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Ice Cave Spelunking

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
En Route to Ilum​
Galactic Standard Time: 08:23​
Mereel's Quarters​
----------------------------------------

Mereel finished stuffing the roll of IV tubing into the outermost pocket of his backpack and sealed the zipper. It had taken him roughly thirty minutes to completely fill the white pack, with most of the time being spent thinking about what exactly he could possibly need to bring to a crystal hunt and/or lightsaber building excursion that had the potential to last three days.

He hoisted the hefty bag up by the straps and slipped it on over his armor pauldrons. If he had the time to spare, he would have weighed the bag, it felt like he had gained an additional 15 kilos. Mereel lumbered over to a cabinet with a large mirror in the corner of his quarters and slowly looked himself over. Armor, check. Helmet, check Kriffing heavy backpack, check. Blaster pistol, check. Flamethrower, check. Westar, check. Grenades -

He slid the cabinet door open and pulled three frag grenades from a bin and clipped them onto his belt. Check. He hastily threw the cabinet shut and gave the over-encumbered looking blue-armored Mandalorian he saw in the mirror an additional quick glance before making a bee line for his chamber's door and entering the corvette's main hallway.

He walked past several tired crewmen and made a conscious effort to not bump into them with any of the excess baggage trailing over his back as he made his way to Knight Syrin's temporary quarters on the ship. As he rounded a hall corner onto the passenger block of quarters his armor chest plate clashed up against the vessels true captain, Joshua Tucker. Much to the older and feebler man's credit, Tucker only stepped back an inch as the walking hunk of beskar, bombs, and baggage bumped into him.

"Ah, good. I was hoping to catch you before you went on your hike. Take this,"

The Captain threw a heavy, brown fur-matted cloak over Mereel's helmet, "Thanks, I guess. You know my suit's heated right?"

Mereel pulled the cloak off from over his head just in time to see Tucker walk past him and around the corner to the main hallway now behind him. "Give it back later if you don't want it. I've got a ship to land."

Mereel sighed. More weight. Oh well, maybe I can cut part of it off to reinforce my backpack straps.

He walked over to the door in the hallway that was Syrin's quarters and gave three quick knocks with his gauntlet. The sound of metal clunking against metal resounded throughout the hallway, "It's Mereel, we'll be landing in a few minutes."

He hoped she was already awake, if not surely he could find something to do on his own ship to kill the time.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla had spent most of the travelling time meditating. She sensed the change in engine noise as they dropped out of hyperspace through her Force-induced state and slowly opened her eyes.

She stood and walked over to a small unit that comprised two drawers. The bottom one contained a spare set of robes. It remained closed.

The top one contained a commlink and her saber. She attached both to her belt and then headed over to the door. Her cloak was hanging up on a peg affixed to it and she took her dark brown cape and slipped it on.

Smiling she paused, one hand ready to open the door. There followed three quick knocks of metal on metal and she heard Mereel’s voice.

Once he had finished speaking she opened the door. Smiling at her partner in this mission, she bowed slightly. “I see you are ready for whatever life throws at you.”

She stepped out of the room and beside Mereel. “Perhaps your greatest fear would be to have to take nothing into the cave with you?” The tone of her voice indicated she was gently teasing him, but her words served a serious purpose – to remind the young Padawan that he would have to face something unpalatable on Ilum.

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Under his helmet, Mereel was flashing a proud grin, "Yeah, I think I brought enough for the both of us to be ready. I don't often prepare rations or emergency supplies for my trips, but when I do I either go big or go home to pack some more."

He began walking down the passenger quarters corridor and turned left back onto the main hallway, leading the duo toward one of the vessel's two primary boarding ramps. He was too busy worrying about whether or not they were prepared for the weather to fret about the veiled reminder of a more immediate threat that he detected in Syrin's jest.

"And your greatest fear obviously isn't being too cold." He said, exaggeratedly looking the Jedi Knight up and down as he said it. "I'm pretty sure Tucker has some spare trooper armor lying around somewhere if you want something a little more.. sealed."

He felt the Iviin'yc's engines gradually continue to slow through his boots until a sudden shudder shook the hallway as he entered a side-chamber. He hit a button on the side of the wall as he walked into the port boarding ramp room and the sound of the room's automated heating system was swiftly drowned out by the sound of rushing wind as the ramp slowly lowered, letting in bright light and flecks of snow carried adrift.

This is it. It's finally happening. I'm getting my very own laser sword.

A vision of melted flesh and metal flashed before his eyes. This is a good thing, right? I think . .

He was partially brought back to the present by a sense of coldness running across his skin, although he was unsure whether it was internal or external.


With a little solemnity in his voice that wasn't there before, he spoke above the gusts of wind, "Last chance to throw on some heavier gear. If you think you're ready I'll be on your six. Unless you want me to take point that is -"

He slammed an armored fist into his chestplate, trying to regain his standard demeanor through a half-hearted act of bravado, "and I wouldn't blame you if you wanted me to."

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla smiled again. She had a few ration bars in her pockets and a flask, that she could fill with water from the snow and ice on the planet’s surface. She felt she was adequately packed.

“One of the tenets of the Jedi Code is to Conquer Materialism. The saying goes, ‘I wear my robe so that I am warm; I carry my lightsaber so that I am safe; and I keep enough credits for my next meal, so that I am not hungry. If the Force wants me to have more, it finds a way of letting me know.’”

“There are two reasons for this and as such Jedi are discouraged from keeping more than a few essential belongings. First because they distracted a Jedi from the Force, and second because you may be required to leave for missions at extremely short notice, and so having many objects is often a burden.” She spoke from a place of compassion and sharing, and her tone did not sound as though she was lecturing, merely informing.

“I do not fear the cold, young Padawan, despite being raised on a desert planet. There is a Jedi technique applicable in these circumstances. Tapas. I can draw on the power of the Force to remain warm in a cold environment. I can teach you one day.”

“For you’ll find out soon enough I do not wear armour – under any circumstances. I have the Force and my wits, that is all the protection I need.”

And then she followed him to the exit – and once the doors opened, she smiled at the bracing air and gentle snow flurries. “I’ll take the lead, and you can watch our rear. We should be OK to get to there,” she pointed to an opening in the rock, half way up a mountain. “I hope you’re OK to climb in that equipment.” She supressed a grin. “Oh, and be on your guard—native gorgodons have an appetite for carbon based lifeforms!” She’d always wanted to say that, ever since she read it – and now she had.

She mentally ticked it off her list of clichés she hoped to use some day.

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Mereel drew his rifle to his shoulder and followed the Knight off of the Iviin'yc's ramp. He observed the wind as it carried flakes of snow slowly across the flat leading up to the foot of the mountain. Inconsequential wind speed. "I'm used to long hikes over varying elevations in this suit - and my aim is good, I doubt a gorgodon will be able to close the distance on this terrain. But I'll stay vigilant." He added the last part as an afterthought. He hadn't done all that much research on the planet's fauna, but unless gorgodon was another name for krayt dragons, he figured that a Jedi and a Mandalorian could take a gorgodon down with ease.

For several minutes his boots rhythmically crunched through the snow, and he continuously scanned the snowdrifts and gradual elevations in the snow around them with his eyes. However, his mind wasn't focused on his surroundings, instead it was chewing over his guide and mentor's words on materialism. I might be handy with a blaster, but I have so much to figure out still - from the holocron and her.


Once more a vision of cauterized flesh and molten metal lurked in the back of his mind.

"As Jedi one of our main duties is to protect life, right?"

He thought he could smell carbon scoring and smoke as he drew back the memories as he spoke, "Have . . did you see what the Sith did to Thyferra? Is there a realistic way can we stop that from happening without getting more?"

Mereel knew the Jedi code, and he knew full well that they weren't supposed to be bound by their emotions, but he had been to Thyferra after the attack. If more things could have stopped Thyferra from happening, materialism didn't seem so bad of a price to pay.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla nodded at Mereel’s confidence. “Be aware we’re most likely to encounter one when we’re climbing. And it’s as likely to be a family as a single creature. I doubt you’ll have time to draw your weapon, let alone aim. So be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. I’ll do the same, but don’t rely on me – rely on the Force.”

The walked through the snow and Mereel was clearly reflecting on something, as his chatter stopped. Finally he asked Lilla a question.

“Protect all life. Defend the weak. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. It can get complicated if we overthink it. But basically, yes. We would only take a Sith’s life if there was no alternative. And yes, sometimes that means letting them go.”

“And as a Jedi, we have to accept that bad things happen – and we can’t stop every atrocity. We’d like to, of course, but can’t get too hard on ourselves over other’s actions. But we can learn from our and other’s mistakes and see if we can prevent future incident. But we must remain true to who we are. To dwell on the past is a path to the dark side eventually. It clouds our judgement of the here and now. It encourages emotions to come into play – which should be avoided.”

Lilla stopped walking, they’d reached the bottom of the cliff that the cave was situated in. “I’ll go ahead and you follow in your own style.”

Lilla eschewed the use of any gadgets and began to climb the vertical face using nothing but available hand and foot holds.

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Mereel simply nodded in response to her comment about watching for the gorgodons and relying on the force. His silence continued still as he listened to her thoughts and explanations about the responsibilities of the Jedi. He hoped that his lack of response didn't indicate to her that he wasn't listening. In truth, she had him clinging to every word, and if he hadn't been wearing a helmet she would be able to see it in his eyes.

This was the most he had ever discussed the role of the Jedi one-on-one with a fellow Jedi before, and apparently it was to be a lesson in realities. It hadn't been mystical at all like he had always expected the discussion to be, in fact in comparison to what he had imagined she would say, it was painfully pragmatic.

It's a truth that I've known since I was young, but there's one grudge that I don't think I can give up so easily.

When they reached the foot of the mountain, Mereel pointed his rifle up, well past his teacher's head, to a small outcrop of rock on the mountain that if his eye estimates and helmet sensor data were correct, was about 10 meters up the mountain. He put his right hand on a sling attachment under his rifle's barrel and with the press of a button a hook sprang out from the underside of the weapon with a staccato shwoomp.

His eyes followed the grappling hook as it ascended upward, trailing a wide and sturdy line of black rope flailing through the air behind it. He couldn't hear the grappling hook as it slid down the rocks at this range, but he could feel the rope tense and slack until it finally caught and held a steady tension. He gave the rifle an incredibly rough tug with both hands. The resistance offered by the rope made him think that there was about a 50-50 chance that this maneuver would work out not-terribly. I've dealt with worse odds before. Maybe I can rely on the force in tandem with this little gimmick.

Mereel planted his feet against the mountain wall, and began slowly pulling himself upward with all the muscle he could muster from his forearms, biceps, and legs. After ascending a meager ten feet, he was regretting his decision to stuff his backpack for this mission, "I think this is the best workout I'm going to get all month, Master - I should really bring you along for my morning routine."

As he continued to painfully walk himself up the side of the cliff, he wanted to ask Lilla if she knew a technique to rejuvenate his energy with the force, but he opted on having a more sincere conversation instead. "Even if I crack a lot of wise, well, pretty much all the time, you know that I'm taking your words to heart, right?"

He was nearly to the grappling hook's anchor now, only a foot or so away and he would be pulling himself up and onto the rock ledge. He was puffing for air when his arms reached the rock edge, "You can sense past that though anyway, can't you? I think I've nearly gotten the hang of reliably sensing the more basic of human emotions, like boredom and fear, but alie -"

His sentence was cut short as he felt something wrap around his chest. A powerful hand pulled him the rest of the way up before throwing him several feet, slamming his back against partially snow-covered rock face.


[member="Lilla Syrin"]


 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla made swift progress. Travelling light had its values – as well as significant training in climbing of course.

And tMereel, to his due, was making swift progress, reaching the edge at the same time as Lilla.

They say Jedi move faster than the eye can see sometimes, well – on this occasion – even that wasn’t fast enough for Lilla to act. Surprise caused her to almost step back. A group of gorgodons were lying directly in front of them, sleeping near the mouth of the Crystal Cave. They were large, hulking creatures. Usually their feeding grounds were on the icy plains below, where they thrived on lichen and scrub.

“Be still,” she whispered. Their eyesight was poor, but their hearing and sense of smell were excellent. But she was too late. A gust of wind swept the ledge and it must have carried their scent, for one of the gigantic creatures stirred.

Suddenly a large, reptilian tail whipped out from the closest gorgodon, smacking Lilla and sending her flying back toward the cliff edge. Another lunged at her companion.

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Perhaps their situation wasn't bad, but for Mereel it certainly didn't look good. The gorgodons had ambushed them at point blank range, and close quarters combat had never been Mereel's specialty as a mercenary or soldier.

Mereel instinctively tried to activate his jetpack to get some distance between him and the gorgodon lunging at him, but the backpack strapped over his shoulders made sure that nothing of the sort happened. Well, close quarters it is then.

He raised the Westar rifle in his arms, keeping the barrel between him and the beast, thumbed it into the fully-automatic firing mode, and held down the trigger. The first shot surprised the gorgodon and caused it to stagger back for a second.

As the subsequent blaster rounds impacted the animal's hide, the beast resumed its lunge toward him. "Lilla!"

The gorgodon swiped the rifle out of his hand, sending the gun skittering toward his Master's position. Mereel ejected the two primary vibroblades in each of his gauntlets and raised them in a cheap imitation of a Teras Kasi artist's stance. "You didn't say that these guys were blaster proof!"

The gorgodon rushed him head on once more, this time it was able to wrap its left arm over his shoulder, but Mereel brought his right gauntlet around and jabbed the monster in the back. The blow caused the beast to let out a disgusting pained roar and stopped it from further wrapping its arm around his shoulder.

A second gorgodon which had previously been previously getting up from sleeping rammed itself into Mereel and the gorgodon he had locked to his blade. His right vibroblade broke free from his gauntlet and lodged itself further into the first gorgodon's back, evoking a second pained growl from the beast as Mereel tumbled once more into the cliff face wall. "Fierfek, you might have been right about the backpack."


[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla knew a little about the creatures. The gorgodon’s hide was so thick that blaster bolts couldn't kill them, only annoy them.

“There’s a vulnerable spot behind their necks – that where you need to target,” she shouted as the situation went quickly from bad to worse.

In one sense, she was sad. They had entered their nest, and she supposed that they had every right to be annoyed with the Jedi. But self-preservation was not a matter to be taken lightly, so if they had to be killed, they had to be killed.

Lilla leaped. With one arm, she kept her lightsaber slashing at the creature, mostly to keep it distracted. With the other hand, she reached out and yanked the young Jedi to safety.

The gorgodons were roused now. They awoke in a fury, jaws snapping and eyes rolling. They roared, the fur sticking up now in sharp spikes. They bared their triple rows of sharp yellow teeth at the intruders.

Lilla knew now they had no choice. The gorgodons were prepared to fight to the death.

As usual, Lilla’s mind went clear and still.

Look for the weakness in the strength.

Their great size makes them powerful, but it also makes them clumsy.

The largest gorgodon loped toward her. It had the dead relentless gaze of a predator as it raised a paw as big as a gravsled to swat her. She was sure she would be sent flying off the cliff if it connected.

The blow was slow in coming, at least for the reflexes of a Jedi. Lilla had time to contemplate her move and the likely counterattack. Mindful of her companion, she rolled to the right, drawing the gorgodon in that direction. The creature swung out with its tail as it missed, as Lilla expected it to.

She struck a blow to the gorgodon's side and felt the impact shudder through her lightsaber. The skeletal structure of the gorgodon was extraordinarily strong, as well as covered by deep layers of fat and muscle. It would take more than one blow to fell such a creature.

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
As he sat on the ground, Mereel sighed in response to Lilla's statement.

If that's the case, had I just aimed a little higher, I probably could have stuck that gorgodon good before losing my blade.

The two gorgodons he had been fighting earlier were already charging him again, one to his left and one to his right, no doubt racing against each other in an attempt to be the first one to eat him. It was a contest that Mereel had decided he had wanted neither of the two creatures to win, and the Mandalorian quickly sprung to his feet.

For a fleeting second, Mereel slowed his breathing and cleared his head of the emotions of battle.

Two charging targets. They're strong, stronger than me and faster than me, but bulky enough to be ungraceful in their movements. I could try ordnance or a flamethrower, but my back is to a ledge here. A wrist rocket could collapse the cliff, or cause an avalanche, and if the flamethrower doesn't slow them down all the way, I'm likely going over the cliff.

It's going to have to be a precise blow to the back of the neck then, just like Lilla said. Two charging targets.. alright, I'll have to time this perfectly. Here goes nothing.

The second of contemplation had given Mereel a change of heart, he now knew which of the two beasts he wanted to get to him first.

Mereel raised his right hand and directed a modest wave of force energy into the gorgodon coming in on his right. It staggered the beast back for a moment, and the gorgodon coming in on his left side lunged at him, it's right arm raised high and wide in preparation of clamping down on his left shoulder. Perfect.

Mereel bobbed down and weaved to the left, allowing him to pass his body by turning sideways under the gorgodon's raised arm. Not having a moment to waste, he plunged his left blade into the back of the gorgodon's neck with all of the strength he could muster, not penetrating much of the fat and muscle on the back of the creature's neck, but enough for him to feel confident in what he was about to do next.

Two for two. Just got to finish the job.

With both of his feet still planted on the ground and his left vibroblade somewhat nestled into the back of the now-roaring monster's neck, Mereel took a step back with each foot, and then jumped up before planting both of his boots into the middle of the gorgodon's back in a drop-kick.

As his legs pushed off of the creature's back, his left vibroblade left the animal's neck, allowing Mereel to freely fall backward closer to the mountain wall and propelling the gorgodon off of the side of the cliff he had just had his back to. His eyes followed the gorgodon's form as it bounced off the ledges in the cliff wall.

"Score one for the Republic." As an emboldened Mereel said this, the gorgodon he had previously staggered with a force push rapped both of its arms around his back.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla sensed Mereel connecting to the Force. It should help provide clarity of thought and enable his reflexes to increase to a point where the cumbersome gorgodons would appear to be travelling in slow motion.

But she knew she had to focus on her own adversary – to worry too much about Mereel would endanger both of their lives.

Tails slashed and paws rose, claws ripping at her clothing. There was little time to strike any effective blows, it was all Lilla could do to stay out of the way.

Suddenly her foot hit a patch of black ice. Hidden by the shadows, the ice was slick and deadly. She slid helplessly straight toward the gorgodon. The great beast bared its yellow teeth and raised its massive arms to pin her between them.

Lilla managed to regain her balance and struck out in a furious series of moves. Her lightsaber was a blur as she dived, feinted, and reversed, striking blow after blow at the gorgodon’s paws and body. The blows wouldn’t kill it, but they did slow it down. One angry, earsplitting roar followed another. Lilla moved so fast the gorgodon could not track her.

Lilla leaped forward. She struck out at the creature’s face with her lightsaber, but she saw the giant paws come together, trapping her. Lilla’s breath left her body at the blow. The gorgodon brought her to his chest in a death-hug.

Lilla’s face was buried in the foul-smelling fur. She choked, struggling to fill her lungs. Instead, she breathed fur. The animal squeezed her tighter and she was afraid her ribs would crack. Her last reserves of breath whooshed out of her body as she tried to move her arms.

But she was pinned.

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
The big mound of fur began squeezing Mereel, pulling his armor plates back and compressing them tight against struggling muscle. He still wasn't concerned at his predicament though. The presence of his mentor had elevated his brashness to new heights, and killing one of the gorgodons so quickly had only made his lack of a grip on the situation worse. He wasted some of his diminishing breath to make a meaningless quip, "Master, you also forgot to mention how cuddly these guys are. Look, -"

He struggled around, slowly turning himself around against the creature's gripping death-snuggle to look toward his Master. The sight hadn't been what he was expecting. From the color of her face, he could tell that she was running out of breath. Simultaneously, one of the claws on the left hand of the Gorgodon hugging him scratched a large line into the blue paint on his armor, removing the deep azure coloration and exposing a large swath of the dull gray metal beneath.

Fire that hadn't graced his eyes since his last tour of duty returned to him with the ease and familiarity of flipping a switch. Air rushed back into his lungs as desperate primal rage filled his veins and took control of him.

The Gorgodon holding him had failed to pin his arms fully, and it would pay for that mistake with its life.

Mereel launched both of his arms up and wrapped his hands around the neck of the Gorgodon squeezing him. He ejected his left wrist vibrobalde into furry neck, jabbing again and again and again into the sides of the creature's throat, and punching in turn with his right hand. He wasn't targeting the Gorgodon's weak point, nonetheless, it was screaming in agony.

It was music to his ears. He wanted to hear more, but he knew he couldn't get anymore from this beast, he would have to extract it from the other object of his rage. He drove his left blade back, finally slicing into the creature's weak spot. He kept slicing forward using all of the muscle in his left arm and shoulder until he felt the tips of his gloved fingers come into contact with warm mush. He extracted the blade when the Gorgodon's arms fully fell off of his body. In his bloodlust, he hadn't even noticed the creature's grip diminishing, but that wouldn't be something he would think about until much later. Right now, he had only a single goal and objective in mind: kill.

Mereel stalked forward, his voice becoming venom as he taunted uncomprehending-prey, "Hey, pal. Want to try some of your own medicine?"

With movements that were almost instinctual, Mereel stopped walking and slowly raised his right hand. He felt the force flowing through him unfiltered as he pointed his fingers at the monster's neck. He began pulling his fingers slowly toward his palm in an imaginary strangle. His biceps and triceps contracted and veins came to the surface under his armor as his fingers drew back.

The Gorgodon's facial expression changed from menace to confusion and concern as air began leaving its own lungs, and its grip on his mentor lessened. He stopped choking the beast through the force and resumed pacing towards it.

He was going to finish strangling it with his own two hands.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla connected as deeply with the Force as she could. There was a variation of meditation that allowed a Jedi to survive without air for longer than usual. The downside was that it also immobilised them from anything else whilst using the ability.

So, instead Lilla began to fuel her body with the power of the Force. It was a technique called Force Valor. With it, her limbs became more powerful, and able to withstand the creature’s crushing.

In truth, like most animals deemed to squeeze the life out of their opponents, it was a common misconception. What they actually did was hold their prey as tightly as possible – there was no actual squeezing. Instead, they waited for their victim to breathe and when they breathed out, they simply held on tighter, pulling in the slack that the exhalation created. Over and over this would happen until the victim typically asphyxiated, rather than died of being squeezed.

So she was able to keep a form of status quo – albeit an uncomfortable one. And a situation made worse by the sensations she was receiving from her Padawan. Anger? Frustration? Bloodlust? It was no doubt a cocktail of these emotions – and none were appropriate for a Jedi. Not that it was her immediate concern, but his welfare was, in reality, more important to her than her own life.

Then she felt the grip loosen. Not significantly at first, but it happened. And slowly she felt the pressure easing more and more – and the creature finally dropped her and turned its attention to Mereel.

Lilla fell onto the ice and her every fibre wanted to lie still and breathe deeply. She did not, however, have the luxury of time. With the strength she currently had, she acted quickly, lifting the creature in the air with the aid of telekinesis and flipping it over the edge of the small plateau. Would it survive the fall? Possibly. Would it have survived the encounter with Mereel? Positively not.

And the young Padawan would not have strengthened his aspiration to be a Jedi if he’d carried on in the same manner.

“We are safe,” Lilla said, her voice a little ragged. The pain that accompanied her speech told her she had a couple of cracked ribs. “From the creatures at least. But before we go in there,” she jerked her head towards the cave, “You need to learn to control your emotions. Not bury them, not purge them – we all have them. But to learn not to act on them. A Jedi’s power comes from a place of calm. We are not, and never will be, warriors. Am I making sense?”

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Mereel's march was cut short as the Gorgodon was lifted into the air before being toppled over the edge of cliff rock. A part of him felt relieved, but an older part of his being felt wholly dissatisfied with the turn of events. His emotions on the matter were conflicted, yet under his helmet he couldn't stop himself from glaring at his mentor.

As she told him that he needed to get a grip of his emotions, his discontent was quickly swept away and the constant glare he had maintained with her violet eyes broke.

His helmet had hid many emotions from both friends and strangers in the past, but that wouldn't suffice here. He contemplated just staying silent and nodding for a second as he walked over and knelt next to her. He opted to let her see further past his facade instead, "I know we aren't supposed to be warriors,"

Mereel pulled the backpack straps off of his shoulder and rummaged around the outermost layer's contents. "but for years the only skill that I had - the only benefit that I ever provided anyone - was as a killer."

His hand found its mark as he gripped the handle of a syringe. He pulled the medical tool out of the bag and pointed the Stimpak's handle at [member="Lilla Syrin"].
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla took the Stimpack and injected herself. The Force was a great healer, but she wanted to keep some energy in reserve, so allowing the injection to do its work seemed an entirely sensible idea.

Having completed the emergency first-aid, Lilla sat, cross-legged, on the ledge and smiled at Mereel. “Firstly, do not be too harsh on yourself. You are a Padawan – and that means you are learning. Learning to accomplish the things a Jedi does – but also understanding how to behave like a Jedi. Which is, believe me, a lot tougher.”

“And the important lesson for today – if you’ll permit me to be so bold – is that the past is the past. I am not condoning or exonerating previous actions – but they do represent the past. My concern – your concern – is how you behave today. Not tomorrow. If you take care of each ‘today’ then your ‘tomorrows’ will take care of themselves.”

“And what we are supposed to be and what we become – well, you’ll find they aren’t always one and the same. We live in a time of perpetual war. It is therefore logical we have to engage Sith and the like more often than anyone would want. But we do what we must.”

“But when we fight, we do so from a position of serenity. If you do not control your emotions, they will control you. In the hands of a Sith, you would find them used against you – and it would be your undoing.”

Lilla looked up at the sky – it promised more snow. “Perhaps you need to consider the teachings of Master Windu. He was a great duellist and he learned to control his aggressive tendencies – channel them even.”

“Just a thought.”

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Mereel bit the bottom of his lip. Accepting the past as past. Fighting Sith phantasms scared him less but he knew that she was right.

In his attempt to pry the Gorgodon from Lilla, he had forsaken self control in favor of raw emotion and physical strength - both things he couldn't necessarily rely on in a fight with a trained Sith, unless she could teach him how to tame his emotions.

"Alright, then. I'll let past be past, but in the very near future, I want to learn more about this Master Windu."

If there was a way to channel his aggressiveness, he needed to learn it. Preferably before the past caught up to him again. On a planet in the Unknown Regions, not too far from Ilum, there was an entire Mandalorian clan hunting for him. The corvette that the Jedi Padawan and his Master had rode in on originally belonged to them, and eventually his father's goons would catch up to him again.

That doesn't matter now, just focus on how I behave today.

Mereel closed his backpack and threw it back over his shoulders. He looked around the snowy rock alcove until he saw the faint metallic gleam of his rifle barrel under a patch of snow. With a raised hand, he summoned the weapon out from under the snow with the force and pulled it into his arms.

Having the rifle again gave him a slight sense of relief, "So.. should I take point this time or are you trying to break a few more bones?"

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla nodded. The ways of Master Windu were not for all – but definitely a way forward for some, or rather a few. Lilla had avoided using the seventh Form for the very reasons she would consider it a useful approach for Mereel.

In his youth, many considered him arrogant. But his gift to future Jedi was finding a way to channel his aggressiveness.

But that was a lesson for another day.

Lilla smiled, it seemed Mereel’s humour was not diminished and she stood, facing the entrance. “I’ll lead us into the cave, but once we pass the entrance, I’ll wait. You can go ahead, alone, and seek your crystal. If you need me, the Force will find a way of letting me know.”

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Mereel nodded his head and fell in behind his mentor. He had completely failed to notice the cave entrance during the entirety of the fight. As they walked toward the gaping cave mouth, his mind raced thinking about what he would find inside.

He still drew a blank when trying to figure out what his worst fear was. He hoped it would be something he could shoot with a blaster.

"What did you see? When you collected your kyber crystal, I mean."

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
“Actually, most of the crystals on Ilum tend to be adegan. That’s what I found. And as to what I saw? Like many, I’m not sure precisely what it was - not after the event anyway. The mind plays tricks and it’s hard to split visions, memories and dreams. So, what I will share is what I believed it to be — to the best of my recollection.”

“In the cave, I met ‘me’. Or perhaps me in the future? Or an alternative version of me. Like me, very like me, but not me. And this…me…was warning me. Warning me not to make the mistakes they did. Except they didn’t share with me specifics, but rather general wisdom. And permission — permission to make mistakes, yet she counselled me to remain true to the Jedi Code.”

“And the oddest thing of all? One line I still remember vividly. ‘Am I what you fear most, or are you what I fear most?’ I may never understand what that means — but somehow I know it’s important.”

“Still, some never see visions at all,” LIlla smiled as they now entered the mouth of the cave - a vast chamber ahead of them and on the far side, a number of tunnels leading into the cliff. “So who can tell.”


[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 
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