Following the kid in that temple had seemed like a good idea at first. Of course, as it often was the case, the keyword there was ‘at first’. They were several meters under the surface now, yet she could hear the storm raging above her head, the ghostly sound of wind whistling inside the cave. As if being stranded in the middle of Rebel territory wasn’t risky enough, they were now groping their way through the crumbling maze of its underground galleries, lit only by Vader’s lightsaber and the eerie light of Beetee’s eye – and, truth be told, she was enjoying every second of it. Of course, Aphra was the only one groping, since the droids’ sensors didn’t require much light to function and Vader… well, she didn’t quite know how he got by. Perhaps he was using the Force, or perhaps his helmet had some kind of low-threshold sensors as well. Either way, the dark didn’t seem to bother him.
Aphra took her hand off the wall and followed the red glow, picking up the pace in an attempt to keep up with Vader, and nearly tripped over as she stubbed her foot against what felt like stone rubble.
“Kriffing stones…” she grumbled, trying – and failing – to kick the stone aside.
“That, Doctor, was my foot.”
“Oh… uh… I’m sorry. It’s really dark in here. Did I hurt you?”
“No,” came his grouchy reply.
“Cool. Let’s… pretend I didn’t do that.” She paused for a second before she spoke again. “Hey, you know what I was thinking? This place gives me goosebumps. I love it. It’s like we’re about to meet a ghost or something.”
Ironic that she’d say that, Vader thought, trying to ignore the voices ringing in his head.
“We most definitely have,” he agreed.
“Wow! Really? Are they pissed?” He could nearly sense her eyes rounding with disbelief as she stopped in her tracks.
“Probably,” he answered laconically, gesturing for her to keep walking – even if he doubted she could actually see his hand moving.
“Hm… okay? That… doesn’t seem to concern you?”
“What I’m concerned about is finding the boy. I know he’s still in here.”
“Uh, if you say so… Where are we going exactly?”
“To the archives,” he said as they took a left turn, entering a wider gallery. If the boy was looking for holocrons, as Vader assumed he was, it was the logical place to look first – not to mention the gut feeling that he was indeed getting closer.
Though he was not familiar with this particular temple, he was fairly certain they were on the right way. The voices grew louder with every step he took, reaching their full nuisance potential when he stopped before the massive door at the end of the corridor. His ears started buzzing as the voices surged up, clamoring and mingling in a cacophony of frantic whispers and pained screams, as if purposely trying to overwhelm his senses. Almost as if the ghosts were warning him away from something. Or someone. One voice in particular caught his attention. A voice he remembered far too well.
…The very thing you swore to destroy… I will do what I must… don’t try it!… you were the Chosen One!
Ah. Kenobi. Or at least what little was left of him. He was there too. And by the sound of it, he did not want Vader to go through that door. All the more reason to push forward. What could Obi-Wan do about it, anyway? Lecture him? Play on his guilt? Vader was not impressed so far. More powerful than I can possibly imagine. Is that so, old man?
Ignoring the admonitions of his former mentor, Vader grabbed the handle and pushed the door open, revealing a large, barrel-vaulted aisle, lined with several rows of stone shelves, filled with glowing cubes and cones, with a depleted datapad here and there.
Aphra peeked inside the room and decided that it was safe to follow him inside, taking slow, unusually careful steps down the main aisle. It wasn’t long before Vader froze on the spot and she could only assume that he, too, had caught sight of the shadow browsing through the shelves. The silhouette, she suspected, was that of the boy they had been looking for. Yet, she didn’t manage to catch a better glimpse, for the shadow started and made a dash for the door, causing several artifacts to shatter on ground. Before either of them got a chance to catch up, an intense silver flash flared up before her eyes. There was no sound. No blast. Just the thud of her back slamming against the floor as her body was tossed next to Vader’s black mass. Then a complete blackout.
Without opening her eyes, Aphra stirred a little and realized that she was still lying on the hard ground. Judging by the overall soreness of her body, the impact had been brutal. How long she had been out was a mystery, yet she wondered if she had received some kind of first aid, for, if she was to be honest, she smelled like a blasted medcenter. She didn’t know if Vader had been knocked out as well, but she noticed that his breathing was loud – louder than ever – which meant he must have been close, and yet she didn’t feel the usual ebb and flow of his respirator.
“Urgh… I feel like sh*t” she groaned, failing to rub her closed eyes as her hand encountered a hard surface instead.
“Wait a minute…” she paused, surprised by the deep rumble that had just escaped her mouth. “That’s not my voice!”
Her eyelids jolted open at the realization. She quickly propped herself on her elbows, ignoring the dull pain she felt above both joints, and the sight before her nearly caused her heart to stop. It took her several seconds to finally put her thoughts into words :
“Uh… Why are you red? Why are you me?”
Vader jolted awake and blinked in surprise at the sound of his own voice, and, for once, he, too, remained dumbfounded by what he heard and saw. The question caused him to look down at his feet or rather… Aphra’s feet? He was too confused to make sense of any of this, too stunned by the abundant input of his senses – Aphra’s senses, from the feel of chilly air on her skin to the fruity taste of her lips. He brought a hand – an ungloved, flesh hand – to his face, and couldn’t help but notice how soft it was compared to his own withered skin. His gaze stopped on the nearest shelf, caught by the mesmerizing glow of the holocrons and all those bright hues that had slowly washed away from his memory. He didn’t, however, linger much on those thoughts, for he was beginning to feel dizzy, and suddenly realized that he had forgotten something: breathe. How could he not have breathed yet, he who had craved such freedom for the past two decades? He took a deep, forceful breath, filling his healthy, unburned lungs with the stale, dusty air of the temple. He didn’t mind the dust. He wouldn’t mind swallowing sand if it meant breathing freely again. For the first time in a long while, Vader felt good. Until the rush of oxygen produced its sobering effect, and realization dawned upon him: he could not stay that way. It was unreasonable. Impossible. Unthinkable. He had to be Darth Vader if his plans were to succeed. Whatever had happened needed to be undone, for both their sakes. He looked at her and took another breath, now fully aware that he would, sooner or later, have to renounce those again.
The Mahōtokoro School of Magic is an academy nestled on an island off of Japan’s coast. The entrance to the school grounds is marked by a red and orange torii that appears to stand alone on the mountain in the eyes of Muggles and other non-magical creatures. To students and faculty the grounds open up to reveal expansive gardens and traditional structures that date back to the early eleventh century.
Students are granted acceptance to the academy between the ages of eight and nine and attend the school for 8 years, signifying prosperity and luck for their swiftly approaching futures. Instead of receiving letters as the British do, students from Mahōtokoro are presented with their acceptance in person alongside a test from an instructor. The results of the test determine which of the five houses a student can be sorted into, each one taking inspiration from one of the elements of the physical world:
Tsuchi (土) represents strength and responsibility; Students in this house can have a tendency to be stubborn though particularly grounded in their beliefs and practices. They are rational and logical and have a sense of strength, whether it’s physical or mental, not easily pushed around. Tsuchi students make for good leaders and strong class representatives.
Kaze (風) represents free-spirited lenience; Students in kaze are usually artistic and go with the flow and prove to be more gentle-natured and easy-going. These students are often intelligent in unconventional ways and see things from perspectives others don’t often consider. Students in this house are often peacemakers and mediators.
Umi (海) represents patience and determination; Students that are sorted into umi can often be unpredictable leaving this house with the widest variety of students. Some students can be patient and determined, biding their time and maintaining their course until they reach the desired goal while others are fiercer and stronger, rocking the boat to create change.
Kasai (火災) represents passion and ambition; Kasai students are often seen as the most aggressive of all of the five houses, though they would argue that their aggression is simply passion and intensity misinterpreted. These students will reach their goals no matter what obstacles stand in their way though they are less inclined to feel badly if they step on a few toes to do so. students in this house are often seen as troublemakers because they are also the biggest risk takers and challengers to rules and various social constructs.
Sora (空) represents the abstract; Students in Sora are often very aware of things that are much bigger than they are and see themselves as a small cog in a giant machine. They refer to themselves as Existentialists, focusing on what is not represented in every day life living less in the moment and more for some greater good. Most students in Sora tend to have a strong Shinto background while some others understand a great deal more about Muggle science and the universe.
Staff members strive to teach students how to focus on a spiritual balance and respect and nature and connections to their surroundings in relation to their magic. Classes are separated by gender as well as year, students only congregating together during mealtime, compulsory morning exercise, and a designated hour of freetime. House dormitories are also separated by gender and year with each housing unit spread out across the campus.
Once Ronan had surrendered to him completely, Adam moved his lips to his ear to speak softly. “If you take your wet clothes off, I’ll let you get in my bed.”
So here’s part 4 of don’t hold back (it has an official title now bc people in my ask box are cute) I was sort of in two minds about this because I had the classic angel and devil of my conscience on my shoulders. The angel was saying, “keep to the story,” while the devil was chanting, “sex, sex, sex, sex.” I hope I scored somewhere in the middle and I apologize for my little preview being more aimed at the latter part. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
do you think during sound check for the TCAs Luke was like “there are 5-year-olds in the audience, I can’t say ‘bitching’!” and Michael was like “shut up, luke” and idk that’s it, nothing more to this story