"Those without the gate frequently question the wisdom and right of the occultist to guard his knowledge by the imposition of oaths of secrecy. We are so accustomed to see the scientist give his beneficent discoveries freely to all mankind that we feel that humanity is wronged and defrauded if any knowledge be kept secret by its discoverers and not at once made available for all who desire to share in it. The knowledge is reserved in order that humanity may be protected from its abuse at the hands of the unscrupulous. Anyone who understands the nature of the Secret Science and the powers it bestows will see the need for such precaution." Sacred Datacron of the First Ones
All was falling apart.
The first explosion had hit me while I was trying to reach the second floor of the ancient building. It threw me off my feet. For a while I couldn't see. I couldn't hear. I couldn't feel.
The second explosion brought me back to my senses. But still I could barely see. And this strange dumbness on my face and my right hand. Oh, by the Stars. So much pain. And Enif? Where was she? Oh, No. Please, no.
Then I've seen her at the bottom of the stairs. She was lying unconscious and a few ugly creatures were moving towards her. No, I cried trying to sit up. I will not let you touch her! I reached through the Force and pushed the first group away. But there were so many of them. Throwing my lightsaber to the ugliest and biggest one whom I sensed to be the leader of the herd I drained the last strength left in my veins and leapt down the stairs. I covered her body with mine praying my armour could absorb the coming shock that I was sensing. Then came the third explosion. Flames swept over us swallowing everything above. I raised my head and checked the second floor entrance. It looked clear for the moment. There was blood all over Enif. She had been cut severely and lost already too much blood. I had to make a choice. Blast it! Giving up the last hope of reaching the gate I took Enif in my arms and turned back to face the exit. Hold on, my dear friend, I whispered to her ear. A Sith is best at surviving after all, huh? Stay with me. I will not give up on you yet. Keep breathing. Just keep breathing.
Suddenly I sensed 2 familiar figures approaching in the Force. Su Jena and.. Master Shayleen! The Force had finally smiled on me at the last minute. Master Shayleen was the legendary healer amoung the Jedi. There were rumours that she could even turn dead Bantha back to life.
'Master!' I cried. 'Please, help her. She is barely breathing'.
Master Shayleen had that serious look on her face which could only mean one of the kids tonight would get the most boring meditation punishment before going to bed.
'What are you up to again, my very young apprentice?' She queried while trying to get a close look at Enif.
'Trouble, what else could it be?' said Su Jena mocking. 'Oh, a pureblood Sith! What in the name of crushing black holes you're doing with a Sith assasin, Arck?!' She turned to me with fiery eyes and then saw me clearly for the first time. 'Arck..' Dropping her mocking tone she reached to touch my arm. 'Oh, Arck, what happened to.. Your face.." For a moment she looked like that little sweet girl I knew back in the old good days, ready to cry at any moment.
'It's ok, Su' I said touching slightly my right empty eye socket. 'I don't feel anything.' I turned to face Master Shayleen. 'Master, she saved my life many times. I trust in your judgment. Please, do your best for her. I need to go back. This is the best chance I could ever get to reach the gate. I feel so close to it.'
'What?!' interrupted, Su Jena. 'How could you still be thinking of going back?!'
'Stay out of this, Su' I replied calmly. 'I have to finish what I have started. Master Shayleen will understand me. Please, Master.'
Master Shayleen held her gaze deep in my eyes for almost an eternity and then sighed: 'Ok, young one. You have come this far. It is not fair to stop someone who has so much faith and determination to reach a goal. And quite an honorable one seeking the Truth is. But beware! Truth usually comes with a tremendous burden. So few were able to endure it in our known history. Come closer now, let me have a look on you'. Then She took a deep breath and touched my forehead with her right hand. 'May the Force heal your wounds.'
I felt The Force streaming through her fingers into my body and my soul. It felt so good. In less than 9 seconds I had started to feel like reborned. Fresh and ready for whatever dangers still awaiting.
'Thank you, Master.' I whispered.
Now it was time to face the last obstacle on my way. The Oracle in Alderaan had mentioned about an invincible warrior guarding the gate. Well, we were about to see how invincible he was.
I reached the top floor without further event. Here the interior had been designed as a reversed pyramid with a cap. On each corner there was a huge statue of a human male or female body but the head part resembling some strange unknown species. I could see a dim light on the other side of the hall.
'This is the funniest bird I've ever seen. Reminds me Master Kiwilik in a way, though. Heh heh.'
'Su, what in the 9 moons are you doing here?! You should have stayed with Master Shayleen. It is too dangerous here.'
I paused a moment and then added: 'And by the way, that's not a bird, how many birds you've seen so far having a <you know what>?!'
She couldn't help blushing. 'Arck! You are so mean !!'
'Peh, if you do not leave now, you will see how mean I could be when I talk about this little incident with Master Kiwilik'
I had this cruel smile on my already deformed face.
'Shut up!!' She countered. 'I may not be as useful as your charming Sith friend but I am not going anywhere without you and you know that very well. So instead of wasting more time I suggest we move on, shall we?'
'Oh, I keep forgetting how stubborn you sometimes could be. But you'll regret this I tell you. Wait till we return...'
We both felt it.
A disturbance in the Force. A very strong one.
'Watch your step, Su. This must be the Guardian of the Gate.'
The door at the other side of the hall opened up slowly and a tall dark figure emerged from the shadows.
'But.. That mask.. No, it cannot be. He couldn't be. How so..'