1. Within the heart of a decaying temple Mygalomorphae - an ancient being of great power - studies her captives.
2. “Bipedal creatures” she muses “such aggressive tendencies” . . .
3. “Such purity & innocence”
4. “Can any of you truly grasp the paradox of your destines?”
5. “You create to destroy? . . .” she sighs as she prods a captured vulture droid.
6. Somewhat puzzled she nestles herself up high & begins to study the Sith tome.
7. Certain of her diverted attention Durandel once again eases the carefully concealed saber from before towards him. . . .
8. With a concentrated mind he lifts it upwards into the air . . .
9. Igniting it quickly & directing it’s motion . .
10. Cutting away the webbing around the vulture droid . . .
11. Mygalomorphae is too late to stop events unfolding . .
12. . . ..
13. The clone wars reject springs into action . . .
14. With careful precision the Padawan summons the sabre & hacks at the sticky ties that bind him . . .
15. By now the dishevelled droid dive bombs it’s tormentor . . .
16. Allowing time to free the second captive . .
17. Although he senses that darkness has tainted her before now, Durandel cannot leave her to her fate . .
18. Quickly & silently they make their escape!
19. . . . . .
20. Within the thick bush a patrolling shadow trooper spies a rifle on the ground, checking his locator he confirms that smugglers have been spotted around these parts.
22. But it’s the unseen that cause the headaches in the long run . . .
23. Or neck . . .
24. “Troy” a squad member shouts to his fallen comrade . .
25. “Oh my - jeez - Troy”
26. Then a hum resonates from behind him . .
27. Having been commanded during the clone wars on countless missions, trooper ‘Denny’ recognises the distinct sound.
28. With such formidable combat experience Denny makes an unpredictable forward roll . . .
29. Ending magnificently in an instant rifle shot.
30. However . . .
31. After dispatching of Denny, Cortez is himself ambushed . . .
32. Momentarily anyway!
33. As he squeezes hard at the jugular of trooper 3 someone approaches.
34. “I think you’ve brutalised enough pups today blue” the apparent leader spits
35. “Put down the whelp & deal with the Alpha” he finishes.
36. As Cortez lets trooper 3 leave his leader mutters something to him quietly, calling for reinforcements maybe?
37. “Where is the young Jedi, Commander?” Galen begins
38. “Beats me” the leader shrugs shaking his fist “this is a harsh place”
39. Squaring up to the black clad soldier Galen presses further “four pairs of republic issue boots head this way with my friend, after what I can only describe as an ambush!”
41. Blow after blow the two opposing blades meet . . .
42. Footwork & technique matter little in the middle of a jungle . .
43. Cunning & creative attacks gain advantage . .
44. Or dirty tactics . . .
45. With Mandalorian blood pumping through his veins the warrior is odds on favourite . .
46. But in savouring victory with a battle cry the trooper is vulnerable to a single attack . . .
47. What is referred to as a drop - toe hold.
48. With their legs inter locked & with Cortez applying his entire upper body pressure upon the lower half of the soldiers the pain is unbearable . . Galen now in complete control demands answers!
49. Torture is something that every soldier is trained for, but not like this! The android has no give, no attention span - just the need for answers.
50. After humiliatingly begging for freedom the trooper agrees to take Cortez to the prisoners.
54. Somewhere amongst the screams of pain & anguish the trooper finds a small amount of respect in loosing to a better warrior.
55. Later . . .
56. With the female casualty over his shoulder, Durandel happens across a small out building whilst trekking through the bush.
57. Hearing the shrieks of their pursuer in the distance it seems their safest hope.
58. Metallic in structure the door holds firmly against the assault by Mygalomorphae.
59. Then . . Silence . . .
60. Inside what appears to be a makeshift home the Padawan tends to the woman.
61. Using a stove & other supplies he is able to provide sustenance for them both.
62. For now at least the shack will provide refuge until dawn.
63. “Things aren’t always back & white” the trooper states “sometimes there are shades of grey!”
64. Cortez witnesses hundreds of what appear to be eggs covering the temple . . .
65. “Our ‘mistress’ can grant the ultimate gift, let me show you”
66. “You’ve met Troy already today” the trooper states patting a fellow soldier
67 . “Troy?” Cortez asks perplexed . . . .”
“yeah” the leader laughs “funny ain’t it?”
68. “My god” Cortez giggles hugging the trooper “I’m . . .I ”
69. “No hard feelings” Troy nods “but you should listen . .”
70. Amidst the gathering of bodies Mygalomorphae returns.
71. The soldiers look nervous - like teenagers caught smoking - out of respect Cortez bows his head.
72. “WHY DO YOU ALLOW THIS . . THING TO DEFILE MY DOMAIN CHILD?..” she asks the troop leader.
73. “I seek a young Jedi - my companion who would have been brought here?”
74. “IT SEEMS WE HAVE MUCH TO DISCUSS MAN OF WIRES . .
75. Early morning Durandel arrives inside the makeshift lair after collecting up useful items from the neighbouring area. “Where are you going miss?” he asks.
76. In a strangely quiet, husky tone the female seems distant in her response “thank you for your hospitality Padawan but I am a dangerous companion, I must be away”
77. As she opens the steel door a patrol can be seen heading in their direction. . .
78. “No!” she hisses “ the allegiances make little sense but their intentions are always the same . . “
79. As the woman bolts past him Durandel opens the door by a fraction to identify the advancing party.
“It’s fine” he assures her “stay here . . .”
80. From the outside the group hear the creaking of the rusty door hinges . .
81. Cortez removes his helmet to the relief of the Padawan.
Galen speaks first: “Hey kiddo found you eventually!”
Durandel laughs nervously - aware of the armed escort “what’s going on Galen?”
82. Through the door their conversation can be heard;
“I made a deal Durandel, you let them search for something - the item I took from the palace - if you don’t have it then you go free . .”
The young Jedi questions his friend’s better judgement “And you?”
“Well that’s the hard part” Galen replies “ I have pretty much a back up of it in memory so providing you’re ok they get what they want anyway!”
83. Unwillingly accepting his friends offer of aid Durandel allows the troopers to search for the mystery item.
84. His companion however takes some persuading before allowing a pat down.
85. 30 mins later Durandel & his female companion are clear to leave, walking calmly but quickly away from the area.
86. The fake 3 fingered military salute that Galen gives is actually a pre arranged code which indicates to meet at their safety point in 3 weeks . .
87. As they depart Durandel wonders what will become of his protector . .
88. Cortez obviously worried about his charge . .
89. Also wonders about the missing book . . . And to whom it now belongs . . .