Tales of the Jedi

Episode 45 – Declaration of War

Declaration of War

Disregarding Rune’s advice on a more stealthy approach, Jedi Knight RoTahn Zem along with his padawan Jaalib Maris plus Arten and Wells fly to the Empress Teta system and quickly find themselves in battle with a squadron of Chaos ships. Flashing back, we see that the Force has given Rune a vision of Aleema needing help. Going against the Jedi Council’s wishes, he is determined to fly to Koros Major immediately. Not wanting to get his padawan in trouble, he instructs her to remain on Coruscant. Returning to the space battle, Arten’s ship is about to be destroyed when the Sunjammer swoops in to save the day! The turbulence knocks Myn out of her hiding place and it’s revealed that she had stowed away on board without Rune’s knowledge. Time for reprimands later, she takes over the flight controls while Rune mans the turret. The battle won, the ships drop down to the planet’s surface – Zem and Jaalib lead any pursuing ships away while the others land and approach Cinnagar on foot. They have to take care to not be spotted by the Holy Crusaders. Approaching the Iron Citadel, they see signs that the two Star Sabers were shot down by the defense turrets and crashed but it appears that Zem and Jaalib were taken out of the wreckage alive. The team sneaks into the Citadel; Rune first goes to Aleema’s room but one of her handmaidens informs him that she has been taken to the dungeons. Once there, Rune finds Aleema chained to a post with a torture droid at the ready – offering her refreshments if only she agrees to be injected with a syringe full of Sith poison. Aleema is a mess with matted hair but – having not used any magicks in some time and having refrained from consuming the quills of her pet – she is more free of the Dark Side than she has been since she first read the Necronomicon Exmortis. She tries to tell Rune that she’s not a good person – that it’s true what people have said about her; that she and her cousin were just spoiled rich kids and that she’s hurt so many people. She also admits to using an illusion to make it appear that the Naturon Demonto was destroyed. Rune reminds her that it was Satal who forced her to do those horrible things and it was she who tried to warn the Jedi of the impending attack on Deneba. Aleema explains that she had been able to control Ulic for a time until The Man in The Hood came. He first tried to kill Ulic and her – she couldn’t stop him since her magick was weak and she was quickly knocked out. When she awoke, Ulic had somehow allied himself with the mysterious stranger. They both turned on her and locked her away until she agreed to accept the syringe. After her confession, multiple Krath Assassins reveal themselves from their hiding places and attack (they had been secretly listening to test her loyalty). The team kills them and begins to make their escape when the way out is blocked by Ulic Qel-Droma and an unbeatable group of Krath soldiers and War Droids. Ulic says that he will let them go free in order to deliver a warning to the Jedi Council that the Krath have declared war on the Republic if Aleema willingly drinks a goblet full of a Sith alchemy potion. Rune is against it but with limited options, Aleema whispers to him to please save her and bring her back as she takes a drink. Rune kisses her and his lips and teeth come away blackened. It’s not clear what state Aleema is in as she starts down the corridor and turns to look over her shoulder, smiling …

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