Failure...

Zithill staggered backwards as the force lightning tore into his flesh. The cavern was swept away and he fell to his knees in the grassy plains of his homeland. He gasped as he realised his breathing apparatus was gone and for a moment panic gripped him until the sweet sulphuric air of Gand filled his lungs. He relaxed.

Slowly he raised his head and looked around. The grass was tall and yellow speaking of a good season. He breathed in deeply and savoured the warmth of the evening. Up ahead the great red sun was sinking slowly towards the horizon and soon the twin moons would mount the sky to peer down upon their children.

A flicker in the corner of his eye caused Zithill to turn. A twitch of the grass, a wisp of vapour that told of... a trail. His heart leapt within his chest as the urge to track took hold. The vapour became clear now as it snaked towards him and into him. He could feel the call of the hunt and his spirit raced ahead along the trail towards his quarry.

He began to move. Slowly at first and then more quickly as the dark vapour grew thicker, pulsating with urgency. It ran before him like a black ribbon of energy and he gathered it into himself as he moved along its length. Up ahead it passed between two large boulders and Zithill was forced to slow his pace as he prepared to follow.

There was a sharp buzz and a hiss as from his right a blaze of blue light swept down and severed the trail. Zithill leapt back with a harsh curse as he watched those blessed vapours evaporate. The trill of the chase was torn from him leaving something cold and sickly in its place. He looked up.

The Jedi stood before him sabre in hand. His face was placid, void of emotion. Silently he watched the Gand as if studying an animal... an insect. He spoke...

"This path is closed to you."

"No." hissed Zithill.

"The hunt is over. You have failed." the Jedi replied his sabre illuminating his face in a harsh blue glow. The mans eyes looked sunken and tired, haunted even.

"No...." Zithill screamed out now as he raised his arms. Shadows rose from the earth itself and enveloped the mans sabre. For a moment the blue light fought the thick vaporous shadow and then it was overwhelmed. It spluttered and died.

The shadow continued to writhe along the arm of the Jedi as the man looked on in horror.

"What have you done?" he hissed towards Zithill, horror filling his eyes. The Gand ignored him as he stared into the distance where the vaporous trail was once more rising from the grasslands.

The Jedi dropped to his knees as his entire body became consumed by the writhing shadow. Zithill looked down at him then and rage flared within him. Reaching out a chitinous hand he drew his fingers into a fist driving the dark energy to completely consume the man. The screams were exquisite, the Gand felt them tingle along his every nerve ending as he willed the shadow to drive the body to the earth. The trail... the trail had returned and Zithill stepped over his victim as he became still and silent. Zithill stepped forward..

The temple chamber formed about him once more. His companions stood nearby, wide eyed and breathing heavily. The robed figures were nowhere to be seen. A sudden sound caused them all to turn. The plant like alien, the creature calling himself T'ra Reanar was still encased in dark force energy.

As they watched he burst into flame. A keening, high and terrible escaped from his gaping jaws as his limbs flailed in vain to beat out the inferno. The fetid stench of burned flesh filled the chamber as the creature took a single step forward before falling to the ground in a smoldering heap.

"He has fallen from the path..." Zithill breathed as he eyed the corpse.

ENTER

The voice drew their attention once more to the central temple structure where a door had opened in its carved surface.

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