Log:The Jedi Order: Shadowed Secrets of Taris
Taris is not its once magnificent self even with the generous restoration. Years of war and decay have left the under layers of the ecumenopolis. This leaves the small group to navigate to the center of the undercity where old remnants of the once shining city remain and the darker corners dominated by criminals and worse.
"It would seem we are attempting to find another of these monuments as we have at the other locations. Keep your eyes out, let the Force guide us. But also be wary of the creatures outside the gates." The gates they left behind a little while ago.
Their general direction known as they pass through the columns and structures built ages ago now bending beneath the weight of the city above, Vhe scans the dimly lit net of twists and turns.
The sounds that echo up and down the very narrow passages and openings are disorienting at best and unnerving at worst - for the moment.
Yuun listens as they are informed to keep vigilent, allowing the Force to flow through him, Yuun is able to gauge which direction to go and he feels they are heading in the correct direction. Sure of his steps, he walks ahead of their small group taking the lead for now. His eyes scanning the areas he can see, but the Force helps him in other ways. Rolling his shoulders a little bit, the dark skinned Initiate moves his hands into his pockets for the time being, he is alert.
To a girl who has seen little of the galaxy at large, the Taris under-city is intimidating and awe-inducing all at once. It's easy to forget that the young Naboo native is exactly that: just a girl who has experienced little of life. One could be forgiven for not thinking about it. She has, after all, been in multiple battles in a galactic war. That doesn't stop her from being taken aback by the situation she finds herself in now. She's distracted. Everywhere she looks, there's something foreign. The twisted hulks of metal jutting up from the ground are remnants of buildings and old ships that plummeted to the ground during wars past. It's humbling to see a planet's history laid out before her like jagged scars.
She's so distracted she can't really focus herself. With the awe comes a sense of unease. The Force is unsettled here. If it is a river that people like Chani are submerged in, then here on Taris it has been tainted by sediment that slightly muddies the crystal clear water. "This place feels so old," Chani's voice is a whisper without her even realizing it. "And dangerous."
Zandra is quiet here, keeping a watch as best she can. With the thick clouds overhead, and the near darkness, she does find it a little more difficult to follow along. It's enough to have her shoulders tense and her brow furrow. Still the young jedi moves with the group. She reaches for the Force instinctively, asshe often does, as they probably always do. She can't quite feel where the item is, but she knows it's near. Though she pauses to crouch down at one point. "Footprints. They look like htey have claws." Of course, the only reason Zan is seeing them is that they are all over the place. And she's looking at everything, due to the uneasy feeling that the others are surely also experiencing. "I think they're thicker the way we're going - be careful."
With Yuun helping to guide them along, Zandra's observation causes Vhe to look down. Its a mess of marks in layers of grim and dust, but there is ther raking presence of claws on the artificial structure. Vhe lets out a breath. "Perhaps we should prepare for the worst and hope for the best." She reaches for her saber and with a twist of her wrist frees it but does not light it, the dim light adjusted for and the saber likely to draw unwanted attention.
The group ducks beneath low hanging walls once part of a structure - possibly a home - but its hard to tell. THey are getting further off the beaten path of the undercity and drawn by the Force and its magnetic pull, though the clear direction still seems to be Yuun's purview and a good thing too lest they get lost in the twisting passages and rubble.
Vhe glances up at Chani and gives her a nod, "It feels like a cool hand on the back of your neck, as if something is watching."
They clear into a larger opening and here the smell is...not pleasant. Its foul and rank, as if not just layers of dust and rubble have been collecting here. Something may has well have been fermenting.
Hearing Zandra remarks about the footprints, Yuun slows up a little. His hands coming out of his pocket, and he looks to the ground as well and notices the tracks. He nods his head in agreement but he doesn't unclip his lightsaber from his belt, not just yet anyways. He didn't want the ignition of the weapon to draw what may be watching them to them.
Yuun takes a breath allowing calm to wash over him, he could feel the force pulling him towards where they need to go, even as they move off the path they're on, ducking behind some of the walls and structures, Yuun knows where they need to go. He drops back to where the rest of the group is, "Alright." he says with his voice low, I can feel and sense where we need to go, let's try to get there quickly and if we need to use stealth use it." he turns in points in the direction he is being pulled, "We need to go there." not saying a direction and again his voice is low so that only they can hear.
Looking over to Chani, he smiles, "Feels like home to me honestly."he chuckles. "When we're done and you're interested, we can talk about where I'm from." he grins. He then turns and begins moving ahead just a little as they're still walking. Yuun looks around for a moment and he sees the flooring and he starts to move towards it, slow and cautious, the flooring is surrounding something circular, it's covered by debris. "I think this is it." he says in a low tone.
"Is that what that sensation is?" Chani attempts a moment of brevity, but it comes off more disturbed than humorous. Vhe understands the sensation she's experiencing. It's difficult to keep track of where they're going and try to focus on the Force all at the same time. Were she to need to navigate back to where they came from, it would probably be impossible on her own. Passing under a wall and moving into a new opening brings with it something new to contend with: a rancid scent that wants to churn her stomach. It reminds her of Nal Hutta. She can't actually decide which is worse in the moment. Chani glances up towards distant rubble after the nagging pull on her vision becomes almost overpowering. "I sense something above us. Not dangerous, but important.."
"Something /is/ watching us," Zan iterates, with a quick look over to Vhe and Chani. She too pulls her lightsaber, holding it ready but not ignited. "No, not something. SomethingS. As in more than one. And they're not really friendly like." Sigh. "Chani, are you sensing a theme?" she asks rhetorically. There's a quirk of her lips and a hint of amusement, even in /this/ situation. "No snakes though, that's a bonus." She takes a breath, centers herself, and then looks around again, managing not to cough or retch at the pungeant odour. She takes another breath. Carefully. Her gaze goes to the floor as she accidentally kicks something. What was that? There's a bit of an 'ew gross' expression on her face after a moment. "Of course, no snakes but we still get bones. Lovely." Sigh.
"And a bad smell." Someone probably already said that, Zan's just repeating it. "If I had to guess, I'd say something has made a large den out of the bones and such. You know, like that one over there? And the bad smell is probably from whatever made the den, right?"
As Zandra makes it known that a vast majority of the rubble in the darkened corners is not just rubble but the desicated remains of prey for whatever feasted here and likely still does according to the observations.
The pace thrums with the Force and several of the group can feel it deep within them and Chani's observation of something above them being of importance draws Vhe's gaze upwards. "I suspect we need to be quick...I am not..I have not attempted to move something I can not see. We may need to climb up." Her attention turns towards the slanted end of the room, the slight angle of the floor beneath them adding to the unsettled feeling as Yuun is drawn towards what was once a central point of the construct.
There are markings similar to those on the other Jedi temples but whatever lies beneath a great beam is hard to make out without clearing it away.
"If it is exactly like the rest of the locations we will need to assemble the pieces. Broken as they are." Danger remains ever present, like a creepign tingle up the back of the neck and there is a scuffle scrape of something moving in a low growl that echoes along the disjointed walls.
Yuun doesn't have to look up to sense the creatures above them, "They're moving around and just watching for right now." he says to them. He does look around at their surroundings taking in everything not just what they came here to possibly activate. Yuun turns in a slow circle and sees the desiccated remains of what may have been creatures or maybe even people.
"Careful, they're not that far from us." he states. The smell is getting to him as well, he's thankful that he hadn't eaten before travelling here, still the stench is strong and he does have to take a few breaths to make sure he doesn't lose what's left in his stomach.
Looking up, he knows if he wants a better way to see, he will have to adjust his sight. This also presses upon for him to learn the skill he was working on a few months ago. "Vhe, and Zan, how do you wish for us to proceed?" he asks speaking to the two Knights. "I can start working on the debris down under the debris to see if I can loosen them. WIth them possibly being broken, it's going to take some time to loosen them." he offers, "But if they attack, due to us umm...being in their territory, that will make things harder." he thinks for a moment, "Anyone able to communicate with whatever is watching us?" he asks.
"It wouldn't be well hidden or safe if there wasn't some danger in finding it," Chani answer Zandra in reply, rhetorical question or not. She glances to Vhe after. "I'll try climbing up there." The last thing she feels like doing is attempting to make her way over the rubble. There is danger here, and it's the kind that wants to tighten every pore on her body simultaneously. It's enough to make her want to have her lightsaber in hand. She resists the urge, though, purely because she knows she should control her emotion and not let herself make rational, quick decisions based on the influences of them. "Funnily enough, there was nothing broken on Nal Hutta. It still took us awhile to figure it out. Maybe this will be more straightforward."
Approaching the rubble, Chani discards her feyd-cloth robe into a heap on the floor. It won't do her any favors attempting to ascend the jagged outcropping or rocks, metal, and who knows what else. A climber she is not. Pouring her attention into the Force and opening herself up to the symbiotic energy flowing through her, she relies on its guidance to figure out which outcroppings to select and what path to use to ascend. The extra strength in her muscles and the intuitive selections of where to place her hands and feet lead her to rising up a mostly destroyed building side until she finds a large gash in the structure. What she finds is a cube. The intricate engravings on it are not simply scratches.
Chani carefully descends back down after tucking the metal cube into the space between the outer layer of her tunic and the inner. When she makes it back down to the ground, she approaches Vhe, panting and lightly sweating. The young Naboo native draws the metal cube from her tunic and presents it. "This was in the rubble. There are more of them around here. I think we have to bring them together."
Zandra reaches for the Force but this time she struggles with it, losing that tenuous connection that drew them here. She looks to Yuun at his comments, and then she says, "I'm going to start moving the rubble. I think we need to stay alert and keep working on what we're doing. Maybe they won't attack." She takes a breath, squares her shoulders and reaches again for the Force, this time to shape it and use it to lift the rubble, moving it aside, and letting it fall safely out of the way. Zan's been working on her telekinesis for some time, and it's a strength for her.
As the ruble is cleared, the floor becomes visible, with runes etched on it, and a dais in the middle. A large square indentation at the center of the dais. "Alright then, this looks very old, and somewhat Jedi like," she says. Her attention goes to Chani and that too gets a smile. "True enough,on the well hidden part. Though perhaps we can put in for some nice smelling predators next time?" Of course, that's not likely. "That looks like it probably needs to come over here. And I guess we need to find the rest of them? Nice find, Chani!"
Vhe watches Chani climb, moving to position herself in case the young woman needs her help. A breath is exhaled she she finally makes the top and thankfully is able to return unscathed it is very obvious that the Ysanna is grateful for that fact. She gazes at the metal cube and then turns to look at Zandra who has cleared away a large square indentation that is about four times the size of the cube in Chani's possession.
"If they are still watching, we use that to our advantage. Lets see what happens with what Zandra found. Its all we have presently..."
There is hissing and growling sounds again, the sense of danger spiking as a few of the disformed figures known as Rakghouls make their presence known, slipping out of the shadows and heading for Yuun.
"Gather what we can, the sooner we get out of here the better." She admits. She holds out her saber and readies herself as she depresses the button and the pale blue color hums in a controlled faint presence.
Yuun looks over to Chani, "Becareful." he says to her as he watches her for a moment. His connection to the force isn't loss, he feels the creatures still moving around them. His hand does move to unclip his lightsaber from his belt. When Zan moves to start moving the debris he nods his head, and seeing what he needs to do, Yuun does a slow turn, keeping his friends nearby, though one is going to be a bit hard to get to depending on how high they climb. A chuckle escapes him, "What you don't like stinky creatures Zan?" he asks.
As Vhe comments about using the creatures watching to our advantage, a few of them emerges from the shadows. "You would have to say that now wouldn't you." Yuun says to Vhe. His lightsaber ignites and the blue blade comes to life with a snap hiss. There is no hesitation from Yuun at all, he has the experience, he moves. Light on his feet and with a liquid grace, Yuun spins in towards the three Rakghouls, his blade spinning in a brilliant tight arc as he aims towards the lead creature. His foot comes down on a few bones causing him to miss and slip. Trying to regain his footing, Yuun moves to his left only to step in Rakghoul poodoo. He grimaces slightly but his focus doesn't wane. He lunges forward stabbing his intended target, killing it. He pulls his blade back into a guard. Though he does hear the sounds of lightsabers activating as he prepares to defend himself if need be.
The unveiled dais and its indentations have an obvious connection with the cube in her hand. Chani suspects the other pieces all come together to form the key needed for the device in their midst. It's not the only thing in their midst for long, though. Whether disturbed by her climbing or merely their presence, three creatures appear out of nowhere and begin to charge the group. They are horrifying in appearance, huddled as they are on all fours. Chani can't help but see something vaguely humanoid about them. "What are those?!" She still keeps her voice low. Just because three have come after them doesn't mean she needs to alert more to the group's presence. "I'll look for the other pieces." They need to find what they came for. And fast.
She heads back almost in the direction that she came to gather up her robe. It serves as a makeshift sling she fastens around her body and places the first cube in. The second isn't difficult to find once she senses its presence in the Force. Ducking under a beam, Chani extricates it from its spot with her hand and adds it to the collection. Two down. While lightsabers activate behind her, she pushes the immediate conflict from her mind to focus on listening to the call of the Force and of the cubes themselves, which seem to be touched by the energy that binds the universe together around them.
Zan turns as Yuun's blade ignites, her own following scant milliseconds after. With the light of the sabers, horror that is the Rakghoul can be better seen. Something that perhaps is best not seen at all. "Stars, not those! I though they were just holovid make believe!" Zan moves swiftly to attack, following Yuun's lead. Her dual sabers have new crystals, and this is the first time she's got them in use since finding those crystals. Still, the blades have that sizzlewhirr sound to them, as she moves them in small circles, darting in and slicing at the first attacking monster, before turning on her heel to aim at the next. She swings back with the second blade, missing the last of the current batch of rakghoul but she continues her turn and the first blade comes around to finish the job. The jedi are truly becoming a dangerous fighting force, especially when they work together. "Good form, Yuun." She turns to Chani to answer, "Rakghoul I think. They're - let's just say, don't get bitten."
The Rakghoul are ghastly creatures and malformed, made so by the Sith Lord Karness Muur and spread further by their very touch. The danger is not in being injured but in what comes after one wounds its prey. As the blades of both Zandra and Yuun cut them down there is an unsettled hiss and growl that carries, echoing around. The danger is still out there but they have been held at bay for the moment, but now with the light from their sabers shadows are moving as if the very walls might be living. So many. But the presence of the Jedi seem to have them favoring preservation but with the passing of time the sensation of impending doom begins to grow. Boldness will win out in these creatures.
Vhe lets out a breath. "Well done. Chani?" She glances back, turning about to try to keep the woman's position known. She narrows her gaze as she rushes off to find more. "Chani, be careful..." Vhe moves to get herself closer so that if more of the foul creatures appear that she will not be unarmed.
There is sense that a living mass of Rakghoul have heard the cries of the fallen that now lay smoking from the slice of the sabers.
With the three Rakghouls down, "Thanks Zan, I guess all that training is paying off." he says to her. He looks to her weapon and smiles, "Nice looking lightsaber." he grins a little bit. Though he stops grinning when he hears the Rakghouls, "That doesn't sound ominus at all." he says. He wouldn't allow himself to lose focus, but he does glance about them as he sees the shadows moving around by the illuminations of their weapons. "Oh, that's not good, I did hear about them, so we better be ready and keep our heads on a swivel." he says.
It's at that point that he felt something in the Force, it wasn't far from where they were standing. Casting his senses out further, Yuun's eyes widen, "I got something." he says as he reaches his hand out to some of the Rakghouls remains and he pulls a cube from the remains and catches it in his hand. "I got a cube." he says. "Anymore?" he asks.
Hearing Vhe call and give props to Chani, he smiles, he could sense her up above them, being able to detect life, the Rakghouls are coming and there is a lot of them. Yuun takes a calming breath, "We have to hold." he says as he allows the Force to flow fully through him at this point, he moves and changes direction. "Back to back around the debris." he says offering him, Vhe and Zan to put their backs to one another so that they have three degrees of vision including the use of the Force.
"I'm fine," Chani is quick to say. "Don't worry about me." She is not defenseless. Not only does she carry her own lightsaber, but she's well aware of the danger lurking around them at the moment. That danger is vivid. It's the kind of danger that makes her skin feel like its breaking out in goosebumps. It's an oppressive weight that settles on her like a heavy, uncomfortable blanket, and it makes thinking more difficult. Chani tries to center herself to look for the other piece anyway. When all she feels is the danger, she tries to empty her mind with a quick meditation exercise. None of it works. The warning being given off in the Force promises that if they dally too long, they will have to deal with a vast number of rakghouls. Certainly far more than three.
"I can't sense the others," Chani admits to Vhe. There's no sense in hiding it. Yuun seems to be gathering up one from the muck, however. There are movements in the shadows. Blobs and outlines that are starting to gather. Chani can feel the oppressive weight grow heavier. "We need to hurry." She thinks Vhe knows this already, but it doesn't hurt to voice a sense of urgency.
With the first batch of rakghouls dealt with, Zandra pauses to reach for the Force once more. She does not put her lightsaber away, leaving the blades out to gleam amaranthine in the dark. A visible threat. She looks to Yuun, flashing him a grin. "Good teachers, certainly. Including you, Yuun." She's not forgotten who her first fighting teachers were.
Zan does look over to Chani as she replies back to Vhe, and nods. "We're a team. We're stronger together," she encourages the group. Zan's calm is there, as well, the young knight unruffled even with the danger that the rakghoul present. And the too-many-to-count of them there. She listens to the conversations, gives Chani a sympathetic glance. "It happens. I - can give it a try." Hey, she lost her connection to the cubes and the monument earlier, after all.
Zan pauses to turn in a circle, almost like she's looking at all the shadows of the monsters that are hoping to dine well. She isn't though, her mind reaching out to the Force, letting it guide her. "There's one more," she calls, given Yuun's question. "And I think it's -- "
Why can't she see it? It's got to be - aha! "Up there!" And now Zan reaches with Telekinesis to pull the cube through the air over the heads of the emerging, gathering Rakghoul there. Once in hand, she turns to give it to Chani or Vhe. "Looks like we've got company."
"It is always good to have another hand," Vhe remarks back to Chani, giving her a faint nod as she tries to sort out what is where and comes up empty handed. "We will find them," she begins to reassure her when not only Yuun claims one, but so does Zandra as the group, seemingly small compared to the numbers headed their way converges. Vhe takes it from Zandra, the last of four cubes as she looks to Yuun, "Chani, lets see if we can not activate this..."
Just shove the cube into place amongst the others though the mismatched sides hint that they may not be quite in the right position. She reaches her hand down and turns one of the cubes about and furrows her brows. "Oh no...this looks like...stars? A map? I am not sure does anyone have any knowledge."
The roars that emintate from the flow of Rakghoul headed their way. There are those leading the way, another four come rushing in without any hesitation as another swath of them begin to climb in from all the small holes and nooks throughout the central room they are in.
"By the stars..."
"Knight Zan, you are right, we're stronger together." and with those words, Yuun's stance becomes very relaxed, his grip on his lightsaber lessens. He could feel the Rakghoul moving around them, not exactly where they are mind you but he senses them. His calm hasn't left him and before he does anything he takes the cube and tosses hit towards Vhe, "Can you hold that for." he says.
Yuun could feel the weight of whats to come, and he steels himself for it, going over the Jedi Code in his head. Letting it help calm him, and as he lets his eyes close for the briefest of moments, he hears Zan state she's found one of the cubes. 'Good.' they needed it, and now he can focus on the Rakghouls. That's when hears what Vhe says, "No worries Vhe, we can do this." he says and as four of the Rakghouls come charging. His deamnor is different from the first attack, more sure of himself and his connection to the Force. Light on his feet, he lunges towards the lead Rakghoul, his form precise, peircing the creature through the throat. He spins to his left and his lightsaber twirls in a backwards motion and cutting off the second creatures arm and without missing a beat he swings again and all is seen is a blue light as the Rakghouls stops and falls away with it's head falling in a different direction, two down. Yuun side steps a swipe of claws from the third Rakghoul only drop his lightsaber from his right hand to his left cutting the fourth Rakghoul from hip to hip. He brings his lightaber up in a guard.
Zandra can see and hear the incoming Rakghoul, but as Vhe comments on the pieces being a puzzle, a star map or something, that piques her interest. She looks to the critters and actually disengages one of her two blades, so she can better study the problem. She thinks back on what she can remember from the tomes she's studied, about the Jedi Order and stars, but draws a blank. "Not good, Zandra. You obviously need to work on your history some more." That said, she reaches for the Force and it guides her to turn one of the cubes counter clockwise, and flip it over on its side. Then that cube starts to glimmer a bit. "Oh, hey, they let us know when they're in there the right way. Or else it's about to blow up." Of course, the rakghoul seem to react a little unhappily and that gets a slight head tilt from Zandra. "No, I think it's in right." She starts to look at the other three.
The rakghoul are starting to close in. Moving quickly to the dais, Chani extricates the cubes from the makeshift sling of her robe and places them into the square indentation. One is already glowing. Diverting all of her attention away from the sensation of danger and what's going on around them, Chani fully focuses on the task in front of her with the cubes. While rakghoul begin to charge, Chani's gaze runs over the lines of the cubes and her mind begins to extrapolate the patterns inherent in the pieces and displayed on their sides. "If that's this..," She murmurs to herself and her hands move to adjust one cube after another. The pieces line up. The cubes themselves begin to hum. That hum rapidly turns into a display of energy that Chani is both fascinated and worried by. They begin to practically vibrate in place.
What results from that vibration is a suddenly expanding sphere of shimmering light. Chani isn't sure what it is, but she's quick to pull her datapad from a pouch within her belt to take a holopicture of what's being presented to them. She's vaguely aware of the others around her fighting against the Rakghoul. "I've taken an image of the map. I don't know what else we should do. Take the pieces?"
The cubes placed in the correct positions and lined up with the attention of Chani and Zandra they begin to thrum with the Force. They appear to shake while they glow but it becomes clear that it is a powerful field that begins to spread outwards. As it comes in contact with the Jedi around it they feel a sense of ...reassurance. Of peace even as the hellish rush of Rakghouls towards them increases. Just as one attempts to take a swipe at Yuun, Vhe rushes forward and twists away from the cubes to remain low as she thrusts her saber beneath his arm to drop the creature right at his feet, its head falling on his boots.
At that moment the press of light and peace spreads outwards like some shimmering presence that causes a rise of screeches in anger and pain. The dark twisted Rakghoul who come in contact with it seem to be driven mad with fear? Quite possibly for they turn and run, retreating as several grasp at the sides of their heads, dragging claws along their broken and lumpy skin.
They have been assembled and like some old holoimage they have painted what this place once looked like in its prime. There is a sense of fulfillment and the immediate danger being run off. Even as the others might reach out they will feel the Rakghoul no where in the immediate vacinity. They have utterly fled and in their place a beautiful image of a square room with square columns reaching to an open ceiling. The cubes are embued and are a beacon.
Yuun watched as a Rakghoul came at him and then he felt soemthing on his foot, looking down he sees the creatures head laying at his feet. He looks to Vhe and shakes his head, "Thanks." he chuckles. He does feel the light, and the peace and reassurance from the light that has engulfed them. This helps strengthens his resolve and he watches as the Rakghouls flee from the light screeching as they go back to the darkness. Yuun bows his head, and he murmurs a small prayer to the Force, and to the creatures that were slain, twisted by whatever created them, hopefully they are able to find peace within the Force. One he's sure there is no more threat, he deactivates his weapon and clips it back onto his belt, still allowing the force and the light wash over him.