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Epilogue: What's to come
Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:24 pm
Remembering the past
It had been a long, strange, and at times, heartbreaking journey. The last fifteen years had come and gone like a flash but the scars will always be there. As the Yt-1300 freighter cruised through hyperspace, Jedi Master and Dathomir Witch Araya looked over form her chair to see the face of her beloved. She let a satisfied sigh escape her lips as she stared at him. His long blonde hair had streaks of red coming through it due to the amount of time spent in the Ossus sun training the next generation of Jedi knights. It was allowed to flow down past his shoulders with section of it tied back in the middle and held by a leather clasp that was a gift from a former pupil of his; Judrin Sunstar, son of one of the royal court of Naboo named Tabetha.
As she looked over the rest of his face, she could see the weight of what he had seen over their life together. His eyes where focused, as always, at the task at hand. The crystal blue coloring of his eyes were due to the exchange of his real eyes with cybernetic ones when he was young. It was still a part of his life that he did not talk about but she knew that story. It is what started everything and what ultimately led them to where they were headed now. She closed her eyes and remembered the first time she had heard his story.
His first memories were of wide open plains of grass and watching the sun set over jagged mountains off in the distance. He would wake up in the morning and go play and work with his father. He never remembered his mother or what she looked like. This continued day after day until one night when a group of women came to their camp. He was passed around but couldn’t understand what was happening. One of the older women held him up near the fire and she was chanting something he couldn’t understand. She screamed and nearly dropped him. There was a loud commotion and he was ripped away from his father and tossed in a cage in the back of a wagon. He screamed for his father but no one came. The wagon rolled away as he watched his village fade in the distance. Days had passed with little water and less food until they came up on a small hut. He was taken from the cage and placed in front of a tall woman win a black hood. She reached into her cloak and pulled out something and handed it to the person who had kept him in the cage. He was then taken inside the hut and put into a corner. The woman came back in and introduced herself as Costilla. She threw a piece of bread at him and walked away with a warning to not to try and run.
When the sun rose the next morning their training started. Costilla told him that he was special to which she started to put him through various tasks to find his abilities. He was naturally strong and fast, even without being fed very much over the last couple of days. She started to teach him about his “powers” and why some were very afraid of him. She even gave him a name. It was more like an observation of his appearance, but she called him shaggy. This continued for the next couple of years. Everyday training and many days, he was being punished for something he did wrong. This was the pattern for the next couple of years until she had decided to leave the planet. Shaggy had never seen a space ship but had he showed fear, he would have been punished again for it.
They bounced from planet to planet over the year but every new planet came with new challenges. They would steal to eat, fight for credits, or just to cause chaos, everything would change. He was changing as well. As he entered into the puberty years, Costilla found out what she was investing her time into. He grew to be a large young man, already taller than her and with the intense trainer, he had become very muscular. One night Costilla got into it with a local bar owner after she had took much to drink. One of the guards had put his hands on her, to which she called for Shaggy’s assistance, not that she needed it but she enjoyed watching others being hurt. Shaggy not only took care of the guards but killed a Zabrak who tried to stop the fight. This brought the attention of an Imperial garrison on planet.
Once again Shaggy found himself in a cage but this time with stun cuffs on and under heavy guard. He could hear what was happening around him but he did hear Costilla’s voice along with a male’s voice. The two appeared in his cell and the male’s voice belonged to a much older man with a stare that could freeze water. He gave something to Costilla and she was gone. No looking back, not a good bye, nothing. She was just gone and the man walked up to him and placed a collar around his neck. The stun cuffs came off ad Shaggy leaped for the man, but with a twitch of his thumb, the man hit a button and Shaggy’s body pulse with electricity.
These next years, he calls the dark times in his life. His “name” had been taken form him and he was just given a number. 24601 is all he was known by to his captors. He was tortured and treated like an animal. His eyes were taken from him and replaced by cybernetic ones that gave him advanced fields of vision. The man that he was placed under was named Captain Ishmael. That man has hurt this family more than anyone else possibly could.
The next years were filled with blood and violence. The evidence of those years was evident on his arms and his hands. Some of those scars faded with time but many were still there including a very prominent one on his left arm. He was given an assassination task to do and when he did not kill everyone in a senator’s home, his arm was wrenched so hard in torture that most of the bones were broken in his arm. The surgery was performed with no anesthetic, just hours upon hours of pain. If he ever passed out form the pain, they would stop and revive him only to continue with the process.
Araya looked away from her husband and wiped a tear from her eye. She knew that what he had experienced then, only made him more of the man that she had loved form the instant she saw him. However, the thought of doing such things to anyone or anything touched her deeply. She stood up and kissed him on the forehead. She let her hand linger on his shoulder as she stood but before she could leave, he took her hands in his giant hands and kissed the back of her hand. He was always so gentile and so careful with her. It made her heart flutter a little bit, like a teen in love for the first time. She had to move around the chairs differently now, her growing belly was not allowing her to move in the way she was used to. As she passed her hand away from her husbands he said to her,
“I love you.”
She smiled and responded with a “I love you too.” As she walked to the galley, she lightly ran her finger over the growing little person inside of her and remembered the day that sent her entire life spinning in a new direction. The day that he came into her village.
Re: Epilogue: What's to come
Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:05 pm
Araya made her way back into the galley followed by their loyal R8 droid Smoke, to which Araya smiles as the droid would whistle while rolling around the ship from time to time. They had taught it a Dathomirian lullaby and that had become his song of choice since the announcement of the baby to be seven months ago. As she lowered herself onto the bench, she turned to put her feet up and laid her head back against the head rest there. She closed her eyes and the visions of the past began to fill her thoughts again.
After his multiple surgeries, Captain Ishmael continued to torture Shaggy/24601. He had a very specific use and goal for 24601, he was to be an assassin. However, he was not supposed to kill quietly, he was made to brutalize and make it messy. These acts were used to send a message to whoever was becoming a political or social annoyance to the Empire. 24601 was given an official code name that would be linked to him if any need was arise for his talents, the Berserker. It was never the most covert name, but that was not the point. He was there to send a point. Through this time, he had crossed paths with the then Lord Vader and Empress Croft. This continued until he was sent on a mission to a planet where some senate members were causing some trouble. They had spoken out against the Empire and needed to be taught a lesson. 24601 had been sent in to deal with them. however, he ran into a Jedi that had survived the great purge. They clashed and o matter how much he tried 24601 could not over whelm him. after an exhausting fight, the two stood there face to face. the Jedi, a Calamassi, finally put down his guard. He allowed 24601 to strike and in doing so, he allowed 24601 to get close enough from him to grab. He then shared a force connection with the young man. they bonded in such a way that it instantly broke the brainwashing that had been done to Shaggy.
"Don't allow this sacrifice to go unused. Be the man this universe needs, be the light in dark places."
Shaggy looked down at his hands and for the first time in a long time, saw the blood. He realized what had been going on, grabbed the lightsaber of the fallen Jedi, and ran. He continued to run from planet to planet, avoiding any Imperial presence as much as he could. This continued until he was found by Jedi Master Cameo Naton. Through some hard one on one times, Master Naton help Shaggy to come to realization that the blood on his hands was not his fault. He was being used as a pawn in a much larger game. In the months that followed, Mastor Naton helped Shaggy begin the healing process in order to get back to becoming a man instead of being a monster.
On one of their adventures, that ended up on Dathomir, her home. They had showed up around the beginning of the tribes dinner meal. Araya's memory was nearly perfect for that day. She could smell the fire roasting the boar they had hunted that day. The smell up the flowers that were opening along the ridge of the grey mountains made feel like she could ride on the breeze that brought those wonderful smells to her on top of a small crag overlooking her village. The sun had lit up the sky in a hue or orange, yellow, with trails of blue and the fade from purple to the black of the night sky. She remembered being pulled from the sight by a battle cry of invaders coming into their camp. She and the others had rallied to meet their foe when she first saw him. He stood a easy head and shoulder above those he was with. Broad, powerful shoulder wrapped in a cloak of midnight. His hair was a reddish blonde mixture that was just barely past his ears. He was scanning around with his odd colored eyes as a predator would do looking for prey. His eyes locked with hers for a second even though she was hidden in the cleft of a rock formation and every part of her wanted him. She had to look away and recompose herself before she went back to watching them. This was not her, it had never been her, but something in his gaze had shifted her entire world.
She crept down from her perch to get closer to this man and his companions. She had missed the majority of the conversation but when she got within ear shot she heard their clan leader talk about a challenge between warriors. Their strongest verses the clans strongest and if the outsiders won, they could roam around the grey mountains looking for whatever they needed. However, if the member from the clan won, the men would become their slaves.
”Like all men should!” Came a loud voice from one of the warriors to her right but before she could tur her head back to see who said it, her name was called.
”Dan’ae, step forward and present yourself.” Came the voice of the elder woman. Dan’ea moved immediately and stood proud and strong near the fire so all could see her. Her animal skins adorned with jewels from the battle she had won and she held her spear at the ready position. The old woman spoke again.
”This is Dan’ea, my sister’s daughter. She is our fiercest warrior and rider of the bull rancor. No one has stood before her and she is the leader of our fighters. Now who, stands against her.”
Master Naton started to open his mouth to say they had not come for a fight but the one that Dan’ea’s eye could not avoid stepped into the ring of light that the fire cast.
“I will stand for our company. My name is 246… um wait. I am called Shaggy.” Spoke the mountain.
The laughter began to rise from her sisters lips. ”Like the saber hound pelts that adorn our walls? Give him to the youngest warrior so she might at least have a little sport!” The cat calls and mockery was heavy and laced with disdain for this lowly man stepping forward against her, but Dan’ea sensed something within this man. There was a fury under the surface that was just waiting to erupt. She sang softly under her breath the song of discovery. She needed to know what she was about to go up against. All that returned from this man was a power that she had never seen before. She knew this would not be easy but when his cloak came off from around his shoulders, she once again felt a longing for this man to be hers. She would win for that reason alone. She knew she must have him, she just hoped that she wouldn’t damage him too much in the battle.
Re: Epilogue: What's to come
Posted: Mon May 23, 2016 1:54 pm
Araya shifted her weight on the bench. This little one was full of life and energy.
Sticking with the customs of her people, they did not know the gender of the child yet. But no matter, this one will be strong.
"Like your father." she said out loud.
This caught the attention of Smoke. She smiled at the small droid and waved him off.
She closed her eyes again and went back to that day.
*** *** ***
The sun was setting; the fires were being lit and there would be a full moon that night. From their village the moon always filled the night sky, lighting up everything.
She walked up to the one they had called "Shaggy." The closer she came towards him, the more physically imposing this man became. She also noticed the many scars that were around his bare forearms. He wore some strange looking off world pants and boots, but his shirt was plain.
She thought to herself that is was crazy to not wear any armor at all. No matter, this one would fall like all the others before her. Then she would claim him as hers. That thought stirred in her mind and she wouldn't hold back against him.
He handed his cloak and small metal rod to the one he called Master, and then bowed to him.
"So he isn't even the leader..." she thought to herself as she brought her staff into a guard position across the center of her body.
The two warriors were standing across from each other now in the middle of the village.
"Draw your weapon or this fight will not be worth my time." She shouted at him.
The wind picked up for a second as he smiled. "When are you ready, so am I."
He mocks you sister!
Typical arrogant man! Make him your slave, Dan'ae!
Her sisters were growing restless and even began to creep in closer to watch the fight that was about to unfold.
Dan'ae let loose a roar and charged, but the man never moved. She continued to come in close, but right before she was about to strike, she felt something shift in the air around her.
This air movement was unusual, and based on the position of Shaggy, was unexpected. This caused her to use her staff to vault herself off to the right. Landing ten meters from where she had started.
She looked back, and the mountain of a man had moved, incredibly fast. His hand was where her staff had been attacking. He would have plucked it from her grasp had her attack continued. She looked up into his eyes and there was a smile on his face now. His movements were veteran, and his quickness appeared to be a result of anticipation mixed with instinct.
“How did you move?” She asked.
“I thought you said this would not be worth your time.” Shaggy responded.
Taking a deep breath, she settled herself and began to sing softly the song of the North Wind. The fires surrounding them began to rock back and forth with the swirling winds. Her voice was low but as her lips continued to move, the winds began to twist more and more. She was pouring more of herself into her songs, cause the wind to whip at her opponent; she would not fail in this next attack.
Her foe put his left hand up momentarily as a large gust of wind trust some debris from the fire towards him, and she used that moment to attack. Before he could react, she was in the air flying at him.
Using her staff, she first moved low for a leg. When the leg wasn’t there, she posted and tried to bring her foot around to connect with his head. However, once again he wasn't there and her weight was now being thrown off by the churning winds.
”How is he doing this? Not only is his movements almost impossible to read, but something about him is even affecting my songs. This is no ordinary man and to take him as such is to invite defeat!” She cursed at herself.
She quickly corrected from the push of the winds and landed squarely where the large man was. But where he should have been, he was no longer.
He was now five steps removed and was changing the momentum of the fight and now moving towards her. She side stepped him and caught her staff against one of his legs and it felt like she had struck the base of one the older trees surrounding her village.
“Can you not do better?” Dan’ae said, her hands shaking from her recent strike.
As she looked back, she expected to see the man rolling from the hit. Looking on, she saw that the man didn't move even though she knew she had landed a solid blow.
The two continued to move around each other. She would move for an attack, every few steps. As each attack occurred, she would reset and face the man.
She continued to press against him, making contact every other pass or so. Throughout this barrage, he never engaged.
The sweat was beginning to pour down her face. She felt her raven hair matted against her shoulders. She continued to sing her songs, doubling her effort even, but they appeared to be of no use. With each attack, she grew tired, but the man refused to respond. His fighting felt to her like a fluid defense. There was a moment where she thought it would be easier to fight against a river in an attempt to cause it to bleed.
An opportunity appeared. Despite her continued failed attacks, a window seemed to open up.
She passed the man on his left. As this occurred, he spun to maintain his face to face advantage. But the winds got him, he shifted just a few inches, and his ankle had to adjust for balance.
In this moment, she struck in a swooping motion. She expected him to step to the side, and he moved as warranted. He was unable to catch his balance, due to this movement, and she came in with a strong attack towards the side of his head.
This was her moment, the blow that would end this fight.
There was a thud, but not of her staff against his head. Her staff landed in his rough hand. He caught it without flinching.
His balance was regained as he let go of her staff.
Even with this perceived opportunity, her fight was futile. She had had enough and tossed her staff to another warrior around the fires.
She would use a last ditch effort to win this fight. She used her strongest spell and raised her hands in the air. It started there in her fingers, the tingling sensation she knew all too well, the song of the hills was the more one spell that took the longest to master. She reached out through the area around them through her song and she herself began to dance ever so slightly. Her sisters around her moved away from the fight and began to sing songs of warding to try and protect themselves in case this went badly.
She found what she was looking for, a fracture in a rock not far from their place of battle. The boulder was heavy but she could manage it. Shaggy looked confused but still refused to move forward.
She allowed a smile to come across her face as the sweat began to build even more on her brow. ”Your underestimation of my power will be your downfall.” If she hit him with this, it very well would kill him, which she regretted, but she also knew she had to win this fight. With a loud crack, the boulder came loose form the rest of the face of the rocks and with a loud exertion of all of her strength; Dan’ae launched it at the man.
She closed her eyes and waited. She waited for the sound that would end the fight. The sickening sounds of bones being broken, shattered, and the death gasp of her foe, but she didn’t hear it. She started to open her eyes and finally heard the rock hit. When it did, the songs stopped, the winds died down and the fires went back to the normal dance.
She stood to her feet, weak from exhaustion, but she stood anyway. She walked forward as she opened her eyes, there he stood. As she looked around, her sisters were in shock, many with their mouths wide.
One even exclaimed, ”He caught it!”
Dan’ae had nothing left and she slumped to her knees. She watched as the large man walked up to her and then knelt in front of her. Drawing close to her ear he whispered, ”I have never faced one like yourself. Your power is great, but I have won this day. I do hope to do this again though.” There was a smile on his windblown face.
His eyes were crystal blue and did not look normal but the look was one of admiration. Her heart instantly melted. She knew that no matter what, this man had to be hers but her exhaustion betrayed her legs and she could not rise to meet his gaze. As he stood, she did see his massive hand being held out in front of her. Despite her better judgement, she took it and he lifted her up to her feet also supporting her.
She knew she should feel shameful in defeat but none of that mattered anymore, she vowed they would never be separate.
His master came and spoke to the head of the clan and an accord was reached about what they needed. They entire time, Shaggy never left her side and as they walked, her legs once again gave way and without missing a beat, she was floating in his arms.
Araya awoke from her dream and noticed how hungry she had become. She stood, trying to regain a sense of balance with the unborn child and went to the kitchen. As she made a small lunch, she joined in with Smoke as he whistled a lullaby that she would soon be singing to a small face in her arms.
Re: Epilogue: What's to come
Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:54 pm
Araya had been gone for only minutes but he knew exactly where she was. He could feel her through their bond that had been crafted by the Force and by their journey together. As the stars passed by cockpit during hyperspace, it was peaceful enough to allow someone to allow their guard to fall. The large man closed his eyes and though back to their wedding day.
It had been months since they had met on Dathomir and both had seen hard times, but it just brought them closer. With their fight with the living star ship GAIT, it had captured Dan'aeand she had become a surrogate for the GAIT conciseness. He thought that he had lost her until the ship withdrew it's presence because of a Jedi led attack on it's core. He had managed to get her to saftey as they watched the ship twitch in space and half blow up and half jump to light speed.
At that point, he didn't care, his beloved was free. It was spring on Corillia and Master Naton had picked out a small space for them to land to perform the ceremony. It wouldn't be a big affair, just close friends. Their vows were said to each other and to the Force. Their connection intensified and the next months were filled with laughter, training, and missions for the Jedi. However, Dan'ae would soon be with child and their missions began to come less and less as the time grew close. She gave birth to a boy and he was called Alexander.
Everything seemed right with the universe, even with conflicts happening around them, they seemed to stand in the eye of the storm and felt like nothing could touch them. Until their return trip from Dathomir. They were intercepted by Captain Ishmael and his Imperial Intelligence black ops groups. They had set their sites on reacquiring lost assets and he was at the top of their list. Capturing them was difficult but they finally succeeded when they separated him from Dan'ae and the baby.
He and Dan'ae were kept under heavy sedation until they had reached their destination on an Imperial moon. He couldn't recall how long they had been there, but he knew when they had begun to test on him again. He could feel Dan'ae reaching out to him through the Force, their bond still strong despite the drugs being fed into their systems. They did what they could to try and keep their sanity during these times but one thing they could never have imagined is the level of arrogance that Ishmael had.
Usually during dinner time, Ishmael would eat by himself in an atrium and he would bring both of his experiments in as trophies as he ate. This time he had decided to bring Alexander in with him and proceeded to parade the child in front of his parents. This is when the bond between husband and wife overcame the impossible amount of sedation that was running through them. Dan'ae was the first to move as she broke her bond with the Force. Ishmael instantly called his guards and went to try and hide. Dan'ae then release her husband and the two of them move as one, dispatching guards left and right allt he while using the Force to burn off the rest of the drugs in their systems.
This continued until they turned to see Ishmael standing there with the child again and a blaster facing the small bundle that was their son. Dan'ae had screamed something and before either of them could move, the sound of the blasted echoed through the atrium. What happened next was a blast of Force energy that reeked of pain. Dan'ae's arm was outstretched and Ishmael was suspended in mid air clutching at his throat. The sounds of bones popping filled the air and the next thing anyone saw was Ishmael's head and parts of his spine hanging while the rest of his body crumbled to the floor. The two run tot he son's body but they knew that their son was no more.
No guardsmen or officer tried to stop them as they left with the body of the little boy. They were allowed to leave unharmed and unimpeded as they left the system. The grief was overwhelming and Dan'ae had lashed in anger and hatred against Ishmael which had cause a darksister mark to appear on her body, right above her heart. It appeared as a deep bruise of broken blood vessels on her skin, one that until recently was still there.
The two buried their son back on Dathomir and both travel out to the outer rim of the galaxy in a self imposed exile. The two needed to heal and come to grips with the life they had been living. It would be two years until an old friend came calling to bring them back into the fold.
Daer'Gunn took a breath and blinked his eyes. They would be arriving in a couple of hours so he decided to go back and grab some food. He found Araya sleeping on the long couch that was in the galley. Not wanting to disturb her, he made his food as questly as possible and began to head back to the pilot's chair when a hand reached and grabbed his.
"You can't just walk past me." Came a playful voice. He turned and got down in front of his wife's face, kissed her, and then kissed the large bump on where his child was growing.
"We will be there in a couple of hours my love." He stood back up and went back to his chair. As he ate, more memories came back on that day when they would be called to their next chapter in life.
Re: Epilogue: What's to come
Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:53 am
Daer'Gunn sat back in the oversized captain's chair and took a bite of his food. The stars flying past the cockpit always helped him to think. It was peaceful and it allowed him to clear his mind. He though back to their time in exile. It was a time of mourning the loss of their son and a time to try and heal.
The planet that they had stayed on was a peaceful one. They had taken over a small farm in the mountain areas. It was positions right between two long mountain ranges, near a lake. It was the picture of beauty in all seasons of the planet and it had been a place of change. Dan'ae had come to a point in her healing where she needed to change. In her people, it was not uncommon for someone who had been through a great trail or tragedy to go through what was called "the ceremony of change." She went into a cave near the farm but when she returned, she had told her husband that Dan'ae had died that day their son did. Now she was know as Araya and it meant that she was one who walked from light into darkness. The name change came but he understood what it meant for her to do this. Dan'ae was given to her as being a leader in her clan, a warrior, mentor to the younger warriors, and even a mother. That part of her life was over, she had emerged as something new but at her core, she was still the woman that he loved beyond anything he could imagine.
After a couple of years of being content to be farmers and what the universe would deem as normal, Shaggy received a message from an old friend and mentor, Master Cam'eo Naton. He was embarking on a mission that would take years to complete and they had began a new Jedi temple. His wish is Shaggy would take on there as headmaster to the Jedi temple and also the title of Grand master of the order. Before Shaggy would take on this heavy responsibility, he felt like a part of his life was not fully resolved. He needed to find out about his past and where he came from. So for the first time in years, their ship was readied and they left their homestead. They decided to try and follow the trail of his first master, Costilla. They had followed the trail for a month, using some old contacts that Shaggy still had within some underground criminals. Some of which were not to happy to see him arrive on their door steps.
All the information that they gathered led back to Dathomir. Where the trail went cold but ti also allowed Araya to come back to her family. there she was allowed to full mourn with the help of her sisters. They embraced her once again and the new direction for her life. While they stayed on Dathomir, Shaggy had very strange dreams that were filled with large winged beasts, a man riding them, and a might battle being fought below them. He went to the leader of the clan to ask about the dreams and when approached by him, the leader looked in shock. She described the myth of one called the "Daer'Gunn" or the beast rider. He was the last great male leader of the clans and his return would signal a time of turmoil and unrest of the planet. As the days after this revelation continued, so did the nightmares and visions Shaggy continued to have. These events moved the leader of the clan to perform a ceremony of finding out what is the spiritual animal of Shaggy.
They waited until night fall and Shaggy stood with his back to the central fire of the gather place. any of the others had gathered around to see exactly what was happening. Araya was there and as the leader began to chant in their native language, Shaggy was taken back to a time very early in his life. This all felt very familiar and then it struck him on what was going on. This had been done to him before and right after it happened, he had been cast out of his village. The chant finished and the older woman looked at him and named this totem. They called it the Jiao which is why there was so much fear when he was younger. The Jiao was a beast of great size and greater importance. It was the winged beast that the Daer'Gunn flew into battle on. For a male to have such a totem was believed to be a bad omen and the child was to be cast out of the village.
Everything fell into place for Shaggy. This was his home planet. He was a male of Dathomir and as such, this the way of his people. He understood why he was given up and left to the wilds of the planet until Costilla found him but before he could voice his thoughts, he was given a robe. The old woman told him to go, change into the robe, and come back before him. After he had done so, she took some dyed mud and placed it on his face and arms. She said it would be a sign to any others in the wilds to leave you alone. It was time for his trails to begin. He could only take a water skin with him on the journey. Shaggy looked back at Araya and was greeted with a smile. He turned towards the expanding horizon and was off into the night.
Re: Epilogue: What's to come
Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:46 pm
The wilds of Dathomir were not a fun place to be in if you were not armed correctly. The khath hound packs alone were bad but having to worry about the occasional rancor cluster was a nightmare. You had to hope to the heavens that they didn't catch your scent or one would have to deal with a five meter tall bull chasing you down. However, Shaggy kept moving over kilometers of terrain. The part of these trails were to allow the Force to guide you towards you destination. As he, came down from the mountains and into vast plains of flat ground, he felt something was drawing him towards the west. He would run towards it during the day and would try to find a place to rest at night. If we would be in a tree, he had to make sure he didn't become low hanging substance for the rancors or he would need to make sure the hole in the ground was not inhabited by anything he couldn't handle.
Occasionally, he would come across a small village but the reactions were always the same. No one would offer help or even a side glance. Save for the Force, he was on his own. He awoke on the third day to see smoke in the distance. He could see it coming from a volcano and he felt the Force push him in that direction. Stopping by a small river to refill his waterskin and made off for the mountain. As he arrived, the very ground below him seemed to vibrate with the Force. It caused the hair on his arms and the back of his neck to stand on end with electricity. There was a presence in this place, dark, hungry, and it seemed to be inviting him to come into a cave that he had found.
No vegetation grew in a two meter radius around the mouth of the cave. It seemed to repel life and the smell of sulfur was thick in the air. He stepped up to the line were death seemed to be on a few steps away. Taking a few moments to center himself and allowing the Force to strengthen his tired body, he stepped forward. He first steps in, he didn't sense anything but once he walked up to the mouth of the cave, the earth shook under his feet and a blast of air billowed out from the cave. As it hit him, he expected it to warm with the heat from the volcano but this blast of air was cold to the touch. It slowly crawled over his skin like a slow moving shadow and as it made it's way past him, he felt his strength begin to leave him. Reaching out to steady himself against the wall, he recoiled quickly as he walls were burning to the touch.
"This is not of nature." He said to himself. Any normal person would turn and run but this was his trail and a seductive feeling urged him to come forward. The cave had an eerie glow to the walls and the darkside seemed to pulse from further down in the cave. Even the cybernetic optics in his eyes were having trouble taking in and processing what all was happening around him. As he came into a large opening the unnatural hues began to dissipate and his eyes could resume their focus. Shaggy could take in the heat coming off the walls with the distortion it caused. The darkside seemed to try to push him down to his knees here but he fought it. It seemed to pour out from the walls and pool everywhere around him. Then he began to hear singing. It was shrill and ethereal but Shaggy recognized it instantly.
The songs were spells of the Nightsisters and Shaggy spoke over the singing.
"Where are you? Show yourself cowards and face me or are you truly afraid of a lowly man!"
It had no sooner left his mouth when two apparitions seemed to step out of the walls of the caves. His eyes once again betrayed him but the Force was radiating where they were. Shaggy closed his eyes and tried to focus on what was happening around him. As he sat back into the Force, he saw them. Ghostly pale with flesh hanging from their limbs. The darkside crackled around them as if they couldn't fully control the power they were tapping into. Because of this, the ends of their robes seem melt away from their ghoulish bodies. Shaggy drew from the Force to pull himself to his full height again and stood his ground.
"You are the man who has come to claim the title?" The apparition to his right began to speak. Her voice was airy but filled with evil.
"Seek to find out who I am and you will not stand in my way." Shaggy responded,
"Many have stood where you are and all have fallen before us. No one will claim the title, we will see to it." The second ghost chimed in.
Shaggy prepared himself but the attack was not physical. He suddenly was assaulted by his thoughts. Memories that he had buried were suddenly coming to the forefront of his mind. He remembered his eyes being taken from him and he could feel every aspect of the blades that were cutting at his flesh. From the beating from Collista, to the torture at the hands of Ishmael, and finally watching his son be shot right in front of him. Shaggy began to feel the weight of this raping of his mind and that finally drove him to his knees. His arms feel by his side and the only thing he could do is sit there. He felt cut off from everything, including the Force. Unable to move, the Force ghosts began to make their way to him cackling to each other.
"We will add him to the pile of bones my sister."
"Yes and his strength will be added to our own. The title will stay buried and will be forgotten."
As Shaggy heard this he felt like completely giving in. He had been stripped of the armor around his thoughts and feelings. He continued to try and fight but his body was betraying him now. The darkness had began to close when he saw Araya's face. He saw her as Dan'ae the hunter and leader in her clan. He saw her as the mother of his child and finally he saw Araya standing tall urging him to get up. At first her voice was muted but the more he concentrated on her, her voice became louder. Finally, he could take no more of the thoughts of giving up and he sank back into the Force. He went deeper into the flow of life than he had ever done before.
In that moment he was given a vision. He saw a mountain of man riding on the back of a large lizard. He could see the mountains in the distance and the man turned and stared directly in Shaggy's eyes.
You are not finished yet. Your destiny is still come. Rise warrior, take the title of the beast rider and unite this planet.
Shaggy's eye flew open and began to move. The ghosts stirred and moved away from him. Shaggy got back up to his feet and he let loose with a primal roar. The Force pulsed through his veins. He could feel everything around him and the Force was beating against the walls as it echoed his yell. Suddenly he felt a new presence,something had awoken within the cave and it answered him. From the back of the cavern came a sound that sounded like an engine going full burn over his head. The Nightsister hear it too. They began to try and sing again but the sound blared through the cave again. The Shaggy turned to see a beast come into view. Tall and covered in scales that were reflecting the lights around them it stood. Not as tall as a full sized rancor but longer. The sisters retreated as far they could disappearing back into the walls for where they came from.
The beast came near Shaggy and placed it's head directly on top of Shaggy's. Shaggy could feel it smelling him and then it roared again. The beast moved forward and extended it's neck to allow Shaggy to climb on. No soon had he had situated himself between some spines on it back, the beast lurched forward and out of the cave. The next two steps were more like leaps and then they were air born. With the wind whipping past them, Shaggy leaned back and took in everything that had just happened. The flight soon became easy as the two rose on the tides of the wind. This allowed Shaggy to full take in the magnificence of his new companion.
It's scales moved from a deep greenish black to pale yellow from head to tail. It's two hind legs looked powerful and the front legs smaller but still stout looking. The wings were massive with large claws at the tips. The two large horns that came from the skulls was flanked by smaller ones that connected under the scales behind it's jaw. Trying to take every part of the beast in was proving too much for Shaggy while riding on it's back. Not wanting to fall of it's back, Shaggy just attempted to stay where he was. He could see villages under them and many people coming out and pointing up to the sky as they traveled over head when finally he could see the village where his destination would be. He reached out through the force and found her immediately.
Araya shown like a solar flare in the midst of the flows of the living Force. He reached out and brushed her presence and her response almost unseated him. He tapped the side of the beast and the beast turned to head down towards the village. the rest of the sisters were already out of their tents with weapons drawn. He saw Araya run into the middle of them and shout something Shaggy couldn't hear over the wind speeding past his ears. The beast landed in the center of the village and roared as Shaggy came down the side. Shaggy's hand never left the scales of the beast and he walked up to it's head.
"Thank you my friend." He said through the Force and the beast turned and pushed him back a little with it's head. Shaggy turned right into the embrace of his wife. His homecoming was to be celebrated and the thoughts going through her mind almost made the large man blush. They separated when he felt the leader of the clan approach. He stood tall and told the story of his trail. When he reached the point of the beast helping him, there was an audible grunt from behind him as the beast's head came up as if to hear more. When the story was finished, the leader had him bow before her.
She sang a small song to the west winds and placed her hands on Shaggy's head. As she sang, a peace came over Shaggy like he had never experienced before. He felt like he was exactly were he was supposed to be. She suddenly stoop and took her hands off his head as if surprised. She took his chin and raised his eyes to meet hers.
"the trail of change has happened and now you will given a new name and title. This is not something to be taken lightly and the life Song has brought you a destiny that will change this planet. You are no longer the mockery of a sister who perverted our ways, now you will take up the mantel and title of Daer'Gunn, the Beastrider. Legend says it was the name of the last great male leader of Dathomir before the Creators of the Songs came to this place. " She took a deep breath and the weight of her words were becoming very apparent. "The Life Song has plans for you. You will be a light in dark places and you will be the one to see others through times of despair. When you time has come, you will bring unity to the clans of this world once again making us one family, one tribe. Now rise Daer'Gunn, the beastrider."
Daer'Gunn stood and the clan raised their voices together in celebration only to be drown out by the beast. As the sound faded, Daer'Gunn was led into the leader's tent where the final act of naming would happen. the would receive a tattoo that would mark his spirit beast. Araya's was a tree viper, now for its cunning and it ability to survive in any environment it was placed in. The leader of the clan was marked with the symbol of the mountain hawk as a sign of leadership. Daer'Gunn would now be marked with the totem of the beastrider and as the tattooing process was underway, the clan leader sang songs over him for strength and guidance. The rest f the night was filled with songs and a feast. Daer'Gunn officially named the beast Jiao which meant friend in the clans native language.
The stars continued to flash by the view in front of him. It would be another hour or so till the made orbit. As much as he enjoyed being in his ship, he longed to be back riding on the winds with Jiao and onto the destiny laid out before him.
Re: Epilogue: What's to come
Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:55 pm
The planet came into view as the ship began to slow from the drop out of lightspeed. The deep blues of the seas were offset by deserts of the south. Daer'Gunn smiled and reached out with the Force. The planet glowed in the Force and there were still some dark spots where he knew the Darksisters still had power. Even from the times before the Galactic Civil War, the Darksisters held some sway in some small pockets on the planet. Those would be the hard places to try to bring into a place of peace. Since the loss of the one they all called "Mother", they have been fractured but some had become even more dangerous as of late.
Ever since the fall of the Onderon temple, there has been rumors spreading that Daer'Gunn would be making his way home soon. It had become news to him when they received the message from Araya's sisters. The last clan meeting had been chaotic and small fights had actually broken out in the meeting halls. That unfortunately translated to some minor fights between some of the small clans in the meeting city of Saa'Meya. This city is for meetings only and to have blood shed here was considered an atrocity. The return of the Beastrider was not whole accepted by all who were there. Many saw it as a play for power, others felt it was leading to an uprising from the males, and finally many just saw it as nonsense.
Daer'Gunn took a deep cleansing breath. He would need clarity. Some of those clans would require shows of strength of over words. There might be trails by combat but he hoped it wouldn't have to come to that. Things would progress quickly once he was planet side but that didn't stop him from hoping it would give him at least a night to settle his wife in her clan's home. He was taken out of his thoughts by a hand reaching up into his.
"It's not very often that one can sneak up on a Jedi Master. Where were you my love?" Araya came up and brought herself under his arm.
"Was thinking of everything that was happening and what the Force is calling me to do. I don't know if I can do it all."
"You weren't supposed to do it all, let alone to do it by yourself. You have me, well us." She said as she placed her hand over her womb.
He smiled, kissed his wife on the forehead before kissing her belly, and then turned to sit in the captain's chair. "Smoke, take her auto and let me fly us down to the village. They are expecting us."