Larz ran. Seemed all he had been doing these past, however long it had been, was run. And starve. And fight. But mostly, he ran. He could hear their calls behind him.
The hunting party howling and roaring as they pushed through the brush, or jumped from tree limb to tree limb in the thick vegetation.
Occasionally there would be enough of a break in the foliage for line of sight with his would-be captors. Captors. Killers. Predators, whatever.
Then he would lose more ground as he zigged, zagged, ducked, and dodged the arrows, darts, spears, and bone lances. The sun was getting low. Not down, but blocked by tree line.
Persistent today I see. He thought as he slid under a low hanging limb, only to jump the roots of the same tree. And as usual, the whole planet wants me dead. Just like its inhabitants.
Per for the course, I suppose. He was slowing, though. He felt the fatigue setting in. The stitches in his sides had melded into one eternal pain, which was almost better.
His legs being a few milliseconds slower to respond to a brain getting sluggish, was not.
You've fought your way out of a Mandalorian stronghold with your hands literally tied behind your back. Surely you can keep running. And he did.
gasping for air, relying on instinct and the force's guidance more than his sweat burned eyes in the fledgling light, he ran. Finally, mercifully, he broke through.
The forest edge was so sudden he nearly sprawled face first into the mud.
Instead he rolled so ungracefully onto his cramping legs, he was almost glad he was stranded on a hostile planet alone, just so he didn't have to hear about it. Almost.
With all the will he could muster, Larz pumped his legs through the sicky mud, and up the stone steps which were, in his humble opinion, stupidly steep. Everything in him said to stop.
The Meodask hunters had never once gotten this close to the ancient structure. He could abase himself upon the steps as many others surely had.
They won't reach the temple, but they've still got spears.
As if hearing his very thoughts, the primitive projectiles came crashing into the black stone. snapping and cracking as they did so.
One final leap got him to the top of the twenty meters of steps and he collapsed beyond the entrance archway, arrows following him.
Disgusted with the day, he gestured, and the three piece stone door slid together. Safe. He thought panting and grunting through the agony of never ending thigh and calf cramps.
Safe as can be, sleeping in an abandoned Sith Temple, on a planet filled with hostile savages, in a system quarantined for senseless violence. All about perspective.
Larz Calrick, Jedi Knight and member of the Order of Shadows would've laughed at his wit, but was generally concerned his face might cramp if he smiled.
After what felt like hours, but was probably, well it could've been hours he supposed, Larz walked gingerly back into what was too strange to call his quarters.
The Sith Archives room, filled with old shelves, stacked with manuscripts and scrolls, with one long flat stone table he called a bed. there were no seats.
Either they had been made out of more perishable material then the table, shelves, and ancient tomes; or more likely,
Sith were kriffing Sith and enjoyed making their disciples stand while they studied. "Probably just for kicks." He murmured to himself as he began stripping off his armor.
It still unnerved him, wearing ancient Sith marauder armor.
That the burnt orange and red protective garments still existed at all after a couple centuries was a testament to their durability though.
And Larz was desperate for any advantage he could find out here.
Larz had had to piecemeal the suit together to make a mostly functioning set. It was most definitely, however, an incredible design.
The Sith make good stuff, he thought as he lifted the torso and back plates over his head. Too bad it's all in the name of killing the guy running around in it. The irony, wasn't lost on him.
The breast plate covered his chest up to the neck with an outward curve, as to deflect an attack to the throat into the heavier chest armor which, in turn was cut inward near the shoulders,
with space for full range of motion around the arms. The back plate had a thinner piece of armor connecting it to the chest that covered the space between his neck and shoulder.
The back itself had a built in storage compartment where a robe and hood would spring out, covering the entirety of the wearer. For the discreet murders. Larz thought.
The thighs and boots were separate from the hip and groin guards, as well as from one another. The nimblest of marauders. The forearms were brilliant, though.
Big and blocky, they had storage for darts and a net in one, and a canister for flame throwing propellant in the other.
They were empty, of course, no tools would last as long as the suit itself. But the really nice part, as far as Larz was concerned, was the inner chamber.
A sealable compartment in each, for a lightsaber. He'd stuffed them with hide from a previous meal, as the insulating protective foam had dissolved long ago.
But now, his silver bladed weapons were safe from the elements, and near hands at all times.
Larz placed each piece at the edge of the table, and stripped the underlay off. It once had been filled with wires, probably, to monitor the wearer.
Those may be gone, but the suit itself was made of tiny scales, of a material Larz didn't know.
He found, through experimentation, that aside from a direct hit with a powerful lightsaber swing, nothing cut the scales.
A grazing would turn them red hot, but the heat barely transferred to the wearer, and dissipated quickly. The armor itself, needed a perfect strike to break through.
Despite how lucky a find it was, and being the most immediately useful tool as well; the armor paled in comparison to the wealth of texts around him.
Before joining the Order of the Shadow, Larz had studied in the Order of First Knowledge. Sith were dangerous at best, and knowing the ancient enemy was never far from his mind.
Many Sith tomes were off limits, even to him; but here he could drink it in. And he did. He was wary of course, Jedi had fallen before, and with less stimulants than he had here.
But either the dark side never took an interest in calling to him, or he wasn't able to hear it. He had learned much of their powers. He could even emulate some of them.
Larz had deconstructed techniques like force lightning, and was fairly certain, though without testing it, that he could create a similar ability. It would never be true Sith lightning though.
To use the power Sith wielded, and coveted, required hatred. It gave their lightning are transformative affect. Disfiguring their victims from the inside out. Turning people cruel.
Larz, on the other hand had no need for hateful manipulation. The ability in and of itself was plenty.
Just another useful card in this terrible sabacc hand. He thought, rolling up his old and torn Jedi robes into a makeshift pillow.
The temple he lay in, or more aptly, the tomb was unlike any other Larz had ever been in.
As a member of the Order of First Knowledge, has and his Master had been with teams of Jedi that scoured many of the tombs and archives of the defeated Sith on Korriban.
This one was unique though.
Unlike the tombs he had been in before, which were reserved for a single Dark Lord and those valued servants unlucky enough to be entombed with their master,
the one he now occupied had layers of catacombs. Nearly two hundred Sith shared the mass grave the tomb was built atop of.
Yet none were named, no dates or recognition of their lives or accomplishments could be found.
In contrast, all the tombs of Korriban were specifically dedicated to idiolizing the dead Sith within.
After the fall of Naga Sadow, and the centuries long battle with the Sith remnants he left behind, the Jedi had gone on their mission to eliminate the tools used to forge that empire.
Many training centers and academies had been ransacked. Larz and the other Jedi within the order had removed many, many of their teachings.
But every other archive and library had been filled with the tomes, manuscripts, and even holocrons of numerous Sith Lords.
Here, there was just the private musings of only one, a Sith Lord and scientist by the name of Darth Rumos. A pure blood red skinned being of the Sith species, and an avid writer it seemed.
Larz didn't know if the Sith's name was Darth or if that was some title he hadn't heard before. What he did know, was that the dark lord had been brilliant, and very, very aware of it.
There were the basic teachings, like the techniques of conjuring force storms and lightning bolts. But there was far more than that to be found.
The techniques required for forging armors like the one he wore with alchemies so complex Larz could barely wrap his mind around them.
Thousands of pages on the theoretical abilities of transferring one's mind into the body of another.
A combination of alchemy and sorcery to suck the life force from groups of followers, to extend the youth of the orchestrator.
That was a constant theme for this Darth Rumos, the search for immortality.
Much of what was here were volumes upon volumes of a personal journal, so many pages with no dates or references to one another that it seemed one being couldn't have written them all,
so perhaps this Rumos had succeeded in his quest, at least for a time.
He wrote endlessly about the injustice he had endured beneath the thumb of a cruel emperor, perhaps Naga Sadow himself, or Marko Ragnos before him. And some mention of his daring escape to this system.
There were very little details, however. Much of the personal history of the Sith Lord seemed to be simply, missing. As if some other follower had come and removed the crucial pieces a
reader would need to complete the puzzle of the Rumos's life.