"Holy kriff. I expected it to be bad... but this is on another level."
So this was it, the entrance to a city that was currently enshrouded by wanton chaos, anarchy, and destruction. Even from this short distance into the city itself, Murtagh could not help but notice that his surrounding scenery was almost akin to that of a warzone. If it were not known that a seismic event had totaled the city, that would have been the Jedi's first guess, at least. With the absolute devastation the denizens of the city were facing, it was unsurprising to hear the call to aide, a call he had been more than happy to answer. It was the primary job of a Jedi to aid in situations as dire as these, where the law of natural order had broken down and the beings of the planet where found slaves to their own baser instincts. To top onto that, and the fact that his task was to locate survivors, the beasts that had come to inhabit the city in the short time since it's defenses fell complicated things.
For his part, he found himself clad in all his fancy equipment - armor and weapons appropriately worn in their holsters, with his brown Jedi robes draping over his frame. His blaster pistol, an odd choice of weapon for a Jedi but one of his personal favourites, sat fastened to the left side of his waist, while his vibrosword hung from the right. His lightsaber, the intricate and ornate hilt, powered down, was poised in his hand and at the ready. Though he did not expect immediate trouble, the Vahla anticipated that his allies would be arriving in short order, and the more prepared he was to undergo the rescue operations, the better it was for the trio he'd been assigned to.
"Obviously I'm not the only one having a run of bad luck... they've already moved all non-essentials out. Good. Should make our job easier."
As far as he was aware, and his memory retained its sharpness, Murtagh had not become acquainted with any of the Knights that he'd be working with today. He'd met his fair share over the course of his training, and had an increased spike of social interaction over the past week with more than one aspiring Instructors and Padawans. This was a slightly different matter altogether, as it was an official mission that was ranked among the more dangerous, evidently. Otherwise, he doubted three Knights would have even been necessary, and he'd likely have been working with either one other Knight or a couple of Padawans. Furthermore, there were far more lives at stake here than just his and his allies - every moment could be crucial in recovering the denizens safe and hopefully relatively unharmed. What's more, he didn't know if he was confident in speaking for the structural integrity of the buildings they would need to search and traverse. It was an all around dicey situation, and Murtagh could only hope that he and those he'd work alongside where up for the task.
"Little time to lose then, if anyone is still to be found I doubt they can wait much longer where they are" he looked about the collapsing city rubble, trying to reach out in the Force. But he felt little, so much had dissapeared, the feeling of that blanketed the city above all else to his senses.
He steeled himself as he opened his eyes once more, looking once more. Even if he couldn't sense their pain now, he knew what it felt like to be in need. His injuries on Ifrane were still testament to that, it was hard knowing now others might be feeling similar,
"We should get down there" Saul's voice was quiet, lost for any more words. He was just ready to move, and keep his mind moving ahead and not trailing backwards, something that seemed unavoidable at times. Still, he was here now with his peers, Knights ready to do what had to be done, of that he was sure. It would be good to get to work.
Jacob had been mentally preparing himself for this task for some time now, and he still wasn't sure if he was ready. While he was a proven knight, he had yet to see destruction of this level- feel destruction of this level. Whenever he closed his eyes all he felt was the pain and death that blanketed this place. He would have found comfort in that if it wasn't for the other feeling- nothing, almost as if a hole had been made here. His face was crunched up in a frown he hadn't worn in a long time, and he began to think through the process, hoping to take it bit by bit.
"I am prepared, let us get moving." His lightsaber was in his hand, something he hadn't quite held with such a strong intent to use it. His finger traced along the hilt of the saber as he looked around. His eyes traced along the desolated buildings of the city and the damaged earth, searching for any trace of life even before they entered. His robes were a lot tighter on his body than he normally kept them, he had lost the ability to relax shortly before arriving to this planet. "And may the force be with you both." As he spoke he let out a deep breath, as if attempting to let out all that he was feeling in order to begin this operation with a clear head.
Murtagh nodded solemnly as his allies took their turns in joining him. It seemed they had not seen such destruction, or perhaps where simply shaken by it. For his part, the Vahla wished he didn’t know what a fallen city looked like, but this matched all the points. They’d have to keep an eye on their surroundings regardless, they’d see worse ahead. It was little doubt that there would be injured.
“Try and sense for anyone around us. Might be easier than visually locating them.”
His suggestion would prove useful in some regards, allowing them to focus on traversing the terrain while searching in the same moment. Murtagh began to descend into the heart of the destroyed city, avoiding a few overturned pieces of slag. His senses stretched outwards, though he could not sense anyone in their immediate surroundings. His feet still moved rapidly, carrying him further within the ruins. Ahead lay a collapsed building, one they’d either have to climb over or walk through. The Vahla opted for the latter, gently lowering his head as he entered one of the misshapen windows that once dotted the location. Within, the walls barely held structurally, but the ground beneath - though slanted - was sturdy.
At least it was sturdy until his foot found the edge of a beam that immediately began to shift, causing the Vahla Knight to hop over it and reach the other side. Looking back, the board was clearly unstable and had grown loose and splintered in the mayhem. Had he placed his full weight on it, he might have fallen through to the bottom parts of the floor. The building stretched onwards ahead, with the awkward hallway stretching outwards, into darkness. Without electricity it was almost impossible to see what was ahead. As a result, the Vahla activated his icy blue blade, holding it up so the glow would blanket the surroundings in a pale blue light.
In the soft light that illuminated the fallen building now, Saul saw the boards between he and Murtagh shudder. His weight, with all his new cybernetic attachments, was far more than his fellows. It would not hold him,
"I'll go down, perhaps some people are trapped closer to the ground. I don't trust these walls, not wit my legs" he tried to keep his spirits lighter, though in truth it did little. He still felt the grim atmosphere around him, and the interminable darkness, the thought of being trapped, it all reminded him too much of his experiences on Ifrane he'd confessed to Jacob back on Vakkar.
Down in the lower level, Saul reached out with his feelings, though as Murtagh had discovered there was little to sense, even down here. His own blade lit the room in a warm yellow, though he felt no comfort by it. Instead he walked eyes closed, seeing the world through the Force, trying to eek out any life that still might stir in city. And there was something, a dangling thread that pressed him onward with a sudden energy to try and help. Though as he lifted rubble from the ground he discovered he was too late, only by moments it seemed,
"I found someone! I, I... I think I'm too late" his voice echoed in the heads of his companions telepathically, clear and without the crackle of his rebreather, as he knelt beside the body. He could feel their warmth fading, there was nothing he could do. Nothing he knew how to do that would save them at this point. The others would sense his sadness in his thoughts, the only spark of hope being that one of the others would find some who still yet lived. If one had been so close, there had to be others who yet had a chance.
Jacob looked at both his allies, given his smaller stature and light weight he was probably well equipped to traverse the shambles of the buildings. His mind was scattered earlier but now he has found focus in his task, keeping himself stable. "I will start from above, I work best from a bird's eye view." He began to climb to the top of the building, his feet finding stable ground with each leap in the form of either broken stairs or destroyed walls, that is until the very last. The ground began to crumble under him, and had he reacted slower he likely would have been broken to pieces. He gripped the edge of the destroyed roof, making his way through a hole in the center of the roof.
He took a deep breath and began to look around as best he could. He nodded to Saul's declaration of finding someone, and peeked over for a moment before returning to his search. "I see a bit of movement to the east! It's hard to make out from where I am. Take care and I will be down soon!" As he shouted he began looking for a way down, pausing for just a moment. He felt a wave of sadness from Saul's direction. It seems as though they weren't as in luck as they initially thought. "Let us keep looking, We are sure to find someone soon. We should also secure a location to keep survivors."
Saul breathed out long and deep, his rebreather hissing as he did so. One could not always succeed, he knew that well. But it stung him and now to remember it so starkly,
“You’re, you’re right Jacob” Saul spoke softly standing up once more, and beginning into a jog to where Jacob has directed,
“I’ll mark their location, we can’t leave them out here like that either. But we have to help the living first” he steeled himself and carried on. Across to the east ofhis building was another collapsed place, though the rear wall had no entirely fell leaving a stone almost lean-to structure amidst the rubble.
He could see what his friend meant from here, a flicker inside it, something lighter than its surrounds. Whether skin or light it was something, something that gave hope. His jog became a run as he threw himself across the strewn rubble to the sight,
“Is anyone in there? Can you hear us?” He called out. What met him was a weak noise, barely audible, but there. Someone was alive, perhaps a whole group, the sounds seemed multiple, though none in a good state.
“Jacob, Murtagh! Over here!” He began to reach out in the Force to the stone, shuffling what he could ever do slowly to ensure nothing caved in. But with his allies help they’d have them out soon.
Jacob began his decent as he heard the calling of his fellow knight, he attempted to be careful as he took each leap down. I don't want to be among the injured usually his thoughts would humor him when he was in dangerous situations such as this, and this kept him calm. But the sense of urgency, the thought that more than his life is in danger, has caused him to zero in on his situation all too well. He eventually reached the level where he had last split off from the others and made his way to the location marked by Saul.
He closed his eyes as he passed by the body Saul found on his way there, and even a few more that he spotted on the way. "May the force be with you." He muttered under his breath as he made his way back to his fellow knight. It was around then that he heard Saul call out to him. He rushed over and began to aid Saul in lifting the stone. Hoping to find at least one person alive. He calmed his breathing and focused. "Let us try to get this big one out of the way first." He spoke with a calm tone that distracted from the internal panic. He would have to focus carefully if he wanted to be of any help in lifting the large mass from the possible survivors.
As Jacob began to slow his breathing and reach out, Saul did the same. His breaths became longer, deeper, rhythmic as they came in line with Jacob's and their shared will reached out to the rubble before them. Saul could feel the weight of the pieces in his fingertips, a weigh that seemed to diminish as they lifted the stones. One by one pieces of rubble vibrated and lifted from the ground as the pair drew them up and away from those trapped below.
And slowly he heard it, a cry, a voice, a figures moving in the rubble. Opening his eyes Saul was able to see clearly as a group of survivors pulled themselves out from beneath the rubble that now hovered in the air around them. They were beyond tired, though it seemed for the most part only with minor injuries. Though no doubt they would need care, even if just for the shock of the situation they'd just been through.
As they moved away from the stones Saul began to lower his grip, placing the rubble down off to the side and made his way over to the people. They needed to get them out of here and to safety. Though hopefully now that wouldn't be so difficult.
Fiach hastened to the rendezvous point. Until now she’d only experienced the wasteland and the accompanying wind — or was that dust — storms the planet had to offer. This was her first taste of an urban environment. And what she saw shocked her. If she did not know better, she would say this was a warzone. In fact, she did know better and still had to convince herself this wasn’t the case.
She wore her usual robes and carried a saber. There was a suggestion she should wear armour — but the shuttle she’d transferred from did not have any. And besides, as a Padawan she was expected to leave the more dangerous encounters to the Knights — albeit she could not shirk her duties. And nor would she.
She announced herself via the com-link she’d been given — it rarely paid to sneak up on anyone, let alone a Jedi Knight — and given the surroundings, anyone could be excused for being a little jumpy.
“Padawan Fiach Dubh coming up on your six.” She suspected they had sensed her arrival anyway, “Please advise on what you need me to do first.”
Dropping the rubble Saul was spent. Between he and his allies theyd got people out, but now they had to get them to true safety, and that wasn’t quite done. That Fiach rang herself in was like a Force sent miracle,
“Perfect timing young Padawan. We’ve found survivors, thank the stars, though the others are drained from the effort” he looked back at his allies, still breathing heavily from it all,
“Meet us by the old clock tower and let’s clear room for landing, we can get us all out of here in one piece” the relief in his voice would be unmissable, even through the effects of the rebreather. He’d run the full gamut of emotions today, from failure to now joy. He meant to finish on a high and with Fiach’s help they were certain to.
It seemed the future of the Order was in good hands.
Fiach was relieved to get a response and from the voice, it sounded as though this team had already endured a great deal. Fortunately the young Padawan was rested and so could join in the effort with all of her energy -- which, as was often the case with Padawans -- was boundless.
She consulted her map and bearings and headed immediately for the clock tower. It would be a good landmark for a rescue ship although, by the sounds of it, it was not ready for any landing. And the moment she arrived, she understood. Debris was a common sight here and the potential landing site was no different. And without mechanical aids, it would fall to the Jedi to remove enough rubble to allow the ship to safely land.
Closing her eyes momentarily, she connected deeply with the Force and once she opened them again, she raised her right hand. It served no practical purpose other than as a focus for her efforts as she concentrated on some of the larger boulders and with the aid of the Force, she lifted and loved them over to one side. She knew how important it was to believe she could do it. She was far from a level where she could lift a ship off the ground, but she could manage rocks and patiently she moved them, one by one.
But she was just a Padawan and soon became tired by the efforts and hoped she would would get reinforcements before her connection to the Force wavered.
Cresting a pile of rubble to find Fiach patiently moving rocks out of the way one-by-one to form a landing sight brought a smile to the tired Jedi's face. This was how things could change, piece by piece, each knowing what they needed to do. Together that formed a movement that altered everything.
What they did here on Eriadu was just a piece of that,
"That'll be more than enough" Saul called down to her as he and the injured came over the rise "You'll make sure we all get out in one piece" he offered her a comfort as she saw the line of injured, of the bodies that had been found too late. He tried not to think about it either, he had already seen enough.
And as the carrier ship jetted down through the clouded sky, he breathed in deep.
They had done good today, and today that was enough.