EPISODE I:
ECHOES OF THE FORCE

THE Galaxy is in stalemate. The remnants of the GALACTIC EMPIRE maintain an uneasy peace with the NEW REPUBLIC. The Imperial extremists of the FIRST ODER vie for power, constantly impeded by the soldiers of the RESISTANCE.

LUKE SKYWALKER’S absence is strongly felt throughout the galaxy. The destruction of his Jedi temple has shaken the galaxy to it’s core, especially of those that believe in the Force. But in the wake of his leaving, rumors abound of a NEW JEDI ORDER rising throughout the galaxy. Yet, these rumors are nothing more than another of a myriad of myths surrounding the Jedi to the majority of beings in the galaxy.

Some still remain, though, that are willing to follow the path of the Jedi. Those that do are contacted by ASHUR SUNGAZER, a scholar of the Jedi. Although skeptical of the full power of the Force, he has information on a Jedi artifact he thinks would be of interest to some of his close friends….

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Night of Nostalgia
Deep within filthy streets of Nar Shadaa at a seedy, bustling bar, sat a humanoid; short yet broad in stature. The smallish man paid no
heed to the cantina's cacophony, for he had his eyes fixed upon a creature opposing his side of the bar. This being was unlike most: Trandoshan; large lizard-like people that have a culture largely based on hunting, earning points for their god; the Scorekeeper, to increase in rank. The greater the kill, the greater number of Jagganath points.
From what the little observer had gathered, this was a particularly cunning and hardy life-form. A veteraned adversary with many Jagganath to his name.
But right now, he was a tad innebriated. And, considering that he and his cohorts had just scored on a big swoop bike race, it seemed likely to escalate. The suspicious figure watched and waited. He ordered one drink which remained untouched. The hood of his robes cast well over his brow.
Uproarious laughter erupted from the party across the bar. A slight smirk broke the hard lines in the silent watcher's face and a low chuckle emitted, almost a grunt, inaudible for the din of the establishment.

"I'd sure like to avoid a fight;" he thought. "Though, given how boisterous these fellows are, it would seem my prediction will come to pass."

Yet, despite a near-complete sense of certainty, something nagged at him. As if there was a scenario that escaped his fore-sight. As he sat pondering, his target and company stood to leave.

"Off my game," came a thought.
"When did they pay?"
"Did they even pay?"
"They're rushing out."
"Follow them."

In an attempt to quiet the voices in his head he reached for the milky, blue Luke-warm beverage yet to be sipped and tossed it down his gullet. And with that, hastily pursued his prey.

Out in the smoggy night air four friends staggered through some street of the lower city. Unbeknownst to them, they had gained a stalker and he was closing the gap even more quickly now. With calculated steps and knowledge of each passerby's path, no thing present could halt such movement.
Another turn, deeper into the labrynthian alleyways. None else walked on the tight passages hunter and hunted now tread. In the dark, the shapes of the blundering buffoons were clear, as if highlighted by shadow. Mal intent began creeping as Darkness gave new focus to sight. But in so doing lost hold of the Light within him. Without further hesitation drawing the Ancient Sword beneath his robes.

"What if all these guys were in on it?"
"Then they're dead."
"Master wouldn't approve."
"This is our personal business."
"It's not our way."
"To hell with the Way."
"Because of bastards like that Sono-"

A cry interrupted spiraling notions. Beacon of distress, shining glimmer of hope; someone was in trouble. All other things fell away. Weapon once in hand was sheathed in a fluid motion. Rising with augmented speed our hunter turned helper sprang into action. Discerning the cries direction proved easy and the source not afar off. His enhanced abilities provided for expeditious arrival. An obvious miscreant with it's back turned handled a blaster at two diminutive silhouettes standing against a dead end. One shrank behind it's protector, who was postured up, staring back with head held high. All this perceived whilst leaping purposefully between victims and assailant; left hand on the hilt of a metal cyllinder attached at the hip.
But before he drew a true weapon, something struck him like a Sludge Panther biting you in the ass. A long-distant memory of a helpless young boy who wanted nothing more than to protect his family. Brave but still terrified. Understanding and renewed motive was recognized in an instant and, while cracking a smile at his opponent, drew his old, yet familiar, sword.

"I have been guided here by the Force," said the blade-wielder. "My name is Leenk Lavnik, Knight of the Jedi Order. And while I am here no harm will come to the innocent. Now be on your way."

Leenk assumed opening Soresu stance and with his outward hand; reaching up and motioning to lower the blaster trained on him. But the man simply guffawed.

"That's rich, a Jeedaii Knight! Well, I'll be! Listen, frien: I dun't reckon you're from around here, is ya? See dem collars?"

Leenk didn't move a muscle as the rapscallion gestured at the children.

"Dem's kids is mine!"

"Shut up!!"

A defiant shout from the girl.

"We just wanna get this medicine to Mams; she's real sick and--"

"Aww, you shut it, runt."

"Friend."

Leenk's playful demeanor absent.

"I must insist you move on, lest I become...unfriendly."

More guffawing.

"Shhheeeeiiit, whachoo gonna do? You's a runt, too! Bout da size of that li'l fella over there. And ya'llz just got a dull knife while I'm sportin'
ol' Spitfire.
"

"Try me."

"Alrighty then, shrimp."

Red light filled the passage as the menace charged a shot in his weapon. Leenk steadied himself, sunk into his stance and blocked high, narrowly deflecting the bolt. It hit the wall above the adolescent's heads. Meanwhile, someone else's head did not feel good as the power of the charged shot caused Leenk's Ancient Sword to bludgeon his face. Dazed yet undeterred, the Lannik leapt forward. A much quicker, less-powerful blast came next and
was redirected with much more ease. Confused and blatantly concerned, the sleazy slaver leveled his firearm once again at Leenk's head. Shakily, words took shape from trembling mouth.

"D-don't come aa-any closer, now. Ya hear?"

"As you wish."

Little did he know, Leenk was already well within range for what came next. With a quick step to off-set his facing and an upward slash, the Jedi Knight removed Spitfire's barrel; it fell with a clatter. Hardly missing a beat, the attacker was gone and the audience cheered. One set of hands applauded while another was tapping on Leenk's shoulder. He turned to see a bright smile radiating from a young and dirty little girl.

"Hey, can you teach my bro to do that?"

"Perhaps, in due time. If I'm to teach him we must start with basics. What are your names, brave ones?"

The younger responded again, "My name's Aryll. That's my older brother, Link."

Leenk could not help but grin.

"Well, then, Aryll and Link, shall we go take care of your mother?"

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Consumed
In the dead of night, the Pelican landed gracefully atop a lightless skyskewer that stood alone amid all the other flickering metal towers of Nar Shaddaa. Mordith sat and sighed pensively at the controls. Out of habit, she ran her hand absently beneath the console, checking for a tracker, feeling nothing.

Get out or get eaten.

She rose abruptly, stalked through the corridors to the loading bay, where Umbra lay eyeing a tremulous blob of blue-grey blubber on the floor. The panther stretched languorously and padded over to Mordith, brushing past her calves as Mordith lowered the loading ramp. The blubber slid, then rolled down to the rooftop, grunting as it went. Mordith followed after it, unhurried, and knelt down to remove the lengths of synthrope with which it was trussed. Finally, reluctantly, she tore the gag from its mouth.

"Miserable schutta!" Nubb Nessu cried after he spit his long snout from his mouth, setting it to wagging angrily in front of his face. "May grabworms have your entrails!" The Toydarian hopped into the air and beat its wings furiously, only to squeal in pain and flop back to the ground. Seven hours prior, Sononah, with an expert throw of her vibro-knife, had pinned Nubb to the doorway through which he was trying to flee. Even after Leenk tended the wound, a ragged tear remained in the Toydarian's left wing.

"Mebbe I don't know the Jedi stories so good," Nubb muttered as he rose to his feet, "but I can'ta remember them choking helpless people witha their own appendages!" Nubb stabbed a claw up toward Mordith for emphasis.

"Me neither," came the somber reply. Three hundred stories in the air, the only light was the dim yellow glow that poured from out the belly of the Pelican. From Nubb's perspective, Mordith was just an inky silhouette, a shade.

For several long moment, silence hung in the air.

"So, uh..." Nubb edged perceptibly backward, toward the edges of the light, claws clacking against the durasteel roof. "Whata now?"

The shade shrugged. "I guess we're letting you go." Mordith remembered the look on Sononah's face, the anger and pain in her eyes, as she gave in to Leenk's pleading.

It's not the Jedi way.

An unctuous smile instantly cracked open beneath Nubb's trunk. "Good! Good! Best for all involved, really. I go missing, Agruppa starts asking questions, BIG problems for you, eh?" Nubb chuckled awkwardly before clearing his throat. "Hey, uh, you tell Leenk and Sononah, I always like 'em, eh? Brodoodla, too -- always good to me. BIG heart for a Hutt, and that a rare thing! But for crime boss... mebbe not GOOD thing, eh? Smells like... weakness, and Agruppa, huh, he SMELLED it! So when he comes to me with offer, what can I do? Little fish, big fish, bigger fish -- you understand."

"But now, we clear the air, and no harm done..." Nubb grimaced at his torn wing for a moment, but then the slimy smile returned with an enthusiastic clap of his hands. "But, uh, mebbe you stay outta Hutta Town from now on, eh? No more, uh, 'unfortunate run-ins'. You go be Jedi somewhere else." He couldn't hide the slight snicker in his voice, the hint of a sneer on his face. "Best for all involved, really."

The shade stood motionless as Nubb peered about, squinting into the darkness. "So, uh... where are we, exactly?"

"The top of the Hollows."

Nubb frowned. "Uh... BAD conduit worm infestation in the Hollows. No power, no hoverlifts, no shuttles. You thinka, mebbe, you drop me closer to home? That's, eh... ten kilometers of stairs, straight down--"

The shade took a step forward, her eyes flashing yellow. "I know a shortcut," she hissed.

Get out or get eaten.

Without another word, Nubb scurried away into the dark. After a minute of groping about, he found the metal door, stuck partly open, that provided access to the stairwell. With a few grunts, he squeezed his pudgy body through the crack, and with some quiet cursing, he began his climb down.

Mordith stood there, breathing deep, for several minutes. Even at this elevation, the pollution from the city below somehow choked the air. She smelled smoke, and sweat, and something else...

Mordith turned back up the ramp, ascending. Umbra passed her, descending. Not a word, nor glance, nor thought was exchanged between them.

Mordith returned to the cockpit, to her stiff leather chair. Already her conscience was flashing warnings in her mind, but she pushed them aside, refusing to worry, refusing to care. She remembered black eyes rimmed with tears.

Then she closed her own eyes, breathed, and -- for the second time ever, without really meaning to -- she emptied herself into Umbra, entirely. She allowed herself to be subsumed within the beast, feeling what it felt, pursuing what is pursued, savoring what is savored -- without judgment or concern, without direction or interference. Bound together as tightly as ever, but both completely free.

For over an hour, Umbra stalked Nubb as he inched blindly down the countless flights of stairs in the Hollows, panting hard, his hand locked around the handrail in a deathgrip. Occasionally he would stop, catch his breath, and peer desperately upward. Sometimes he looked right at her, but he never saw her in the dark.

Finally, 48 floors down, the hard durasteel handrail turned slimy and squishy, a conduit worm wrapped about it, twitching at his touch. With a shriek, Nubb began running back up the stairs. When he was an inch away from Umbra, she roared in his face.

And then he was running, yelling, sobbing, stumbling down the steps as she bounded loudly after him, nipping at his wings, snarling ferociously, exalting in the last leg of the hunt. With a final scream, Nubb flung himself over the railing and into the dead space between the staircases, apparently hoping that he could slow his descent even with one broken wing.

Nubb fluttered desperately in midair for a few horrible moments, and then he began to plummet.

Mordith withdrew in that instant. And just as she had once before, in that instant, as her own senses came flooding back into her awareness, she recognized something beyond sight and hearing, beyond taste, touch, and smell. A sense of connection.

And in that instant she knew that the hunt was all-embracing and everlasting. She felt pure desperation, and hunger, and fear, not just in Umbra and Nubb but in dozens upon dozens of starving, colossal parasites that infested this forlorn building. She could feel it farther and deeper still, tracing it all the way down to the bustling streets, and all the way back up again. In billions of people in thousands of skyskewers across Nar Shaddaa -- adrift, trapped, consumed. All the way back up to her.

Mordith's eyes snapped open, and through the windshield, she saw stretching before her a great gaping maw, with bits of meat caught in its teeth.

But the realization was fleeting, like a fragment of a fading dream. By the time Umbra returned, nothing remained but a sense of disquiet, and an old warning that kept returning, unbidden, to mind.

Get out or get eaten.
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Pain and regret
Jak spent what felt like a few hours shouting and yelling about food and water and medical care. It was really only half an hour tops. He then tried meditating, levitating a few pebbles and pieces of scrap metal, but manipulating objects using the Force is a curious thing...Jak could still feel the echoes of bones snapping and organs crushing and that brought back the very real feelings of fear and anger. So Jak slept instead, the beat he could, grateful that Leenk had had time to at least treat the worse of Jak’s wounds.

Then the interrogation droid entered.

What is your name? I’m sure you know that, can I eat while we do this? Did you bring any...
* *the droid repeats its question* Food?
* *the droid repeats its question* Jak Namaath
What is your species? Gran
What is your system of origin? Malastare
Do you have any diseases, esp. terminal, infectious, etc.? Whoa okay that’s a little personal. I’m not answering that.
* *the droid repeats its question* Terminal, no, but infectious? Well there was this one crazy weekend I had and I...
* *the droid repeats its question*..you don’t want to hear the whole story?
* *the droid repeats its question* okay okay long story short I’ve got something on my genitals from an Agosian that is only infectious to Ortolan fingertips and trunks, okay? Like I said, a little personal.
How long have you known you were Force-Sensitive? My whole life I’ve known I’m special, the last twenty years I’ve known of the Force, but truly knowing that I can use it? I don’t know, 7 years? Why am I telling you details? Why did you let me answer that one without interrupting?
Who are you working for? Well I’m technically employed by the Namaath Agricultural and Industrial...
* *the droid repeats its question* You mean who sent us? We sought you out of our own free will.
What are you trying to find out from the Church of the Machine? Whether or not you are abducting Force-Sensitives.
Did you intend bodily harm or destruction of any of the Machinists? Are you abducting Force Sensitives?
* *the droid repeats its question* Did we harm or destroy any of you earlier?! No, we protected you.
* *the droid repeats its question* Look we don’t mean anyone harm!
What relationship did you have with the man Saloon Grimbo? No relationship.
Why did you steal his ship? Why are you so concerned, pretty sure this isn’t exactly a legal situation
* *the droid repeats its question* Look that was all me, we were fleeing the First Order and the Knight of Bones after they killed a friend. Sal was being placed under arrest and his ship impounded. I convinced the officials that he had stolen the ship from me and we used it to escape.
Have you ever had previous interactions with the Kandisian Murder Gangs? No.
Have you ever had previous interactions with the crime syndicate known as the Guild of Ogun? I’ve heard of them, was Sal one of them? I didn’t know.
Do you always resort to such violence when confronted by a problem? That’s a dumb question, obviously not! Have we resorted to any violence before or after??? Sal and his goons had their chance to walk away, I was not going to let my bad decisions lead to violence against the people of this enclave.

(Sorry for the rushed posted from my phone entry, at the instacare for my sick wife holding baby in one arm. Hope there are no typos or format errors, I’ll check it later)
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Stillness
Leenk had not moved since assuming his meditative position in the center of the cell floor. He had very quickly resigned to the fact
that he would be there for a long while. So, out of disclipline, or perhaps it was shame, Leenk remained still. And he would do so until Mei Li would come to visit him.

With no thought of escape or really any other course of action besides patience, Leenk had first reached out through the Force to his companions, hoping to soothe them somehow. But he soon realized he had his own problems to sort out and that maybe, for once, he should think of himself before others.

He then diverted all his attention to the matters ahead of him (I rolled Foresee power and got two light-side, suckas!) Finding remarkable calm, Leenk attuned himself to the Force and gazed into the hours to come...


"What is your name?"
"Leenk Lavnik."
"What is your species?"
"Lannik."
"What is your system of origin?"
"Lannik system, planet Lannik."
"Do you have any diseases, esp. terminal, infectious, etc.?"
"Negative."
"How long have you known you were Force-Sensitive?"
"Approximately one year."

Leenk foresaw things getting tricky. His phrasing must be careful upon answering the next line of questioning.
"Who are you working for?"
"My companions and I are a self-interest group. We are not employed."
"What are you trying to find out from the Church of the Machine?"
"We were concerned that the Machinists were kidnapping...people from the midst of their gatherings. We hoped to find the truth and stop this were it
the case."
"Did you intend bodily harm or destruction of any of the Machinists?"
"I had no such intent, assuming that your group harbored no malignant schemes."
"What relationship did you have with the man Saloon Grimbo?"
"I never met the man myself until recent events transpired."
"Why did you steal his ship?"
"Well, regretfully, some of my comrades 'repurposed' his ship, as it were, to suit our needs. I was too much a coward to disagree with their actions."
"Have you ever had previous interactions with the Kandisian Murder Gangs?"
"Negative."
"Have you ever had previous interactions with the crime syndicate known as the Guild of Ogun?"
"Once, on Nar Shadaa. Very briefly. It was but a small skirmish to protect the interests of my employer at the time, now deceased."
"Do you always resort to such violence when confronted by a problem?"

This question caused the Lannik some discomfort. Leenk thought for a moment. Violence was a rather frequent outcome for this bizarre little family.
He did not have his answer to this question until it was asked in the present. And right on the spot he made a commitment to change as well as hoping to be a better guide to his compatriots.
"No, and such acts are unexcusable. I hope to do whatever I can for the Machinists to rectify our actions."

And with that the droid was gone. Leenk was alone with his thoughts once more. But not for long. Mei Li would be along any minute now. How he admired her for the strength of character she possessed. His mind raced with the possibilities were she to join them. But such an event would be a long way off. This motley crew is not presently worthy. Leenk hoped to change that.

Rising from the floor as the door slid open once more, the humbled "Jedi" bowed as low as his stature would allow:

"Mei, I owe you a debt of gratitude. What would you like to speak with me about?"
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Caged
Mordith briskly paced the edges of her cell, one way then the other, over and over again. She clung to herself, the nails on each hand digging deep into the opposite forearm, and she cast uneasy glances at the only other presence in the room: two red lights in the corner that seemed to track her movements.

Alone again.

She hadn't heard a word from her companions since Angel had issued her ultimatum. Mordith had tried and failed to pick out Sononah's form among the rolling hills of metal and refuse as the Machinists led her back to the Cathedral.

She had watched the droids walk up the loading ramp of the Pelican, then listened through Umbra's ears as the panther slunk through the hidden crawlspaces, heavy footfalls landing on the walkways overhead. They had been close, too close, when the link between Mordith and Umbra was severed -- broken by distance, or something worse.

Mordith had fallen to her knees then, began to sob. The veiled droids had to drag her the rest of the way.

Now, she crouched low and pressed her back into a corner of the cell, as though forcing herself into the room's farthest inches might span the gulf between her and Umbra. She'd tried every corner, every inch, but she couldn't find her companion.

Always alone.

She gulped painfully, and her stomach growled. It had been hours since she'd arrived here -- how many, she couldn't tell -- and she'd had no food or water. She barely noticed, hardly cared. She thought of her arduous search for her friend on Tython, and then another, even more punishing search on Dathomir -- before she'd even met Umbra, before she even knew who she was looking for. Battered by the elements, deprived of sustenance, surrounded by threats, swimming in fear: somehow, she'd always found the strength to keep looking.

(Mordith makes Resilience checks to resist the effects of thirst and hunger, rolling 1 Proficiency dice, 1 Ability dice, and two Force dice, thanks to Enhance. She uses Destiny points and takes Conflict to convert Dark Side results into Force points as necessary, and she uses Natural Outdoorsman to reroll the first failed roll.)


She blinked, slowly... Then again, slower...

The door opened, and Mordith jumped. A gleaming black orb, one meter across, floated silently into the room. Its red eye gleamed with what looked to Mordith like the hunger of a predator.

The door slid shut, and the droid approached slowly. The sharp, wicked-looking tools that jutted from its frame softly twitched and whirred. Mordith hugged herself tighter, pressed herself deeper into her corner.

A few feet away, the droid stopped short. Its voice was a sonorous boom, with a faint mechanical buzz at its core. "What is your name?"

She tried and failed to suppress a whimper. "M-Mordith."

"What is your species?"

Her brow furrowed slightly. "I'm a person." She began to stammer, felt heat rising in her cheeks. She hoped droids couldn't get offended. "A-A human, I mean."

"What is your system of origin?"

Mordith rose to her feet, a bit of confidence returning. "I'm from Dathomir." Garrett had only managed to show her a few astrogation charts before she'd grown frustrated and given up on his lessons. There were too many names, too many places that seemed too far away at the time. This, however, was one of the tidbits that she had retained. "In the Dathomir System."

"Do you have any diseases, especially any of a terminal or infectious nature?"

Her brow furrowed deeper. "I don't think so? I mean, I had a bad case of fester lung when I was nine. It's normally very infectious, very fatal, but Mother Visconi caught it in time. Cured it, I mean. So no, nothing you need to worry about." She gestured feebly at the droid's metal chassis. "Obviously."

"How long have you known you were Force-sensitive?"

"Um... three years? There's a ritual, sort of a rite-of-passage, that all the girls in my clan undergo at 15, to see if we're 'attuned to the magicks' -- that's what we call the Force, you see. You have to--" Mordith paused, catching herself before she mentioned Umbra, in case her friend had slipped the Machinists' minds. "--To prove, if you are. And I was. Am."

"Who are you working for?"

Mordith's panic returned in a sickening wave. How was she supposed to answer that? "I, I mean, I don't have a-a job, exactly. I just... fly the ship, for my friends, but I don't really 'work' for them. Sometimes Jak gives me money to live on, but that's just because he's rich. His family's rich, I mean." Her eyes flashed with inspiration. "They'd probably pay a lot of credits to get him back! And his friends, too." She nodded enthusiastically.

"What are you trying to find out from the Church of the Machine?"

"Nothing." Mordith's voice was little more than a whisper. "I just... fly the ship."

"Did you intend bodily harm or destruction of any of the Machinists?"

Mordith shook her head. "No. Were they... was anyone hurt? Besides Sal and his men, I mean?"

"What relationship did you have with the man Saloon Grimbo?"

"'Did'?" Mordith's expression became grim as the realization set in. "He owned the Pelican before we did. We barely knew the guy." Her tone turned pleading. "Whatever he might have told the guards at the gate, we definitely weren't friends. We didn't invite him here, we didn't want him here."

"Why did you steal his ship?"

"Steal his ship?" Mordith averted her gaze as her mind raced. Wait -- hadn't Aden said something about Sal? Spun some lie about Nar Shadaa? She'd been so focused on the mercenaries at the time, she'd barely heard it. "I don't... you-you should ask Aden about that. He knows the story better than I do." She looked back at the droid. "Is he okay?"

She thought of the moment in the cockpit when she first "met" Sal on Cato Neimoidia. She had felt the rumble in Umbra's belly, tasted the saliva dripping in her maw. She had wanted to pull the trigger, to say the word, but she had spared him instead. Get out or get eaten.

And he had returned to rain disaster down on her and her friends. Of course he had -- he had already tracked them halfway across the galaxy for his stupid ship. Why would he ever stop?

Trust your instincts, but be mindful of the future.

She should have fed him to Umbra.

The droid ignored her question. "Have you ever had previous interactions with the Kandisian Murder Gangs?"

Her voice rose slightly. "I don't know who that is. Is Aden okay? What about Jak and Leenk?"

"Have you ever had previous interactions with the crime syndicate known as the Guild of Ogun?"

Her voice rose louder. "I don't know who that is! Where's Sononah?! WHERE ARE THEY?!"

The droids tone remained unchanged, unmoved. "Do you always resort to such violence when confronted by a problem?"

For several long seconds, Mordith stood panting in the corner, eyes full of anger. "No." Her next words came in a savage rasp as she took a long step toward the droid. "But when anyone tries to hurt my friends, I hurt them back... And when I go hungry, I eat whatever I can get my hands on."

Silence hung in the air for a time, before the droid finally left -- flying backwards as it went, keeping its red eye fixed on Mordith.

Alone once more, she slumped into her corner and quietly wept, too exhausted to make sense of all she had been asked, blinking through her tears.

She blinked, slowly... Then again, slower...

...And then she was running through a sweltering jungle, swiping vines from her path, trying to gain ground. She couldn't see what was pursuing her -- she never could -- but she could feel it closing in, fast. Ahead there was a giant oak, its bark covered in moss that luminesced with red light that filtered through the heavy mists. She rounded its base and the mists parted...

...Revealing the craggy grey slope of a barren mountain. She descended the summit at breakneck speed, certain that it was still behind her, as the blue-black maelstrom of a Force storm churned overhead. A bolt of lightning struck nearby, and she lost her footing, tumbling down the slope...

...Until she hit the sandy floor of a desert canyon, with massive piles of bone towering on either side of her. She sprang up and without a backward glance -- it was still there, she knew -- she dove into a nearby cave. Winding through sinuous stone tunnels, maneuvering through tight clusters of stalagmites, she finally found the refuge she sought -- it was never in the same place, but it was always the same.

A wellspring, murky and roiling, erupting from below. Mordith plunged in headlong, drank deep, and sank deeper, toward a sickly green light.


She awoke as Meili entered the room.
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