Knights of the Old Republic: Turncoat's Shadow

Chapter 3 - Blood is Thicker than Spice

The crew of the Osprey have touched down on Ryloth, in Abi Gatto’s hometown of L’Braal. It’s not much of a city, maybe 50,000, but remote enough to vanish from the Exchange for a while. Figuring the best to place to hide is right under the enemy’s nose, Abi reluctantly gives into the situation and contacts her uncle for permission to land.

Immediately upon entering orbit, the Osprey receives a hail from Abi’s ditzy cousin, Yunta. Her excitement at seeing Abi again is palpable, as is her disdain with the situation at home. Apparently, she’s engaged to be married to a Devaronian, a particularly dangerous Devaronian named Wojo. Abi doesn’t like the smell of this for one moment, and insists on making investigating her cousin’s fiancee her first priority. Right after she fixes everything on the Osprey as well as every single malfunctioning thing in her uncle’s home, of course.

While Abi’s busy with both her family and everything around her with circuits falling apart, the others head into town to see what they can learn about Le’Braal and Wojo, as well as ponder their next move. It’s quickly noticeable that not a single female Twi’lek walks the streets alone during the day. News of disappearances are rampant, and Mayor Jerool has ordered a quarantine ordering any women and girls to remain inside at night and never leave home alone. Some believe there’s slavers to blame for this.

Siri, Wryme, and Kindo prefer to mingle around with the traders and star-pilots, and after enough discreet questioning of the locals, learn that Le’Braal is a city deep in the pockets of the Exchange. Rumor has it a new source of Ryll spice was in Nightland outskirts east of town, and the Exchange has been trying to force the villagers off the land for months.

Forad senses another Jedi in the city and seeks him out for answers. He finds a remote Jedi temple on the edge of the eastern side of town, left in near-ruin. In its garden is a lone Twi’lek, long both in years and lekku, deep in meditation. He introduces himself as Deel, without rising, and then tells of a vision where he saw himself training a Padawan again, something he had sworn never to do. He also warns Forad of an impending shadow in the Nightlands just beyond the city that may answer more of his questions. After a brief meditation, Forad senses it too and immediately runs off alone to find the source.

Meanwhile, Wryme’s mind still wraught by visions of his former partner Tiana, and he feels her presence ever closer. Altogether bored with questioning the locals, the adept does what best distracts him from his fury and confusion: he goes looking for a fight. Wojo now owns and operates Le’Braal’s largest cantina, and with the help of a little lobbying, has managed to gain permission to host duels in an abandoned hangar across town. Wryme registers for an exhibition match, and the name Thaal Roan immediately appears as his opponent. The bounty hunters have found them.

Forad’s journey into frigid crystalline the Nightlands is treacherous. The Padawan narrowly avoids becoming lunch for gutkurrs before seeking refuge in a cavern that goes far deeper than he expected. He follows a tunnel, keeping the dark aura within his Force Sight until the tunnel suddenly shifts from natural to manufactured, giving view to an enormous circular chamber containing a series of chemical processing vats, overseen by a number of service and security droids. It’s a spice plant. Just a few steps further in and the Jedi is greeted head on by a pair of rolling assault droids. He quickly deflects their blasts away, cuts through the blast doors and surges off to inform the others.

Wryme knows immediately what Forad has seen and after asking only “Where?” takes off at full, kilt, the bright yellow glow of his saber blade the only trail behind him. The others make haste to keep up with him.

After dispatching a few gutkurrs, the crew follows Wryme and Forad into to the caves leading to the spice factory, which upon further exploration, also seems to serve as a transport facility for slaves as well as contraband. Abi attempts to remotely gain access to the guard turrets, ordering them to fire upon the spice vats, and within seconds, pandemonium ensues. Siri and Abi run off to free the slaves, while Kindo and the Jedi keep the droids busy. This is when Tiana, now Darth Secla, descends from the command center, finally revealing herself as the driving force behind Le’Braal’s corruption, and the face in Wryme’s persistent visions. Her attempts to sway Wryme to her side again this time fail, however, and a vicious duel erupts between her, Wryme, and Forad. True to his own fashion, Kindo swoops in with his rocket pack and with a quick blast of carbonite, brings the duel to an abrupt halt. Wryme raises his saber to cut his former partner’s frozen husk into shards, only to watch her crumble to dust before his eyes, and flow away with the rest of the spice, leaving only her own saber behind.

After this incident, many days of aftermath follow. Wojo’s connection to Darth Secla and the spice trade is exposed, and he quickly skips town, leaving no discernable trail behind. Yunta’s wedding is off, and Valsir Gatto is named new mayor of Le’Braal. During his inauguration ceremony, however, the Exchange decides to strike back. A thermal detonator blows up center stage around Valsir, with a heavy droid strike force hot on its heels, blasting everyone in sight and laying seige to the Gatto estate. During the melee, Thaal and Niko seize their chance to capture the crew, but fail, the Rodian taken prisoner by Forad and the Kel Dor beheaded by Wryme.

Valsir Gatto and the stationed Republic officers have their hands full rebuilding Le’Braal, and what has happened in this small town on Twilek Prime will not go forgotten any more than it will remain secret.

Abi has found a new sense of purpose from this experience, learning that no matter how much she travels, there is only one home, and no home is safe from war, no matter where it rages in the galaxy.

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