The purgetrooper was a professional but some things just transcend training and one such thing is pain. Pain of the level of a severed finger was nothing that could be ignored and the trooper roared in pain as Laeonas' blade skidded up the staff to slice through his thumb. It was enough of a distraction that an attack straight to his privates was completely unavoidable.
He wheezed in pain and almost doubled over, only managing to stay partially upright due to his training. He struggled to get himself back into a defensive position but it was weaker than it otherwise should have been.
Behind the purge trooper, the two stormtroopers were recovering from the initial Force Push and readying themselves for another flurry of shots when Quin drew their attention. They watching as the lasso wrapped around them, stopping at their legs and both just stared at it before scoffinf and made to fire. One of them stepped forward however and the worst possible outcome happened - leaving the survivor to scream inside his helmet as he accidentally blasted his friend's head.
"No! Litto, I'm sorry!"
Stormtrooper were people too, even if they did often go out of their way to fire on enemies of the state. The surviving trooper immediately raised his rifle and fired two shots at Quin's torso, intent on seeing the Padawan die for his part in the death of his friend. As he fired the first shot, however, the door behind him suddenly slid open and his second shot went wide as a blue Twi'lek woman slammed what appeared to be a metal lunch try into his back while angrily shouting at him in Ryl.
Quin didn’t have much time to react or to comprehend what the stormtrooper had been saying before the white-armored man aimed his rifle at him. The Padawan’s survival instincts took over, and he started to the side, half diving, half stepping and nearly tripping over himself as he did it. Despite the fact that he probably looked like a blundering fool, he had dodged a literal bullet, and for that he was grateful.
As he struggled to regain his balance, he heard the sound of a second shot and he instinctively raised his left arm to shield his face, bracing for the searing pain. But instead, he heard shouts in a language he didn’t know, and he looked up to see a Twi-lek woman yelling at the stormtrooper.
Whatever was going on, Quin knew that this was an opportunity he couldn’t let miss. Not even considering the consequences, he rushed straight over to the stormtrooper and rammed into him, trying to get him to drop his blaster. Unfortunately, it only caused him to stagger back a little while still holding onto his weapon. Blast it.
He was breathing. Bleeding, bruised, and halfway doubled over in pain— but the trooper was still alive. He still had a pulse, his synapses were still firing. This monster in the trappings of a man hadn’t yet been reduced to meat— and that frustrated Laeonas to no end. Every moment this thing kept living was an insult— and Laeonas was less in the mood to trade jabs, and more in the mood to choke the life out of someone.
His arm had pulled back far, and his grip on the blade had tightened. When he swung it forward, he threw all his bodyweight into it, as well as drawing on the force itself to add even more strength to the blow. Had the trooper's grip on his baton still been strong, and were he not doubled over in pain, it would've been possible for him to stop the blade. But intead, all it could do was provide a break-- a thin wall that Laeonas' sword slammed into and pushed aside.
The blade did wobble slightly however, and so what would've been a clean cut that would've severed the trooper through his midsection was... anything but. Instead, Laeonas' blade stopped around 12 centimeters into the man's side, and it had come in at an angle that caused the plasteel armor to crack, twist, and tear in such ways that it dug into flesh. It left Laeonas' blade trapped, unable to be pulled out immediately. The man didn't care though, as he watched the trooper collapse. He could feel his life slipping from him, the man's essence returning to the force. It was a process he'd seen plenty of times before; the life forced from a person after a violent death.
Grabbing the hilt of his sword again, Laeonas placed a foot on the man's chest. With all his strength, he would yank to pull his sword out, the weight on the man's chest growing so intense that he could hear the cracking of bones inside. The righteous hate that had fueled the assault had dissipated, and after several seconds of try, Laeonas would pull away, the wave of what he'd just done hitting him like a truck. But he didn't have time to waste feeling guilty-- there was still one more trooper. Turning to face him, Laeonas prepared to unleash an attack on the last one-- before the door slid open, a Twi'lek showed up, and dispatched him for them.
Laeonas would blink a few times, eyes darting from the twi'lek, to quin, to his victim, and than back to the two padawans that had been left in their counterassault. "Shite." He thought to himself, running back over to the two boys. He did a pulse check on both, relieved that neither had succumbed to their injuries. He thought about healing them for a moment, but adrenaline and aggression were still pumping through him. Force healing required concentration and serenity.
And he'd just committed a murder.
"No, no, ya were defendin' them. E'd 'ave caved in Elidan and Ruz's skulls if ya 'adn't gotten in tha way. Yer a Jedi; ya fight and kill when it's ta protect people. Th'at's what ya just did." He thought to himself, trying his best to justify what had just happened. He'd killed before; when people shot at him, he shot back. He was alive because they were dead. He'd stopped losing sleep over that after the third body, and he'd lost count after a dozen.
But, this? This wasn't the dispassionate self preservation he'd engaged in in the past. He'd just cut a man down in a violent, gruesome display-- butchered him like a Zucka pig. He'd been fueled by his anger, his hatred for the monster who'd so gleefully cave in the skulls of children. But who wouldn't be? Who wouldn't be filled with horror, and than feel that horror be replaced with rage-- in his case a violent, murderous desire for justice?
"A Jedi wouldn't." he thought to himself-- but he pushed it away. He couldn't dwell on this-- not now. Not when there was so much at stake, not when two of his comrades had just nearly been killed. "QUIN!" He called. "They need 'elp! Can ya... can you heal them?" He called, not bothering to explain why he couldn't.
Cursing the remaining stormtrooper at the door felt it when Quin tried to jump the trooper and bash the blaster out of his hands. The strength behind the movement was enough that he stumbled back slightly but with both hands on his weapon he was able to maintain a grip on it. He was a trained soldier and he wasn't going to lose in a tug-a-war with some teenager!
What he wasn't, precisely, accounting for however was the Twi'lek woman throwing herself bodily atop of him from behind. A lunch tray he could kind of shake off due to the armour he was wearing but having a grown woman throwing herself onto his back and choking him out with an arm?
Much less so.
"Get off me you witch!"
Bucking his body forward, the trooper threw the Twi'lek over his shoulders in a textbook cqc move - just like the simulations! - before he brought his blaster to bare on her prone form. He fired - just as she fired back up at him with the sidearm she had stolen from his belt. The trooper gasped in pain as his right elbow was suddenly blasted by his own pistol, sending his blaster rifle clattering to the floor - but not before his own bolt blasted a hole right into the side of the Twi'lek woman's abdomen.
But with his arm injured - it left him weaponless in the face of Quin.
Laeonas would find that the purge trooper was, indeed, dying and dying noisily. As well trained a soldier as he was, there was just no way to train the instinctive response to being disembowelled and the trooper sobbed in pain as he tried to press against his torn and twisted armour to better hold his insides inside. Not that it mattered at all, with how the vibroblade had carved brutal lines through said insides while they were still on the inside.
The corridor was silent for a moment as the purge trooper gave one last shuddering, sobbing, breath before freezing. Quin's own opponent was frozen for another reason - a mixture of indecision and a blind panic.
Just as he thought he was about to get a bolt through the brain, the Twi-lek woman suddenly attacked the stormtrooper from behind. Quin staggered back in surprise, trying to wrap his mind around what was going on right now. He could vaguely make out the twisted shape of the purge trooper with Laeonas and hear his sobbing when he glanced back for whatever reason. It was almost enough to make him vomit. Laeonas called and said something, but Quin couldn’t make out the words through the haze.
But when the stormtrooper threw the woman over his shoulders, the Padawan snapped out of it and realized that there was still one trooper left. There would be more bloodshed if he didn’t do something.
He was about to try to tackle the man again when the trooper and the woman suddenly fired a shot at each other, and Quin watched in horror as the bolt ripped through her abdomen.
The man currently frozen, Quin picked up his lightsaber hilt and slammed it as hard as he could into the side of the man’s head, aiming to knock him out.
The only welcome part about the excruciating pain that Ruzaan felt as he drifted back to consciousness was that it told him that he wasn't dead... yet. His abdomen was still bleeding, and breathing was both painful and difficult. Where am I?the Togruta thought woozily, before the memories came rushing back. Jakku. Feckin' plants. Get help.Quin and Laeo were nowhere to be seen, but Elidan was nearby and also horizontal on the floor.
The desire to help the half-Annfyn surged through Ruzaan, but as he tried to haul himself up into a sitting position it quickly became apparent that if he wanted to help his friend, he had to help himself first. With his hands already clutching at his wounded stomach, the Togruta would try to use his budding skills in Force Healing- a power he had managed to practice as a Padawan far more often than he'd anticipated- to stop the bleeding.
Combat situations weren’t new for the Brentaalan. He’d grown numb to a lot of violence; blaster wounds, cuts, broken bones— injuries that left people scarred or crippled barely registered with him anymore. Deaths that came quick-- the kind that ended lives instantly, or drove the breathe out of people's lungs so that they at least died silent-- were the easiest to stomach. There was nothing jarring about it-- a life had been there, and than it ended.
The purge trooper's death was anything but quiet. No, the shock of being disemboweled wasn't enough to silence the doomed man. He wailed, screamed, cried, showing off just how much agony he was in and how much distress he felt. Laeonas tried his best to ignore the grisly display, but he couldn't shut out the man's cries. He'd done that. The man's suffering was because of him."It was self defense. You were protectin' them." He frantically reminded himself, finally turning back to the pair of incapacitated Padawans.
Putting aside the disgusting result of Laeonas' rampage, he'd rush over to the two boys with haste. The floor beneath them was already stained with blood, Ruz's orange and Elidan's red mixing between them. Even if he'd grown numb to most violence, the sight of the two Padawans-- boys-- laying broken on the floor was a difficult one to stomach. The man called for Quin's help, but from the sound of blasterfire it was evident that the other boy wouldn't be able to help him. The two Padawans were his responsibility now.
Looking between the two, the Padawan would assess both boys' injuries, with Ruz suffering several blaster wounds to his torso, and Elidan having had his hand almost completely destroyed. Laeonas' aquamarines trailed down to his own wrist, his mind flashing back to the injury he'd suffered at the hands of the Mandalorians that had left his hand almost completely unusable. The thought helped squeeze out the sympathy he felt for the dying trooper across the room-- and determined who he'd be focused on helping first.
Grabbing the sleeve of Elidan's robe at the shoulder, he tore a long strip of fabric off. The man looked down at the wound-- still gushing blood, and than down at Elidan's saber. He'd been planning to use the rag to tie up the boy's wound, but he wasn't sure if even that would be enough. There was one surefire way that he could stop the bleeding though.
Forcing the half Anfynn's mouth open, he forced the rag into his mouth-- a precaution to make sure that, if he woke up, he wouldn't bite off his own tongue. Taking the boy's saber from his belt, he ignited the green bladed weapon. If nothing happened, Laeonas would-- carefully-- scald the raw flesh along Elidan's hand, hoping he could cauterize the wound and stop the bleeding. He could only hope that the teenager wouldn't wake up and try to stop him-- though, frankly, his compliance really wasn't necessary.
Elidan continued unconscious and completely oblivious to what was happening around him. It seemed that his pleas had been heard and in the darkness of his mind, the auburn haired boy felt no pain. Hopefully, he would remain this way until someone came to save them.
While he was unconscious, Elidan didn’t feel that Laeonas was trying to open his mouth. Of course, his body showed the natural resistance to the older Padawan efforts, but in the end the man was able to do it and place a rag here. Inside his dark limbo, the half-Annfyn barely felt the touches on his skin.
Suddenly, the peaceful darkness of his subconscious was disrupted by terrible pain. Elidan immediately opened his eyes, while a muffled painful scream escaped his mouth. He could feel the pain erupting from his left hand, the same that was destroyed by the shot of the stormtrooper. He turned to look at was happening and saw Laeonas touching it with a lightsaber, his lightsaber.
“What are you doing?” the Padawan said between screams, while he tried to move his hand away from the man. He felt so much pain that he ignored the fact that he was talking. “Get it out of me!” he continued screaming, while struggling against the man’s hold. Tears rolled down his cheeks and he only wanted to faint again.
The last remaining trooper in the immediate area went down like a sack of bricks, landing heavily on his side where he lay without moving. Indeed, as Quin watched he would note that the trooper was very still indeed... and a second look would see how the angle of the trooper's neck was not at all healthy. It seemed that in his desperatation and rage, Quin had hit the trooper hard and, with his wounded arm, the trooper had not been able to land properly.
It seemed that, in the heat of the moment, Quin had killed the trooper.
By his feet the Twi'lek woman groaned in pain as she reached for her wound and applied as much pressure as she dared. She wimpered in pain as she tried to push herself away from the body of the Trooper.
"We need... we need to leave..." she whispered urgently, "We need to report back to the senate. To the Jedi. To anyone! There's an army down here... and more... Force there's more..."
Further down the hallway, Ruzaan would find that the pain from his injuries was more than enough to ruin any hope of concentrating on meditating on the peaceful nature of the Force. As that was what was needed for true Force healing, Ruzaan would not be able to heal himself though he would manage to numb the wounded areas somewhat. The pain would de-escalate from blinding, white-hot, pain to merely a heavy ache surrounded by flesh that felt too heavy to move properly.
As someone connected to the Force, Laeonas would feel every moment of pain and fear the purge trooper felt as he died. They would be very noticeable as being not-his-own but they were still there and they had been real until the man had finally expired.
Then the smell of burning flesh.
A heavy set of footsteps from back the way they had come, one footstep and a dragging sound. From around the corner, Ranger Mead dragged himself into view. Blood covered his entire left arm from the elbow down, leading to a vibroblade that dripped with viscera. The hand holding the knife shook enough that the Ranger dropped the knife as he spotted the Jedi.
"I thought I was going to be too late." he admitted as he leaned heavily against a wall, "You're all alive... all alive..."
He gestured vaguely behind him.
"Troopers from before are um... not."
A moment's respite from the horrors of the depths of Jakku.
It was subtle, at first. He felt anguish as the trooper screamed, the little amount of empathy he had tugging at him to pity his suffering opponent. But soon, he wasn't just sharing anguish-- he could feel something in his lower abdomen, a throbbing, aching pain that grew more and more intense with every passing second. It was almost like he could feel the cortosis and shards of plasteel, digging into his flesh, feel as his breathing grew more and more labored as his body started to fail him. He had to grip Elidan's saber with two hands as he cauterized the wound, desperate to keep it steady so he didn't wind up destroying what was left of his hand.
When the half Anfynn looked up at the human, he'd find two aquamarine eyes staring down, tears lining his face as he hunched over the boy's figure. His hand had moved down again to seize Elidan's wrist, the sound of his labored breathes drowned out by the boy's screams. His grip strengthened as he focused, his determination to make sure the boy didn't die greater than the pain he felt as the purge trooper did. Were it any other man, were anyone else to reach the emotional high that Laeonas had in his fight, they might've been left curled up in the fetal position as they felt the life slowly drain from their victim, pooling out onto the frost covered floor beneath.
But Laeonas was not any other man. To feel another die in such a way-- it was nothing next to the feeling of a world burning. Yet the trooper had died by his hand, and the suffering he'd endured was incredible-- until it wasn't, and the man finally became one with the force. The lightsaber flicked off as Laeonas released his grip on the boy's wrist, gasping for breath as he fell backwards, almost vomiting before he got a hold of himself. "Deus, Sol Invictus, lux aeterna..." He wheezed, reciting the opening line of a prayer his mother had uttered after a long shift beside him hauling crates at the docks.
"...Ai'm sorry..." He called to the boy, turning his head as he sat up. "Ai 'ad ta stop it-- 'ad ta stop ya from bleedin' out." He went on. "Ai...I couldn't let you die." He said, his final plee for the boy to understand what he'd just done. Laeonas, for whatever reason, cared enough about Elidan's opinion to plead for his understanding. After what he'd just done-- violently murdering a purge trooper and permanently scarring a teenage boy-- he needed some form of reassurance.
Unfortunately, all he got was more company-- injured company at that. As he'd moved over to take a look at Ruz, who was slowly returning to consciousness, the ranger that had stunned him came walking over, his arm looking like it had been shoved down someone's throat and been pulled back up with a heart in it's hand. In truth, the only one who didn't look like they were in terrible shape was Quin; even the uninjured Laeonas looked feverish.
"We... stopped these guys." Laeonas replied, before gesturing to the one that Quin had knocked unconscious. "This one survived. We ought to probe him for information." He declared, turning to Quin and getting a look at the dying twi'lek in his arms. The amount of carnage so far was getting to a level even he wasn't used to.
All Ruzaan could really do was try to stay as motionless as possible on the ground, as every movement and every breath brought with it new pain that shredded his attempts to connect to the Force. After a few moments of effort he was pretty sure that he'd at least managed to dull the worst of the pain, but if it was due to his efforts or the fact that he had succeeded in tiring himself further was anyone's guess.
Around the corner the other screaming had stopped, heralding the end of a brutal battle that Ruzaan hoped that the Jedi had been able to win; fortunately, Laeonas and not a stormtrooper appeared, and began administering a very unique form of first aid to Elidan. Ruzaan winced both in sympathy and empathy; Elidan's vocal and mental screams echoed in his mind, and as Laeo moved to inspect Ruzaan's wounds the Togruta would weakly shake his head. "None of that, please" he gasped, wincing as his injured torso protested his speech. "Is Quin ok?" He couldn't see where the other Padawan had gotten off to.
The trooper tumbled to the ground, and when Quin saw that he wasn’t moving, he immediately got down to his knees to check on the twi-lek woman. The wound didn’t look good, and he could sense the life rapidly seeping out of her. He was not his master when it came to healing, so he couldn’t do much except to try to ease her pain as much as he could by sending out waves of calm with the Force and to hold her hand and listen as she tried to tell him something in whispers.
There’s more… Quin felt his breath escape him as he looked down at the dying woman. He gripped her hand tighter.
“Miss, we’ll get this to the Jedi. I promise,” he said as steadily as he could, though he couldn’t help the tremor that shook his words towards the end. But right as he finished, he heard a scream, a horrible scream that nearly made him drop the woman in his arms. He looked up to hear someone speaking: Laeonas. He was talking to someone else, Ranger Mead. Vaguely processing his words, he realized what he had to do and laid the woman down gently before shakily getting up to his feet and making his way toward the man he’d just knocked out.
Taking a deep breath to refocus on the situation at hand, Quin reached down and pulled the man’s helmet off his head, intending to ask him the questions face to face. But what he saw instead made his skin turn to ice. The trooper’s eyes were wide open, staring blankly up at the ceiling, and when Quin reached out hesitantly to check his pulse, he felt nothing but cold on the man’s throat. He backed away, a sudden wave of disbelief making his head swim. His hand reached blindly for the wall, and when he felt the cold metal against his palm, he tried to steady himself.
He’d done it. A stone was seemingly lodged in his throat as he choked out his next words, his voice barely more than a whisper.
Elidan continued struggling to move away from whoever had hurt him again. He could feel strong hands hold his wrist and it made him enter in panic. The pain was too much and he wasn't able to think straight. The half-Annfyn could have stared at Laeonas's eyes for some seconds, but he had closed it again. The pain was the only thing that he could recognise at the moment.
After some time, the auburn-haired boy was starting to become more lucid. The pain was still there, but he was now able to understand what was happening around him. Or at least partially. The half-Annfyn heard Laeonas talking with him, but still wasn’t able to understand much of it.
He could understand that the other Padawan had said that he couldn’t let him die, but the rest sounded like gibberish. Elidan wondered if the blaster also hit his head, because he could vow that he had heard Laeonas talk in a completely different language.
The auburn-haired boy turned to look at Ruzaan. The Togruta seemed to be worse than him. He didn’t have much idea of how much his friend was hit by the shots of the blaster, but it probably was more than his destroyed hand. He wanted to comfort him, but he was still weak to move and go toward the other. "Are you fine?" it was the only thing that he could say through their bond.
The rest would happen as blur. Ranger Mead would return, also looking terrible. It seemed that his fight with the Stormtroopers wasn’t also good. Then, he would heard Quin voice, saying that he killed the soldier. The auburn-haired boy turned to look at the other boy. He looked so stressed. They needed to get out of here. This place was destroying them.
No one was left unmarred by the brief, but violent, burst of combat.
Indeed, Laeonas and Quin both were showing the truth to a claim that had been made many times in the past; Jedi dealt with death differently. There was something about killing another sentient being, when they had the time to think on it, that hit Jedi harder than any other type of sentient in the Galaxy. Sith could kill because their connection to the Force was based on the principle of taking something from that shared lifeforce, taking something and not giving anything back.
But being a Jedi meant connecting with that lifeforce and those who's lives helped shape it. Indeed, giving a Jedi time to come to grips with accidentally, or intentionally, killing someone was a preferred method of ancient Sith torture for a reason - the Jedi's own minds and better natures would harm them far more than any blades or shocks.
The Doctor was not, however, dead. As her wound was more of a glancing shot, she was still stubbornly keeping herself awake, something that she was aided in when Ranger Mead seemed to come alive when he noticed that she was there. The blood-splattered man reached her side.
"Doc... alright we gotta leave. We're gonna leave." he assured the doctor before bodily picking her up in a princess carry position, wincing as she whimpered in pain as her wound was agitated, "I'm sorry... I'm sorry you kids had to do this. That you had to kill but... we need to leave, get the doc and your friends real medical attention. We had a medical droid and small medbay on the ship we arrived in, I can lead the way."
By the way the Ranger started half-stumbling back the way they had come, it was clear that the Ranger was intending to take the doctor back to their ship and medical attention no matter what the Jedi decided they wanted to do.
Laeonas had been looking over at the boy, failing to notice what it was that he was doing, until he turned his head and faced him. The expression on his face hit him like a speeder, and Laeonas aquamarines fell on the lifeless expression of the trooper. It wasn't the death that struck him though; it was Quin's reaction. The choked up response, the tears... Deus, his eyes. That indescribable expression that he hadn't worn since... since...
He summoned up images, basic thoughts. The ceiling of his dorm, the feeling of his muscles straining in the middle of a dead lift. A wall to keep out the memories of that night. They still forced their way in though; the cruel laughter, his own desperate babbling, the hands tearing at his jacket, and the sickening snap of that man's neck. Even after all this time, the first time he'd killed was a memory that hadn't gotten any less vivid.
Everything in his adult life had been a spiral out from that night. His induction into the gangs, his criminal behavior escalating from pickpocketing and swindling to drug dealing, extortion and armed robbery. Every bone he broke, every body he'd left full of blaster bolts and stab wounds-- every time he'd been left screaming from an unlucky blaster hit, or had the breath driven from him when he got stabbed. Violence had beget violence had beget violence had beget violence. Death after death had piled up, and it had all started with one.
And what did he see before him, but another teenager, facing another corpse, one that he'd just created? Laeonas had spent years justifying what he'd done, reminding himself that he was defending himself, that the man had deserved it. But that didn't stop the memories from pouring back, and that didn't stop him from drinking himself into a stupor to force the memories from his mind. How many more would they kill if they pushed on? How much more blood would Quin have on his hands? How many sleepless nights would he face? How long until the boy was as bitter as he was?
"...you did what you needed to do." He declared, the Brentaalan's voice calm-- very calm. "Elidan and Ruzaan would be dead if you hadn't done what you'd done. We'd be dead if you hadn't done what you'd done." He stated, walking over to the boy and placing a hand on his shoulder. "...it doesn't make it any less right, but when push comes to shove, we do what we need to do so that others don't have to suffer." Laeonas finished, repeating some of the wisdom Ephiny had imparted onto him. Quin had defended himself, case closed. It was Laeonas who'd given into anger, and cruelly butchered his opponent.
"But if we keep going... you'll have to do this again." He stated. "There's going to be more of them, and they're going to be harder and harder to spare the more dangerous they get." Laeonas went on. It was always that way when he hit a gang; first the grunts at the door, than the real gangsters a few rooms inside, until you got to the boss and his personal guard. They might have been soldiers... but soldiers were just gangsters of a different sort, weren't they?
"...if you're ready to face that, than I'll join you. But if not... we should cut our losses. We'll contact master Ri Lee, tell him what happened... and we'll leave." He declared. He didn't tell Quin that he planned on advocating for the compound to be bombed from orbit. This was simply a question of whose hands would be further drenched in blood.
Ruzaan couldn't believe his montrals. The others were talking about leaving? What about the mystery of the feckin' plants? Or the fact that there were stormtroopers running around? Or, most importantly, the opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of his fellow Jedi after his unquestioned failure?
"I'm fine" he said to Elidan, pushing himself to his feet and trying not to show how much discomfort the simple effort caused him. "I think I've found my second wind." Once his legs were more or less underneath him the Togruta paused and considered for a moment, gray eyes gradually becoming unfocused and glassy with pain.
"Yep, there it is!" he announced optimistically, before passing out again.
When he came to a few seconds later, Ruzaan bitterly picked himself off of the ground and prepared to move out, his body language making clear both the pain he was in and his decision to head towards the exit of this Force-forsaken place.