Tales of the Jedi

Episode 49 – The Real Me

The Real Me

We open with Rune and Wells taking a shared guard duty shift. She asks him how he feels about her and he says, “You’re not my student but there is much we can teach each other.” She also asks about Aleema and if he’s close to Zeeona to which he responds, “400,000km doesn’t feel so close to me” (looking up at Onderon). Rune goes on to say that he likes the freedom of this moon; the beasts are not beholden to anyone or anything, just their own needs and desires. Dxun has a refreshing rawness – he appreciates the law of “kill or be killed” here. Javan leans in and kisses Jenif, which is secretly observed by Dr. Slivko while at the same time he watches Myn walking away. When it is time for the second shift, Rune and Wells go looking for Myn (Arten & Slivko sleeping). They split up and Wells finds Myn but, like her, she is overcome by a group of Orbalisk. She lies down and they begin to crawl on top of her. Rune resists and in the process of the parasites trying to feed off of him, they draw off enough of the darkness that he is back to his normal self. Rune uses the Force to flick them off of Jenif before they can really attach themselves. Myn, on the other hand, has been a victim of these parasites for the last two hours and they cannot be easily removed (their carapace is immune to lightsabers). Rune, frustrated by Slivko and concerned for his padawan tell the doctor to “Help or shut up.” Slivko brings a lantern to dissect one of them. Rune has a plan and tells the others to be ready to act on his signal. He places his hands on Myn and uses the Force to become a more appetizing target. The orbalisk separate from Myn and move up Javan’s arms; once he is certain she is safe, he signals the others to get them all off her. Back at camp, Myn is terrified since she can’t feel the Force. The parasites do not kill their hosts and, in fact, excrete a chemical which heals them but the way they feed could have cost Myn her Force sensitivity. However, Rune feels that it’s still there and comforts her until she feels a tiny ember burning and returning. Once she’s back to sleep, Rune is hard on himself and tells Wells that he can’t believe that he would let Myn go off in the woods for hours. “I didn’t care where she was.” When Wells tries to make him feel better, Javan insists that no, she doesn’t understand, “I didn’t care.” Javan goes off on his own to meditate. Meanwhile, Slivko does the unthinkable and affixes one of the orbalisk to his chest in order to heal himself and actually seems to enjoy the pain the parasites causes when he pulls on it. Arten discovers this and rolls over to rest more (but making sure his sleeping bag is zipped up). Aleema meets Rune again in the jungle and explains that she’s not exactly sure what they are dealing with – that Rune must have done something when Ulic made her drink that Sith alchemy. Rune explains that he tried to cleanse it with the Force and take some down his own throat as they kissed. It now seems they share the darkness between the two of them since Aleema had to spend a whole day being “good”. It appears that only a kiss can transfer the darkness, not other contact. Rune agrees to take a bit more so they can both be a bit more balanced. Aleema also persuades Rune to let her stay for just one day and he agrees since her astral projection spell seems less troublesome relatively speaking after one has consumed Sith poison. Meanwhile, Slivko is fully healed and tries to cut the orbalisk off of himself but as a surgeon realizes he would have to cut too deep. So he instead chooses to terrify Myn so she uses a Force ability and the parasite moves to her. Later, when Rune discovers what Slivko did, he is upset that the doctor would endanger his padawan in that way.
Day three begins and on their way out of camp Slivko persuades and helps Arten affix an orbalisk to his back shoulder in order to heal as they journey through the jungle. Seeing evidence that the creatures of Dxun prey upon each other, they find a large Boma carcass – red torn flesh still clinging to the white bones of the rib cage. In the center of the body is a seething pit of white maggot-like larva picking at the remains. From the air, the group is attacked by deadly Drexl Beasts whose bite can puncture the hull of a starship. They are difficult to defeat as they swoop to defend their vicious offspring. After the battle, Arten feels he has had enough of the parasite on him and rips it off with his great strength – taking off a large chuck of his own flesh in the process. Moving through the jungle, the sunlight comes through the canopy in long shadows. Rune senses movement within these shadows and suddenly the group is set upon by terrible nighthunters known as Maalraas – feline-type creatures which can use the Force to cloak themselves in shadow and whose bones are resistant to lightsabers. There are too many of them and the group is forced to run away. Aleema buys Rune some time by creating an illusion of the flesh of her face tearing away and becoming snakes, which momentarily cows the cats (this was noticed by Wells). Running deeper into the jungle, the cats do not pursue once the team gets far enough out of the shadows. After resting, they encounter one of the things that may have made the shadow – a gigantic Zakkeg, the god-lizard. A huge head come down through the canopy and eats a maalraas but then takes notice of the group. This alpha predator is huge and built like a tank, with a hide so thick it is like durasteel plating. It is a hard fight with its tail whipping around and quickly knocking Myn against a rock but eventually it is defeated by Rune jumping on top of its head and driving his lightsaber into its brain. While higher up, Rune saw their destination – they are close. Arriving at the Tomb, they see that the beskar plate has been pulled away – bent but not pried open with any crowbar marks or evidence of other tools. Arten notices that even the creatures of this moon do not venture inside the tomb; there are tracks in the dirt – three men entered but only one left and it might have been days ago. Stepping inside, they find two dead bodies – rotting flesh hanging on the robed skeletal remains of two Naddist cultists. Rune and Slivko notice that there are lightsaber makes on the robes and Rune adds that they were clean kills from the front, not kneeling. “It’s a Jedi,” he says but has no idea who. Suddenly, the two ghoulish cultists come to un-life! Animated by the dark energies of this place, they grab and try to choke Myn and pummel Arten with their fists. After dispatching the monstrosities, Rune explains that the third man must have come for Freedon Nadd’s bones and they will not find them down there. It’s not easy to just destroy the bones and the spirit of Freedon Nadd is still very much “alive”. Resigned to their fate, the team begins their descent down into the Tomb.

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