and message runner-long-haired old Peckhum-stood transfixed beside the open jaws of his cargo bay. His eyes were wide and white. He looked as if he had screamed himself hoarse, and could now make no sound.
He stared at a huge, unnatural-looking monstrosity that loomed out of the jungle as if ready to attack, snarling at him... waiting for Peckhum to make the next move.
"What is that thing?" Jaina asked, looking to her brother as if he would know.
Jacen squinted at the behemoth. As enormous as a shuttlecraft, its huge squarish body was covered with shaggy, matted hair tangled with primordial mos's. It stood on six cylindrical legs that were like the boles of ancient trees. Its massive triangular head sat like a Star Destroyer on its shoulders, but instead of eyes inset in its skull, it had a cluster of twelve thick, writhing tentacles, each one glistening with a round, unblinking eye. Curved tusks sprouted from its mouth, long and sharp and wicked enough to tear a hole through a sandcrawler.
"It's not like anything I've ever seen in my life," Jacen said.
Tenel Ka glared down at the monster with a grim expression. "Working together, we can fight it," she said. "Follow!" She dashed down the wide-cut stone steps outside the tall temple.
The monster let out a bellow of challenge so loud and so horrendous that it seemed to make the ancient stone blocks tremble. The three young Jedi Knights hurried to the ground level, careful not to slip and fall from the steep steps.
"Help me!" Peckhum cried, his voice tinny with fright.
At the jungle's edge, the hideous monster turned, as if distracted by something. Jacen felt his heart leap, thinking at first that perhaps the wild creature had seen the three of them approaching. But he saw that its attention was fixed