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 Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:04 pm

Meric raised an eyebrow at his apprentice's words. Was that an attempt at... humor? And a bad one at that! But then, he shouldn't have expected any less from a Corellian. "I don't think we want to know," he stated, "Make sure no one enters while we're busy. I'll let you know as soon as we're finished."

With that, Luke, Artoo, and Meric disappeared into the... chambers. Ava wouldn't hear anything of them from outside except the muffled snap-hiss of lightsaber blades being activated, and a low hum as they went about their work.

Inside, Meric smacked egg-shell colored wall, watching as pieces of it fell to his feet. "Typical cheap Imperial construction job," he muttered to Luke, "With all the credits they extorted through their taxation, you'd think they could have at least built better walls in their starports."

"Let's be thankful it is so cheap," Luke reminded him, "Otherwise our job would be a lot harder." Nodding, Meric reached back under his robe and grabbed his lightsaber. With the sliding of the trigger, a deep violet blade erupted from the hilt.

Meric thrust the saber forward, sinking it through the wall. As soon as he felt he'd penetrated it fully, he began to pull it upward, slicing a vertical line that would assure whatever portal created would be big enough for him. Luke also retrieved his saber from Artoo and began the process a couple meters to Meric's right, and before long, the Jedi had built a beautiful picture window (er... door) for the Imperials.

Meric deactivated his lightsaber and slid it back into his pouch. He opened the door only to find that an aggitated crowd was growing... much to Avadedra's dismay. "Ava," he hissed, "Let's go. Door's open."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:16 pm

Outside, Ava was growing nervous. Meric and Luke hadn't been gone long, but already it was an eternity in her mind. When the first two or three people had come by, she'd been able to wave them off politely, creating small excuses that they bought easily and without question. Some, though, were not that simple.

"Look, I'm sorry," Ava apologized for the millionth time. Someone at the back called out something rude. "What am I supposed to do? Come on, have you eaten at some of these places? I'm only looking out for the general populous here when I tell you that you do not want to go in there!"

She kept her hands up and away from her blaster, trying to show that she wasn't looking for trouble. All through the gathered throng, Ava met glares of distrust and disbelief. A rather large man pushed his way forward and was inquiring as to Ava's identity when she heard Meric's voice behind her.

"Ah, I'm sorry folks," she forced herself to sound sure of herself, "but I really must go. Have a nice day."

With a smile, she slipped backward and through the door, shoving it closed behind her. Breathing a sigh of relief, she turned to meet Meric and Luke's gazes.

"Do you think you could have taken any longer? They were going to take me apart out there!"

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:22 pm

Meric didn't answer right away. Instead, he grabbed his lightsaber and once again ignited the blade. He ran the tip lightly over the edges of the doorway, fusing it shut.

"You seem to be in one piece still," Meric answered with a smirk, humor twinkling in his eyes, "But the easy part's through now."

As the group headed out, Meric slipped the robe back over his face, ensuring no one would be able to discern his identity. Outside the city streets were crowded with pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Small repulsor-lift taxies, land-speeders, and other such conveyances roamed the wider lanes, while literally thousands of pedestrians walked along the side or weaved their way between. "Stay close," Meric warned, "It's easy to get lost here."

The group began to make their way down the street, searching for a transport that would get them to their desired lift, but it looked like it was a day for touring the capital city today. Meric couldn't recall such traffic even when he'd trained as a youngling in the Jedi Temple!

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:44 pm

Ava did as she was told, staying as near to Meric as the crowded avenues would allow. She took a moment to be thankful that she wasn't agoraphobic; otherwise, this walk would be torture.

She stayed on guard, one hand near her blaster again. Once or twice, she had to swerve to miss an oncoming pedestrian, and she lost sight of Meric and Luke. After a few moments of panic, she was able to pick Meric out of the crowd, quietly thanking him for being so tall, and make her way back to his side.

As they walked, Ava took the time to make a veiled study of the beings around her. Mostly they were human, or humanoid, but the alien races were under-represented. Her brow furrowed at the thought, wondering how exactly the Empire had held on as long as it had if it didn't incorporate everyone. Some of the greatest achievements of all time, and a most that the Empire used, hadn't been made by humans!

"No wonder the Rebellion sprang up," the girl thought sourly. "The Imperials didn't have a working brain cell amongst the lot of them."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:57 pm

Meric seemed to move with fluid ease, obviously very at home on this planet. And why not? He'd spent at least twenty-three years of his life on this Coruscant before the Empire took over.

It took awhile, but eventually Luke and Meric managed to flag down a speeder and pilot. Luke's eyes widened as he looked over the open cockpit and orange paint job. The vessel was roughly oblong in shape, with two turbine engines jutting out sideways at the rear, and a third forming a tail fin. In front of the transparisteel wind shield were small mounts perfect for holding a weapon, though it would likely be little better than the Czerka slug thrower Luke had owned back on Tatooine. "I never thought I'd see one of these again!" Luke exclaimed, "An old T-16! Great condition too! When the XP-38 came out, I thought these were headed for junk-heaps!"

The pilot was a grizzled human who looked more like he'd spent time on the front lines at Hoth than spent his time ferrying humans and aliens to their destinations. His ragged gray hair fell in tangles to the side of his face, a few strands even hanging over into his bagged hazel eyes. His hands were rough and worn, caloused so that no hint of softness remained. His clothing was tattered and plain. Overall, he looked strong though, maybe even strong enough to take on a Gamorrean... and win. "It's difficult enough to make a living on Coruscant, what with all the Imperial taxes," he snapped, "You think I've got the money to upgrade to one of them fancy new speeders?! Now do you want ride or don't you?!"

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:31 am

Ava stopped a few steps behind Meric, smiling at Luke's childishness over the speeder. To her, the piece of machinery looked like an unstable relic more than a wonder to the eye, but she supposed things were different ways to different people. If she'd had her way, she'd have sought out a different mode of transportation. Her eyes roved over the crowd again, her left hand plucking at the hem of her tunic just for something to do.

Her head turned sharply at the pilots tone, but she held her tongue. There was no use in drawing attention now, not when they'd made it this far without much trouble. Artoo trundled over and bumped her, whistling cheerily as she looked down at him quizically.

"Go away." She waved a hand at him. "What? Stop that." He beeped up at her, the sound almost like laughter. "Leave me alone, you overgrown waste bin."

With a low laugh-like hoot, he rolled back to Luke's side.

"Crazy contraption," Ava muttered, bringing her eyes back up to the crowd.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:54 pm

Luke looked over and chuckled as the exchange between the girl and the astromech droid. "Artoo's just being friendly," he commented as R-2 trundled back to his side, "He doesn't have See-Threepio to pick on, so looks like he's trying to find someone to pal around with." Artoo beeped and whistled what seemed to be a confirmation.

Meric meanwhile was bartering with the pilot. "We don't have two thousand credits!" he protested.

"Then ya' ain't got no transport either," was the jockey's reply, "Look, it's either two thousand, or I'll leave ya' in the dust... or better yet, maybe the empire'd be interested in your activities. I bet they'd give me a nice cut for turning you in." "

Meric sighed heavily. He didn't like doing this, but it looked as if he had no choice. He raised his paw and gave a subtle wave. "You don't want to turn us in to the Empire." he said softly.

The speeder pilot looked mesmerized, his eyes blank. "I... don't want to turn you in to the Empire," he repeated.

"You want to help the rebellion," he said, waving his paw again.

"I... want to help the rebellion."

"You will take us to the lift for free."

"I will take you to the lift for free."

"Climb on in."

"Climb on in."

Luke rolled his eyes. He wondered how it was possible that so much of the galaxy could be so weak-minded. He leaned over and whispered into Meric's ear. "I've got three-hundred credits on me," he said, "We should pay him when we get there."

Meric nodded in agreement. "You can get in first Avadedra," he said, "Luke and I need to load up Artoo before we get in ourselves."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:21 pm

Avadedra nodded and quickly moved past them into the speeder, grateful for once to get out of the squeeze of people. She kept her eyes over Luke and Meric's shoulders, as always on alert. She kept as much out of the way as she could at the same time as the two wrestled Artoo into the speeder.

She kept throwing glances at the pilot, wondering what exactly had gone on to change his mind. Her attention had been focused on the crowd, so she'd missed the majority the interaction between him and Meric. Only on a sweep to her right had she heard their spoken exchange. She stowed the question away for later as she settled into the speeder once Meric and Luke had gotten Artoo in and ready to go.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:42 pm

It wasn't long before Meric and Luke had gotten Artoo secured in the speeder. The two climbed in, with Luke sitting up front and Meric sitting in the rear next to his apprentice. The pilot flipped a few controls and before long, with a rush of heated air from the turbine engines, the landspeeder zoomed off through the streets of Imperial City.

Meric closed his eyes, seeking to center himself as the lift that led into Coruscant's underworld grew closer and closer.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:01 am

Ava settled back next to Meric, sighing as the muscles of her shoulders and back relaxed. She hadn't been aware of how tense she really was until she sat down, and now, it was all she could do not to groan.

As she watched the cityscape literally fly by, the young Padawan's own mind wandered. The question of the interaction between the pilot and her Master rose again, twisting and turning like a burning snake in her thoughts. She wanted to know, but part of her dared not to ask. Perhaps it was one of the fabled mind tricks her mother spoke of; a Jedi's ability to alter the thoughts of another by a subtle nudging in the desired direction. There wasn't much else it could be.

Yet another part of her questioned Meric's use of such a trick, if it were what he'd done. Where did the line get drawn? And when did a Jedi, no matter how young or advanced, really, truly judge the necessity of such an action? She'd heard rumor growing up of Darth Vader, and even the Emperor himself, using those same mind tricks to manipulate the people around them to their ends. And sometimes, they used them to kill.

Avadedra did her best to suppress the shudder that ran through her, glancing at her Master from the corner of her eye. He seemed to be meditating, so she remained still and quiet, brushing loose strands of hair away from her face distractedly. She turned her attention to Luke for a moment, taking in his profile and wondering if he'd ever had to use Jedi mind tricks on others. Deciding that she didn't want to know, she tore her eyes from Luke's face and gazed out as Coruscant passed her by. Much like her life, the blur of movement and color was far less comforting than she'd hoped.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:10 am

Meric opened his eyes and glanced at his padawan, noticing how she stared questioningly out over the Coruscant cityscape, and how she kept half an eye on Luke, it seemed often.

He chuckled softly and placed a hand on her good shoulder. "Your thoughts betray you, Avadedra," he smiled, "If you have questions, ask. I wouldn't be much of a master if my student cannot come to me when something piques her curiosity."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:21 am

The young girl turned pinkish-red.

"Am I that obvious?" she asked, staring down at her hands. "I'm sorry, Master." She forced her gaze up to Meric, looking him in the eye as any good Corellian should be able to do (ha ha, yah sure XD ). "I was just... that thing you... how did you get him to change his mind? The pilot, I mean. At first, he was going to make us pay... then he didn't. And I just thought... isn't that dangerous for a Jedi?"

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:35 am

Meric sat back and folded his hands across his lap as he considered the question. Was such a thing dangerous? He had never thought so. But then, he had never been in a situation where it might become dangerous.

"I suppose it might be," he told her, "Any power can be a curse, Avadedra. No Force ability is inherently good or evil. How you draw that power from the Force, and how you use it... that is what determines whether it is light or dark."

He placed a paw under his chin as he continued his explanation. "For example, let's say you encounter a woman on Tatooine," he went on, "She tells you that she has lost her husband on Tatooine's dunes (though in truth he has been murdered), and that she is out of money. She has a single possession to sell, but cannot sell it herself due to a lack of bureaucratic authorization. She asks you to buy it. You happen to have this authorization, but do not have the money to get a refund if you purchase the item from her. You offer to take the plate and sell it for her, but she refuses, no matter how hard you try to convince her. So, you decide to use the Force to force her to give it to you... That wasn't necessarily a wrong action, but how you proceed can make it right or wrong."

He looked at her, his eyes questioning. "Now, how might you make this situation come to a resolution that draws you closer to the Force? Similarly, how might you solve it in a way that pulls you closer to the Dark side?"

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:21 am

Ava's brow furrowed, her jaw dropping open. What kind of question was this?

"B...but Master!" she stuttered. "How can you ever justify such a thing? All good deeds aside, how can you go and scramble someones sense of free will and choice for anything, even something so trivial? The state of the universe is bad enough off without the remnant of the Jedi going about and prodding people into doing what they want them to do! Even those as simple as this pilot!"

She turned to face forward again, crossing her arms over her chest. There was just no way she'd ever be comfortable with the idea of using mind tricks on anyone or anything. Greater good or no greater good, she'd rather die at the claws of a mutated rancor first.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:26 am

Meric leaned back, not really seeming shaken by the outburst of his apprentice. It was actually comforting to him to see that the idea of tampering with another's mind was unnerving to her. It could be dangerous if misused. Even so, she needed to learn the difference.

"Sometimes we must do things in life that are distasteful to us, Avadedra," he told her, "not because we want to, or because it's easier, but because of necessity."

He turned, his deep blue eyes staring into hers, almost as if probing her heart. "For the record, I like it little more than you," he assured her, "but you must understand that you are given your power for a reason, and whether or not you like, you have a responsibility to use that power to serve the greater good... I can only seek to give you the wisdom to see when is the time to use your power and when is not."

He leaned back again. "You are not the first Jedi to ask such questions," he told her, "Many jedi, like the unnamed Exile have even given up the Force, often because they did feared wrong by using it.. even to the benifit of another. But she found it again... and she went on to save the galaxy... though she lost herself in the process."

His eyes lit up though. "Did your mother ever tell you stories of Obi-Wan Kenobi?" he asked, "Did she hear of him?"

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:43 am

She softened, but only slightly. The glacial numbness left by her mother's death ebbed some as she thought back. Still, she refused to look at Meric, fearing her pain would be all the more evident to him.

"She started to tell me," she said, her voice level, unwavering. "Back on Hoth, before... She told me a few of the stories of his youth, about his Master, and about his part in the Clone Wars. But, she never got to finish."

Ava paused for a moment, wondering what her mother would say to her right now if she saw how she was behaving. Deep in her heart, part of her knew that Meric was right. There would be a time and a place... and a need... for some things. That didn't necessarily make it easier to understand or accept.

"Master, there are many things I want to learn," she said, staring down at her hands again. "Many things I need to learn, if for nothing else than to make something of myself again. I know the stories of Obi-Wan, at least some of them. His name was spoken wherever I followed my mother during the war. But Master... I don't understand. Not yet, anyway. I will, one day, but today is already too much. Are there any other... less stressful... lessons I can be taught today?"

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:11 am

Meric smiled as he remembered fondly the friendship he had shared with the Jedi before the fall. But at Ava's question, he snapped back to reality. "Not all lessons are spoken," he told her, "Some are lived... You may find you learn more when I do not speak."

It was about that time that the speeder arrived at the lift. It was different from most of the buildings, being a long, cylindrical building built exclusively for the purpose of transporting beings from one level of the planet-city to another. It appeared to be made of metal bars, with transparisteel plates enclosing the cabin, giving passengers a magnificent view of Coruscant's cityscape.

Meric and Luke were the first to climb out, and while Meric wrestled Artoo from the speeder's chassis, Luke made sure to pay the pilot well for their short trip... about three hundred credits he'd saved up. It wasn't as much as the pilot had asked for, but both Jedi had agreed it would be wrong not to pay for services rendered.

Now they needed only wait for Ava to get out.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:22 am

Avadedra half stood, half knelt inside the speeder as Luke paid the pilot and Meric pulled Artoo aside. She kept an eye on their movements and an eye on their surroundings, not quite sure why her hackles were raised so suddenly. Surely it hadn't come from her discussion with her Master. She decided that it was being in an unfamiliar place and cast it aside.

Once Artoo was clear, Ava slid to the other side and dropped next to Luke. She straightened her tunic and tossed her braid from her shoulder, her right hand straying to her blaster to make sure it was secure. Looking up at her two companions, she took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"Now what?"

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:17 pm

Meric took a deep breath once everything seemed to be in readiness. "From here, things get dangerous," he warned, "Keep your mind clear, Avadedra... and do exactly as I tell you. Coruscant's underworld is not like any place you have ever seen.... there are few more dangerous depths in the galaxy."

Luke raised a brow and looked at him. "Try visiting Mos Eisely sometime," he laughed. Meric chuckled and rolled his eyes.

The group made their way to the lift and stepped inside. As soon as Luke closed the hatch, there was a shudder and a wine from the lift mechanism and the cabin slowly began to descend, down below the great skyscrapers of Coruscant's surface, down, past the middle-class homes and offices that made up the planet's bulk. Soon, the sun's light was nearly blotted out by the sheer number of buildings above. "Coruscant is one big city," Meric explained to Ava, "It's rumored that even the planet's core is made up of an abandoned factory district, but very few ever dare to explore to find out." Still the lift continued lower. By now, a lower class of building could be seen. The only light was provided by lanterns used by denizens of the lower city, and by the hundreds of signs and ad boards and holos advertising the various seedy nightclubs to be found closer to the surface of the planet.

One holo caught Meric's eye. Although the noise of the lower city blotted out any sound that might have come from it (numerous skyspeeders jetted back and forth along invisible lanes), Meric recognized the image. It portrayed a nightclub filled with patrons. A local Bith band, the "Twisted Rancor Trio" was busy performing, while its lead singer, a young, attractive , human woman named Elinda wowed the crowd with her powerful voice. Soon the name was displayed, "Serenity Lost," along with a promise that the band would be playing there for the next three nights only.

"The Serenity Lost Cantina," Meric said, "That's where we'll start. The Twisted Rancor Trio is a popular group, and if anyone can lead us to the contact we seek, they'll more than likely be there... Besides... It's a good place to blend in."

At last, the lift came to a stop. It opened up, and Meric found his nose assaulted by the grimy scents of the under city, scents of smoke and various strong drinks, mixed with traces of amonia and other trace gasses. The air was stale, as if it had been filtered through one too many pairs of lungs. The streets were littered with garbage, and Meric spotted one or two cleaning droids frantically scrubbing along as they tried to tidy up.

Artoo and Luke stepped out of the list behind him, with Luke gazing in wonder over the great variety of patrons that frequented the district. He saw green-headed Twi-leks, Rodians, Bith, Duros, gran, humans, some of whom had actually adapted to life down here, their eyes having grown to provide sight in the subdued light of the lower city, and numerous other species, some of whom he could name, others even he could not.

Meric knew well that if ever he wanted to get lost, this was the place.... The city was so alive with the Force that even the greatest of Jedi might find himself deafened to it if not careful. He looked back, waiting for Ava to follow.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:27 pm

Ava pressed herself to the back of the lift, breathing deeply. As best she could, she followed Meric's instructions and cleared her mind. Her earlier encounter with Meric was starting to chafe her better sense of respect, but this wasn't the place to bring it up. She'd have to face that later, when she and Meric were alone. In an effort to distract herself, she watched the upper city fade away and counted silently in her mind.

"One... two... three..."

It seemed to her that they were in the lift for an eternity. The downward motion had long ago stopped affecting her stomach, but the enclosed space was starting to work on her nerves.

"Two-hundred and ten, two-hundred and eleven, two-hundred and twelve..."

As the lights of the lower city began to rise, Ava actually felt a pang of elation. Her eyes widened as she took it all in, her curiousity and wonder getting the better of her. She leaned around Meric to see what he was looking at and suppressed a smile. She'd always wondered what it was like to go into a cantina, but her mother had never allowed it.

"Eight-hundred and sixty-eight, eight-hundred and sixty-nine..."

The lift stopped just as she reached a count of eight-hundred and seventy-two. She stepped out of the lift, scanning her surroundings as she fought her gag reflex. Meric was right; she'd NEVER seen, or smelled, any place like this in all her sixteen years. She felt fear in the back of her mind and quickly squashed it. Now was not the time to be childish, nor was it the time to give in to every thought that passed through her mind. She stayed close to Meric, glancing at those city dwellers nearest to them.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:00 am

Together with his companions, Meric made his way through the chaotic streets, dodging the occasional swoop or speeder bike, but otherwise seeming to have little trouble navigating the maze of sentients and other obstacles.

Thankfully, the Serenity Lost Cantina wasn't far from the lift. It was positioned in what appeared to be the base of a great skyscraper. It looked like everything Meric had always thought a cantina to be: a seedy nightclub, filled with exotic sights and music, with carnal pleasures, drinks and dancers galore. Meric even caught one twi-lek off in a dark corner who appeared to be attempting to sell off a collection of death sticks, powerful drug-containing, three-centimeter pipes made of paper guarenteed to produce ecstacy and hallucinogenic effects, but also known to reek havoc on most beings' nervous systems. Thus the name. A couple broken-down speeders were parked out front of the club, while a wide open entry way that looked to be able to fit a Jawa's sandcrawler with ease welcomed patrons. Holoscreens set to the back wall, positioned behind the bar displayed various games for the gambling enjoyment of any race, while a smaller port lef into a back room in which the Twisted Rancor Trio was playing. Meric felt sick.

"Good luck finding your contact here!" Luke called over the din, "It's like looking for a diamond in a sand dune! You can try it, but it will take forever."

Meric chuckled. "Still underestimating the Force are we, Luke?" he asked. As the group stepped further in, Meric closed his eyes, seeming undisturbed by the chaos around him. "There's someone here," he confirmed, "Someone... strong in the Force... a jedi but-"

"Sssstop it right there, Cathar!" a gravely voice hissed. Meric's eyes flashed open, registering almost immediate recognition even before he spun around to find a Tenloss Disruptor Rifle pointed directly at his face, held by a menacing looking alien with gray-green skin, wearing rags that looked to be the remains of fine robes, orange eyes glowing with hatred... Meric knew the Trandoshens well, and this one in particular, especially because of the prosthetics displayed over the front of his neck.

"Cradossk!" Meric exclaimed, "I had thought you were-"

"Dead!" Cradossk hissed, "Yesss, Cathar. You thought I wasss dead, asss did my treacherousss ssson... asss did mossst of the galaxxxy.... And I have you to thank... After all thessse years, I will have my vengeanccce."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:15 pm

Meric's sudden stop took Avadedra by surprise, as much as his rising concern and shock. Her hand leapt immediately to her blaster, but she didn't draw it. Instead, she took a few steps further into the crowd and nearer the wall. Beings continued to move around the scene, giving clear berth between themselves and the weapon being pointed at Meric.

Through the bodies around her, Ava watched, waiting. She recognized the weapon and knew its capabilities well, though she'd never seen one in person before. The creature carrying it, a Trandoshen if her memory served correctly, looked comfortable enough with it that one wrong move could end her, and Meric, right then and there. Her eyes fell on Luke, and she could see as well as sense the tenseness in the set of his shoulders and hands.

All of this took a handful of seconds to register, and in that time, Avadedra had placed her mind into a calmer state. She was alert, but her momentary panic had already faded as she waited. Something told her to sit this one out.

For now.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:41 pm

Surprisingly, Meric didn't even flinch. Outlawed on nearly every civilized planet in the galaxy since the glory days of the Old Republic, disruptor rifles were perhaps the most notorious weapons in the galaxy. A highly-powered blast from the weapon's oversized Xciter (a charging module designed to ignite the blaster gas) was meant to disable or to kill the victim in the most heinous way possible. literally breaking down their bodies and any other matter caught by the blast into constituent molecules. Even a glancing blow could cause tremendous pain and serious disfigurement... So why was the Jedi Master so calm?

Luke didn't like where it was headed and began to advance toward the Trandoshen from behind, but at a wave from Meric, he stopped. Luke took a deep breath, perhaps understanding. "May the Force be with you," he whispered. He moved back through the crowd and joined Ava, flashing her a concerned look.

The Jedi and the Trandoshen stared each other down for what seemed like hours. As more patrons sought to give them a wider berth (and as the blue-skinned, Chiss barkeeper hid behind his counter), a tense silence fell over the Cantina.

"I could end your missserable life right here and now," Cradossk hissed, his claw tensing on the trigger. "But I have far more fitting demissse in mind for you... Jussst as you humiliated me, I ssshall humiliate you." He dropped the weapon to the floor and reached under his cloak, producing a vibro-blade. Meric didn't react, even as the blade extended from its hilt and as Cradossk switched it on. Whispers carried from one end of the cantina to the other.

"I have no desire to fight you, Cradossk," Meric stated, "We are here on a mission, and I offer to let you leave in peace."

"I have no desssire to leave without your head, Cathar!" Cradossk hissed, "You were the only bounty to ever esssscape me. You weakened my position within my bounty huntersss' guild and allowed Boba Fett and my sssson to gain pressstige they could use againssst me. Now the Sssscore Keeper ssshall reward my patienccce with your blood!" The alien licked his lips at the thought.

"I have no desire to fight you," Meric repeated.

"Then you ssshall be easy prey!" Cradossk screamed. He lunged forward, swinging his blade to cut Meric's head from his shoulders. The Jedi reacted. Within the blink of an eye his lightsaber was pulled from a pouch at the rear of his vest and ignited in a blaze of violet, clashing with the bounty hunter's weapon. Unexpectedly, the two weapons locked.

"Cortosis," Meric said, almost smirking, "I should have known you'd have such a trick up your sleeve, Cradossk."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:43 am

Ava flinched back when Meric's saber was drawn, her eyes twitching against its sudden light. She fought the urge to hide behind Luke as his blade met that of Cradossk. Her mind flashed to another of the lessons her mother had taught her, this one about light sabers.

"No, no, no," she whispered, her eyes riveted as her hand twitched on her blaster. "He'll weaken the blade. The saber can't stand for... if he has Cortosis..."

Panic rose within her again, forcing her feet to move. She inched closer to Luke, staying slightly behind him as she kept her attention on her Master.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:34 pm

As Cradossk lunged forward again, Meric soared into the air, leaping over the alien's head and barely avoiding the razor-sharp edge of the blade.

"He's survived worse enemies, I expect," Luke assured Ava, "Don't forget that Meric fought in the Clone Wars, and in the Galactic Civil war..." He closed his eyes and reached out with the Force. "Reach out to him Ava," he whispered, "He is calm... but... I feel as if there is a heat coming from him... a warmth... It is the Force, alive, at work."

"Your lust for vengeance has clouded your mind, Cradossk!" Meric warned, "It will be your undoing."

"No," the trandoshen hissed, "It will be yoursss!"

"This is your last chance!" Meric declared, "Leave now, or be destroyed."

With an enraged howl, Cradossk rushed forward, swinging his blade wildly through the air. Meric wove to the side and spun like a cyclone....

It was over an instant later. Cradossk emited a pained wail as the lightsaber penetrated his scaled hide, cauterizing blood and organ alike as it cleaved through him. The violet light disappeared through the middle of the alien's back, only to emerge again through his chest. Cradossk gave a last hateful glare toward Meric before the Jedi Master shut off his lightsaber, and the former bounty hunter fell, never again to rise. Meric closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

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