Saul had seen bushfires back on Virgillia. They came and tore through wooded areas with a ferocity, but burnt out quick, and left space for regrowth.
They were nothing like this.
It was as if he’ll itself had pushed over and engulfed the wilderness, threatening more and more every day. So the reports had said anyhow. And from his place in the shuttle, heading closer and closer toward the heart of the blaze, he could see how. It stretched out for miles, the entire horizon glowing hot red, air a mess of haze, waving as the heat refracted the light in strange ways.
They weren’t out here as first responders. Emergency Firespeeders has been out across the frontlines trying to hold back the worst of it. But a sudden wind change turned the fire on its head and sent it shooting high. Most had managed to make it out, one had not. The ship and its compliment were trapped down below, and Saul was damned if they were leaving them there,
“This is as close as I can get you, you ready?” The shuttle captains voice barked over the intercom. Saul could only nod and look at his ally as they neared the ground. Even dressed in firesuits and gas masks to keep out the smoke, you could still feel the raw heat out there,
Skkk-bhrk his rebreather pushed out, all his fears, all the memories of the heat, the fires of Ifrane where he’d been injured rushed to his mind. Part of him wanted to run, to curl up and try to push them away. Now was not time for that, now was the time to move beyond,
“May the Force be with us” he called before jumping off the ship to the blaze before them,
Bravery. His father had given him many a lecture on bravery. What it meant, who was brave, who wasn't. He'd never really understood, not really. Now looking over at the knight opposite him he think he knew.
Giran knew what had happened to Sail on Ifrane and even if he didn't that rebreather was enough to give you a good idea. Yet, he'd volunteered for this mission. The one that would take him to where the flames were hottest to where he might be burnt once again. The selflessness and sheer courage it took for him to face the flames again, that was bravery.
Giran felt a slight twinge of shame at his own reasoning for volunteering. He wanted to prove to himself that he could be of use, that he was as brave and strong as the other members of the order. Of course he wanted to help the men and women trapped by the blaze, he was a jedi after all. It just hadn't been his first reason.
He was feeling slightly less brave now that he could feel the heat. The fires were massive and like nothing he'd ever seen before. They'd swept through the land like a horde of demons destroying all in its path. He double checked his suit, it was his only lifeline in this dire situation.
“This is as close as I can get you, you ready?”
He looked to the knight opposite him. Into the eyes of a brave man. If he can do this so can I
“May the Force be with us”
With those words Saul launched himself from the shuttle. ok ok ok
He watched the man descend into the flames whilst steadying himself. Deep breathes, deep breathes. "We're going to need it." Giran muttered launching himself into the heat after his senior.
He heard Giran’s words as he plunged to the ground. It wasn’t too far a drop, but the shuttle couldn’t properly land with the fire raging. And with the sheer fury of its roar Saul could scarcely hear himself think. Still, it was easier than trying to shout out over the blaze.
Heat, light, and noise were overwhelming here. Looking north to the crash site, all Saul could see was fire, the tree line in front of them covered entirely, and likely again beyond,
We need to make a passage to the crash beyond, no chance we can walk through the fire Sauls mind reached out to Girans.
Inside his helmet his breathing was shallow, the proximity to the fire wanted to overwhelm him, leave him clutching for air and his heart pounding. All he could do was think of the men trapped, of Giran beside him. He could not allow them to suffer the same way.
And so, reaching out into the Force he swept up a branch from the ground, still burning bright, and swept it across the forest floor, pushing burning scrub and clearing it away, leaving a part of dirt through the centre.
Waving Giran on, they began to enter the inferno. No doubt there were many dangers yet to come.
If Giran had felt the heat on the ship this was a hundred times worse. The heat, noise and light were incredible and he was over come not with fear but awe. He felt out with the force feeling the pure chaotic energy dancing and weaving seemingly with now purpose other than to destroy.
We need to make a passage to the crash beyond, no chance we can walk through the fire
A voice in side Giran's head snapped him out of his rapture. He thought of the firefighters stuck inside the chaotic inferno and his awe was once again replaced by fear. This was a force of destruction and there were people stuck inside it. The heat, the noise and the light seemed less magnificent now and more aggressive and violent. It was after those brave men and women and he and Saul were their only hope for salvation.
I'm with you, remember we have to make our way out along the same path so try and clear it completely.
Saul began to clear a path, using a huge branch and the force to clear the underbrush. He then gestured for Giran to enter the blaze. This time he didn't hesitate. He knew his enemy's intent and there was no time to waste. He reached out in the force creating a bubble around him, like he would when using soresu. This way at least he'd see any threat coming, be that a falling branch or a fleeing animal. With his protective bubble set Giran followed Saul into hell.
Even though he knew it, it was good to hear Giran say he would be there. As much as he needed to push himself through, it helped to have another there to make sure you did. And he had no doubt they’d need both of them out here.
With he clearing the way and Girans bubble they were making good progress.But it was dangerous out here. For every step Saul felt his feet slip through burnt first floor, ash scattering beneath his feet. This was no place for anything living to remain. Patches of forest had seen the flames pass through already, the trees blackened and burned beyond recognition,
Make for the clearing, we need to be out of these flames! He cried in his mind to his ally. Maintaining the sweeping log was taking its toll, and reaching the clearing he dropped it with a heavy thud, burnt wood splintering against the ground.
He should have taken it as a warning.
No sooner had breath returned to his body did the wind pick up again. The burnt branches that still cling to the trees were weak, and with a whipcrack the tore from their homes and whipped toward the pair.
Giran scrambled after the knight only really keeping track of him with the use of the force. His breath came to him in short rasps and he couldn't see for the sweat in his eyes. The forest was dead and through his force sense he knew how true that was. There was nothing but flame smoke and death around them. Make for the clearing, we need to be out of these flames!
The clearing was like a blast of fresh air. Of course it was still blackened and dead but compared to the closeness of the heat previously it was like a beautiful meadow in comparison. Thank god we're out of that I think I'd have - Snap
Giran sensed it before he saw it. The branches hurtled at them like flaming arrows. Luckily Giran was ready for them. He didn't bother to stop them but merely influenced their trajectory so they bent around the two jedi. Not a single ember landed on the two jedi. That's the last of it for now, we can move on or rest up here for a while master If they stopped they'd probably be in better shape to help the firefighters, wherever they were. That being said, Giran didn't know how long they had.
Saul wanted to take Girans suggestion and pause, he really did. But he didn’t know if the firefighters had that time for them,
We’re Jedi, our lives are not ones of rest, at least not in times like these his eyes circled their spot of rest, the flames could be seen clearly beyond them even in the relative safety they had now. The contrast was stark, though the heat radiated to even here. And if not for Giran’s quick action they would not have even this.
The firefighters had not the abilities they did, they were trapped where they were without their intervention,
One more push, that is what we must do
Saul laid a hand on Giran’s shoulder before stepping forward. The way north from the clearing would see them to the crash site.
Plunging back into the flames, Saul could begin to sense the firefighters within the blaze. They were close, and the outline of a wrecked airspeeder only confirmed it. They had found them.
We’re Jedi, our lives are not ones of rest, at least not in times like these as you say master
Giran fell back in line behind Saul. His usual self doubt had fallen to the back of his mind and a sense of alertness had replaced it. How long had they been here, not that long surely. An hour, a few? Time seemed to be blurring together.
He felt out again creating the bubble protecting -or at least warning- Giran and Saul of any danger. He needn't have bothered. The firefighters were only a few meters to the north and Giran could already make out the outline of their wrecked speeder.
They broke the clearing to a frantic scene. There was three people in this particular crew all dressed in their hazard suits, making it difficult to pick out any details about them.. Two of the three firefighters were keeping the flames away from their broken speeder using their quickly dwindling water supplies to wet the grass around the vehicle. The third was on the ground clutching their leg which was twisted at an unnatural angle. That would explain why they hadn't been able to leave. The fact that two of the firefighters were still mobile was very fortunate however the third might cause an issue.
What's the plan master? How are we going to extract these people? @Nightfall
The scene before them was one of absolute desperation, and he couldn’t help admire the spirit of the firefighters still holding back the onslaught that faced them. It was time to get them out of here.
Try and treat the injured man, I’ll see what I can do about keeping fires away They needed a moment of respite to get back out the way the came, and it seemed in this blaze they’d have to make themselves.
But how to do that? Looking around the site, the two that remained fighting were using personal packs to hold off the tide, but what interested Saul was around the other side. At the crafts rear was a tank, leaking it’s contents to the ground. Water, and a lot of it. It fueled the ships water cannons when in the air, but now crashed it wasn’t doing anything.
Not for long, anyhow.
Burrowing into the Force, Saul felt his way inside the tank, and drew the water our through the crack. He held it steady in the air until a great ball had formed that he could manipulate, and sent it crashing into the blazes around them, carrying the ball as it warped round trees and branches, coating them wet to stave away the fire and put out what was already there. Perhaps with a little luck they’d be out of here yet,
Giran, how is he? I’ll let you take the lead He spoke telepathically to the young padawan. Such days were people were tested, prove himself here and he was well on his way to reaching knighthood.
Yes master, on it! Giran ran over to the injured fire fighter and as he approached he could here him crying out in pain, even over the roaring of the fire. "Calm down! I'm here to help you! My name's Giran!" Giran shouted over the sounds of the world burning. "Names darr- ARGH"
Giran set the bones back in place with a little assistance from the force, better to do that when he wasn't expecting it. Now that the bones were set he could begin to repair the fractures. He reached out to fully examine the damage. There were two minor fractures on his femur and a clean break through his tibia. What had this guy been doing! Luckily for him it was a jedi that had found him.
Giran used the force to jumpstart the healing process. The femur would be easiest the minor fractures were quick and relatively painless to heal. "Bite down on this" Giran said offering the man the leather wrappings on his lightsaber.
The man's eyes went wide when he saw the lightsaber but he did as he was told. Hopefully what they did here today could change how the galaxy thought of them but he wasn't so sure.
Giran started the healing. What should have taken months to heal and multiple surgeries took mere minutes. As you'd expect however there were some ... Growing pains. The man lost consciousness twice during the process and would probably look like he'd aged twenty years afterwards but he could walk.
Whilst this was happening Giran was vaguely aware of Saul wetting the surrounding area. Small flecks of water landed on his suit visor periodically and the ambient heat dropped dramatically. Giran, how is he? I’ll let you take the lead He's fine master, he'll be a little weak from pain for a bit but with some assistance he can walk
Giran helped Darrgh to his feet and surveyed the scene. Master Saul had, somehow, found a large source of water and was using it to wet the surrounding area, keeping the flames away from them and the speeder. An idea formed in Giran's mind. A simple one but they were often the best. We should travel in the opposite direction of where the wind is pushing the fire, there's no way we'll be able to keep pace with a blaze of this magnitude. I'll go first and use the force to clear a path. Master Saul you should go next and use that water to keep the blaze off of us. The other two can help this guy and use their personal packs for anything you miss. He relayed the orders to the other fire fighters and set off into the wind. This had all gone very well so far. Now they only needed to get out. Giran smiled optimistically as he went about moving debris from their path.
Saul had to smile as Giran conveyed his plan, it was a good one. They had to go through the fire to get to the firefighters, but they didn't have to go through it to get out. He simply nodded and looked back at the young padawan,
Then after you
Saul regathered his ball of water, or as much as was left at this point, and drew it in close. The firefighters were moving back, gathering up their friend as they moved up,
"Leave your packs, the faster we're away from here the better" he voiced to them as they scooped up the injured one "you have enough weight with you already" there were few qualms among them, quickly dropping their packs to the ground. Saul though, could carry it. Kicking open the glass tanks at the back, he kept the water with him once more, restoring his orb and joining with the trio as they moved off.
The scarred lands they moved through now were blackened with ash, spot fires across needed to be kept down, that was left to Saul while Giran cleared the debris. They moved with purpose and, importantly, with speed. Continuing East along the firefront kept the away from the worst of it. Soon they'd be in comm distance, get lifted out.
The scenery changed as they moved back through the path of destruction. The orange and reds of the flames gave way to the blacks and greys of ash. The chaos gave way to emptiness. This scene of destruction was one of the most beautiful things Giran had ever seen. No more fire, no more heat and no more blinding lights. As the roar of the fire gave way to the hissing of embers Giran felt comfortable enough to fall out of formation and stand next to Saul. "I think that we're out of the immediate danger." Giran said a huge grin splitting his face. "Was it me or did that go really really well! Things never go that well!"
Giran felt proud for the first time in what felt like months. They had saved these people and in a fast professional manner. No one had died, in fact they were looking better off than when they found them. Giran felt wonderful. He'd managed to carry his weight he wasn't a burden! "Thank you for taking me with you master Saul, it's good to feel like I'm finally doing some good in the universe."
The firefighters had started to lag behind a little by this point. What were they doing? They seemed to be talking amongst themselves. Understandable, they'd just survived an incredible ordeal. They were probably just checking on one another.
Giran wouldn't have to wait long to find out what they were discussing. One of them approached them. He was tall much taller than Giran and he wasn't sure. He had his shoulders set and his head held high, he looked scared, or was he looking for a fight? "Right so urr sirs? Me an the boys we've been talkin right? And urrr we know you're dem space wizards the news has been on about and urrr well if you wanna take us slaves or summin we'll fight ya before that. I know you saved our lives an all but I've got a misses you see an well they'll be needin us now."
Giran stared agog at the man. What them? Him and Saul take them as slaves? What in the force was this man saying? Maybe he'd heard Giran call Saul master but this was absurd. He turned to the older knight with an incredulous look on his face.
"It was an honour Padawan Latt" saul returned with a smile to the young Miralian. Most of the immediate danger seemed to have abated now, a few little spot fires lingered yet but nothing a breath kinetic energy or a rush of water couldn't deal with. Yes, today had been a good day, far better than he had expected, far better than his mind was initially seeming to allow it to be. But they had pushed through, and soon they would be safe. Reception was slowly coming back,
"And I am certain you'll do much more yet" though they had barely a moment of quiet to consider this, the firefighters spoke up. Saul couldn't help but chuckle slightly,
"No sirs, you'll be seeing your families yet. Nobody owes anything, this was done because it was right" Saul extended his hand with the comm-link to the firefighter who had asked the question,
"Feel free to make the call, extraction is on its way" hopefully these few could help extend the word on what the Jedi Order was truly about, beyond the rumours that seemed to fly about the galaxy these days.
"Error well then, um thank you sirs" the firefighter mumbled taking the commlink from Saul. "Sunburst, this is Foxtrot one requesting extraction on my location over"
The radio replied unintelligibly. "Now we wait."
Giran found a log that was blackened but seemed intact and sat down. It was done then, they'd actually done it. These men would get home safely thanks to their efforts. Giran couldn't quite get over it. Maybe, now that Saul had cleared their image with these people they'd gone even a small way to clearly the jedi's name.
"You shouldn't believe everything you see on the holonet you know." Giran chuckled lounging backwards "We only take slaves some of the time." When no one else laughed he added "I'm kidding of course..."
It wasn't long after that that a shuttle flew into sight over head, circled once and landed amongst the desolated scenery. They all clambered on board taking seat along the wall and removing their protective suits. He watched the men they'd saved and smiled one last time. The had been with them today.