Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login


CHAPTER FOUR

It was hours before dawn and still very dark when the Phoenix lifted off the ground on its repulsors and drifted out of the hangar. Once it was safely clear, Garadun retracted the landing gear and increased power to the repulsors, sending the ship straight up. It turned in flight and then the ion engines kicked in, rocketing the YT-1300 away from the airfield and the town of Ngoroton, vanishing into the night.
   Cera was sitting in the co-pilot seat and giving whatever assistance Garadun required. Rusty was standing behind his pal, plugged into the nav computer and already working on the calculations for the jump to hyperspace. Cera had offered him a datacard which she inserted into the proper slot on his head. On it were the coordinates of their mystery destination. Leaving in the dead of the night while most of Ngoroton was still fast asleep had been Master Rann’s idea.
    “Something wrong?” she asked, sensing her companion’s emotions.
    “I don’t like lying to Jyn,” he answered. “She deserves better than that.”
    “I know. I don’t like it either. But it was necessary.”
    “She’s like, your best friend. You don’t think she can keep a secret?”
    “Of course I do. But this is Adept business and it has to stay that way. Master Rann’s orders. You’ll understand when we get there.”
    Garadun scowled. He hated all this secret need-to-know-basis shit. Either you trusted someone or you didn’t. It was as simple as that. They should trust Jyn Shao. It broke his heart to know she was so desperate to get offworld and see some of the galaxy; and here they were doing just that and not taking her along. It wasn’t right. You don’t treat friends that way. He stayed silent until they cleared the atmosphere.
    “Okay, so where are we going? Or don’t I get to know that either?”
    Cera gave him a hurt look. “Gar, please. It’s not my fault.”
    “According to the data Cera provided, our destination is a planet called Tohru,” Rusty announced. “It’s in Wild Space.”
    “Never heard of it.”
    “No-one has,” Cera explained. “Master Rann discovered it and only we Force Adepts know about it. Its existence cannot be known to the galaxy at large.”
    “Why? What’s so special about this place?”
    “You’ll see when we get there.”
    Rusty let out a series of beeps and Garadun saw on one of his panels that they were ready to make the jump to lightspeed. He tapped a few buttons, then reached over with his right hand and pulled back the control rods. The hyperdrive gave off its distinctive whine and the stars streaked away into lines. The Phoenix instantly shifted from normal space into the swirling blue-white environment of hyperspace. According to the readout from the nav computer it was going to take them twenty-four hours to get there.
    “I’m gonna grab some kip,” he announced. “Night.”
    “Goodnight,” she said and sighed as he left the bridge. His loyalty to his friends was admirable and the reason why he was so annoyed with her. Yet Master Rann was right to keep Tohru a secret and sometimes that meant sacrifices. Rusty chirruped and rolled out of the cockpit. Cera sighed again and followed him. Unless Garadun forgave her soon it was going to be a long trip.

                                                                          *****

Sleeping comfortably in his quarters at the sanctuary hadn’t been something he was able to do very well. The bed was all right, sort of, but it was his surroundings that bugged him. Garadun was used to a ship’s bunk, durasteel walls and deck plates beneath his feat, not stone and hardwood. It just didn’t feel right. The cabin he’d chosen for himself aboard the Phoenix was much more familiar and the faint hum of the engines in the background was comforting. The sanctuary was too quiet for him to relax, not fully.
    Which was probably the main reason why he got a solid seven hours rack time before waking up. The refresher was across the corridor from his cabin and after making use of it he felt a lot better. Not just physically but emotionally. All his annoyance and anger with the secrecy of their trip had faded. At least to the point where he no longer had any hard feelings towards Cera. It wasn’t her fault.
    The spacious passenger lounge was located next to his cabin; when he stepped out of the refresher he saw Rusty in there hunkered beside the holotable. The droid warbled at him amiably. Garadun went over to the autochef and got himself a big cup of cold water before dropping onto the circular bench seat.
    “Morning, pal. How you doing?” he asked and Rusty beeped contentedly.
    They sat there in comfortable silence until Cera emerged from her own quarters and joined them in the lounge. She got a cup of spiced caf from the dispenser and sat on the bench across from Garadun. She knew men had some kind of mysterious shorthand that only they seemed able to understand. Hours of discussion could be compacted into just a few words. At least for Humans this seemed to be the case.
    She decided to give it a try. “So... are we good?”
    Garadun gave her an agreeable look. “Yeah, of course.”
    And that seemed to be all there was to it. She could feel him through the Force, could sense that he was calm and no longer angry with her. Master Rann had tried to explain to her that once men considered an issue settled (how it was settled without talking about it was something she still didn’t understand) then it was done and they moved on. If she ever found herself in that situation, then she was to do the same. When she asked how men could deal with arguments so easily, Master Rann had shrugged and said:
    ”We’re guys.”
    Which to him was the obvious answer. So she went to his wife for explanations and Preena simply smiled and told her: “They’re men, dear. It’s just their way. Accepting and understanding this will make your life a lot easier.”
    Cera still didn’t understand, but there was no denying the fact that Garadun had put their spat behind him and was now his usual self with her. She tried it again.
    “So... breakfast?”
    “I could eat,” he said agreeably.
    Cera sipped her caf. Amazing.

                                                                          *****

The Phoenix dropped out of hyperspace on schedule. Rusty lifted himself up as far as he could on his blocky feet to peer over the main control board to get a look at the planet before them. Garadun was in the pilot’s seat beside him. Cera was in her cabin, napping. They’d seen no reason to wake her until required. Garadun gave his friend a nod. Rusty plugged himself into the nav computer and copied the location of Tohru and the route they’d taken from Ngoro into his long-term memory banks, just to be safe. He’d done the same thing when they made the trip from Ord Mantell to Ngoro.
    It wasn’t that Garadun had anything against Master Rann and the others. It was just that, as a general rule of survival, he didn’t trust anybody apart from Rusty. And when it came to things like the possibility of being stranded on some backwater world because you had no idea where you were in the galaxy, well, a smart man took precautions. Rann Matsura had a thing for secrecy, and while he might have legitimate reasons, men with secrets needed to be watched. Carefully. He liked Rann, he really did.
    But enough to risk his freedom? Sorry, no.
    “Okay, you can wake her,” he said and Rusty trilled before rolling out of the cockpit. Garadun eased the ship into a very slow cruising speed and waited. Rusty returned with Cera a short time later. Her waist-length hair was in a braid falling down over her left shoulder and her blue eyes were alert.
    Garadun smiled. “Very early morning to you. Have a nice nap?”
    “Yes, very good, thank you,” she said and slid into the co-pilot’s chair.
    “Right, we’re here,” he said, gesturing. “Where to, exactly?”
    “Can I take over? It’ll be easier than giving directions.”
    He leaned back in his seat and stretched, putting his hands behind his head. “By all means. The ship is yours.”
    “Thanks.”
    She took the controls and increased speed as she altered course, setting an approach vector for the planet below. Unnoticed behind her, Rusty was plugged into the computer again, recording all the flight data. As with his pal, the droid really liked Cera and he did trust her. But there was trust and then there was trust. She flew the Phoenix down into the atmosphere and made for the southern hemisphere. Garadun checked the sensors and saw that Tohru had massive life readings. But more important was what he was sensing through his feelings. This planet’s aura was beyond his experience and imagination. It was a vergence in the Force, a focal point of energy.
    They landed on what was currently the night side of the planet, setting down in what appeared to be incredibly ancient ruins. There were no intact structures in sight; only bits of broken rock, dilapidated columns and sections of stone wall. Beyond the ruins was a vast alien forest, its colours hidden in the dark. In the sky overhead three small moons provided some light. Garadun could feel the Force everywhere.
    Cera grinned. “Makes your hair stand on end, doesn’t it?”
    “Hell, yes.” He shivered. “What kinda place is this?”
    “A place of rejuvenation,” she answered with a warm smile. She leaned across and gave him a kiss on the lips, which was the last thing he ever expected. She closed her eyes for a moment, touching her forehead to his, then took his hand.
    “Come on. Time to find out why you’re here.”
    He’d never been kissed by a woman as beautiful as Cera Nova before. Even as brief as it was, it had been damned nice. And while he might not fully trust Rann Matsura, he did trust Cera. He held her hand and let himself be guided off the ship. Rusty followed along. They dropped the main ramp and made their way outside. The air was warm and filled with countless alien smells and sounds. Now out in the open, the Force was even more noticeable. It was almost like a breeze against the skin. Cera guided him across the ruins and into the forest. Rusty trundled along behind them, having a bit of trouble with the uneven ground. It was at times like this he longed for a repulsorlift unit. Astrodroids weren’t really designed for forest terrain.
    Moonlight and the Force was enough for Cera to know where she was going; although Rusty activated a spotlight to see better for which Garadun was thankful. They’d walked perhaps a kilometre or more when Garadun began to feel the Force getting stronger. He also saw a dim light up ahead. Cera gave him a smile and pressed on through the trees. Suddenly they entered a clearing. There were a few broken columns standing among the trees but what captured his attention were the pools.
    There were three of them in the clearing, rings of weathered stone slightly higher than the surrounding soil. The rings were made of blocks roughly thirty centimeters wide; the pools were about four meters across. They weren’t filled with water but some other kind of fluid that actually glowed silvery-blue in the night, lighting up the whole area. The Force was incredibly strong here, as if somehow condensed into liquid form. Garadun’s entire body felt energised. He looked at Cera in wonder.
    “The Pools of Tohru,” she told him. “Master Rann discovered this world many years ago on his travels and was drawn to these pools.”
    “What do they do?” he asked. Rusty came to their side and leaned over, looking at the pool in front of them with interest.
    “They rejuvenate and cleanse you,” she explained happily. “Disease is cured, poisons and toxins removed, wounds healed... and the effects of aging reversed.”
    Garadun’s jaw went slack. “Say what?”
    Cera looked at him playfully. “How old do you think Master Rann is? And Preena?”
    “I dunno. He’s maybe, what, late thirties or early forties? Sia’s twenty, so Preena has to be at least mid to late thirties at the youngest. But she barely looks any older than her daughter, which makes no sense at all.”
    “Rann Matsura is ninety-six years old,” Cera told him. “His wife is sixty-four.”
    Rusty whistled in surprise. Garadun stared at Cera and she nodded. He looked at the pools while his brain tried to process the information. The implications were staggering and mind-blowing. Here on this planet existed literal fountains of youth. No wonder they were so adamant about keeping the place such a tight secret. Now he understood. He still didn’t like being kept in the dark about it but he understood their position.
    Cera took his hand again. “Master Rann decided that since you’ve proven that you’re one of us, that you have a good heart and can be trusted, you deserve to be brought here so you could benefit from what the Pools of Tohru can do for you.”
    Rusty whooped and wheeped in amazement.
    Garadun was flabbergasted. “Seriously?”
    “Of course.” She squeezed his hand.
    “What about you?” he asked curiously. “Are you way older than you look?”
    Cera laughed softly. “No, I’m as young as I look. But I have used the Pools. Two years ago I caught a very serious illness. Rann and Preena brought me here and cured me. If they hadn’t, I would’ve most likely died.”
    Rusty emitted a sad whine.
    “I’m glad they saved you.” Garadun looked at the glowing liquid. “What do I do? Is there some kind of special ritual or something?”
    “No ritual.” She smiled and set down the shoulder bag she’d brought from the ship. She began untying her braid. “It’s simple. All you have to do is remove your clothes and slide on in. Then you fully submerge yourself.” She immediately sensed his anxiety and concern, and could see his expression. She gave his hand a quick squeeze of reassurance and resumed untying her braid.
    “Don’t worry about anything. I’ll be joining you to help and guide you. It’s perfectly safe, Gar, I promise.”
    Safety wasn’t what he was worried about. When it came to matters of the Force he trusted her implicitly. Rann Matsura might be Master of the sanctuary and he respected the other Adepts, but Cera was his instructor, his guide. No, safety wasn’t his concern. Getting naked in front of this amazingly gorgeous young woman? That was a concern. He was not proud of his middle-aged body and didn’t want her seeing it. Not to mention the fact that seeing her completely nude meant he was going to have to use every bit of his Force training to zone out his brain, to make sure he didn’t become aroused. That kind of embarrassment was something to avoid at all costs.
    With her hair now unbraided Cera took off her jacket and folded it before setting it on the ground beside the bag she’d brought. Her boots followed. She unbuckled her weapon belt and added her blaster and lightsaber to the pile. When she started unbuttoning her shirt, apparently without a hint of modesty, Garadun turned away respectfully. Rusty let out an electronic chortle. Quickly deciding that getting in first was a good idea, he stripped down in record speed, keeping his back to her the whole time. She was in her underwear when he sank into the glowing liquid up to his neck, holding the edge of the pool with his hands.
    Bra and panties came off. Cera was as beautiful naked as he’d fantasised. But he only saw her for a moment before he turned away to stare at Rusty. She slid into the pool gracefully, a touch of motion in the corner of his eye. He was a grown man, not some hormonally-challenged, immature teenager. He knew very well what the female Human body looked like. But there was a huge difference between pictures of anonymous babes and a real one an arm’s length away whom you knew and cared about.
    “It’s all right,” she said, laying a hand on his shoulder. That simple touch sent a thrill through his entire body. He shut his eyes and called on the Force to help him focus past everything, to blank her out, to suppress his emotions. At last he let go of the edge of the pool and turned to face her. She was also up to her neck in the fluid which helped a great deal. He concentrated on her face, her eyes.
    “You don’t have to hide from me, Garadun,” she told him gently. “There’s no need to be ashamed or embarrassed.”
    “For you, maybe. You’re young and beautiful.”
    “And you’re my Padawan. So relax. How does it feel?”
    “Weird.” The glowing silvery-blue liquid was warm and thicker than water, more like syrup, and he had no trouble staying afloat. “So now what?”
    “Now we submerge. We’re going to go under the surface and then we’re going to breathe the fluid into our lungs.”
    “Say what?”
    “We’re not going to drown, trust me on this,” she assured him. “It’s going to be a little hard at first, but we breathe liquid for the first nine months of our life. Our bodies simply have to remember. Use the Force to control your breathing. I’ll help you the entire time. The liquid will make its way into every part of your body, which it’s already doing.”
    She was right: he could feel it.
    “I’ll go first.” Cera smiled and then sank below the surface. She stared up at him and he saw her take in a deep breath. She coughed and spasmed, yet only for a moment. Her discomfort was gone and she looked perfectly at ease. She tugged on his arm.
    Garadun looked over at Rusty, took a deep breath, then closed his eyes and let himself sink. He opened his eyes and saw her in front of him, naked and smiling. She touched his chin, nodding. He shut his eyes and, going against every natural instinct, exhaled the air from his lungs. He left his mouth open and the fluid tasted odd, almost sweet. She put a hand on his shoulder, keeping him in place.
    Breathe. Trust me.
    He took a breath and instantly started coughing and choking.
    Breathe. It’ll be all right.
    Eyes shut, Garadun coughed painfully. His lungs were burning, he couldn’t breathe. She put a hand on his chest and lent him her strength. He coughed again; yet this time the pain was lessened. He tried another breath and kept on coughing, but it was normal coughing, the way you would clear your lungs. He took a deeper breath and the pain and discomfort eased. He opened his eyes. He was breathing normally! He could also feel the fluid making its way into every single opening on his body, could feel it seeping through him, filling him from top to bottom.
    There you go.
    Cera took his hands in hers, lifting them up and interlocking their fingers. He felt her mind touch his through the Force. He reached out with his own mind and their thoughts entwined, exchanging ideas and memories and feelings. It was incredibly intimate and there was little they could hide about themselves. Yet she didn’t go looking behind the curtain. She knew her friend cherished his privacy. And as someone who valued his own privacy so highly, violating hers was unthinkable. They came to understand one another as never before and an unbreakable bond formed between them.
    They drifted to the bottom of the pool where she turned into his embrace, pressing her back against him. His arms went around her waist and held her close. He kissed her neck and she simply pressed closer. They sat on the floor with her between his legs and his arms holding her. He kissed her cheek and put his chin on her shoulder. They closed their eyes and time slipped away.
    Huddled together, warm and at peace with the world, they fell asleep.
Star Wars Force Adept begins in 34 ABY. Characters use the d20 Star Wars Roleplaying Game by Wizards of the Coast for game stats.

Rejuvenation is an original story, and all characters appearing are copyright by me. I do not consider this fanfiction, but simply an unofficial novella set in the Star Wars universe.

For maps of the Star Wars Galaxy
Star Wars Galaxy Map 1
Star Wars Galaxy Map 2
Star Wars Galaxy Map 3

You can find all the chapters of the novellas here drofdemonology.deviantart.com/…

Needless to say, Star Wars is copyright by The Mouse.
Add a Comment:
 
:icontimekeeper9:
Timekeeper9 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2017
Skinnydipping out in the woods? You know that's just asking for a knife wielding maniac to show up. ;P
Reply
:icondrofdemonology:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2017  Professional Writer
Heheeheheheh :XD:

Thanks for the fave :)
Reply
:iconthe-colonel-382:
The-Colonel-382 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017
I have been remiss in leaving comments after I gave things. 😎

Awesome two chapters!!!
(I forgot to comment on the last one. 😓)

I was wondering when gat was gonna get treated I the gold bikini, it fishnet outfit treatment. But this takes the cake. 😜

Can't wait till next week dude. 👍🏻

Oh and as a side, I FINALLY saw Rogue One today.
Oh My GODS!!!
My mind was completely blown. And still is oozing out my ears.
Reply
:icondrofdemonology:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017  Professional Writer
Well, you can always go back and comment on the previous chapter; always appreciated :nod:

Y'know, I never did think much of the slave bikini thing, or get why so many fanboys like it. Meh :shrug:

But oh yeah: Cera in da buff is waaayyyyy better :D

Thanks for the comments and fave :)


Adn yes, Rogue One is Epic Awesomeness!
Reply
:icondonaldbrent:
DonaldBrent Featured By Owner Edited Jan 28, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Next stop: Tohru! Now where can I find the coordinates? Ah... right. Rusty has them! :nod:

Truly a lovely chapter, I adore the part from Cera's PoV about how strange and alien human men are! :D Wonderful work with Gar's emotions... I could feel his burn trying to ignore a beautiful babe like Cera undressing right next to him!

Great chapter, I love that you so often 'de-age' Garadun... it's the fondest dream of ever middle-aged man. :sigh: 
Reply
:icondrofdemonology:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017  Professional Writer
Tohru's a secret for a reason... as demonstrated by all these comments :XD:

I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter, and thanks for the praise and input :handshake:
Reply
:icondonaldbrent:
DonaldBrent Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was actually surprised when I Googled "Star Wars Plant Tohru" and didn't find anything... but I suppose a secret planet must be a secret!

I loved the chapter... and are there any force-sensitive cats on Tohru?
Reply
:icondrofdemonology:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017  Professional Writer
Tohru's a planet I made up... and no cats.
Reply
:icondonaldbrent:
DonaldBrent Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I figured that Tohru was original content... but no cats? :(
             ...ah well, you're the author!
Reply
:iconcheskamouse:
CheskaMouse Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017
Yea, I am gonna need a ride to this place. ;)
Reply
:icondrofdemonology:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017  Professional Writer
Tha's why it's a biiiig secret.... :XD:
Reply
:iconcellester:
cellester Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017
how much younger wills the pools make him? will it age him to his physical prime or is he going to pop out a teenager and start aging normally again? Love the story! Hope they get to take Jyn on a adventure. 
Reply
:icondrofdemonology:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017  Professional Writer
The Pools basically get you to physical prime and no further.

Glad you like it and thanks for the fave :)
Reply
:iconordaka:
Ordaka Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017
Damn ... I could sure use those pools :D

Great chapter Doc. :w00t:
Reply
:icondrofdemonology:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017  Professional Writer
We could all use the Pools, methinks ;)

Many thanks :)
Reply
:iconcolourbrand:
Colourbrand Featured By Owner Edited Jan 28, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hahhaha - well, I have never read embarrassment so well described :)

I was cringing on the read - (no insult meant) and that is the sign of an excellent writer - to make one feel - and man, you did and thensome!!

Excellent!

Oh, and I'm first :D!!
Reply
:icondrofdemonology:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017  Professional Writer
As ever, m'friend, thanks kindly for the kind words. Your support is very appreciated :)

First! :ahoy:
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:icondrofdemonology: More from DrOfDemonology


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
January 28
Image Size
2.6 MB
Resolution
2073×3375
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
122
Favourites
7 (who?)
Comments
17
×