The Freebird dropped out of hyperspace in a wink. His com system was alive with an urgent incoming signal. A distress call. Leon Baudelaire’s brow furrowed as he began decrypting the call for help. Peetwo peered over his shoulder curiously at the incoming data packet. The BD unit hopped from his shoulder to the ground and connected to the console with his scomplink.
Baudelaire didn’t like how interested the little droid was in the call. Peetwo was pretty fickle with his attention. If there wasn’t imminent danger he normally stayed put, but now… Peetwo’s holoprojector kicked on casting a veil of light blue across the durasteel floor. The picture was empty. Leon looked down at the little droid and wondered if it forgot to press play. Just as he was about to clear his throat pointedly at the little guy when the image flickered.
“Is this a live feed,” he asked.
Peetwo warbled a confirmation.
Leon’s confusion was reaching critical when he saw a twi’lek fly across the screen. He flinched as an entire Zabrak was bounced off a pillar like a tennis ball.
“Can you get an audio feed?”
Screams of terror. Blaster fire. Vehicle engines. Then… something… familiar. A hum. The hum. The unmistakable tone of an ignited lightsaber.
“Sith! SITH! Ther—AAAAAARGH!”
Crunch. The sucking smacking sound of something wet colliding with duracrete then peeling off briefly preceded a body falling into frame from the top of the screen. The sound repeated when they hit the ground and Leon winced. His jaw clenched. He turned on his heel and started for the cockpit calling over his shoulder to Peetwo.
“Coordinates, looks like we just found our next job, buddy.”
Sith sightings had somehow become much more common, even though Kalique had repeatedly learn that Force users, often regardless of their alignment or regular cultists were often tagged as such even though they actually weren't. Still, it was obvious Kalique's job to go take a look and start investigations as it was simply her job to hunt them down within the Imperial sphere.
Still, she didn't stop at the Imperial borders. When there were supposed Sith around, there was always more to it and the threat they posed didn't just vanish behind the borders of their official sphere of influence, so as Kalique was just passing me, she did pick up a sudden distress signal and didn't hesitate a second before she redirected the ship.
Having her board computer filter out the actual feed, Kalique did play it twice before she was convinced someone was definitely in need of help, regardless of whether they were actually facing a Sith. It wasn't hard to tell that the unmistakable hum announced a lightsaber, but the rest of the violent noises wasn't much more soothing either.
She didn't flinch at the cruel sound backdrop, actually having heard such things way too often and immediately focused on the coordinates. It was just a quick flight that was needed before she'd near the atmosphere at top speed, not wanting to risk having more chaos erupt. Her armor was in the back, so she still needed to strap that on while the pilot droid starting the landing maneuver.
As the ship did approach the landing pad for which she had received clearance shorthandedly after having mentioned she had picked up the call and was there to help, but as the spaceport grew closer behind the viewport, she could already see that there was chaos all around. She wondered what the kriff was going on but didn't like any part of it, especially because somehow there simply didn't seem to be too much help around.
The shuttle touched the ground, although she immediately needed to switch on the shields as some blaster bolts were already aimed in her ship's direction. This was off to a great start, but despite having a bad feeling about it, she did hit the button that lowered the ramp and rushed out, one lightsaber clipped to the belt but the other one already in her hand as she immediately pressed the activator to protect herself from the fire.
Sprinting behind a crate for initial cover, she did run into an injured police guard who laid on the duracrete floor, cauterized wounds all across his body. "Officer...this is Knight Demici. Can you still walk? I'll get you out". She adressed the barely conscious man, already knowing it didn't look good for him but perhaps there was still hope. "A...jedi...", something that did flash across his face looked like hope, but the injured man was apperently oblivious of what she was wearing and thus having misinterpreted the Knight part, but there was no need to correct him in his state. He flinched in pain, blood slowly dripping from his lips as she noticed he was beyond saving and there cover was about to be blown away soon. This wasn't looking great and so far, there was no 'Sith' or lightsaber wielder around...
Leon hit the ground running once The Freebird landed planetside. The settlement that had put out the distress call was plunged into chaos. A child’s cry caught his attention and Leon rushed to it with all the haste the force could muster. He slid to a stop when he spotted a dark robed figure stalking toward a little Togruta girl. Her big eyes were wet with unspilled tears and her mouth hung open in terror as she tried to scoot backward away from the figure.
Baudelaire, put a hand up to his mouth and whistled. The Darksider whipped around and the little girl took off. “Aw, didn’t mean to interrupt,” he ignited Daybreak, “Oh, well guess we should fight, huh?”
The Darksider lunged for him, the force propelling his flight, saber drawn back and a snarl on his lips. Leon took a deep breath and readied his weapon— in the blink of an eye they crossed paths. Leon’s pale yellow blade was across his body, his expression was emotionless, over his shoulder the Darksider was still… Then he split in half and fell to the ground.
Baudelaire glanced around for the little girl, he heard a rustling in the bushes nearby, “You can come out, I’m here to help, promise!” he said, deactivating his blade and clipping it to his hip.
A moment later the little one came out of the trees. The Jedi squatted down getting on her level and looked her in the eye. “You were really brave back there,” he started a smile spreading across his face, “Can I help you find your family?”
The little girl nodded and he offered her his hand. Tentatively she took it.
“Okay, little one, lead the way.”
Peetwo peeked around his shoulder and warbled, the little girl looked up at him and smiled. Peetwo hopped on to her shoulder and nuzzled into her neck. She giggled and Leon was glad. Maybe she’d just been separated… He glanced back at the bisected darksider. Probably not…
It was clear they were on the outskirts of the attack, the further she led him in the more destruction and wounded he saw. His normally laid back expression was replaced by one of growing concern. This was a full assault.
“This is my house,” she said in a small voice. A little hope blossomed in the knight’s heart. The lights were on. The little girl ran to the door, even before she got there it hissed open and her parents were there. That mischievous little smile found it’s way back to his lips, “Any idea where the worst of it is?”
The little girl’s father looked up, eyes misty, “Head that way,” he pointed behind Leon, “Thank you!”
Baudelaire threw the guy a two finger salute, “Thanks, hang on to that kiddo! Lights out, doors locked, huh?” he added as he started trotting off in the direction he’d been shown.
“Peetwo, let’s get those scanners up, feels like things are about to get intense.”
Feeling his pain and the imminent threat that still lingered in the air left the Knight no break. "Please Jedi...end this" he pleaded, grimacing in pain. More and more shots hammered against their makeshift barricade and he began sputtering blood. It was too late for him indeed. Kalique just curtly nodded before she did end this for him in a non painful way by frying his brain with her still ignited Saber.
She then dashed over to the other side where a speeder provided some protection, taking a moment to catch her breath and focus before it was time to do something against this chaos. She then lept over the speeder, her lightsaber swiftly and skillfully reflecting blasted bolts and hurling them back at the causer and cleanly knocking them out.
With her free left hand she reached out and coiled it around two more attackers who wrecked havoc on the spaceport and kept firing at fleeing civilians, snapping their necks simultaneously before she was forced to run again. The unmistakable sound of a beeping thermal detonator that was thrown her way forced her to leap out of the way before she could grab hold of it with the Force and throw it back to where the assailants were gathering ahead.
Mid air though, the explosive was suddenly stopped as she hit some kind of invisible barrier. It took her another second before she realized someone else had taken hold of it and this someone obviously wasn't happy with in which direction the TD was going. She grimaced under the strain, still trying to assert herself, but the grenade went off right in the air, sending a violent shockwave all around and breaking not only her focus, but also the darksider's who had messed with her counterattack in the first place.
The explosion deafened her for a moment. She felt her thundering heart and the adrenaline rushing through her veins while there was nothing but a loud beeeeep ringing in her eats. She blinked and pushed herself of the ground, the shrapnel having grazed her in multiple areas, yet she knew she had to continue asap.
With gritted teeth she sprang up, her eyes narrowed and scanning the surroundings but it seemed like those who had fired blaster bolts before were now running. She blinked, trying to see through the debris as someone suddenly approached her, walking with firm steps and a lightsaber hand in his hands.
The hood prevented her from seeing the attackers face, but as the red blade suddenly hissed into existence, she let out a growl. Readying her lightsaber in front of her body and getting into a combat ready stance, she waited for her adversary to engage, yet before he even got close, she suddenly sensed how to more people used the Force.
With the trio of incoming attacks and her focus mainly on the one with the lightsaber, there was nothing she could do against the invisible force wave that suddenly threw her off her feet and sent her skidding to the right. She didn't even notice that she was hurled right in front of a young man with yet another lightsaber who'd be able to make out the blonde on the ground who immediately scrambled back to her feet, orange lightsaber tightly gripped in her right hand and her gaze directed at the approaching trio.
The other two had decided to show themselves and apparently intended to end the Imperial Knight by launching a serious of simultaneous attacks she wouldn't be able to dodge for long, yet they were just as surprised to see Leon, who had just joined the encounter. Still, with Kalique not even having noticed the young Jedi Knight behind her, the first darksider let out a cackle before the air was suddenly filled with tension as a powerful darkness filled the atmosphere and climaxed into a force lightning directed at Kalique, who still mananged to bring up her lightsaber to block it though.
The second one did not want to take any chances and so she began running, storming right at Leon who was potentially still a little caught of guard and her own red lightsaber snapping into existence. The third meanwhile gathered the Force around him, not attacking just yet, but also not very pleased by the sudden resistance that began to pose a real challenge.
Peetwo whistled in alarm and Leon slowed to a stop at the corner of a building closer to the center of town. The destruction got worse the further he moved in. He could feel the shadow of the darkside. It felt like he was being watched at all times from the darkness. Like it as just waiting for the right moment too—
A woman in crimson armor flew past him. Leon yelped and Peetwo flinched, slipping back into his pouch. He pulled back for a moment. Imperial Knights weren’t pushovers. Baudelaire counted out the hoods… 3 v 1? That wasn’t fair.
The Jedi knight stepped into the open, startling the two front runners.
“Mind if I even the odds?” asked Leon. The hoods answered his question by attacking, “Yay,” Leon muttered, calling both sabers into his hands and opening himself to the force. The Darksider stabbed, Leon slipped to the left, then right. The Darksider went high and Baudelaire passed through, his blade slid through his opponent. He turned to assist the knight when a blast of force power slammed into him.
Leon was sent skittering. He rolled over his shoulder and came up onto his feet, blade crossed in front of him. The blow had rocked him a bit and it took him a second to get his bearings in that time the third attacker was on him.
Baudelaire got his blade up to defend, out of the corner of his eye he could see the other knight dispatch her target and whirl around toward him, Leon yelled, “Heads up!”
He feinted with one blade then spun into a back kick that slammed into the solar plex of his enemy. The hooded Darksider stumbled backwards, arms flailing in the other knight’s direction. He’d be wide open, severed up on a platter. Closest thing to an olive branch Baudelaire could think of.
Leon deactivated his lightsabers and clipped them to his belt. He crossed his arms over his chest and flashed the Knight a smile, “Nice moves, you get the distress call too?”
Kalique wasn't pleased with having been yeeted just like that and so she fiercely focused on the lightning launcher through narrowed eyes. It was right before she heard a young man's voice as the lightning made contact with her orange blade. The Imperial Knight pushed herself to her feet with a growl before she used her free hand to yank her opponent closer, thus disrupting the lightning attack in a split second.
A Jedi? Now this was getting interesting. Kalique didn't mind their lightsided counterparts and she had even copied their meditative techniques to an extent as she found herself on the verge of resisting the darkside on a daily base. Sure, her powers came from the dark side, but while the Sith and apperently those so called cultists were controlled by it and blindly serving it, she was the one in control.
The darksider moved to draw his weapon again, but she left him no choice as she suddenly launched a streak of fire right into her attacker. Screaming, the darksider was set ablaze through Kalique's forte, hot flames engulfing the fanatic within seconds and leaving him to his fate.
Now, she could finally focus on the Jedi who had actually helped her out of this dire situations, only now realizing that the lightsider seemed relatively young. Judging from his skills though, she was convinced she was dealing with a Knight and after he skillfully finished the first one, he served her the second one just right.
Her still ignited lightsaber thrusted forward and pierced right through the Sith's torso, the Jedi having prepared the perfect opening that left a weird feeling of satisfaction. "Look at that", she remarked as the hooded body collapsed right in front of her and landing with a thud.
"My Knight in Shining Armor". A smirk crossed her lips as she realized that all of a sudden, this imminent sense of dread was gone. It seemed like the dark siders leading this attack had been dealt with and that her savior was good with timing. "Thank you...seems you arrived at the right time though". The only Jedi Kalique had ever interacted with was her cousin, but she was quite happy with how well this had went.
"I did, yes. I picked it up while being the only one close enough...I have to admit I didn't expect real dadksiders here though". At his gesture, she deactivated her lightsaber as well before she glanced around reassuringly again. "You've got quite some moves yourself. Thanks for the help", there was a genuine gratitude and the quick smile that followed was relatively warm, yet somehow this still didn't fully seem right. "Have you been on this planet before? I have no idea where they came from, but it sounded like they attacked out of nowhere". Despite the initial threat being destroyed, there was something odd about this place and maybe he had more insights.
Leon looked down at his jerkin and sighed, “I wish, you’re armor dope. Is it heavy?”
He gave her a little bow, “No need, I’m sure you’d of done the same for me,” he said with a smirk.
“Yeah, I managed to grab a video feed and saw them at work. Mean bastards,” he said, glancing down at the robed bodies. Leon chucked waving off her thank you, “Seriously, no biggie, I’m just glad to have a friend—” his BD unit grunted angrily at him, “—Another friend, sorry, another friend!” he said with a laugh.
Peetwo hopped down indignantly from it’s perch on Leon’s arm and immediately started running scans on the bodies. Leon scratched the criss cross scar on his cheek as he examined the scene. He squatted down over the nearest body and started running an examination while listening to the pretty knight talk.
“Nah, sorry, this is the first time I’ve been in the sector. I’ll be real I can’t for the life of me remember it’s name,” he admitted, with an expression that said, “Yikes!”
He opened the robes on one of the bodies and saw what he was looking for.
“Peetwo, over here,” his gaze slipped back to the Knight, “I might have an idea who these guys are…” his brow furrowed as he started to hone in on his mission.
…Find the nest of headless snakes…
Leon shook his head snapping back to reality, “Sorry, I’ve hit my head a couple of times,” he laughed, scratching the back of his head.
Peetwo warbled a confirmation and Leon’s eyes went wide, “We found them…” he cleared his throat realizing he looked like a crazy person, “These are members of the Hindsnake Cult,” as he said it the toe of his boot turned the body over revealing a coiled headless snake tattoo covering their torso.
“You wouldn’t be interested in teaming up would ya?” he asked with a playful shrug. Either way he was pressing on. He had to find the nest after all…
Despite not knowing his exact age, Kalique found it rather remarkable that he seemed to have traveled here all by himself and it was quite obvious that even as a young Knight, he wasn't lacking skills. His youthful remark did made her smirk though. "Thanks...it isn't actually. The older ones were quite hefty, but these ones are just fine" she explained, actually rather happy with the agility the red armor allowed her.
"Of course" she replied with a curt inclination of her head, however realizing that she had never been in such a situation before. Kalique protected the Empire with her life, but she had never been in a situation where she had fought Sith together with a Jedi. There was maybe an interesting irony to it, but Kalique had never seen herself in conflict with them. The dark side wasn't her religion and in terms of the Sith, they pursued the same goal.
It was only now that she noticed his vivacious droid friend and it did made her chuckle as it started to complain. "It's seems like the timing was indeed perfect". As he started to look around, she did the same and searched the first body, however apart from the lightsaber, there was nothing interested on the robed figure.
"Hmm..." unfortunately, he wasn't familiar with this territory either, but only a few moments later he seemed to have something. She rose and approached him again, her brows furrowed and her head slightly tilted as he zoned out for a moment. "You do? Shoot". If he had an idea or even a lead, she was grateful for the input.
He suddenly mentioned how he had found them and Kalique immediately raised a brow. Had he already been in contact with the cult? "Oh?", she replied as his eyes suddenly widened, a little concerned about his expressions before he did elaborate. "Hidesnake Cult..." she repeated, taking in the tattoo before she crossed her arms in front of her chest. "They sounds sketchy...have you fought them before?" she wondered, actually curious.
Regardless of what cult this was, Kalique had no intention of leaving just then. She was convinced there were more and they were still terrorizing this world. A smirk immediately tugged her lips at his suggestion, actually liking the idea. "I'm always down to hunt some dark siders...it's in our shared interest to exterminate the rest I'd say". Even if she wasn't one to trust strangers easily, there was something about him that seemed very trustworthy.
Generally, she had less suspicions when it came to lightsiders and there was no reason for them not to miss out on this unique chance. "Okay...you have to fill me in on everything you do know about them. Are they relatively organized? If so, do you think it's likely they'll strike a openly again?", she asked, once again scanning the environment carefully. There were no more movements, apart from the frightened Civillans that were milling about while there was a scent of burnt flesh in the air.
As she couldn't make out exact numbers, it was hard to tell whether all of them had retreated, but as far as she could tell there were no further attacks going on. "Maybe we- she was about to suggest where to start, yet a sudden set of explosions could be heard not really far away that made her flinch and grab the hilt of her first lightsaber once again.
"Fuck...". It immediately dawned her as she saw smoke rise behind the first row of buildings. "That was my ship", she grumbled. Obviously, someone had seen where she had come from and obviously they intended to nit only keep her on this planet, but immediately kill her communication systems as well. "So when this is over, I might need a ride too...".
”Cool! I look forward to comparing our methods,” he said, then realized they hadn’t introduced themselves names, he stuck out his hand to shake, “Oh, nice to meet you by the way, I’m Leon,[/color]” he jerked his thumb toward the spunky little BD unit, “That’s Peetwo.”
When Kalique asked him to share what he knew Leon shrugged, “Wish I had anything worth sharing. This group is very secretive. I managed to dig up an archive on them and apparently at the height of their power they posed a threat to Emperor Palpatine, so Palp’s—ew, that sounded gross, sorry— so Sheev sicked Vader on them. Darth obliterated them, nearly to the point of destruction, but apparently someone survived.”
That was a lot, so he’d be sure to answer any questions she had to his best abilities, but that was the extent of his knowledge. It was clear that these guys were back and on the move. He just couldn’t figure out what the point of all the—BOOM!
Leon flinched, hands flying up to cover his head. Kalique swore, kinda hot. Then said that was the direction of her ship. “Aww shit, that sucks,” then she asked for a ride and Leon nodded, “Oh yeah, sure. No worries!”
“We can head to your ship to see if we can pick up any leads or we could regroup with the local authorities, what do you think?”
Kalique suddenly realized that they hadn't even introduced themselves as they had found themselves in a rather precarious situation at first, so that she now reached for his extended hand and shook it. "Nice to meet you, Leon. I'm Kalique" she gave him a warm smile, before she quickly turned towards his droid, "and I'm obviously pleased to meet you as well".
He listened to his explanations but quirked a brow at all the names he casually dropped. "Hmm...so secretive, but with obvious roots in the most darkest places of the past...that sounds like something big" she mused, knowing she'd have to report that to the ISB sooner or later.
The way he youthfully summarized his findings though let a smirk tug at the corners of her lips as she curiosly tilted her head to the side. "Are you on this case all by yourself? Not that you can't take them on...you've just proven that, but a sole young Jedi Knight tracking them sounds dangerous". Maybe there were just a few cultist remains, but too many darksiders at one place was never anything good.
As the explosion went off she watched the rising smoke through narrowed eyes, a slight hint of frustration boiling up inside her. "Thank you...that's kind" as she turned back to him, her voice was softer, but then she swapped into the more serious mission mode. "Let's catch them in the act. The trace is still fresh now and this was obviously planned". She jutted her chin towards the said direction before she broke into run. It wasn't too far off, yet they had to hurry to catch them. "Shit...where's your ship? I'm afraid that's their next target unless they're fleeing now".
Leon’s smile widened as she shook his hand and introduced herself, “Well, look at us, besties already,” he laughed, Peetwo bristled slightly the way a cat would when being introduced to another lowly human. The little BD unit was so weird sometimes.
“Don’t mind him, he’s just like that,” said Leon, giving Peetwo the “Bro, be cool” look.
“Yes,” he replied to her question, his tone far more somber than before. The weight of this burden was a lot and finding the nest of the Headless snake was only one part of his mission, but he didn’t share any of that. He’d been charged by a Grandmaster from a long dead era to complete five deeds in order to prove he was worthy of the Grandmaster’s ultimate request.
It was all pretty daunting.
He came out of his little downward spiral and chuckled, “Uh, not sure if you heard, but we got hit by the boogy man on Ithor. Not a lot of free hands to go around, ya know?” he said with a nonchalance that probably bordered on overconfidence, but Leon was strapped for time and this had pretty much been dropped in his lap, AND he had a cute Imperial Knight to run around with. So, why should he worry?
Kalique thanked him and he blushed, because who thanks anyone for doing what’s common courtesy?
“Don’t mention it,” he said with a reassuring smirk.
Then she mentioned they might be going for his ship.
“Stop,” he said, smiling fading, “Wait, are you serious?!”
Peetwo leapt off his shoulder and started running. Leon nodded in the droid’s direction, “He’s going to the ship!”
The Freebird was in one piece and sitting where he’d left it. He’d managed to find a rocky outcropping to hide it under, just outside of town. He breathed a little sigh of relief. Peetwo warbled a warning and Leon took cover.
His eased his Heavy blaster from it’s holster and looked over to Kalique, “They’re here. Peetwo says there’s only one. That kinda makes me more nervous.”
Kalique didn't double think about whether getting so warm and chummy with a Jedi was such a good idea as he kept giving her the feeling that they'd indeed get along rather well. There was nothing she had to fear from him and it really seemed like teaming up was a great idea as they were both here already here and quite keen on exterminating the rest of those bastards.
She didn't miss how he was suddenly filled with a hint of dread as he seemed to remember something, and she also didn't miss how his tone suddenly changed. "I did...yes. My condolences...like seriously, I mean it. It was terrible to hear what yet another Sith was capable of doing" her expressions softened as she sympathetically replied, however the last part triggering a faint hint of anger that washed over her. It was just another reason why they had to deal with whoever was still around here as quickly as possible.
He then suddenly seemed a little flustered and this lightened the mood for her as well, which was why she replied, "Oh come on. I've never seen a Jedi giving an Imperial Knight a ride just like that, so I do really appreciate your kindness and openness". She meant it just like that. They weren't enemies, but there factions weren't known for collaborating that often, even if they had the same enemy- thus, this was a pity actually and she was rather glad for her unusual ally.
"I...I don't know. Let's go ensure they won't" she determinedly replied, breaking into a spring with him. They dashed towards his shuttle and ensured it was doing fine, however even before the droid warned them she let one lightsaber hilt snap into her hand. "Yes...I can sense someone".
She jutted her chin into the direction of the source and her eyes narrowed as she took cover next to him. "Shit...I know what you mean, but we've got this. Mask your presence, we'll try to ambush them". Her muscles tensed up but she did encouragingly pat his arm as she squatted next to him, trying to locate their target as best as she could.
Fighting alongside each other had worked great a few moments earlier and she was confident about overthrowing whoever was coming as well. She gave him an 'are you ready' -look as she could feel them much closer and suddenly coming to a halt, somehow feeling like they were scanning the surroundings as well while the tension was seemingly approaching the climax.
The Jedi awkwardly scratching the back of his head as she expressed her condolences, ”Thanks, that’s kind of you. I can attest he’s no normal Sith, that’s for sure.”
Leon smiled as she forced him to accept her gratitude, “Okay you’re welcome, sheesh!”
He knew his face was crimson, but this was her fault so she could deal with it.
Never in his life had he ever been more thankful to be in a combat situation. This made sense because the rules of engagement were straight forward. I don’t like you, you don’t like me, let's fight to the death. Actual talking was a nightmare.
Peetwo had been given the task of securing The Freebird, while Leon and Kalique prepared the jump this cultist. Leon closed his eyes and drew the force into his palm, cooking the power as he awaited her call. His eyes snapped open, she gave him the look and he moved.
Daybreak sprung into his left hand, and his right began to crackle with brilliant popping sparks of electricity. He lunged over their cover and prepared to bisect the hooded figure with an overhead slash. However, he felt the force wrap around him and whipped him to the ground.
“Oof!” he managed heroically as he felt the wind get forced out of his lungs.
Baudelaire kept moving, rolling forward and swiping at The Cultist's feet, in an attempt to create an opening for Kalique.
She had a feeling that regardless of what she said, he'd end up as flustered as before and it did draw a soft chuckle from her. She was grateful that he was being so open and not at all prejudiced in a negative way about her methods were definitely different from his, but she was truly looking forward to this collaboration and maybe this was the start of a cool new friendship.
They waited, carefully continuing to mask their presence before he was close enough to strike. She was convinced he was well aware of how they were here somewhere, but was counting on a slight momentum of surprise. As Leon lept into action, she did the same, however while he chose a more direct approach, she darted to the other side.
Her gaze was fixed on the cultist as he suddenly lashed out with the Force and whipped him down. She was actually quite impressed by how the Knight had mananged to conjure the first sparks of a lightning and she knew about their lightsided equivalent, yet she had never seen it in action and appreciated his quick thinking.
Yet, while Leon's focus had been broken by the cultist's strong force attack, he still found himself in his reach and so as the cultist was focused on his counterattack, she had the perfect opening to blast him with a ball of fire that immediately engulfed him. His robes were set alight in a split second and as he was torn between tending to the flames or evading the slash of the Jedi, the cultist chose the latter and was thus on fire.
He dodged Leon's blade somehow, but as he let out a pained cry, they would both feel the darkness erupt in him. Enraged, he might have been able to draw more power from the Dark Side, yet Kalique was already closing in with her orange lightsaber drawn and feigning to diagonally slash at him, however the real trick was the how her free left hand pushed him back roughly, so that he lost his balance and toppled over, falling directly into Leon's ignited blade.
She immediately spun and checked their surroundings, yet there was no one else nearby, or so it seemed for now. "That's impressive...not just what you just did, but how well we match...like wow, look at us managing our attacks like we've always been a team!" she remarked rather cheerfully, the dread in the atmosphere immediately fading with the impaled cultist.
"Okay so your ship is fine...maybe we should-" her gaze fell back on the cultist who was definitely on the verge of dying but not dead yet. "Gain information first" she changed her plans, her eyes immediately narrowing as she squatted down to the spluttering cultist and grabbed him by the collar of his robe. "Hey asshole...why don't we have a quick chat?". Clutching his wound, he was angrily glaring up at her now that the hood was falling out of his face, yet the light in his orange tainted eyes was fading. They could read his mind or extract information differently, so she waited for Leon's piece of mind.
Leon’s failed attack managed to do just what he’d hoped, as the cultist chose to save his ankles Kalique was right there blasting him with a fireball.
Okay, that’s was pretty fucking cool. He made a mental note to look into Pyrokinesis when he got back to Brighthome.
The Imperial Knight wasn’t done there and Leon was on the move now, coming up behind The Cultist as Kalique shoved them back. They stumbled into Leon’s ignited blade and the being gasped as the super heated plasma punched through the front of their chest.
Baudelaire flourished Daybreak, deactivating his weapon and clipping it to his belt in a single fluid movement. He knew the wound was fatal, and a very small part of him felt a little bad for the guy, but one look around at the glowing city still in ruin steeled his nerves.
The Jedi chuckled as Kalique pointed out how well they worked together, “Thanks, I’ve always wanted to look like a Huttball being spiked off the ground.”
“Agreed, I’ll go first,” he said, stepping forward while projecting into her mind, “Let’s play a little Good knight, Bad Knight, shall we?”
The Cultist's teeth were bared in the gave sneer of a fatal wound as his furious eyes flicked nervously between his captors.
“They’re already gone,” he said, blood began to trickle from the corners of his lips as.
Leon reached out to The Force channeling the light directly into the wound, it was too late, even if he wanted to there was no coming back from this wound, but he could ease the man’s death, if he cooperated of course.
“I’m sure that’s true,” he said, voice calm and almost kind, “That’s why you’re going to tell us what you were doing here, then you’re going to tell us where your base is.”
Baudelaire began to allow the light to fade, drawing the pain of the wound directly into the forefront of the man’s mind.
“Way I see it, you’ve got two choices,” he said allowing a trickle of relief, “You can answer me now and I’ll put you down painlessly, or—” Leon looked over his shoulder to Kalique then back, “Well, you’re a darksider, you can guess what she’ll do when she gets a hold of you.”
Leon’s lips spread into a warm smile.
The Cultiest screamed, “Kill me Jedi, spill my blood!”
Leon cocked an eyebrow then sighed, “Welp, I tried to be nice,” he stood taking the relief of the light with him. “Tag, you’re in,” he said flashing a mischievous smile at The Imperial Knight.
He stood out of her way with his arms crossed over his chest. Peetwo was on his shoulder watching the processions carefully. The Cultist was on his last leg. If Kalique came at him too hard too fast he’d succumb to his wound. Baudelaire opened his mind to the force and felt the surroundings, it was clear there was no more danger, but why had they chosen this little planet in the middle of nowhere? Was this a common occurrence? Were they raiding planets for fun?
Even if the situation was still somewhat tense, he didn't fail to make her chuckle softly. He was adorable. She had to admit that, and he was a refreshing mission partner. This would have been intense alone and she had a feeling that he wasn't just great support, but that they'd both learn from one another.
She watched Leon do his work, a decent amount of feistiness and determination in her gaze as she glared down on the cultist in disdain. What did impress her again was the young Knight's handiwork when he subtly used the light to offer the man a more painless perspective and she took yet another mental note.
She actually admired the Jedi for many of their skills and even though she couldn't turn back to the Light, she was always eager to learn and adapt. However, his idea about the classic good cop bad cop - or like he said it, Knight in their case - was great, as it was an efficient technique in many cases, but this nut was potentially hard to crack.
When he was done trying, the cultist's scream filled the air and she grimaced. "Well...you've made your choice then". She swapped positions with Leon, a smirk crossing her lips at his almost playful encouragement when he brushed past her.
She immediately squatted down and grabbed him by the collar again, yanking him closer while her green eyes coldly pierced right through him. She wasn't usually that terrifying, but she could be ruthless if she had to and here she aimed for intimidation. She could sense how his strength was fading, and so she intended to use his last moments carefully.
"Listen up. I know you kinky bastards enjoy this kind of stuff, but maybe it will still help you remember". With that, she pressed her thumb into the cauterized wound, which immediately drew an agony filled cry from him. "Good. I have your attention now".
The main reason she did it was that it gave him some of his strength back as he drew strength from the pain. It allowed her to push him a little closer to life, even if it was still on a thin thread, but it was enough so that he was still to weak to fight the intrusion that followed, but strong enough not to die right away. She pierced into his mind, carefully cutting inside, knowing that she'll still leave a mess behind but he couldn't defend as his mental barries were down.
She rummaged through it, her other hand at his temple while he tried to grab her by the wrist, but he lacked the strength to do so. "Come on" she muttered as she dug further into his flesh, the cries just intensifying while the touch on his temple would begin to burn his flesh. With both attacks, images that actually helped her flashed through her mind as she saw a location and a path, just enough snippets she thought, before she let go.
She stumbled backwards, the simultaneous and draining attacks momentarily taking its toll on her as well, but she had what she needed. "You can free him of the pain. I've got it". He was still breathing and in immense pain, and even if she despised cultists above everything, they didn't need to watch him suffer. She needed a quick moment to regain some strength, so she left that to him. "He was tough. But we've now have a lead" she rubbed her temples while she tried to center herself, letting the Force calmly flow through her to prevent her mind from spiraling.
Baudelaire’s eyes never left The Cultist. The Jedi felt Kalique reach out to the darkside and involuntarily the hair on his arms stood out as a chill of warning ran down his spine. The pain flowing from the dying man made him uneasy, but he didn’t look away. His brow’s knit together as he began to writhe under her touch. The man’s screams were so loud and bloodcurdling they almost didn’t sound human. There was no way in hell he was getting any sleep now…
Then The Cultist was silent and Kalique was stumbling backward. Leon stepped forward bracing her as she recovered. Kalique confirmed she got what they needed and Baudelaire nodded. Once he was sure she could stand on her own he’d step forward. An old Adumarian Proverb played through his mind.
If you condemn a man to death, then you accept the responsibility of his execution.
Both of The Adumarian’s lightsabers sprang into his hands and ignited. The conflagration of the rising and setting sun intermingled across The Cultist’s sweat covered brow as the glow from Leon’s lightsabers undulated over the man’s mask of fear and contempt.
“I’m sorry this life was unkind to you. May you find peace within The Force—” with a flick of his wrists he ended The Cultist’s suffering.
Baudelaire deactivated his sabers and knelt before the being’s body. The Adumarian paid his final respects then stood. Turning his attention to Kalique, “Following you, partner,” he said with a grin. “Er, actually one sec I just wanna make sure I locked up my ship!”
Leon and Peetwo hustled over to The Freebird and he checked his security, all good. Whew… Peetwo ran a scan of the ship's surface and nothing abnormal was found. Thank the force, he thought. Then he jogged back to Kalique, “Ok, sorry, I’m good now!” he smiled, “Where too?”
Exhausted and with a slightly stinging pain in her own mind, Kalique rubbed her temples and blinked a tew times to keep her vision from fading into blurriness. If it weren't for Leon, she would have fallen, but this way he lent her the strength she needed until she could stand by herself.
"Thanks...that's much appreciated" she warmly replied, mustering a little smile before he finished the job. Despite still having to focus and center herself, she was attentively watching what Leon did and how he dealt with the kill, realizing their differences there.
Kalique despised dark siders so hard that she felt no remorse for killing them as she considered it a good riddance, but his statement was thought-provoking for sure. "Sure. Go check. I'll be fine in a minute". She replied with a smirk, actually finding his urge to double-check adorable. It gave her the time to regain some strength even if the majority would return step by step.
He returned shortly after and Kalique was indeed dearly hoping they'd leave his ship alone, but the coast really seemed calm. Maybe they were indeed all gone. "This way. It seems like they're hunkering down in the sewers..." she said that with a sigh, as missions had often lead her down there. Somehow many cultists had literally gone underground after the expulsion of the Sith.
"I caught glimpses of the path. I hope all those snippets lead to something" she smirked up at him, staying rather optimistic. "First through the city, so that means staying on our guard". For now, she still couldn't pick up anything, but this didn't mean they weren't watch.
Still, their little tour allowed for a little chat. "Have you always been with the Jedi?", she curiously wondered, her emerald eyes flicking over before she looked around for a moment. Most Civillians had vanished, either fled or barricaded themselves into their houses after the violent attacks.
Baudelaire deflated when Kalique mentioned the sewers, “Awww, why can’t Cult’s hunker down somewhere tropical?”
He crossed his arms over his chest as he listened to her, “Might be smart just to touch base with local security, someone might be able to give us a map of the sewer.” he suggested.
As they headed toward the literal bowels of the city Kalique asked him about his time in the Jedi, “Nope, I’ve actually only been with The Order for a few years,” he answered keeping his senses alert and eyes open as they spoke, “Before that, I was just a kid from Adumar,” he flashed her a smile.
“What about you? What were you before the cool armor?”
As they walked the seer absence of ambient noise would begin to feel unsettling. Up ahead on the left hand side of the street he spotted a Security Corps office, “Wanna see if they’ve got a map?”
It didn’t matter one way or another to Leon, he had a feeling they probably wouldn’t need a map given the sheer amount of bad vibes he was starting to pick up. Peetwo twittered a worried whistle as they continued forward. One thing was clear, things were about to get a lot more dangerous.
"I know right? Like it would be so easy to find them on a long stretched beach" she joined in on the quip, the smirk still on her lips as they started moving. As he mentioned the local securities, she pondered on his idea for a moment as she was actually a little more critical about that.
"I see your point...yet I've recently made terrible experience with that, as they can as well be infiltrated" she admitted, sharing her thoughts. "A map could potentially help though. Any chance your youthful charm or a good old Jedi mind trick can get us a map without raising awareness?". She curiously asked, wondering whether that was an option for him as well.
"Oh?" she remarked as it surprised her that he had gotten so good in so little time then. "That's impressive then. You seem to be a quick learner". As they kept moving, she kept her attentive gaze all around, yet as she complimented him, she gave him a warm smile.
"I've started at the military academy and went through training there. I kept expanding my force powers simultaneously though" she replied, hinting at how she never considered herself a Sith and how she had never carried such a title. "I've been grateful for the official armor though. It was long overdue that the Sith were being cut off". From her tone, it was fairly obvious that she despised their old 'ally' and had always been very mistrusting.
"How long have you been a Knight?". She asked, slowing down as they approached the Security Corps Office. "Your call...but I've grown mistrusting with authorities" she openly admitted, however letting him make the decision. Maybe they could sway them, maybe they didn't need the map in general. She looked around, matching the scenery with the images in her mind.