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The Caverns of Ilum

Qhorin Solas

This is a one-v-one duel
The Caverns of Ilum
The crystal refineries of Ilum were massive constructs of durasteel and ultrachome, extending far beneath the planet's frigid surface to the icy crystal caverns of its frozen core. Rich in the Force, the naturally forming crystals; kathracite, mephite, pontite, and adegan, were perfect materials for lightsaber construction. They were primarily used as the focusing crystal itself - the heart of the blade, per say, but adegan could also be used as a focusing lens. It created the most powerful type of focusing lens, in fact, and I had come to the planet for that very reason.

I was wary of encountering a Jedi in my pursuit of a crystal. Ilum was well within Republic space, and the refineries operated under the direct jurisdiction of the Jedi Order. I could not claim to be doing the work of the Atrisian Empire, not in Republic Space. We were enemy factions with opposing ideals; my presence could be construed as a violation of Republic law, if the 'right' people discovered my presence. In light of that fact, I had flown to the planet in a standard A-Wing, unmarked and unaltered, clad in plain black garbs lacking the Imperial insignia. The silver lightsaber at my waist was the only indication as to what I was, and even it was hidden beneath a thick, woolen cloak, pulled tight about my form to shield against the biting Ilum winds.

I made my way into the refinery, boot steps light against the gleaming floor panels, intent on finding the perfect crystal. I reached out into the Force, still mindful of discovery, and waded through its many currents, letting it guide me through the corridors, deep into the heart of the impressive structure.

There, my crystal waited.
@[member="Samara Galloway"]
Master of Illusions
@[member="Cronos Aegir"]

The caverns of Illum were much to frigid for Samara, who had grown up on the tropical worlds of Gallinore and Myrkr. The caves were also much to dim for her night blind eyes to see, forcing her to rely on the force to enhance the lighting around her. As the Jedi master pulled the fur-lined jacket closer to her body she reflected on her trials on Hoth, where she had obtained the permafrost crystal that was the heart of her own lightsaber. Even without it having been a Sith trial the experience of Hoth was more than any apprentice could experience without some scarring. The memories sent a chill down her spine more powerful than any cold on Illum.

She was not here for herself, however. Samara had been tasked with bringing the newest class of younglings to the crystal caves, as the final part of their lightsaber constructions. Another Jedi knight stood with her at the entrance, a Twi'lek by the name of Vyn Rar. She didn't seem to have an issue with the cold, and sat relaxed on a stone. Within the maze of caverns Samara could sense the emotions from the dozen students. It was a kaleidoscopic wave of energy that beat against the Masters mind as she paced back and forth.

"Why don't you just relax and have a Jawa Bar." Vyn said was she held up the candy she herself had been enjoying.

Samara shook her head and turned away towards her own pack. She was bent over it, retrieving the canteen of caf when I new presence edged into her mind. It was faint, as if they were trying to hide themselves, and definitely not within the caves. Standing up straight Samara moved towards the tunnel that led to the refinery, looking over her shoulder once before disappearing around the corner. "I'll be right back. Comm me if you need me."

Of course Sam knew that the comms didn't work down here. Any emergency would go unanswered by the Master. Still, she could not ignore this new individual. Narrowing her senses to hone in on the one spark of life in the force Samara followed the tunnels for nearly a kilometer before a faint light ahead signaled someone else in the tunnels. On light feet Sam approached where the light source was until she saw the retreating form of Cronos.

Though she was unfamiliar with those that manned the refinery Sam was sure that the building had been cleared out. Letting the familiar grip of her lightsaber fall into the Jedi's hand, Sam let her feet carry her closer as she called out. "Excuse me. The caves are off limits today. No one else is allowed down here."

Qhorin Solas

As I walked through the tunnels, intent on finding a crystal, I felt a ripple in the Force, like a calm wind sweeping across the surface of a lake, too fleeting and insubstantial to grasp. Unable to pinpoint the source of the feeling, I ignored it, continuing my trek into the heart of the caverns. Ice crunched beneath my feet, my breath thick in the gelid air. There was little natural light to be had, leaving me to rely on my other senses to navigate the maze of caves. I felt the ripple again, nearer this time, but as focused as I was on discovering a crystal, I again paid the feeling no mind, confident in my own ability to hide in the Force.

I didn't recognize the warning for what it was until a voice sounded at my back. My presence had not gone unnoticed.

"Excuse me. The caves are off limits today. No one else is allowed down here."​
It was a woman's voice, authoritative and almost demanding. I heard the unspoken questions at the end of her sentence. Who are you and why are you here? She was the source of the ripples I had felt. A Jedi, no doubt, and a talented one, if she had sensed me. Unbidden, a sigh slipped from my lips. Her presence would make my task all the more difficult.

I glanced behind me, eyes immediately falling to the lightsaber in her hand. Had she judged me as a threat so soon? "I won't be long," I replied with a light voice, palming my own weapon from the depths of my cloak. "But I must retrieve a crystal from these caves." I turned around fully to face her, head tilted in consideration. I hadn't come to Ilum for a fight, but...

"Forget you saw me, Jedi." I reached out into the nether, expanding my awareness to the far reaches of the refinery and beyond. There were other Jedi in the caverns, I realized. They weren't like this one, though; her presence was strong. I felt the stirrings of excitement blossoming inside me - as much as I disliked killing Jedi, I immensely enjoyed fighting them. Every battle was a lesson, and I was an avid learner.

"Forget you saw me," I said again, "and return to your charges. Please." My thumb hovered above the activation plate of my lightsaber. I doubted she would acquiesce to my 'request', but if she was to discover what I was, that doubt would become a certainty.

@[member="Samara Galloway"]​