[ARC-COU] Tides of Change

(Satsi Tameike Arconae) #1

Tides of Change

Prologue: The Waves Begin


The Citadel, Selen
Throne Room
39 ABY

Legorii Arconae recognized little of his Clan’s throne room any longer.

Where once shadows presided, warm light filled the room, soft music constantly humming from within. Braziers burning gold, blue, crimson, and purple lined the walls, the main walkway, the empty spaces of the chamber. Wreaths of fresh foliage twined their way up all the pillars, native vines and flowers carefully arranged by some droll decorator or another. At the far end of the hall, an immense set of steps led up to a regal dias backed by leaping flames that shifted from lavender to white and back again. Before the flames, atop the dais, rested a throne of coiled serpents and sharp edges.

In the throne’s seat lounged a white-haired, blindfolded woman in pale blue robes. She wore a soft smile, features relaxed and head tipped back in quiet joy, as if lifting her face to a pleasant summer breeze.

“No wonder Marick never sat here,” Atyiru Caesura Entar murmured, breaking the deeper silence between the two of them. “I can feel…everyone. It’s almost overwhelming. He would’ve hated it.”

“He had his preferences,” the Anzat said neutrally, red eyes narrowing as they fixed on his Consul.

“And you have yours,” the Miraluka replied. She turned her head. “I don’t need the Throne to feel your dissatisfaction, Legorii. I can sense it from across the compound. When exactly are you going to tell me what’s got your proboscis in a knot, my friend? I’ve never know you to keep your counsel silent.”

The Anzat looked around the chamber slowly again, as if acknowledging all the changes one by one. Then, he settled his eyes back on his new Consul and wrinkled his bulbous nose as if he smelled something vile without a word.

“Yes, but tell me how you really feel,” Atyiru chirped, knitting her brow into an exaggerated scowl.

“I think there are more…pressing matters. Agree or disagree with Marick’s approach to the Throne, his methods bore results.”

Atyiru folded her arms across her chest and raised an eyebrow, challenging the Anzat to continue to deflecting onto her predecessor.

“Not to say that your efforts have not been effective,” Legorii added blandly.

The recently anointed Arconae had served Arcona longer than anyone currently standing on the Arcona Summit. He had dealt with madmen, pariahs, heroes, and martyrs all. He could handle an overly-enthusiastic woman. Still, fatigue had started to tear at the corners of his sanity.

“What do you suggest then?” the Shadow Lady asked, tone changing to something more encouraging.

“We need something to focus on. A te—”

“—Don’t you dare say the word “test.’”

“—temporary goal,” the Proconsul finished his sentence with a slight curl of his lips. “Something for them to focus on.”

“I often wish peace was enough for once. It certainly takes more effort. Isn’t that something to focus on?” Atyiru sighed, even though her voice indicated knew the answer.

“Peace is a lie, Atyiru. Look around you—”

The Miraluka waved her hand in front of her blindfold.

Legorii took a breath and exhaled slowly through his wide nostrils before finishing. “They need something more. Anything.”

Atyiru nodded once, and then smiled warmly at her Proconsul. “I will work towards it. Thank you for your insight, my friend.”

The Citadel, Selen
Consul’s Office
39 ABY

“Bly-Bly!”

“…yes, ma’am?”

“I am utterly bored.”

“That is unfortunate, my Lady.”

“We must remedy this.”

“I believe it would be best to remedy that particular problem after your reports are finished, ma’am.”

“But—”

“I’d have to advise against it, my Lady.”

“Oh, come now, just a quick break from the reports. It’s been nearly six hours. I’ll go speak with my people! Hear their concerns!”

“The last time you did that, ma’am, I had to pull you out of a bar fight you and your ‘people’ incited.”

“It was one time—”

“Three.”

“Oh my goodness, Bly, must you keep track of everything?”

“It’s my job, my Lady.”

“Boo,” the Shadow Lady grumbled, lifting another datapad from her stack in defeat. Just as she did so, the communicator in her desk beeped rapidly.

Atyiru raised her brows, a smile creeping wide across her face. Captain Bly glanced away, straightening professionally.

The comm beeped again.

“I should get that,” the Miraluka said smugly, tabbing the activation switch. A small hologram of a teal-eyed, fairly muscled figure appeared, his grin bright and kind, his garb that of a simple man.

“Hey there, sista,” the holo greeted.

Atyiru gave a small squeal, clapping her hands together. “Turel! My friend! I’ve been so concerned for you, bumblefluff! What’ve you been doing since you last checked in? How’s New Tython? Did you meet any girls? Boys? Tell me everything.”

Turel Sorenn chuckled sheepishly, his computerized miniature rubbing the back of his neck. “We can catch up, sure, but I was actually hoping to talk about something else first. I’m calling to liaison with Arcona…on behalf of Odan-Urr.”

The Consul straightened in her seat, smile fading as her face grew solemn. “I see. Captain Bly,” she turned to address the man briefly. “Please clear the room and summon the summit to the courtyard chambers.”

“Yes, my Lady,” the captain replied, bowing before he waved to his men and left the office.

Atyiru aimed a gentle expression back at the holocommunicator. “Now, Turel…you have my attention.”

“This is an official message on behalf of High Councillor A’lora Kituri. We’d like to formally request your help.”

“Tell me everything.”

The Citadel, Selen
Courtyard chambers
39 ABY

“Ya can’t make my frakkin’ life easy, can ya, Atts? O’sik.”

“Oh, hush, my friend. You’d be terribly bored without me.”

“Don’t be so frakkin’ relaxed ‘bout this! They’re gonna kill ya, and if ya don’ realize that, yer dummer than I thought.”

“Two things, Jax,” the Miraluka held up two slim, calloused fingers. “For one, don’t be so pessimistic! For two, you’re going to have to specify who, exactly, would want to be getting stabby with me. And for three—”

“Woman, ya jus’ said it was two karking things.”

“Yes, but three is a more proper number, so kindly shut up,” sniffed the Consul, raising a third finger. “For three, I’m perfectly aware some of our people will be unhappy.”

“We’re already unhappy,” Strategos Entar Arconae said cheerily, a glass of brandy in hand. “Have you seen the dismal lack of a liquor collection in here?”

“Noooope! Haven’t seen a thing.”

Arcia Cortel’s glare was icy and flat. “Atyiru, can you not?” she asked, though her tone implied a few extra expletives.

“What? I’m serious, Arcy.”

“Hi serious, I’m Ernordeth,” the Galeres Aedile muttered, earning himself a sharp look from his Quaestor that carried the promise of airlocks. Valtiere snorted at his colleagues’ antics.

“Sister,” Timeros stated, his dispassionate tones cutting through the growing tension like a fine plasma blade. “I suggest you arrange measures to guard your person, in the event that you neglect your training. Again.”

“We stand ready to guard your body,” Celevon volunteered, the Qel-Droman speaking for his many associates, shadowy and otherwise.

“I’ll kill anyone that gets in our way,” Skar snarled from behind his mask. Rhiann merely gave a sniff, needing no more to convey her cold willingness to do horrible things to their enemies.

“Calm yourself. A good commander knows better,” Uji sighed. For some reason, the Nighthawk captain always seemed to be offering the Kaleesh advice, like a long lost relative. Next to him, Soulfire’s leader merely rolled his eyes and flicked his bangs out of his face.

“Oi, I know bet—”

“Silence!” Atyiru cried, standing from her single chair with a ruffle of fabric. All her teasing manner was gone. “If we cannot do any more than squabble and bicker here, then we will accomplish nothing for this Clan. Is Arcona not what unites us?”

“Arcona is everything,” Legorii hissed, finally speaking up.

“And we’re the best,” Nadrin added, as if that made all their troubles perfectly untroublesome.

Atyiru exhaled, then smiled at her gathered summit, gently, and gestured out towards the cityscape. “What do you all think I see out there?”

“Frak all,” Jax commented.

The Miraluka threw back her head and laughed. “Ah, that’s a good one, and fair. But you know what I meant.”

“Look, Atts, I ain’t about ta speak for ya or any of the sparkfingers in here,” the Fade’s eyes flickered around, unintimidated by the cadre of powerful Dark Jedi. “But me? When I look out there, I see a planet and a city and some people, some normal, some freaks like you.”

“Thanks.”

“Yer welcome.”

“So you just see…whatever? A city with people?”

“Ain’t anything but that, and if ya try to make it all philosophical and the like, then yer brains are made of bantha fodder.”

Several of the Arconans snorted.

“It could be argued that you’re no smarter for judging so,” Atyiru said, shaking her head. She gave another quiet sigh. “The world is changing, my friends. I met so many…dark people when I came to the Brotherhood. People whose spirits festered with anger and greed and pride. But you know what? Few have I met that had nothing but darkness to them. And Arcona…I came here and I found a bunch of misfits just as broken up and confused as I was.”

The Consul turned, walking over to the window that offered no view to her sightless gaze. The Citadel courtyard stretched out below, filled with clansmen, and beyond that, Estle City. She folded her hands faithfully in front of her, rocking back on her heels.

“These days…by the Force, we’ve got all kinds. Assassins, warriors, gladiators, criminal hackers, former soldiers and pilots, dancers…scholars, medics, mercenaries, robo-crystals…by all my gods, we’ve even got an author or two. We have people out there, in both Qel-Droma and Galeres, getting married. We have people having families, or choosing their new family, or reuniting with old. Force-user and mundane, light-souled and dark, we have them all. Do you realize that?”

She paused, waiting for a few murmurs of confirmation. Jax piped up again.

“Ya have a point yer gonna get to, righ’?”

Atyiru gave him a universally understood rude gesture, and the Fade, along with several others, chuckled.

“My point…is that we’re a mess. We’re a beautiful mess, and I want us to be brilliant. ‘Light is limited, but darkness is infinite,’ we all say. But why limit ourselves to darkness? Why not just be infinite? That’s what I want for us. Arcia, you asked me that, asked me where I intended to take the Clan, right after I was appointed Consul. I didn’t have an answer for you then. But I do now.”

Atyiru turned to face her brethren, lifting her chin. “I want to bring us balance, and to do that, I must open us up to change. We’ll be hurt along the way, and no one will end up with exactly what they wanted, but we can’t be deaf and blind to what’s going on around us any longer. We’ve been changing. But taking the next step, well…someone’s got to do it, and if that incites unrest, so be it.”

Jax merely shrugged. “Ya know I’ll follow you, Atts. Don’t gotta give me no frakkin’ speeches.”

Timeros, with the other Arconae, inclined his head, saying without words that he was loyal, as he always had been. Legorii sneered but nodded. Arcia, Ernordeth and Valtiere, military trained, gave sharp salutes. Celevon and Strategos merely grinned. One by one, each of the gathered leaders offered some form of professional agreement, whether begrudging or enthusiastic.

Atyiru smiled, shoulders sagging with slight relief. “Well, come on then. It’s about time.”

“For what?”

“To address the rest of the Clan. Those not gathered in the courtyard can watch via holo. We’ve got to announce our big playdate.”

Atyiru walked forward. Stopped. Breathed. Then, she threw open the doors and strode out into the morning.

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(Satsi Tameike Arconae) #2

####Part One: Into the Deep


Arconan Fleet
Bridge of the NSD Invicta

It was the deep breath before plunging into the unknown. The glinting sparkle of light dappling on cold water before diving into the deep silence beneath. The heartbeat before a heart stopped.

Arranged in formation against the backdrop of space zipping by at hyperspeeds, the Arcona Expeditionary Force was a magnificent sight to behold. Utilizing the standard screen formation, each ship was positioned for maximum firepower on arrival, neglecting defensive strategies. It was clear that the battle was intended to end as fast as it would begin.

It was to be a massacre.

“Our units are in position for our imminent arrival, Shadow Lord. Shall I give the word?” Legorii asked, proboscis tubes shivering with the prospect of feeding upon the ‘soup’ of his opponents: O’reenians or Jedi, he hungered for his fill, just as he hungered to prove his Clan’s strength.

Running her fingers through her platinum stands absently, Atyiru Caesura Entar was only half-aware of the Anzat’s approach. Teeth bright white against the dim lighting of the Invicta’s bridge, her lips quirked into a tiny smile - at least someone was finding some manner of happiness in this would-be slaughter.

“Do you have any gods, my friend?” the Consul questioned, ignoring her Proconsul’s query for a moment.

“No,” answered the Epis shortly. He folded his hands behind his back, standing firm before the maw of space that gaped in front of them, as though he himself was a cold star, fixed in black.

“Ahh,” Atyiru murmured, lifting her chin and inhaling once. “Give the word, then, brother, and I will pray for us all.”

Legorii gave a slight sneer, but nonetheless bowed his head and turned, issuing commands. The bridge burst into another flurry of activity as final orders were given. Comm channels opened, and all across the fleet, from the BAC Shadow to the Darkest Night, pilots, soldiers, and commanders alike were given the all-clear.

Ashla and Bogan…please, I beg you, grant these souls we are about to send to the Void peace. Shelter them in the Force, and let them know mercy…for they will find none here.

She exhaled.

Seven heartbeats. That was how long it took before the streaming ribbons of passing stars dropped into stillness and the world became flame.

“Launch squadrons and open fire,” the Shadow Lady said.

Before them, the nothingness of space lit up with bolts of plasma, raining destruction on their targets. Nearby, a squadrons of fighters from Odan-Urr’s smaller fleet hailed them, circling around the space station they defended. Below them, New Tython’s utopian surface and her two moons stood in vigil as countless numbers died in silence.

At last they had arrived, and the real battle for Sanctuary had begun.

Yhi System
New Tython Orbit
Sanctuary Space Station

“Arconan fleet dropping out of hyperspace!”

Technicians, communications officers, and skilled operatives shouted throughout the Sanctuary’s reinforced passages. Couriers raced along like womprats, delivering commands and information across the complex. Seated in front of hundreds of technical readouts, the operatives were at this moment the Sancuary’s first and last line of defense. Their fingers plucked at consoles with the unison of a Bith orchestra.

But it wasn’t enough.

A bassnote reflected through the station’s interior. Deafening, the shrill screech of metal upon metal followed as one of the corridors bursted into flame. “We’re breached!” one nondescript humanoid shouted above the alarms, waving hands frantically above his head. The inferno that had once been the aft gunnery section would have consumed the entire station, if the controls hadn’t been sliced open with a lightsaber.

Seridan Brehevik withdrew his weapon from the control box, mustering all he could through the Force to pull the others to safety, before the airlock sealed behind them. Three came crashing down onto the ceramic floor, inches from burning alive in a searing flame.

“Friend or foe?” the Miraluka shouted above the screams suddenly silenced as the compartment vacuumed out into space, ripped apart under the loss of pressure.

“Judging from their response, Sir…” the communications officer began, adjusting the collar of his uniform, “They’re with us.”

New Tython
Menat Ombo
Tythonian Palace

“This is an outrage!” shouted one of ministers gathered around a holofeed of the battle over the Sanctuary space station, while Menat Ombo’s residents stared skyward. A sizable gathering, the leaders of the Tythonian Colonial Alliance argued for hours, even as the skies darkened. A triangular shadow obscured Menat Ombo from the sunlight, basking it in darkness.

The streets outside were filled with Menat Ombo’s citizens, all of them in silent prayer to whichever gods would hear them. Inside, the debates concerning two unannounced fleets waging war overhead with Sanctuary caught in the middle went unabated.

“Ministers,” Solari addressed, his vocoder tuned to drown out the heated argument, “I would suggest civility in these issues. An unprovoked attack on the Arconan fleet would add to our problems, not solve them. Besides - “

“ - I summoned them.” the High Councillor finished, offering a resentful stare at the irritating minister. Her Lekku fell around her shoulders as she paced around the ring of desks and chairs, the quarterstaff in her grip hitting the polished tiles with each stride.

The eldest of the ministers scoffed, “If our government is to be overturned at every opportunity, them perhaps the Jedi should be elected into power!” he challenged, wrinkled features forming a sneer.

Piercing violet eyes shot the minister a fierce glance. Nausinikos clacked the overbite of his jaw once, shifting uncomfortably as his hand drew closer to his lightsaber, muscles coiling in response to the hostile environment. Liam Torun shook his head from the other side of the room, signalling for the Draethos to remain calm. In truth, the tension hung so thick that Liam Torun thought it could be cut with a knife.

“Perhaps,” she offered in response, turning from his scrutinizing gaze to face the others. “This particular situation required a personal touch. Arcona would not have responded in time if this were brought before the cabinet. As Jedi, Arcona’s interest is with us.”

“Thank you, High Councillor.” Gideon Varos rose from his seat, extending arms in both directions, “Relax, ministers. As Prime Minister, I trust in the Jedi’s judgement and call this meeting adjourned.”

New Tython Orbit
Bridge of the Maximus

The skies over New Tython were ablaze. Approaching from behind their fleet, the Arcona Expeditionary Force decimated the undefended flanks; the first O’reenian ships to self-destruct were the most valuable. As the O’reenian flagship, Maximus, rotated to face the invaders, its captain learned the definition of fear in a heartbeat.

“Sending the coordinates to the Magnus, captain. Echo-one-four.”

The captain disregarded the announcement, staring as a blank slate towards the viewport; beyond it, his doom.

“Shall I call for an evacuation, Sir?” asked the executive officer, standing at attention.

He simply pushed several buttons on his command console and addressed the communications officer, “Comm, send a priority message to the Second fleet.” he paused for mere moments before continuing, “Mission Failure. Enemy forces are overwhelming. We are requesting additional units to take the objective. The Seventh fleet has been lost. Assets are still in enemy hands. Praise the Magnus. End. Encrypt with a level twelve cipher and send,” the comm officer simply nodded and followed his orders.

The captain clasped his hands at the small of his back, struggling to keep his emotions hidden beneath a blank expression. “We go down with the ship, gentlemen. It has been an honor serving with you. Begin self-destruct sequence. And Praise the Magnus,” he commanded, knowing it to be his final order.

“Praise the Magnus,” the crew echoed and saluted their captain, before the ship disintegrated into the void.

New Tython Orbit
After the Battle for Sanctuary

The Arconan fleet had settled into orbit as the debris from the O’reenian ships drifted into space or burned up in the atmosphere of the blue marble below. It was unsettling for most of the crews aboard the two Urrian Assassin-class corvettes. Only a few years earlier this same fleet had attacked and decimated New Tython, and now here they were, helping the Space Militia halt the O’reenian attack.

JScumm observed the multitude of ships through his viewscreen and his sensor readouts. He tracked their vectors, positions and even their power management. He knew, though, that even if they attacked, they wouldn’t stand a chance against the Expeditionary force. Not without the Last Stand and the Triumph standing guard. He cursed their bad timing and the mission that sent the two capital ships away from home in such a crucial moment. There was tension in the air as thick as glacier ice and everyone could feel it. While the Consuls deliberated, the soldiers held the line.

“Sir,” the ops officer drew his attention, “I’m picking up some readings on our long-range sensors. Multiple targets in hyperspace converging on our vector.”

JScumm scanned through his sensor display, now turned towards deep space. The readouts were massive. Something big was coming their way.

“The Pride and the Arconan fleet confirm our sensor reading, sir. It’s no fluke.”

“ETA?”

“Ten seconds, sir. The Arconans are moving.”

“General quarters. All hands to battlestations,” the Jedi Commander ordered as he sat down on his chair. What are you planning, damn you? he thought as he continued to observe the Arconan fleet.

“They’re jumping in. Twelve contacts confirmed.” The sensor display blinked with flashing lights as one after another, O’reenian ships jumped into the system. Ten in total, including several Imperial-class Star Destroyers. “By the Force. It’s an attack fleet, sir.”

A frown formed on the veteran Jedi’s head. He didn’t expect another attack so soon. “Helm get us into formation with the Arconans. Best we can do now is follow their lead.”

Another light flashed on the ops console. “I have two more signatures incoming, sir, directly behind the enemy,” he jumped in his seat, “It’s the Triumph and the Last Stand! The cavalry has arrived!” Cheers echoed through the bridge.

JScumm smiled but clenched his fists. The first battle for Sanctuary was over thanks to the Arconans, but the war for Sanctuary had only just begun. And no one would leave it unscathed.

“Coordinate with the Expeditionary force and the rest of our fleet. Engage the enemy.”

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(Kasula Daegella) #3

New Tython Orbit
Bridge of the BAC Darkest Night

Flames licked from the duralloy of starships, the vented atmosphere now burning like torches in the cold vacuum of space. War was a long process - it took sacrifices and leadership to overcome. Beneath the uniform of her command, Arcia Cortel knew that cause carried an effect. Whatever the cause, she knew that her crew needed to survive this battle - this war. Otherwise, the effect was meaningless.

The Darkest Night stood concealed in the shadow of the Invicta. The Bothan Assault Cruiser remained still as the void, having cut all power from the non-essential systems. Radiating minimal heat, it was virtually undetectable where it lingered, waiting for the opportune moment to lash out.

“Our fighters are taking losses. We must attack the enemy’s’ fleet!” the voice of the Darkest Night’s executive officer rang out to be heard throughout the bridge. A decorated officer from his time in the Imperial Remnant, Dal Hodezan wasn’t usually one to question orders - much less the orders of his commanding officer. The Darkest Night’s sudden unwillingness to fight was disconcerting to him, along with a number among his crew.

Arcia stood rigid against the backdrop of laserfire and proton torpedoes. Platinum bangs fell around her features, framing the bone structure of one fit for command. Her jaw clenched, muscles coiled while she listened to the distressed ramblings of her Executive Officer. When the Advozse finally ceased his berating, she turned to face the crew with the formal demeanour of an Imperial Officer.

“Gentlemen, I know that our role here has elevated concerns. Rest assured that within minutes, the O’reenian flagship, Magnus, will have exposed itself to a full broadside assault.” She cocked a brow at her Executive Officer. “At which point, the Magnus will feel the full firepower of this vessel as soon as the Invicta wears down their defenses. Am I clear?”

“Yes, ma’am.” The Advose cleared his throat, nodding the command to his subordinates, “You have your orders, make it happen.”


New Tython Orbit
Sanctuary Space Station

Even the combined losses from the Arconan Expeditionary Fleet and the Tythonian Space Militia were pale in comparison to the state of the Sanctuary Space Station. Trails of durasteel and ceramic strewn out through space engulfed the installation. Most of the gunneries had long since been evacuated or vacuumed into space, leaving the station with little defense against the O’reenian Second Fleet.

Running with little more than a skeleton crew, the Sanctuary fought on as the O’reenian fleet wore down under the bombardment of the allied forces - Jedi and Sith, working together in unison. An alliance, it would seem, that might not have been doomed to fail - for even as the main threat dwindled to a handful of vessels, the Arconans and Odanites made no move against each other.

Barking orders to the handful of remaining operatives under his command, the station’s captain felt the tension releasing from his shoulders, watching as two more of the O’reenian vessels were torn apart on their sensors. He almost didn’t notice the shuttle docking aboard the deteriorating space station.

“Kaira Rohana? I wasn’t informed of your arrival. We’re glad to have a Jedi aboard,” he stammered through the comlink. In truth, the Mon Calamari was astounded that a shuttle would be returning to the station; he had ordered the evacuation of nonessential personnel hours ago.

“Captain Flipp,” she answered, a concerned tone creeping into her voice. “I came here as a warning. The station is in grave danger. I sense…”

New Tython Orbit
Sanctuary Space Station
***Docking Bay

“Perilous, isn’t it?” a familiar voice spat, the distinctive thrum of a lightsaber filling the hangar in front of Kaira, cutting her off from the command deck. Basking in the emerald glow, a distinctive shape took form - humanoid, with a pair of head-tails wrapped around its shoulders.

“Alaris,” she answered shortly, igniting her own magenta blade in defense. “Stand aside, SIth.”

“My apprentice,” the Twi’lek chuckled. “Don’t you remember? I told you that I would kill you for joining this rabble, these… Jedi.” His lekku twitched and curled in anticipation, the last word rolling off his tongue like venom. A cerulean hand reached over, pulling free the clasp of his midnight cloak in a single motion to let it fall from his shoulders.

“Captain Flipp, call for the evacuation of all remaining crew. Immediately!” she called into the comlink before tossing it to the ground, the device clattering against the durasteel floor. She readied herself, lightsaber extended in front of her to ward off incoming blows.

“Makashi! You surprise me, even now.” the man scoffed.

Lips forming a sadistic smile, the man circled his opponent. It had been a long while since he last killed someone who could prove a match for his skill with a lightsaber. Closing in, he ensured that his former apprentice would have no place to go.

New Tython Orbit
The Magnus

“We lost contact with the fleet, Captain. Our forward shields are failing, and we’re on a collision course with the station.”

Since the sudden alliance between the Jedi and Sith, the O’reenians had suffered great losses. The Magnus’ captain knew that it was a matter of time before the grave of the first fleet became their own. Around the flagship of the second fleet, what remained of the vessels of his command burned as their atmospheres ignited into brilliant blazes of orange. In silent respect, he gave a nod when each ship triggered their self-destruction sequences before falling into enemy hands.

“Retain current course and redirect all power to the engines,” he ordered, without question from his crew. His soldiers were trained to follow orders, fearless and prepared to die at their post. Cowardice wasn’t becoming of an O’reenian, after all.

The Magnus, named in honor of their glorious leader, lurched in response. It plummeted through the debris field surrounding the Sanctuary Space Station, approaching maximum velocity. “Praise the Magnus,” he whispered, closing his eyes in silent respect for their leader. Even in death, he would not fail the Magnus’ will. His success was assured.

New Tython Orbit
Sanctuary Space Station

“All men, abandon the station!” the Mon Calamari captain ordered, pointing a flippered hand in the direction of the nearest hangar. “The station is lost, I repeat - “

The station lurched again, its hull buckling under the pressure of debris being accelerated at unimaginable speeds. It was all he could do to fall onto the deck, stabilizing himself on unsteady legs. “Status report!”

“Sir! It appears that the debris cloud was displaced. Something’s on a collision course! I don’t think we’re going to make it.”

“On your feet!” his captain ordered, dragging the officer from his chair and tossing him towards the hangar. “We’re all making it out of this alive, even if I need to toss your hide into the escape hatch!”

Ahead of them, the clash of lightsabers announced something else. Bulbous orbs studied the face of Kaira Rohana, battling against another foe he hadn’t seen before. Regardless, he knew better than to risk the life of his crew and waste their one chance at making it out of this forsaken place alive. Two escape pods remained - the furthest directly behind the blue-skinned Twi’lek facing off against his former apprentice.

Directing the remainder of his crew past the battle and into the undefended escape hatch, Captain Flipp ensured that he would be the last to leave the station - even if he had to remain behind to save the crew. Bulbous eyes reflected the pulsating warning indicators that flashed red with each heartbeat.

“SIr! I can’t - “ the last operative shouted above the thrum of both lightsabers and the cacophony of alarms, collapsing onto the durasteel meters from the hatch. It took less than a few seconds before a flippered hand wrenched his arm around the captain’s shoulders and he was tossed into the escape pod unceremoniously.

Smirking, the unknown assailant sent out a wave of Force energy from his outstretched palm, sending the station’s captain crashing into the hatch controls before retreating into the escape pod behind him. His lekku trailed on the air as the door sealed behind him.

Curls of strawberry blonde followed the Jedi as Kaira raced to the captain’s side, realizing that their fate had been sealed minutes ago. The escape hatch controls were all but ruined - little more than tangles of loose cables remained of them.

“Master Jedi,” the Mon Calamari coughed flecks of blood. “One of us will need to seal the door for the others. A captain always goes down with his…”

He didn’t have enough time to finish his farewell before a second push of the Force tossed him into the compartment, the door sealing the escape pod’s atmosphere and releasing it within a matter of seconds.

Blood streamed down a gaping wound in Kaira’s forehead, but she felt no pain. She held no regrets, no suffering or sorrow. Compassion was her strength, and her weakness; it was the will of the Force for her to care for those in need, to place the lives of others above her own. Kneeling, she waited for the inevitable, a final chant in her mind:

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.

———

New Tython
Menat Ombo

The citizens of Menat Ombo cheered, the skies overhead falling silent as the O’reenian threat was no more. Thousands of its inhabitants gathered around the Tythonian Palace, gazing skyward in wonder as the light of Yhi returned to bathe New Tython in a golden radiance. A trio of TIE Fighters soared overhead with X-wings in tow in celebration, and to announce that the battle was indeed won.

The heroes of the conflict on the surface blended in with the crowd, joining in the spectacle that loomed overhead. “Well, that was fun wasn’t it? Let’s do that again!” the shrill voice of a Twi’lek girl squeaked in excitement as the fighters passed overhead for a second time.

Xirini smirked, leaning against the outside of the Tipsy Tusken while regarding K’tana carefully to make sure she didn’t stab someone out of excitement. The Cathar’s hands still twitched with the sensation of firing a blaster for so long, so she reserved to fold her arms across her chest, instead.

Things had been set in motion - as allegiances shifted, the old hatred between Jedi and Sith would be cast aside to make way for a new pact between the age-old rivals….

(Satsi Tameike Arconae) #4

Epilogue: Where the Tides Take Us


New Tython
Day after the Battle of Sanctuary

The festivities and celebration were short-lived after the Battle of Sanctuary. News was widespread of the loss of loved ones, and the heroics of those who died in the battle, both Tythonian and Dajorran. What was once a crowded street of spectators with their gaze drawn to the heavens now stood desolate. Only a handful citizens remained outside, gathered on the steps of the Tythonian Palace, tending the candles in silence - one for each of the fallen.

Looming over the horizon was the Nebula-class Star Destroyer Invicta, once a visage of destruction to the citizens below, now a shield to keep them safe. Rested amidst a field of detritus, the Arconan flagship watched over the remnants for signs of life. The debris from the station scattered over Owyhyee like burial ashes, and all of New Tython saw its flames as it fell through the sky. All those unable to board the last escape pod leaving the station - among them Kaira Rohana, one of the most prominent masters in the Praxeum - were lost, but remembered and would never be forgotten.

“Ashla and Bogan,” Atyiru Caesura Entar whispered in prayer, bowing her head in respect for those who had lost their lives. “Take these souls and watch over them.”

If it weren’t for the vestigial sockets beneath her blindfold, it might have been soaked with tears shed for the victims of this battle. It wasn’t becoming of a Sith and she was thankful that it didn’t show. For months the Miraluka had taken the mantle of Shadow Lady, having her devotion to both the Dark and Light Side tested at every momentous decision.

Legorii Arconae watched in silence, the exposed tendrils of his probosci twitching outside of their sheaths. Unlike his Consul, he felt no remorse - not while his mind seethed with hatred. He was denied the life-force of the Jedi and O’reenians, instead forced to watch as all sides suffered losses from the comfort of the Invicta.

Were it not for the barrier of durasteel and ceramic around him, Legorii would have drunk his fill. His time was wasted in the false security and luxuries in the flagship while the O’reenians were slaughtered, meeting an end in an inferno of blasterfire and torpedoes instead of at the point of a lightsaber. Crimson orbs seemed to glow in their sockets as his rage unfurled, sticking to the air and clogging his senses.

“You should have let me feed on their ‘soup’. I could have organized a boarding party and dealt with the O’reenians as I saw fit,” Legorii seethed through his discomfort.

“If I had allowed that, how would you have survived the self-destruction of their ships?” Atyiru smirked, despite the sorrow of countless losses and the thick air permeating the room.

Legorii knew the truth - it was probably for the best that his was denied his prize, but it still didn’t feel right. Sith took what they wanted, and he was prevented from reaping his reward.

“And what of this ‘alliance?’” Legorii mocked, the last word dripping with venom. “You can’t expect me to submit to the commands of these miscreants.”

The question went unanswered for a long time - too long. Air filled her nostrils as the Miraluka took shallow breaths. Skin began to itch under the fabric of her blindfold, but she would not scratch, nor move. When her response finally came, it wasn’t in the form of an answer, but a command.

“Summon the High Councillor.”

“If that is your will,” the Anzat answered with a bow. “Shadow Lady.”

Arca Praxeum
Concurrent

“Stay on alert until I inform you otherwise, General Sol,” the Odan-Urr Proconsul spoke out loud, thinking she was the only one in the Praxeum’s Council chamber. Vorsa lowered her communicator on the table and looked at her Consul, now standing near the entrance. True to her skill, she had walked in undetected.

“How long have you been there?” the Neti asked calmly.

“Long enough to hear that,” she replied with a stern look. “What are you doing?”

Now the general turned to face A’lora, rising up to her tallest height in her current form. “Whatever is necessary to prevent another invasion of New Tython.”

“Times have changed, Vorsa. Please don’t tell me you, of all people, have any misgivings about this alliance,” the Consul retorted.

“No. I trust your visions more than anyone else in the Clan, A’lora, and even though this one is turning out to be accurate, even you can misinterpret sometimes. All I am doing is preparing for an eventuality.”

A’lora sighed and shook her head. The Neti was right, of course, and it was her job to keep an eye on anything the Togruta might have missed. Vorsa lived in the ‘now’ just as her philosophy dictated, and she was worried about the bigger picture.

“I am sorry,” the Neti spoke first. “For not informing you beforehand. I had thought it would affect your talks with Arcona. I should trust you more.” She stood up to leave.

“V’yr,” A’lora called the Neti by her first name, the only person who did so and only very rarely. “How much did you learn by observing the Arconans?”

Vorsa turned around just before the doorway leading into the Praxeum proper, and smiled.
“Enough to win.”

NSD Invicta
Hours later

Patience wasn’t in the vocabulary of many Sith. As the moments turned into hours of waiting for the esteemed High Councillor to arrive, so too did Celevon’s patience begin to stretch. As a show of faith, the path between the Invicta’s docking hangar and the mission briefing room had been cleared of crew members in anticipation for the peace talks. Unmasked save for an expression that showed prickling annoyance, the Shadicar watched the Shadow Lady dutifully. With the Anzat nowhere in sight, he was to be her eyes and ward against possible assassination attempts for the duration of the meeting.

After such a long and arduous battle, everyone was on edge; their senses as sharp as the point of a blade. Keen with the reflexes of a deadly shadow, Celevon had a blade of his own concealed beneath the folds of his robe, mounted in his wrist and awaiting his command.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

Footfalls reverberated into the chamber - two sets, along with the rhythmic pounding of a quarterstaff against durasteel.

True to the agreement, A’lora Kituri arrived alone with a single Sentinel at her side. Lekku trailing behind them, the two Togruta lacked for contrast aside from the analogous skin pigmentation between the Jedi. Were it not for the subtle differences between them, the pair might have been mistaken for siblings or twins.

Not unlike the Sith assassin lingering across the compartmentalized space, Aaleeshah also carried a blade of her own. Concealed beneath the lekku draped around her shoulders rested two vibroknives tucked into discrete sheaths. She locked gazes with the Shadicar, who gave a polite grin that was closer to a grimace in return, and inclined his raven head.

Chestnut lips eased into a smile around white teeth. Sensing the tension hanging between the two guardsmen, Atyiru Caesura Entar cut the silence, spreading her arms and bowing kindly. “Welcome to the Invicta, my friends.”

It seemed as if the High Councillor was going to walk through the briefing chamber with the knotted quarterstaff hitting the ground with each stride. She stopped mere inches from the Arconan, lifting a hand in greeting. Concern flooded through the assassin’s core at the intrusion, taking a step forward to defend his charge.

His advance was halted when Aaleeshah moved one of her head-tails to display one of the knives, her gaze shooting daggers at the masked Obelisk. If it weren’t for the mask of decorum he kept in place, Celevon would have already moved to disarm the woman.

Unrelenting despite the Shadow Lady’s soothing voice, the Fallanassi’s facial features remained hard with a fierceness and determination unmatched. “I know that the Force has guided me to this moment, but what does Arcona have to gain through this recent alliance?” A’lora asked, her quarterstaff planted firmly between them.

Bright smile unbreaking, the Arconan Consul arched a brow. “I have no reason to hate the Jedi, A’lora. Our Clans have been enemies for too long, and I think that we have the chance to change that.”

“Then we have similar goals in mind.” A’lora nodded in approval. “The shadow cannot exist without the light.”

“More than that,” the Miraluka added. “The lives lost at Sanctuary were both Tythonian and Dajorran.” She bowed her head briefly before continuing. “I do believe it is time for the two largest Clans of the Brotherhood to show that they are united, in a way.”

The Togruta Consul simply nodded, her expression unchanged. The visions had lead her to this moment in time. It was now time to unravel the knot and see what would transpire. The party walked down the Invicta’s corridors together, side by side.

“Many of our clan mates disagree with this pact,” A’lora began as the two leaders moved far enough away from their escorts to exchange words privately. The bodyguards followed some distance behind, clearly on edge.

“I agree, but they will have to adapt. My goal is to bring my Clan closer to balance than previously imagined. But we still have much darkness in our ranks, and that darkness is not wrong for its being.” Her mind went to the Anzat whose company she currently lacked, and to her predecessor. “Where previously the Shadow Lord would have purged any considered impurities, I wish to show them a better path. One that can lead to peace, yet still hold true to their beliefs. One of acceptance, for all of us.”

“I understand. It is a daunting task you have set for yourself,” A’lora replied simply. “I too have similar issues in my Clan. Many seem to think that our dealings with the Brotherhood are fruitless, only leading to war. But the Force guides me, and it has some greater purpose for us that is yet to be revealed to me. I believe this alliance is part of that purpose. That is why I am here.”

“Then let us take what small steps we can towards our futures, and agree on the terms of this little pact, shall we?” Atyiru stopped in front of the conference room and pointed inside with a wide smile. “We could call it…the Magical Friendship Concordat!”

The mystic-eyed Togruta offered a thin-lipped expression. “The title of these accords can be a point of debate as well.”

Inside the room, several administrative officials of both Clans sat gathered around a table, along with a few select individuals, asked there as champions of the battle. One man in particular, sitting to the left of a wolf-eyed, white-haired woman, was of particular interest to matters.

Bright eyes flashing, Turel Sorenn offered an easy smirk and a wink, eyes trailing over both Consuls and their guards. “I don’t know…’Magical Friendship Concordat’ sounds pretty sweet.”

“I don’t think so, Sorenn,” hissed a short, graying Human across from the Guardian. “Enough of your nonsense. We don’t need input from Jedi, let alone traitors.”

“We are here, aren’t we, largely for the Jedi’s input?” asked Celevon slyly, with a narrow-eyed look for his Sith clanmate.

“That we are!” Atyiru exclaimed, clapping her hands together to reclaim the room’s attention. A’lora’s quarterstaff drummed against the durasteel as the two women walked further into the chamber, taking seats at opposite heads of the table.

“Can Odan-Urr trust you, Arcona?” the Togruta Consul asked, no preamble, no introductions, cool voice cutting through the air like her eyes cut through the mysteries of the Force. Her gaze fixed on her fellow Consul, but her senses took in all those present as the butt of her staff creaked against the floor.

“By my gods and by the Force, I swear it, my friend,” Atyiru replied evenly, clasping her tan hands on the tabletop. Fingers tapped against datapads as some of the clerks in the room began taking record of the conversation.

“I am not here for your faith,” A’lora responded, tone still cool. “But for your reasoning, and the oath of those you lead.”

“You’ve heard my goals, my friend. You understand them, and I yours. If those are not the reasons you seek in your long-sight, then let us resolve what you do look for.”

“I need reason to heed the rest of your Clan as well,” said the Togruta simply.

“Enough of this,” snapped Andrelious nearby. “Our fleets have already aided you Jedi fools, and still you’re too narrow-minded to accomplish anything. We should have left you to the O’reenians.”

“With all due respect, there are only two here qualified to speak as our leaders, and you are not one, Sir,” commented a Tythonian woman who sat beside a male Miraluka.

“Aisha.” murmured the man beside her, a soft note of command to his serene voice.

“Sorry, Chief,” the Tythonian replied, though she made no other apology.

Seridan addressed Andrelious without needing to turn his head. “What you say is true. It is by your Consul’s good will alone that you have come to help us, and we are indebted to her. It is not her judgement that we question.”

“Not all of us are body-snatching, power-hungry dark lords, you realize,” Celevon said dryly from behind his Consul’s right shoulder, standing between her and Turel’s seated form.

Seridan nodded towards the assassin. “I know. I have seen what you and some of your fellows are capable of.”

“You can’t see anything,” murmured Turel in his chair, earning himself a sharp, quick rap to the back of his head from the Mandalorian woman beside him. “Ow, Luna!”

Luna Okami did not speak, as to not disturb the talks like her companions did, but her glare was swift and unyielding. Sorenn slumped back in his seat.

Atyiru gave a cough. “Now, now…we all have valid concerns here, my friends. My word is not that of everyone I speak for, and neither is yours, A’lora. There are as surely those amongst your people who perceive as great a threat in us as some of us do in you. However,” she held up a hand peaceably. “We have accomplished something in all the sorrow of this fight. We have shown that it is possible for the Dark and the Light and all shades between them to work towards a common goal, and we have shown that we do not fear that. We have already stirred the waters, my friends, and the tides will not release us. Change will come, even to the most zealous of hearts, if we but leave the way for it to happen, if we but take these steps.

A’lora, please,” the Miraluka addressed only her fellow Consul then, braid spilling over her shoulder as she leaned forward. “Whatever stipulations we bar this pact in today, however we frame it, we must first believe in the choice we make. If we cannot yet be allies, then we can at least be something other than enemies. Don’t you agree?”

The Togruta remained silent for several long moments, eyes closed and sensing the Force around her, “I believe the Force has lead us to this point for a purpose. I may not agree with many of your clanmates, but the Force guides me.” she paused once more before continuing, “Yes, I agree.”

The Arconan Consul’s smile was wide. “Then let the drawing of the Magical Friendship Concordat really begin!”

There was a collective groan.

“How about the Dajorra-Yhi Concordat?” someone suggested. In this much, at least, Atyiru was outvoted.

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