Pushing the thoughts of the hole in the ground out of his mind Ao walked to the other side of the small clearing and pulled his training saber off his belt. Lousro had only trained him in lightsaber meditation techniques and not in any form of combat. Knowing that he was starting to lose the reflexes that had been drilled into him at the temple he began doing simple repetitions.
While going through a series of memorized blocking patterns Ao had a compelling feeling to try his personal comm again. They had tried a few times before but the thick forest had blocked the communication frequency. Ao finished the set, pulled out his comm, and punched the ship’s code in.
“Tate, can you hear me?”
There was a short burst of static then a series of chirps and whistles.
“I know, I know. We’ve been unable to get through before. We’re fine. Master Rohao is in a cave right now.”
A low tone emitted from the communicator.
“Okay, fine. He fell in. He said he could see the way out though.”
A more frantic series of beeps and whoops came over the channel.
“What do you mean? What cave is ‘the cave’?”
– – –
Lousro began hovering towards the stairs. Prepared for whatever the cave would throw at him. He had seen visions in a cave before and they felt and looked real, but that was the temple on Vergaiun. The Force was in balance under the temple and had been traveled by many Vergaiun acolytes of the Way of Balance. It was a tame vergence. This cave was not tame. This cave felt feral and wild. It was almost as if a powerful Darkside user had died here and his aura corrupted the terrain.
Pausing for a moment to look around the small room Lousro noticed another set of stairs, leading down. Forcing himself to look away he continued toward the exit. He wasn’t going to explore a Darkside vergence without his padawan and T8-T3 beside him.
As he approached the exit he found himself face to face with Darth Teslief. Forgetting that he may see visions in this place he wondered when she had followed and how she found them. Then she spoke.
“Ah, acolyte. Have you returned for your training?”
Lousro’s surroundings changed to Teslief’s quarters on Teiz, the seat of the Emperor of the Brotherhood of Darkness. Louro answered her almost without thinking.
“No, master. My training is over.” He started to reach for his lightsaber and before he could activate it he controlled himself. “No,” he said loudly, “I am Lousro Rohao, a Knight of the Jedi Order. I will not strike you down, even in this vision. I know you can be turned and you WILL be one of the greatest Jedi.”
The black from Teslief’s robes leaked onto the ground and the robe turned a light gray. “Good. You will make a fine Jedi yourself. I am not quite a vision, Lousro, but more of a projection. I was meditating on the Perforator when I opened my eyes and saw you here. Instinct told me to tempt you and I did. Where are you, anyway?”
Lousro cleared his mind, focusing on the question Teslief had asked. He put the thoughts of the impossibility of this vision the section of his mind marked meditation questions. “I’m on a planet that is not in the public archives. I’m probably not supposed to say where, but it’s Dagobah.”
Teslief looked thoughtful for a moment. “No, never heard of it. I can barely see you now. One last thing, though. I will never become a Jedi. Let alone the greatest.”
The vision faded, leaving Lousro with a feeling of accomplishment. He was sure that he had gone through a similar trial already, but this felt like he had finally completed all of them. Lousro walked up the stairs and decided to send Ao in through the hole by himself before they explored the ruins. Even if he failed the trial it would strengthen his resolve.