Jul 18, 2019 11:44 AM
a fateful meeting; Yvette and Ellie
Next Post »
Permalink

A young woman sits on a seat thats synthetic cushioning is only nominally cushioning, wondering if it means anything in particular that the shuttle has no windows. She'd hoped there would be windows. Windows meant that she could edge her way to one to look out of it to try and get an overhead view of the Sith academy, try to commit its layout to memory. Saving time not getting lost seems like it'd be a minor thing, but she's pretty sure that really, she doesn't have much going for her in the Sith murder competition. Every scrap of an advantage she can get at she has to go for, so she can maybe not die.

But realistically? She's probably going to die. In fact, most people here were going to die, and they all know it. Or were deluding themselves by trying to pretend that it was all going to be okay, that the Sith will be nice. The ones that didn't fall to delusion were afraid, including her. But she had to say that she was handling it better than some. One in the corner had burst into tears twice already, and looked ready for round three, bonus snot edition. Another two were posturing, saying how they were going to be the best Sith, how the rest of them were going to die. Regaining some scraps of resolve stolen by fear by terrorizing the people around them. What a very Sith thing to do. They must be so proud.

Nariveth, for her part, sits quietly. She doesn't dare close her eyes and try to snatch a few moments of sleep, even though she hadn't had enough. She's far too nervous, far too surrounded by strangers that might want to kill her, far too afraid to show weakness when sometimes her neck still tingled like a shock collar sat on it and she had to behave or she'd be shocked until she couldn't think from the pain. And the terror. The terror came with the pain. But, sad as it might be, terror was just a fact of her life now. What if her master is upset with her, what if her master thinks she's pretty, what happens if she ostracizes herself from her peers and they start finding ways to make her suffer, what if Imperial Intelligence decides that she's on the wrong side of the statistics the next time they deem losses acceptable, what if, what if -

Well, she doesn't have a master now. And no matter the what if, it'll be more difficult to handle if she's running mindlessly in circles like a gizka that's lost its head. She can keep her composure, and then she can deal with it. Whatever happens.

The engine's hum quiets, and the entire shuttle shakes as it meets ground, and Nariveth steadies herself with a deep breath and stands. The landing ramp lowers, and a breath of hot, dry air rushes in.

Time to go.

Total: 781
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

They were all told. When the shuttle lands, the doors will open, you will exit the shuttle quickly in an orderly fashion the overseers' time is valuable do not make them wait. This is your group number, find your group number and go through the marked door. The mass of prospective acolytes breaks into chunks as people find their group numbers and go to whatever fate awaits them. Nariveth's group contains five others, three human, one Gran, and one Twi'lek. Their overseer, a shortish bored-looking man is leaning against the opposite wall. He straightens up when they enter, and sneers when he sees the composition of the group.

"Finally. Took you scum long enough."

Permalink

Oh, wonderful, she's going to be fighting for her life against her peers, and she's going to get called names during it. That's exciting.

(If he's the yelly type she's going to be in a bit of trouble, she might not be able to keep herself from flinching. When her master - former master, she reminds herself - yelled, she sometimes flinched. Flinching doesn't seem recommended at the Sith academy.)

She thinks of a few things to say that would definitely get her shocked if she still had her collar on, but decides that staying silent is the best option. She takes the opportunity to try and get a better idea of the layout of the academy, and of what her peers are like. Anyone she recognizes from the shuttle?

Permalink

Three-eyes and head-tails she recognizes by appearance, there were not many non-humans on the shuttle, but they had both been quiet. One of the humans was a posturer. A large fellow, scarred and full of muscle. He looks just the sort who would actually fit here. There is an observation window that looks out on the valley below. Korriban is a desert world, and the valley is filled with dust and sand. There are scattered carvings along the cliff wall, and a dark opening flanked by two statues. On top of the cliff is a massive stone building that is probably the academy proper. The overseer is speaking again.

"I don't expect any of you louse-ridden vermin to last out the week. Now listen up, because I won't repeat myself. Each of you will take one of those bags," he points to a line of six rucksacks on the wall by the door, "and enter the tomb in the valley below. Your bag contains a note with the location of your training sword. Get the sword, then get to the academy. If you survive, which I doubt any of you pathetic slaves will, find me for your next trial. Now get moving!"

The overseer walks past the group and through the door they entered by. It shuts behind him, and the one leading to the valley opens. Posturer is the first to move, quickly grabbing the first bag and jogging out the door. The Gran follows close behind him, and then the rest.

Permalink

She'll let the rest of them do their - whatever it is they think they're doing. Nothing was said about time limits. She thinks she'd rather not test that too much, take it literally and go become a cave person, but that doesn't mean she absolutely must go right now into the tomb, without trying to get an understanding of the layout of the land and where her training saber might be, first. Besides, in a straight race against any of the other acolytes, she has the sneaking suspicion she'd just lose. Instead, she'll play to her strengths. Who knows what's in the tomb, and who knows what the other idiots will attract by making a huge racket. She'd rather not be in the middle of that while everything goes down and everyone's fighting for their lives.

And really, if all else fails and they die horribly, whatever killed them will be either busy eating them or slightly winded from chasing them down. Better odds for Nariveth sneaking past.

Where does her note say her training saber is, and what are the major, safe looking routes to the academy?

Permalink

Written on the note is Tomb of Ajunta Pall, second floor, third reliquary. There is a sketch of a doorway with an inscription above it. This is probably the door to the third reliquary, should she need help locating it. Also in the bag, she will find:

-one (1) hand-lamp, with powerpack
-two (2) ration bars of the type referred to as "dog chews"
-one (1) water bottle, filled
-one (1) thermal blanket
-zero (0) weapons

She can't see any obvious ways up to the academy from her current vantage point. No lifts, no stairs, just a formidable cliff face. As she looks, she will see the shuttle the acolytes arrived on fly overhead and set back down at the top of the cliff.

Permalink

No obvious way into the academy is bad. She would like to know exactly where to go. The ration bars, water, and thermal blanket are - well, she's glad they care about her welfare enough to give her food and water, she guesses, but it also means that she is going to be down there for a while, probably. Yay.

The lack of weapons is - maybe it means that nothing will try to kill her immediately, but she's not convinced. This is a Sith academy, they chew through volunteers quickly enough that they forcibly conscript slaves to become Sith. A career choice with the bonus of having a long lifespan, this is not.

She packs up all of her items in an organization manner that doesn't offend her sensibilities, and then into the tomb she goes, listening for sounds of combat.

Permalink

It is very quiet. And dark. She's going to have a hard time navigating without her light, but it could attract danger and the powerpack won't last forever.

Permalink

She'll give her eyes some time to adjust and navigate slowly while touching a wall to keep her bearings first, but if it's completely pitch black even after her eyes have adjusted, she'll switch to the light.

It occurs to her that this is a pretty good place to 'accidentally' kill a rival. That has to be on purpose.

Permalink

After ten minutes of moving carefully and stretching her senses, she can just about make out the outlines of the rooms, enough to walk without running into a wall, but she'll need a light for any detailed searching. There are multiple side chambers, filled with boxes and pots and sundry containers. She comes to a place where the hallway splits into three. There is a body lying in the middle. It's warm, hasn't been dead long.

Permalink

She leaves the pots and sundry containers for now, despite how curiosity niggles in the back of her mind about them. If they are actually filled with useful items, the ones here would have been looted already, and she doesn't want to risk the possibility of traps or someone catching her through her light.

And then she notices the body.

...

She should not be surprised. The death toll was obvious, going in. She'd written off her rivals (because she must think of them as rivals, now) as 'likely to die and likely to try to kill me to prevent from dying,' and has pretty thoroughly declined to make friends. Therefore, a corpse should not make her feel horrified and appalled and angry. This isn't surprising, this is just a thing that was likely to happen that did actually happen.

And yet: here she is, horrified and appalled and angry.

But the twisting feeling of horror in her stomach doesn't stop her from checking for a rucksack. Is there one? For that matter, can she make out which of her rivals is dead? Or is it someone she doesn't even know?

Permalink

It's one of the two undistinguished humans from her group. No rucksack. On closer inspection, she sees that their clothing is torn, with bloody furrows underneath. It looks like they were mauled by a wild animal.

 

If she's listening very closely, she might hear an faint skittering noise, coming from the path to the left.

Permalink

Well. Pity about the death, pity about the family that doesn't get to see their loved one again, but most of all, pity about the rucksack. The corpse is male, but it'd probably be too much to hope for that it's the asshole human that died, so she won't let herself hope. That probably leaves the twi'lek, the gran, the woman, and the asshole. Joy.

 

She is listening very closely, bundle of nerves that she is, and she goes very still upon hearing the skittering.

So: confirmed, there are monsters, and they do want to kill her, and they definitely can.

She stands from her corpse inspection and quietly moves towards the right. Is the skittering getting louder, i.e., is it following her?

Permalink

It seems to have stopped. For now.

Permalink

That's - promising. Maybe. It makes zero sense for tomb dwelling skittering things to navigate by sight, so she'll be very very quiet. And not turn her light on just yet, anyway.

But she does want to test something - she goes to the nearest non-left doorway, and sees if she's tall enough to feel above it for inscriptions.

Permalink

If she stands on her toes and stretches, she can feel indents in the stone wall that seem to be roughly the same sort of shapes as the ones on her note.

Permalink

That is good and bad, because she can check things in the dark, but she's not quite sure what the set of symbols that are hers are by memory. Yet. She makes a mental note of checking and memorizing when she reaches a dead end that is silent of skitters. Briefly, she considers going back to the well lit area to read it, but dismisses this as too much of a time waster. Enough time has been lost already, even if time isn't the major factor.

She picks the right-most doorway and goes through it carefully, listening for skitters and watching for lights.

Permalink

No noises, no lights. It's kind of strange actually. The tomb doesn't seem to be all that large. With five- make that four other people inside, she might have expected to have heard or seen something indicating their presence. Besides that body back there.

Here is a set of stairs going upwards.

Permalink

... Her note said floor two. She'd like to go into what could be presumed to be floor two prepared, and minimize backtracking as much as possible. So that means memorizing her door symbols so well she can recognize them by touch.

She silently lowers her rucksack to the floor, listening for skitters or footsteps or something.

If there are none, she unpacks her thermal blanket and lamp, slowly, keeping as quiet as she possibly can. Ready to - well, not bolt, carefully and quietly move away if she hears a skitter. Any skitters now?

Permalink

Nope. It's almost like she imagined it, or something, but that would still leave an unexplained corpse. Unless she imagined that too. The tomb probably isn't messing with her head that much this quickly, but it was convenient, the way the rucksack was gone.

Permalink

She does not think she imagined the skitter. She'd be willing to bet a lot of credits (... That she doesn't actually have) that the skitter was definitely real.

...

And she doesn't think she's imagining the - something. She's supposed to be Force sensitive, and Force users are supposedly really aware of their surroundings. Or something. It's not like she's met a Jedi, and she's avoided Sith any chance she's gotten. But someone must have figured out how to do the weird magic-thing without any instruction, so there must be some way to figure it out alone. In absence of anything else, she thinks she should trust her instincts. Maybe they'll keep her alive.

Her instincts say not here, too open. There are two entrances instead of one but she doesn't think she wants to be cornered, either. For a few seconds she waffles, absently mangling an edge of the thermal blanket, cursing herself for not memorizing the symbols while she was in the room with the light.

Then she packs her thermal blanket and lamp back into the rucksack and goes to the second floor.

Permalink

It should be safe for her to duck into the first room she finds on the second floor and consult her note. Well, safe-ish. Better than doing it downstairs, anyhow. Put your back to a wall and hope for the best.

Permalink

That is the plan, yes!

She goes to enact this plan, checking for skittering sounds before she does anything else.

Permalink

Still quiet. This is either a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe it's just being stealthy after it spooked her the first time.

The pattern of symbols is fairly distinctive. Fifteen minutes' concentration should have them fixed in her mind.

Permalink

She takes the time to do that, with her light on the lowest possible setting and with her thermal blanket shielding as much of the light as possible while still giving her the ability to see the symbols. She doesn't let herself relax. She jumps at shadows and pauses regularly to listen for - anything.

And then after fifteen minutes or so, she deems it memorized well enough, and checks how much power's in the powerpack for her lamp before she puts it and the thermal blanket away.

Permalink

The power is about a third drained. The reliquary is probably going to be one of those rooms with all the boxes and crates. She might need the light to search with. Time to go exploring!

Total: 781
Posts Per Page: