Ask Plot Onderon The Migration of Dragons

Fiach Dubh

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“What an impressive, flying beast he rides! I've never seen one like it!”
“These beasts originally come from the nearby moon. The Onderonians tame them, but this one was too vicious to be handled.”
― Exar Kun and Cay Qel-Droma


Fiach had, as ever, done her homework — well she was not known as a book-worm for no reason. Dxun was the largest of four moons that orbited the Inner Rim world of Onderon. Like its parent planet, it was covered almost entirely by dense jungles that were populated by many species of fierce, predatory animals. Fortunately, the jungles were not their destination for this trip.

Fiach kept a tight grip of the controls as the ship she was piloting hit the turbulence of Dxun's heavy cloud cover. She slowed their descent as they approached Dxun's heavily forested surface, creating a shallower angle of approach.

Their mission was easily explained, if not straightforward. The Jedi were seeking the Lightsaber Forge of Dxun. Part of the challenge was the fact that the moon was a haven of Darkness — and the aforementioned predators were an added complication.

But for Fiach and the Jedi Knight that she was accompanying, their role was defined as not so much providing air cover, but removing the need for it. For the area of interest happened to be situated next to one of the few areas not covered with jungle. In this case, it was a specific cliff. And nesting in the rocks were Drexl. Maybe they were the reason the Forge had remained undiscovered for so long? Regardless, they were now a threat to Younglings and Padawans and had to be dealt with.

For Fiach, dealt with meant relocated. There was a possibility they may have to take more permanent action to deal with the winged beasts — but she hoped it would not come to that.

She squinted through the viewscreen of the small craft, chosen because it would require the smallest landing site. Mist swirled around and below them and it was not easy to see somewhere to put down. With limited visibility, she was now using instruments to pilot the ship. That, and her connection to the Force. She knew that the cliff was close.

Fortunately, the mist was beginning to thin. Patches of a lighter grey streaked through the clouds. Suddenly, as the craft lowered, the cliff appeared, looming out of the clouds. Fiach consulted the coordinates for their destination, then searched the rocks for a likely landing spot. Finally, she spotted a ledge that was protected from the wind. It would be a tight fit, but it was their best bet.

Fiach flipped switches to begin the landing procedures and with cool nerves and a steady hand, she manoeuvred the ship into the tight space. He set the ship down as gently as she could.

“OK, that’s the easy part done, now to see if the current residents would consider a change of scenery.” She looked at the Knight beside her, awaiting his instruction.


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Eckaaso Shyn

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Dxun. A small jungle moon in orbit around Onderon, which once a year went so close to its mother planet that their atmospheres merged, allowing the flying fauna of Dxun, specifically the dreaded Drexl, to migrate from a planet to the other.

The Kaleesh knight sighed softly as he opened his eyes after roughly a hour of meditation to prepare himself for the encounter they were going to have with the dangerous beasts, and honestly, the feeling of the Dark Side influence that soaked the jungle moon hit him in the stomach. It was like if he had a bit of nausea, but he gave just a light groan as they entered in the planet's atmosphere. "Welcome to one of the planets with the most Dark Side influence in this sector, Fiach. This is the planed of the tomb of Freedon Nadd, which luckily we don't have to explore for that mission. We don't even know its exact location, or it was forgotten" he said as they went through the heavy clouds of the planet. As the rocky ledge finally appeared, he grabbed a pair of binoculars and counted how many Drexl were in the nest and around it...

Four, all adults. The Kaleesh wasn't sure if he had to be happy or worried about that. As they finally landed, he looked at Fiach. "Well, looks like we're going to deal with four of them, all adults from what I could see. Got any ideas on how to deal with them?" he asked, wanting to see how the Padawan would deal with such a dangerous threat, since each Drexl was roughly the size of a krayt dragon
 

Fiach Dubh

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“Well...” Fiach began and then paused. As she gazed up at the enormous winged creatures in the nest, she imagined them circling high above, hunting for food. These reptilian predators ruled the skies of Dxun. Their appearance resembled that of a winged lizard: scaled, violet skin; a long, thick tail; and heavily muscled body and legs. A blunt, oversized head sat atop an extended, sinewy neck. They had tiny avian eyes; a flat, pushed-in snout; and a wide jaw full of jagged yellow teeth. And she knew they could grow to be up to ten metres in length from nose to tail with a wingspan of nearly twenty metres.

“If there was one, we could consider using the Force to coerce them to move. Maybe even two…but four?” She paused again. “I was hoping for a peaceful resolution but I am bereft of ideas. They have no natural predator, so we can’t even scare them away.”

Her nose wrinkled and then she added, “Perhaps nature is our ally after all? Not a predator, not a phenomenon. Could we perhaps cause a small avalanche above them and encourage them to move away for safety reasons? No creature would put its young in danger given the choice.”

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The Kaleesh listened to the young woman, tapping his chin. "An avalanche you say? This can be rather dangerous, but I agree with you, it would be one of the few viable options to try sending them away. Let's go" he said, stood up and then headed out of the ship.

The humidity of the planet hit him hard, making him gasp lightly. His species was used to more arid climates, although he himself had lived for years on Ajan Kloss, which was also a bit of a jungle planet. Not as much as Dxun, though. Eckaaso stepped on the rocky lodge, looking up towards the cliff above them. A few hundred meters away was the cliff that interested them, which had the Drexl as guests. He took a deep breath, focusing on the Force around him, shivering lightly at the feeling of the Dark Force that soaked the planet. Assuming that Fiach followed him, he said "Listen to your surroundings. Do you feel the Dark Side filling the nature? This. This is one of the Jedi's many challenges: resisting to the call of the Dark Side even when it essentially surrounds you."
 

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Fiach was pleased that her time and effort invested in taking the lead in situations was paying off. Not so long ago, she would have waited for guidance and been reticent to offer her own suggestions, unless they were entirely fact-based.

She followed the Knight out of the ship and onto the rocky ledge. It was humid here, but there was also a breeze and the wind whipped a strand of stray mousy hair away from Fiach's cheek.

She glanced up and at the same time listened to the Jedi Knight. It was always the way that, as they were in the middle of a physical and demanding mission, whoever she was paired with would take the opportunity to stretch the learning beyond the immediate obstacle.

Fiach was aware that there were challenges she would face that were essentially unknowable. There were mysteries at the heart that can surprise even those who think they know themselves.

“I understand,” she said. “It does not so much call to me as make me feel dirty. Like the Force has been tainted with an oily, tar-like substance. But I can understand how it can become insidious and as a result tempt you. I am not foolish enough to believe I am immune to it, but I am at least aware of its lure.”

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The Kaleesh took a deep breath, looking up at the cliff, and then begun climbing it, using the Force to boost his jumps each time he reached a ledge to go further up. Hopefully the girl followed him.

As they arrived on top of the cliff, the Drexl were in sight, something like a hundred or so meters away from them. At the moment two of them were sleeping in the nest, and the other two were flying around it, apparently not caring much about the presence of the strangers. The Jedi sat on the ground, relaxing, and then closed his eyes, expanding his senses to his surroundings, shivering visibly as he barely touched the Drexl's hideous and obscure presence.
 

Fiach Dubh

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Fiach considered her next move. She was not as powerful or accomplished with the Force as the Kaleesh that accompanied her. Yes, she could start a landslide, but her control would most likely not be as proficient as the Jedi Knight. And that could prove catastrophic.

Nor did she want to contemplate exerting some form of mind control over the creatures. Yes, she had practiced it with simple and docile animals — but these were something else again, and possibly tainted with the Dark-side too.

So she carefully and more slowly than the Kaleesh, began to scale the cliff — using the Force occasionally to help her progress.

Once at the top, she noted only two were currently active and not paying them much attention. As she looked around, she was aware the Jedi Knight was now seated and looked to be meditating. Unsure at to what to do precisely, she remained standing and vigilant, in case the creatures’ current apathy towards them changed.

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The Drexl didn't notice them, for some reason, so they let them be, at least for the moment. The Kaleesh focused on the mountain that loomed over them, looking for weaknesses in the mountain's side. It took him a while, but he finally found what he needed. "Alright Fiach, get ready to run. Going to try triggering a landslide" he muttered loud enough to be heard by the young Jedi next to him.

As he said so, the two Drexl that were in the nest perked up, like if they heard something... although they didn't see them yet, apparently. The Kaleesh breathed deeply, and begun moving the rocks on the side, attempting to trigger a landslide. And he succeded. Rocks begun to roll down the mountain, and the ground begun to slowly tremble...
 

Fiach Dubh

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So far they had been ignored by the Drexl. Like most creatures, Fiach surmised, they attacked when hungry or threatened. They were clearly not in the mood for a meal and no doubt saw few other creatures as a threat. And they were far enough away from the nest not to pose a menace to their home.

But she remained vigilant and allowed the Jedi Knight the time and opportunity to seek the suitable moment and spot to initiate the avalanche.

Finally he spoke and she nodded her agreement – she did not need telling twice to avoid being flattened by any falling rocks.

“Understood,” she added belatedly, appreciating he would not be able to see the nod of her head.

She sensed the disturbance before she saw or heard it, and maybe the Drexl did too? Regardless, first dust fell, then small stones and finally rocks and boulders began to fall – heading for the nest.

The two inhabitants of their home immediately took flight. And – figuratively speaking – so did Fiach. She closed her eyes momentarily and connected as deeply with the Force as she could before moving. It was, in a sense, like Soresu to her. She listened to and trusted the Force to warn her of impending danger and moved as it directed without question. Hopefully the Jedi Knight’s control of the landslide was sufficient to keep them safe and merely take out the now empty nest – but nature sometimes did its own thing.

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The Jedi waited a few seconds, helping the landslide gain speed and size, making sure that it will hit the Drexl nest without hurting the animals themselves, then he opened his eyes and stood up, quickly stepping out of the way and heading towards the cliff that led towards the ship they had come with. "Probably we'd better stick here for a while, just to make sure that the creatures got the message" he said as the two ran and slid down the rather steep rocky surface, approaching their ship.
 

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Fiach need not have bothered worrying about the landslide. She could see and sense that the Jedi Knight had everything under control. For a few moments, she focused on the creatures. Yes, they were predators and yes, it was their duty to clear them from the area, but they were hardly at fault for fulfilling their natural instincts.

They had all taken flight and she could imagine them looking mournfully at their former nest. They managed a few lazy circuits of the area before moving on – heading to an adjacent cliff, clearly to seek a new vantage point to build a nest.

She was pleased that they managed to resolve the mission in this manner. They had cleared the area of danger for Padawans and Younglings alike – and had managed to do so without killing any of the Drexl.

Fiach’s nose wrinkled. She checked her memory and realised she was unsure what the plural of the creatures was. One Drexl, two Drexl? Two Drexls? Did it really matter? To Fiach it did, and she made a mental note to find out the correct nomenclature.

But for now, her focus was on avoiding the landslide and getting to their ship. She was as much surfing as running now and was unsure how she would slow down when she got to the ledge where their craft was. In an emergency, she figured she would use the hull as a makeshift brake!

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The Jedi used the Force to slow down their fall until they safely reached the bottom of the slide, and he panted some, since he had used some effort to both control the landslide and then slow down the fall for both of them. The Kaleesh smiled behind his mask as he looked at Fiach, and gestured at her to go ahead and reach the ship. "Well... I'd say... the mission... was a success, huh? I'm sure the Grandmaster will be very happy about how we managed to send the Drexl away without hurting them" he said as they walked. "So, how's your training going?"
 
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