The Caves of Ilum were some of the Jedi’s most sacred places and Wraith could not believe that he and Elara were trusted to be there.
After taking her to the Jedi Temple, Elara had met with Yoda and Wraith requested her to be part of his team. Yoda smiled, chuckled and said “made her choice, she already has”. Elara told Yoda that she can to act as a liaison between her Clan and the Jedi, hopefully creating a mutual alliance. Then they moved onto a long talk, where Wraith conveyed all he knew to the Grandmaster, vouching for the ways of the Singing Mountain Clan. Yoda was happy with the inner peace the two young ones before him seemed to find.
“Changed, both of you are,” he had said. “Reflected this change must be. To the Crystal Caves of Ilum you must go. Cultivate your soul, you will.”
And so the two were allowed inside the maze of crystals and light illuminated the kaleidoscope of colour within. They went their separate ways. Elara followed her senses and allowed the Force to guide her. She was led to a deep stalagmite and sensed a crystal, a small one, inside it. She coerced the ice and stone to give way and the stalagmite loosened and fell. She caught it with the Force and shredded away the casing. The crystal was plain and rough: like her, it was only a bud. She placed it deep in the soil beneath her and, just like a flower; she nourished it with her powers. But, this time, she gave the crystal her very essence, as if to create a double for her. Soon the crystal grew brighter and smoother and, when Elara extracted it and held it to the light, it shone a bright purple, almost lavender, like her eyes. Its colour mesmerized her: now she knew why Wraith had complemented her eyes as her most beautiful feature. She reached behind her and grabbed a Phrik cane. It was her own lightsaber; which she had created after Wraith had instructed her how. He had shown her a multitude of weapon handles but she told him that she preferred to use something she was familiar with. She was praised in her clan for her mastery over the halberd and thus chose a lightsaber pike design. Over the next three days she laboured over forging the polearm. She refused to use already available materials – “Phrik is well and good,” she told Wraith “but it is not suitable for spells. I want to make this weapon one with the Force. I am first and foremost, a Witch of Dathomir.” And so she forged a handle using traditional Phrik and Dathomir steel using the methods of her clan. Once finished, the staff could channel her powers as easily as her clan weapon, which she refused to take with her from her home world. She also made the handle collapsible, so that she could shorten its length by about half and kept it attached across her back by using a long magnetic strip.
For the lightsaber portion, she created a shoto – a short lightsaber. The lightsaber pike had a shorter plasma blade but thicker and she figured that a shoto attacked to her custom handle would do the truck. It took her nearly a day to put the two components together but soon she had one complete weapon. All that was left was the crystal.
She dismantled her weapon, revealing the innards of her polearm. The large battery cells and internal workings going from halfway through the handle till the end of the emitter matrix at the top. She placed the crystal a quarter for the emitter, sliding it in its chamber. She assembled it again and twirled the weapon around. She lit the crystal and a thick blade extended from the edge. Purple flooded the caves. Elara channelled her powers and felt the crystal respond. In fact, she felt the whole weapon as a part of her, like a limb that had always been there. With a satisfactory smile she switched off her weapon, collapsed the handle and stuck it to her back. She and Wraith promised to meet back at the ship once they had accomplished their mission.
Wraith was sent deeper in the Caves until he came at a clearing. There he sat in the dim glow of the surrounding crystals. He felt the need to communicate with his crystals. Extracting his weapons, he dismantled them and held the fours red crystals in his cupped hands. He closed his eyes and brought his hands to his face. Inspired by the Witches, he murmured a prayer of thanks to the crystals. He felt them resonate and channelled the Force through them. Subtly he felt the synthetic molecules of the crystals morph, evolving just like he did. He was no longer bound by the blood he shed but rather by intention and balance. Their deep crimson hue glowed and burned brighter and brighter. The colour changed to the ember red – the colour Wraith associated with flames. The deep crimson had become a burning ember colour and the crystals resembled tiny ambers surrounded by fire. It was a scene he once saw in a forge – he admired the metalworkers who held molten ore and shaped it to suit their needs. It reminded him of the Force. ‘No, not just the Force,’ he thought. ‘This is my destiny. I forge my own destiny.’ He assembled his weapons around the crystals, got up and activated his lightsabers. The colour of flames exploded, illuminating caves far beyond his reach and knowledge. It was as if Wraith held twin suns in his hands. These weapons were stronger, better. With these, and his knowledge of the Force, he could erase the Sith. He could bring balance and peace. He could become a two agent of the Force.
They met outside. Elara was already playing around with her weapons, eager to test it out. Wraith was about to show her his, when they bend a distress call coming from the ship.
“Wraith, Elara. Is anyone there?” A Jedi shape appeared from the holoprojector.
“Yes. What is it?” replied Wraith. The figure shimmered as it was replaced by another. Master Yoda appeared.
“Under siege the Temple is. Attacking, Dooku’s forces are. Protect the front entrance Master Windu and I can. Rely on you I must. The back entrance, and the Academy, you must defend.”
Wraith nodded. “You can trust me, Master Yoda. Not one of these kids will be harmed. You have my word.”
Yoda nodded and disappeared. The communication link had terminated.
“This is our chance to prove our loyalty,” said Wraith. Elara placed her hand gently on his shoulder.
“And we will do it together.”
Their ship flew rapidly over legions of droids and smoke coming from the Temple. Wraith felt his old anger building up and sought to channel it into determination. They descended inside the Temple courtyard. Droids surrounded the ship and a small squad of clones provided cover fire. With a nod to each other, Wraith and Elara burst from the ship and found themselves at the heart of the droid battalion.
She yelled and spread her hands. A scythe of wind, highly pressurized, sliced through the droids. Wraith unleashed a Force wave sending droids flying. Even the ship inched backwards.
Red lightning arced from his hands to the droids as he yelled “go, go, go” to Elara. Together they crossed the courtyard, blasting droids as the clone squad provided cover fire. Before they could take shelter, Wraith levitated a boulder and electrified it. When he hurled it towards a large battle droid, it exploded, disintegrating nearby droids. Elara cupped her hands, murmured a spell and a compressed ball of light formed in her hands.
“Here, toss this,” she told Wraith as she threw it at him. Wraith recognized the spell and caught it with the Force, careful not to touch it and set it off. He was facing Elara and shot her spell over his shoulder using a small Force blast. The globe of light was sent in the droids’ midst and exploded, disintegrating every droid there. It even blew up their ship’s wing.
Wraith gripped the ceiling telekinetically and brought down giant boulders, effectively blocking the entrance.
“More will be coming,” he told the clone leader.
The latter saluted. “Thank you for saving our behinds there. Generals Wraith and Elara I presume.”
Wraith and Elara looked at each other and burst out laughing.
“Is there a problem Sir?”
Wraith held up his hands. “Ah nothing. It’s just funny: a former Sith and a Dathmirian Witch being called Generals. I just never thought I’d see it happen.”
They straightened up. “Yeah we are Wraith and Elara,” said Elara. “Who’s in charge here?”
The Captain stood at attention. “Captain Maze, in command of the thirteenth battalion, Ma’am.”
Another clone strode out. This one wore all black like his unit and had a yellow shoulder pauldron and yellow markings on his armour. He walked with the casualty of a man who has been through some major fights. “Commander Talon and these are my men; the hundredth and tenth Commando Unit.” He saluted. “Your orders Generals?”
Wraith glanced at the barricade and at the wide corridor they were in.
“They’ll bring diggers out soon,” said Wraith. He raised his voice. “To all clone units. This is your first order: Suit up.”