Ilum. A cold, snowy planet full of rich and spiritual minerals. Essential to the Sith and the Jedi, this planet was a subject of power.
Malgus, a powerful Sith, decided to create his own Empire and attacked both forces with his own. Some Sith rallied behind him, hoping to gain something for themselves. All were caught off guard by this treachery and sudden intrusion.
A group of Jedi gained transportation on a ship owned by a small group of smugglers. When they arrived, they didn't know how serious the threat had grown to that point.
A few Sith that have no affiliation with Malgus found out about this ship and attacked the base that it landed in. Only few knew about it until a message was sent to the others.
"Sith! There's Sith here! There's-agh!"
Ty'rin, a young Jedi sentinel, clutched her companion's outer garment as they rode on their speeder. She put back her communicator.
"Should we go back?" she shouted over the whirring winds.
Ty’rin flinched as Anro maneuvered away from the icy wall.
“Maybe I should have drove,” she thought to herself. As they got closer to the base, a darkness colder than Ilum’s snow rushed over the two Jedi. Ty’rin clutched Anro’s garment even tighter, fear collapsing over her like an ancient building.
“Sith…” she whispered, inaudible to Anro, although they both knew what was ahead…
Ty’rin felt a breath of peace gently brush against her agitated spirit. Unfortunately, the haunting darkness still lingered in the back of her mind. She just hoped the situation wasn’t as bad as the live recording of the man made it out to be.
But, deep down, she knew it was hopeless.
They reached the base and when they arrived inside, it was empty, save for a few dead bodies. Ty’rin hopped off the speeder and ran to the lifeless Jedi. She closed one of their eyes, a man not much older than her, someone she knew since a child.
The young Jedi sighed. “There’s no sign of them, except for the lingering stench of Sith. They must have run off to find some more prey.”
Anro looked around. Not all of the Jedi in their company were lying there. “Some of them must have escaped.”
He took a deep breath and extended his senses. He found that his body had turned towards the outer doors.
The Ranger moved swiftly out of the base and looked out towards the cliffs. The wind had picked up and blew snow and ice along the valley floor. He stopped and looked down, barely able to make out several moving points of colored light. Red included.
He backed up a few feet and readied himself for a running start. “Falcon dive?”
Ty’rin nodded and backed up alongside her partner. She readied her muscles and breathed steadily. They took their running start and just as they reached the edge, they jumped.
The wind sliced against their skin, but Ty’rin had already calmed her body enough to prepare for such pain. The ground reached up to them with a snowy embrace before they landed feet first, using the Force to surround their bodies as a brace. Snow blasted away from them and they looked at the scene ahead.
Ty’rin ignited her double-bladed lightsaber and charged after a female Sith, spinning acrobatically as a distraction and then sliced off both of the Sith’s arms, kicking her to the ground and ending her life with a stab to the heart. Another Sith, a lanky male, Force pushed her across the ice before jumping high in the air.
Ty’rin regained her footing and just as he was coming down a female Jedi Force pushed him in mid-air causing him to fly into someone’s blade.
“This is madness,” Ty’rin thought to herself as she turned to block an attack.
Jorrek fought with overpowering strength against the Sith contending with him. His parrying strikes followed with swift dismemberment and decapitation. Zabrak were known for their combative strength, but his was unexpected. In fact, the olive skinned Knight took a red and tattooed warrior of his species by the throat and impaled him.
“Withdraw!” one of the other Sith called, deactivating his sabers and leaping away, towards the caves at the base of the cliff face.
The remaining Sith deactivated their lightsabers and followed as the sound of starfighter engines could be heard.
They ran from the barrage and dove into the nearest cave mouth they could find, sliding down a tunnel of ice. The bombs impacted the outer wall of the cliff face, thus collapsing the cave entrance. Once they dug their heels in and stopped sliding, they were able to reconstitute themselves.
“Sabers on,” said Anro. Hosted voice echoed. Humming rods of light activated, revealing how many Jedi were in their midst.
Ty’rin glanced at Anro, then back to Jorrek. “Sith witch? You know who’s behind this?”
On the outside, Melodica pushed back her white hair as she called the bombers.
“Pathetic. You only got one. Now they’ve scurried themselves into the cliffs, making it more difficult to reach them.”
“And you could have done better?” a deep voice said from behind her. An older man with gray hair and a war-stained face looked down at her.
“Of course,” she chuckled. “If I was invited to this little party, perhaps I would have gotten the job done sooner.”
Lord Pelvor, the hardened man, chuckled with amusement. “Melodica, please. All you want to do is kill the Jedi. You’re not here for the reason we are. Besides, why are you conversing with the traitors?”
The traitors he referred to were the Sith in the bombers who were here with Malgus. Lord Pelvor was on Ilum to eradicate the chaos Malgus and his followers were causing. Melodica, always the sadistic, was only here to kill whom she pleased.
“Just reminding them why they will soon die. They aren’t even putting their whole soul into their treachery. Quite sad, actually.”
“And you’re helping them to betray us?”
“They think I’m with Malgus and actually listened to me. Moronic newbloods. Don’t worry, I’ll kill them later.”
They looked back down at the collapsed ice where the cave entrance once was.
“So,” the Sith witch began. “What do we do with them?”
“We will do nothing. We’re not here for them. Now, co-operate and help with the issue at hand.”
“Alright, I just need to find my apprentices.”
Melodica gave a playful grin and hopped onto her speeder, heading off to her ship.
“He was taught much differently than us,” the young Jedi woman said. “But, after heavy consideration and compromise, he’s with us now. It’s much more complicated than that but some things are best left unsaid.”
Not entirely satisfied, the padawan decided to leave her questions alone for now.
Anro glanced back at Ty'rin. Apparently perfectly timed, as no one noticed his grin but his beloved.
Jorrek was too concerned with his scowling. “We're moving deeper into the mountain. Where is the way out?”
Anro answered. “Possibly through.”
“The Sith escaped into the caves as well. What are the chances that we might cross them?”
“Considerably high. We're about to enter a crystal cavern.”
Light could be seen as they came around the bend. Then the tunnels mouth opened to the sight of, sure enough, a cavern lit with multispectral points of light. Each one a mineral imbued with the living Force. It was strong here.
The sound of cracking ice sounded above them and the cavern ceiling shook. Stalactites of rock and ice hanging down above them broke from their places and fell downwards whilst they walked along an icy bridge. Anro and others were able to push many aside, but several struck the bridge and cracked it in several places.
“Sith!” Jorrek shouted, pointing his lightsaber downward. Several black robed, red sabered Force users were gathered below, the apparent cause of the disruption. He leapt from the bridge and down towards them, cleaving one sorceress before chasing the others into another tunnel.
“Jorrek, get back here!” Anro called. But it was too late.
The snapping hiss of another lightsaber sounded from the other side of the bridge they were on.
He threw his saber at the Sith on the other end, running at him, who then batted it away and made it fly in another direction. Anro drew his katana, which radiated a blue light, and dueled him. His lightsaber was simply circumventing the cavern.
Another group of Sith, this time coming out of another tunnel to the left of the group of Jedi, threw their sabers at opposite ends of the bridge in an effort to cut it and make them fall.
Ty’rin and the padawan ignited their lightsabers as all the other Jedi did.
“My name is Merith, by the way,” the padawan shouted over the chaos. “Just in case I die, I want everyone here to remember the padawan that gave it her all.”
“Merith!” Ty’rin yelled, but it was too late because Merith already took charge to the Sith from their left. Ty’rin went after her and jumped as Merith slid on the ice, both slicing through a Sith warrior. Blades clashed as a few other Jedi joined in on the fight.
The Togruta female named Avallia was taking on two Sith and Vish, the Rodian, followed behind Anro took take on the Dark Side users on the other side. Still a few others jumped down to join Jorrek and his recklessness.
Ty’rin whipped her head around.
"No one stuck together!"
“Wait! Get back together! We’re too far spread!”
On the other side of the chasm a hooded shadow ignited his lightsaber and showed his stark red face and yellow eyes.
As Vish made his way towards Reaper, he was nearly caught off guard by a Twi’lek female with dark purple skin. He parried her attack and pushed her away before she ran back towards him. He made the conclusion this was one of Reaper’s apprentices.
Reaper looked at Anro. “Interesting weapon choice.”
He pushed back the Jedi and flamboyantly flailed his lightsaber in a light show before stepping to the side and lunging diagonally at Anro.
Ty’rin was fending off Sith as she tried in vain to regather the Jedi. Merith and Avallia struggled in their own fights.
Anro himself, being struck by the bodyweight of a larger man than he, reached both arms around the shoulders of the apprentice, grabbed hold, and somersaulted forward to carry the apprentice with him, causing both of them to roll and slide off the edge of the platform they had been standing on onto another platform connecting two opposite tunnels.
The Ranger’s katana had stuck itself in the ice above them, as the force of the tackle made the sword fly out of his hand and remain.
The apprentice, named Rao’lo, fell with a thud to his back with Anro on top of him. He pushed up with his arms to get Anro in a position to Force kick him with his feet.
Ty’rin continued to fight with her lover’s lightsaber before throwing just as he did moments before. It again made its trip around the cavern before eventually finding its way to the ceiling and causing icicles to start falling. One of them stabbed a Sith in the heart.
Almost everyone seemed to stop in their tracks. The ice kept falling and the Sith and Jedi started to scatter respectively.
Ty’rin spotted Anro’s katana stuck in the ice and leapt for it, dodging ice on the way. Merith spotted Anro’s lightsaber hilt stuck in a block of ice as it fell from the ceiling and Force gripped it, eventually holding it in her hand.
Rao’lo got up from the floor and fled the scene before Anro could do anything to him.
A heavy block of ice struck the platform he was sprawled on, destabilizing it. He sprang up on his feet and leapt for the level Ty'rin called him from. His jump’s force was lessened by the ice giving way under his feet. He reached the wall instead, which he kicked off and up to reach her. His arm reached as far as it could go for the edge under Ty’rin’s feet…
Ty’rin immediately got on her knees, threw the katana to the side, and reached for Anro, pulling him up onto the ground beside her. They breathed heavily before the Jedi Shadow leapt to her feet and reached her hand out to the Je’daii.
“Come on, this place is about to collapse!” she said.
Merith and a few other Jedi were already making their way to a corridor of ice, dodging blocks of frozen water.
Anro was quickly on his feet with his katana pulled into his hand. Merith tossed him his lightsaber once they caught up and they all ran through the tunnel with the ceiling collapsing behind them and the floor cracking under their feet. The crystals embedded in the walls lit their path for the most part.
The tunnel stopped collapsing and they could stop before coming to a crossroads. The tunnel split in two directions. The left going in an incline, the other going further down.
Anro took a breath and groaned a bit under his new bruises. “Is everyone alright? Who are we missing?”
Anro pondered their options as well. Then, he decided to sit down, cross legged, and quieted his mind and blocked out the debating Jedis’ voices. One of the other padawans noticed what he was doing and sat by him, meditating as well. They both opened their eyes and pointed to the descending path.
“We stick together this time,” Anro answered, standing. “And go this way. We might find Jorrek and a few of the others.”
Many Jedi nodded their heads in agreement and everyone set off to the descending path.
The group continued walking until they eventually found Vorek with a handful of other Jedi, most injured in some way. It seems there was a great loss, Ty’rin noticed. There were a few faces she knew followed Vorek but didn’t see them now. Ty’rin and a few from her group started to assess their comrades injuries and do the best they could with the materials they had to help them start the healing process.
“Vorek,” the Kel Dor Jedi said approaching the Zabrak. “How did you escape the Sith?”
“By the skin of our teeth,” Jorrek answered, in a half snarl. “We became separated down three other tunnels and were ambushed, each one of us. We were able to regroup, but several tunnels collapsed and we were forced to come this way.”
“Well it seems the Force has led us back together,” Anro said. “This time, we stick together. Do not let your emotions get the better of you.”
Jorrek scowled at him. Anro kept his expression level.
“Meditate. There's clearly still a way out, otherwise the air would continually grow thinner. That goes for the rest of you. Rest. Let the Sith tire themselves to exhaustion.”
After an hour or so, the Jedi regained enough strength to consider moving on. Ty’rin walked up to Anro.
“I believe we’re ready to push forward,” she said.
Avallia, who was standing near them, stood up straight. “We need to keep an eye on each other,” she growled, glancing in Jorrek’s direction, who was sulking in a corner on the other side of the corridor. “Who knows who’s going to end up causing trouble for those whose emotions don’t get in their way.”
Yendell, the Kel Dor, sighed. “Careful, Avallia,” he commented. “You don’t want to be dragged down to… ‘their’ level.”
“Enough,” Anro said sternly. “Talks such as this will only sow distrust and imbalance. We are supposed to aid each other, not judge each other for their struggles. We each have our ghosts that haunt us...”
One of the human padawans spoke up. “But you said…”
Anro gave him a glare. The padawan remembered his place.
“The Sith are headed upwards,” Jorrek declared, standing tall. “They hope to find a way out going up the mountain. We must move through.”
Anro looked hopeful. “Lead on.”
The Zabrak nodded and started them on a declining path. Anro followed.
Jorrek started a jog along the tunnel. Anro followed alongside him. The sound of whistling wind became audible to each of them. The tunnel started going into an incline, steeper and steeper until they had to partly climb and scramble up a narrowing shaft into a very open cavern, with a hole at the top letting in a sliver of sunlight.
“Wonderful,” Jorrek commented, a small satisfied smile forming. His attitude changed immediately, however, and he activated his lightsaber and threw it straight up, intercepting a purple bladed saber from cutting along the top of the wall directly above the Jedis’ exit. Both sabers returned to their owners, the purple blade to a black tunic-clad Sith Apprentice.
“Ambush!” Anro warned, drawing his katana, which radiated with azure fire.
The rest of the Jedi ignited their lightsabers, except for one. Their lightsaber was lost in the battle before and didn’t tell anyone, thinking their journey would end before they ran into anymore threats. Sadly, he was mistaken.
A Twi’lek Sith began the attack and then everyone went in. Immediately, as Ty’rin predicted, the Jedi who’s lightsaber was lost was the first to die on their side.
“Circle and pair up!” Anro ordered, attempting to coordinate their efforts.
Jorrek took to Avallia’s side, repelling a bolt of lightning from striking her. Anro kept close to Ty’rin, employing his lightsaber to a defensive hand while the katana cleaved through their enemies. The Jedi began circling roundabout, back to back, creating an impassable defensive ring. They were still outnumbered, however.
Ty’rin could feel the sweat build up on her forehead despite the freezing temperatures of the world around her. She could feel her stress levels rising, as well as the stress levels from some of her fellow comrades.
“Anro, I don’t know how much longer we can keep this up!”
After the recovery of both the New Dream and more than half of the crew, what was left made their back to Ilum to found out how else they can help.
Harlow sat in the pilot’s chair as Alric sat co-pilot. Lilezi stood behind them both, gripping to the headrests of their chairs.
“Will Vane and Marx be alright? What if they wake up and we’re not there?” Harlow worried as they descended towards the icy planet.
“They’ll be fine, Harlow. Just focus on flying please. We don’t want to damage our ship anymore today.”
The smuggler vessel flew parallel to the ground, throwing snow and ice behind them.
“See any battling going on? Any glorified glowsticks flying about?” Lilezi asked, peering out the window.
The ship flew by a tall cliff with frozen columns of ice.
“I don’t see anything,” Harlow answered back. “Do you, Alric?”
Ice and snow was blasted from the cavern ceiling's opening, nearly a metric ton of frozen and melted water pouring in, three meters away from the Jedi in three bursts. Heavy plasma bolts tore through the ice until a much more sizable hole was made. It was enough for the New Dream’s gunner to fire the dorsal cannon at the main group of Sith attacking the Jedi, breaking their line of attack. Several Sith had new holes burned through them.
Lilezi reached for the controls that dropped the ladder up to the ramp, opening the ship’s mouth to the remaining Jedi.
“Go! Go!” Avallia shouted as she guided the weaker ones to climb up and hop on.
While nearly half of the Sith were wiped out, falling to the floor like dead bugs, the rest retreated into the smaller cavern holes leading deeper into the mountain, just to get away from the blaster fire.
The rest of the Jedi finally made it inside the starship and Lilezi retracted the ladder and eventually the ramp as Harlow pulled away from the gigantic hole they created.
Lilezi jumped out of her seat and head to the loading area. She looked around at the tired Jedi who were all catching their breath.
“We’re headed to the Republic cruiser to get you some medical help.”
Jorrek stopped before passing Alric, looking him in the eye, but not turning his body. He then turned to look at Lilezi.
“Your assistance thus far has been a great help,” he told her. “No doubt more of us would have been slain as well.”
“I wish we could have saved more,” Alric said, crossing his arms.
The Zabrak turned towards the exit, but looked Alric in the eye again. “There were no more you could have saved. Their choices and power as well as the choices and power of others led to their demise.”
Out walked Jorrek.
Anro watched the exchange and stopped before them as well. “Thank you, all of you. For everything. I'm sure there are places you'd rather be than here, but what will you do now, Alric?”
The younger man and lesser Jedi sighed. “There's a lot I still need to learn. I'm rusty, but I'll get there.”
Anro nodded. “We should meet and discuss this further.” He then walked as well, with Ty'rin.