Chapter 6: Evoker
"As you can see, the Sith have returned thusly."
"I see your point."
"This is why I personally trained you to become a Jedi Shadow. You are perhaps the most lethal Jedi currently within the Order..."
The ship slowed to a stop after reaching the endless city of Coruscant. High above the skylines, the ship hovered still, somewhere near a particular building. This building happened to be where the public office of former Emperor Palpatine was located centuries ago. The ship hovered right outside that office window.
This was Dya'Mondria's intent, to explore what happened at the time of Mace Windu's death. Although this event happened hundreds of years ago, her research in addition to guidance by computers and helpful droids, she was able to figure out exactly where the ancient lightsaber had fallen. The results led her ship to descend vertically down into the depths of Coruscant's underworld.
After what seemingly took forever to achieve, the ship finally touched down on something solid. A vacant street. After the ship rested in its extracted landing gear, a boarding ramp descended at the rear underbelly of the vessel before touching the ground. Dya'Mondria emerged, walking down the ramp with her new lightsaber in hand. The broken lightsaber was still in its box, resting in her other hand as she walked cautiously along the surface of this dusty street.
The surrounding area appeared dark, since no sunlight reached this place. Towering structures existed all around, blocking out any possible sunlight. Of course there was street lighting here, but those lights were dim or broken from lack of maintenance. Apparently no one ever came through this area.
The computers could no longer help her now. Droids, partially spherical ones, hovered nearby and traveled with her as they scanned the area and analyzed everything they saw. She had to rely on the force at this point, hoping that maybe there was some slim chance of finding Mace Windu's remains. If there were any.
At this point, she stooped down to both knees and sat on them to begin meditation. As the Force reacted to her, it showed her where to go. Opening her eyes, she stood up. Walking forward, she traveled away from the ship and ventured into the shadows. Once she reached the appropriate spot, she sat down on her knees again, but this time she placed the saber box down on the ground before her. This broken lightsaber would now serve as a conduit for what she was about to do.
There was nothing here, no remains of any kind. That did not stop her.
She opened herself fully to the force, stretching her arms wide from either side as if attempting to hug the sky. Her head tilted all the way back while her back remained straight. Her eyes opened, glowing with a bright gold light just like the aura that outlined her being. Wind swirled around her in a near tornado-like fashion as the Force reacted to her. She moaned in reaction to the amount of power channeled, straining to maintain it. The ground began to shake violently all around her. Surrounding darkness became illuminated by her golden light.
Her lips parted into a wide O-shape as she screamed loudly. Power increased, her connection to the force heightened. Suddenly within the same spot where the Force led her, just a few meters away, a mass of light formed from nothingness and took the shape of a man. As she generated power from the Force, the man figure drew on it and utilized it to reach full manifestation. Soon that vague figure of light became fleshed out, appearing as a Human male with a bald head and dressed in ancient Jedi robes.
The earthquake ceased, the tornado faded away, and the golden light she emanated vanished. Her glowing eyes returned to normal. Her body however, was now exhausted, and she collapsed upon the dusty ground. Unconscious.
The incorporeal man walked, approaching her for a closer look. First he looked at the young woman, and then he looked at the broken lightsaber sitting on the ground before her. "Hmm," his ghostly voice said. His fiercely stoic face cracked a vague smile of amusement.
"So what are you," he asked, sitting in a chair onboard the starship. "Some sort of Jedi sorcerer or something?"
"Something," she answered, sitting on the floor nearby.
He sighed with a facepalm.
Dya'Mondria bit her bottom lip with nervousness.
"Relax, youngster. I'm glad you came," he said, removing his hand from his face to have a look around this place. To him, this was obviously a Jedi-purposed starship and this room was a sparring room. However, there was something unusual about it. Something fancy.
"Looks like the Jedi are much more hightech than they used to be. What is the year?"
He raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah," she sighed. "It's been a long time, master."
"I apologize for disturbing your rest."
"No need. I know why you're here."
Her eyebrows raised.
"You know, I never did do that netherworld thing Yoda sometimes talked to me about. I don't know what happened to me when I died, but..." He sighed, trying to take it all in. "This is not at all what I expected."
Dya'Mondria chuckled. The man was surprising humorous in a brooding, sardonic, and cynical sort of way.
"So what's the situation?" He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his thighs behind his knees while folding his hands under his chin. "I mean... there are not too many reasons why a Jedi as strong in the Force such as yourself would come so far as to bring an old Jedi master back from the dead."
She was about to answer but...
"Let me guess. Sith. They are stronger and deadlier than ever, and the galaxy is in terrible danger. Am I warm?"
"As a plate of freshly grilled steak, master."
He chuckled. "Yeah, history has a habit of repeating itself."
His friendly face switched instantly into a cold and stoic one again. "That's why my answer is no."
She gasped. "But master. I..."
"If you have to ask that question, it only confirms why I should not teach you my forbidden techniques of Form Seven Vaapad."
She slumped. Her head sunk so low it could have fell off and dropped into her lap.
"It's too dangerous, too risky, and without the right person to learn it, it would be almost certain that he or she would succumb to the darkside in the first moment used against an actual opponent."
"Master, there is far too much at stake here. It is a must that I learn Vaapad."
He sat there staring at her, probably calmly contemplating this moment. It was a long moment of silence, but that silence stopped when he said, "You already know Juyo, don't you?"
"How good are you?"
"According to the current grandmaster of the Jedi Order, I have mastered it."
"Well then he's a moron."
Dya was taken aback.
"No one can fully master Juyo. It's an incomplete and convoluted lightsaber combat form. No one knows the full extend of it, and never have for thousands upon thousands of years. Possibly for as far back as the Second Jedi Schism. Maybe further back in the past than that."
"Perhaps the grandmaster meant something else when he told me this."
He nodded. "That's a possibility."
"Is there any other way to master it?"
"Yes. There is," he answered. "But... it won't be easy. In fact, you will have to go through absolute hell to accomplish this."
The Force spirit of Mace Windu could not stay in her company for long. As rumors and stories told it, these spirits must return back to the netherworld of the Force. Then, it would take awhile for them to be able to return to the material realm. However, as Dya, learned--Dya was what the ancient master nicknamed her--a Force user could prolong the spirit's visitation so long as it was continuously fed channeled power from the person being visited. Of course, this drained the Force user, and upon exhaustion and falling unconscious, the link would cease and the spirit would return to the Force instantly.
Before his spirit vanished from her presence, Dya told him everything she knew about the pending crisis discovered by the Jedi Order. He listened to her story as she told him about the pureblooded Sith and how they were able to miraculously travel through time by way of some deep space anomaly. She told him her concerns about the martial arts mastery of these ancient people, how Forms like Juyo would not only be fully mastered but also completed. Then of course there was the overall concern about the level of Force sorcery the original Sith possessed, being able to transmute lifeforms into hideous monstrosities through alchemy and magical spells. Technology was another issue. Even though lightsabers and their usage was fairly new in the period of time these Sith came from, there was always a chance that Rakata technology was exploited. Sith technology was quite advanced too, something that became long forgotten over many millennia.
Mace Windu's spirit became concerned, and he soon understood why Dya felt that these times were utterly dire. He understood her pressure for urgency, why she sought means to gain every advantage possible to be able to defeat these new Sith arrivals. Even as the deadliest most lethal member currently in the Jedi Order, Dya was still at an incredible disadvantage. With all that information shared with him, Mace Windu had only one conclusion on the matter.
"I will most definitely help you, training you to become greater and wiser than you already are. That alone will make you a formidable opponent. I still refuse to teach you Vaapad, and that decision will not change. However, it is as I said. It won't be easy, and you will have to go through absolute hell to reach what it is you aspire to be. Through me."
Dya woke up to find herself lying on the floor. Saliva leaked out of her mouth, as she noticed upon sitting up and seeing a slimy puddle. Disoriented, she stumbled to climb back to her feet. The Force spirit was gone. Long gone. She felt alone again, wishing he could stay longer. She admired him. If only he could be fully resurrected, then things might be different.
"It worked for Cade Skywalker," she thought, walking away to leave this sparring room.
She did all she could do, despite being disappointed, but she did manage to change Master Windu's mind. Sort of. Nevertheless, it was now time to leave. Returning to the cockpit, she climbed back into the seat and initiated liftoff. A moment later, her starship ascended back into the sky before hurling off into outer space and jumping into hyperspace.
The Sarapin System. Her ship jumped out of hyperspace, arriving here. With stealth mode activated, she piloted the ship towards what her sensor indicated was a volcanic planet. This planet was known to have a formidable defense grid, practically impenetrable. It belonged to the Republic, and a Jedi should not have any problems getting through because they were allies. However, Dya was an unknown person with an unknown identity flying an unmarked mysterious starship designed mainly for stealth. To maintain her cover of secrecy and stealth, she would have to sneak inside without revealing her existence.
For this matter, despite it being invisible to sensors and scanner systems, anyone could see the ship if a vessel were ever close enough to it, even with hits hull being fitted with a special matte-black fiberplast. That meant she would have to use the Force to conceal it, enveloping the entire vessel in a barrier of transparent energy just as she would for herself while traveling on foot. However, in order to do this, she needed to perform greater concentration, being that the ship was far larger. There was a lot more surface to cover, a lot more details to consider.
An astromech unit took control of the ship, piloting it while Dya entered meditation. She had already given it instruction on what to do. The droid obediently piloted the ship in such a way that not only was it unnoticed but it managed to follow a freighter and attach the ship to its hull. Now the ship appeared to have landed on the surface of a large ship with its magnetized landing gear extracted.
Dya kept her eyes closed, doing her best to not be distracted or interrupted by anything. She kept still, concentrating on the Force, waiting for the droid's signal as the freighter carried her ship safely through the defense grid. Soon the freighter entered through the planet's atmosphere, soaring through the sky. The droid detached the ship and stealthily veered it away from the freighter. At this point, the droid beeped and whistled, letting its master know that the task was complete.
Ceasing her concentration on the Force, invisible energy dissipated from around the ship as she returned to piloting. "Thank you," she said to the droid.
It beeped and chimed and resumed its usual tasks.
Smoke filled the skies as the stealth ship flew though, seeking a place to land. Volcanoes were active, as always, causing lakes of fire to flow without end along the planet's rocky surface.
"Is this the 'absolute hell' you spoke of, Master Windu," she questioned aloud, smirking. She was feeling snide and tenacious, as determined to achieve her goals as usual.
Piloting this ship with mastery, she avoided the energy factories and the indoor cities, seeing the volcanic wildernesses of the planet where she had hoped to discover a creature called Vaapad.
"Through you. That's what you said, Master Windu. The only way that I can think of to gain knowledge through you is to become you. By learning what it was you experienced and reliving it through my experience."
Spotting a safe place, she began the landing procedures and brought this ship down vertically. Upon a successful and safe landing, she powered down the ship and climbed out of her seat saying, "Let's go and discover what a Vaapad actually is."
Disembarking, she walking down the lowered boarding ramp while wearing a protective suit of light armor. It allowed for high mobility and proved to be quite flexible due to the material used to make it. A mechanical respirator mask covered her face, made to filter out all chemicals, gases, toxins, and other harmful vapors. On her person, she carried a total of three lightsabers: one shoto, one standard lightsaber, and her new long-handle lightsaber. Walking away from the ship, she began her search for the infamous creatures native to this planet's environment. The Vaapad.
They were certainly not hard to find, seemingly all over the place on this planet's surface, most often grouped together, although some were solitary. The lonely ones were the kind she hoped for, because what she knew about these deadly creatures warned her that she will surely die if not careful. She could not afford to lose her life, not that a Jedi like her feared death, but she knew full well that the fate of the entire galaxy rested upon her decisions and actions. Extreme caution was a must.
An omnipresent voice suddenly spoke to her in a ghostly manner, saying, "Well, well padawan. You're a tenacious one, aren't you?"
Taking cover behind a solid wall of rock within a field of outcrops, she spied a single vaadpad and said, "Correct, but I'm not padawan."
He chuckled. "To me you are."
"Maybe from your point of view, but not mine and certainly not the grandmaster's." She readied her lightsaber, not the new one with a long handle, but the smaller one. The shoto. Holding it in reverse, so the blade would emerge from under her hand, she activated the weapon and an emerald blade of light came to life. The activation sound was silent, barely audible thanks to a sound muffler she had installed for the sake of stealth.
"Careful padawan," the voice warned. "You are treading awfully close to the darkside."
"What makes you say that?"
"Think about what you are attempting to do," Windu lectured. "Jedi respect all life, no matter what form it may be."
"Jedi also kill only for defense."
"In this case, you are not defending yourself. You are merely provoking a reason to be defensive, in which case is simply another form of being offensive."
"Well if it works," said Dya. "Then it works."
"You almost are beginning to understand the nature of Vaapad. Almost."
"Which one? The lifeform or the fighting form?"
The voice turned silent and never answered her.
"Okay," she sighed with sarcasm. "Guess I'm on my own now." At this moment, she stayed hidden, taking the time to plan out her course of action before engaging the vaapad. From the looks of it, the creature was a large bulbous body of hardened flesh. The surface of its body was not at all smooth, having many grooves that made the strange creature appear wrinkled over all. She figured that this allowed the creature to gain traction on this tough terrain should it decide to roll to its destination. Besides those yellow eyes that existed on what seemed to be a buried head or a flattened dome, there were tentacles all over its body forming a tapestry of detail. How many tentacles, she could not tell, but this was because the created sat wrapped up in them, allowing space only for the head so its eyes could watch her.
It knew she was here and it waited patiently for her to reveal herself. She realized how right the ancient Jedi master was, because the vaapad was passively being offensive by waiting for her to move in closer so it would strike. The reason she came to this planet in the first place was because she figured that was what Master Windu did in order to help develop Form VII vaapad. She also figured that she could be wrong about this and had unwittingly put herself on a suicidal quest to meet her demise. However, there was only one way to find out.
She took a deep nervous breath and exhaled slowly, saying to herself, "Come on. You can do this." Dya stepped out from behind the giant rock, slowly, cautiously revealing herself to the vaapad.
"Why? Feeling worried about me."
"Of course. You're going to get yourself killed."
Taking slow steps forward one foot at a time, she remained in a battle stance, with an activated shoto readied in her right hand. "There is no death," she said, in response to the ghost. "There is the Force."
"Girl, don't be stupid!"
She continued onward.
"The creature is too fast for you to follow its attacks. One strike and that is the end. Turn back right now, while you still can."
"Aw, damn," he said, seeing that the creature was ready to take action. "For the love of the Force, will you please stop?"
The creature, in one quick succession, unwrapped its tentacles and stood up, using them as stilts like some perverse kind of multipedal spider. She still could not see how many tentacles it had because they moved so rapidly that the creature appeared to be a floating ball of flesh. Dya generated power from the Force, channeling it into her fighting form as she began to defend herself. A blur of whips sprung out from underneath and from the sides of the creature, darting at her with the speed of high winds.
She stepped back, moving her arms and legs with force speed to match its attacks with blocks and parries, which was surprising successful, but she did it with her bare hands because she dropped her lightsaber during the first attack. Had she not been a lifetime practitioner of Teräs Käsi, she would be dead already.
"Like I said," the voice started. "The creature is fast. Move any slower, and you're dead."
Dya realized that Windu was actually helping her, just like he promised, but there a certain wit and humor in his tone of voice. She would giggle in response if this was not a dangerous situation. Already she began to worry, despite her skill in using the seven combat forms without wielding a lightsaber. The Force she used to protect her hand from damage or pain as she scrapped with the lightning-fast creature. She remained calm, submerged in serenity, but just barely because in her heart she was actually terrified. Still she kept that emotion in check and continued to fight the creature.
"I'm impressed, padawan. Really. But... this creature is only toying with you. It can move much faster than that."
He was right, because just as he said that, the vaapad quickly overwhelmed her. In addition to being swift, the creature's other deadly skill was to drain energy from its victim. Sure, the Force protected her, but it too was a form of energy, and the vaapad enjoyed stripping it from her, making her tired and weak. Already she could not keep up, no matter how fast the Force allowed her to move.
A whip of blur slapped her across the face. The blow from that tentacle strike flung her high and far from the area. Her body rag-dolled through air until she clumsily crashed upon a rocky ground many yards away from the creature. Thankfully, her face was masked with enough armor to absorb the blow, but already she could feel a bruise underneath the mask. Lying on her back, she felt too fatigued to get back up. At least for few seconds.
She heard him, and she complied, straining against the pain of being knocked around. Unfortunately she was not fast enough and was whipped again several times before a strong whip sent her flying again. This time she fell into a large ditch, rolling sideways down along the side until hitting the bottom. She winced from a sizzling hot sensation. She quickly turned around and crawled backwards. Smoke rose from her protective suit, and when she looked at the damage, she realized that the armor on her shoulder had melted.
That made her look to see what she had landed in. Magma. Beyond the magma was a large and protruding crystal formation. Its colors matched that of the magma pond surrounding it, fiery red with bright yellow cores. She reached out to it with the force, yanking off a shard of that crystal only to catch it as it flew into her hand. Surprising the crystal shard was sizzling hot, damaging her armored palm. She dropped it immediately, but only to look up and see the angry vaapad rolling down the side of this crater-like ditch to come after her.
She summoned power from the Force, using it to telekinetically control the creature's rolling motion, using its momentum against it to push it into the magma. Tentacles flailed in all directions as the ball-shaped creature screamed madly and sunk into the magma. The miserable thing must have died already, because she could see how many tentacles it had.
"Seven?" Obviously it was a small vaapad, but definitely not a baby.
Looking up, Dya found herself in an even more dire situation after realizing that she was surrounded by a whole group of vaapad. At least five.
"Use your lightsabers, girl!"
"I learned it from studying you."
The voice had nothing to say to that.
"Are you going to help me or not?"
"How? I'm just a ghost!"
"Trust me, master," she said, hearing the urgency in his ethereal voice. "All I need is your permission."
"To do what?"
"It is as you said," she reminded him, sitting with her back up against the wall of this crater. Her eyes watched as the five or more vaapad began moving in close to reach and attack her. "I must achieve this... through you."
He hesitated to answer. Maybe he did not understand what she meant.
"Please, master Windu! For the love of the Force, will you just say yes!"
"Yes," he said quickly. "Yes! Yes, dammit yes!"
A burst of Force rung out from her body, causing her eyes to glow with a bright golden color. It was just like back on Coruscant when she evoked the man's spirit in the first place, except this time, her entire being became enveloped in a strange purple color. It was the same color as the crystal used in Master Windu's old lightsaber. Amethyst. She saw this happen to her with a bit of surprise, only because her technique in Force spirit possession actually worked this time. With a Jedi spirit, no less. Just like what the Sith holocron taught her a couple of months ago. It felt strange, because she now existed as if she was Mace Windu, and his spirit existed in her as if he was her. A secondary lifeforce within a single living body.
The group of vaapad moved in for the kill. These were larger and apparently more deadly than the first one. As if with second wind, the Force poured into her as she engaged the creatures with full aggression, moving just as lightning quick as they did, matching the speed of their tentacles as she struck back with mastered unarmed martial skill.
She had begun to achieve Form VII Vaapad, but without weaponry.
The vaapads worked in cooperation with each other, seeking to outwit her in sheer numbers, but at this time she became highly evasive with the use of Ataru, performing acrobatic feats to keep from being harmed. With an aerial cartwheel, she evaded them after launching herself high up into the air. This bought her some time to ready her long-bladed lightsaber, because she figured that she could no longer fight them all at once without a better advantage. This was because she realized, from Windu's consciousness, that Vaapad as a form had absolutely no defenses. It was strange because she was just defending herself with it, using nothing but blocks and parries and never striking back once. She could not, not without being struck and getting killed in the process.
In midair, she readied her long-handled lightsaber while upside down in the aerial cartwheel. Now after landing gracefully away from danger, she stood up from a landed crouch position and watched the angry creatures from the edge of this crystal occupied crater.
In her mind, she wondered, Can they climb up this cliffside or not?
From the looks of it, they tried but failed. Their tentacles could not gain proper traction and their rounded bodies needed momentum to roll up the sides. In order to get to her, they would have to find another way out. It was not impossible, but would take them a long time. Time enough for Dya to escape them. Yet she did not.
A vaapad behind her struck, but she moved so quick that her long-handled lightsaber blocked that tentacle. The creature screamed in pain from being cut by her blade in that instant. Then it backed away from her, not knowing what she would do next. Her back was facing the creature when she block its attack, but now after turning around to face it, she watched as the creature charged forward to kill her vengefully. That did not end well for the creature, being that Windu's influence caused her to rapidly strike the creature seven times with lethal thrusts to its bulbous body. The creature died instantly from--what seemed to the naked eye--like a single blow.
She stood there in a battle pose, realizing what she had just done. Her chest rose and fell with each panting breath, for she was now tired from fighting. However, she realized that now she was able to perform Vaapad. All she needed now was to master it.
"You're done," said the voice in her mind. "Let's get out of here."
With a wave of her hand, that red and yellow shard she found flew up form out of the crater and hovered nearby, floating forward as she walked back to her ship. The emerald shoto she dropped earlier, it came back to in the same way, landing in her free hand before she reattached it to her belt.
The ship rose up off the dark ground and began flying up towards the sky in stealth mode. Then while it was still within the planet's atmosphere, the ship suddenly jumped into hyperspace and vanished from this volcanic world.