Principal Authors: Nidana Who can post on this thread: Nidana I want to receive critical responses: Sure, if you want. I will be using standard Universe rules here (e.g., canon-only, fleet limits, etc.): Yes
Location: Dromund Kaas
Timeframe: Two Months after Nidana fled the Jedi Order
Nidana locates a hidden burial chamber on Dromund Kaas and the spirit trapped within has much to share. But it may be asking too much of the knowledge hungry Echani.
Nidana’s Stealth X came in for a landing, jostled by the winds of the howling storm brewing on Dromund Kaas. The fallen Jedi exited her cockpit and surveyed the dark swampy landscape surrounding her. She had been lucky to find some solid dry ground to land on, hopefully this storm wouldn’t let the swamp swallow her ship. This was a place she did not want to be stuck on. The Dark Side was almost as thick as the fog here. Leaping down to the ground, Nidana made sure her saber was on her belt, just in case. As she recalled the memories she had stolen, she also remembered the poor fool who she took them from.
Nidana had learned of this planet from one of the Jedi Archaeologists she had met while a part of the Order. Though when they had first reconnected, he did not know how she had betrayed her master and the Order, nor how far she had fallen. It had been almost too easy to lure the Jedi to a false report of found Sith ruins. Once he had landed she led him to the Hostel that they would stay at till the morning when she would lead him to the ‘ruins’. But the Jedi wouldn’t be going anywhere else. As he slept, Nidana stood over him, extending a hand to his head. She started to use the Force to drain his knowledge. It was simple with him asleep. Nidana could feel him start to wake up and struggle against her, but it was too late she tore open his mind, it was like a rancor trying to eat only the center of a melon. The challenge was to find which of his minds fragments now held the knowledge she sought, and she knew time was limited till his memories drifted away into the void. Then something, a temple, a swampy jungle surrounded temple, on a far off lost planet, Kaas, Dromund Kaas. And how nice of this poor sap, even the coordinates. She fled the hostel and left the Jedi foaming at the mouth, utterly comatose.
But that was a week ago, now she was standing in the middle of a vast marsh. But this is where the ruins would be found. Nidana unloaded from her Stealth X some supplies for dungeon delving (climbing gear, lights, rations, a crowbar and some rope), as well as her old leather bound, and her lightsaber. With all this gear she turned once more to look at the swamp. It was quiet and still. Not even a breeze moved the trees that formed a thick canopy, casting the swamp in an eternal twilight.
“Okay, you can do this.” She said, hyping herself up before she stepped off the (relatively) dry island she had landed on. “Think of the hidden secrets that wait.”
Using the Force to find the best path through the marsh, Nidana noticed something ahead. It was human shaped. Sitting down. Here in this swamp? Nidana ignited her saber and approached cautiously. But soon she realized this was a simple statue. Though it was oddly clear of debris or vines, unlike everything else in the swamp. Being the historian she is Nidana approached the statue cautiously. She could feel the Force flowing around the hunk of carved stone. Examining it closely she went to circle around it. As she moved to go around the statue a bolt of Force energy erupted from the statue, striking the unaware former-jedi in the chest and sending her flying back and hitting a tree.
With a grown Nidana got up out of the mud. It seemed that she had triggered a trap of some kind. Rubbing her now sore chest she looked around the area. The trees grew incredibly thick around where this statue was. As if forming a path that you had to follow. Perhaps she would need to be faster to move past it. She took a deep breath and then with the help of the Force she sped up to the point where she had been hit before being knocked back once again! This time harder. What could answer this trap?
Nidana reached out with the Force this time. She could feel something. A presence watching her. It was coming from the Statue. The memories she had plundered didn’t mention sentient statues! Well, if it had a mind, perhaps she could use some of her mind altering powers to break it, or at the least weaken it. Reaching out she touched the vague consciousness of the statue and once more, with all the grace of a dust-rolling-dewback, she ‘grabbed’ hold and twisted and turned the mind. All the while stepping closer and closer, eventually passing by the statue. She released the hold of it and felt it not splinter as often was the case, but return to its eternal vigil. Taking things much more cautiously, Nidana pressed deeper into the swamp.
Trudging deep into the darkness of the swamp, Nidana felt like she was being watched by more and more eyes, yet she could not see the source. It was oppressing, it felt like she was carrying a great weight on her shoulders. The Dark Side in this place was so tangible, she could have almost cut it with her lightsaber. It's blade was providing some much needed light as she advanced, though she also feared it may attract some unwanted attention. Almost on cue with that stray thought, a great beast burst through the brush to the Echani's left. A massive bipedal creature with huge muscular arms ending in wicked claws flailing at her. Nidana leaped back just avoiding the storm of claw, fur, and fists. Now that she had some distance between herself and the beast she could almost identify the beast as a Wampa, but what was one doing all this way from Hoth. The girl didn't have long to wrap her mind around this mystery as once more the creature rushed at her. She could only just avoid the long armed swipes from the blood thirsty creature. The beasts reach was so much greater than Nidana's that even if she removed one arm, the other would likely be able to strike her. So, she did what she did in many combat encounters, she ran. Rushing through the swamp, ducking under fallen trees, leaping over bramble patches, but still the beast pursued. The obstacles didn't seem to slow him down, hurling the tree trunk out of the way, bursting through the brambles, it was like watching an unstoppable force bowl through many very movable objects.
The chase went on for another minute. Nidana knew she couldn't keep running and avoiding this thing forever. She found a large tree and prayed the beast couldn't climb. The girl leaped up to one of the highest branches that could support her weight and looked upon the Wampa below. It arrived at the tree and initially looked puzzled, as if discerning how she got up there so fast without wings. But the puzzlement went away as first the Wampa tried shaking Nidana off the limb. But the tree was too large and old. It had stood for likely hundreds of years (if not more) and barely budged, even under the Wampas relentless assault. Finally it seemed to click in the fur-balls small brain that it would have to go up after her. And so the beast started climbing. Faster than Nidana was comfortable with, so she jumped to a higher branch, sacrificing stability for distance from the monster. But this seemed to be only a temporary solution. It soon seemed that the Echani would have to finish this thing off. And while it was climbing, would likely be the best chance she would get. Hurling herself downward at the Wampa, saber igniting on the way down, Nidana slashed at the monster. But it seems the Wampa had noticed her impending attack and had launched its own. Letting go of the tree with one clawed hand, it swung at the plummeting Echani and scored its own hit. Lucky for the girl the claws weren't able to sink in but the wind was knocked out of her lungs and she was slammed against a branch. Though it seemed to have payed off as clutched to her new branch and the Wampa went roaring downward, now one armed (the other still clinging to the tree bark a couple feet above Nidana). And with a disgusting crutch the roar stopped and was replaced by a low gurgling as the mighty creature breathed its last.
After catching her breath, Nidana let out a sigh of relief, she went to deactivate her lightsaber, when she noticed it wasn't in her hand any longer. It seemed to have fallen out of her hand when she got hit.
After a few minutes of searching fruitlessly in the shine deep mud, Nidana gave up on her search. Something told her a saber wouldn't make much difference once she was inside the temple she sought. Now with no light source or any way of defending herself, the Echani pushed further into the dense swamp. With out the light it was harder to navigate the swamp but it also wouldn't attract any more stray wampas. Following the flow of the Darkside, Nidana finally emerged into another clearing. A great stone temple stood before her. It's doors sealed and flanked by two more of those statues she'd encountered earlier. There was no sign of another way in, no windows or balcony ledges that could be scaled to. Yet now that she was this close, it felt as something, or someone was trying to get her attention. And it was working, Nidana paused in her search for an entrance and listened, reaching out with the Force.
Nidana... Nidana... I have what you seek.
Nidana thought for a moment. Collecting her thoughts. This is clearly a trap...
Does it really matter, if you have the chance to be the first living soul to lay eyes on my work since my death?
And with that last thought Nidana heard a low rumble and noticed a section of the temple wall had slid to the side. It relieved a stairwell leading down. Nidana stood at the top of the stairs. Unsure how to react to a disembodied voice that was tempting her into the deep dark.
What are you waiting for, forgotten knowledge is yours, if you take the first step...
And take the first step she did. Once she was all the way in, the door slid shut behind her and ahead of her torches on the wall lit, illuminating her path. And down she went.