Log:Jedi Order: Bloody, but Unbowed
The air is redolent with the scent of sulfur, and while breathable, it is not pleasant. A persistent gloom hangs overhead, dark clouds casting a pall over the land below. In the distance, a lone spire juts far above the surrounding rocky terrain, its silhouette cutting a great pronged peak against the foggy sky while a lone stream of lava cascades down to pool below, flowing slowly away.
Even here among the irontrees, a sense of darkness and unease emanates out from that abandoned citadel to the Jedi making their way over the ashy ground. The light and the fog causes the trees to take on a red shade the further away they stand. "Mustafar. You asked what the temple on Sluis Van reminded me of," Ben remarks to the others as he walks, cautious eyes scanning the trees. "This grove. Corvax Fen, it's called. I've been here before." He pauses next to a tall stump, a thin ironwood tree sheared off around shoulder-height, frowning at the charred edge where the tree ends. "It isn't a good memory."
"I daresay few of your memories are /good/ memories, Mr. Solo," Says Aryn, her voice conveyed over the rebreather she is wearing. While some might like to brave the putrid air, Aryn prefers not to have the smell of sulfur burned into her nostrils! It was bad enough that it'd be in her clothing. Tugging her gloves up, Aryn tests the tension by making a fist, then switches to her other hand. "Well, alright then. Best be about it."
"This place is.." Chani's voice trails off. It's modulated through the respirator on her face. There's all kinds of caustic chemicals that come with lava, and after she saw they'd be trudging through loose sediment and dirt on their way to the ominous spire in the distance, she decided she'd rather not inhale whatever's lurking in the soil. They also hadn't innoculated against any of the local microbes, and Chani doesn't feel like taking any risks. It's hot here. Hot enough that she's sweating in a way that has her hair clinging to the nape of her neck and her temples. It's more the combination of the heat and the effort of walking together that does it, but Mustafar is not a cool planet. She doesn't wear the robes of their order, either, and the jumpsuit underneath the armor plates that she wears doesn't help.
"That spire looks like what I saw in my vision on Tython, but it looks even worse here on the ground. Is it another temple?" Her question is postulated to the others in the group as her gaze passes over them. Rune. Vhe. Aryn. Qutha. Zandra. Kasia. Jax. She reflects on how well she knows a few and how little the others. Byss seems like a long time ago. Chani's gaze flicks skywards, where dark, roiling clouds that are somehow more black than the sky itself seem to ring around the tower. She turns her gaze groundward again and continues apace, boots leaving marks in the cracked ground.
Again with the planets that want to kill you, or so it seems, the raging lava rivers and spiked rocks of obsidian all forming into some hellish landscape that Rune can't imagine anyone wanting to visit. "Yes... I remember. I wish that I did not, this place is not... is not pleasant." He remarks, carefully looking down at the lower ground and imagining just what it would take to thrive here. The younger Ysannan gathers up his robes, wondering if a lighter garment would have perhaps suited better on such a cool starved planet. "I am glad you all found me, if this is the nature of turning to the 'dark side', I am much happier to live in places that are... calm and pleasing."
"Why must we always go to places that are unsettling," Vhe says softly to herself. She glances aside at the others as they follow after Ben. They do so time after time into a possible belly of the beast. The heat rushes over her and she sniffs at the air, feeling like the nose hairs are going to singe right off. "Could possibly be another temple," she answers Chani. "Not a pleasant one by any means if so." She narrows her gaze at the structure not so far in the distance with a great deal of hesitation.
"Ben, it might help to think of something that had some good to it." Qutha speaks with a notable quaver in his voice for the darkness of this planet, forced to keep his lights on to be sure of his footing while he looks at a landscape covered in glowing red lines and light absorbing black to his eyes.
Chani's inquiry gains a nod and a frown while the Zelosian looks around, trying to position himself in the middle of the lot while wringing his hands, "I saw the galaxy like this... maybe worse." shivering, "Ever since you told us about Mustafar, I'd been... reading. There was supposed to be someone here, decades ago. A terrible person." swallowing hard.
Zandra too has a rebreather, for probably many of the same reasons as others. Her hair is tightly braided against her head, the violet strands not allowed free at all, making her look prim and proper, perhaps, but also keeping it from getting caught in anything. In theory. She looks to Mr. Solo as he speaks, and then over to Aryn, nodding her head at the Jedi Knight's words. Seems likely true. She looks to the spire, and then thinks back on the horrid images she saw, considering the events on Tython quietly. "It almost seems our trail gets darker, dirtier, and hotter, the further we go," she muses lightly. "We're glad we found you too, Rune. I'm glad you are with us." That comes out naturally and with an easey genuineness that sounds through her tone and posture.
Jax looks to the spire at Chani's question. There's a trickle of sweat rolling down the side of his face past the scar and into his beard. "I cannot say for certain. Though it reminds Ben of the dark jedi temple. I would hazard it is someone's temple but not our temple." He stops pulling out a canteen taking a drink. Then stashing it away. "We really need to go to Skywalker academy at some point Rune. There's a plateau there. It is calming." He looks to Vhe, "If we have to stand against the darkness. We have to go to it. I don't look forward to the day the Darkness comes to visit us."
Kasia's gaze is angled up at the spire, listening as Ben speaks, brows furrowing a touch. "This place doesn't feel like it could generate a good memory for someone if it tried." Her nose crinkles slightly as she draws in a breath, focus shifting from the spire to the assembled Jedi. "So is that where we have to go?" she asks, gesturing to the distant spire while looking to Ben.
Ben's frown deepens at Aryn's comment, but he elects not to respond to it, looking past to Chani instead. "It isn't a temple. Or it isn't anymore. My grandfather built it. He hid something here, in this fen, a Sith wayfinder that led to Exegol. This whole planet is significant to them. The Sith." He brushes his hand over the char, dislodging some of the cracked, dry coal and leaving the stump in no better condition than it was before.
Kasia asks if they need to go to the tower, and he shrugs. "I don't know. I saw the same thing the rest of you did." Dark eyes glance around for a moment, considering. "But if there was one secret here, there might be others. We should search deeper; the tower is ahead either way."
Setting out in silence, Aryn devotes her attention to their surroundings and begins to look around. Amidst her observations, she reveals a trampled blaster rifle whose make is not clear. The weapon has seen quite some damage, and rather risk lifting it up and triggering a powerpack to rupture inside it or something, she leaves it where it lay and pushes on. Rising back up from her crouch, she drops what she moved and presses on.
"I'll admit, it didn't strike me as a five-star hotel," Chani remarks with some amusement to Vhe's comment regarding that it probably isn't a pleasant temple if it is one. Qutha earns her attention next. "I believe we all saw the asme thing, then. At the end, at least. After.." Chani doesn't bother filling in the blanks. She remembers some of the pale looks on the other's faces after facing whatever it is they faced in meditation before the statues. "You'll have to show me the text you read. I'd like to see it, too." Studying texts is as important as training her physical self, and with so many different ones to read as merely an initiate, she's little surprised that she and Qutha may have not read the same things up until now.
"I'm assuming the wayfinder was your only goal when you came here? I imagine there are still plenty of other things hidden in there. It's very.. tall." Chani grunts as a loose section of sediment shifts under her foot and she almost jars her spine. She catches herself with a gloved hand braced against a nearby tree. Glancing down to where she just stepped, she notices that the shifting soil has uncovered something. Huffing out a heavy breath as she places one knee against the ground, Chani's gloved fingers dig away what's been uncovered. A rock? No. What she pulls free is some sort of domed helmet or something. "Check this out." She rises back up and lifts the thing in her hand, gesturing with it towards the group. "I just tripped over this."
A wide smile finds Chani and he nods his gratitude to her before turning to Jax with raised eyebrows of excitement. "This place sounds lovely, Jax. I would most welcome a journey there." Rune freely admits, the idea of a calm and relaxing place instead of this nightmare landscape seeming particularly interesting at this time. As the harsh weather assails them, ash and sparks flying from the burnt out husks that litter the landscape, the novice Force user shields his eyes and searches about the group, looking for anything out of the ordinary that might lend a clue to what they're searching for.
Something odd does catch his attention and, just ahead of them in the ashen dirt lies a depression that seems out of place. Rune moves forward and digs for a moment, the dirt falling away with surprising ease. Underneath is a thin sheet of metal, seeming to be a cover of some sort for whatever is beneath it. With a bit more effort, the metal is pried away and there, covered for some time, are Stormtroopers.... dead.... three or four of them clad in their white armor. "This... seems ominous."
Vhe glances to Chani and huffs out a half laugh, "I would not have minded a five star hotel given our previous luck but its not like I have ever been to one." This she says as her gaze sweeps over that which is before them an even as Chani sees something her attention shifts to another item of interest. She walks up to what looks like a grey plinth. Her hands move over the top of it and pauses when she leans in to see the symbol.
"Sith marking here but...." She trails off as she gives it a light push to see if it even moves though she's not lifting it. "This...this is likely ..." she glances over at Rune. "Lots of things to uncover it seems. I do not want to remove the lid but whatever is inside could be important."
"Of course, as soon as we're back from this place." looking upwards for a moment, a mistake by the swallow and heavy bob of his throat before Qutha's deep green gaze is back down, among the lot of then and turning to look at what Chani has uncovered. Brows knit together as he studies and tries to suss out what it is she is holding.
"Worker helmet?" holding up one of the stick lights he wears to get a better sight of it as he steps closer - though Jax's words stirs something loose. "Darkness comes to us every day, Jax. It's just a matter of how we show it the Light." more Zelosian adages, most likely.
"This place is a charnel ground." frown deepening. "Weapons... helmets... dark histories. We're walking over bones." postulating, maybe. But still willing to commit to his observation.
Zandra grins as Chani calls the tower very tall. "It is a Tower," she murmurs, though not very loudly, in response. She is busy watching where she puts her feet, with the footing somewhat uneven, and the ground and air so sooty, grey and icky. She notices the charred top of the tree that Ben touches and the red glow that the lava casts over everything. It's enough to keep her from noticing anythign else, though she does look curiously at the things everyone else is finding. "I guess there's proof if we needed it that the sith were definitely here," she adds, somewhat perturbed. "A battle ground maybe?" she hazards a guess, based on what the others have given show and tell with.
"I don't know if we all saw the same thing. I saw the Empire Resurgent along with the First Order. I saw my mother standing defiantly before she was executed." Those who knew Amber also knew she knows no other way to stand. Jax is a few meters away from the others as kneels down to look at something. "Then we shall go Rune. It is a good place to practice your desert survival skills and to meditate." He then considers for a moment, "This is true Qutha. I meant more that the Sith or the Knights of Ren came to the temple in force." He pauses, "We are not alone there are tracks here that do not belong to any of us."
"True," Kasia says of the vision, and then exhales as she looks back to the spire with a frown. The tower is ahead either way, and her gaze goes to it again with some undisguised uncertainty. It's only Jax pointing out the tracks that distracts her, back straightening subtly as she turns her head to survey the area. "Given our previous experiences, it's probably our friend who left us the message and tried to kill us." Somehow she looks less uneasy about that than the spire that looms over them.
The others seem perturbed by what they find, or at least curious, but Ben is dismissive, eyes running over Chani's helmet and even Rune's mass grave like he's not surprised to see them. Vhe pointing out the Sith emblem gets his attention, though, and he steps quickly over to the plint she's found, examining the lid without much time spent on the details, instead asking "Who put this back? I left it open. And where are all the other bodies? There should be-"
He trails off as Jax points out the trail, and without bothering to open the lid, he moves that way, impulsive nature shoving to the forefront. "Tracks?" There they are, smudged into the ash, moving off deeper into the fen. Kasia's speculation draws a frown, or a deepening of the one that's already there. "It might be. We killed them all." Thoughtful, he glances back the way they came. "Or I thought we did. Maybe we /should/- no, it wasn't right." He huffs, frustrated, looking back at the tracks. "We follow them, then." Deeper into the bog, with the trees closing in.
With a direction to go now, Aryn falls in with the group and moves after these tracks, and Ben. Her silence is contemplative, her thoughts on the looming ramparts of the fortress that made her feel small and alone. The others have commented on their speculation that this place is steeped in dark energy, but Aryn thinks it's more mise en scene only because she has not distinctly felt anything else that might suggest the arcane mysticism of darkness.
Her steps are quiet and measured, and she draws back her cape to reveal her blaster. A cautious effort is taken to pluck the restraining strap that keeps the weapon seated. 'Just in case,' she echoes in her mind.
"The only similiarity I was recalling was the vision of the tower," Chani clarifies to Jax. She knows they all had varying visions outside of that. To Qutha, Chani offers a dainty shrug. "It.. kind of looks more like a stormtrooper helmet to me." She's not sure if that's just the confirmation bias of her own mind trying to find patterns and reasoning to what it is she holds in her hand. She casts it back to the ground, causing it to give a muffled, hollow thunk. It rolls away from the spot it lands, and comes to rest near where she'd uncovered it. Chani continues forward, towards Vhe, who hovers near a plinth. "Or maybe it's a grave marker?" She wonders aloud. It's not a discredit to Vhe's suggestion. Just another possible interpretation.
After all, Rune did find what equated to a mass burial pit of stormtroopers. Maybe what she'd found was a helmet from one of them after all. Aryn's blaster rifle certainly paints the picture. "Maybe it's a plinth left over from the Clone Wars? A group of troopers led by.." Chani trails off again and shrugs. That doesn't make as much sense to her aloud as the thread itself in her head. She doesn't seem perturbed by the discoveries. Curiosity, if nothing else, leaves her viewing this from a more objective prespective than subjective. It seems, after all, history, and not a recent event if she was asked to guess. She nods at Zandra, however. It does seem like it was a battlefield at some point.
Rune wishes he understood more of the struggles within Ben. Even as bright of a force of good he may be, there is still a darkness that seems to settle on him at times. Casual mentions of his Grandfather having a place on this horrid planet, knowing much of the manners of the dark side and the Knights of Ren, the mentions of death and destruction seem to follow him more than the young Jedi would feel that it should. But, as he is well aware, not everything is as cut and dry as it has been in the past, or what had been told to him. Emotions run deep, especially learning the way of the Jedi later in life when they already have their hold in a being. It is the pursuit to use the power for good that makes the true noble cause.
These thoughts float in and out of his mind as they walk, following the tracks smudged in the soil... if this could be called dirt, Rune would guess this was more ash and soot than anything that could sustain life. He takes a look back at Q, his lips pulling into a thin line as he imagines what sort of hell it was for such a being. Hopefully they can finish what they came here for and leave without too much time being spent in such a terrible place. Turning back to follow the group, he brushes his fingers over the metal cylinder strapped to his belt, assuring himself of its presence should he have the need... in case they find who these tracks actually belong to.
Ben and Chani join her, Vhe hesitates and glances to the former with a raised brow. Her small braids sway, the metal and beads strewn within clicking together as she glances back down. Her hand smooths over the lid surface again and against the symbol. "Maybe..." she remarks to Chani but then Ben is commenting on it being open.
"Should it be open?" She looks uncertain about that at best and the others recognizing this as a battlefield leaves a shiver running up her spine. "What did you open it for, the last time you were here?" But the footprints are what everyone has honed in on but Vhe reaches out, soothing herself in the flow of the Force to try to find her answers. It takes her a few quiet moments as her eyes lid and her hand flexes on the lid. But there is a look of peace that takes over her countenance.
"A sorrowful place... this... it seems like it's all just a grave." Qutha follows Chani's movements to what Vhe is looking at and he moves with the group to try and keep to the center of them still. "I think I just want to go to a world with green and sunlight. It's all dust... and dark. Sand and swamps." eyes following towards the tracks Jax has pointed out before he rests a hand on Vhe's shoulder and gives a small squeeze.
"Best to press on. We've been three steps behind this whole time. I'd like to narrow the gap a little if we can." frowning as he starts to step, then his movement is arrested. "But... well - we need to." head ducking, chagrin all over his features.
Zan takes a moment as the grey plinth gets all the attention. She starts that way to look at it too, looking to Vhe, Chani and Ben. As Ben starts to follow the tracks, Zan's eyes widen. Always, they're behind this person; always just a bit too late. It could be enough to make them feel inadequate, but they might be closing in. She reaches for the Force, centering herself for both the calmness and the ability it brings. She searches out for any life signs, letting the Force guide her senses. "One person ahead of us - one life sign," she reports. Hopefully Ben heard that. "Of course that doesn't mean there's not droids or ghosts or something." She shrugs, checks on her own lightsaber hilt, in case it's needed. And then she turns to follow the group. "Let's stick together, and go see what sort of trap we're walking into this time."
Jax stands up and looks to Zandra giving her a nod. "Troubling is the force. I cannot sense if this individual is trained or not. It not as if they're hiding in the force from me. It's simple I do not know." Then he moves to walk with the group.
"People just keep coming back," Kasia remarks quietly as she directs a sidelong look over to Ben. There's just a hint of a smile that appears, and then vanishes again to be replaced with something more stern, though not quite a frown. "We follow them," she repeats his words, and seems resigned to the task. "If this place seems like a graveyard, that's because it is." A hand lifts to absently tuck back some hair that's slippled loose from her braids, then shoots a look around to the Jedi, then forward to the path ahead.
"It should. Or it shouldn't," Ben replies vaguely to Vhe's question about the plinth, already losing interest now that the tracks have presented themselves. "The Sith wayfinder was in it. There wasn't space for anything else." Would it hurt to check? He will never know, setting off after the tracks instead.
The ironwoods grow more densely here, crowding together as if in joint effort to block out the thin, reddish light that filters down through the foggy air. The ashy dirt turns slowly to a mucky consistency that boots sink into and stick. Before much longer, the group comes out into a clearing, the ground tapering off into a boggy pond surrounded by the barren ironwoods, steam rising from the surface of the brackish water. In the center, partially visible through the fog on a small protrusion of land, a figure sits cross-legged, dressed in rags, a domed helmet resting above round, glowing eyes set on a metallic face, like goggles of some kind.
A thin, ragged voice, weighed with cares and painful memories, processed through an amplifier that garbles it slightly, speaks. "So you have returned, then, to defile this sacred place. It was not enough to water the earth with Lady Corvax's tears; you soaked it in the blood of my family. The Alazmec of Winsit will die with me, and the irontrees will wither, and Mustafar will never bloom again. For that is why you have come, is it not? I know your face."
Ben is silent, staring at the figure from across the water, transfixed by its words.
Reaching this mysterious figure leaves Aryn speechless, and rather spring to action out of some devout worship of the light, she refrains and locks her hands at her back. The words spoken are considered but it was not addressed to her, so she did not respond. Aryn, instead, devotes her efforts to their surroundings. The muck they stand make it difficult to move, the area is ominous, and the last time they traveled hallowed ground, they were attacked by vestiges of the Force. She prepares herself for the coming danger.
"It's worrisome when the macabre becomes the norm," Chani offers to Qutha in passing. Following Aryn, who trudges on, Chani spends more time looking at the scenery than anything else until they reach the pool of water stretched between themselves and someone whose words are as mystic as his--her?--existence. Chani doesn't know. Instead, she stands near Aryn, looking over the blonde noble with a sidelong glance. Chani shrugs in her direction, though where the Princess will notice is to be determined. She seems to be quite focused on whoever or whatever they're encountering. Chani begins to wonder if it's nothing more than another vision, which will provide yet another small clue for them to follow like galactic breadcrumbs leading them somewhere new.
Rune blinks at the strange person in the strange place. An eyebrow lifts as he considers the words cast across the pond. "Defile this sacred place? It appears to have already been defiled..." He leaves it at that, the rest of what the person said seeming to be based in nothing sort of fact. The irontrees wither, Mustafar bloom... it's probably more likely that the young Ysannan will become the head of the Republic than anything of that sort ever occur.
At a whim, Rune reaches out with the Force, attempting to discern this individual's intentions, trying to get a measure of the threat. He blinks, after a few seconds, the sense returned that they have nothing to fear from this stranger, at least... not for the immediate moment. "I do not believe they mean to fight, not unless provoked."
The plinth is given a really long look but as she is one of the last to follow, she finally does. Vhe stays near the back of the group but the moment she can see a sliver of the figure in the dark who speaks up and addresses Ben, the Ysanna extends her conscious thoughts, bolstered by the Force to try to glean something from the figure before them. Sifting, searching, there is nothing but air but she finally gasps a little and draws back away from the mind of the other, taking a slight step back.
Her voice is a hushed tone, "Dark...a draw towards it..." she flexes her fingers, but Rune's words keep her from reaching from the saber at her side. Her eyes flit to him and then back to the figure across from the group as a whole.
"There could be other ways. Nothing has to be definite. You could come with us rather than fight. Maybe there can differences put aside." Qutha's arm runs across his brow to wipe away moisture and he sways on his feet some for the fumes and darkness of the world. The lack of Sunlight in days.
"We've wound around this path after you and your fellows and it has been nothing but treachery and bloodshed. You can turn away from it. We can all turn away from Darkness just as we can Light. But dwelling on your anger and your pain closes your eyes..." green eyes opened again and his hands smoothing down his robes. Can they hear him? Does he speak to empty air. "There are always alternatives to conflict." is he just making a fool of himself in front of everyone? A Foole if we wanted to be anachronized even?
He even steps closer with his hands parted to show he holds no secret weapon, even if not surrendered.
Zan is feeling a bit of a push here, with all the darkness, taintedness, and the oddity that is in front of them. She takes a deep breath, concentrating, reaching for the Force and meditating, quickly but with all her being. It's a bit like trying to catch a cloud in an otherwise blue sky, but even that image brings some peace to Zandra. She clears her mind, and her emotions calm, the practiced activity working as intended. Calm. In the midst of the darkness. "I sense also that there is no direct harm intended," she says softly.
Jax comes to stand there with the others. He silently listens to the figure and he frowns. "I do not believe this is who you meant to find when we came to Mustafar." He makes no agressive actions toward the figure. He simply watches. His expression saddened at the figures revelations.
When Ben sets off, Kasia is right there to trudge along with him following the tracks, looking a little dismayed as the ground becomes soggy and starts pulling at her boots. Thankfully the footwear is fastened securely in place so it's more just an annoyance and years of conditioning wearing shoes far less substantial than her boots. Her steps slow as the figure comes into view, and then stop at the edge of the pond. "Hello," she calls, raising one well manicured hand to wave to the figure speaking to them. "We're not here to do you harm," she says trying to both sound and appear as reassuring as she can. "We're here on the trail of a woman. She might already be here ahead of us, we're not exactly sure. Has anyone else come through here?" There's only a brief pause before she adds on, We're also trying to find information on something referred to as the beyond. Is that something you might know anything about?"
"We followed the vision. The Force guided us here." Ben shakes his head, clearly unhappy that the Force has elected to do so.
"I will not follow you. My place is here. Like the irontrees, I will die if I am removed," the figure announces. When Kasia asks about the woman they've been chasing, the Alazmec merely shakes his head. "I am the last of the Alazmec. I have been alone since the massacre a year ago, and I have seen no one since." But the question about the Beyond causes them to cant their domed head. "You seek the Beyond?"
A moment of silence passes and then it speaks again. "...it is a place, a plane, a state of being. Always and never, everywhere and nowhere. It is where the dead reside when their spirits are unquiet, a space beyond. A sacred place. A cursed place. Lady Corvax tried to reach it." Hands wrapped in tattered gloves raise towards the surrounding trees. "This was her reward. Mustafar, scorched and burned. Vader longed to reach it. Scorched. Burned. It is sacred. It is cursed."
Rising unsteadily to its feet, the Alazmec, last of a slaughtered cult, looks on the Jedi with its glowing 'eyes'. "I can show you how to reach the Beyond. No one has succeeded. Each of you must accept the doom you risk, or leave this place."
"If no one has succeeded, how can you show us how to reach it?" Aryn asks, skeptical of the offer and crossing her arms. It seems odd, but Aryn does not understand or know what the beyond is to blindly leap out and try to obtain it; if it is something that can be obtained that is. She looks back at Chani and reciprocates her shrug with another of her own, then steps back slightly.
"Take a risk of dying to reach something no one has reached. ..Sounds like a trap?" Chani poses the question to Aryn. Her hands are settled on her hips, gloved fingers pinched the fabric of the jumpsuit in where they grip. Mustafar burns, and the sky above hangs heavy. The hisses from the water and the rumble of the planet's tectonic activity all pair together to lend to the atmosphere a heavy weight that sharpens the edge of the words being exchanged. It means nothing to Chani. None of this has, so far. Aryn steps back from where she stands and Chani watches after her, curious to know if her step was a signal of her decision or merely adding another layer of distance in case she needs to defend herself. Chani glances to the others.
"I agree with both of you... I have a bad feeling about this." Rune states, eying the figure suspiciously as he explains the way to the Beyond. The part that catches in Rune's mind is the mention that no one has succeeded. "It seems to me that these people who tried to reach the Beyond were... how to put it, 'Not nice individuals'. Why is it that we wish to go to the Beyond? Is that not playing into the trap of the Dark Side?" He asks to the group at large, genuinely wondering exactly what it is they will find there that would risk their very souls. The novice Force user shifts in place, wiping a line of sweat that freed itself from his hair line and trickled down his cheek.
"The spirits of the dead should be left to their own, or if they can be guided to be part of the Force - all the better." Qutha frowns a little more, but more in sorrow and some pity for the poor broken thing. "Some knowledge should not be for the living and if this 'Beyond' touches on such Darkness - then it should not be tampered with."
The Zelosian steps back, eyes to each compatriot in turn and back to the entity. "Keep your secrets of Corruption." arms folding across his chest.
"I felt a tug from the dark when I reached out. What is so important that they tried to reach it? What more could there be beyond what we have already?" Vhe is not really ready to step forward and take that risk on. Qutha steps back to join her as she had stepped back the moment she reached out with the Force. "It may not personally mean us harm, but...whatever the beyond is could very well be what would risk us harm."
She glances aside at the others and then to Ben as if to see what he will say.
Zandra listens to the group, and looks over at Ben. Then to the glowing eyed being in front of them. "If we try and fail, will it not destroy Mustafer more?" she asks, a somewhat genuine concern there. Admittedly, it doesn't look like the planet could be worse off, but - well, they are dealing with unknowns here. "Ben, why do we want to go there? Apart from to prove we can? I think our purpose is to find - that person who tried to kill us." The Jedi students do seem to be reaching the conclusion that they don't want to mess with the sacred cursed place where ghosts go to be melancholy and haunting. "This seems to maybe be - a distraction?"
Jax remains quiet his eyes flicking to the figure and then to Ben. Then after a moment, he speaks, "The price seems steep like Zandra says and as the others say it seems a path to darkness. What is the price you speak of? Cause the one you hint of is too great."
"/They/ all burned?" Kasia asks with a short lived, wry smile and a laugh that settles nearest to humorless. "That doesn't seem very promising that we'd do any better." When the Alazmec rises, she steps forward as though intending to follow anyway. The objections from the others earns a glance back, dark brows rising curiously. "I'll go, we were led here for a reason, and I'd hate for us to not find... whatever it was the force was trying to show us." She turns back to their new cultist friend and smiles again, this one as warm as the first. "If you can show me the way, I would like to see it."
"If I brought you to the edge of a great chasm, would the fact that no one had ever made the jump change that I had shown you the way?" the Alazmec replies to Aryn, stepping tentatively into the steaming water and wading slowly in to the waist. "I cannot take you there, but I can show you how to reach it. Not here, no. Mustafar will not survive the attempt. But there is a path."
Reaching the bank, the cultist steps dripping onto the shore. Bending stiffly at the waist, they lift an ironwood twig from the ground, using it to draw in the ashy muck. "There is an item, a relic of great age protected here in the fen. You took it with you when you murdered my people." A rough pyramid shape is hastily drawn in the dirt. "Travel the route locked inside and you will find another place, another locus of power, a focal point in the Force." The stick jabs a dot-dot-dot trail through the mud, and traces a large circle. "There, you can reach the Beyond, if your will is strong enough. If the sacrifice you provide is sufficient. What you will find there..." The mechanical voice trails off, glowing eyes leaving a faint afterimage in the air as it shakes its head.
"Nothing good," finishes Ben, frowning and chewing his lower lip. "Back to Exegol." He stares at the drawing in the ashy dirt, then glances at the others, who are split but lean towards 'not worth it'. "...The dead Sith are trying to return. That's why I was sent back." His eyes go back to the ground. "I told some of you when Rey brought me in, but some of you might not know. They want to return, and if this person reaches into this Beyond, they'll be waiting."
A long breath is pushed out, and Ben turns to the cultist, words on the tip of his tongue. "I'm sorry," is all he can find, though, and after an awkward moment looking for more, he shoves the toe of his boot through the drawing and turns to go. "I need to talk to Rey. Meditate on this. I won't force any of you to follow me if I go there."
The cultist shakes their head, settling into the irontree stick like a cane as they slowly walk out into the trees.