead he would step forward towards the Rodian who quickly shambled towards him. With a clear precision he'd slice at the zombie's hands, cutting them clear before stepping under the shoulder of the lunging zombie and ending up behind the former gangster. He'd quickly jab his white blade through the back of the Rodian's skull, dropping it instantly.
"Go for the head," he turned, realizing he had forgotten to mention that.
Talak took a concerned step back as he saw the... things coming toward them. He had heard the rumors about what was going on in the galaxy, but to actually see it first hand was something else entirely, and completely horrifying.
The smell of open flesh and wounds was horrible, but not worse than the sight of the creature's guts hanging out. Talak scowled in disgust as the blue lightsaber lit in his hand. He assumed that whatever these were were beyond help, and as it lunged at him, he took a quick step to the side.
His saber swung up out of reflex and plowed through the creature's chest, bissecting its shoulders and head from the rest of its body. It passed through one arm but left the other attached, and Talak came to a stop.
Unfortunately, the crazy didn't. Its one good arm clawed at the ground as it tried to reach Talak, pulling itself along the ground and snapping its teeth.
He took another alarmed step back before he heard Oren's warning about the head. With a quick thrust, he put his saber blade adeptly through the creature's forehead and then it was still.
Kriff, he muttered, taking a step away. His mind was already racing through their situation, and it wasn't great.
I don't know how many people live in this town, but I 'm assuming they're all... he motioned to the dead on the ground.
We have two options, he said quickly, falling back into his combat-oriented self. This was the part of him that had started a rise through the ranks of the Sith and was adept at dealing with crisis.
We can leave this place as quickly as possible and hope we find what we're looking for. Or we can stick around, and hope that we find some evidence of your "Resilience" here and also don't trigger more of these... things, he said. It was more or less the Jedi Master's operation, and Talak would do what he wanted. @TWD26
Oren watched as Talak quickly finished off the zombie with efficiency, he had a strong prowess with his blade and it seemed the skills he had heard about all these years were really true. Oren would listen as the man made his assumption about the town, and sadly he was most likely right. Oren hadn't felt a soul in miles since they entered the valley, and with how many people actually traveled onto this baking hot junkheap of a planet, it seemed most people would never know that the whole place had fallen to infection.
He was going to say something when a crack came over a small holocom that sat on the bar, "GoldenCat..this is Little Yavin..did you manage to find those supplies at that watering hole? Things are getting rough out here..and more of those creeps are coming our way.." The heavy Outer Rim accent screamed smuggler or freight driver.
Oren would quickly run to it, his hand clicking on the comms, pausing to see what appeared to be the remains of a Cathar hidden behind the bar. He took a deep breath as flashes of Nash's head rolling under his feet came back to mind. He'd take a deep breath, centering himself, but his voice still cracked. "T-this is Jedi Master Oren Zapan..who is this.."
"Where's GoldenCat?" The voice would ask with some hesitance, "Don't tell me..."
"I'm sorry, but he didn't make it," he'd say with a heavy breath, "Are you okay, my friend and I felt a disturbance, and we found the dead lingering across this town..we can come to you, just tell us where you're at."
There was static for a moment before the voice returned, "Alright...I don't trust wizards, but we don't have any choice, we secured a little junk processing station, maybe three or four of us..it happened a few days back and now everyone on this kriffin' scrap heap is a shambling dead monster..do you think you can help us out..?"
"We'll be there as soon as we can," Oren would turn towards Talak, pocketing the holocommunicator. "You asked what it means to be a Jedi..it's about this." His mission would have to wait, these people needed their help. "We're going to rescue those people," he'd peer out towards the town, noticing that a group of several zombies began to shamble towards the direction of the cantina. "It's about doing the right thing, even at the cost of your own gain."
Talak listened to the exchange happen with the smugglers or spacers or whoever they were. What was important was that they were alive and they weren't walking around infected. That alone was enough reason for Talak to want to go to them.
He could sense a flash of discomfort from the Jedi, but couldn't have placed what caused it or why it was there. Before he had a chance to ask, they were already needing to move along.
He thought about what Oren said about being a Jedi, and it gave him pause. Even with the dead bearing down on them, he couldn't help but consider the life that the Jedi Master had chosen.
It was a life of sacrificing yourself for others. In a way, that was what Talak had always been pursuing. Perhaps that was something he could get behind after all.
Then let's go save those people, he said. The saber in his hand twirled almost eagerly. Many of the skills of a dark sider didn't translate well into being a Jedi, but fighting with a blade was one that certainly did.
Fighting off the whole remains of the town is a bad call, he said. Trying to wipe out the entirety of the frenzied just put the two of them at unnecessary risk without any added benefit.
There, he said, pointing to a path through the trash that led upward and would give them the high ground. It was particularly narrow probably to the point they would have to edge along the ledge, but it looked preferable to fighting the horde.
Oren would nod in agreement towards the man's declaration, he was happy that Talak wasn't attempting to run away from the problem at hand, not that the Jedi Master really expected him to, but most people in the galaxy would look out for themselves before batting an eye. "These ones are slower than the ones on Kafrene, but they're deadly in packs..I underestimated them the first time I encountered them."
The thoughts of him getting swarmed again caused a slight shiver, but he pushed it away. "I agree," the Jedi Master would say as he stepped out of the door, noting the dozen or so zombies roaming towards them. "Lead the way, I'll cover the rear.." Oren would twirl his saber in his right hand, his fingers dancing across the shaft of the blade as he peered towards the remains of the towns folks. With a quick push through the force, he'd send a few flying back, before turning to scramble up the trash pile with Talak.
The farther they went up, the more narrow and unstable it got. He peered down towards the zombies who slowly tried to climb up the trash, but would quickly fall back into the rubble. Kriff this is a big drop, his eye peered towards the horizon and with a deep breath he'd close his eyes as he began to lightly walk across the ledge with Talak in the lead. He felt out through the force, feeling the dead below and more dead throughout the valley, but he also felt life further down the valley. "Keep going this way, I can feel their essence radiating in the distance, it's a flicker, but it's present." Talak would have to lead their ascension down the valley, hopefully there wouldn't be more zombies waiting for them as they went to decline.
Talak nodded his agreement and made for the ledge that would take them up and away from the frenzied.
Understood, he said as he warned about how they attacked in swarms and the danger they could pose in that regard. That made sense, and he made a note to avoid being overtaken by too many of them or engaging large groups.
Talak took the lead and the path continued to narrow. He had to place his back against a large piece of discarded metal and edge, one foot at a time, along the path until he reached the peak point.
He tried not to look too long at the creatures trying to climb the trash and the way they tumbled down to splatter across the ground moments later.
He reached the top and began the descent on the other side before spotting a small platform below. He pulled the Force to himself and used it to lessen his impact against the ground below. He picked another platform below and did the same, dropping off a series until he reached the ground without too much issue.
That was where things got complicated. While there weren't any crazies where they were, Talak could see the area they were headed to in the distance. The station was completely surrounded by no less than 100 of the creatures, and Talak pulled to a stop.
Well, there's the flicker... surrounded by a lot of dead, he said. He'd have killed for some explosives right now, but he didn't carry any on himself and he doubted the Jedi did either.
I wonder if we can lure them somewhere and create an... avalanche of sorts, he said, looking to the huge piles of trash. Perhaps if they cut through a stabilizing pillar or the like. @TWD26
Oren made his way down the platform, his eye widening at the horde of zombies. It seemed they were marching towards the location of the survivors, and they had little opportunity to make it there. "They're going to run right through that facility, if we don't do something." The Jedi Master took a deep breath as he took a look around the area, seeing if there was anything they could do something to get the attention of the zombies.
"Hah.." He'd point towards a large speaker that clung to a metal post, it must have been used to alert the workers of the process company. If this had been a different time, Oren wouldn't have had the skills to pull off such a technical skill, but with Nashyr's death, he had begun to train himself in his weaknesses, strengthening them to not be as much of a hindrance.
Without waiting he would quickly begin to climb up the post, stopping as he got to where the speaker was, his hands tracing over the wires and bolts that held it in place. Using the force he would undue the bolts and would slowly unclip the connectors from the power source. Hopefully this has batteries.
Using the force he would jump back down to the ground clicking on the power source on the speakers, an audible hiss coming, "Looks like this will work." He would remove his communicator he had taken from the bar. "This is the Jedi Master..we're not going to make it to you, we've got something that will lead that horde coming to you away..don't waste time and get off planet...May the force be with you." He'd quickly snap the com off before removing a datapad, which he quickly plugged into the speakers.
"Time to see if what my old Padawan taught me sticks," he'd click the on button, typing on the password, and it would log in with little problem. You're a tech genius. His hand would trail over the apps that sat on the datapad until he got to music, and would click shuffle. Suddenly, a whole group of young woman would begin to sing and blast through the speakers.
"Not my music!" He'd yell out loud, doubting that Talak could hear him, "It's my..." Oh kriffing forget it. He could see the dead turning towards them, and slowly began to shamble towards their direction. Oren would slide the datapad into his robe pocket as he gripped the speakers into the air as he began to run away from the plant and into the heart of the valley. Hopefully, Talak would be able to find a good spot to avalanche the dead in.
Talak watched for a moment as Oren went to work on the machine, but given that he was of virtually no help in that regard, he quickly turned his mind to something he was far more useful for: killing. Wow, that certainly made him sound shallow, didn't it? He had other skills, too!
At the moment, though, he needed to focus on how to create an avalanche out of this mess. His eyes scanned along the piles and how they were angled when he settled on a beam that would do fine.
The music started blaring a moment later, and Talak turned to look at Oren with a questioning look. He could see the Jedi Master's mouth moving, but couldn't actually hear what he was saying.
He jerked his thumb over his shoulder to indicate they needed to run as he turned away from the horde now chasing them.
They shambled on toward the pair, and when they were in the killzone, Talak threw the lightsaber through the metal beam. He guided it with the Force, passing through the metal which began to creak and strain under the weight. The saber began to return to his hand, and after a moment, it snapped.
The platform it was supporting gave way, and the trash stacked on it slid free. This had the desired effect of destabilizing everything above it and began to crush the creatures coming under its path.
Half of the horde was dead immediately, which still left them with a large chunk, but meant that a good portion of their job was already done. It would also allow the civilians extra time to escape as the surviving frenzied clawed free from the rubble and picked their way over top. @TWD26
Oren didn't have to wait for Talak to motion forward, he ran as fast as he could, his eye peering back towards the groans and thuds of the dead as they made their way towards them. As he ran, he caught glimpse of the former Sith Eternal peering towards a support beam which seemed to hold together a mountain of trash. It was a clever calculation and Oren knew what was about to happen--dashing across the orange rusted dirt, he'd drop his datapad and speakers in the center of the killzone; Now we wait.
He watched with curiosity at Talak's training coming into full display, and the finesse he put into guiding his saber through the support beams, which sent the mountain of trash down onto the death, as well as the release of years of stench built up between the clumps of trash. "Good job!"
Wasting no time, the Jedi Master would raise his hands, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths as he focused on the task at hand. Size Matters not to a Jedi... He felt his fingers twinge as he slowly began to raise his hands, and before Talak large swaths of trash would begin to raise into the air. Oren's breathing grew deeper and sweat began to build around his hairline, I am one with the Force...
His hands would release, raining the large debris down onto the surviving zombies, crushing and quieting the void he felt in the area around them. The Jedi Master would fall to his knees as he took a deep breath, a small smile forming on his face as he saw a distant starship take off from the valley. "We did it.." He'd peer back towards Talak. "Good work..."
He felt a twinge through the force, a mixture of darkness and a faint light. He felt malice and contempt fill the valley, almost as if their destruction of the garbage mountain had released centuries of madness and hidden secrets. Through the rubble and muck he saw what appeared to be an entrance into a labyrinth within the trash. "I believe whatever we're looking for.. is hidden in there."
He'd pull himself up slowly, making his way through the muck and towards the base of the entrance. "You don't have to join me, you've done enough today.." He knew that similar to the caves in Ifrane, that a trial would most likely await them if they entered. "Are you ready to face it?"
A mysterious whisper and shudder can be felt through the force. The Presence of Darkness and madness can be felt as they enter, unknowingly following the trail that the ancient and long forgotten Maul had taken centuries earlier. Within the Cave System one can quickly find themselves lost and driven to insanity like the former Darth had been, but a lingering light can be felt in the distance, it's cool words whispering across the air towards the two of them.
Talak watched as Oren's manipulation of the trash seemed to silence the remainder of the creatures that came their way. The smell was absolutely, indescribably putrid, but it had done precisely what they'd wanted it to do. He shoved his hand over his nose, but it didn't really help at all.
He could see the opening in the distance, and couldn't help but think how convenient it was for them that it had revealed what they were apparently looking for. But that was how the Force worked, wasn't it? When you least expected it, it led you down a seemingly wrong path only to dump you where you always wanted to be.
And then Oren had the audacity to tell him he didn't have to join. Talak actually rolled his eyes and motioned ahead.
I didn't come this far to turn back, he said and started forward. He could sense something in there was dark... almost familiar in the worst way and then the Jedi asked if he was ready to face it.
He didn't say anything for a moment, and there was doubt and conflict within him. He wasn't sure he was ready, but he needed to be. He suspected he wouldn't ever "feel" ready, and he couldn't continue to put this off.
Are you? he asked in reply. It wasn't said with any levity. Talak had been in places like this before, and he still had the scars from another trip like this.
It'll try to climb inside your mind and twist it. You'll see things you want to forget or your worst nightmares, he said. He didn't know what kind of experience Oren had with this sort of thing, but Talak had more than he cared to admit.
Oren should have known better than to ask the man if he was going to enter, but part of him wanted to be sure. He had seen how injured confronting one's past and the darkness that lingered inside of them, the feeling and the shakes were something that could leave a person confused if they weren't ready, and he knew that Talak would be--sometimes speaking things out loud helped to provide that sense of ownership to the person.
"I didn't expect you to say no, if I'm being honest." He'd clasp his hands together before taking his first step into the cavern system. "I'm ready..to face the new fears that dwell inside of me." He heeded the man's words, but this wasn't the first time he had faced the possibility of a trial by spirit. "As Jedi it is our duty to constantly confront the darkness that attempts to persuade us..It's something that you will always deal with, even when you achieve the redemption you seek. Just know that I will be there with you, and together we will face whatever lies waiting for us."
The two of them would enter the darkness of the junkyard cavern system, the stench of junk filled the cool dark air that swept through the area. Oren would unclip his saber, activating it and holding it out as a torch for the two of them to see. It seemed ludicrous to think that such complex tunnel systems existed.
Oren didn't talk much as they walked, but as they slowly got towards what appeared to be a dead end in the cavern system, things would confuse him. A thick wall of black darkness surrounded a widened hallway, and it seemed there was a drop off around them. The sound of a whispering laugh filled their ears. They could have turned back, but Oren knew that it wouldn't be the Jedi way. "A Jedi is not absent of fear, a Jedi learns Courage, it provides him the strength to confront it and to master their fears.." He would step forward, taking a deep breath as he felt his feet on the edge of the platform.
Without second thought he would jump into the darkness and would begin to free fall through the blackness, the sound of distant laughing grew louder as he shot downwards through the fog of black. The Fear that the master did have about falling into whatever waited slowly died, it was too late to change that fact now. After seconds or possibly minutes he wasn't quite sure, he would find himself falling into a thick lake of murky acidic water. Scrap and devices bobbed along the water as he kicked himself up from the bottom--gasping for air.
He could hear the sound of Talak splashing behind him, but there was something else, something much bigger lurked through the water with them--and the shadows of tentacles lurked through the murky water--a Dianoga was waiting and he was hungry. The tentacles would lash out and attempt to pull the two force users into a grasp.