Ask Unfortunate Duty

Nykoria Tallis

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Planet Ontotho, 8:42 am
Hidden temple, outside stairs
Jedi search and rescue team


Kori looked at the derelict temple towering over her. It hadn't been longer than a few days since their last foray inside. Just enough time for the Zeltron to repair her stun pistol and recover from the bruises and lumps that she had received during a scrap with the temple's automatons. A few hours of bacta, some rest, and cleaning up worked wonders—Kori was ready and eager to get the job done this time.

The Jedi tried to keep the news about the defeated guardians on the low after returning from the temple. However, word got around, and it had an (un)expected effect. A few more locals ignored the dangers and went to the temple—either in search for their missing friends and relatives, or in the hopes of plundering something from the supposedly safe derelict. Again, not everyone returned. Some people just never learn.

Kori was sent back to make sure that the temple was safe, recover the missing people—Let's be real here: probably just their bodies—and to prevent such situations from happening again. Learning from the mistakes of the previous attempt, the Order sent more people for this task—some were familiar faces, and others Kori hadn't met before. And now there they were: standing between Zeffo statues, at the foot of the stairs leading up to the main entrance and away from the misty forest that they had just cleared.

"We should probably split up to cover more ground," Kori turned to her team. "There is a crevice nearby, which we used the last time. A human can fit through, although with some effort..." The Zeltron looked at her team, wondering who'd be able to go with her. Last time, getting through was hard even for her, let alone someone bulkier. "That's where we found and destroyed the guardians. I'm planning to take that route, but I'll need someone to come with me and watch my back. Another team can take the stairs up to the main entrance."

Having two separate groups increased the chances of success in finding survivors... or anything at all. Hopefully, the automatons weren't built in bulk, as an explorer had told Kori before. Still, a part of her didn't want to spread her forces too thin, remembering how the last time had gone. Some precautions wouldn't hurt. The law officer training prior to Kori's tenure as a Jedi was now showing itself—the Zeltron tried to take charge without even noticing it. "We'll keep contact over comlinks. If one of the groups gets in trouble, the other doubles back and comes to the rescue. But one of our goals should be to regroup inside the temple. So, any questions?"
 

Izel Thral

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Izel had barely heard what Kori was saying. Already the young Vratix was inspecting the statues before the entrance to the temple, brushing her fingers along the stonework and feeling the ancient traces of the Force flowing through it. She had never visited a temple of the Zeffo before, the prospect was quite exciting to her. She was glad to see Nara there as well. It had been a good while since the last time she had met her fellow Padawan, although she wasn't a Padawan any longer. Izel only hoped she could join her peer in the ranks of the Jedi Knights soon.

Finally noticing that Kori had been speaking to them Izel shook herself from her trance and turned to face the Zeltron. She was saying it was likely not all of them would be able to fit through the crevice into the temple... and everyone's attention seemed to be directed at the large insectoid. Izel sighed. "I suppose I'm taking the main entrance then." She said aloud, looking up the stairs towards the entryway to the temple. She glanced back at her comrades. "Would anyone care to join me?" She didn't want to wait too long. She was eager to start exploring the temple as soon as possible... And to save the missing villagers of course. But she was certain the Order wouldn't mind if she brought back a few Force-touched relics as well.
 

BD 9

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In the days since returning from the last mission to the Zeffo temple, Beedee spent much of it under maintenance. That included a decent amount of time deactivated in order to have his power core replaced after nearly frying it trying to protect his Jedi companions. But the events did little to deter the little droid from returning. In fact, his circuits felt more energized at the prospect of going back. His thoughts went back to the Amaran that the Jedi team had encountered the last time they ventured inside and wondered if he had found anything interesting. Or whether there were more of those temple automatons inside.

Either way, BD-9 was not too picky with whichever team he would end up with, as long as they could check out more of the temple without getting interrupted by the security inside.
 

Kegari

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Thluna
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Kegari enters the temple, not sure what she was going to do, she was sent here along with other Jedi as a search and rescue mission. Was this part of my training? Kegari thought to herself as she walked through the darkness of the mysterious temple. Whatever this was, she considered this part of her training. She still wasn’t even officially a Padawan yet, they are sending her on missions.

Not that she was complaining, Kegari is eager for adventure. I mean how much training can she get when she’s still very much an unknown? This would have to be her moment of truth. Her chance to prove herself she was ready to become one with the Jedi Order.

As she made her way down further the temple she sensed another presence. A familiar presence... “Kori”? Kegari whispered to herself as she walked in the temple. She wasn’t alone, another Jedi was within her presence as well. Perhaps they too were sent on this mission. She wasn’t familiar with this one though; however, this wasn’t the time for casual conversation, we had a mission to carry out. Perhaps another time.

“Hello”? Kegari whispered hoping someone could hear but not loud enough that anyone else could hear especially enemy lines. She sensed that Kori may have been in trouble along with others as well. Kegari’s first instincts were to rush in and save them, but Kori’s taught her well. Jedi don’t act out of fear or even out of first instinct, instead we let the Force guide us and to trust ourselves and our comrades.
 

Nara Allam

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A few days wasn't very long to recover from those kinds of injuries. Nykoria had managed to avoid getting the brunt of it. Nara, on the other hand, hadn't been so lucky. When she closed her eyes, she could still hear that sickening crunch and feel that hard stone as her body hit the wall. They'd looked over her, of course, hooked her up with enough stims and bacta to drown a small village... but she was a long way from her best. Quite why the council had asked her to continue was a mystery to her. Probably because she was there the first time round.

It'd been nice to Izel again, at least. It felt like a lifetime since they'd been in the library on Ajan Kloss. Back when Nara had been a lot more hot-headed and through a lot less bother. Nara faced Kori as she spoke. She was still in her coat, ever-faithful, with her clothes beneath. Everyone could see the bandages still wrapped around her shoulder, beneath her top. It still hurt a decent bit. You could even see the off-grey and yellow bruising round her jaw. But she was there and she could still do what she needed to.

Thank the Force. And stims. Loooooots of stims.

"I think it'd be more responsible to split into Knight and Padawan teams,"
Nara suggested, "it seems safer that way. Not that I think you're vastly inexperienced or anything, Izel." She looked up at her, smiling. "The opposite, in fact. With the state I'm in, I think I'm better off with you. And Kori, you're in a lot better shape so maybe you should take the new padawan. Speaking of which... where is she?" Nara had been pretty sure they'd been sent some new padawan to accompany them.

"Besides, it'll give us time to catch up," Nara said to Izel, smirking. "Just get ready with your saber. Those guardians pack a mean punch." She shook her head, turning towards the main doors. "Our comms'll be on. See you inside?" she said to Kori, waving at her as she stepped towards the main doors. "You're more than welcome with us, BD, unless Kori needs you more?" she asked, looking from the droid to the other Jedi.
 

Korsak Wulpez

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It had been a few days since Korsak's first forays into the Zeffo Temple on Ontotho, he had made great strides toward establishing the massive complex as a center of research and development, after letting his wounds heal of course. Despite the help of the unwitting Jedi and their droid companion, the small Amaran had taken what he felt to be more than his fair share of lumps, and was forced to take his initial explorations slowly while he recovered. Thankfully his scout ship was equipped with medical facilities effective enough to treat the scrapes and bruises he had suffered, and he managed to find a new landing zone around the rear of the temple near an overgrown courtyard.

In that time, however, he had decided to place a call out to another Eternal that shared his interest in ancient ruins and the forgotten secrets of dead civilizations, Alyse Ti'Varnus. The human was more than willing to come experiment and explore the Zeffo tomb, although she recommended another Sith by the name of Alym Brokkos to join them. Korsak had never heard of this individual, and was less than happy to have a stranger on this operation, but he was not about to turn down help, as he knew there could be further dangers deep in the temple.

So far, however, they had found few of the defenses left in the temple, as many of the Guardians appeared to have been disassembled or never completed, with empty husks leaning in corners or laying sprawled in pieces on the floor. It was...disconcerting, as it was clear the machines had not been left this way recently, and yet someone had clearly undone much of the temple's existing defenses and prevented the creation of more, without damaging the interior or exterior of the structure. A tantalizing mystery.

This also meant that the greatest danger of the temple was ignorant Fylari natives, who apparently found out that the Jedi had destroyed the Guardians who killed the first gaggle of idiots and decided to follow suit. Needless to say the Sith made quick work of the latest batch of invaders and buried them in the woods, less out of respect for the dead and more to dissuade predators.

But for now, Korsak was kneeling over a set of Zeffo hieroglyphs etched into the ancient stonework of a sub-level beneath the main chamber, using the crimson glow of his lightsaber to illuminate its strange contours.


@Topher @Logan
 

Alyse TiVarnus

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How truly fascinating was this? A long forgotten and lost temple uncovered by the Amaran Sith guardian, containing relics and machinations of a long lost Force sensitive species. It was in all honesty a pleasant surprise when she had accepted the incoming transmission from Korsak, listening intently as he spoke of his initial find, before requesting her assistance to further investigate the temple - needless to say the response that came back was incredibly short and borderline rushed, literally leaping at the opportunity Alyse had started gathering her possessions and was partly packed before the furry sith could even complete reading out the coordinates to log into her navcomp - less than 30 minutes after then her ship was breaking the atmosphere of her home world and preparing for the jump to hyperspace.

The last day or so was something of a blur, the cautionary words from the Amaran speaking of his encounter with the Jedi was of a minor concern. Their orders historical reputation for collecting artifacts and locking them in vaults seldom to ever see the light of day again, often proceeded them. - whether it was justified in the Orders current incarnation was yet to be determined. But the risk of having one of the biggest finds lost to the buried depths of an archive somewhere was one she could not stomach, driving the blonde cultist to work in a fervour, cataloguing and documenting every item, marking and detail she came across - working what many would consider around the clock, but whe. Your passions were being fueled by not only copious amounts of Caff and the energies of the Force a few all nighters would be but a small price to pay for the possible secrets that they could unlock about the nature of the Force.

Leaning back a little from her hunched over position. The blonde Sith stretched her arms out to the side, before rolling her upper body from side to side to loosen up her muscles from their cramping state. Having spend the best part of the last two hours knelt over one of the fallen automations that Korsak had identified as being one of the many Temple Guardians. The only comfort being afforded her was from removing the tunic and hooded cowl from her upper half and stuffing then under her knees and shins, fashioning a makeshift cushion to soften the hard stone surface beneath her - figuring that it was either strip down to her vest, or run the risk of her legs going numb.

Once the kinks and knots had been worked out, the blonde sith reached over for the small metallic orb that she had found beside the downed automoton. Her chestnut hued eyes narrowing as she examined the glass and crystal core that was wrapped in a bronze like metal. "Object appears to have originally formed part of the machine's chest cavity" Alyse spoke, directing her gaze away over towards her holopad that was transcribing her dictation, before holding the orb over the circular cavity in the fallen guardians armour plating. "There are residual traces of the Force within the inner crystal orb, most appears to have dissipated. It is possible that its purpose was a focusing point for the Force, to potentially animate the guardian.... See notes on Korsak's encounter" the blonde continued before giving the orb a final looking over and then proceeding to stow it into her satchel so she could later examine it.

As she stowed the artifact into her bag, Alyse retrieved her journal, swiftly flicking through the pages to the next blank sheet of bound parchment - before starting to sketch out the body of the mechanical being, occasionally focusing in on the various runic engravings and drawing them in greater detail, just incase there was a correlation to be found elsewhere in the temple.

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Alym Brokkos

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It had been too long since Alym had delved into some real ruins. It was mostly her own fault, of course, it's not like the galaxy had any shortage of old and dusty places long forgotten. But recently her mind had been in other places, and it still kind of was even now, staring at old glyphs and the wrecked remains of ancient guardians that littered the floor.

Alym was doing her best to stay engaged, though. It wasn't every day another Sith specifically requested your presence with something, they weren't exactly the type known for their generosity or hell, willing to admit they might need a little help. So Alym figured the least she could do was be present.

Glancing over towards Alyse when she started speaking, Alym sort of nodded her head in agreement despite not really being asked a question. Instilling the force into the sphere to act as a sort of battery seems the most likely, Alym said, poking around what was essentially just a scrap heap of what used to be one of the guardian droids. I've read in old texts that ancient Sith used droid guardians for their tombs all the time. Alyse and Korsak probably knew that already, but you never knew.

Just as Alym was going to start droning on about other things she had read, the young Sith stopped abruptly, and tilted her head up towards the ceiling like she was trying to hear something far off in the distance. The force energies in and around these ruins had been stagnant since she and Alyse had arrived to meet Korsak. Something that was fine by Alym, it meant that they didn't need to expect any surprises. Something was different now, she as sure - although why she felt that way, Alym couldn't say.

Turning towards her companions with a bit of intrigued concern splayed across her face, Alym put one hand on her hip while the other found its way into her pocket to fish out a pack of smokes. She floated one out and lit it with a quick flame produced when Alym snapped her middle and index finger together.

Something's different, She said, blowing out a stream of smoke from her mouth as she spoke. Scavengers maybe. Not sure. But something.

Alym continued to drag idly on her cigarette, curious to see if she had been the only once to feel anything.


@Catbert @Reyn @Lavi @Thluna @Charndley
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Nykoria Tallis

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Planet Ontotho, 8:44 am
Hidden temple, outside stairs


Kori listened to the exchange while assessing her team. She had seen Nara in action, and her resilience was impressive. But the young human was clearly far from her peak condition, with so short time to recover. The Vratix, Izel, was a dark horse, but Knight Allam seemed to believe in her. Beedee seemed chirpy and cute as ever. But Nykoria knew that behind that facade he was a dauntless little droid.

That left Kegari. In the two encounters with her, the Pantoran had blown up Kori's training remote and demonstrated some emotional troubles. Much like Kori herself at her age, soon after joining the Jedi Order. The Zeltron had sensed Kegari's emotions back once on Ajan Kloss and was affected by them. Or rather, thrown off balance completely. If the same were to happen again on Ontotho, it could endanger them both.

Besides, Kegari was still a rookie, with little training Kori knew of. The Jedi realized what sorts of trouble it could lead to. Kori's own master was an example of getting thrown into the harm's way more than once to protect the young untrained Zeltron. One of the times... It pained Kori to even remember that incident, so she shrugged it off.

"Actually, now that you say it, I think I could use Beedee's help," the Zeltron replied to her fellow Knight. "And perhaps... Kegari will be better off with the two of you," Kori shot out the half-truth. However, she tried to pass it off as something more credible: "It will be safer for you and her, and she'll find out more about the workings of the Order by watching and learning from you two."

Truth to be told, the Zeltron was afraid of "babysitting" a Padawan or initiate. Or of ending up in the same situation her own Master had been through years ago. Compared to the responsibility for someone else, going inside the temple with only Beedee by her side seemed like a less scary prospect. "There shouldn't be too many automatons left inside. And we know how to handle them now. With just me and Beedee, we'll move faster and just outrun the danger... Just radio to Kegari on the comlink, see where she has headed off."

Kori knelt next to the droid nearby: "One request though. If we're doing this, could you tell me how 'Oh kriff!' sounds in Droidspeak?" Regardless of the droid's answer—Kori wouldn't understand it anyway, assuming that the droid would say what he was asked—she'd reply this: "Good! Then beep it at your loudest if you see an automaton, or when poodoo hits the fan."
 
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Izel Thral

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"The opposite, in fact. With the state I'm in, I think I'm better off with you." Izel bowed her head in agreement with Nara's assessment. It sounded logical to her for the two Jedi more middling in experience to pair off while the more experienced Knight accompanied this new Padawan. "I shall gladly take the role of your meat-shield." The young Vratix joked, though she did recognize Nara was still recovering from her previous foray into the temple. Izel felt confident enough in her own abilities by this stage to ward off any dangers they might find.

When it was mentioned that Kegari still was not present Izel took the initiative to reach out with her Force sense and try to locate her. She was rather distressed to find the young Padawan had already entered the temple ahead of them. Perhaps she had been misinformed about where they were supposed to meet? And there was something worse. There was a dark presence within the temple itself, but not simply a general aura of the dark side that permeated some places powerful in the Force. There were other individuals inside that steeped themselves in the dark side. Izel clicked suspiciously, her antennae twitching.

"She's already inside." The Vratix reported to her companions, then looked to Nara. "We should hurry. Something's... I don't think we're alone here. And I'm not talking about the missing people." She was somewhat worried by Kori's desire to explore her part of the temple accompanied by no one but the small droid. She would do much better to have someone who would actually be able to hold their own in a combat scenario. But she didn't waste any time arguing. Kori was the senior Knight here, Izel decided to trust her judgement. What was more important was locating Kegari before she got herself into trouble.

@Catbert @Lavi @Thluna @Charndley @The Captain @Topher @Logan
 

Kegari

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Inside the temple, Kegari heard the sound of her commlink ringing. Duty calls she knew that she was needed. “I’m coming up”. Kegari whispered into the commlink as she made her way through the temple and made her way towards the other Jedi.

There was Kori and the two other Jedi along with the cutest droid in the Galaxy.... take that back. There was cute droids and then there was this one.. you could almost pick it up and cuddle up with it. Okay Kegari focus... almost forgetting about the mission at hand. This definitely wasn’t the time to gush over a little droid. Especially after seeing the others, they were pretty banged up. Kegari felt for them, especially after seeing Nara, she couldn’t fathom how she kept trucking forward.

That’s the spirit of the Jedi, they never give up. Kegari thought to herself as she looked to the others. She sighed and sensed that they, especially Kori was not confident about her being on this mission, especially being an initiate and not even an official Jedi; however, the council has assigned her. This would be her chance to really prove herself. Although she didn’t want to feel like a burden, like more of a hinderance rather than a help. She just wanted to prove herself worthy.
 

BD 9

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BD-9 had no problems with being paired with just Master Nykoria. It was not that he had any problems with being with the other masters: it was just the nature of the companion droid's programming that made saying no to help virtually unheard of.

The droid trotted over to Master Nykoria's side as she explained her rationale behind picking him over the padawan. Without much knowledge of the other Jedi, Beedee did not question her motives at all. He did find the logic of the two of them being able to escape danger more readily to be sound, though the droid carefully made a note that should the other team be in trouble, there would be a limit to what the two of them would be capable of doing to help. Beedee did not find a repeat of the fight against the temple automatons from a few days ago to be appealing.

Beedee turned to Master Nykoria's side as his sensors picked up her kneeling down beside him. "One request though. If we're doing this, could you tell me how 'Oh kriff!' sounds in Droidspeak?"

The little droid thought about how to respond to it, since he doubted that they would remember of he simply repeated the words in Binary. But he came up with an inventive answer; rather than respond in kind, he brought up an audio recording from his memory bank and played it back to the group.

A loud wail, resembling the sound that astromech droids make, blared from his speakers. Surely the Jedi have dealt with astromech droids before. Beedee shook his antennae playfully as he gauged the reactions of the Jedi around him with a tilt of the head.

"Good! Then beep it at your loudest if you see an automaton, or when poodoo hits the fan," was Kori's response.

// Will do, Master Nykoria! // the droid replied, bouncing on his feet and eager to go.

@Catbert @Thluna @Charndley @The Captain @Topher @Logan
 

Nara Allam

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A flash of annoyance ran through Nara. I'm not really in the state, or the mood, to be ferrying around padawans. Even at her best, Nara wasn't exactly possessed with the temperament for teaching. Setting a good example wouldn't be easy, given her loud and confrontational approach to being a Jedi. Still though, no use arguing over something that's set.

"Fine," Nara lied, "let's just get to it." Nara turned to her team, focusing on Kegari first. "Kegari, you're with me and Izel." She nodded towards the other Jedi with them. "I'll head in first, you two follow behind. And be careful. You see anything stone, or metal, that moves? Or any kind of blue glow? Weapons out and ready," she warned them as she stepped up towards the main doors.

Inside, the doorway opened up into a vast, circular chamber. It was dark, parts illuminated by the entrance and small, crumbling holes high up in the masonry. Swirls of dust sparkled in the sickly sunlight. Nara unclipped her saber and held it high, igniting it. The area around them illuminated in a deep, sapphire blue. It still wasn't enough to light the room properly but it gave them something. Nara stepped carefully over the stonework, looking around. Nervous, waiting to see if some statue leaped out at her or some contraption responded to their presence.

The light washed over a familiar outline and Nara froze, brandishing her saber closer to herself. Carefully, she stepped forwards, recognising something similar to the guardians that she'd fought just days before. "Weapons..." she said quietly, hoping they'd hear it as she approached the statue.... to see that it was lifeless. Very lifeless. Nara breathed again and peered closer, staring at the cavity where she'd been expecting that blue orb. Just scratches. Scratches that looked recent.

Something isn't right here. Nara closed her eyes and focused on the area around her. Feeling the pulse and breathing of the padawans, reaching out to feel for Kori. Feeling a curious, unpleasant sensation from... below. Down below the chamber. Very troubling.

"Kori... it's Nara. There are signs of recent activity here. I've got a bad feeling about this," she said through the comm-link, looking over her shoulder. "I don't think we're alone. You think our Amaran friend is still around?"


@The Captain @Topher @Logan
 

Korsak Wulpez

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Korsak had been lost in thought when Alym chimed in, mentioning that something had changed in the atmosphere of the Temple. Opening his mind back up to the Force, Korsak found that the human was right, there was a concentrated presence in the Force approaching the complex, stronger than a pack of local wildlife, but beyond that Korsak could not tell much more.

"She's right. It appears we've got guests on our threshold." He turned to Alyse and Alym, gesturing up toward the main floor. "Head upstairs, watch the main door. I'll head downstairs to prevent anyone from sneaking through the gap in the main staircase."

Korsak, on some level, suspected the Jedi might return to Ontotho at some point, and considering they had been sent to investigate missing villagers once it was not unreasonable to suspect they might come again. Korsak knew he had to be prepared for anything, and yet the presence he felt was not the full strike force or research team he was expecting. Was this the same trio as before?

"Be prepared for anything." That would be the last thing Korsak said to his fellow Eternals before deactivating his lightsaber and disappearing into the darkness that led down to the lower floors.


@Catbert @Thluna @Charndley @The Captain @Topher @Logan @Lavi
 

Alyse TiVarnus

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The blonde cultist's lips pursed in thought at the suggestion that the sphere she had been examining would perhaps more likely serve as a storage vessel for Force energies rather than her own earlier suspicions. "That sounds like a plausible theory" Alyse spoke out offering Alym a light smile and nod in recognition of her input, before returning her focus back to her sketches within her journal, taking the moment to scribe the theory down on its pages whilst it was fresh in her memory.

Despite her eagerness to carry on with her investigations within the temple, it looked as if it was about to be cut short. First Alym flagged up the increasing presence of others approaching the temple, followed by the Amaran Guardian. Closing her journal with a resigned sigh, Alyse rose to her feet packing the journal and pen away into her satchel. Her eyes closing as she reached out with the force to get a sense of the approaching strangers the others had flagged. Once she had confirmed the approach for her self, the blonde sith reached down for her clothing that she had been using as an impromptu cushion, her gaze moving over towards Korsak, as he gave direction for the two female Sith to stand watch over the main door before he started to head towards the lower levels of the temple.

Nodding in acknowledgement, the blonde cultist looked over towards Alym, and fell into pace with her as the two made their way to the directed upper level towards the main entrance. Her fingers tentatively fastening up her attire and tightening the leather straps that held the various points of protective armour in place, as she traversed the stair case - once she had ensured that she was once again properly dressed albeit in dusty and heavily creased attire, Alyse reached down to her belt to ensure that her lightsaber was still clipped in place - inwardly hoping that it would not need to come to the use of violence.

As the two female Sith approached the main circular chamber of the entrance hall, Alyse took a cautionary glance over her surroundings identifying the various statues and collapsed columns that littered the entrance hall. Her mind thinking over potential positions that were defensible if necessary, before looking over towards the temple doors themselves, her gaze falling upon the sight of silhouetted figures cut against the light that was bleeding in through the temple's door's. Her attention briefly flitted over towards Alym to motion that she was going to head towards the encroaching figures, whether Alym wanted to do like wise or slit up would be down to her.

Taking a deep breath the blonde started to actively channel the force through her, focusing her mind and tempered emotions in readiness for things going seven shades of kriff in an instant. "You may want to be careful" Alyse called out in a casual voice towards the group of Jedi that had passed through the entrance doors, figuring it would be better to make her presence known at the first instance - so to avoid some nervous trigger fingers. "There's still a few of those automatons wandering around" she added as she slowly approached the figures ahead of her, her right arm gesturing towards the far side of the cavernous hall.
 
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Alym Brokkos

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Alym wasn't generally one to take instruction from people she didn't know, but this time she was willing to make an exception. Korsak wasn't her superior in any possible way as far as Alym was aware, but he was already familiar with this place and its nooks and crannies, so at least in that regard his opinion wasn't entirely useless.

As she and Alyse made their way to the main door, Alym couldn't help but let her eyes stray and watch the blonde Sith pull her clothing back on with just a tinge of disappointment. As far as Alym was concerned, Alyse could keep as much of her clothing off as she wanted. Preferably... all of it. Perhaps a dusty and decrepit old ruin wasn't exactly the romance capital of the world but.. sigh. Now is not the time, Alym. Not the time.

As they approached the door, Alyse seemed intent on taking point - which was fine with Alym. Defusing potential situations wasn't really her strong point, and for all either of them knew the obfuscated silhouettes inhabiting the hearth of the temple doors could be innocent people. Alym may have been a Sith, but she was not a mindless - although, her arrogance and superiority complex could get her into trouble other people could easily avoid.

Alym let Alyse approach the others alone, instead opting to place herself in the shadow of one of the larger stone pillars that still stood mostly intact. From her position she could see Alyse and the others, but it was unlikely that they would be able to see her. Concealing her presence in the force to the best of her ability, Alym's right hand hovered ominously over her lightsaber, like a snake prepared to strike its prey at a second's notice.

I have your back, Alym said telepathically to Alyse. Hopefully the new voice inside of her friend's head didn't cause a surprise and betray Alym's potential for surprise should things turn sour. Hopefully our furry friend doesn't run into anything he can't handle on his own.

Alym's eyes narrowed as she watched the shrouded figures, ready to jump in and save her friend if necessary. It was a different feeling for Alym, she wasn't generally one for any sort of altruism. It felt weird.

On the plus side.. hero's usually got the girl, right?


@Catbert @Reyn @Lavi @Thluna @Charndley
@The Captain @Topher
 

Nykoria Tallis

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Jedi Order
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Jedi Master

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Catbert
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Planet Ontotho, 8:49 am
Hidden temple, dark hallway


The Zeltron was standing where it all started—in the chamber so large and dark, that even a lightsaber wouldn't illuminate its entirety. Apart from some light coming through the crevice, and the azure glow of the blade, it was pitch-black. Just like Kori remembered it. The only thing she saw were the remains of the automaton on the floor, caught out by the light of her saber. Yeah, stay down, kriffhead. The enemy destroyed days ago gave Kori some confidence. However, she was still nibbled by doubts.

Izel, the Vratix Padawan, had felt a presence in the temple. Kori had sensed it too on her way here, while slipping through the crevice. She wasn't sure it were the missing people, but it seemed like the most logical option. At least getting inside the temple was easy: Kori watched her head this time, and her current outfit was less bulky than her flight-suit. On top of that, she wore a hooded dark-brown leather jacket, so her appearance wasn't much different from a few days ago.

As before, Kori had her stun blaster holstered on the hip. The lightsaber hilts were secured horizontally on the back of the belt, hidden underneath the jacket. However, this time Kori wielded one saber from the start. There were no people to hide from this time, and the Zeltron remembered the unlucky encounter with the automatons too well. Be ready for anything, and no handicaps this time.

A sudden chirp right next to her made the Zeltron twitch and almost raise her ignited weapon. It took her moment to realize what the sound was—her own kriffin' comlink. Nykoria exhaled and took the device off her belt with a free hand.

—"Kori... it's Nara. There are signs of recent activity here. I've got a bad feeling about this... I don't think we're alone. You think our Amaran friend is still around?"
—"Got it, Nara. I don't expect to run into that guy. More people have disappeared since the last time. So he either left, or disappeared with them. But thanks, I'll be careful. Kori out."

The Zeltron pressed the button again, and the device turned off with a characteristic long crack. Securing the comlink back on her belt, she looked at her droid companion: "I remember a place where at least one of the victims should be. Meanwhile, you take a look around, see if you find anything or anyone interesting... A path further, or a way to regroup with Nara inside the temple. Just... don't stroll off too far, and beep 'Oh kriff!' like we agreed, if things go sideways."

Illuminating her path with the azure blade of her lightsaber, Kori walked towards the door that Nara had left open days ago. Back then, Kori had sensed an echo of the stranger's demise through the Force—pinned at the dead end and crushed by the merciless ancient machine. However, this time she barely felt anything. It was as if the bulk of the memory was... gone.

Reaching the end of the collapsed passage, the Zeltron looked around, but still couldn't find the body. All that her lightsaber caught out were black stains of on the ancient stone floor. Kori knelt and moved her lightsaber closer to investigate... Dried blood, most likely. Someone must have moved the corpse away! The Jedi touched the bloodied floor and closed her eyes, trying to sense what had transpired there. However, all she could hear through the Force were the last faint echoes of the death scream that she had heard before... and soft footsteps behind her.

With a gasp, Kori sprang up and around into a combat stance, instantly angling her azure blade into a defensive position...

@Lavi, @The Captain, @Charndley, @Thluna, @Reyn, @Topher, @Logan
 

Kegari

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Jedi Order
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Jedi Padawan

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Thluna
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Kegari along with Nara and Izel also sensed the unsettling presence. She wasn’t sure if it was enemy forces or villagers. Either way, she wasn’t going to let her guard down. She didn’t have a lightsaber to illuminate the pathway so she tried her best to just stick with the others and not get lost.

“I suppose we aren’t alone”. Kegari whispered to herself as she she walked through the dark pathways with the others. She tried her best to conceal her nervousness as they began going deeper into the temple. Perhaps it’s best that we kept the low profile. Kegari thought to herself as she knows there’s others within their presence perhaps not with the same agendas. Whatever it may be, it didn’t sit well with Kegari. She was now realizing why she was assigned for this mission.

Keeping her hands on her blaster, Kegari stayed on guard. She hoped that they wouldn’t have to resort to violence especially after the others still recovering from injuries from the last mission. She was the only one here unscathed and although she was unharmed and at full strength she was still the unexperienced one of the bunch. She hoped that this mission would change that, give her experience and a chance to prove herself.
 

Izel Thral

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Jedi Order
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Jedi Knight

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Reyn
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Izel nodded to Nara's warning and followed wordlessly. Judging from the Knight's wounds these automatons weren't to be taken lightly, she was on guard from the moment they entered. Following her companion's lead Izel ignited her own lightsaber as they ventured deeper into the temple, the emerald light of her weapon mingling with the blue glare of Nara's.

Under normal circumstances the young Vratix would have been taking the time to examine every minute detail of the architecture around them, taking meticulous notes on their design. But the presence she felt within the temple kept her focus squarely on the present. There was a danger here, more than the regular defenses of the ancient structure. Whoever they were they could mask themselves well with the Force, only leaving the Padawan more on edge. Trained Force sensitives then, that did not bode well. The insectoid remained perfectly silent as they walked, reaching out with well-trained Force sense and trying to identify just where these mysterious individuals were.

She snapped into fighting form as Nara called out for weapons, but quickly lowered her saber once she realized the automaton was already disabled. While the human got on her communicator to speak to Kori, Izel knelt down and ran her fingers over the dead guardian. She felt the remnants of the Force energy that lingered within it, and when she ran her hand over the faint scratch marks she immediately winced. It was the distinct feeling of the dark side again.

"What Amaran friend?" The Vratix asked urgently, only to be interrupted by a new arrival.

"You may want to be careful" Izel jumped to her feet immediately, falling into the Form III stance as another human emerged. The Padawan could not sense her as the source of the darkness, but something about the new arrival immediately raised her suspicion. "There's still a few of those automatons wandering around" She said, and gestured to one of the walls. Izel kept her expression fixed squarely on the human though, her antennae twitching slightly.

"We're well aware." The Vratix replied in a calm voice, slowly maneuvering herself closer to Kegari. It wouldn't do to leave the less experienced Padawan vulnerable when she had no lightsaber. "Speaking of which, you're awfully calm given the inhabitants of this place..." She said in a conversational tone. "Where are your friends?" She hoped to catch the girl off-guard, get her to mention where the other dark side individuals might be. While she may not have sensed any darkness in the moment, she didn't feel any fear emanating from this woman either. That led her to believe she was no simple explorer. Any non Force sensitive would at least be nervous down here, they would have to be quite stupid otherwise.

@Catbert @Lavi @Thluna @Charndley @The Captain @Topher @Logan
 

BD 9

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Independent
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Lavi
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Beedee whistled an acknowledgement to Master Nykoria's instructions before setting off on his own adventure. It harkened to the old days where he ventured through cityscapes on his own, siphoning precious power wherever he could as a masterless droid. Except instead of grumpy city-dwellers trying to chase him down and catch him, it's unidentified machines who could care less that a single beam of energy could turn him into a scrap heap.

The little droid flipped on his searchlight as his feet pattered distinctly on the floor of the increasingly widening room. The architects of this temple definitely had no issues with breathtaking design. Beedee wanted to see if there were any power conduits within the temple: a sign that there could potentially be a long-lost wealth of knowledge stashed away in the temple. But for the present time, safety and closure for the lost's families were prioritized by the Jedi. There will alway be time to go back later to check out the temple further, Beedee reassured himself as he turned a corner. Down the hall where he walked, another one of the temple automatons stood. Not powered but, if Beedee's suspicions are accurate, ready to respond to movement.

He knew that he was instructed to make the sound that Master Nykoria instructed him to at the first sign of trouble, but Beedee wondered: do these temple guardians have auditory sensors? Would sound attract more of these things towards them? Now is not a good time to search for the answer for that question; in fact, 'never' is probably the only time one would want to find out the answer.

The droid crept past the automaton in a wide semi-circle, continuing his way deeper into the temple until his searchlight came across a familiar face. The Amaran from before. BD-9 recalled the Amaran introducing himself as Beldan and had little reason to doubt him. Given that he was shining his searchlight in every direction, Beedee saw no reason to pretend he didn't notice Beldan.

// Greetings! // Beedee chirped as he approached.

// Have you found anything interesting? // the droid asked, tilting his head to the side.

BD-9 remembered that the Amaran said that he did not understand Binary, hoping that the physical gesture would hint to his speech for Beldan. It seemed fortunate that Beldan managed to survive in the temple with the area not completely cleared of danger. Perhaps he found a safe route through the inner temple?

@Catbert @Reyn @Thluna @Charndley @The Captain @Topher @Logan
 
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