Collaboration between Bea, Almalthia & Fallenreaper
Memory - 6 ATC, 8 Week 5, Day 4, MiddayThere was little time as he turned back, holding back the wall of inferno for as long as he could. Dominik made sure the tunnel had been sealed, so that all others in the cavern would be safe. Including Lo. He felt the inferno building, threatening to overtake him as he fought against it with the Force. Too long had the explosive forces been held using the Force, too long had they been contained. Dominik suddenly felt his hold on the Force loosen as the forces he was trying to fight exploded violently outward. The Jedi master felt the gravitational force against his body as it rippled through him. He heard the sickening crack of bones, and the internal tearing of something more. His body was forcefully thrown back against the wall of rock he had created mere moments ago.
He hit the rock wall hard, losing the air in his lungs as his body succumbed to the forces of gravity. The man’s body sunk down over the rubble, sliding down closer to the tunnel floor as the flames he had been fighting danced along the tunnel ceiling above him.
As his eyes slowly started to close, his body began to go into shock due to the internal injuries he had just sustained. His ability to feel pain started to dim and a numbness set in. The only pain he felt was for Lo. She did not deserve this.
As his mind went black and his spirit wandered, he felt along all of the bonds he had with his fellow Jedi. Satele, Kyla… Cora. He didn’t want them to be in the dark about what had just happened. Dominik felt he was going to die, his body was holding on but for how much longer?
Even though what seemed like minutes to the Master Jedi were actually hours, his mind continued to wander. He reached out to Cora, a younger Jedi whom he had trained and been helped by throughout his years. She was bright, compassionate, and selfless. Cora…
A weak voice went through their bond. Dominik wasn’t sure how much of his emotion she could feel, how much pain was reflecting from his side of the bond. He didn’t want to hurt her, but if this was it he wanted to say goodbye. He also knew Lo would need help, someone to look up to should he pass on to be one with the Force. He needed to tell Cora.
Cora looked up from a medical text she was reading with a raised eyebrow. How could I have not sensed Dominik? His presence should have been apparent when he landed. What is going on?
She looked around with a smile but saw no one. Standing she looked at the door to her office. It was still shut. It could only mean one thing, Dominik wasn’t physically present.
Cora felt the bond that she shared with her former Master Dominik. She felt the stirrings of the Force and the unique way that Dominik shaped it. It reminded her of bright hot afternoons in a garden. The warmth of his personality shaped the effect that the Force had on another as he wielded it. But this felt like a cloud had passed before that sun, it was still Dominik but somehow… lesser?
Cora took hold of the connection and held firm. In a no nonsense voice she called out to him. “Dom. I am here.”
It was aloud and in her mind through the bond. She turned the lock on the door with a wave of her hand. Usually no one bothered her in her office but there was the rare occasion. Better to be safe than sorry. She did not like this at all. It felt… off. As if something deeper were wrong. The Force rang with it, as if a shadow was over it. She acknowledged the feelings but did not act on them yet. Time would tell if she could fully sense what was disturbing the Force at present. Other than her turning it over and over like a puzzle box from Alderaan. “Alone if that matters. What is going on?”Cora, my Padawan is on Ryloth.
The man began. Physically his body took a deep, pained breath as his mind tried to come to terms with what was happening. He wasn’t ready for this, but it was necessary. He had no time to think of any other options. The safety of the Twi’lek people and his Padawan came first, always. There’s been an accident. Mortars… I managed to stop the fire from getting to them. I just… there was no other way.
There was a long pause, as if their connection threatened to break due to the weak nature of Dominik’s aura in his injured state.Cora, I need you to help Lo. I don’t want her to be alone.
As Dominik spoke Cora realized what this was. Cora realized this was Dominik reaching out with the last of his will to help save others. A wave of pain had her sitting down. She couldn’t check his injuries at this far away but they felt extensive. The emotional pain roared through her and she quickly tamped it down. She buried the welling sorrow with the knowledge that it would be dealt with later. Dom what are you saying? Why can you not protect Lo? I will leave immediately but you must tell me what happened. I have to know the extent of what is going on here.
Cora had fallen silent. She briskly stood and put the book away and calling a pen to her hand wrote out a note. She kept a hold on the bond and waited for Dominik to respond to her. She was anything but still while she did so. With an economy of motion and grace the petite woman swept down the hall of a pristine building. She encountered a Chadrafan to whom she handed the note as she headed for the landing field.I don’t know if I can pull through this, Cora.
There was a long pause as Dominik felt his mind being pulled away, his will weakening and the connection threatening to fade. He pushed back with the strength he had left. His words became clearer as his mind fought that darkness that threatened him. If I don’t come out of this, I need you to be there with her. She does not deserve to be alone.
His last thoughts were strong as they pushed hard, but his body kept falling further and further away from the land of the living.
His thoughts rang again to Cora, this time much weaker than when he had reached out initially. I want her to remember what I told her, Cora. To trust. Please do not let my absence hurt her willingness to trust in herself…and in the Force...please.
Cora stilled. She was losing him. She had come here to escape that pain. To escape the depth of her grief at the loss of her Padawan and now she was losing someone even more dear to her. Dominik had been like a father to her. Or at least that is how she had seen it. That bond was more precious to her than she had even realized until it threatened to not be there. She blinked away the sting of tears that threatened to fall. She was done with self exile. It was time to make a stand and hope that the Force was with her and with Dominik. She kept a tight rein on the bond. Dom...I will be there as soon as possible. You… must trust that you still have a place here. I have been so blind as to hide here after… Pyter’s death. I did not spend the time as I should have. Dom I do not wish to lose you as well...You’ve done well, Cora. Grief is a fickle thing. I do not blame you...for exiling yourself. May the Force…be with you.
His mind pulled back fully, leaving his side of their bond eerily silent, and void of any feeling. It was still there, faintly, holding on to the last glimmer of life it could. Physically, Dominik’s breathing lessened and became more shallow the longer time went on. The rock and dirt settled around his form as a few larger rocks pinned him down. He was cradled into the collapse as his mind started to wander, and his body threatened to succumb to it’s injuries.
Cora felt the once strong unshakeable bond dwindle to a meer thread but not vanish and fizzle out as she had with Pyter. Hope sprang in her and she held on tightly to that tiny thread as she picked up her skirts and ran. Cora never ran anywhere, especially in skirts. It was unseemly.
Rounding a corner she almost bowled over the Chadrafan that she had given the note to. He was wide eyed and holding a pack that was well worn. Knowing that her medical supplies and some clothing for the trip to Ryloth were in it she quickly, albeit, gently took the pack. She had barely slowed down and she made a mad dash to the door that was opening. No one stopped her but she was sure that they all wondered what was going on.
She got to the Corvette just as something was being loaded on. She spoke to Dominik through the bond not expecting a response but she would not let him give up. Instinctively she knew that if she did let go so would he. There was something so wrong about his light leaving the universe. As if she knew that if he were gone then things would not turn in the favor of the Light. The thought rang true and she knew she had a battle on her hands. On that she would gladly accept and win.
She started to tell him a story as she started to take off. Many years ago there was a small girl whose parents were taken from her, but she was saved by a man she would come to look at as her father…
Ryloth 6 ATC 8, Week 7 Day 4: Night
Cora finally within sight of a good landing place away from civilization touched down. She had just been able to hide her ship in a clearing large enough to take off and not land without knocking over trees. The landscape allowed her to relax and meditate in the Force. Stretching out she allowed her senses to flow over the landscape.
After a few minutes she rose and started heading in the direction that called out to her within her meditative contemplation. She picked her way to a rocky outcropping that was a hole. Like a sinkhole that had opened up ages ago swallowing up some of the ground and trees around it. Collapsed logs scattered down till the darkness swallowed them whole. She had no idea how far down the sinkhole went but she knew that she’d been led here by the Force and she was going down there.“Well, of course Dom cannot make this easy. It would not be his style. If I wind up looking like something the lo-cat dragged in I will not be happy.”
Cora started climbing down thanking the Force that she’d decided to wear her boys attire. Her bag jostled up and down, left and right against her back as she lightly lept from one edge to another. She reached around and shuffled the bag open and digging in it she pulled out a light. Activating it she shined it down to lighten the darkness in the hole.
Thankfully without incident she was able to reach the bottom. The floor was wet and cold. Looking around she noticed that there was more than one way she could go. Blowing a piece of hair from across her face she rolled her eyes. “Oh of course.”
Taking a deep breath she focused and reached out again.
Left. Opening her eyes Cora swung left and with a confident stride went in the direction that the Force pulled her. She could feel the familiarity of the Lightside echo back at her as she went farther in. Time was hard to track down here but Cora thought she might have been walking, or crouching for about four hours now. She came to a large chamber and stopped for a moment. The feeling was different. Larger.
Cora reached out to Dominik hoping that he was conscious or at least receptive.
The older Jedi had found himself on the floor of his hut, back leaning against the wall and eyes closed as he finally found time to rest. Ever since Evemarie's arrival, he had been discussing the idea of moving the people to a different location, staying and fortifying tunnels, and preparing for the next supply drop. Among other things. Feeling a gentle brush from the bond he held with Cora, the Master Jedi's mind was nudged awake. His eyes opened slowly, observing the dimly lit space and realizing just what it was that he felt. Was Cora on Ryloth?
The older man reached back out through their bond. Physically, he took his walking stick and used it to help himself stand. Nearby sat another dose of the herb mixture Lo had concocted to allow him to feel less pain from his hip. She had constantly supplied a new one every other day ever since the first. He eyes it for a few long moments before taking it slowly and pouring it down his throat.
The man coughed softly as the taste made him shudder. He took in a deep breath, eyes closing as his body finally began to wake up. He stood fully up, using the wall as a brace to his side as he focused on the bond he held with Cora.
Cora felt the presence of Dominik across the bond. Her head snapped to the smaller opening across from her. She was going to have to crouch again. No matter she could feel that Dominik was close. Crouching down Cora quickly slid into the tunnel and came to a cavern that was the sight of a recent cave in. She reached out with the Force and washed it over the cavern as it echoed back to her; she realized that the wall she was standing in front of was where she needed to go. Turning she laid her hands on the wall of the cavern.
She could feel how close he was, maybe a few feet away. “Dominik!! DOMINIK!!!”
She pushed with the sense of the Force hoping that Dominik would be listening not only to the bond but also maybe, just maybe, sensing her presence and trying to figure out where she was. She was on the verge of franticness to see if he was alright. Swallowing the emotions she had let surface she calmed herself and reached out again.
Dominik felt as Cora's aura slowly came closer and closer over the course of minutes. The older man took hold of his walking cane and quietly slipped out the entrance of his hut. He steadied himself for a few moments, his mind still continuing to wake as he walked towards one of the still accessible tunnels.
Lo's brown eyes tightened when she spotted her master leave the hut then enter a tunnel. It led to the outside causing the padawan's irritation to rise in her chest. Every night, she had stayed up late. Each time she pounded new salves, set them into portions, and finally sealed them into leaves. The last ritual of the night had often been tucking her master's exhausted form into bed.
Now, he chose to leave his hut and wander off. Wordlessly, she followed him close enough to not get lost. She resisted the urge to holler at him. This time, Lo decided to watch and wait for the chance to interrupt.
Her aura led him down a series of smaller tunnels he hadn't trekked down often. Although he knew he wouldn't be lost, these tunnels were still uncharted territory in terms of how stable they still were.
Slowly the man found himself at a dead end of the smaller side tunnel. It was darker than the larger tunnels but the nearby crystals still allowed for some light to get through.
He felt Cora's aura so close, yet so far. He could feel her emotion, but there was still something in the way. Letting his cane fall to the rock floor of the cave, the old man took a few steps, holding his palms out in front of him and leaning against the rock wall nearest to him. His palms felt the cold rock underneath them, and through to the other side was someone he held very dear. The older Jedi closed his eyes and focused the Force through his body and through the bond he held with Cora. I'm here. I'm alright.
Came his soft voice. Eyes shut tight as he channeled the Force through his palms. It was the rock wall that blocked them. And it seemed only together could they safely eliminate it.
Tears of relief leaked from Cora’s eyes as she heard his call through the bond. Dom. Which way? I have not found another way to where you are at present. I might be able to cut through the wall but I do not know if it will hold on your end. Dom? What are we looking at on your end?If we work together, I think we can safely break through the wall without the entire tunnel collapsing. I'd prefer not to go through that again.
Dominik replied, teasing slightly at the end as a playful smirk came to his lips. His eyes were still shut tight and his hands flat against the wall as he spoke to Cora through their bond. If we focus, we can do it. But we have to be slow, and careful.
Cora took a deep breath as a flash of what Dominik was thinking came across the bond. She placed her hands on the wall. Alright. I am ready.
She focused the Force to a fine point and struck the wall like a sculptor with a fine chisel and hammer.
Dominik felt Cora's presence in the Force as they both started to work away at the wall. Deep, long cracks started to stretch through its surface as both Jedi worked to challenge and undo what nature had done. Dominik felt a tinge of exhaustion just as they started, but he had to give everything he could so that Cora would be able to safely make it to the cavern and not have to backtrack to find a connection to the main tunnel.
He took in a deep, sharp breath as he pushed all of his focus into the task at hand. As the cracks grew, he made sure they wouldn't threaten the integrity of the tunnel as a whole once the wall came down.
Sweat dripped down Cora’s face and neck to slide along her spine. She shivered and continued to chip away at the wall with the Force. She could feel Dominik’s exhaustion and hoped that this would be over soon. She had a better idea of what was ailing him this close but she needed to lay hands on him to be sure. Almost done Papa-uh Dom.
Dominik faintly registered her words through their bond as he worked, but his mind was so focused on the wall, on preventing another cave in, that he didn't put much thought anywhere else.
Slowly the cracks in the wall went deeper and deeper. Dominik started to hear the shifting of rock and dirt as the wall slowly started to give way along the guide they had created. A rough doorway opened up, connecting the two tunnels and effectively reuniting the two Jedi.
Dominik quickly leaned against one side of the doorway as the dust settled, rocks and dirt flowing around his feet as the rest of it fell. He took in a few deep breaths as he looked down to see a Jedi he had not seen in many years. Cora.
Cora directed the flow of rocks and dirt past her deeper in the chamber as the dust settled after they accomplished what they set out to do. Cora looked up as a figure became clear. “P-Dom.”
She reached out to him touching his face. Instantly she was assessing the damage.
"I'm… fine." Dominik spoke quietly, watching as Cora came near, feeling her hand on his face. The man finally allowed his body to rest as he slid down the wall he leaned against. There was no denying the strength and endurance he still lacked even after recovering quite a bit. It was frustrating, and embarrassing. It had been a very long time since he had been the weak one. It was not a feeling he liked.
"You didn't have any trouble getting here, did you? No one followed you?"
Cora sunk down with him, her mouth a firm line rather than the normal cupid’s bow. “You old fool. You are not fine. Lie to someone other than a Master Healer. I had someone dogging me for a few days before I arrived in the system but I lost them. It was likely because of the Corvette. I am no Padawan or green Knight. I know that it draws attention. Mainly the wrong kind. Stealth was an excellent skill to know in this instance. As is Revitalize and Healing both of which you need and I mean to give.”
Looking like she was ready to do so she touched his brow smoothing back his hair. Her face softened as her hand trembled. She looked around and nodded, her face becoming blank. “We should move. I believe that the orchestration of the Force to get us here will not hold off the creatures that should be here for much longer. Can you move Dom?”
"I do not need your healing skills, Cora. There are others who are far worse than I am. They need it first… and Lo. She needs to rest." Dominik mumbled, glancing up and down the tunnel as Cora suggested they move. He nodded, indicating he could move, before he slowly began to use the wall to help himself stand.
"Thank you, Cora." He began, taking a small breather as he fully stood. He held out one hand, using the Force to call his walking stick back into his grasp. "Thank you for risking your safety to come here. I couldn't leave Lo alone. And I was afraid that it was my time… but she's not ready. She shouldn't have had to fill in my position while I was in my coma." Dominik remained still as he spoke about his Padawan, eyes closing as he recalled those last moments before his mind had gone black. Cora was his last hope in making sure Lo wouldn't be alone. He knew, even though he had survived, he would still need help in giving her some relief.
Rising Cora nodded. Her lips thinned stubbornly. “Fear from you? You surprise me. This should convince you Dom that you need to be at your best for everyone here. I will not hear an argument. I am the only full Healer here. You may be the leader but when it comes to your health I refuse to argue with you about this. You have not been well for far too long. You look gaunt. I will not have you shuttle me off telling me that you do not need my skills. I will do what the Force wills of me and if you do not want Lo to be alone then you will stop this nonsense. Listen to the Force. You pulled through for a reason. You reached out for more than one reason. I am here because the Force wills it. Do not turn me from the path that it has set for me. The path that you set me on thirty-two years ago.”
Cora looked at Dominik knowing that he could refute all of it but knew that she spoke truthfully and it resounded in the Force. She helped him away from the opening they had created and gently pulled him in the direction that she felt more Jedi. “Since you have successfully gotten me to string more than seven words together than I have in the last ten years you will have to put up with my ways. You really should resign yourself to the organizational and management skills of someone who has had to run a teaching hospital for the last ten years. You have no idea the force of nature you have let loose. Yet.”
Dominik smiled at her words, his eyes closing for a moment as he regained his balance while Cora helped him back towards the cavern. “Lo and I will surely accept your help, Cora. Thank you.” He said softly, allowing the younger Jedi to help him back in the direction he had come.
With that Cora nodded and continued walking with Dominik. "Where is your pallet?"
She was looking around taking in her surroundings as much as she could in the almost non-existent light.
There were very few Twi’lek out and about at that time of night, however those that were watched Cora and Dominik with curiosity and caution. Dominik waved a hand towards them, indicating there was nothing to see. A couple of the younger Twi’lek children who were out and about watched with pure curiosity, their eyes on the newcomer as Cora helped Dominik.
“There’s a hut- right over there.” Dominik said, pointing to one that stood a little out of line versus all of the other huts around it.
Cora moved them to it. They almost tripped over a small body, almost. Cora pulled up short and saw a small Bothan breathing deeply obviously tuckered out. Leaning over she realized it was a teenage girl and picked her up. She motioned for Dominik to keep following.
Dawn had just broken and in the gray light she shifted the cloth flap from the entrance. She noted the sparse furnishings and took the situation in hand settling the Bothan girl gently. She was in charge here. Getting him to lay down was far too easy. Which meant he was weaker then he wanted to let on.
Sighing Cora sat beside him and took his hand. She called upon the Force and began healing him. It was no small task and she had expended quite a bit of energy with the rock wall.
Concentrating on Dominik she could feel him slowly healing the damage that had been done to him just before he reached out to her. She replenished his body's natural healing stores and went on with her work. He was healing well at least. The basics of life-saving healing were there and she wondered who had started the daunting task.
As she realigned muscles and tendons setting them back into place she realized he'd have been weeks away from full recovery, only days if they'd been getting supplies regularly. He'd be less weary now but they needed those supplies, and soon. She knew that he'd be better soon and she was almost too weary to continue. She stopped and set his hand down on the bed. He'd be sore when he woke but he'd be better off.
Rising Cora teetered for a moment. She steadied herself and walked slowly to the exit. She turned as she steadied herself on the wall with her fingertips. She walked over to the girl and sat down with her back to the wall. Reaching a weary hand out she stroked the girl's face seeing the circles under her eyes.
Gently Cora released some of the girl's tension so that she'd sleep better and deeper. She felt the girl relax and her twitching stopped. She kept her hand on the girl till she was sure that the girl had passed into a restful sleep. Standing again she used the wall leaning her head back and sighing heavily. She was tired. So very tired. But there were things to do and not before she had a couple of hours of sleep.
She went over and sat on the edge of the bed and checked on Dominik. He was sleeping his breathing deep and even more relaxed than he had been. She counted his breaths and took his pulse closing her eyes as she counted.One. Two. Three…
Cora slumped over seconds after she closed her eyes. Asleep even before her head hit the bed.