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Chapter 19 Origins

Mirial, Present Day (32 BBY or 968 ARR) (After the Duel on Sojourn)

Wind howled and raked across my robes causing it to flutter in the heavy wind. I stood gazing out upon the desert that I briefly called home as a child. It flew past as I stood in the sand speeder, being driven toward a destination, the sand whispering across the ground alongside. I wore a face veil over my mouth and nose to protect from the biting sand. In the distance looming bigger and bigger was a massive stone structure poking out the dunes like a city on the plains, its three massive spires reaching toward the sky.

I knew this place. I remembered seeing the spires in the distance when I was a young girl. This area was always off limits to the Nomads I grew up with. More due to the predators than the area itself. I looked over at Katri who stood beside me. The Old Jedi Master looked stoic in her veil.

The speeder slowed down. The Driver was a local and wouldn't go past a certain point apparently. I didn't blame him. Venturing any further was suicidal. Golithorpians tended to call the area home. Massive worm/scorpion hybrids that could dig through the soil at an impressive speed. Reaching out with my senses, I could see why. The Dark Side pervaded the soil and air it seemed. The heart of this darkness almost radiated from the spires in the distance.

"We will continue ourselves. Thank you for taking us this far. Return in a week's time or send someone else." Katri announced. I frowned, but said nothing.

"Thanks," I said before jumping off and landing in the sand with grace. I tripped slightly but I otherwise stuck the landing. It had been a while since I stood in the sand.

Katri contrasted me by merely stepping off the speeder. Using the Force to walk down an invisible set of stairs. I will admit it was subtle, but spoke of an excellent sense of control and mastery. I was definitely taking notes for later on that trick.

I moved in step with her. I was a bit out of practice walking through the sand. I nearly tripped multiple times and would slip every now and then. Been in the big city too long.

Katri seemed to have no issue. I tried to figure out what it was. That's when I noticed Katri's footprints in the sand. They were sandy platforms made up of sand if briefly, they melted back into its original form around a few seconds after her passing. I decided to follow suit. It took a bit of practice but I managed to get the hang of it. This made things so much easier.

It took a half a day to reach the spires. I took a sip from my canteen. It wasn't until I stood at the base of the spires did I really capture the scale of them. They were massive. I hadn't felt this small since seeing the columns of the Jedi temple as a kid.

"This is as far as I will take you." Katri said.

I nodded though I was still taking in the tower's size. I was going to walk in the equally massive entrance when Katri coughed.

I looked over at her.

"There will be no need for that." She pointed at my lightsaber and utility belt.

I rolled my eyes and handed over my utility belt and lightsaber. Leaving only my waist cord and canteen.

"The danger you face will be very real, but remember that through the Force your path will be made open to you." she said.

I didn't feel like being snarky so I nodded. I was going to take another sip of my canteen when it flew from my hand just as the water was about to touch my lips. I looked over to see her holding the canteen and then she motioned for me to go inside.

I resisted the urge to grumble and took a breath. After calming my nerves and taking a steady breath before walking inside. The outside looked like sandstone and further in there was a certain point where the interior changed rapidly. It went from that weathered sandstone to grimy durasteel. There were symbols on the walls I was vaguely familiar with. Geometric shapes similar to what we carved on our faces. There was a faded ancient aurebesh script scrawled in places. It didn't look like the script I was familiar with.

It was hard to explain, I had seen that script before. It eluded me for the moment. I realized I should focus on the trail ahead, other than getting caught up in ancient writings. I continued further into the structure.

It wasn't until I found some sort of central chamber that I stopped. It looked like the weathered stone outside, but the crack in the wall was filled with sand and I noted part of this structure must have been exposed to the outside. The force was strongest here. Though I heard some sort of echo within it.

I found a good spot and kneeled among the small ancient obelisks poking from the floor. I closed my eyes. I reached out and connected everything around me. The darkness oozed out every crawl space. Then I stumbled on an enigma. The room held a note of light within. It was curious. The echoes seemed to inflate and my mind was drawn into them further.

I saw shapes and figures moving about. They looked like they were fighting. Over what, I didn't know. Did this temple face some sort of rebellion? The words and writing seemed clear as if for a moment and I found myself falling into the vision as the outlines of people became much clearer. This place was once a… home to an advanced culture at some point.

I focused on what I could see. They were human, not mirialan. Some guarded the entrances to the room while the others worked at the control panels. What I assumed to be stunted obelisks earlier. I kept watching. While I didn't truly understand the words, I understood the intent. The urgency in their motion showed that they were desperate. They did their damndest to… what were they doing?

There was a powerful shift in the air. I felt that it was like they had entered Hyperspace. This was once a ship. The starship they were on must have opened a hyperspace window. One of the people working on the counsel shouted in triumph and blasted the console they had worked at multiple times, ensuring that their work could not be easily undone. There was a sense of relief. They would die completing their mission. The vision ended.

I shook my head awake and stood. I walked over to the consoles. They were more or less frames. The wiring and any remaining electronics must have been stripped long ago. They made their last stand in this room. I wonder what would inspire them to sabotage this ship and throw it into the bowls of hyperspace. Just who were they fighting against?

I looked around and I walked over to the door one of their fellows were covering earlier. It was sealed, but without power, They had come from that way so I moved opposite to that entrance and found what must have been the direction they escaped in. I just waved my hand dismissively and it slid open with a creaking squeal. It was dark inside and the air was stale. I didn't have a light or a lightsaber. I knew that I would need to focus my senses. I closed my eyes and stepped into the darkness.

I walked cautiously, stepping carefully. My foot caught on something heavy and I tripped. I managed to right myself, but in the process I opened my eyes to brightly lit corridors that weren't there a moment ago. I watched as the ghosts of the saboteurs ran through me. I jumped back instinctively as several bolts were hurled toward my direction. Well the Saboteurs' direction. One man was struck and a woman screamed out in shock and anger. Another woman grabbed her and said something in their familiar yet foreign tongue. The intent behind the action was clear. Get moving!

I followed them. I noticed the halls were again back to their original gleam. This time I even smelled the oils and sweat. I saw beautiful engravings on some of the panels as I passed by them. Catching glimpses of battles, one side being urged on by a beautifully carved goddess figure. I took note of the mostly human nature of the "heroes" in contrast to their more alien foes. This should have rang a bell in my head. It was on the tip of my tongue.

This was so trippy, yet I continued on. The five remaining saboteurs were stuck in a four way intersection. Instead of taking an empty hallway, they kept trying to push forward to break through the enemy barricade. One threw a grenade and they continued on, zeal and frenzy driving them forward. Two fell, the woman who cried out at her fallen comrade fell along with another man beside her. They were down to three now. A man and two women. The man was carrying one of the women in a fireman's carry.

As I followed them across the intersection looking to my right to see the path was empty. What was so important that they would charge the line ahead of them instead of taking a perfectly empty hallway. I turned my head to the left down the other empty hallway. I was about to resume following the vision until I saw a figure in the distance toward the very end of the hall.

A tall woman in a beautiful red dress, her blonde hair following past her shoulders. She faced away from me, but I knew that silhouette. Her head turned and her hair moved back enough to see a familiar smile.

I found myself ready to step off the path I had been on and wander toward the apparition, but an explosion rang down the corridor in the direction of the saboteurs' charge. I looked to see them continuing on, another of their numbers fallen. There were only two left, a man and the woman he carried.

I turned my head back down the corridor and the woman in the red dress was gone. So I followed the charge. I was amazed that they made it this far.

He turned off into a room. I found myself in some sort of cathedral. The engravings were even more elaborate here. In the center behind the altar was a rendition of a beautiful human goddess with some sort of elaborate headdress and swathed in purple silks.

He laid the dying woman at the foot of the altar. She had passed on. The man was in no better shape, barely alive himself. He started chanting and it sounded like He were asking forgiveness. I didn't understand much of what they said, but two words rang out. Pius Dea. What? The Spaceport? I would have to look into this. I knew the words were familiar, but I couldn't place them at the moment.

After his prayer had ended, He both pulled out a vial. Several soldiers were pouring in and surrounding them. He didn't stand and try to fight, instead he drank the vial. He died laying down and caressing the dead woman's cheek. I got the sense they had succeeded in their mission. That this mad dash toward the temple was another act of defiance.

A man in a more elaborate soldier get-up, who I placed as an officer. A high ranking one if all the gold embroidery was any indication. The officer walked over and stood before the rebel bodies for a time. He looked up at the statue. It was then he ordered their bodies removed from the chambers. He then proceeded to stalk on through the halls. All the personnel were sure to divert around him as he walked.

He calmly walked through the ship. It took some time. This place is massive, and there must have held thousands of personnel, both male and female wandering aimlessly. Not to mention the crew themselves. I heard klaxons and saw red warning lights. The officer stopped at a viewport on the way. One of his soldiers beside him said something.

He seemed to dismiss it and shook his head. There was a resignation in his voice and he said something and gestured out the window.

I found myself looking out the window with the other soldier. A planet sat outside it. A pink and green dustball. One I knew well. A flicker of light on the man's chest caught my attention in the viewport reflection. It stood out on the man's garb. An amulet with a flame orange gem in the center. It was a Kyber crystal. One I had seen before, a long time ago.

It was then I was torn from the vision and snapped my eyes open. I was back in the chamber. I stood back up and looked around, seeing the weathered place for what it was. The ruins of an ancient ship.

"Great, now I have more questions than answers." I muttered to myself. "Typical fare for type of vision quest I guess."

"What was I even supposed to learn here?" I said as I stood and went to head for the entrance. It wasn't that I didn't pay attention in history class. To be fair the only thorough teaching they did was on the Galactic Republic's history not the ancient and/or Neo Republic other than a few select things like the Old Sith Wars and later New Sith Wars. That being said, something was very familiar about this place.

In essence the only thing that came to mind was that either Mirialan history was wrong and/or probably revised meaning we didn't descend from the colony ship or whoever flew this ship was intermingled into that history at some point. Something told me those answers weren't to be found here. Either way I found myself irritated that I couldn't quite remember the Pius Dea.

I growled as I left the temple.

Katri sat meditating on a stone block of sorts.

"Did the temple give you insight?" Katri said. Her face was impassive like the stone she sat upon.

I crossed my arms. "Well the temple wasn't originally built as such was it?"

"It was not."

"Does the Council know?" I asked.

"No, this is our people's burden to bear." Katri said calmly.

"The Pius Dea, that name should be more familiar." I said.

"As should many things from before the Republic's founding after Russan." Katri said in an annoyed tone.

"So there is more to it than just a spaceport?" I said.

This got a reaction out of Katri in the form of a slight smile. "Very much so. Have you heard of the Pius Dea Crusades." That rang the bell I had been needing to hear.

"Right, they were those Humanocentric Crazies that nearly took down the Hutts." I said remembering. "They were led by the Chancellor with the funny name. "Contispex I think. So that was a Dea ship?"

"Indeed. Now I assume the vision showed you the story of its sabotage by the Reformationists and how it ended up here?" Katri said with little surprise. I wasn't going to mention the woman in red.

"Yes. There was a Commander there too. All dressed in fancy armor." I said.

"More than a mere commander. That was Gaul, the Bastard son of Contispex IX. An interesting man. Some say he was the favored child of the Chancellor, but he trained his Daughter to be his heir regardless. Gaul was respected by all in the Dea-Republic. Many would have supported his claim over his Sister. If he had made a move. Though it is said he was not ambitious enough."

"I guess I will get to the bantha in the room then. There were a lot of people on that ship. Did our people descend from them?" I asked.

"That is still widely debated. The primary theory is that there were humans already on the world when they arrived and were interbred over the generations." Katri broke her meditation and looked directly at me.

"There was something else you saw." I did my best to look impassive, and was about to just admit seeing the woman, when I remembered the jeweled amulet.

"Yes, that amulet on his chest. It seemed familiar." I said.

"The Amulet of Gaul. A gift from his father to his concubine mother, who gave it to him. The texts say it was quite the scandal. It was taken from our world during the Sith Empire's Occupation. That was before we joined the Republic and by extension the order. It was a symbol of authority among the Priests of the Sky Goddess. Who is believed to be an affectation of the Dea Goddess. Though watered down over time and replaced with the more naturalist one we have today." She looked back up at the temple almost reverently. "It is lost to us forever."

"About that." I said. She swung her head around so fast I thought her neck would snap. "I saw a crystal that was very similar to that one on the hidden pirate base Tal'or and I fought the Terentatek on."

"And you still remember the location?" There was an urgent tone to her voice. "Why didn't you take it?"

"Tal'or needed aid, and I figured I could come back later." I admitted. "Never had the chance."

Katri seemed to find the answer acceptable. "It seems this journey of yours is not done."

Figures. "Does that mean you are not coming along?"

"It is your journey to undertake." She said simply, "I was merely here to show you the beginning." Katri floated up so when she set her legs down she was perfectly standing. Now that was something I did all the time. Glad to see I wasn't just being lazy.

"I guess I will ride back to the spaceport with you then and…"

"You will make your own path from here on out. Good luck." With that Katri casually walked into the sands. The dunes seemingly parted before her as she walked.

I sighed, "Looks like hitchhiking from here on out." I stopped and listened to the wind for a moment, I let the Force flow through me. I took a breath and let it guide my first step. Might as well go all in.