Tor woke with a yell, a brief flash of light bursting from his body as his eyes snapped open. The dark cavern and the Inquisitor were gone, replaced by the cool durasteel of a ships interior.
Tull was standing over Tor, a worried look still covering the lizard’s face. Tor put a hand on Tull’s arm and pulled himself up, heading towards the cockpit. He found his way to his usual spot behind Kelyn and rested a hand on the back of the scoundrel’s chair.
Kelyn glanced back with a grunt of acknowledgement as Tor caught his breath.
Kelyn turned the ship and Tor’s eyes widened as a massive black behemoth filled the cockpit windows. The beast let out a massive roar and the ship shook in the air.
“Have a nice nap?” Kelyn snapped, catching sight of Tor’s amazed look. He pointed the ship down and Tor saw the Defiance nestled in the decrepit spaceport they’d left it in.
Tor turned towards the back of the ship but hesitated as he felt the dark presence of the beast searching for them, following his energy in the Force. He took his lightsaber from his belt and held it, feeling the crystal buried inside echoing his presence, resonating the same energy that Tor had. He tucked it into a compartment next to a chair. “That’ll help you lead it off,” Tor said to Kelyn’s baffled look, heading out of the ship.
The rest of the group jumped down from the boarding ramp as Kelyn blasted off again. The towering beast paused, hunting for its target before following after Kelyn.
The group waited several long moments while the boarding ramp of the Defiance lowered and the ship started up. As they moved into the ship, Tor noticed Tull, the rough lines and sharp edges under his scales showing his still prevalent injuries, but he had said nothing of them. Tor stopped the reptile and held out his hands, letting his energy flow into the barabel. There was a loud crack as Tull’s ribs snapped back into place but Tull barely flinched. They both ran to gun turrets as Khalic lifted the ship from the ground.
The beast waded through the ruins of the city like they were made of paper, in the distance Tor could see where it had burst out of the temple. Shots flashed out from both the Defiance and Kelyn’s newly appropriated ship, tearing into the massive creature. One blast from Kelyn brought a massive bellow from the beast. Tor felt its anger flare out in the Force. As he did he became aware of something else. The pall of the dark side that had plagued him throughout the temple had lifted. The dark side still hung about the planet, but it was much lighter, like a mist that was easy to penetrate. As Tor pulled the light side to him once again and felt its strength renew him, he looked out his gunport at the massive creature. Tor extended a hand and pushed out with the Force. The beast faltered as the Force washed over it, stumbling and then falling unconscious into a gigantic heap amidst the ruins.
That night, after the group celebrated with the squibs, Tor gathered Tull and Khalic and led them away to a secluded area, the din of the celebrations and the glow of their fires forming a backdrop to the area.
“I wanted to tell you how proud I am of both of you,” Tor began, a hand on each of their shoulders. “Both my padawans,” he said, looking at Tull. “Tull, you have the strongest heart of any creature I’ve ever met. A heart worthy of a Jedi Knight.” He turned to the young zabrak. “Khalic, you’ve grown so much in the Force. The composure you’ve shown, the bravery, the way you’ve used the Force, holding that ship up in the temple. You’ve come a long way.” Tor stepped away and turned to face them. “It’s up to us,” Tor said, gesturing to the three of them, “to restore the Jedi order. If our journey here has taught me anything, it’s that I won’t be around forever. And when I’m gone, I’ll need others to carry on the Jedi way, to bring the Jedi back to the galaxy.”
Tor looked up, at the stars twinkling overhead. “The Jedi are supposed to be the guardians of the galaxy. Now that job falls to us. I only know so much, can only do so many things.” He turned to Tull. “Tull, you know how to handle yourself in battle. In a very short time you’ve been able to treat the lightsaber like you’ve used one for years. Better than I ever could. You’ll be able to teach people how to wield it well. Khalic, you will find that people throughout the galaxy will pursue you, just for having a connection to the Force. You must remain strong and vigilant. You’ll have to pass on knowledge of how to use the Force to others, when I’m no longer able.”
Tor opened his arms, taking in the world around them. “Between us I believe that we can restore the Jedi to the galaxy. We will fight the oppression of the Empire and make the galaxy safe again.” He turned back to his padawans, a smile on his face. “Best get started.”
Tor showed Tull the holocron he’d found at Bu’cho’s. Count Dooku appeared and began to explain the various lightsaber forms. Tull drank it in. Tor helped him with the small knowledge he had, getting the reptile started, but soon Tull was working alone, the holocron continuing to explain different techniques.
With Khalic, Tor accessed the holocron that had been dropped by Draco, proud that Khalic had retrieved it from the dark cavern. Together they explored its knowledge, learning new philosophies and techniques of the Force, practicing them with each other.
Tor moved between the two sharing advice. As Tull practiced multiple forms, Tor spoke with him. “Remember, the most powerful form you can use Tull, is to not have to use any form at all.”
At one point in their training, Khalic had practiced meditation and had seen a vision. As soon as he told Tor about it, Tor knew it was about Kelyn’s daughters and the shared visions they’d had several weeks prior. Tor rushed off, his padawans in tow.
They found Kelyn on the ship, deep into a Corellian opera and several bottles of ale. “Sss goin’ on?” he slurred. Tor explained the vision and even shared it with Kelyn, using his species’ memnii ability. Kelyn seemed to sober a bit as he questioned the vision, what it meant, and how it would lead to Tor killing his girls.
“I give you my word, Kelyn,” Tor said emphatically. “That I will do everything I can to bring your daughters back to the light side.”
Kelyn would not be swayed from his anguish and soon had sealed himself back in his cabin, the opera again blaring from behind the closed door.
Their ships drifted up from the planet, ready to make their way back to Exovar’s and then on to Coruscant when three star destroyers flashed in front of them. The Defiance, with all aboard except Kelyn, dove into the asteroids, pummeled by the huge rocks as the star destroyers turned towards them. Khalic felt a strange urgency in the Force and began to lead them to a strange formation deep within the belt.
As they approached it, the Imperial ships edged closer, Kelyn in his ship swooping by them. A quick farewell from the scoundrel sounded over the comm. and Kelyn’s new ship disappeared from the sensors, followed by a massive explosion that consumed one of the capital ships.
“KELYN!” Tor yelled into the comm.
A moment of static was followed by a gruff “What?” from the scoundrel, piloting a small pod near the Defiance.
The group landed on the strange formation and proceeded through a decrepit corellian corvette, edging their way closer to the strange presence Khalic felt. They found a strange droid in the engine room, nearly humorous in its attempts at hostility. Khalic entered a small space while Kelyn collected some needed power cores. As they emerged to return to the Defiance, a large ice bridge loomed ahead, crawling with stormtroopers.
The strange R2 unit twittered, Kelyn’s hand inched towards his blaster, Khalic’s towards the contraption that sprung into a turret, Tull’s hands curled into fists, and again Tor began to reach out to the Force.
Almas was not finished with them yet.