A read-only archive of discourse.darkjedibrotherhood.com as of Sunday May 01, 2022.



It is a period of growing turmoil across the Galaxy.
House Odan-Urr, recovering from the end of their great war,
has once more donned the mantle of the crusaders of Light.

A distress call from the idyllic Outer Rim world of Arbra, seeking refuge
from the onslaught of a Dark Side cult hiding somewhere on their planet,
has drawn the attention of the Odanites.

From the Fey’lya’s Last Stand, Mirus Hi’ija oversees a ground operation
to find the hiding place of the cultists, not knowing the true reason that this cult
has inhabited the planet…


Nebula-class Star Destroyer Fey’lya’s Last Stand
High Arbra Orbit, 0900 Hours

A dark, gravelly voice echoed across the thrum of life. “Fey’lya’s Last Stand to ground team. Status?”

The hum and buzz of the bridge of the Nebula-class Star Destroyer, commanded by the Aedile, was a constant source of relief to Mirus. Here, unlike in many places around the temples and praxeums, he could be surrounded by his own kind - warriors, soldiers. It was a wonderful change of pace. With the new addition of Admiral Tresk Fiarr’ges, the new commanding officer of the Last Stand, it made doing his new duty as overall commander of the military a far easier task. Today was his first real outing commanding the mighty Star Destroyer and, while he wasn’t entirely at home on a starship, he was entirely at home on a weapon of war. It would serve nicely.

“Ground team to Last Stand,” came the voice of Nathan Deciarius, leader of the Disciples of Baas and the senior member of the ground team. “We’re about to enter the crystal caves now. Stand by, Mirus.”

The crystal caves of Arbra were not only a natural wonder of the idyllic little planet, but also an old Rebel Alliance staging base and hideout. They had once concealed the miniature fortress known as Haven Base, where the Rebel Alliance had once sought refuge from the tyrannical campaign of Darth Vader attempting to eke them out and crush them under his heel. In this place was a perfect escape, a perfect hideout for a cult trying to conceal themselves from the Galaxy. If they were going to be anywhere on this planet, it would be in Haven Base - it was almost a given. Thus, the Jedi of Odan-Urr had brought their vessels of war. The Last Stand was, of course, ready to go. The Pride of Owyhyee and the Proxia Mustirion were also on standby, ready for intercept and escort duties.

“Admiral,” piped the voice of the Titan of New Tython. “Do you think we’ll find them here? Something doesn’t feel right about all this.”

The Bothan’s voice was lighter, a little more quiet. “If they aren’t there, we’re going to have problems. But yes, I have a feeling we’re going to find them here. And that we’re going to need some more firepower.”

Mirus nodded his assent, clearly in agreeance - and thus he turned to the two figures behind him. Both of them stood over him in height, though perhaps not in physical stature. The Quaestor and Rollmaster of Odan-Urr were a little less accustomed to this setting than he; one was a pilot and could, with enough prompting, fly the Last Stand. The other had seen enough war to be able to deal with it.

“Rhi, Liam, suit up and be on standby,” Mirus said, quietly. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Liam’s reply was almost instant. “I agree. Come, Rhiann. We have work to do.” The Quaestor nodded to his Aedile and left the bridge of the ship. Rhiann paused a moment, locking eyes with her Master as she always did before a mission like this. No words. Only silence.

Until he broke it. “Go.”

She nodded in turn, followed and left, leaving Mirus to his thoughts, and to watch the ground display as the events on the surface of Arbra unfolded.

Crystal Caves, Arbra
0915 Hours

The ground team of Jedi made their way through the caves. Lights guided their way as much as the Force did, shining their flashlights down every corridor, down every nook and cranny of the sprawling underground complex. This place had not seen use for many, many years, it seemed - there was no sign of life or movement down here. Only the shimmering reflection of lights bouncing off crystals and creating a marvelous display. More than one Jedi had already considered taking a crystal sample and using it for a lightsaber - perhaps it would make a decent focusing crystal in a pinch.

Nathan and Revak, leading the ground team to investigate, had a fairly mixed bag of Jedi behind them - warriors, scholars and scouts all. Some of those scouts were making their way through the facility already, led by the two high-ranked Equite sentinels. The two team leaders were uniquely suited to this place.

“This place doesn’t feel right,” echoed a voice behind them. Someone was clearly unhappy - and only serving to voice the thoughts of the entire group. “We could be walking into a trap right now.”

“I hear you, but let’s belay that for now,” commanded Revak. The mood was plenty dour enough. “Let’s focus on the mission and get out of here. We just need to find these cultists, call in the big guns, and then strike as one.”

Nods of assent. Some of the Knights of Allusis were down here and, despite being temporarily leaderless, were very keen to see some action. Even the Disciples of Baas were looking for a bit of it, despite being the far more peaceful team. Ooroo was, as usual, very happy to be the eyes and ears of the House. They, too, could fight with the best of them when it came time to do so.

“Commander! I found something!”

Clearly interested in the contents of this discovery, Nathan and Revak immediately pushed ahead. Only moments later did they find a dais of stone, covered in a tattered and aged red cloth. It looked more like an altar of worship than anything else. Atop it sat a small polished black box, which Revak immediately snatched up and opened to examine the contents. There was something inside, which he pulled free from the box - but he could not identify the strange object. He’d never seen anything like it before in his life.

“What is this?” Revak asked, handing the object over to Nathan to investigate. The leader of the Disciples, far more seasoned in the ways of the Force, had a little more experience with these sorts of things. He took a moment, turning it over in his hands, trying to work out precisely what this thing was.

“This is an artifact, my dear boy… and I can feel it. This thing is alive with the Force. It…”

Nathan stopped and paused, eyes widening in a moment of horror as the Force overwhelmed him with a flash - a flash of power, of truth, of destiny.

“This thing is a repository of knowledge, Revak! There’s so much to know in here! Of the Force, of… of everything.”

He handed it back to Revak, letting his fellow battleteam leader truly delve into the truth of this ancient artifact. They shared a knowing glance, one that spoke far more than words could.

This artifact held secrets. Secrets that would help them fight off the One Sith. Secrets that would help them attack the Dark Jedi Brotherhood, protect New Tython from their raiding, even perhaps help them restore balance to the Force one day. This knowledge was priceless. They needed to study this artifact. It was a perfect opportunity. They could take it back to the ship, sit down, examine the contents and knowledge contained within for as long as they needed to. After all, they’d only scratched the surface.

Then, one by one, for the Jedi of the ground team, the world went black.

Nebula-class Star Destroyer Fey’lya’s Last Stand
High Arbra Orbit, 1020 Hours

“Still no response from the ground team. And now we’re not getting a response from the recovery team, either. What’s going on here?”

Aboard the Fey’lya’s Last Stand, Mirus was starting to get very, very concerned with events on this planet. First, his ground team had not responded for almost half an hour - the lines were open but there was simply no response from any of them. In answer to this, Mirus had deployed Liam and Rhiann and their follow-up recovery team. Now they were not answering, either. Something about this damn planet, about this whole karking mission, was completely screwy and Mirus was very interested to know what was going on. Was it the cultists? No, Nathan and Revak would have put out a distress call by now, surely. Or even Liam, or Rhiann. Now he was pacing the bridge, unsure, and very unhappy that he had not gone down there himself to be his own eyes and ears.

He was three seconds from jumping on one of the LAATs, taking Olympus Squad, and finding out for himself with all guns blazing before the comm beeped. Finally. An answer.

“Mirus!” Rhi sounded. The line was crackly, the link patchy - but it was there. “Problem!”

“Problem? What do you mean, ‘problem’?”

“There’s nothing down here. No cultists. No Jedi. Nothing.”

An eyebrow raised and the Aedile considered his next words carefully. “No sign of Revak or Nathan or their team?”

“None at all- wait one. We have movement.”

Mirus waited one, as instructed, the line still open - and then he heard the distinctive snap-hiss of a lightsaber. And then two more. And then five more. And then an absolute army of lightsabers snapping to life.

“Revak? Nathan? What are you-”

“You will not take this artifact from us! Defend the artifact at all costs!” howled Nathan so loudly it echoed through the cave hallways. More lightsabers began hissing to life.

“Defend yourselves!” shouted Liam in the background. There was no reasoning with them now - the fight was on. Lightsabers began to clash in their distinctive crackling.

“Mirus, I have to-” Rhi began, but she was cut short by the screams of Revak Kur, rather clearly mad - and ready to take his Rollmaster’s head. The line went dead, comm static hissing across the bridge of the ship. They were gone.

What was going on? Mirus raised a hand to his head, clutching it carefully. This was an absolute nightmare. Jedi were fighting Jedi - for no reason other than, what, an artifact? Why would they have turned on their allies for an artifact? Unless -

It clicked. It all made sense. The Dark presence he was feeling, the uneasy sensation he’d had before - it was this artifact, an object of great power. Whatever it was, it had corrupted the first minds it had found, turning them away from their original leanings. They had been turned to the Dark Side by whatever contagion the artifact could spread.

Now they were fighting in an old military installation buried in the caves. Whoever controlled that place had a way to seize control of the artifact - or hide it away from their enemies. Haven Base, concealed inside those caves, was about to become the next battlefield of the Jedi. This, however, was no ordinary fight. Whatever curse had claimed the minds of the Odanites was now turning them against their brothers. Jedi versus Jedi. And all Mirus could do was sit back and watch. He’d never felt more helpless in his life. His brothers in arms were now fighting each other - cursed by the Dark Side. Dark and Light were now clashing on the planet below, without him.

A slow breath, then an exhale. This affliction was going to destroy their House if they did not contain it soon.


Haven Base - Entrance
Two Hours after the Affliction

“Get inside!” Rhiann shouted to the men around her, as the crimson bolt of a blaster rifle zipped by her face. The heat of it on her elfin features made her grimace; sweeping her blade up, she knocked aside another before throwing the maddened Harakoan firing at her back with the Force. “Now!”

Blast holes pockmarked the ground around the doorway, as launchers from the insane ground team continued to zip forth - only to be pulled astray by the Force use of the more senior Jedi assembled. Rhiann sidestepped a new assault elegantly, dancing forward as a combination of bladework and avoidance diverted another gout of fire from a maddened Tythonian soldier. The pale blue plasma of her weapon snarled as it slid up, slashing his rifle in two, before her left hand swept up to deliver a smooth Rancor Rising to his temple.

A shadow in her peripheral alerted her to motion; too late, she saw the boulder hurled by none other than Revak, flipping toward her head. A small, furry tackle was all that kept her from being killed on the spot.

Landing in a heap, she gasped before taking in the worried face of Shorurra. The Wookiee growled something - probably telling her to stay down - before he turned to face the oncoming Equite. The newly-named Knight’s orange weapon caught Revak’s in a shower of sparks as the leader of Ooroo charged in, animalistic loyalty meeting a foe tainted by Darkness.

“Move aside, runt!” The human roared, his heavy blows coming down atop a defense equally aggressive, and shockingly strong.

Before Rhiann could rejoin the fight, she heard Liam’s call. “Rhiann!” The old one’s voice echoed over the din, as his hands twisted to avert another missile impact. “We have to retreat!”

The Rollmaster shook her head. “The artifact, Liam. They still have it!”

“We cannot stop them if we die here. We must regroup!” The Cleric replied. A barrage of missiles flew toward him; they all stopped in their paths, as the Quaestor’s efforts were joined by A’lora, Solari, and Kaira as one. With a grim look of resignation, Liam’s hands lashed outward, as the missiles flew not toward the ground around them - but back into the enemy emplacement. He turned to look on her, cold determination in his old eyes. “Let’s go!”

Baenre’s eyes widened as she saw the missiles crash into the enemy, blowing apart members of the afflicted ground team. She held back the pain as men she’d known - men she’d fought beside - became one with the Force. “All forces, retreat!” She shouted to the soldiers, allowing Liam to concentrate on the heavy weapons once more. “Defensive formations. Retreat into the base!”

M/CRV Pride of Owyhyee
Command Bridge
Low Arbra Orbit

The tunnel of hyperspace slipped away as the Pride and the Proxia arrived over the planet, the majestic form of the Last Stand already hanging over the world. “Last Stand, this is Pride of Owyhyee. What’s the situation?”

“Bad news. Prep any ground teams you may have, and-,” The Aedile’s voice went silent for a moment, as warning klaxons erupted all throughout the Pride.

“Captain, hyperspace signatures detected in Sector 8!” The comms officer shouted over the din. “Sectors 9, and 10… Sector 2… Standby. Unidentified contact from…” His face went pale, and the source of his terror became readily apparent. “From everywhere.”

They flashed into realspace one by one, no two alike, all of them bearing the dark markings of the Ancient Sith. Frigates and freighters, corvettes and cruisers, a host of mismatched fighter craft - no two alike, and all bristling with retrofitted weaponry and jury-rigged equipment and modifications. As one, they enclosed the hulking Destroyer and its accompanying Corvettes like a cloud of locusts.

The Dark Side Cult of Arbra had arrived, and Odan-Urr had taken the bait. “Prepare for battle!” The Captain shouted, as the first wave of bombers swept by his hull.

In an instant, peaceful serenity gave way to utter chaos, as mad swarms of snubfighters swept toward the frigates in bizarre, unpredictable formations - the movements of fanatics, rather than warriors. Ten died in the first wave alone; it did not matter, as the shields of the Pride of Owyhyee dropped by fifteen percent. Turbolasers and quad cannons swivelled in every direction as they tried to respond, even as concussion missiles ripped free of their launchers to spiral toward random opponents.

“What are they thinking?” The comms officer asked, as another blast rocked the entire hull. “This is madness!”

“It’s a feint,” The Captain replied, his eyes widening. “They’re scattering our aim, forcing us to drain power and missiles.” A series of flashes caught his eye; turning his gaze, he caught sight of a series of mismatched pods, all of them hurtling toward the Pride. “They plan to board us. Get us to the Stand!”

As his Officers turned the ship toward its flagship, watching as the Star Destroyer frantically deployed starfighters in clouds, they watched in horror as several of the enemy ships released new craft of their own - these headed for the surface of the world. As if in response, the Last Stand’s fighters swept to defend their own dropships, frantically fighting to keep back those who would prevent Odanite forces from reaching the surface. The Captain blocked out the massacre that began in the stratosphere of Arbra, before taking up a hailing frequency.

“Proxia Mustirion, this is the Pride.” He snapped. “We’re under assault; if we don’t stick together, they’ll take us both. Do you copy?” Silence. “I repeat, Proxia Mustirion, this is the Pride. Damnit, is anyone awake over there?”

“Captain!” A shout drew his attention, seconds before the missile hurtling toward the ship made his eyes go wide.

Haven Base - Briefing Room

“Fortify the blast doors!” Seridan shouted to the soldiers who ran by, carrying heavy chunks of stone, metal, and anything else they could find. “Those shields won’t hold for long!” Lifting a cargo crate, he rushed to join them.

Torun’s eyes swept across the scene as Jedi and soldiers frantically rushed about, all of them hard at work. The wounded sat, many of them bleeding from dire wounds, as Kairus and Xaezhul tended their wounds. Shorurra and Kaayn moved to find and activate any working equipment, while the others rushed about on a dozen different errands.

Taking a breath, Torun stood, moving to rejoin the effort as Rhiann approached him. The look on her face was far from joyful. “Reinforcements have arrived?”

“They have - and the Cult surprised them.” The Rollmaster replied. “Landing craft are on their way, from both sides. This fight just got a lot harder.”

“Have faith, Rhiann.” The old man replied. “The Force will show us the way.”

M/CRV Proxia Mustirion
Command Bridge

“…anyone there?” The Captain of the Pride shouted. “Brace for impact- agh!” His voice died in a crackle of static.

Amid rocking blasts and hard impacts, the crew ignored all around them, staring with mesmeric focus toward the hologram before them. As one, they watched Revak’s form as he spoke in sweeping, broad tones, the madness of the relic in his hand infecting the hearts and minds of one and all.

“You will sweep low over the world of Arbra, and bring your guns to bear on those who would weaken us.” He said coldly, madness in his eyes. “You will decimate anyone - nay, everyone - who would keep the power to destroy the Sith from us.” He paused for a moment, a smile spreading on his lips. “Am I understood?”

“Yes, Master,” They droned as one, moving in unison toward their newfound task.

M/CRV Pride
Command Bridge

“He’s gone!” The comms officer shouted. “What do we do?”

A holographic image flared to life before them; standing tall, the Titan’s eyes swept over them. “Pride of Owyhyee, come in. What is your situation?”

“The Captain’s dead!” One of the Officers replied, smoke and sparks flooding the cabin as the ship’s life support systems strained to clear the air. “It’s hopeless! We’re all going to die up here, and-,” The Aedile cut him off.

“Take hold of your senses!” The Guardian snapped, bringing them all from their stupor. His commanding presence demanded their attention; his resolve gave them hope. “The Proxia is headed toward the ground; we’ve lost contact. Your ship is the only one fast enough to keep bombing runs and picket ships off of our hull.”

“What about enemy craft?” The maintenance officer asked, his voice trembling. “They’ll tear us apart!”

“Not with Jedi in the skies to protect you.” Mirus replied. “Get in close to our craft, orbiting formation, and keep surprise attacks off of our backs. If we stand together, we can win this. Am I clear?”

Slowly, they all looked to one another, all of them shaken. Then, as one, they nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“Good. Now, move to positions; we have a sky to win.” With that, Hi’ija’s glowing blue form shimmered out of existence.

Haven Base - Exterior
Ground Team Fortifications

“I don’t care what it takes, get through the damned doors!” Seraphol shouted. “Look above you! The Cult is coming, and we need to be in there when they arrive!”

“The Proxia’s on its way,” Revak replied. “They’ll be above us in- get down!”

Flashing out from hollows in the cliffs above Haven Base, gun emplacements untouched since the Rebellion growled to life, launching blasts of laser fire and suppressive explosives down toward the ground team. Six men died in the initial blast, before the fallen Jedi brought their sabers and their orders to bear, battering aside the blasts. Missile launchers fired their payloads into the stone, trying desperately to disable the well-concealed weaponry.

“Sir, enemy contacts!” A soldier behind Seraphol shouted, bringing the Dark Sider about with a growl. Blaster fire and hurled grenades began to pepper their positions from the north, forcing the men back into trenches and behind makeshift barricades.

“Cultists,” Ceartas said coldly. He looked up, to see more dropships and even shuttle craft for vehicles descending behind the opening salvo. “We’re about to be sorely outnumbered.”

Revak nodded, before the sight of more ships approaching to the south and east caught his eye. He smiled, before lifting the pulsating relic in his hands. “Not necessarily. The militia’s here,” he said, “And something tells me some of them will see our point.”

Grinning, Seraphol nodded, before igniting his blade and leaping into the fray.

Sith Cult Beachhead

Cultist soldiers and mercenaries strode about, setting up equipment and offloading weaponry as the dark form of the Theta-class shuttle swept overhead. Slowly, their eyes all followed it, their work dropped and forgotten as it made berth on the ground. Repulsorlifts engaged to ease its landing, pushing aside dust and debris below as its landing gear stretched out to claw the soil of the planet.

With a hiss, its exit ramp slid from the underside of the craft, stabbing its way into the dirt.

Heavy boots strode slowly, confidently, toward the bottom of the ramp as he approached. On either side of him, mystics and sycophants bowed and whispered, cronies to a force beyond any of them. The long, glinting length of his lightsaber hilt made itself apparent as he approached, the twin emitters of the weapon shining in stark contrast to his dark robes.

Scrambling, the cultists nearby began to dip and bow, to prostrate themselves before their leader. “Master!” They cried, again and again, before a raised hand silenced them all.

“Get up, you fools.” Raxen Amarr’s cold eyes looked over them all, his mouth twisted into a scowl. “There are Jedi on my world. Get back to work!”


Nebula-class Star Destroyer Fey’lya’s Last Stand
High Arbra Orbit, 1730 Hours

Chaos. Pure, unadulterated chaos - and Mirus had to sit back and watch the entire thing unfold. He could not risk travel to the surface; would he, too, be corrupted by the artifact? He had wrapped the darkness about him like a cloak once before. If he were near that artifact, would he become corrupt? Perhaps. Not only that, but the Last Stand needed her commander. Someone needed to command this battle now that there was, indeed, a battle - and it was becoming problematic. With their battleteam commanding officers requesting different orders, the two corvettes were now at odds with the orders of the Aedile. This was going to be difficult.

But there was no place for doubt.

“Starboard batteries, independent targeting! Fire at will!” rang the Titan’s voice, a command as hard as durasteel. As one, the gunners on the ship’s right side opened up with a fusillade of verdant blasts, space filling up with a cacophony of green. Fighters died to the point-defence fire of the laser cannons. Freighters and corvettes detonated under the raw force of heavy turbolasers, crumpling under the might of the Nebula-class Star Destroyer and its nigh-unmatched power. The forces of the Sith cult would not survive this day if Mirus Hi’ija had anything to do about it - but this was only one aspect of the fight. It would not do well for him to let that go unresolved - but what could he do from up here with no communication?

The sudden whirring of a turbolift door opening behind him woke the Titan from his momentary reverie, forcing him to realise that he was no longer alone up here. Two robed figures had come to his aid - one wearing a simple black uniform and the other wearing the Odanite Nomad robes.

“Rhiann. Kaayn. I’m glad you’re both safe,” said Mirus suddenly, turning and nodding to the Admiral beside him and giving the Bothan command of the vessel temporarily. “I need a sitrep.”

“Bedlam and chaos, master,” said Rhiann quickly. “Sith forces have landed, we’re surrounded on all sides, and Haven Base is sealed up tight by our guys. We’re being strafed below by the Mustirion. I doubt we’re going to survive much longer like this - JScumm is injured and out of the fight, Seridan’s been incapacitated - and we don’t know where the artifact is. I don’t know what else to do.” Kaayn, too, looked pensive - Rhiann was doing all the talking but his face said it all. The situation as it stood was hopeless.

A momentary pause. “I do.”

Mirus looked to Kaayn, first - “You’re a scholar and a leader, Kaayn. I know you’re a damn good hand with a lightsaber, but I need you to do something for me. You’ve got a way with words. Get on the comm with the Pride and the Proxia. If you have to… convince the Proxia’s crew to obey, you have my permission to do so. Rein them in. I want them blowing up cultists before we all die. Can I trust you with this?”

“Of course, Aedile. You picked the right Jedi for this job.” A flash of a grin and the self-styled heroic champion was out the door, headed for the communications room to deal with this particular task.

This left Mirus to reach for his own lightsaber, the silver-plated hilt of his hand-crafted lightsaber unclipping from his belt as he handed his beloved weapon to his student.

“You are my representative in all things. Represent me on the field. Find their leader and this artifact. I have a feeling you will find both in the same place - but you will succeed. You are my Champion.”

“And then?” quizzed the Sephi, eyebrow arching in curiosity as she accepted the lightsaber, nonchalantly clipping it to her own belt.

“You know what to do.” A sudden coldness overtook the Dathomiri as he gave his last and only order. This was an important moment between master and apprentice - an ancient tradition of the Jedi known as the Concordance of Fealty, where one Jedi entrusted another with their lightsaber. It carried words, pomp and ceremony, under normal circumstances. There was no time for such tripe now, however. Rhiann had a task and she knew it, but she also knew the significance of her master’s first true weapon as the Praetor to the Herald. She had seen him labour over this blade, lovingly sculpt the crystal to the perfect shape. This was his one true lightsaber - and now it was hers.

Without words, without even looking at him again, Rhiann Baenre left the bridge of the Fey’lya’s Last Stand, ready to conquer every foe that stood in her way, bolstered by the strength of the only man she cared to listen to.

There were never any words for them.

Nebula-class Star Destroyer Fey’lya’s Last Stand, Combat Information Centre
High Arbra Orbit, 1740 Hours

Kaayn now understood why admirals liked to command battles from the safety of a starship, where they could see - the god’s-eye view was an intoxicating thing. Here you could see all the information of a battle as it unfolded; the tactical readouts of ship locations and displays, the way that the vessel moved and interacted with the millions of other pieces of information like locations of enemy ships, speeds, their bearing and so on. He knew this place. He was at home on large ships, making plans - this sort of place was, indeed, somewhere that he would have liked to be far more than his skillset allowed him to be. No, the Aedile had chosen well.

“Alright, ladies and gentlemen, let’s get to work,” announced the Jedi over the milieu. “We have two rogue ships that we need to rein in. Patch me through to the Pride of Owyhyee.

“At once!” called a technician.

The sudden, hissing voice of a heavily-masked Kel Dor came on the line without hesitation. “Acting-Captain Tel Vrak, Last Stand. How may I be of assistance?”

“This is Kaayn Salis, Acting-Captain. I trust you can carry out a task for me?”

“Of course, sir. How can I help?”

A thin smile came across the Sentinel’s lips as his master strategy formed. “Chase the Proxia Mustirion down. Hunt it down for me - but do not open fire unless I give the signal. Stay on a channel for me, just in case. Can you do that for me, Acting-Captain?”

There was a pause. “But, sir, that would put the Last Stand in danger. Are you sure about this?”

“Very sure. Get it done.” With that, Kaayn cut the line and motioned to a tech. “Get me on the horn with the Proxia Mustirion!

A pause - an obvious acceptance of the call, but silence on the other end, save the inter-station banter of different command posts interacting. They obviously did not want to talk just yet.

Proxia Mustirion, this is Jedi Sentinel Kaayn Salis. I have a very simple message for you,” Kaayn began, weaving the Force into his words as his semi-heroic speech began to take form in his mind. “Your commanding officer is dead. My team leader is corrupted by the Dark Side and you see fit to join him, to conquer the skies over your allies while you succumb to their taint. Let me fill you in on the situation.”

Over the Proxia, the Pride of Owyhyee suddenly roared into position, guns indexing and tracking - but not quite opening fire.

“You are now being targeted by our command ship and the Pride of Owyhyee. You will stand down and rejoin the battle overhead and ensure that you do not break formation. Right now you are severely outgunned and outnumbered. You have a chance for greatness here, people. You can save the lives of hundreds of Jedi and militiamen. Let your names go down in history as saviours, not conquerors, and you will be remembered for this day. Now what say you? Dare you tempt fate and rise up?”

There was a pause. A moment of indecision as Kaayn rocked back in his seat with a bemused smirk. He had put a mind trick on all of them - now to see if that appealed to their sense of adventure and ego enough.

“Acknowledged, Last Stand. Proxia Mustirion returning to position. Sorry - don’t know what came over us.”

The sky was theirs. Kaayn Salis was a hero in his own right.

Crystal Caves
Arbra Surface, 1815 Hours

T’espera knew that her feet were not carrying her fast enough any more. Revak Kur had entrusted her with the artifact, to take into the depths of the caves while the forces of Light besieged Haven Base and had ample distraction for her to hide the piece. However, she knew she couldn’t run fast enough to get away from the Light Jedi and the Sith cultists. One way or another, the little Disciple knew she had been entrusted with a mighty task. One lofty for one such as her, but with that kind of trust who was she to say no?

Breathless. She’d been running for almost an hour straight now - an hour? Two? Half an hour? Five minutes? She couldn’t know any more. This haze over her mind seemed to be a permanent fixture. She felt weary and woozy and drained - was it the little black box in her hands that was messing with her?

She stopped, resting against the cold rock of the cave walls as the luminous crystals bathed her in their warm light. A finger rested against the latch of the box as she dared to tempt fate, to open the box and see what was truly inside, what all this fuss was about.

But the sudden snap-hiss of a lightsaber behind her dissuaded her of that idea.

“Not so fast, little Jedi.”

The silky-smooth voice of Raxen Amarr behind her was enough to startle her and force her to drop the box, immediately going for her own lightsaber - a paltry thing, as it was a mere training saber, not enough to resist the power of a true saber for very long. It was a meagre offering - and she knew, in that second, that she was about to die.

And then she arrived.

Kaira Rohana, seasoned veteran of so many wars, drew her saber without a second thought. “T’espera, are you alright?” she called immediately, trying not to make light of the fact that there was a black-cloaked figure as strong as she was, an orange-bladed lightsaber already in his hands. It was hooked slightly on one end; a relic weapon, a long-handled lightsaber in his hands. It could not have a second blade, at the very least. Not many Force-users carried such a weapon, but there it was.

“I’m fine,” called the Disciple. Whatever hatred she had of one who followed the Light in that moment was overtaken by the base need to survive - and the need to murder this guy for trying to sneak up on her and stealing the artifact.

Without a second thought and in a desperate show of bravado, the Disciple leapt in as the opening play. Kaira was moments behind - and in the same moment, they both slashed their sabers in vicious arcs. Raxen Amarr, however, was skilled and keen enough to block both lightsabers in a single motion. The bright, burning orange turned about to cut wickedly first at Kaira, then at T’espera, the cultist leader deftly maneuvering the blade with one hand near its midsection and the other on its pommel, perfectly shifting the weapon like a truly skilled swordmaster.

Block - parry - block - riposte. It was a dance that Kaira and Raxen were both familiar with, and T’espera was very quickly learning on her feet. Every time the cultist went for the Disciple, Kaira was there, the saving grace of the dazzling archangel defending her less skilled compatriot in a true show of mercy and compassion. Kaira was one of the better duelists, having seen far too many battles for her own liking. In many ways she was skilled in the arts of single combat, having fought for the vicious masters of Plagueis for the longest time. Those skills were now being put to the test in the greatest way.

She thrust with her saber, grip shifting slightly to put the balance back a little for more dextrous control while T’espera thrusted forward with her blade in an equal motion moments later. She had no true saber training to speak of and was somewhat useless in this fight - but she was trying anyway, bless her heart. Amarr was quick on his feet, batting both away in a savage arc reminiscent of Ataru.

As Kaira moved in, she adjusted her duelist’s stance, getting a little lower as she carved three quick slashes in rapid succession, pushing Amarr back as she made every effort to back him against a wall. T’espera followed suit, choosing to come at him from his right side, holding her saber in two hands as she made a concerted effort to hit him. Amarr, not realising the false threat of a training saber, chose to block T’espera’s incoming strong blow, parrying high - giving Kaira a perfect lunge, into his left shoulder. The blade plunged through cleanly, causing him to howl in pain - but not quite drop his saber. No. Instead, he seemed to relish it, for the howl of pain became a maniacal laugh.

Then he sprung in a flurry of feet and blade, Spinning mid-air with a powerful leap, he performed what could only be described as an Echani hurricane kick, striking both T’espera and Kaira with one foot after the other in the same motion. The poor Disciple was sent flying backwards, saber flying out of her hand as the black-clad foot made contact with her right temple. Kaira took a similar hit to her head - and, while her resolve was strong, her body was not.

She, too, crumpled.

Raxen Amarr let out a victorious roar of triumph as he downed both Jedi, using his pure brute strength to overcome the foolish Jedi and beat them in their weakness. He looked down at the two beaten forms of the women Jedi - knowing that they were, indeed, foolish for challenging him - and then went for the artifact, ensconced in its box.

He wasn’t counting on the sound of another lightsaber activating.

“I don’t care who you are,” Rhiann said, the teal glow of her master’s lightsaber giving her the strength she needed to carry on. “Get away from the box and surrender.”

“You think you can intimidate me, little Jedi girl? Your friends are beaten! The artifact belongs to me!”

“I told you - I don’t care.”

Without a second thought Rhiann charged in, saber held in her right hand as she prepared to strike against the orange-bladed menace before her. Stopping and pivoting on her right foot, her saber slashed for his weakened shoulder, attacking the obvious weak spot that was Amarr’s open hand. He was tired, exhausted - and unable to use his weapon to its fullest capability. She was no fool; she was an emergent Royal Guard. Training with the other Guards and her Master upon Antei’s Spike taught her the fell ways of war and about the myriad weapons employed by the One Sith and their agents. This was no different.

Their sabers clashed in a vicious dance, but Rhiann refused to take a step back. She met every thrust and slash of his, controlled near the emitter of his saber, with equal precision. He felt weakened, certainly - but in that weakness she could sense his rage, trying to fight back with every power in his anger-fueled being. She’d seen this before - when Mirus fought at his fullest. She could feel the same kind of rage coming from him now. The difference was, she was used to this - and in his state, she could overcome him.

He cut. She blocked. She thrusted. He parried.

Until the moment that his foot lashed out at her knee - and she dropped slightly, buckling under the pressure of having her knee kicked in. At that moment, he blasted her back with a wave of telekinesis, knocking her master’s saber out of her hand and her into the nearest piece of stone.

With a maniacal laugh, Amarr conjured the dropped lightsaber to his hand and cut the emitter off - Mirus’ saber now reduced to a sparking pile of waste. She looked at the wreck as he cast it aside, trash to be discarded. She had lost her master’s lightsaber. Shame filled her at the sin.

“Pathetic, Jedi. You can’t even keep your lightsaber!” Raxen roared as he advanced on her, raising his saber high over his head, ready to cut her to pieces as he did so.

He didn’t know about the other lightsaber - and in one swift motion, she drew her blade, activated it in a dazzling display of azure, then sliced him in half with his saber too high over his head for him to notice.

Killed. Slain out of hand. The body fell to the floor.

Rhiann stood up and dusted herself off, deactivating her lightsaber and returning it to her side. She wiped the sweat off her brow and collected the fallen fool’s fancy lightsaber as her trophy - then the artifact in her other hand.

The new Champion of Arbra stepped over the fallen Jedi’s bodies, not even bothering to wake them up, burdened with glorious purpose. They would stir in time. The artifact, however, was hers, to be returned to the Fey’lya’s Last Stand - where, out of range, her fellow Jedi would wake from their torpor. They would wake up, realise what they had done, and this would all be over.

The cult would be routed.

Nebula-class Star Destroyer Fey’lya’s Last Stand
High Arbra Orbit, 1940 Hours


Rhiann’s return heralded a rise from Mirus in the command chair. The space battle had already been won - the timely return of the two corvettes to the battle had ended that.

“I brought you a gift. But…” Rhiann said, almost unable to finish the sentence as she handed both the long-handled lightsaber and the artifact box over to Mirus.

“You lost my saber.”

Those deep, burning blue eyes brooked stony silence from the Sephi as she hung her head in shame, having conquered a great foe but had failed at such a simple task.

“No matter, Rhi. I can always make another better one.”

She glanced up. He was a strange one - but such was dealing with the Praetor to the Herald. He had all the time in the world to craft himself the perfect weapon.

He accepted the box and placed the saber down under the chair, then resumed his seat as the Rollmaster took her rightful place at his side. “All forces, this is the Titan,” said Mirus into the comm, keying all the Jedi and their armies - light and dark alike. “Regroup and rally. Return immediately to the Fey’lya’s Last Stand. We’re going home - this cult is destroyed. Mop them up on the way out, recover all casualties. Don’t ask what side someone fought on, just get everyone home safely. To all you ‘corrupted’ Jedi…”

Mirus looked down, a hand on the box as he contemplated his next words.

“I get it. You did nothing wrong today that you could have helped. Atone for your supposed crimes by helping your brother and sister Jedi to get home safely. Recover the wounded and return to the ship. There willl be no penalty for your actions here. This battle is over, brethren. The forces of Light have won.”

Everyone around him was certainly confused, but it had to be said. To punish people for actions under a spell was cruelty. He could feel the darkness in this thing - it wasn’t going to go well for anyone if it was left to be left alive.

All they could do was count their blessings that this fight was over - and that they had won, with their morale still intact. Perhaps brothers in arms would have their bonds tested in the future. This, however, was good. This was practise… for the true war.

New Tython, Arca Praxeum Council Chambers
One Week Later

“So, it’s settled,” announced the voice of Liam Torun, leading the Council as always. “We will destroy the artifact as planned. It is far too dangerous to be left unchecked.”

The Jedi Council nodded as one, its six leading members all in agreeance. They had seen its terrible effect on minds, what it had done to all of them. All barring one.

“Since all of you were exposed to it, I’ll take the box to the vault. You all may be compromised,” said Mirus sternly. And, it was true; they had all come under its spell in one way or another. On that planet, so many people had come under the influence; as a result of the battle, there would be new positions of power because the tides of battle had turned and people had developed and displayed new skills. Perhaps there would be a field promotion for someone, somewhere along the line. Mirus wished sorely to promote the little Disciple that almost did the impossible - fight off a true Dark Side wielder.

“Very well. Aedile Hi’ija will take the box to the vaults for destruction. This session is adjourned.”

As the others rose to converse amongst themselves about the happenings of their recent little sojourn, Mirus shot Rhi a glance on his way out, the box tucked securely under his arm against the chest of his armour. He had a job to do now - and none would stop the Aedile of Odan-Urr when he had a mission to carry out. The long-handled saber, taken from the body of a dead man, was enough to deter all that would interrupt him.

Then, once away from the Council chambers, he took his comlink and raised it to his lips, paging his agents in Olympus Squad. “Get me a secure line to the Grand Master - I come bearing gifts.”

This box was not meant for destruction. This box had higher purpose - somewhere, hidden away, on this planet, where the Jedi could not get their hands on it. A time bomb, ticking away, waiting for the right moment to explode in a furious firestorm. The agents of the Brotherhood were everywhere - and this saber was proof that eyes and ears were on Odan-Urr, everywhere they went. After all, no true Praetor to the Herald would miss this design. It came straight out of the higher archives of the machine shops; this was a saber he knew. When he had accepted the blade from Rhiann, he understood everything that needed to happen. Everything that he needed to do - and just how to do it.

Once, this planet had been devastated as a reminder of the Jedi’s subservience to the Brotherhood, that they existed at the mercy of the Grand Master. One day, perhaps, if they needed reminding of that fact again, then the new Praetor to the Grand Master’s actions would be sufficient to unglue them from within.

His own affliction had taken hold.