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"Meeya's Trials"


 

Arriving at Korriban, Meeya and her fellow acolytes are immediately greeted by one of the Academy's overseers. A woman with a tall stature and long blonde hair drawn into a ponytail, she gave the distinct impression that she was the no-nonsense type of instructor.

Indeed, she was straight to business, only giving her name as 'Overseer Kamela' before she ordered the trainees to drop off all their belongings at their dormitory and then report to the training room as soon as possible. No one dared waste a single minute as they wordlessly proceeded up the stairs and placed their things beside their bunks. The training room was also on the second floor of the Academy, only a short walk away from their dorm.


Overseer Kamela was already inside, waiting with her hands behind her back.


"Faster by sixteen seconds than the last batch," she commented. "That's about how much longer than them you'll survive."


She paced across the room as she gave her instructions to the acolytes. "First things first. Before I send you out I want to see that you actually know how to fight. We don't want the k'lor'slugs getting getting weak from easy meals. Two of you will spar at a time, the rest of you practice your forms on the dummies, or the air if you can't get to one fast enough. So, who wants to go first?"

Not knowing any of her fellow acolytes, at hearing the call for volunteers to spar Meeya glanced at the unfamiliar faces left and right to see who - if any of them - would jump at the chance to spar with an unknown opponent. Having learned to fight smart while growing up; Meeya was more content to bide her time and assess the strengths and weaknesses of her fellow acolytes before jumping any decision.


One of the acolytes, a big, muscular Zabrak, grabbed a training blade from the nearest rack and stepped up. "I shall." "Any form, any weapon in the room, whatever you're comfortable with," Overseer Kamela instructed, "No rules, just don't land any fatal blows. Who's up to face our volunteer?" Unsurprisingly, no one chose to fight the imposing challenger. The Overseer picked an opponent for him at random, a rather scrawny human male. Most of the others did not practice as suggested, but stopped to watch. As expected, the duel did not last very long, the two training blades clashing only a few times before the smaller human was knocked to the floor, unconscious. "Anyone else?" the Zabrak yelled victoriously in a booming voice. "Don't get carried away, there'll be plenty to fight down the line," Overseer Kamela stepped in. "Give someone else a chance." The Zabrak walked off to the side of the room, looking a little disappointed. The Overseer paced around, taking a glance at all the others as a droid dragged the acolyte who had been knocked out to the side. After going around the room once, Kamela pointed to a green-skinned Twi'lek male and then to Meeya. "You two, you're up next. Pick your weapons."

Meeya glanced to the green skinned Twi'lek looking to gauge his temperament, watching briefly as he looked back to her before searching for his weapon of choice. Meeya knew exactly what she needed though; making her way to a weapons rack on the far wall she retrieved a single training blade before calmly making her way to the dueling area, where she picked up the blade discarded by the scrawny human. Settling into a prone stance with one blade held forward tauntingly and the other high above her head and pointed forwards like the tip of a scorpions tail ready to strike; she stared at the Twi'lek, willing him to launch his attack, as the adrenaline pumped through every muscle in her body and she savored the tinge of anticipation that tingled down the back of her neck.


The Twi'lek acolyte took a training staff from a rack, assuming a defensive stance and circling around Meeya, seeing if she would strike first.

Meeya's eyes narrowed as she flexed her grip on the hilts of her blades, crossing one foot around the other as she turned on the spot to maintain a direct face towards the Twi'lek; never breaking eye contact and waiting with the patience of a Jedi, though the raw emotion written across her face as she savored the anticipation would give her away as anything but.


Running out of patience, the Twi'lek lunged in, charging forward and swinging the staff at Meeya in a wide, downward swipe.


With a slight smirk at successfully baiting her opponent, Meeya afforded herself the distinct advantage of preparedness. Seizing this, she comfortably parried his staff with her forward offhand blade to redirect his momentum while stepping out to the side and pivoting on her heel to swing her raised mainhand down across the back of his knees and subsequently dropping him to the floor. As he crumpled at her feet, Meeya stood over him and held the tip of one blade to his throat to signify her victory. Holding this a moment before relaxing her posture and taking his hand to pull him back to his feet.


The Twi'lek yanked his hand away and stood up, backing away with his head hung low in shame. Several acolytes cheered her victory, which was not only quick but stylistic as well. The Overseer's expression was more difficult to judge- she wasn't disappointed, as she clearly was when she gazed at the beaten Twi'lek, though she did not look particularly approving either.


The sparring continued on for almost an hour as each acolyte in turn demonstrated their knowledge of combat on one another. Once they had finished, Overseer Kamela sent them back to their bunks for a night of rest before being given their first trial. The following morning, the group made their way to Kamela's office, where she was waiting for them behind her desk.


"Early by five minutes," the Overseer checked a chronometer on the console built into her desk. "Taking precautions after our last meeting? You'd do well to remember how powerful a motivator fear can be, even if it's just such a little thing."


"Your trial today is a fairly basic one. In the archives of the Tomb of Tulak Hord is a relief detailing a duel between the Dark Lord in his early days and a rival named Canex. What remains is currently broken into several fragments. You are to retrieve one fragment containing at least three words. A larger fragment will count as a bonus for you, failing to retrieve a single one will be immediate failure."


After showing a hologram of the complete relief, Overseer Kamela dismissed the acolytes and left them to their own devices. When Meeya left the office, two of her fellow acolytes approached her, twin brothers as apparent from their virtually identical appearance.


"Hey there," one of the brothers addressed her. "I'm Geris, this is my brother, Gerv. We saw how you took down that Twi'lek in two moves yesterday. We're, uhh...not too great with the swords, but our father's an archaeologist with the Imperial Reclamation Service. We know quite a bit about Sith tombs and relics and how to get our way around them. I hear Tulak Hord's place is dangerous, so I'm thinking we could maybe...team up?"


"That seems awfully cordial of you" Meeya judged with narrow and mistrustful eyes as she looked between the two brothers, "Such a gesture may well be viewed as a sign of weakness in the eyes of the Overseer..." she paused for thought as she read their faces, "I however... am not so narrow minded; this can be mutually beneficial so very well, meet me at the tomb's entrance and we shall travel together."


As agreed, the brothers waited for her by the entrance of the tomb. Stepping in, they made their way through the halls leading into the first building. From the trails of sand on the ground it was clear that others had passed through here recently, and Meeya witnessed behind the corner of a bend another acolyte creeping around. The two brothers made no effort to look for what they sought as they walked briskly past this area, only occasionally pausing to check their position on a datapad. As they neared the exit into a large courtyard beyond, they could hear screams of agony echoing through the corridors.

"The entrance is usually where the Dark Lords boast about their most glorious achievements," Geris explained. "Tulak Hord was a ruler of the Sith. An early duel wouldn't be chronicled here."


"Most of the more dangerous traps are usually in the first area, too," Gerv added. "The way through is clear now after all these years, but you don't want to explore off the beaten path."


As if to prove his point, another cry of pain rang through the tomb before it all went silent. Proceeding across the courtyard, the two brothers led Meeya into one of the antechambers. The trek went slowly as they searched the temple's carvings for clues, the brothers clearly being proficient in the ancient Sith language on the walls as well as avoiding any traps they came across. After a little exploring, Geris seemed fairly convinced that they were now headed in the right direction. This was confirmed, unfortunately, by the presence of two acolytes standing guard outside the hallway leading into the room that was their destination.


The acolytes held their training blades at the ready as Meeya and the brothers approached, walking out from the wall on which they were resting to the centre of the hall and blocking their path. The two, a human male and female, did not seem particularly well-built, and Meeya had remembered their combat performance the other night to be relatively unspectacular. With the two brothers at her side, they were more than a match for their opponents if fighting were to break out.


"Well now, it seems you boys know your stuff after all" she commends the two brothers as they approach, brazenly ignoring the two humans until she was ready to address them. Meeya walked a few steps in front of the brothers, allowing their bulkier forms to flank her left and right as she came to a stop shortly before the human guards, "And wouldn't you know it; looks like these fine folks have been good enough to secure the area and keep it safe for the rest of us..." she trails off glancing between them with narrowed eyes, waiting for their reaction to her approach.


"Sorry, but we're securing the area for somebody else," the female acolyte replied as the two continued to stand in Meeya's path. "You see, there's not enough words for all of us, and plenty of them are already gone. Fortunately we've got a friend who's agreed to get us our pieces while we watch his back. Trust me, you don't want to be here when he's returned."


"Or, you can try your luck with us," the male acolyte added. "Not like you'll be alive if you return empty handed either."


Meeya flexed her fingertips at her sides as she looked between the two, "And just when I thought everyone was getting along so nicely" she smiled sweetly.


The moment she finished speaking; Meeya reached out to her side with an open palm and willed a large rock up off the floor. In the same instant she whipped the hand across her front; sending the rock hurtling sideways across the two. In the same sweeping movement she reached behind her back and drew the pair of blades as she dropped into the same prone stance as before with one blade held forward tauntingly while the other pivoted high over her head like a scorpions tail waiting to strike.


Not expecting the rock to fly towards them, the two acolytes were unprepared for the attack. The female acolyte attempted to summon a barrier but she was too slow. The rock had already slammed into her raised arm, shattering upon impact with the energy expanding out from her. The pieces clattered to the ground but the damage was already done, having broken the acolyte's arm and knocked her off her feet. The male acolyte, who had been shielded from the attack at the cost of his ally, dropped his training saber. "I-I surrender!" he called out. "You idiot!" his friend cursed at him with a grunt of pain. "You said it yourself, we go back empty handed and we're dead!" "We're dead if we keep standing here! She just busted you up in a second and I can't fight her alone!" he exclaimed in return before turning to Meeya. "Just...just let me go and I won't get in your way again, yeah?"

"Your friend is right" Meeya spoke calmly, holding her prone stance for the moment, "If you return to the Academy as failures; they will kill you. I however; never held any such intentions, so if you wish to flee... take your friend with you and flee, we will not stand in your way. Though I would recommend turning the opposite way out of the door and disappear yourselves if you do not wish to face the cost of your failure" She glared back awaiting his decision.


The male acolyte quickly nodded and ran off. The young woman scrambled to her feet as well, wincing in pain, though she made no move to leave. Instead, she picked up her blade and glared at Meeya in return.


"I'm not a coward," she stated. "If I have to die here then let me die a good death!"


She charged, swinging the training saber with all the force she could muster with her one functional arm.


As the girl charged, Meeya tensed for the briefest of moments as she planned her timing. Allowing her to draw into range, Meeya willingly obliged her desire and as she drew close enough, Meeya lunged forwards and swung her raised blade down in a sweeping diagonal arc across the girl's front just as she came into range. With the girl stopped in her tracks and on the verge of death, the blade dropped from her hand as Meeya continued her sweep to twirl around and swing her second blade up and across the girl in an opposing diagonal line to the first blow. Charged with the momentum of her movement, the blade connected hard and launched the girl backwards to land a few feet behind where she stood; she was dead by the time she hit the ground.


It was all over in an instant and following an obligatory pause at the end of her movement, Meeya holstered the twin blades over her shoulders before moving to kneel down at the girls side, "I hope it was worth it" she said softly as she slid her palm over the girls eyes to close them before standing and turning to face the brothers, "Time to move; even if they are the first here, they will not be the last"


They entered the chamber they sought only to realize that the entire surface of the wall that presumably bore the relief was chipped away. The acolyte that the two in the hallway were guarding had likely slipped out through the corridor on the other side from where they entered after claiming his prize. A few shards of stone lay scattered through the room but they only managed to locate two pieces, each with only one word on them, which was worthless for the trial. Defeated, Gerv slumped to the floor, but his brother Geris did not give up.


"If these two were guarding the place for someone picking up pieces for them, then that person couldn't have gone far," he surmised. "We might still be able to catch them."


"How are we going to do that?" Gerv asked. "They've already got a head start."


"The slave tunnels!" Geris exclaimed. "These shortcuts they use for building the tombs, if we find an entrance we might be able to navigate them out the tomb the before the other acolytes get there!"


"We can tap the walls and floors for them," the other brother nodded. "But they're all sealed tight after the tombs were finished. How do we dig them open when we find one? We don't have the tools for that."


"We have the three of us," Geris answered. "Come on, we have to find one quick."


After a minute of frantic searching, Gerv claimed that he found one such tunnel behind the wall of the hallway where Meeya slew their rival acolyte. Geris quickly tapped around the stone to confirm it before the two brothers stepped back, stretching out their hands with their palms at the section of wall they had inspected. They glanced to Meeya before they began to channel the Force, checking if she was ready for the task ahead.


Meeya gave the pair a nod as she approached, watching as they focused their energy. Within moments, the walls began to tremble with what felt like a ground tremor and a combination of dust and small rock debris started to fall from the ceiling and walls... but it was not enough, the wall was too thick. Now knowing the degree of effort required from her part, Meeya stepped up between the brothers, taking a focusing breath as she hunkered down and pulled her hands close in to her chest. Her breathing quickened as she focused her anger towards the acolyte who had stolen their prize - her head filling with the sound of the crumbling rock until there was nothing left in her world but that sound - then, as her arms began to tremble with rage; she thrust both hands forwards - palms out towards the rock - and unleashed a guttural roar as the burst of darkside power emanated from her flesh. With her initial thrust the face of the wall visibly caved in on itself, but did not break through; it's surface cracked and rippled as the ground tremor and falling debris both intensified. She continued her focused push, taking on step forward while holding her focus and as she stepped she thrust her arms forward once more - again pounding the surface of the wall as a wave of force energy crashed against it, though now she held her hands out firmly - sensing that the wall would not give from this attack. Instead she craned her neck from one side to the other and twisted her palms around for her fingertips to almost meet before enclosing both hands almost to a complete fist. Then with one final surge of power enveloping her form, she tore her arms apart in wide opposing arcs while standing up straight as her back foot slid forwards. The final assault was more than enough to defeat the weakened rock and with a thunderous crash, the room filled with dust and debris as the sealed entrance came tumbling down. The two brothers looked to one another before both turning towards Meeya who stood slightly infront of them, arms still held out to her sides and her head slumped forward slightly as she fought to catch her breath. The massive focus had clearly taken it's toll on the girl and as they watched, she slumped weakly to her knees, her arms falling limp to her sides as she glanced ahead with a satisfied smile - knowing it was worth the expenditure as she now looked directly into the dark and ancient tunnel ahead.


The brothers didn't give her a chance to rest, immediately delving into the tunnels. Geris went first, squeezing past the entrance and activating a flashlight that he had brought along. His brother Gerv followed close behind and the two navigated their way through the tunnels, chattering constantly about which direction they should go every time the tunnel branched off. They took turns leading the way, generally due to heading into a dead end and turning themselves around. Meeya got several chances to catch up when one of the brothers took a wrong turn or stopped briefly to debate, but overall, they made progress rather quickly.


Only a little over five minutes had passed when they saw sunlight ahead. Gerv climbed rapidly, only to discover that the opening was too small for a human to fit, though it was just a few loose pieces of wall along the side that was preventing them from exiting. Calling upon the Force, he easily dislodged them and emerged onto the surface, not far from the main entrance to Tulak Hord's tomb. In the distance, an acolyte could be seen jogging towards the Academy, holding a slab of rock that likely bore a part of the relief they were tasked with finding. It would be easy enough to catch up to her, though they were now out of the tomb and along a path where troops guarding the Academy grounds patrolled. While the murder of fellow acolytes was very much encouraged, doing so in plain view would lead to consequences.


However, another potential prey came to them as they heard footsteps echoing out from the tomb entrance, likely another acolyte of their group who was now approaching the exit...


Meeya's natural instinct was to seize the more favorable opportunity presented, and so at hearing the footsteps she she waved the brothers to crouch down beside her out of sight.


With the three hidden and prone to exercise their element of surprise, Meeya turned and watched towards the source of the footsteps; their sound being drowned only by the thumping of her pulse through her temples as the anxiety of what was about to transpire raced through her body...


The footsteps drew closer and Meeya could see a figure approaching from down the hallway. As he came properly into view, the new arrival become recognizable as the Zabrak who had volunteered to go first during their combat demonstrations for the overseer. Tall and fit with a heavy build, he was clearly a skilled fighter even had Meeya not witnessed his performance against his fellow acolyte in the training room. However, the three of them together may be a match for him, and his bulky physique and aggressive fighting style had the potential of being taken advantage of. Both brothers drew their training blades once the Zabrak got close, though they did so silently to prevent drawing his attention. Their would-be target did not appear to be aware of them yet, as his blade was still held casually in one hand, a tablet clutched under his other arm. The piece he had was large enough to contain numerous words, though the exact details could not be distinguished with the distance between them and the low light levels.


Meeya looked to the brothers as she also silently drew her blades, signing for them to wait until she got into position before flanking the Zabrak. She peered back down at him, watching as he drew nearer; awaiting the opportune moment. It arrived when he cam almost parallel along his path with their hiding spot - Meeya leaped down to land directly in front of him - both blades drawn as she landed in a prone position, holding them in her signature scorpion stance as she glared up at the Zabrak. "Sorry friend, but I'm afraid I'll be needing that tablet" As she addressed him, she watched for the brothers to drop into position.

The two brothers joined Meeya, one on each side. They held their blades with both hands, pointing upwards parallel to their body in the most basic of starting positions. Seeing the three of them, the Zabrak dropped the tablet, retrieving his own blade and holding his blade beside him with a smirk as he observed his opponents. He seemed excited, perhaps even happy at the prospect of the overwhelming odds he faced. "Really? Had the manners to stop and ask, huh?" their rival acolyte chuckled as he paced towards them. "You know I wouldn't hand it over. You'll have to fight me for it." Stretching out his arm, bolts of crackling lightning extended from the Zabrak's fingertips, racing down the hallway towards the three of them. Both brothers absorbed the attacks, though Geris had reacted a second slower and was knocked back by his only partial defense. The Zabrak charged in directly behind the storm he had conjured up, training blade in hand. He move in towards Gerv, intentionally avoiding Meeya, whom he knew to be the greatest threat of the group.


Having anticipated such a move from the Zabrak before even revealing her presence to him, Meeya was well prepared and quick to react. Leaping high into the air to avoid his lightning cast; she pushed herself off the ceiling of the hallway to slam hard into the ground directly in front of the charging Zabrak; hitting him with a powerful shockwave of force energy which sent him tumbling backwards and allowed Geris the moment needed to recover his footing.


"Oh, you thought I was asking, how cute!" She snarled venemously at the recovering Zabrak before flourishing her twin blades, "Allow me to reiterate!"


As she spoke, Meeya leaped forwards from the prone kneeling position she had held since landing like a coiled spring and charged the Zabrak with both weapons ready. Her adrenaline charged body and tense emotions combined to drive her forwards with remarkable force embued speed. Though it was only a short distance to where the Zabrak stood; this simply allowed her opening strike to carry increased momentum thoiugh her speed of movement.


Meeya's flourish was also not simple bravado but a powerful charge applying to the blades which shimmered with darkside energy waiting to be released. As they met the Zabrak's waiting defense a powerful shockwave of dark energy was released; which she calculated to be more than enough to break his defense and afford her the upper hand when coupled with her charge.


The shockwave rippled down the hall, racing towards the Zabrak who tried to leap away. There was no space in the narrow corridor for him to escape, and he was caught by the edge of the wave of dark side energy, knocking him back against the wall, his weapon flying away as he was momentarily stunned and disarmed. Though his jump to the side did not achieve the goal of avoiding Meeya's initial attack, combined with the force of the shockwave it did serve to propel him out of the way of his opponent's charge, meaning that Meeya would have to alter her vector and move an increased distance in order to close in.


Before she could do that however, Gerv summoned his strength and will, augmenting his speed with the Force to rush in with an unnatural sprint. He swung his training blade at what he perceived to be a weakened foe, but the Zabrak recovered earlier than he expected, gripping his rival acolyte's weapon arm before the blow could connect. He twisted Gerv's wrist with immense strength, the pain causing the young man to cry out and drop his weapon. As soon as his blade clattered to the ground, the Zabrak delivered a Force push with his other hand, sending Gerv flying towards Meeya, slowing any attempt at a charge while he picked up the weapon dropped before his feet.


Cursing under her breath; Meeya was able to react quickly and effortlessly from her standing position. She timed her reaction until. Gerv was almost on top of her then as he tumbled backwards, she pushed up on the balls of her feetand piroutted to turn her back against Gerv's and roll herself across his moving bulky form.


Rolling herself up and across his wide shoulders with her smaller frame, she came out of the spin within comfortable range of the Zabrak; carrying her reinforced momentum she swung her first blade out wide to smash down against the Zabrak's waiting defense and with same sweeping motion, swung the second down hard in a diagonal sweep across his torso and ending her dance-like move twisted in a kneeling position.


Not wanting to leave anything to chance; she immediately coiled her body tight and with another powerful roar she swung both blades in unison back up and across the Zabrak's form; launching him backwards off his feet and twirling through the air. Meeya spun again to finish in her prone scorpion stance as she looked on to see if the Zabrak was finished...


As expected, the Zabrak raised his blade to block the initial swing. Though he saw the second blade coming, he overestimated the space he had to dodge the blow. When he attempted to step to the side to avoid the attack, he found himself against the wall as the blade slashed across him, cutting open his clothes and leaving a deep gash in his skin. He roared in pain, stretching out both arms to unleash a powerful wave to push his opponents back before darting to the side to escape to the centre of the hall.


The Zabrak only appeared stronger as the blood began to flow from his wound, painting his abdomen with streaks of red. His eyes burned with fury as he threw his empty hand back, telekinetically summoning the training blade that had been knocked away from him by Meeya's shockwave. Now recovered from the blast of lightning, Geris had rushed to his brother's side, putting him much closer to the enemy. With two blades in hand the Zabrak charged the brothers. Geris pushed the disarmed Gerv safely to the side before he parried the strike that was intended for him.


Without Meeya intervening, Geris would certainly not last very long against this onslaught. However, the way he held his weapons and the fact that Geris managed to protect both himself and his brother revealed a great weakness in their rival acolyte- the Zabrak knew that he could not hold off all three opponents with a single blade, but he was unfamiliar with Jar'Kai dual-blade wielding. Instead of simultaneously giving his two weapons vastly different arcs to make himself wildly unpredictable, as was the strength of the form, the Zabrak was more used to swinging one blade at a time. For him, the second weapon was primarily a defensive tool, merely delaying the inevitable. It could even prove a liability, for now he sacrificed the ability to swing and maneuver with both his hands...


Meeya launched her first blade through air towards the Zabrak; it spun through the air in a tight arc before slashing across the back of the Zabrak's knees. As she launched the blade, Meeya also launched herself, pouncing through the air with cat-like reflexes and an outstretched hand to summon her thrown blade back to it's waiting grasp.


As Meeya landed directly behind the now stumbled Zabrak she turned both blades and drove them down sharply - one through each of his shoulders - causing the Zabrak to roar in pain once more. This effectively pinned him to the ground - which the Zabrak k