A RolePlay Log by
Jan 10, 2009
Jedi Temple, Ord Mantell
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It's been several months since the Battle of Trandosha, and much has changed. The Jedi Order has seen a surge of new students training at the Jedi Temple on Ord Mantell, and Jessalyn Valios has spent most of her pregnancy helping Luke Skywalker initiate a new crop of Padawan learners. Paul Nighman has begun work with the local university as well as the Jedi Archives, and Barrien Thrask prepares for his impending marriage to A'estshy. In the midst of this otherwise peaceful scene, the Emperor has decided to make an appearance...
The work isn't the most exciting, but it has been time consuming and engrossing. Between ofering his expertise to the Jedi Archives and the rest to the University of New Alderaan's historical department to example and codify a rescent shipment of a massive artifacts donation, Paul Nighman has been very busy. Which is good. He definitely has been dealing better with all of the changes in his life with work at hand to be done. And as he walks through the gates of the Jedi Temple he heads toward the greatest change to come. His expression is introspective, somewhat troubled, as he winds his way through the grounds, heading toward the gardens where he suspects he will find Jessalyn working. Despite the fact that she's only a month away from giving birth to their child, the woman is still determined to coax new life out of her garden on a nearly daily basis when her duties will allow. As she comes into sight, Paul brings a smile to his lips, deliberately banishing the hints of worry on his expression.
Since getting up and down is such a chore, Jessalyn has to content herself with trimming the upper branches of the rose bushes and leaving the rest for a young Initiate who shares her love of flowers. The sun is bright and warm, shining off her copper hair and adding color to a few faded freckles on her cheeks. A pair of thick gloves cover her hands while she snips here and there, and occasionally picks a favorite bloom from the bunch for a bouquet. It's hot, and it's more than a little tiring after a long day, but least it gets her mind off things, too. She wipes sweat from her brow and glances over as she sees Paul approaching from the corner of her eye. "Hey!" she calls out with a grin, turning slowly to wave and pretending she doesn't notice the worry he so carefully tries to hide.
-- In the last few months Thrask had made fequent visits to the Jedi temple, and of course in the time there he had found out about Jessalyn's pregnancy. He and A'estshy had also taken time away from the affairs of the Maffi so that they might relax and focus on planning their wedding. Walking into the garden the quarren is not that much father behind Paul. His black eyes scanning the two with a smile before he comes close. "Greeting Jessa, and to you as well Doctor Nighman." Thrask says in his typical deep and scratchy voice. His expression warm and inviting. "How are you both feeling?" The quarren asks.
Up within one of the Jedi Temple's multiple towers, Luke Skywalker is busy in a training session with a group of pre-teen students. Training lightsabers are held aloft, hovering just inches from the hands of those 'wielding' them.
"Yes, very good," says Luke, who watches over the children with a hawklike gaze. His hair has grown longer over the past six months, now draped down over his eyes and ears in a fashionably-messy way. "Tokeena, mind your stance and don't lock your knees. /Feel/ the Force, don't let your mind wander." He glances toward the boy standing beside her, noticing the slight grin on his face. A quick glimmer of intuition touches Luke's face, and he starts down the rows of students toward the boy. "Perhaps if young Liam here was not trying to impress you with his newly found telepathic abilities, you might be able to focus better, Tokeena." He pauses, looking between the students with a frown. "Nevertheless, you must focus. Distractions will /always/ be in your path." Then, with a simple gesture of his hand, Liam's telepathic mind gets a little quiet scolding of its own.
Time and space are irrelevant to "him". Across the great void he travels, although technically he has not left the isolation of his chambers in the Imperial Palace. Projecting himself, the Emperor, as others call him (he does not degrade himeslf with such petty, mortal terms), seeks out across the sea of darkness for his target - he senses the trillions upon trillions of inhabitants, each miniscule lifeform barely registering in his mind. No, his targets will stand out amongst the rest - shining brightly in the darkness. The Jedi.
Over Ord Mantell, the capital of the Republic and home of the Jedi, the sky visibly darkens, almost instantly - a fast, sudden storm moving in, perhaps? Thick, dark clouds move in and cover the once bright sun. Non-Force sensitive people - the mindless masses of Ord Mantell - will begin to feel a bit uneasy. A sense of despair. Evil is here, and he wants to play. He smiles as he looks down upon the Jedi Temple, invisible to the naked eye, picking out each life form in the Temple's confines. What fun he will have.
Drawing close to Jessalyn, Paul wraps a supportive arm about her back, his hand resting gently against the side of her distended belly as he busses a tender kiss to her cheek. "Hey beautiful," he greets softly, his gaze warm. Though it's taken some time for the Corellian to cotton to the idea of having a child with her, he has yet to run screaming to the hills ... or to some job on a distant planet during her pregnancy. Of course, the reality is more present now but not fully here in the form of a crying, squalling baby and diapers that need to be changed. But he's determined to stay by her side. His head turns slightly in surprise as he did not realize that the Quarren was so close behind him and Paul shakes his head in amusement at the title proffered after all this time. "Hello Thrask, we're both well as far as I know, though of course with Jessa these things shift not day by day, but hour by hour." He leans over and conspiratorialy notes, "Apparently being a Jedi does /not/ give one leave from the usually 'quirks' of temperment that pregnant women are so well known for ...." And then he braces for the punch he's sure Jessalyn will give him for that one.
Tugging on the fingers of her gloves, Jessalyn removes them as Paul comes over to greet her, and she leans gratefully into his side for a moment. "How's work?" she asks, tipping back her head to smile up into the Corellian's eyes until the sound of Thrask's voice makes her glance around and then smirk at Paul's teasing. She swats at his arm with the gloves and narrows her eyes. "You don't want to put me in a bad mood, do you?" she points out, folding her arms across her belly and glaring playfully. "Hello, Thrask, I'm fine. How are you and your beautiful bride?" The pleasant banter is interrupted rudely by the rolling clouds and a strange sense of dread that makes no sense to her at first. Jessalyn looks up at the sky and shivers, seeking out the thoughts of the other Jedi as she tries to figure out what's going on.
-- The quarren chuckles a bit at Pauls comments, the sounds much like a straggled gurgle come from his species. He looks between them with a warm smile, seeming to appreciate the connection the two have. "So I have heard." He replies to the doctor as he then looks back to Jessa and nods. "She is very well, we are both... excited. It's been a nice departure from the normal mess we seem to find ourselves in, planning a wedding." Thrask seems to look off a moment, thinking about the wedding or something else pleasant before he comes back. "We had said a while back that we should all have dinner some time, I was wondering if the two of you are free tomorrow evening?" Also his eyes turn up to the sky, more because of Jessalyn's reaction than anything else. He can feel it, but it's vague. "What is that?" Asking almost in general to everyone.
Within the tower above, Luke is the first to know that something is amiss. His eyes turn slowly to watch as the sky darkens, and the chill runs down his spine when he senses the presence of a great evil. His voice rises with confidence and warning. "Students, deactivate your lightsabers."
The warning is a bit too late for some, who lose their composure upon the pervasive chill that runs through them and drop their lightsabers. There is some sparking and smoke as the weaker training blades strike the floor and automatically deactivate, along with some yelps as a few of the children burn themselves on the blades. "Everyone, collect your belongings and go to the turbolifts!" He starts toward the window, making sure he's between the edge of the tower and the mass of evacuating children.... just in case.
Through the halls of the Jedi Temple he proceeds. His presence alone begins sucking the life and energy out of the Temple - the air thickens, the temparture rises, and the aura of uneasiness expands throughout the Temple. He arrives at the gardens, watching the Jedi as he "hovers" above them. Jessalyn Valios and her two insignificant friends. But.. there's something more. A fourth presence? He concentrates more deeply, detecting the fourth life emanating from Valios herself... a child. A wicked smile forms, and his eyes settle upon Paul Nighman. 'So she has taken upon another lover...' His plans have changed. He focuses upon Paul now now, peering into his mind and soul. 'Paul Nighman...' he whispers into his mind, 'you are mine.'
But any good plan can still be foiled. Luke Skywalker, the greatest beacon of light. He will have to deal with Skywalker appropiately, while he plays with Valios. As the great Jedi Master begins evacuating the padawans from the tower, he will feel a strong, very familiar presence appear in the tower. 'Luke... come to me.' Is a voice that Luke will know very well.
"I'll let Jessa decide that, but dinner is always nice. It's been ages since I've seen Shy ....." but his voice trails off uncertainly. Paul notices the shift a touch later than the others, his eyes narrowing as he registers Jessalyn's discomfort first, then senses it for himself. His arm curls about her more closely, protectively as sounds of concern and distress increase all around them. His head turns this way and that but then suddenly Paul stiffen, his heart suddenly racing as a cold sweat rises to his skin instantaneously. Malign beat him, tortured him, filled him with a cold sense of dread and fear, but this is something more, something inescapable. Despite everything, he resisted, but this makes what he went through on Trandosha seem like a pleasant picnic. He shivers violently and turns his head this way and that more frantically, looking for the threat that feels like it's invading his very bones.
With the last of the students inside the turbolift, Luke is about to enter behind them. But then he hears the voice of his father, and utter confusion takes him. His father, redeemed from the evil of the dark side, was in the other realm of the Force, where he'd found eternal life. There were times, many times, where he'd even found commune with the manifested, ethereal form of his father.
Luke's no fool. He knows that the only presence powerful enough to infest the Temple like this would be that of the Emperor. But why would his father be here? Finding the thickness too overwhelming to think clearly, Luke elects to reach for his comlink. "Kai, it's Luke. Gather the students in the sublevels." He pulls the comlink away and gives the children a touch of encouragement. "Follow the lift to sublevel four. Do not fear! Fear is of the dark side, remember." Then he pushes a button, sending them off.
Luke watches for a moment as the turbolifts start to decline into the tower's shaft, then turns and starts prowling toward the voice that had called for him. "Father?" he calls out, his eyes narrowed. "Father, is that you?"
The cries of alarm rising around them only add to the sense of panic that takes hold of the city of New Alderaan. Jessalyn glances between Thrask and Paul as the sky turns black and the air grows heavy and dead around them. She concentrates on opening herself to the Force for a measure of calm and direction, comforted momentarily by Paul's arm tightening around her. But as he stiffens and reacts to something she can't see and can only vaguely sense, Jessa gasps and takes him by the arm. "Paul?" she asks worriedly. Her senses seem clouded, like a veil has fallen over them, and so she concentrates on her connection to him instead, sensing his emotions and then drawing back, stricken by whatever is happening. "Thrask, go find Luke," she whispers, glancing over at him, her voice growing rough and higher in volume. "Please."
-- Thrask does not wait for an explination, but instead is the very model of a soldier in the way that he moves off. His obsidian eyes looking about as he searches for the Jedi master. Head turning up from time to time to regard the storm with anger and frustration. He moves deeper into the temple, calling the turbolift and waiting for it as he figures the master might be located. The lift opens and the quarren steps in, out of site, left to wait and ponder the sickening feeling in his gut. When the door finally open the quarren catches site of a Zabrek Master he had once been introduced to. "Master Kai!" He calls out, picking up a bit of speed to reach the master. "Have you seen or spoken to Master Skywalker? Jess... Master Velios is looking for him." The quarren explains in a hurried tone. Looking over the children as well as they enter the lift behind him.
The Emperor encloses on Paul fully now, wrapping his essence around the man, invading his mind. It is not difficult. The mental defenses of lesser beings - especially those who do not wield the Force on any great level - are easy to break, at least for a being such as himself. Within the good Doctor's mind the Emperor takes his time absorbing all the knowledge he can - he pulls up the Doctor's past, his life experiences, his joys, his fears. Nothing is a secret to the Emperor. 'You've lived quite the adventerous life, Doctor. You are intelligent, as far as humans go. You love this Jedi, but you are afraid, aren't you? Afraid of committment? Afraid of being a bad father? Afraid of raising a future Jedi? Wouldn't you wish to be lifted of such a burden, Doctor? To be free of the shackles that have been imposed upon you? It's not fair, afterall, for you to forfeit your life for a baby you did not want. Liberate yourself, Doctor Nighman.' He watches as the Quarren departs at Valios' request... even better. Now no one will interfere. Delighted, the Emperor digs deeper into Paul's heart and soul. 'Kill her, Doctor. Free yourself. It is the only way.'
As Thrask rushes to search for Luke, the Emperor is at work with his other objective: keeping Luke away. Standing in the center of the training room, dressed in his traditional Jedi garb, is the older form of Anakin Skywalker, a bright smile on his face. 'Luke. There is a great disturbance in the Force...' He begins probing Luke, though he does not dare to fully assault the Jedi; even he can't fully shatter the defenses of a full Master such as Skywalker, but Luke can clearly sense the evil that has filled the tower, and the gentle nudges with the Force.
He jerks away from Jessalyn in perhaps an attempt to protect her? Paul moves quickly, his hands lifting to cover his ears as if that somehow could make the voice inside of his head go away, his eyes closing as concentrates, trying to push the being that has invaded his mind out somehow. But he is a mere human, with no ability to use the Force, and as such he is like a doll to The Emperor, to use and manipulate as he wishes. "Shut up!" he barks angrily at the voice inside his head, his voice speaking aloud. "Shut up, shut up SHUT UP!!" His eyes open as Paul looks at Jessalyn, but that last suggestion is easy to resist. Despite any doubts that he might have, Jessalyn has always been and always will be precious to him. "Never!!"
If it was Malign, Jessalyn is sure she would have discovered him by now, familiar with the particular stench of his aura and touch. Neither is this anything like the other Sith and Dark Jedi she's already encountered. She can only think of one being with that kind of ability, able to cloak his very presence and invade the Temple itself -- and apparently Paul Nighman's mind. She shrinks back as Paul begins to shout at the voice in his head, color draining from her face. She finds a tall, slender tree trunk to lean against and watches him warily, before she summons up the will to do what she now realizes has to be done. "Don't listen to him," she says, though she's fairly certain Paul won't register what she's saying in the midst of his torment. She closes her fierce green eyes and very carefully builds up her own power, summoning the Force and then extending herself into Paul's mind to find the culprit and confront him for herself. "Afraid to face me directly, so you take over someone else's mind? Of course who can expect a Sith to play fair, after all. You might think I'm afraid of you after all you've done, but you're wrong. Show yourself!" she demands, the words spoken softly from her lips but loudly through the Force permeating Paul's mind
Ver-Tak Kai is busy ushering a younger group of initiates into one of the temple's many turbolifts. He looks over at Thrask briefly, then points up. "Yes, he's in the central tower, level six." The Zabrak is quickly distracted by the easily frightened younglings, and goes back to ushering them into the lift at once.
Meanwhile, Luke turns 'round only to find his father standing there, and speaking to him through the Force. "Yes, I sense it." He takes a couple of cautious steps forward, saying, "It can't be Malign... is it the Emperor? Is he here?" Then, he comes to a halt, a frown enveloping his face. His hand comes up as if to shield him when he senses the probing nudges at his soul. His eyes peer at Anakin, doubt giving him pause.
-- With a quick nod in thanks the quarren is once again in the turbolift. Heading up to the central tower, level six. When the doors slide open again he steps out to see Luke talking to someone. The sight is a bit confusing, but Thrask has learned that such things were rather common when dealing with those in tune with the force. "Master Skywalker." Thrask calls out to the man, looking down at him as he steps forward to his side. "Master Velios is in need of you in the garden. Not that I need to say, I am sure, but something is wrong and it may best if we were all together for it." In his gut he can still feel something wrong, but it doesn't seem to be afffecting Thrask much. That or the quarren is just ignoring the feeling. "Come with me?" He then asks with a confused look at the master, his feet already bringing the quarren back to the turbolift.
'Don't fool yourself, Doctor. You yearn for freedom. You did not ask for this. She is trapping you. -Kill- her! Free yourself of this burden! You don't want it.' The Emperor's words intensify, angrily barking his commands. But this one has proven to be stronger than he initially realized... most humans are not this strong to resist. Perhaps... he stops for a moment to delve further into Paul's soul, searching for his answer. And he finds it. The faintest glimmer of it... Paul himself is a Force-sensitive. This would not be so easy, after all. At that moment, a second visitor arrives inside Paul's mind... another intruder. Snarling, the Emperor lashes out against Jessalyn, a shockwave through the Force. 'I am no Sith, Jedi Valios. Do not compare me to such lowly peons. You are not welcomed here... Doctor Nighman is now mine."
"Anakin" smiles to Luke as Thrask bursts onto the scene. The smile quickly turns into a scowl, however, and in an instant the form of Anakin is leaping through the air, with a lightsaber ignited, bearing down on Luke. He did not wish to devolve into such matters, but he required more time to work on dominating Paul. Thus, Luke would have to be occupied for some time... and these Jedi did enjoy their little lightsaber toys.
The Corellian's mind has become a battlefield with three warriors struggling for dominance. Of the three, the owner of said mind is the weakest and yet he is not swayed by the Sith's power of suggestion. No matter how much he might fear fatherhood, or be unready to make the commitment of marriage, of parenthood, his longing for freedom, for a life of simple choices will never be greater than his affection for Jessalyn. He can't even hurt her by leaving .... how could he ever so much as raise a hand to her? As Jessalyn enters his mind, Paul cringes, retreating into himself as Sith and Jedi yell at each other, battling for him within his own thoughts. He drops to the ground, on his hands and knees, head hung low as he whimpers, the shockwave thrown at Jessalyn of course running its course through his brain. "I ... am .... no one's ..... I belong to me ...."
With surprising swiftness, Jessalyn shields herself from the shockwave, putting up a barrier to take the brunt of the impact. Still, it's enough to make her stagger mentally and it takes her a second to recover. "He only belongs to himself... Emperor," the Jedi says, her voice oddly neutral to veil her own fears. She hates doing this, invading Paul's mind, but his very soul is at stake and he's powerless to defend himself from this kind of monstrosity. She's not even sure she has the strength to do it. Jessa spares a moment to send a feeling of comfort and reassurance to Paul, wishing she could offer more but forced to focus on the Emperor instead. "If you want him, you'll have to go through me first." Jessalyn lifts her hands and takes a deep breath, calling on the binding energy of the Force to rise and meet in an impenetrable arch of energy. She weaves this structure together with love and need and everything she knows about the Force, drawing strength from her emotions for those she loves, pressing back against the Emperor's tenacious hatred. "Get out," she commands simply, drawing on more power than she's dared to use in months but unable to consider the consequences in the moment.
Luke turns around to acknowledge Thrask, but his instincts tell him about the sudden betrayal coming his way, moments before the sound of a lightsaber ignites. He pivots about, his eyes wide. "NO!" he cries, and reaches for his own weapon. His green blade meets... is that red?? ... in the air above his head as he kneels, forcing this doppleganger of Anakin Skywalker over his head. "Thrask! Take cover!" Then, Skywalker turns, narrows his eyes, and draws the Force into his mind body and soul. The lightsaber humms as he twirls it in his hand, then comes upon Anakin with power and authority in his poise.
Bringing his attack with intensity, Luke makes every effort to keep Anakin between himself and the tower's outer walls. He doesn't speak, because this is not his father. Instead, with the ferocious swings of a well-trained warrior, he drives the doppleganger of his dead father toward the transparisteel walls of the tower.
-- Taking cover is what people do who are under fire, not those that are watching friends be attacked. Thrask's eyes widen slightly as a ghostly figure seems to materialize from the shadows, his feet already propelling him forward as his hand grasps the hilt of his sword and slides it free. A glimmer of light hits the keen and ancient blade as the two lightsabers meet, brought up and primed to strike. Crying out in fury his body leans out as his arm drops an swings out, cutting at the phantoms midsection for all the good it will do. Thrask presses from the other side, seeming to grasp what Luke is trying to do and assist him. Driving the glowing figure against the walls of the tower.
Even the Emperor's powers aren't limitless. The cost of battling for Paul's mind and keeping Luke at bay does weaken him. He is unable to bring his full game to bear on Valios. As such he feels his grip on Paul's mind loosening. The human is strong - he refuses to relent, refuses to cave in to his great power. And with Jessalyn bringing her own power to bear... snarling, the Emperor feels the pressure of Jessalyn's counter-attack, her force of will and love of Paul keeping him at bay. He feels himself being cornered, pushed further and further back as Jessalyng redoubles her efforts, adding her own great power to Paul's own internal defenses and strength of will. A great and terrible scream pierces through the gardens. The Emperor is repulsed from Paul's mind and is sent reeling back into the gardens, manifesting in his normal form. He stands in the grass - which promptly begins to wither away, his pure darkness eating away at the life - and stares at Valios, a scowl of discontempt for the Jedi.
Elsewhere, in the tower, the doppelganger continues its fight with Luke - and now Thrask. He had not anticipated a two-on-one fight, although his second opponent was a mere Quarren with no Force aptitude. But he could not spare a moment of energy to focus on the Quarren. One slip is all it would take for Luke to close in and finish the doppelganger. He parries a swipe by Luke, the two blades locking, but is forced to push himself backwards to avoid a slice from the blade of Thrask. Finding himself being pushed backwards, he makes a lunge at Luke's mid-section, driving the blade forward.
Curling up upon himself Paul can't help but whimper again as the Emperor is ripped and forced out of his mind. If he had really wanted to, the Emperor could have forced Paul to do his bidding rather than try to coerce him. But the aftermath has left the Corellian trembling with exhaustion and residual fear, unable to focus on the now physical manifestation of the Emperor that now faces Jessalyn.
As the Emperor is finally forced out of Paul's mind, Jessalyn sags wearily, her spine sliding down the trunk of the tree upon which she was leaning. But she catches herself before she falls and blinks her eyes open, seeing Paul crumpled on the ground and this stranger, this masked being standing in the garden before her. Despite growing weak herself, she doesn't let the threads of her weaving come apart just yet, willing them to stay in place and shielding herself and Paul from any more such mental attacks. Still, her Jedi patience has worn a bit thin, and she sends out an alert of her own through the Force, trying to find Skywalker and conveying the urgency of her situation. She doubts the Emperor will have any qualms about harming or even destroying her unborn child if she can't keep this shield up long enough. Her fingers wrap around the lightsaber that's hidden in the folds of her cloak, ready to bring it to bear though she's not about to attack this adversary. "Your powers are weakening," she deduces, frowning at him and moving so that she can put herself physically between the Emperor and Paul, as well. "You can't take on every Jedi here. You're not a fool. Get out of here, and don't even think of trying this again." Jessa tries to sound more confident and stronger than she actually feels, but the Force fairly glows about her and her skin tingles with her own power as she faces him down fiercely.
Windows can be replaced. Souls cannot.
Luke dodges the thrusting kill strike, gasping as the heat of Anakin's blade singes his clothing. He brings up a boot and kicks the doppleganger in the face, then thrusts his hand out and sends a shock through the Force, shattering the wall of glass. He then commences with his drive, pushing the doppleganger to the brink of the tower's edge.
Finally, he brings about a strong strike, forcing Anakin's hand back. And then, almost like a shockball player, he throws himself at the puppet, and carries it over the edge of the tower with him!
-- The twisting melee continues even as the phantom swiftly turns away from Thrask's attack. The quarren is just as swift with his weapon, turning and planting his back foot before driving the point of his sword toward the shifting ghosts chest. Unlike the others Thrask's mind is like a steel trap, trained and used to this sort of situation. Even with something so strange as a ghost fighting a jedi master in the central tower, the quarren barely seems to flinch. His face impassive as he reposes and lashes out again at the things legs. Trying to work with Luke to push it back. Flashes of silver beam off the keen edge of the blade as it cuts through the air with a high whistle, the massive aliens putting all his strength behind the attack. Seeming to trust that if the spirit lashes out at him, that Luke will cut it down before the strike can land. Then... the window burst and in a blurr Luke is flying out the window with the phantom. He freezes in place, unable to do more than watch helplessly.
The Emperor spares no words for Jessalyn. He ignores her threats and gets to work. With the grass beneath him withering away, the plague of death spreading throughout the garden, the Emperor raises his hands at the Jedi. Snarling, lightning begins shooting out from his finger tips, the torrent of dark energy swirling out towards the Jedi. "You and your child will die!" he barks, intensifying his attack on the Jedi.
Anakin is taken by surprise - there's nothing he can do to halt the attack. Between Thrask's attacks and Luke's mastery of the lightsaber, he is thrown out the window and to the garden below - with Luke on him all the way. But the doppelganger refuses to relent. As they plummet to the ground below, he reaches out with the Force and touches Thrask... the Quarren still in the tower. He wraps his mind around the Quarren and "pulls" - and out the window he goes, following the two. He hopes to split Luke's attention to save the Quarren to allow himself some reprieve from his attacks.
His eyes flicker open, words around him buzzing as Paul concentrates on focusing on the ground in front of his nose, staring at the blades of grass and stones till they stop wavering. But one thing penetrates his mind, and that is the Emperor's threatening words toward Jessalyn. Tremblingly Paul gathers his legs beneath himself and lunges foward with a rough bark of "No!" escaping him throwing himself between the Emperor and Jessalyn to at the very least be a distraction, hopefully block the attack and give Jessa a chance to get away safely and protect the baby? There is no thought here, just instinct and gut reaction.
Groaning with the effort of keeping up the weaving, Jessalyn senses the Emperor's imminent attack and lets it unravel, knowing she can't sustain it. As blue-white lightning, a manifestation of the Dark Side itself, lances toward them, there's no time to do much more than pull her saber free and ignite it in an effort to ground the lightning. It crackles in the air around them, her blue-green blade humming a deadly note as the energy is absorbed through it. Jessa gasps out in protest as Paul lunges in front of her as he finds his strength, and her heart sinks in her chest. "Paul!" She cries out his name, hoping that she can keep the Emperor's attention. Unaware of what is going on above, Jessalyn simply holds her ground for a long moment, hoping for re-enforcements, before she finally thrusts out a hand, palm up, shoving a wall of tremendous energy toward the Emperor.
That'll be enough of that. While plummeting through the air, Luke brings his lightsaber across Anakin's neck. He grinds his teeth and draws the blade across, separating the doppleganger's head from its torso. Then, the Jedi Master tucks his body into a ball and sprawls himself out, calling the Force to imbue and lighten his body. The dead body falls away below, and Luke soars through the air until he intercepts Thrask.
Using the Force, Luke slows their fall and lands safely on the grond.
-- Thrask is unable to halt or even respond before his body is ripped from the window, his limps bending under him and his body falling forward and down. The wind sweeps against his face and panic sets in a bit before the Jedi master has him, and the two float harmlessly to the ground below. The quarren seems a bit stunned for a while, looking up at the tower with an expression of awe and disbelief. "Thank you..." He tells luke as he turns to face the man. Looking the master over before he tells the man once again. "Master Valios is probably in need of our help. She was in the garden last I saw her." Thrask explains as he begins to move in that direction.
'Oh, how heroic... and stupid.' The Emperor smiles wickedly as Paul jumps in front of his attack. The lightning courses through Paul's body, causing immense, dreadful pain. He purposefully lowers the intensity of the attack - a full-blown Force lightning would kill him instantly. No, no, he wants Paul to -suffer-. Anything less would be a shame. And how wonderful that Jessalyn can watch. A wicked cackle escapes as he watches Paul suffer in agony, varying the "voltage" to increase the man's suffering. But Jessalyn's interference once again distrupts his plans - the energy shoves the Emperor back, causing the lightning attack to temporarily cease. Regaining his footing, the Emperor prepares another attack - his fingers rise and he readies himself, the energy forming at the tip of his fingers. But he's halted by the sudden arrival of a head which lands at his feet - the doppelganger, which soon disappears completely as if it were never there. He watches as Luke arrives with a grand landing, bringing the Quarren to safety with him. He's outnumbered and has exhausted much of his energy. A doppelganger can only do so much from across the galaxy. But he finds some respite as he looks upon Paul's body on the floor, a victim of a terrible blast of dark side energy.
The Emperor bows his head towards Jessalyn. "Well fought, Jedi. You have entertained me. Your loved one is much stronger than I realized. Humans are funny creatures. He threw himself without regard for his own being, and now look at him... Till next time, my dear friends." With one final stroke, the manifestation of the Emperor "explodes" - a wave of energy streaks out through the room, hitting anyone standing and sending them reeling back with a strong force. The windows on the level shatter with the impact. Once it clears, the manifestation of the Emperor is gone. The darkness in the sky begins to clear, and the sun comes back out - shining brightly than before, its beams of ray casting down upon the gardens. But where the manifestation had been standing is now black - the green grass and plant life no longer there.
Would he have leapt forward if he had known how much it was going to hurt? Probably. But he wouldn't have been happy about it. As the lightening strikes him Paul screams and collapses, some of the power surging through him, some of it past him and into the ground that Jessalyn's lightsaber provides. But now that the Emperor has chosen /him/ as the intended victim, it does exactly what the Corellian hoped it would do - provides a temporary distraction. Without wishing to please the Dark Lord, Paul performs as desired, screaming and writhing as the bolts of electrical power course through his body till Jessalyn pushes back with the Force and brings the attack to an end. He sags, trembling, his clothes smoking slightly as the Corellian lies there almost unconscious, his nervous system as fried by the experience as his body. At least when the Emperor takes his leave Paul is already on the ground, his body rocked only slightly by the explosion of energy before rocking back again and going still.
A sob catches in Jessalyn's throat as she watches Paul lurch forward only to be consumed by the horrible arcs of energy shooting from the Emperor's fingertips, and tears run cold down her face. She struggles to control her rage and fear, stepping toward her enemy with her lightsaber still ignited, pushing back on the lightning, but when the head of the doppleganger comes falling into the space between them, she falters and stares at the blank mask covering what should have been the Emperor's face. Her words of defiance are never spoken as suddenly another wave of energy heralds the Emperor's explosive disappearance. Unprepared this time, Jessalyn drops her saber as she's hit, twisting and falling to the ground in a heap. With a helpless whimper, she looks toward Paul where he's fallen and then curls in on herself as a surge of pain courses ominously through her body.
-- Thrask is attempting to leap forward before the blast from the exploding Emperor sends him flying through the air into a nearby tree trunk. A cry of pain accompanies his impact, eyes shutting in pain for only a moment before he opens them again and surveys the scene in disarray. Trying to pull himself to his feet. "Jessa?" He calls out, his voice filled with worry about the woman and her unborn child.
There's pain, so much pain, his whole body still stinging and burning in the aftermath. But despite that he can't help but hear Thrask's worried voice. Paul rolls with a groan and opens his eyes, espying Jessa down on the ground, a low cry escaping his throat. Paul tries to move, to get close to Jessalyn, but that is apparently more than his body can manage, pain arching through him as he makes the effort, his vision going sharply white as he rasps Jessalyn's name, and then abruptly black as he passes out.
Amid the charred ruin of her garden, both Jessalyn and Paul are on the ground, the latter apparently unconscious. But Jessalyn has managed to roll onto her side, both hands cradled protectively around her belly, and she groans as she struggles to move, to get up, without any success. She sees figures not far off, those of Thrask and Luke, and when she's certain that the Emperor has disappeared for good, she lifts her head slightly and tries to ignore how much pain she's in, knowing she has to move or get up somehow. Weakly, the Jedi Witch edges closer to Paul's prone figure, seeing the burns and the smoke wafting up from him, and she closes her eyes in anguish.
-- "Call the healers!" Thrask shouts toward the few people now coming out of the temple curiously. He runs to Jessalyn's side and kneels beside her, trying to check to the woman for any serious injury. "Are you alright Jessa? Are you seriously hurt?" He looks over at Paul and see's the man laying there out cold. Shouting again he looks back at the temple. "CALL THE HEALERS NOW!" Ordering bellowed with a deep and furious voice.