1.08: The Hunt On Vilhon

Dates: 10/16/1999

Chronicle Day 57-59:  1 yr. Pre-ANH

Location: Orbital Hunting Lodge over Vilhon & on Vilhon

Raphie Kragar awoke from a nightmare that left him in a cold sweat. A voice echoed as he stirred to sleep, deep in his mind… “Your destiny awaits you….”

He looked down at the person he shared the bed with, not realizing he had actually gone to bed with someone the previous night. It was a female, of obvious noble upbringing. He looked closer and realized who it was. It was the Mecetti representative, Lady Damara Decrilla. Did she know who he was? Why would a Lady sleep with what she knew as a commoner. Mecetti always had their reasons.

But for the life of him, he couldn’t remember how she ended up here and at what point she joined him the previous evening. It was a big feast, and was quite festive, but he always remained disciplined at these occasions. He never indulged himself, adhering closely to his Jedi and family codes of honor and purity.

Leaving his bed, he went to the refresher. He thought back to his dream. To a Jedi, a dream is never just a dream. He knew this was more. Something was calling to him, and he realized it had been for days. Something hiding on the moon of Vycynth, and it… or he… had something for Kragar. Who was it? Why?

He had gotten notice from Brendaron that he would be joining his hunt group. Pyre had dropped out of the hunt, being called away on house business. Tarus Jarnak, as well as Janice Marks, and Remmy were also joining Brendaron’s hunting party. While on the hunt, Marks and Remmy would attempt to watch Calandra’s every move. They knew something was going to happen here, but weren’t sure what. Kragar figure he would break away from the group and find the person that was calling to him.

He returned to his bedroom to find it empty. The woman had gone. He shrugged and proceeded to order breakfast. Today as going to be a big day.

****

Brendaron, sitting alone in his Noble suite on the lodge, pondered recent events.   He was honored by the privilege of being invited to the Vor Cal hunt, even though he wasn’t much of a hunter.  This gave him an opportunity to play a bigger role in the politics of his patron house, while at the same time work closer to the goal of getting Barnes Sandos out of the Mecetti prison.

However, he did not like being an errand-boy for a Mecetti lord.

He too was paid a visit by the illustrious Berellion, on board High Inquisitor Tremayne’s Star Destroyer.  Only moments before the visit, he was being invited into the auspices of something called the Chamber.  Moments later, Berellion himself was warning him against the Chamber, and even had the Chamber agent Brendaron had been contact by, killed.

The bottom line – Berellion wants Brendaron to help find out why Lady Ilm had to die.   She was becoming a very popular individual.

****

The Gala left many with hangovers, but all the hunters along with their assistants and proteges were present for the Hunt Opening Ceremony. Once the rules of the hunt were explained, the Moff gave them a grand send off with a great speech. They then loaded the landing shuttle. In less than two hours, the shuttle settled behind the walls of the planet-side hunting lodge called Pinnacle Point. Within it’s walls was the only safe place to be on this world for any hunter. The Wilds beyond were special breeding grounds for some of the most challenging prey in the galaxy.

In another 6 hours, at dawn, the hunting parties were sent off.  The hunt target was a Rodian Karstag.  Several hundred were brought to Vilhon from Rodia for this hunt.  Each Karstag had horns on their tail, and the more horns, the better the kill.

However, their first encounter wasn’t with a  Karstag.  It was with two of Everard’s ASP-6 hunter/killer droids.

Standing over the wreckage of the first droid, Sir Tarsus Jarnak grunted to himself “Sore loser…”

While the other hunted, using his uncanny stealth ability, Kragar went north to the pull of that which was calling him.

At the same time, Remmy and Marks made their way to track Calandra down, listening in to the still present-bug frequency.  She arranged for the death of the Rebels without realizing they had already bugged her.

The hunt progressed around them.

****

Raphie Kragar had wondered far beyond the boundaries of the hunting ground, into a dense forested area.  It wasn’t quite a swamp, but it definitely was far from dry land as well.  A low mist still hovered of the ground.  The atmosphere seemed to get darker as he walked further.  However, never at any given time did he feel alone.

His senses told him he was entering an area of the jungle that was more than just physically dark.  The canopy above did grow thicker, blocking out the sun more, but there was something else here, or had been at one time.  Something evil lurked here at one time, but he could not tell what.

He had earlier avoided several Barnaba patrols, meant to keep the hunters with in the boundaries of the hunt.  His in-human ability to sneak and blend was what has kept him alive and out of the Empire’s hands thus far.  He knew his family had a history of Jedi, and he only had just started showing the signs himself.  Without a teacher, his learning had been slow.

His sense stirred once again as he approached an outcrop.  Several large trees, mangled with age, had fallen against each other to form a twisted version of a pyramid.  At the base, sat a lone man at a fire.  He worse long soiled robes, and a pack lay nearby.  Raphie, only just noticed the cool morning air, approached the  fire.  The man’s voice greeted him.

“You came as I asked, …. good.”  came the raspy old voice of one that had many years. “Young Jedi, you have a destiny to fulfill.  Our time is not over – it has only just begun.”

Our time?  Who are you? Kragar did not speak.

“Who I am doesn’t matter.  We are kindred, is all you need to know.  Family, is some respects.  House Pelagia and the Pelagia Jedi will rise again…  You will help it.”

This man was a Jedi Master.  I can feel it. Kragar continued to listen.

“Your destiny lies with the children…the Lost Children of Pelagia.”

That moment suddenly turned to chaos.  Several armored individuals suddenly leaped from the underbrush and down from the trees, armed with blasters and lightfoils. Kragar ignited his lightsabre, as did the old man.  Suddenly, he didn’t seem so old.

“You were followed! So it is true…” the old man said.  She must have planted something on me when we were…. damn!

Kragar finally spoke “What is true?”

“I will meet my end this day…”

“Mr. Kragar, I want to thank you for helping me find Master Illsmaran.” came an all too familiar voice.   Lady Damara Decrilla…   she set this up. “I knew that the Master would try to contact you, and oh yes, I know your unique qualities.  The Empire will be pleased.  Two Jedi with one deception.  Quite efficient.  Stun them!”

The old man leaped in from of Kragar, blocking the first few shots.   “You must go.  Much rests on your shoulders.  I will hold them off long enough for you to get out.  That left the rear flank open.  I chose this place because I knew it would be difficult to totally surround us.  GO!! ”

Kragar only got a few words of protest in before the blasts came again.   The old man leapt forward and charged the assaulting group of Mecetti guard.   Kragar had only a few moments, which he took advantage of.  He was gone before the Lady even realized it.

****

Three individuals met in the middle of the jungle, in a secluded spot far from the main group of hunters.  Annora Calandra stood over a dead Karstag that had just been pulled from a stasis container.  The two others  were Lord Vaskell Savill and Dr. Arkeld.  Their voices were hushed.  Two of  Annora’s Mining Guild body guards patrolled the clearing while they talked.

Marks and Remmy both listened in through their eaves-dropping devices while they spoke.  Remmy recorded the scene using a remote camera-sentry.

The three conspirators talked about their final plans, and who had what to do left.  Calandra’s job was nearly at an end.  She was to arrange for the Imperial fleet to be distracted.  The other two supplied the means to an end – to attack and destroy the torpedo sphere now docked at Tallaan.

Dr. Arkeld was apparently arranging for the agents of destruction. Through Rex, they were later able to identify a possible group Arkeld was working for – Justice Action Network or JAN; a terrorist group fighting the Empire their own viscious and unscrupolous way.

Savill did what Nobles did best – dealt in money and resources.  They reviewed their time table, and finally said that this would be their last meeting until the event.

This was the evidence they needed to give to Berellion, and finally get Barnes Sandos out.  The end was near.

Or so they thought…

*****

Dripping wet, the hunting parties stood over the kill.  It was a valiant fight.  But now it was a battle of honor.  It started when both Brendaron’s party and Savill’s party stumbled across the same karstag, deep in a jungle lake.  The kill took place underwater, out of sight from everyone.  Savill claimed the kill, even though Brendaron was sure Jarnak killed it.  The judges were reviewing the killing blow, and the weapons used.  Meanwhile, the groups awaited the decision.

Either way, Savill had gained an enemy in Jarnak.  No one challenges his honor like that.

Brendaron was surprised at every who helped in the kill.  Even Rex, using his amphibious abilities, jumped in when Brendaron was in trouble.

But now the dispute was over who had killed the beast, and Savill was trying to use his clout to influence the judging.  “Who would believe a measly knight and a baron over a Melantha Lord…?”  he was heard saying.

Well, apparently a handful of hunt judges…  thought Brendaron, as the congratulations came to him.  They had ruled that Jarnak had made the kill on behalf of House Cadriaan and Baron Brendaron.

Savill stormed off, jilted after winning the Vor Cal hunt for so many years.  Brendaron was officially granted the winning trophy when all the hunting parties returned to the orbital hunting lodge.  Savill was not present.

****

Pyre roamed the halls of the lodge, fuming about missing the hunt.   He was called away to a nearby ship that had just arrived from Cadriaan space, from the Gree family.  Apparently, her father was not pleased with the arrangements.    He asked for a meeting with Pyre and demanded he sign the engagement annulment papers.  Much as he was pleased that Baroness Gree was out of his hair, he was losing a court and a entourage he could be proud of.

This whole ordeal forced him to miss the hunt, which his allies were not pleased about.  And when they found out that it was his Knight that had actually gotten the kill and not in his name, they were even less pleased.  He lost some “friends” in the process.

After getting the report from Remmy, he had one opportunity that he was willing to try.  The Moff chose to watch the hunt from the media room on the station, so Pyre decided to arrange for a meeting.  The Moff, displeased with being interupted during the hunt, arranged time when he visited the men’s room.

“Ma’lord, sir, I must warn  you of an impending danger to the Torpedo Sphere now docked at the Tallaan Shipyards.” Pyre said through the stall door.

“Danger?” He scoffed that the thought.  Arrogance and ignorance go in hand

“Yes, terrorists are plotting to destroy it and it looks as though they may succeed.  But if my allies can get help, we may be able to stop it.  I just need your help in this endeavor.  Call back some fleets from the pirate suppression action back to Tallaan and perhaps we can stop it.”

“How do I know you don’t work for the pirates?…”

“Sir, I assure you…”

“Bah, no one is so bold as to take out the Emperor’s mightiest weapon.” The stall door opened, and Pyre bowed, not looking at the Moff. “What you tell me is ludicrous.”

As the Moff proceeded to walk out, Pyre shook his head.  Damn… Imperials are that arrogant.  He looked over as the guards left the bathroom too.  Something caught his eye, on the Moff’s boot… a mark…. a rune….  a Mecrosa Rune…

He tried to stop the Moff but he was already gone.

*****

The post-hunt celebration was even more grand than the pre-hunt.   Brendaron was given a royal treatment.  Many of his allies arrived through out the day, to congradulate him.  Many were pleased that Melantha hadn’t won this year.   Jarnak too was treated well, although not recognized by his house.

The night ended with a surprise message from the Lady Bathos, High Lady of House Cadriaan. She granted Brendaron a promotion from Baron to Marquis.  The leap to such a high status was a shock, considering he skipped over being a Count or an Earl.   His family would be pleased, when they returned from Coruscant.

The next morning ended the hunt and the liner was leaving for Mrlsst right away.  Because Brendaron was called away by House Cadriaan, the others had to take the liner to Mrlsst.

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