Leaving the tunnel behind, Renci and Torthal travel through several hallways past other rooms. Eventually, Torthal announces that they have reached their destination and gestures for Renci to lead the way in. She looks through the doorway into a stately room. The floor is carpeted, the walls draped with luxurious cloth and lined with cushioned benches. Baffles are mounted in the corners, further softening the room. The main attraction, though, is the diverse collection of instruments on display. Renci is surprised that such a room is actually in a temple like this. She was not entirely confident that Torthal was being upfront with her about where they were going.
As Renci looks around, her attention is drawn to an instrument she recognizes. “Ugh, an ossophone,” she groans. She had to endure lessons on one of these as a child, as did many Mandalorians. In the classical age, it was customary to make such instruments from the bones of one’s enemies in some clans. Her clan made them from the bones of comrades to remember them. Some might consider that creepy—she did as a child—but Mandalorians have a different take on death than most cultures. Since it is a death-oriented instrument, and Renci was tracking things related to death and ghosts, she decides to take a closer look. As she steps into the room, music in a minor key starts playing from somewhere. Is that all you’ve got? she thinks, unimpressed, and then she realizes the sound is coming from the ossophone. Unsure of whether this is another hallucination, she approaches the instrument to examine it.
The keys, of course, are made of Mandalorian ribs. She picks up the four mallets, customarily made from the ulnae and radii of the comrade, and slots them between her fingers. The thinner one goes between the pinky and ring finger, the larger one between the middle and index finger, their ends nestled against the palm. It has been at least fifteen years since she last played one of these, but maybe if she does it the right way, the haunting melody will stop. There is a music stand with the ossophone, but no sheet music upon it. Rather, as she taps tentatively at the keys with the mallets, she sees swirling lights appear in that space. Is this some sort of technology or a Force thing? she briefly wonders, but she decides it does not matter which if this can show her something useful. Unsure of what to play, she turns to Torthal, who she sees rifling through a container of some kind like a common grave robber. “You don’t happen to know any Dathomirian tunes, do you?”
Upon entering the room himself, Torthal headed immediately to Ka’thazar’s lute. He had hoped to locate the pendant there with the instrument, or perhaps in its case, but all he can find are spare strings and rosin. Ka’thazar would not have willingly let himself be parted from the instrument that he was so passionate about. Not while he was still living. They must have killed him. At the human’s question, Torthal looks up from Ka’thazar’s instrument case to see what she is fiddling with. He hums a few bars in response, and she stares at him, incredulous.
“That’s Dathomirian? Really?”
Since the tune is apparently not enough, he recites some of the lyrics for her in Basic, “At the rising of the mist, the rising emerald mist, our ancestors will rise to aid us with their rising and their mist.”
The melody matches a folk song that Renci herself learned as a child, just with entirely different words. Wondering how many other cultures have adapted it to their lore, she begins to slowly pick it out on the keys. It takes a while for the muscle memory to kick in. Renci did not actually like playing the ossophone as a child. Now, with the hindsight of age—and being the last of her clan—she can respect the instrument and what it stood for. Quietly, she whispers, “Hey, you got a tuner in there somewhere?” In response, from her backpack she hears a sort of wail; it is middle C to guide her adjustment of the ossophone’s tension until the central bone rings true. Then a steady clicking begins from her bag, a metronome. Good job, Boulder. For once, something works as it should, she thinks.
As Renci proceeds through the song, the swirling on the music stand takes on a green hue. So help me, if this is just another illusion, she thinks, I am burning this whole temple to the ground. I need this to work. The mists part, and she sees a series of scenes.
JT is talking with a woman, insisting, “You could be your own Pirate Queen. Christophsis would make a good base.” Her eyes do not look quite right, as if there is a ring of green around the outer edges of her irises. As she speaks, Renci sees the faintest hint of green mist puffing out.
“Oh, Muffin,” Renci murmurs, distressed by what this implies about her girlfriend’s state.
Then she sees Chando, pulling out a lightsaber and igniting it, revealing a red blade. He moves it around, taking a few practice swings. “Chando?!” Renci mutters. Oskara told her about some glowing green energy he intercepted at the bowl in the room with Renn’s carbonite slab. Maybe he was also affected by the crystal that exploded.
Next are creatures, strange creatures she has never seen before with a slight green glow to them, moving in a cluttered subterranean space full of dirt and twisted metal. They are fighting, and one of the creatures releases a bolt of lightning at the other.
Finally, she sees a group of male Zabraks, Nightbrothers, she supposes, according to the lore she has been learning recently. The one in the middle has horribly sunken eyes that glow greenish yellow, and his comrades are around him making him drink from a chalice. He pulls himself away, and a coughing fit ensues. The phlegm it produces sparkles with tiny shards that glow green. He starts vomiting, and the brothers around him look encouraged by the results.
“Okay, so there is some treatment,” Renci quietly says. “That, I can arrange.” She had believed the crystal Oskara told her about was bad, but now she finally has some hope that whatever happened can be dealt with medically. There is a physical component to what happened to JT in addition to whatever Force-related scars she bears. This is really good information that she did not have before. She can take this to Elaiza, who might be able to figure out more from it, but if nothing else, Renci can encourage JT to get an examination at the New Meen clinic.
For the first time in a while, Renci feels optimistic. Everything else she has tried, she has either lost control of, or it did not pan out, or there were not enough details. This is what she needed to find out. It is unlikely she can learn anything else of help in this eerie place. As she lays the mallets down alongside the ossophone, Renci nods to herself in satisfaction. “Thank you, warrior,” she says to the instrument. “I know you’ve lain here a long time, but it was not in vain.”
As the final notes of the ossophone die away, Renci realizes other music still sounds in the room. She sees Torthal strumming some sort of stringed instrument, looking intently at the music stand near it. He has summoned up something of interest to him, as well. It is a creepy room with biers, statues, coffins.
Torthal quietly plays one of Ka’thazar’s compositions. The scrying shows a stone image of the man in repose, confirmation that Ka’thazar’s remains must be in the temple. The pendant will be in the mausoleum, with Ka’thazar himself. Of course, Torthal thinks, they kept his corpse; they would have had to. With how powerful he was, they would have wanted their site to feed off his energy for all eternity.
“So you think your pendant is in a crypt?” Renci asks.
“If they buried it with him, that is where I will find it.”
“Well, you helped me find this room. This was a good catch. Let’s see if we can find you that crypt.” She was suspicious about going to the music room, but he was right; it had what she needed—not that she needs to let him know to what extent. He has been sparse on details about the pendant, and he certainly seems a little possessive of it, but that is fine. Renci does not care about his whole story. She will help him find the crypt, and he can spend as much time rooting around in it as he wants. He is a little odd, but… so what? He is just driven about his own issues.
As the human turns to leave the room, Torthal stares after her in surprise. He genuinely had not expected her to find anything of value here. Well, it is convenient that she thinks he brought her here to help her. This will keep her at his side longer. It is useful to have disposable assistants. That is one of the few things he and Pramine agree on.
Renci steps into the hall, releasing a breath she had not quite been aware she was holding until then. In retrospect, she was not entirely sure the room would consider its test complete. She takes a sip from her eopiebak, and as Torthal joins her in the hallway, she chastises him for not drinking enough water. She gets a blank stare in response. They continue through the halls, and along the way, Renci notices some ceiling openings that would be too far up for anyone normal to reach. Surely no one could jump that high without boots like mine, she thinks. She makes note of them as an exit option to return to after she has seen Torthal to his destination.
Note: We only recorded a few of the Resh Hour scenes towards the end of the run. This is the first of them. Listen here.