Temple of Sorrow
Macron watched the viewscreen, reading the information yet again, flicking the screen to see the head’s-up display from the Onyx platform. He slammed his hand down on the desk, seeing the digital representation of the Dark Council shuttle taking a few of the clan’s best away from him, to help some upstart cabal of dark jedi. He sneered at it, slamming the display until the holo turned off.
He sat for a moment, self-doubt blooming somewhere deep in him, if there was something else that could have been handled better. If there was another outcome, somewhere along the threads that spun out of control in the entire kriffed mess. He shook his head, slowly at first, then fast enough that spit flew from his mouth, his vision blurring as his neck cracked like arthritic knuckles.
He stopped, his head spinning as he cradled his head with arms propped up on the desk. One hand slipped down, feeling along the side of his robes to the injector he had jury rigged to his ribcage. The chemicals he had synthesized a few days ago bubbled in the contraption beneath his touch. There was some comfort there, even without his second skin. The armor lay stories below him, in his quarters, half disassembled, new bits of duroplast substrate and alloys he had came up with attached if only barely. He let his finger caress the activation stud, the metal warm to his touch, urging him to pull it, to release the toxins into his bloodstream, powerful enough to kill a normal man, but just enough barely overpower his synthetic liver. His head would drop into a haze, his heart would race, then calm. And then he could put this all into perspective.
Willpower scorched through him, burning nerves and doubt aside as it gritted his teeth. Something triggered deep in the primordial parts of his brain demanded more from him. Expected more from him, and would not be sated with half measures and promises. He drew his hand away from the injector, closed it into a fist and slammed it into the desk, the crimson rimmed gold of his eyes staring at it as fingernails dug into the soft flesh of his palm. He didn’t need this weakness. He was better than this, stronger. He had perspective enough.
The damage was done. Half of his family was gone, leaving him. They weren’t blood, after all. He spat, as if there was a sympathetic connection between his anger and the saliva that flew from his mouth. He stared at it for a moment, sizzling on the cold floor. None of it mattered now.
All that mattered now was the Clan.
The Fragments of Dentavii
Macron supressed the shudder he felt when the lion’s claws were bared. Crimson and Amethyst, he knew these blades well. He looked up at the man, seeing only the sable of his helmet glinting back at him. Solar winds tossed the Grand Master’s warcoat and the mane of hair that decorated his helm. He brought his own weapon forward, muscle memory recalling the velocities of his beloved Makashi.
Bittersweet, he raised the blade to his brow, then swept it downward in salute.
There weren’t any words because there was no need for them.
Macron ran between the tables, a laugh born deep within his chest worming its way through his throat and rattling his teeth. The condensers bubbled, the fluids changing color as he exposed them to the heat of a burning adegan. There was too much going on here, and yet not enough. He watched the coils change the green fog into a purple liquid, then again shifting to a sickly orange as the drops collected at the bottom of the cooling array.
There was study, and then there was application. This would be his finest hour since he discovered the Violator. He let another laugh erupt from him even as he scrambled his hands across the battered and abused codex, filling in his recipes and findings, adding to the antique with a fervor he hadn’t felt in ages.
It was good to have purpose again, unchained by politick.
The holo screamed at him, alerting him that the blue mist of the projector would soon take shape. He lifted his head for a moment, seeing the closely cropped hair of the Wolf staring down at him. There was a coldness there, always a coldness since back then.
He shoved it aside in his mind. They were the ones who left, after all. Left for the Council, leaving him there to fight for them, rather than do it themselves. Part of him envied their ambitions, to seek out the power, even if clouded by the intrigues of the Council. But a larger part of him loathed them for it, despite the access it sometimes afforded him. Like now.
“How goes it?” The Herald’s voice was informal, yet stern.
“Still washing.” He looked back to his boiler, stripped a glove off of his hand and reached into the goop. “Clinicals now.”
The Herald nodded, then severed the connection. They both understood the situation well enough.
More words were unneccessary.
The Fragments of Dentavii
His blades were the sunrise, amber and bloodshine. He crossed them overhead as the blows came raining down, the sunset hues of the Grand Master battering away at him, amethyst and crimson. Fluid motions carried his weapons along currents of the Force, seeking for an opening in the Madman’s guard, seething along the outline of his pattern.
Macron felt something he hadn’t felt in a long time. It itched beneath his skin, slick and viscous. He set his teeth as he bounded backwards, trying to afford himself some time. It was futile. The Lion’s Mastery of Sokan kept him right at his throat, moving with him in a seamless blur of parries, guards, slices and strokes. Macron pushed harder, pure willpower pushing himself further against the grain.
He watched as the dark armor contorted away from his harried attempts at attacks, the seething blades finding no purchase before getting batted away as if he was a mere child. The itch crawled from his skin, and he resisted the urge to pick at it, to throw his saber down and tear at his flesh to soothe it.
He spun on his heel, bringing both sabers together in a great strike, seeking to dismember the man. The blades fell upon empty air, the Lion moving with an alacrity learned only from decades on the battlefield.
He felt moisture at his brow and it occured to him what the itch was.
Macron was sweating.
It had been so long since the man had a true challenge, that he had felt outclassed, that he felt that he had something to learn from the combat rather than just being the avatar of righteousness, the god of madness and pain. That there was a chance, even a likelihood that he might die. He felt the sweat drip into his eyes, irritating the implant. There was nothing to say, but everything to feel. It had been too long, indeed.
Macron let the laughter come.