Complications: Mission Run-on
1. Each post must be at least half a page long.
2. Only those who signed up may participate in this run-on.
3. With the exception of this first post, there will be a total of 20 posts unless the story ends earlier than that.
4. Participants are encouraged to be creative with the landscape.
5. Awards will go to the best posters.
The following Gladius members are allowed to post in this run-on:
Dralin, Deatharoc, Ronovi, Scion, and Telona
A shuttle quietly slipped out into the cold vacuum of space. At its helm was Telona Murrage. The volunteers for the mission she was on were strapped in quietly discussing what they thought this mission might entail. The Quaestor had been silent ever since they all gathered at the appointed time. She remained silent until they had cleared the asteroid field and entered hyperspace.
“I know you are all wonder what we are going to be doing exactly.” Telona said as she turned to face the four Dark Jedi. “We are going into the galactic halo, to a world orbiting a very old star. This star does not give off any visible light but radiates infrared and microwaves instead. Scientists pretty much ignore these stars and the planets revolving around them for various reasons. We will have only thirty hours to complete our mission and get out before we start to cook on the inside.”
The woman stopped to allow a pause for everything to sink in so far and to consider a thought. Dralin may very well need support earlier than the others. His body might not withstand the radiation as well.
“The reason we are going to this planet is to capture two Hssiss. This planet is often used as a hide out for various entrepreneurs and a merchant allowed the pair to escape. The planet itself can support life. In fact it has rather unusual plant life covering it and the pair should be able to survive longer than we can simply because they are reptiles but that is no guarantee. I don’t know how long they have been there but I do know the merchant is hiring anyone willing to nab them for a few credits. We will have to move as quickly as we can to avoid any confrontation. I have someone buying us some time but he could only give us this small head start.”
Again the woman paused but this time to get her breath. There were some puzzled looks thrown at her in this moment.
“Why do we need a pair of Dark Side Dragons? Simple really. You all know what these creatures are capable of. Force cloaking, invisibility, mind tricks, and probably a whole host of other abilities others have yet to document or have yet to discover. Their abilities would be invaluable to the training of Gladius Journeymen and to keep our Equites and Elders senses sharp. They can even be trained as guardians just like the ancient Sith used them for. The trick will be locating and capturing these guys once we are planet side. I have brought along gear to help us see in the infrared as well as aid us in our capture. We should not meet any resistance to our presence except from the landscape and plant life.”
The shuttle dropped out of hyperspace at the coordinates it had been given. The woman turned around and reprogrammed the computer with new coordinates. Within moments they were off again.
“I have been to this planet many times before. It can be dangerous if you are not careful. Many of the plants contain strong herbicides that are highly toxic to most sentient species. The ground is very poor in metals so it can give way without warning. This is especially true in areas that have recently received rain. The rain contains some of the herbicides so it can sting a bit but it will be diluted enough to not be a worry unless we get caught in a downpour. The Dark Side will help us though.”
The red haired woman took a few moments to read the faces before her. It seemed as though a small amount of excitement was brewing.
“It will be another three hours before we arrive. I will have to astronavigate the rest of the trip. If you have questions please wait until we are planet side.”
The whole spread of the galaxy seemed to be before them as the shuttle reached its destination. There was no visible star but they could feel its energy, there was no visible planet but they could feel the alien life throbbing upon it as the craft landed. The night sky twinkled with billions of stars but little of their light illuminated the thrown together spaceport the Dark Jedi now found themselves in. The only light to even mark the landing pad was just within the visible red of the light spectrum.
“Welcome to Lower End.” Telona said quietly.
The air was cold but their bodies were warmed by the constant stream of infrared radiation. The countdown had begun. Gear was passed out quickly, including infrared goggles, rope, and a stun stick each. A pair of cages remained on the landing pad in the hopes of being filled.
“Ok we will all stick together, keep your eyes, ears, and senses peeled for any animal life signs.” Telona said as she started for the dark forest.
Ronovi Tavisaen was shaking partly due to the cold and partly due to her own excitement. The young Protector wasn’t used to so much travel, and it was only lately that she had begun to partake in larger missions. As she watched her higher ups load up on equipment, she saw Dralin glance at her with a more than watchful eye. Ronovi had more than a faint notion that he was hoping she wouldn’t make any other irrational decisions.
The Epicanthix quickly equipped her goggles, slinging the rope over one shoulder and gripping the stun stick tightly in her right hand. The group had left the landing pad; Telona was leading, with Deatharoc close behind and Dralin and Scion trailing after him. Ronovi kept near the back, eyes flickering from side to side as they went deeper and deeper into the forest and bizarre plantlife began to appear in her line of vision.
Telona stopped for a moment. Ronovi saw her shoulders tense, but as the group brandished their sticks, Telona said, “It’s all right. I thought I heard something, but it’s passed. Stay focused, though.”
Ronovi felt her own muscles relax as she took another step forward. Suddenly, the soft ground begin to give beneath her, and she gave an audible shriek before she felt the Omwati’s hand seize her forearm and pull her up.
“Ronovi! Do you want to attract whatever’s here?” she heard Dralin snap.
As Ronovi regained her balance, she saw Deatharoc and Scion exchange glances as Telona gave a small smile. “Relax, Dralin, it’s all right. Just be careful, Ronovi. Like I said, the soil’s lacking in metals. Best to watch every step.”
The Protector mentally cursed as Telona turned to face the entire group.
“Time’s passing, so it’s best not to waste it. It’ll take a while to get into the thick of the forest. For now, stay close unless it’s necessary to explore different regions.”
With that, Telona started walking again, the others following close behind.
The Sith increased the speed of his pace, trying to trick himself into thinking that he would be out of the despicable place soon, but to no avail. The stench of Lower End filled his nostrils and the putrid scenery around him did nothing to make the experience of being in lower end any more pleasant. Soon, the Dark Jedi Knight realized that he could do nothing to speed up the mission so he just had to endure it no matter how hard it was. Besides, he was a Dark Jedi Knight, and he needed to set an example for the lower ranking members of the group.
As the group continued walking, Deatharoc found himself irritated with Ronovi’s clumsiness and thought that this wasn’t a job an inexperienced Protector. However, the Sith trusted Telona’s judgment so if she allowed the Epicanthix Protector to join, he wouldn’t complain. The Sith’s mind then turned to the formidable challenge they had before them: capturing Hissis. Deatharoc had read about these legendary creatures before and was fully aware of the danger they posed but also the fact that they could be a great asset to Gladius. It would take a lot of work to take them down, but if they succeeded, it would all be worth it.
Suddenly, the Dark Jedi Knight’s line of thought was broken by Dralin who began to speak to him,
“We shouldn’t be bringing two Protectors on a mission like this. They could be a liability and will probably just slow us down.”
Deatharoc smiled. He agreed whole-heartedly with Dralin but also considered the possibility that Telona wanted the Protectors to gain some experience on a mission like this. So the Dark Jedi Knight smugly replied,
“I remember a young Protector not so long ago who shared the same enthusiasm for big missions like this and was as inexperienced as could be. Yet now, he is much more powerful Dark Jedi and can even lead a unit in the Clan. Why? Because he was given the opportunity to learn.”
Realizing Deatharoc’s point, Dralin could do nothing but laugh. The Dark Jedi Knight and Jedi Hunter then continued trailing behind Telona as the group made its way throughout Lower End.
Suddenly, Telona halted, her shoulders tensing once again as she looked around with caution. Deatharoc didn’t know what the Dark Adept was searching for but by her expression, it wasn’t something good. The group continued to move and Deatharoc prepared himself for whatever danger lurked in the dark forest.
Suddenly Ronovi let out another shriek again and both Deatharoc and Dralin turned around in irritation. They saw the protector feebly holding out her stun stick to a large group of plants as she mumbled,
"There's s-something behind that..."
As Ronovi pointed her stun stick at the plants, they slightly rustled for everyone to hear. She saw the looks of annoyance plastered across Deatharoc and Dralin’s faces. She mentally cursed again; she normally didn’t react like this to outside stimuli. After all, she was a warrior and didn’t act like such a coward on her other missions. However, the whole atmosphere of Lower End was altering her senses and making her disoriented. But as the others seemed unaffected, she knew she had to pull herself together.
She tore herself away from her thoughts as she followed the group toward the group of plantlife before them. Telona approached it carefully, wrinkling her nose at the stench pervading from the yellow and green foliage. The Dark Jedi gathered closely behind her as they looked at Telona cautiously pushed some of the plants aside with her stun stick.
“Nothing,” Deatharoc muttered, and he was right. The soil behind only led further into the darkening forest, but there was no visible sign of any life behind the plants. However, the Dark Jedi looked at each other quizzically. They all had heard those plants rustle after Ronovi had pointed them out.
Suddenly, as Ronovi took another step forward, she felt something in the atmosphere that was different from the warmth of the radiation. Her connection with the Force was growing stronger with her training, and as she let her eyes fall on the soil, she could see that it had been disturbed. Very carefully, she pushed away the rest of the plants with her stun stick in the same way that Telona had done it and took a step forward.
Dralin had obviously sensed something, too. Moving behind Ronovi, the Omwati observed the soil as well as Ronovi adjusted her infrared goggles. As she moved her stun stick through the air, tracing the spots on the ground that had been altered by large but vague tracks, she looked up at Dralin.
“Something’s already been here,” she said.
Dralin smiled. “You’re learning,” he said.
As Ronovi felt relief wash over her, she saw Telona approach them and look ahead.
“If the Hssiss have been here already, then from what I can sense from the atmosphere, they haven’t been gone for long. We must hurry. If we keep our Force Senses open, we may be able to detect them further before anything else happens.”
“So what about the plants?” Ronovi asked.
“What about them? You mean why they moved? There’s a lot to this world that many don’t know about. Whether it’s the touch of the Dark Side from the Hssiss or simply the fact that they’re more full of life then we know, one can’t be too sure,” Telona said. “Just be careful, and don’t touch those plants. We don’t know how toxic they can be.”
Ronovi saw Scion heed promptly to the warning, moving ever so slowly through the cleared path that the Dark Jedi had made through the plants. Although there was obviously no given path, the sense of the Dark Side kept the group on its toes as it moved deeper into the shadowy forest.
You liar. Telona thought to herself as she pressed the group on. You know exactly how toxic these plants can be and which ones are the worst.
The Quaestor's mind flashed up a memory of her first time on this planet. She had reacted much the same way as Ronovi did when she first explored this mess of plants. She had tried to study the plants, handle them to get a feel for how they moved and how they smelled. Her first time in had almost been her last but the mercenary group she had joined had a kind hearted old man leading it. Papa Vin as he liked to be called and though he was kind, he was tough in a fight. When she stumbled back to the compound half dead and very much late for their departure he had treated her with a chuckle and wouldn't let her live down the fact that some plant had almost killed her. Other merc leaders would have left her for dead.
Telona looked up at the shimmering night sky as the memory passed. There are other things here I should probably tell them about. This aurora isn't good. Do the Hssiss sense the impending danger? Looked like they were headed towards the river caves. I've got to get us there quick.
"Does anyone else feel that?" Scion asked as he pressed in closer to the group. "It feels like the air is tingling. I didn't touch the wrong plant did I?"
"No I feel it too." Ronovi said quietly as she looked around. Her heart beat jumped into her throat.
"What's going on?" Deatharoc asked Telona.
"I need you to bring up the rear. We must hurry."
As the group pressed onward without question at a fast jog. They could clearly hear other bodies crashing through the undergrowth. The thrill of the hunt enveloped all but their leader as they thought of capturing the animals and heading back home. The red-haired woman knew differently. They were running for their lives as was the Hssiss. Something Papa Vin had told her nearly ten years ago came to mind as she ran forward.
The plants are nasty but those auroras are worse. At least they are a warning of what's coming. Whenever you see the aurora run for cover. It is a precursor to a microwave burst. What's worse is these plants seem to use these bursts as a means of releasing their spores. Must cook away something but the air isn't safe to breathe for a while afterwards. Stay in the shelters or find one of those caves. The lower the better until it’s over.
Telona withheld the information for the time being. There was no need to waste breath on it now. They were getting close to the river caves and already she could smell the very faint scent of plants cooking. All was not lost though. The Hssiss were already in the caves by now; their speed was far greater than the collective speed of the Dark Jedi. With luck they would find the creatures and be done with this place.
Hopefully all those times I explored the caves I was just hearing the scraping of my own boots.
I know my master, and there's something she's not telling us.
Jogging right behind the Dark Adept, Dralin could tell that his master was withholding something. Focusing on one of his newer Force skills, he tried to project a sense of questioning to Telona, letting her know that he could tell something was wrong without betraying it to the others. His only response from her, however, was a sense of impatience, along with the word wait.
Obviously, she's not going to tell me now...
Suddenly, Dralin's frail avian body began to tire. Gritting his teeth, he began drawing upon trickles of the Force to help sustain his strength. However, even that began to fail him as a wave of intense dizziness swept through him, almost as if he were having a bad reaction to pain medication.
What is happening to me?!
Unbeknownst to Dralin, his weak Omwati physiology was already beginning to all under attack by the plants’ spores.
“Get inside!” Telona yelled as she jumped down the river embankment.
Her agitation was now showing through and the others picked up on it quickly. They scrambled into the dark mouth of the first cave and though their infrared goggles became useless several meters in they still pressed on at the woman’s urgings.
“Ok we will be safe here.” Telona finally said.
“What is going on!” Deatharoc roared as he turned to face the Quaestor. “What are you not telling us?”
“There was no time out there to tell you what was happening but remember my mention of microwave bursts? Unfortunately we arrived just in time to experience one. I had hoped we would be able to get in and out without incident but my timing was off I guess.”
“You guess? You guess!” The man was now fuming with rage. “You ask for volunteers without giving details, drag us to this stinking pit of a planet, and then you don’t inform us of all the dangers we are up against. What else aren’t you telling us?”
Telona sat quietly until her old Aedile got all his frustrations out. She understood why he was frustrated and didn’t feel it necessary to assert her superiority, just to explain things a little better. She could tell the others, though not as brazen as the Knight, held the same thoughts.
“Alright. Everyone have a seat, focus on detoxifying your bodies and I’ll explain things a bit more. The Hssiss won’t be leaving these caves for at least two hours and while we are here as well we are safe from the radiation and toxins.” Telona took a seat herself.
“Smugglers and merchants don’t explore their surroundings but mercenaries do. My group wasn’t the first to attempt to explore this planet and they won’t be the last. We discovered many dangers here, including the cycle of microwave bursts. Every three days the star gives off a burst of varying degree. Most of the time these bursts are mild but every now and then this planet got hit hard. We found that the various caves are a natural shield so we mapped out where all the more permanent ones were. Of course the best place to be is in the compound but if you weren’t there you could duck for cover.”
“The main sign of an impending burst is the aurora. After that you have about eight minutes to get someplace. I don’t think I need to explain what happens to your insides if you are caught out in a burst. The plants of course have adapted to them and actually use them for reproductive purposes though it is usually the stronger bursts that they rely on for that. The burst that is washing over the planet now is one of those stronger bursts. We were caught somewhat in the burst but I think the plants absorbed most of it.”
“Now these caves we are in go on for a long time. My group and others didn’t spend time exploring too much of them but I’m sure we can easily pick up where the Hssiss entered and pursue them from there.” Here Telona hesitated. “We were never sure but there might be things living down here. There were rumors from other merc groups that they had heard things crawling around but no one has ever found anything. It is possible that another merchant at some point in time lost some animals but we never found record of it. Not that the low lives of the galaxy keep many records.”
“Navigating will be hard. I had not anticipated needing to be in here but it will be a good exercise for you all. These goggles, if you all had not noticed, are pretty much useless. You’ll need to rely on the Force now more than ever. Let me have a look at you and we’ll be off. There’s a cross over tunnel not far back that’ll take us to the second entrance. We can look for tracks in the clay there.”
One by one the Elder healed and detoxified the group further than their own powers could. Deatharoc was last and she could feel he wasn’t quiet satisfied with her speech. He kept his thoughts to himself however as the group moved through the darkness.
Ronovi let her goggles hang loosely around her neck as she tried desperately to adjust her eyes to the darkness as she walked. She felt relatively stronger after Telona had detoxified the group, but she was feeling slightly irritable as well as Deatharoc. She knew that her extreme lack of experience wasn't going to aid her anyhow on this mission, and the fact that Telona hadn't filled the group in on much until just now didn't lift her spirits any higher.
The air was damp in the cave, but she could still feel waves of radiation from the outside. Ronovi could hear her comrades' footsteps, and as she strained to see further into the darkness, she heard Telona's voice not very far from where the Protector was moving.
"Keep close to the walls of the cave. The passageway's narrow, so it shouldn't be difficult for anyone of us to get lost unless we slow down. Use your Force senses wisely. We have to be able to know where we're going, but we can't let ourselves be too easily detected by the Hssiss."
As Telona spoke, Ronovi heard someone stumble and quickly shifted whatever frail Force senses she had to see who it was. Dralin's shadow was close to the wall as he struggled to keep up with the group, harsh breaths rattling his body. She could sense that although he had been detoxified, it was clear that he was still at least slightly unstable from what he had endured outside.
"You all right?" Ronovi heard herself ask quietly, so as not to allow an echo. The acoustics of the cave were not forgiving to the group as they continued to shuffle through the darkness.
"I'm fine," she heard the Omwati dully reply. "Take care of yourself."
The dampness of the cave was intensifying as they approached what Telona had called the second entrance. The air felt heavy against Ronovi's shoulders as she sidled up beside who she sensed was Scion. His body was tense as he held his stun stick in front of him, and he suddenly stopped, his footsteps echoing on the stony floor of the cavern.
The others seemed to notice and stopped as well. Ronovi didn't need her Force powers to sense that Deatharoc's irritation was far from dissipating.
"Sorry," Scion mumbled. "Thought I heard something..."
Then a screech shot through the atmosphere, piercing everyone's ears as it echoed off the cave walls. Ronovi couldn't tell what would make such a shrieking noise, but whatever it was, it was not a humanoid sound. The Epicanthix kept her ears pricked as Telona shifted and whispered in the darkness.
"Quiet. Everyone, quiet."
Ronovi could sense that the next entrance wasn't far away. Adjusting her rope on her shoulder, she hurried alongside the others as they followed where the sound had originated.
As Telona rounded the corner, she could feel the skin on her face begin to sting. She felt like she had to sneeze, but she held it in. She could see the outline of the second cave entrance in front of her, and knew the dangerous radiation and plant spores would hit the others harder once they came closer. She turned around to face the group, and keep them from straying too far from the back wall as they rounded the corner.
With a simple hand on the shoulder she ushered each member of the group around, and into the passageway leading away from the cave entrance.
Scion and Deatharoc were the last of the group to pass by the entrance. Feeling his way gingerly back into the passageway, Scion's nose clogged with the burning air from outside. Involuntarily, he let out a loud sneeze. The entire group froze at the sound. Ronovi thought she heard a distant clicking of claws on rock as the Hssiss scrambled away in the dark.
The Dark Jedi hurried back down into the cave, away from the deadly cave entrance. They could sense the beasts that had been there just moments before, but they must hurry if they hoped to ever catch up.
Everyone in the group was on edge. Dralin was still feeling weak from exposure at the second entrance. Deatharoc was still stewing about Telona withholding information, and Telona was mentally kicking herself for having to lie to her charges about this mission. The two Protectors were trying as hard as they could to shrug off the exposure, listen for movement, and to run through a cave in the pitch black.
"I'd give anything to be back in my TIE," Scion thought to himself, stifling another sneeze.
Just then, there was a white flash of light from around the next bend in the tunnel. Scion's night vision was entirely gone, and he stumbled on the uneven ground. He sensed Telona, Deatharoc and Dralin moving quietly ahead of him.
"Yee-haw! That'll fix 'em fer sure!" A bellowing male voice exploded from ahead of them in the tunnel. Boots clattered against the rock and Scion could hear the whine of disruptors charging up. Five large humanoid figures carrying bright lights and loaded town with lots of gear jogged across the path and down after the Hssiss.
"Let's get 'em Jed! You stick right and I'll stick left! Tag 'em and bag 'em!" Another voice. It must be bounty hunters. Telona said she had someone acting as a distraction. It must not have worked.
Deatharoc and Telona took up positions against opposite sides of the cave, reaching out with the Force. They each could sense the presence of five men ahead. "How could I have missed that?" Deatharoc berated himself. "Running too hard... focusing too much on the Hssiss..."
Suddenly, inspiration struck the Dark Jedi Knight. He reached out with the Force. He called out to the Hssiss. He screamed at the Hssiss, focusing hate, anger, hunger, death, and everything else he could muster. He taunted, berated and mocked until he could feel the Dark Side Dragon acknowledge his challenge. His mind filled with images of blood, broken bones and torn flesh. Deatharoc smiled in the darkness.
"Hoo boy! Daddy gonna eat well too-night!" The bounty hunter's voices echoed from further down the passageway as they pursued the Hssiss. Little did they know that they too were being pursued.
Telona had to move fast. These newcomers posed a threat to the mission and to her team. She quickly delved into her vast reserve of Dark Side energy and silently squeezed into the minds of the enemy. There were just five of them ahead but more were on their way. A team of five were headed to each river entrance and ten more had stayed back at base. As the Elder withdrew from the minds she reached out through the hard clay and manipulated the earth around the two entrances. Clay and plants crashed down to block the entrances. These guys knew of other ways in though. They had been here before.
Just as quickly as she moved the earth she connected with her own team with a powerful battle meditation. She filled them with determination, rage, and a lust for battle. She wiped away any fears or doubts they may have held on to. She coordinated their actions in the meantime, setting Deatharoc just behind her and the other three fanned out in the rear. She had Deatharoc take up the hilt of his lightsaber and the other three set their blasters to kill. When all was set she moved them forward with purpose.
“You guys had better head back to your ship.” She called out.
The group wheeled around. “There is someone here. Hey girlie come out an play!”
“Oh you don’t want to play with me.” Telona said as she ignited her lightsaber. “Vin’s girl doesn’t play nice.”
Silently she thanked her old mercenary leader. He had bought her all the time he could. With the prep time, a couple hour journey, and the hours they had spent hacking through the forest, Vin had bought her nearly twenty hours. The insults flew in a maelstrom that she ignored but she did not ignore the disrupter bolts that sang after them.
Deatharoc’s lightsaber sprang to life as he blocked the incoming fire from hitting the others in the back. A volley of blaster fire was returned as the Quaestor sprang forward. Lightning leapt from her fingertips as she bore down upon the five bounty hunters. On the other side the Hssiss closed the gap silently.
The sudden lust for battle blazed through Ronovi from head to toe as she aimed her blaster at the gaggle of bounty hunters. Letting her master eye fall on one particularly large and bellicose bounty hunter, who sneered as he fired a rifle at Deatharoc only to see the beam blocked by his lightsaber, a blur of energy as the Jedi imposed his skillful wrath upon the hunters.
The Epicanthix was delighted in this blissful distraction as she fired, watching the beam of energy strike the bounty hunter in the side. He stumbled against the cave wall, grunting in obvious pain, as Ronovi fired two more shots at the hunter's comrades. However, the shots barely singed their clothes as they moved quickly into the darkness. Then the beams from their blasters sang through the air, one striking Ronovi deep in her shoulder. She gritted her teeth and tried to ignore the pain as she fired into the darkness, exerting her Force senses in order to pierce the darkness around her.
Dralin was quicker, and with his assassin agility, he leapt into the fray, shooting one enemy straight in the chest. Scion was pressed hard against the wall, taking sideways shots at the bounty hunters while relying on the light of the two higher-ranked Jedi's sabers as well as his Force senses to guide him. Telona struck at who appeared to be the fiercest of the hunters as he raised his pistol to meet her blade, only resulting in poorly executed moves as Telona swung her saber to block the shots.
Deatharoc had already taken down one of the bounty hunters and had a swift advantage over another, dragging him against the wall. He let the blade of his saber whip across the hunter's chest and leave him gasping for one last drought of air. Dralin and Scion cooperated together and take down the third, Scion approaching from behind to pin the bounty hunter's arms back while Dralin let a blaster shot fly into his head. Ronovi remembered her stun stick as she approached the bounty hunter that she had crippled with her blaster. She swore she could see him smile mockingly at her in the darkness and gave him a sharp blow across the brow, watching him crumple in a heap on the stony floor of the cave.
Now it was Telona and the last bounty hunter who were still fighting, and as the other four took suitable stances behind her, they watched as the Quaestor disabled the foe's weapon with one slash of her lightsaber and brought the blade to his throat. He laughed and Ronovi could hear the quivering in his voice as he tried to look macho.
"Now, now, girl...take it easy," he said.
"I told you I didn't play nice," Telona responded.
"Look, I dunno who y' think y' are, wiping out my men, but y' have no right."
"Oh, I have a right. I have every right." And with one quick cut to the throat, Telona sent the bounty hunter to the ground with the rest of his comrades.
Ronovi looked at her fellow Jedi wearily, fingering the large burn lacerated into her shoulder. Deatharoc deactivated his lightsaber and walked to Telona's side, grinning.
"We showed 'em, didn't we?" he said.
Then their attention was turned toward the Hssiss, whose silhouerres and sharp breaths and growls could be seen and heard, respectively, from a very short distance away. Stepping over the bounty hunters' bodies, the Jedi moved just a few steps through the darkness until they could smell the hot breath of the dark dragons.
Telona gestured the group to halt and they all immediately followed he silent command. Several meters away stood a dark-side dragon, and each member of the group prepared for combat. Scion was about to leap into battle when he was stopped by Deatharoc’s steel-clad grip and the Sith silently whispered to Telona,
“Where’s the other one?”
Telona silently acknowledged the Sith’s point and wondered the same thing. She could feel the patience of Scion and Ronovi wane and saw that both Deatharoc and Dralin had to restrain them. Attempting to use the Force, to locate the Hissis, Telona suddenly stopped and came to a bleak realization. She turned around and ignited her lightsaber. Wondering what their leader was doing, Deatharoc and Dralin also turned around and followed Telona. The Dark Adept halted for a moment and raised her lightsaber. Confused, the entire group watched as Telona was seemingly knocked back by clear air. Telona, while pulling herself screamed out,
“It’s a Hissis!”
The entire group turned around as the Hissis swiftly revealed itself and gave out a deafening roar. Deatharoc ignited his lightsaber as did Dralin and prepared to fight the beast but to their horror, another blood-thirsty dragon emerged from behind. Half the group eye-balled one dragon while the other half eye-balled the second dragon. Telona rose up, her hatred and anger building up inside. She wanted to show these dragons her true power. Raising her arms, volleys of Force Lightning emerged from her fingers and held the dragons back as she commanded to her group,
“Attack but don’t kill them! I want them alive!”
Ronovi found herself with Dralin and Scion against one dragon and Deatharoc and Telona against the other, the latter two putting their Force powers to good use. Dralin brandished his lightsaber and directed the two young Protectors, who were both rather satisfied to rise to this new challenge.
"You two, flank it!" he ordered. "It'll cause a suitable distraction. I'll take it from the front."
He wasn't going to let the two know about his own concern with his Force ability, but he established a firm grip on his lightsaber and strode toward the Hssiss in almost a blur.
As the static in the air increased from the blasts of Force lightning from a few feet away, Ronovi felt the blood pounding in her chest as she approached the left side of the Hssiss with Scion on the right. The dragon of course was well aware of the two, and in response it snarled and snapped its jaws as it attempted to eye all three of the Jedi at once. As its eyes momentarily fell on Scion, Dralin rose to the challenge and delivered a sharp but not fatal blow to the dragon's side.
As the beast shrieked in fury, the wound smoking on its thick flesh, Ronovi remembered the rope on her shoulders. As Scion attempted to aim a good blow on the injured Hssiss with his stun stick, Ronovi loosed the rope from her shoulder, snapped it in a loop around the dragon's hind legs, and stretched it taut.
As the dragon stumbled and fell with a crash onto the stone floor of the cave, Scion put his rope to use as well, tangling up the Hssiss's front legs. This was Dralin's cue, and the Omwati delivered three more painful strikes with his lightsaber to the dragon's flank, rendering it too much in pain to stand up on its own. It merely lay against the cold stony ground, growling miserably and clicking its massive teeth.
Now, as Ronovi and Scion moved to keep the ropes firm against their catch, Dralin moved to assist Telona and Deatharoc. By then, the continual bouts of Force lightning had disoriented the other Hssiss, and Deatharoc nimbly struck at its sides. But the dragon wasn't finished yet. Though the first dragon had been taken down fairly well by the three lower-ranked, this dragon in particular was plagued with an undeniably animalistic fury. Even with its wounds, the dragon roared and reared upward, its massive teeth aiming for Deatharoc's head.
Telona was quicker. She raised her hand again and let a volley of Force lightning send the bloodthirsty Hssiss against the wall. As Deatharoc regained focus, he aimed for the dragon's flank only to leap out of the way of its large claws. As Telona leapt toward the dragon, Dralin advanced, swiping at the Hssiss's legs with his saber. The dragon swung out again, catching Telona slightly against the side of the head.
Ronovi clenched her teeth to avoid from crying out and stretched the rope tighter around the other wounded dragon. Scion did the same as they watched their Quaestor regain her footing. Her eyes were blazing with a new fury, and she let her blade drive deep, but not too deep, into the Hssiss's side. Not fatal, but just enough to keep it on the ground, growling for breath and struggling to remain conscious.
As Telona moved from her fighting stance, breathing harshly from her use of Force powers and her constant strikes with her saber, she looked at each Jedi. A small rivulet of blood made its way past her right eye and down her cheek.
"Leash these boys up," she said as she removed the rope from her shoulder and got to work.