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The Demon Moon

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#1
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

    The greatest teacher, failure is.

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“The only advice I’ll give you when you’re in the jungle, shoot anything that moves. Then shoot the things that don’t move, just to be sure.”

― Kex
 
Dxun was officially the largest of four moons that orbited the Inner Rim world of Onderon. Unofficially, it was a sister planet. For its size made it a marker on the map as important – if not more so – than its parent.
 
It was covered almost entirely by dense jungles. And despite being temperate and habitable, the jungles of Dxun posed major challenges for its inhabitants. Due to its constant rains and wet climate, mechanical devices did not last long and required continuous maintenance. Moreover, the jungles were inhabited by many dangerous predators such as bomas, cannoks, drexls, maalraas, skreevs, and zakkegs.
 
So why was Lilla here? The reason was twofold and had everything to do with the Jedi Code – more specifically its tenet about Jedi continuing to learn.
 
Lilla had noted two gaps in her training thus far, and figured that now – as a Knight – she was in a position to rectify them.
 
The first was in dealing with any dark-sided nexus. She’d experienced difficulties in connecting with the Force on the two occasions she’d been in such environments and knew the only solution to development was to face the challenge from a practical perspective.
 
The second test was that her missions to date involved, by and large, two legged combatants. And they typically wielded blasters. Individuals varied, but – as a rule – their threat did not. Wild beasts were something of an unknown quantality to her – especially if you discounted the knowledge she’d gleaned from books. In terms of actually facing them down? Her experience was virtually zero.
 
But she was not here as some bounty hunter, rather she was aware of some settlements that had been victims to any number of the beasts local to Dxun. So, she was here to save lives. And hopefully add her own to that list.
 
 

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#2
Dax Fyre

Dax Fyre

    The Reaper of Won Shasot

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Dax had come to Dxun for a very different reason than the Jedi Knight that the Force had also brought to the planet moon. The Rogue had heard of the ancient Tomb of Freedon Nadd, and the various artifacts it held within. And for a man with a peculiar affinity for Force relics, dark side or not, the Rogue had naturally found himself drawn to Dxun. In specific, Dax now sought the old Sith Lord's lightsaber, a weapon of legend, and one of the few known to have ever attained bronze colored blade. The peculiarity of the saber was enough to get Dax to want to brave the tomb.

 

Now on the planet however, Dax was beginning to wonder if this was worth the effort.Having spent a great deal of his life in desert areas, from the deserts of Corellia to the deserts of Tatooine and Shiva IV, he'd grown to appreciate the greenery of jungle and the rain that had been so rare in such places.But this was just ridiculous...It hadn't stopped raining here for nearly three days, and while at first it had been a welcome sight to the man, the moment he'd stepped outside a native creature had tried to kill him.Although the lone creature hadn't been a challenge, it was enough to encourage Dax to shore up inside his vessel until the rains subsided.He'd be soaked from head to toe in the sixty seconds it had taken him to dispatch the creature.

 

Inside, the man lay boredly in cabin, trying to figure out what to do to pass the time...

 

Lilla Syrin


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#3
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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As well as the dangerous creatures, Lilla was aware of the other hazards she would face as she headed for the first endangered settlement.

 
Falling trees and branches were the most common reason for injuries in the jungle, so she kept a watchful eye above. 
 
Next she was wary of her footing, especially as she crossed streams. Slippery rocks, submerged branches, strong currents and leeches were all concerns. 
 
And as well as dehydration, there were small creatures that had to be considered. Ants, snakes, venomous spiders, plants with spines or thorns could all poison unguarded skin, so Lilla was especially careful not to touch anything she didn’t have to.
 
As she progressed, she kept checking her bearings, it was all too easy to become disorientated. Which is when she came across something she was not expecting to find — a ship. 
 
And her senses told her it was occupied by a single person, and their aura was light-sided.
 
So she rapped on the ship’s hull. If she was out here in the pouring rain, why not a fellow Jedi?
 

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#4
Dax Fyre

Dax Fyre

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Dax shot up, out of his bed, startled.He'd actually started to doze off when the knocking on the hull had interrupted the blissful nap he was just about to experience. Athena too had gotten to her feet as she felt the unfamiliar presence approach. Her own Force sight could tell that the being outside didn't have any malicious intentions, quite the opposite in fact, but she couldn't tell who the figure was...the Kuskuri didn't like that.Dax on the other hand simply grabbed his sabers and clipped them onto his belt and made his way to the cargohold, rubbing his eyes as he went.

 

The Rogue pulled his hood over his head as the cargo bay doors lowered themselves and the ramp extended itself. "Yeah?Who'd out here?" he called out as Athena let out a low growl, rounding around towards where the Knight stood.

 

Lilla Syrin


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#5
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla’s brow furrowed. The dark aura of the moon was interfering with her senses – she realised that now. Whoever she had just woken was not precisely a Jedi, but nor was he a Sith. But in comparison to the cloying nature of the dark side all around her, to Lilla, his presence felt like a Jedi. She made a note of this effect, for future reference. And now she was able to concentrate, she sensed two signatures. The nexus was not helping her abilities – but then, that was why she was here after all.

 
And having disturbed the occupants, she’d rather have them in her sight than wandering around behind her. So, she stood her ground and waited for the ship’s residents to show themselves.
 
The cargo bay doors lowered, and the ramp extended – and Lilla moved to be in plain view when the person or persons emerged.
 
Lilla held back a smile. Make that one person and one companion! “I am Lilla,” she said, “I couldn’t help but notice your ship. This is an area known to be a hunting ground for a pack of maalraas. I was wondering if you’d seen them? I’m here to stop them terrorising a local village.”
 

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#6
Dax Fyre

Dax Fyre

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The Kuskuri at Dax's feet growled at the woman that stood before them, but Dax quickly silenced her, their telepathic link sending a signal of 'she may be a friend' to the canine. The woman gave off a strong presence in the Force, and one attuned to the Light.Given the Darkness they were surrounded by, she shone even more brightly than she would have otherwise. Dax could've guessed Jedi, but he wasn't about to presume, that had screwed him over before.The woman gave her name and inquired about a pack of local creatures to which the Rogue responded, "I'm afraid I haven't.Been cooped up in here for the past days," he gestured over his shoulder, pointing back to the interior of the ship. Looking up towards the sky, he wondered if the rain had let up at all. It was impossible to tell on this planet, "You need any help? I'm goin' stir crazy in here."

 

Lilla Syrin


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#7
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla was pleased she hadn’t been sent away — and that she hadn’t been attacked either. So far, it had been a decent day — although she was soaked through.

 
As if that were an omen, the heavens decided that was a great point to stop the deluge. It took a few moments for the lack of rain to impact Lilla, given the trees continued to drip for some time — but at least the cessation of the sound of rain gave rise to optimism.
 
“Has it been raining,” Lilla asked, a broad grin on her face. “I must have been too busy to notice. And yes, help would be entirely acceptable - I don’t know how many there are in the pack.”
 
“I’d bring a coat anyhow — just to be on the safe side.”
 

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#8
Dax Fyre

Dax Fyre

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Dax looked at the woman with a brow raised, 'Damn, is she oblivious? How could anyone miss that rain...' he thought to himself before pushing it aside. "Lemme go get my gear real quick." he said, going back into the vessel and grabbing his leather jacket a Assassin Pistol. The Rogue came out once more, his two sabers swinging from his belt and pistol in its holster, "Alright, lead on."

 

As they'd walk the Rogue would ask, "So, Jedi or what?" he figured that since there wasn't much else to do as they tried to figure out where her prey had gone, he may as well get to know the woman he was working with.

 

Lilla Syrin


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#9
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla waited patiently whilst the craft’s main occupant went to fetch…whatever he was going to get. She was relieved the rain had at least abated, but there was no way of telling for how long.

 
When he returned, she noted he was packing some weaponry. Given what they were likely to face, she was hardly complaining.
 
“This way,” she said, pointing in the general direction of the village. The exact location of the lair was a mystery, but logic dictated it was to the west of the settlement, given the positions of the attacks.
 
“And yes, a Jedi,” she said as they began to walk. “Lilla, of the Republic Remnant Jedi Order. What about you?”
 

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#10
Dax Fyre

Dax Fyre

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The Rogue offered a hand as they walked towards their destination, "Dax Fyre, Grand Marshall of the Coalition's Judges." he told her. "So what made you come to Dxun?" he asked, ducking under a low hanging branch, "I can't imagine there's too much out here for you guys to defend."

 

Dax didn't exactly have much room to talk either though, being quite a bit aways from the Coalition's space in the Outer Rim. The Rogue hadn't spent much time in the Inner Rim, even when he had been a Jedi though, having first studied in the Core before moving out the Rim with his master. And considering nowadays he spent most of his time defending Coalition space, it was reasonable to say he didn't get out very much.

 

Lilla Syrin


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#11
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla accepted Dax’s hand. Grand Marshall sounded an important title - far more impressive than Knight!

 
“I came here for two reasons. The first is to help the villagers. The second is to train — specifically to face fearsome creatures and also to operate in a dark sided nexus.”
 
“What about you,” she then asked, her ears, eyes and Force sense focused on their surroundings. They were supposed to be the hunters, not the prey.
 

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#12
Dax Fyre

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Dax noticed the woman's subtle change in demeanor, and took the cue to quiet down a bit. 'Guess we're closer to these things than I'd thought.' Speaking in quieter tone, he gave her his reasoning for coming to Dxun, "Tomb of Freedon Nadd. I understand there's a good deal of Force relics in there, but I haven't quite had the chance to get in there yet. Too much rain, didn't wanna risk a flash flood or something. Honestly, not even sure if those happen around here, but I'd be surprised if they didn't." he told her as they stalked through the jungle. Reaching out with the Force once more, Dax was met with the signatures of a myriad of life, from the trees and plants to the insects crawling beneath the ground. He couldn't quite feel their prey yet though, but he wasn't going to chance it.

 

Lilla Syrin


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#13
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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“The Tomb?” Lilla raised an eyebrow. "I suspect every Sith in history has visited that place. Maybe as a pilgrimage or perhaps for the reason you are thinking of – to find some undiscovered treasure. But like Korriban, I would expect every inch to have been scavenged ten times over. I’m not saying there is nothing there, just that I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you.”

 
“But if you need someone to watch your back once we’re done here – I’d be glad to.”
 
“And one word of caution. This moon is steeped in the dark-side and anything that has survived for millennia will be attuned to it, so don’t be surprised if it is hard to spot by conventional Force powers. They may well be using the presence of the Force to camouflage their presence.”
 

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#14
Dax Fyre

Dax Fyre

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Dax gave a nod of thanks to the woman, he had guessed the same thing in regard to the tomb. It wouldn't surprise him if it had been raided to nothing but the mortar, but it also wouldn't surprise him if someone had missed something important, people usually did. He'd lucked out enough times to have learned that people weren't always as observant as they'd like.

 

"Oh, you don't have to worry about me." The Reaper said as Lilla Syrin cautioned him to be careful as the planet's masking darkness might obscure his ability to see through the Force. Unbeknownst to her the planet he now lorded over, and had lived on for a multitude of years was home to its own Dark Side Force Nexus. He may not have been a Dark SIder himself, but he was well aware of how to take advantage of the Dark Side's potential. Of course, he couldn't do anything about a Vornskr or Ysalamir, but that's why he had Athena. A born hunter of Won Shasot, she'd see them coming long before either Dax or Lilla did.

 

"How close are do you think we are again?"


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#15
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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“Not so much worried,” Lilla said, smiling. “As wanting to give you all available information.

 
“And as to how far? Hard to say. We’re half a kilometre from the village and the correct side of it, if the attacks suggest a likely spot for the lair. But they can travel up to a few kilometres for their prey. So, my reckoning is that – with all this jungle to search – were most likely to be found than find them.”
 
And, as if to prove her point, Lilla’s Force senses began to tingle. Not a full warning of the kind she was used to – but rather a muted version, no doubt because of the strength of the ambient dark-side.
 
“And that might be sooner rather than later.” Lilla unclipped her saber and cradled the hilt in her right palm, ready for action at a moment’s notice.
 

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#16
Dax Fyre

Dax Fyre

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Dax nodded in appreciation, just before Lilla Syrin commented on the beasts approach. Dax could feel it as well, but Athena, trained for the hunt, was much more aware than either of the Forcers. She swiveled her head, by which her body followed, in the direction of the incoming creatures, a low growl rumbling from deep in her throat. Dax turned to face the same direction as his pet, “She thinks they’re close...real close...

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#17
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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“I suppose that’s good,” Lilla said in response. This was why she was here after all. But she also knew the dangers they’d face.

 
Maalraas hunted in packs, using long claws and powerful fanged jaws to disable their victims. Using the Force to cloak themselves, they could make themselves nearly indistinguishable from the darkest shadows.
 
And their hides were heavily resistant to lightsabers. She looked to Dax. “They have no obvious weaknesses, so we’ll have to wear them down with blows until they die. If they have a chink, it is evolution. They have evolved over thousands of years and have a standard attack – which serves them well. They are not used to being unsuccessful, so have no Plan B. Rely on their predictability to be their undoing.”
 
And then she heard the rustle of undergrowth from all sides. “I’d say they found us.”
 
She allowed her cloak to slip from her shoulders and cradled her saber in two hands now, although it remained deactivated. Then she closed her eyes momentarily, calling the Force to her and entering into a combination of Moving Meditation and Center of Being.
 

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#18
Dax Fyre

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The Rogue nodded silently, listening to the Jedi next to him. No weakness?...well, the Rogue found that hard to believe, especially when Lilla had just pointed out exactly what they're weakness was. In being predictable, the two Forcers could figure out how to use that against the creatures, at least Dax hoped.

 

'Well,' he thought to himself with a mental shrug, 'If we fail, at least we'll be a tasty meal for these things.'

 

Like he was going to let that happen. The orange blade in his hand roared to life, a dragon's roar, a beast prepared to slay the dog.

 

Lilla Syrin


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#19
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla knew the encounter would be an opportunity to learn in three dimensions. Firstly, she would be up against a foe in a habitat it was genetically evolved to thrive in. Secondly, she would have to operate on a moon that was a dark-sided nexus. And finally – almost more importantly – she would have to end a fight.

 
Her training covered the first six saber Forms – only the seventh was one she had not practiced, although she sparred against its users. Of these, the third was her preferred Form – by some margin. But it was designed to serve as a means not to die – as opposed to kill. Which suited her philosophy, but was not always entirely practical. So she used elements of the second, fourth and fifth when an opening arose – but this was not in any way a strength of hers.
 
So, as the maalraas advanced, her saber remained deactivated. She would only ignite it at the last possible moment.
 
Just then, the threat of the creatures became an actual presence, as they burst from the undergrowth. Six of them, long claws and powerful fanged jaws their primary weapons.
 
“Let’s not be on the menu, eh?” she said, as she turned her back to her companion, to ensure they could not be flanked.
 

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#20
Dax Fyre

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The Rogue nodded and smiled, "I like that plan, let's run with that." The Maalraas circled the three beings, their long fangs and claws dripping with a malice that could be felt in the air. Well, the Rogue certainly hadn't been expecting Nighthunters...and he definitely understood why the blasted things were called Nighthunters, they looked like something out of a nightmare.

 

From what Dax knew, they were resistant to lightsaber blades. Which made things a whole lot more difficult. But what they weren't resistant to? The Force and sharp pointy things. For a moment Dax considered pulling his knife out his belt, but he didn't quite have a chance as the first of the pack leaped at him. The Rogue brought his saber up, to swat the beast aside, and the nightmarish creature rolled across the jungle floor before getting back to its feet and rejoining the circle of predators, not the slightest scratch on its tough hide.

 

"So...What exactly was your plan for killing these things again?"

 

Lilla Syrin


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