This is your test...your destiny...(Niesara)[Dark Jedi Knight trial]
Jacob waited in the shared room in the palace for his love, Niesara. There he would tell her that her Knight trial was about to begin. Well, sort of. It wouldn't begin till they got to the destination of Balthim. A place he was gonna show her but he sadly didn't have the chance to. Till not that is and it would be here that her ultimate test of faith in the Force and everything else would take place. Balthim had a secret to it. There was a Force Nexus housed within the mountain. Jacob had went there years ago as a Jedi Knight and it changed him. It was a sad thing but in some truth it brought out his true self. The part of him that he housed. With it being said it housed dark power within it and one had to overcome that to truly know their gifts in the Force. That nexus could overwhelm you if you weren't careful.
Pacing back and forth he knew she was ready. But would she be able to resist the full power of the Dark Side? That was what he wanted to see. He would go with her, but she would have to do this adventure alone. All he could do was guide her there. Guide her and observe. Jacob paced back and forth some more waiting for her as he was obviously nervous. What was making him nervous was if he made the right choice for this to be her trial to become a Dark Jedi Knight. Breathing out a sigh he then sat down for a moment but couldn't sit still.
Walking to the table that housed his choices of alcohol he then took a glass and filled it halfway. Setting the bottle down he then took a few sips feeling the burning sensation of the liquid as it went down his throat and into his stomach. Jacob did feel nervous but taking a few more sips of the liquor calmed him to a degree. He then looked out the window of the palace at the view. A sigh escaped his lips again as he drained the glass before setting it down on the table once more. This day would be a challenge...for the both of them.
Nisa had been out doing her morning workout and run when she returned to their room. Since the explosion, the Church hadn't been an option for staying in. Thankfully, with so many gone, they had the wing to themselves and were never bothered.
She walked in to find Jacob sipping his drink. "Jacob... what is it?" she said, coming to his back and sliding her arms around his middle as her head rested between his shoulder blades. He had been drinking a lot, lately. But he had not gotten as drunk as that first night, so she just let him go and removed the bottle when it got to be too much. "What's wrong? Your anxiety is almost a physical thing." She felt him thru their bond and it troubled her she hadn't been as aware of it before entering the Palace. She had to remember to be more aware.
Jacob then heard her walk in and come to him and wrap her arms around him and rest her head between his shoulder blades. That was the part she would be able to reach since he was quite tall. He then peered over his shoulder and spun around. Looking at her his orange eyes peered into hers. The look on his face said that it was time for her trial. But, it took him a moment before he could finally speak the words.
"It's that time, love." Jacob said finally, though he hoped she knew what that meant.
Truth of it he did start drinking a lot. It was him dealing with the aftermath of the Church exploding right in front of him. But he didn't get as wasted as the first few nights. Jacob had to admit, he needed her more then he did before. She was aware to take the bottle and hide it when it appeared he had too much to drink. That being said she spoke of his anxiety being a physical thing. That statement made his eyebrow raise up.
"Really?" He said kinda puzzled at that though he wasn't aware of it himself, "Hmm, guess this bond we have really does make the other feel what the other is feeling. Am I that obvious with it?"
Her arms remained wrapped around his waist as he turned and she smiled up at him. When he said it was time, she knew what he meant. But as he asked Nisa about the anxiety, she had to laugh. "Yes, dear... I felt it before coming in here but once I walked into the hallway outside, I felt it like a thick fog. What's wrong?" She paused then took a step back, her hands dropped to her side and she lost a touch of her smile.
"It's about my Trials... isn't it?" This time she didn't have to use the bond between them. She knew that look on his face. He was worried about her. And with his first statement, it wasn't hard to figure out why. "If you want someone else to give me my Trials, I can petition one of the other Lords. We are bound. They would understand." She was giving him a way out that wouldn't hurt his ego. This Trial was going to have more to do them as a couple, than just her ascension the ranks.
Jacob chuckled a bit at her words for a moment before his face became serious again. The look on his face said it all once more. Not that it wasn't obvious once he said that it was time. Then Nisa asked if it was about her trial and he shook his head yes. It was definitely about that. Though what she said next about someone else doing it made him wave it off. The Dark Jedi Master was capable of doing it, and being unbiased to do so even if they were a couple. The whole thing wasn't about who was doing it...it was where it was taking place.
"It isn't about me doing it dear. I can handle that." Jacob said finally putting his hand down after waving the notion that he couldn't do it himself, "It's where I'm taking you to do them is what is bothering me. But, it seems the only way. An ultimate test of what you've learned, Nisa. Through everything I've taught you this far."
He then turned to the window for a moment, and in that moment reminisced about his time on Balthim. The former Jedi remembered it like it was yesterday in fact. A situation and place he'd never forget this lifetime and the next. Returning there a few times after leaving the Jedi Order it made him struggle not to give into 'The Night' as he called the darkness sometimes. Sometimes it felt that way...like the night time overtaking the daytime. Though, that was ones own take on what they called the Dark Side of the Force. Sighing he then turned back to her.
"I'm taking you to Balthim." He said to her finally and turned around, "Balthim is...a very unique place. We'll be heading there. Pack your things...we're leaving there today."
She let her jaw drop when he mentioned Balthim. Nisa stepped up to him and was reaching up to touch his back when her hand fell. He still had strong dreams about the place. She had never mentioned it, but the word had fallen from his lips. She had never known if it was a person, place or thing. She turned and moved to the dresser where her stuff was. "As you wish, Master..."
Just as she could feel his anxiety thru their bond, it worked the other way as well. If Jacob paid attention to the itch in the back of his head, he would sense her unease as well. She was strong, it overlaid the tension, but it was there.
Less than five minutes later, she turned to him, hoisting her bag over her shoulder. A change of clothes, her Padawan tunic, and her personal items were now in the bag. Her saber, hanging around her hips in her work out gear a moment ago, now dangled from the belt around her traveling outfit. "I'm ready, Master..." Her voice wasn't the steadiest, but when he turned, she would be solid and sure, chin set with the determination he had come to love in her in hard times. TO her credit, saying she was *ready* meant she truly was.
The Dark Jedi Master felt her own anxiety and it was also like a thick fog in the air. But, he had to push it aside and focus on what could transpire in the whole ordeal. Jacob went into a closet and pulled out a bag and threw it over his shoulder. As Nisa was already good to go he then nodded and they headed out for the shuttle bay. When they reached it Martelous was waiting for them and the grizzled pilot was standing before he then opened the door and motioned for them to go inside. Once inside Jacob then put his bag down and then sat on a nearby bench seat that stretched like an 'L' shape near the cockpit.
The older pilot then walked up to the cockpit door and Jacob said to him, "We're going to Balthim. You know the way, Martelous."
"Course I do, Archbishop." He said with a slight smirk, "Won't take us but a few hours the way I get there."
"Good." Jacob said with a nod.
What seemed like a few minutes they were exiting the shuttle bay and heading into the sky of Ruusan. Jacob sat back on the bench and sighed before he then closed his eyes. As they headed beyond the atmosphere and into space they headed past the moons of the planet and then he felt the rush of hyperspace. They were zooming along and the ride at first was a bit rocky but then got better as the moments passed. Jacob then opened his eyes and looked over at Nisa.
"Are you ready for what's to come?" He then asked her curiously.
They remained silent the whole time. From the Palace, to the hanger, and, save for his words to the pilot, till they reached deep space.
Nisa watched him as he get settled and leaned back closing his eyes. A slight smile touched her lips. She liked watching him sleep. It was the only time he seemed to be at peace, recently. But when he didn't start to meditate to doze off, she settled herself on the seat across from him and resigned herself to a silent ride.
"Are you ready for what's to come?" The words came to her ears despite their low volume and the hum of the engines.
"If I say yes, I'm overconfident... if I say no, then I'm unprepared. I can only say I am prepared to the best of my ability. I don't think anyone is truly ready for their Trials, are they, Master?" She tried to distance herself from him as her lover as they headed out. He couldn't be easy on her, so she wasn't going to make it harder on him.
Jacob then nodded his head, "Fair enough. Be sure of yourself and what you can do in the moment when it arises. That's what I do anyways. If not...then know your limit and proceed with what you can do."
With that he then looked out the window, then back at her, "No one ever is. You can all you want try and prepare for what you think may come...but...no one can truly prepare for what lies ahead. Sadly, the Jedi of old didn't realize their arrogance that they thought that their enemy was gone. The Dark Side blinded them and they paid for it when the Empire rose."
It was nearly three hours later and Jacob dozed off here and there. Once he felt the pull of the Force he then awoke. Seeing where they were now the Master then saw that the planet was in full view. The planet was lush with life and it had mountains, valleys and all sorts of cracks and crevices that things would be able to hide in. Looking to Nisa he then went to sit by her. Taking her hand he then pulled her to the window. Once they reached it he pointed to where they were going. As the planet got closer and closer they were able to see that there was water and other landmasses such as the mountain the Force Nexus hid in.
"There it is. Quite interesting isn't it?" Jacob said with a soft smile on his face.
Nearly fifteen minutes later as the two looked out the window, the planet was now in full view and they were in the atmosphere of it. Martelous then piloted the ship to the bottom of a mountain in the northern part of the planet. Softly landing on the surface he then opened the door and then Jacob grabbed his things and then motioned for Nisa to follow behind. Stepping out the sun was halfway to setting on the planet. There was light dancing off the mountain and in the distance a few hundred yards was the opening to a cave. Only a glimmer of light poured into it though it was black the further one were to look into it.
"We're heading in there..." Jacob said trailing off.
Nisa had dozed off during the trip as well. It was Jacob's voice, in her mind and ears that woke her. She rubbed her eyes, stretched and looked out the window.
As the ship descended, she noticed how beautiful it seemed from up there. But she knew that looks could be deceiving. "It's eerily beautiful," she said to him as he commented on the planet. She could feel something, like an itch in the back of her mind, that she knew to be the Force. It was strange that it seemed to come from the whole planet like a wind blowing over her.
A bit later, as she followed him out of the ship, she paused to follow his nod. The cave...
A slight shiver ran thru her and if she paid attention, the Force feeling she had wasn't coming from the whole planet, it was coming from the gaping maw of blackness they were now walking closer and closer to. At one point she wasn't sure if the feeling was drawing her closer, or trying to repel her. She gasped with a sharp inhale of breath that bordered on a yelp. "Master....?" Her word, singular and simple, was so full of confusion, and fear, and curiosity that it almost croaked form her throat.
Jacob could feel the tension within her and he then turned his head to look at her when Nisa spoke to him, "I know. You feel it don't you?"
The man walked to the opening of it and then stepped through the gaping maw that was the cave. When he walked further and further inside there were places where torches could be lit along the way. Jacob then sparked a flame and then lit one on either side of him. As he kept walking he then lit the other torches till they were at least a hundred yards or so inside the cave itself. As they were nearing a part of the cave that was more open the Force grew stronger and stronger until the two reached the inside and the deeper part of the cave itself.
"This..." He said pointing all around, "...is a Force Nexus, Niesara. One very powerful indeed. I discovered it years ago when I was still a Jedi Knight. You feel the power of it? Intoxicating...isn't it?"
Jacob basked himself in the Force and then let the Dark Side flow through him and then back out. It took him years before he was finally able to keep himself in check and not give fully to the power of the darkness that housed itself in the cave. There was also the Light Side in here as well, and the Force as a whole. Both the Living Force and otherwise. All culminated into this very place. That being said Jacob, with his orange eyes then looked to Nisa.
Nisa almost faltered as they reach the halfway mark. It was like like she had stepped thru a clear barrier that gave, just in time, to keep her from stopping completely. Her fear and apprehension, amplified by the nexus, would roll over Jacob like a stormy wind, sharp and solid.
By the time they stopped, Nisa had her arms crossed over her chest. She was cold, but it wasn't the type of cold that goosed the flesh, or even made one shiver to warm up. This was a cold that went to the core. One that made you wonder if you would even be able to catch your next breath.
Her eyes were wide as Jacob turned to her to explain where they were. When she watched him almost bask in the feelings of the Nexus, she closed her eyes and whispered, "yes...." to his question about the intoxication of the power. She had to seriously concentrate to allow her body to relax and use his lessons to let it flow over and thru her. After a couple minutes, she dropped her arms, her palms red from the digging grip of her fists as she dug her nails into the skin to anchor herself.
It took another minute before she could inhale deeply and open her eyes to look at him. The fear was still there, but now it read more like uncertainty. The Trial hadn't even begun yet, and she already felt like she had been doing drills for a good while. "It's an amazing font of power, Ja... Master... I can feel it."
Jacob looked over at her and nodded, "Indeed it is. Sith would kill for a place like this. Jedi would want to destroy it...or guard it for themselves."
Noting that she had dug her nails into her palm and the fluctuation of her aura and power in the Force said a lot to him. That she was trying extra hard to keep her composure. Which was good to see her fighting and pushing herself. Maybe if he'd fought it those years ago he wouldn't have given into the night and allowed the dark power to influence and corrupt him. Then again, to him now, it was corruption it just brought out who he was meant to be. Not what he was molded to be like a piece of clay. The clay withered and shattered but the marble that was underneath that was shaped into what the man was now.
He then let the Force go and then sat down inside the cave and the swirling energy within it. Looking at it he then settled himself, "You're first task, Nissa...is to sit here. Look and enjoy what you are seeing. More so...just think of the energy within this place. Think of...not one side or another. The power that just lay within the neither."
Setting his bag down he then closed his eyes, but spoke for a moment, "Then...after that...the real test begins."
Nissa listened and nodded. "I can see why it needs to remain a secret. I will guard it like the rest of what and who We are, Master. You have my word."
When he settled before the cave, she slid her pack off and sat down beside him. Nissa crossed her legs and closed her eyes. She had been aware of the cave and the area but now it needed to be a bit more confined and focused.
Jacob would feel her all encompassing Force halo around her, begin to shift to a tighter and tighter entity till it was hovering just over her skin. Instead of the two of them being in a bubble together with the Force, she felt Jacob more like he was on the end of an ever present string. The Bond between them couldn't be severed, but she had to press it to the back of his mind till it was a passive bond and not the active link she held to so often in the past.
She inhaled and exhaled and sent her senses forward toward the cave. She felt the edge of the shadows where they sun failed to enter. She felt the rock as it moved from outside to inside. It was warm and dry outside, covered in moss and small wild flowers. Inside, just past the shadow's edge, it became cold, damp. Deeper still, it was dry and bare. She took another breath and felt herself wrapping the shadows around her like Jacob had taught her. Nothing in there could harm her if she made peace with it and learned where in her life it was supposed to be.
With that thought, she reminded herself that there were possibly creatures in there that *wanted* to harm her. A large wild animal, though, was not a killer. It was a force of nature and therefore had a place, just like her, in the cave. She would not lie down and let it slay her. But if it showed no harm, she had no reason to kill it just for killings sake.
That satisfaction settled within, Jacob would then feel her on the edge of a meditative state and concentrating completely on the cave, while still being aware of what was around her.
Jacob nodded, "Good. I'd hate for this place to be in the hands of those who'd abuse it...or else hoard it and treat it like a threat. It isn't a threat...well..."
He trailed off at that moment. Truth be told it could be a threat if one let the darkness of this place inside for too long. It's power changed you, and if you basked in just the Force itself it was quite an amazing thing. The place seemed to help bolster one's ability in the Force. But the more exposure pushed one closer to the darkness. In some ways it's a good thing, and of course in other cases it isn't. As it stood the Nexus had it's own area where the Light Side was and one could feel the warmth and such of the Light Side of the Force. Jacob however tried to remain as neutral to the Force as possible. Finding balance in both darkness and light...in a way.
"...it doesn't pose as one directly." Jacob said finishing his thought.
The Dark Jedi Master felt her usage of the Force and he felt her keep her emotions on the surface and then let it hang about which he had to admit least he taught her well in that regard. With that Jacob smiled and then sat looking at the Nexus itself as the energy swirled in deep and dark colors. There were grey colors, different shades of black and white all forming and then turning colors here and there. It would then change to blue and then to red...before dancing off one another. All in all it was like watching a play, but no people just colors dancing along to a beat all their own.
Jacob could tell she was concentrating and he then knew she was in a meditative state. Though, the cave had other ideas. As Jacob watched the dancing colors then swirled around until the Dark Side pushed to the one side where they were as it tried to envelop everything in the room. Which just happened to be Jacob and Nissa. Though it didn't prey upon him...it would do it's best on her. It knew what to do to get inside her head. The energy was pure darkness and it decided to latch itself onto her.
Come now...give into us...you don't want to disappoint do you? Show him how strong you really are! With the power you'd have...you won't fail...you'll be strong...and strong overtake the weak... A disembodied voice spoke through the Force to her.