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

Before the Awakening


Before the Awakening

  1. Knight Kaiburr (Dark Jedi) / Rogue
  2. Prophet Darth Vexatus (Grey Jedi) / Rogue
  3. Battlelord Pel (Sith) / BTS-APL / Battle Team Order of the Trident of House Mortis of Clan Tarentum
  4. Augur Locke Sonjie (Gray Jedi) / CON / Clan Naga Sadow
  5. Neophyte Kalu Burgoo (Dark Jedi) / Battle Team Shadow’s Bane of House Marka Ragnos of Clan Naga Sadow


Thunder filled the storm clouds above the Shadowlands of Adas. No natural sunlight had touched the surface of the dead world of Antei since before the Obscuration four thousand years ago; instead, snarling, dark forks of blue-purple lightning cast a violent, flashing glow across the broken ruins of what had for countless centuries stood as the throne of the Order founded by Ferran, the towering black pyramid a monument of his legacy.

Pravus’s purge, however, had been as thorough as it had been swift.

From the very instant that the Lord Marshal’s death squads had burst unexpectedly from the cover of the black clouds, the days of the Obelisk had already been over. Together with the Krath, the heirs of Ferran had been dispatched by the Dark Lord, supposedly for the purpose of beginning work to restore the Brotherhood’s throne to the glory it had been before ousted Grand Master, Darth Ashen, had devoured all life from its surface during his mad, and ultimately futile, crusade to achieve his own immortality.

But the Obelisk and Krath’s mission had all been a lie.

The cold, broken wreckage of the Temple Boyna was all that remained of what had been a bastion of military power for the Order, which had from the Star Chamber’s inception been Antei’s guardians, its sword…

But no more.

The Sword of the Obelisk had shattered.

On the surface of the planet, in the black sands that surrounded the ruins of the temple, Inquisitorial teams hunted down any lingering stragglers. A small group of children, child apprentices, who had been the future of the dead Obelisk Order, lay dead, the burning holes in their tiny skulls still smoking as their murderers moved on, seeking the next camp of survivors.

In the skies, more transports circled, undeterred by the missile silos that remained operational.

Even with their Order dead, the last survivors, the last Obelisk, would fight on until their dying breaths.

Inside the Temple Boyna

Metal training swords clunked together. Iron boots grit atop stone tiles underfoot like nails down chalkboards. Boys, girls, and assorted aliens’ lungs all heaved together, like the lungs of a great beast, all breathing in unison as one. Another clang and a clink. These were the life blood of the Obelisk. Its future.

Again!” growled a deep, feminine voice.

From the doorway, a lone figure, supported by a tall, wooden staff, and cloaked in grey and black, stood watching the Obelisk students have their first practice session. The alien, a Falleen, his own skin a mottled green, whose shade reflected the ageing stone walls of the ancient black fortress, remained silent, his breath barely making a sound.

The Prophet shut his eyes and then opened them again.

The training room was a scene of horror. Blood smeared across the floor where the Obelisk students had been training. Bodies left unburied where they had fallen, or been dragged and executed, their blood smeared across the now cold, forgotten cobbles.

In his mind, Xanos could still hear their screams.

Long, elfen ears poked out above an overturned table. Timidly, they rose, slowly, and a porcelain-faced boy’s head spied out above the furniture. The boy’s eyes widened, a second before his head sprayed blood in Xanos’s direction, and was flung back down.

The Prophet moved into the room, his staff clacking with each step, and looked down over the table, where the pale corpse of the Sephi teenager had been gunned down in cold blood days earlier. The boy’s eyes were still open wide, and stared up at the Falleen, filled with an equal mix of surprise and horror. The boy’s still unbroken voice rung through the air:

Don’t shoot!

Like always, Xanos’s face betrayed no sign of his internal feelings, but for once, his silence alone spoke volumes. Behind him, the boots of the Inquisition death squads quaked where they had strode into the room, executing each student one-by-one…

Even if it had been days ago, the scene replayed in the Prophet’s head, over-and-over.

The starship rocketed uncontrollably through the atmosphere, a molten corona of fire surrounding the damaged starship as it streaked through the evening sky. Flashing lights flared to life from multiple screens, screeching alarms intertwined into a maddening cacophony of blaring sirens, and the deep thrum of the repulsorlift engines all joined to form a seemingly hopeless picture. Adding to that tangle, the temperature inside the ship rose by the minute as the ablative armor that coated the hull of the broken ship was peeled away with frightening speed.

“… hull integrity at 65% and dropping fast… sublight engines offline… life-support systems reporting complete failure…”

The soft spoken female tones of the ship’s onboard A.I were abruptly cut off as sparks exploded from the interference that the equally battered droid was plugged into. The force of the explosion sent it flying back with bone breaking force, and small pieces of machinery scattered everywhere. As if underscoring the dire situation that the ship and its single occupant were placed in, the walls themselves started to glow with a red-gold sheen and then proceeded to buckle and tear with horrific a screech.

Time seemed to stretch suddenly and through the tear in the ship and past the searing halo of flames, a dark and desolate scene presented itself to the battered figure that staggered upright. Ebony clouds laced with amethyst lights obscured the horizons, and massive lightning bolts shattered the oppressive sky, lancing down to the barren ground with an elemental fury. And on the deathly still ground, ancient temples and ziggurats strove to outdo each other in their otherworldly and ethereal splendor - unholy beacons of the Dark Side.

With a sudden jolt, an enormous explosion signaled the spectacular destruction of the repulsorlift engines and snapped time back into its proper alignment. Stretching out broken fingers in a pushing gesture, the droid opened its arms wide and with a sickening crunch the ever growing hole inside the ship seemed to suddenly rip itself wide. Not wasting a second, with an impossible leap it the figure seemed to fly out of the breach and tumble into the welcoming sands…

Several days later…

Ephemeral strands of consciousness drifted slowly in the dark void, languidly swimming in the vast sea that was life itself. Entire constellations swirled chaotically within bright pinpricks of light and burning stars showered the cosmos with their near unstoppable energy, burning everything in their path and sowing unimaginable destruction with each second that passed. Entire civilizations obliterated in the blink of an eye while the uncaring universe continued its unceasing march forward.

And yet for each act of destruction, there was an opposite act of creation. For each life snuffed out, another was thrust into being. Life arose anew from the ashes of stars; newborn planets coalesced together from the fused leftovers of a dying system, entire species gained sentience and kindled to a roaring flame, mighty bastions of civilization, over the embers of its predecessors.

The Force was life, and the Force was also death. This endless cycle of Ashla and Bogan, repeated itself in the annals of history and in the mysteries of the universe. Sometimes the Light was dominant and the galaxies experienced an unprecedented period of growth, and sometimes the Darkness rose to claim its primordial place - giving birth to periods of such calamity and horror that many a prophecy foretold the coming of the Apocalypse.

But the so called Horsemen of the end of times were nothing more than mere manifestations of the Force, simply instruments of its will…

Kaiburr wrenched his mind from these philosophical musings, and forced his consciousness to spread out like the crystalline matrix that compromised his own body. As Kaiburr’s consciousness soared, he felt the majesty and power of the Force thrum through him and extended his will to the terrain around him…

Kaiburr patiently willed his consciousness to well up from the sub-levels he had spiraled into during his meditations and communing with the Force. He could still feel the molten fire that raced through his crystalline body as he floated in midair, unaided and unsupported by any mechanical crutch, while he channeled the raw essence of the Dark Side through him. Although he could barely remember the visions and insights that had washed through his mind, while he was in that pure state of untainted mental energy, after his mind was wrenched through the fiery core of the Dark Side.

And try as hard as he might, all he remembered were fuzzy pictures and a deep feeling of dread that he couldn’t place a name to. As the blood red multifaceted crystal that was the true body of Kaiburr slowly sank once more through the air - its motions as languid and slow as the sweet caress of a spent lover - into the large gaping cavity that constituted the command core of his host body, small wisps of purple energy snaked up from the glowing crystal and little bolts of lightning danced along its edges; residual energy slowly bleeding off into the cold air.

As Kaiburr descended slowly inside the chest cavity, a sharp green light snapped on and a thick steel shod cable snapped into place with an electrical crackle, causing the glow to intensify a hundredfold in a momentary surge of pure energy. Heralding Kaiburr’s consciousness connecting to the A.I built into the droid body, and manifesting his will over the inert form.

Electromagnetic pulses erupted from the small obsidian dataport cybernetically implanted in his silicon matrix and thousands of small cables, some of them nanometers in diameter, writhed forward and plugged themselves into the hundreds of ports that aligned themselves on the main cable. Once the connection was established, the onboard A.I ran it’s battery of checks and with barely a thought Kaiburr brought his fist up to his “face”. That simple act never lost its ability to fascinate him and he watched with growing enthrallment as his thought’s caused the small pistons located inside his arm to depress, which then made the slender durasteel plates in his forearm slide down and the fingers in his hand contract and clench into a fist.

That a simple act of will could change the outside physical world, was a thought that the self-imposed exile still found wondrous despite the several millennia that he had lived through or the hard won knowledge and power he had fought for. It was a bizarre concept for the immobile Shard, and was part of the reason for their near extinction nearly two hundred years ago.

With another thought, the electromagnetic pulses that were the Shards only natural means of communication once more spat forth, and this time the skeletal droid body climbed to its feet with a metallic clatter and finally stood erect outside the broken cockpit. Striding towards the enormous ziggurat on the horizon, Kaiburr left the cover of the sand dune and crossed the distance to the fallen ship with slow, deliberate, thudding steps until he reached the cockpit. Entering the damaged craft, he made his way towards his cabin and opening the door with a wave of his hand and a slight telekinetic push on the doors hidden access pad, he walked into his room and trained his photoreceptors on the wall mounted mirror that lay across an entire wall.

Standing at an average human height of a meter and seventy nine centimeters, his body was a nearly pitch perfect copy of a human skeletal system with heavy durasteel plating covering his torso, and protecting his resting place from harm. Metal toes whirred with electricity, their claw like appendages giving them a predatory mien as the pistons and levers inside the foot ran through a systems reboot. Small sharp blades sprang out with sudden speed and then retracted with the same alacrity that they had unsheathed themselves, small metal plates slid up slightly and opened revealing tiny repulsorlift engines that powered to life for a second and then powered off.

With a near silent warble, his feet clamped themselves to the floor, as the ferromagnetic core in his heels created a magnetic field surrounding his boots and then shut off. Flight flaps on the obsidian colored durasteel thighs snapped open and then shut with a metallic click, internal systems flickered on and off with a low whine and the powerful miniature fusion generators surged for a split second, white light seeping through the leg plating before snuffing out with a flash.

Kaiburr shrugged into his robes, and attached his lightsaber to the toolbelt that was fastened to his torso underneath the silken purple sash. Bringing the cowl over his head, Kaiburr reached out with the Force and sending his awareness deep into the universe around him called forth the molecules around him to warp and bend to his will. Deep shadows manifested around the Sorcerer, hiding his features in a nearly impenetrable gloom and thick bands of darkness seemed to float around him as the illusionary darkness cloaked him in a menacing aura of umbral energy.


Communications Hub
Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

The quiet hum of multiple holoprojectors filled the chamber as Locke stepped inside and the sliding door quietly hissed shut behind him. None of the projectors were turned on, but there was a row of computer consoles along one wall flickering with light. Data scrolled across some, while video feeds were on others. Locke ignored them, approaching the large, main terminal in the center.

He had been summoned.

There were few individuals in the Dark Brotherhood who could expect Locke to come immediately. This one commanded his service above all others. Locke pushed a code into the holoprojector’s console. It was a code known to all Consuls and possibly, he thought, Dark Council members as well. As he finished putting it in, the projector sprang to life, a translucent blue image appearing above it, dominating the chamber. This projector had been used for everything from showing the progress of a battle to directing troop movements throughout an entire star system. Today, it showed the image of one individual.

Locke caught only a glance of the Grandmaster’s visage before he dropped to one knee. The Consul disliked formality, especially to this degree, but he saw the value in showing loyalty to the Iron Throne. He would not risk all that he had accomplished on a simple act of disrespect.

“Greeting, Lord Pravus,” he said. “How may I be of service?”

“Stand,” the Grandmaster said.

Locke did as instructed, looking up at Pravus’ head and shoulders. He was just a man, yet even in the pale coloring of a hologram those eyes shone with intensity. He is just a man, yet he commands the power of the entire Brotherhood.

Pravus continued after a short pause. “As you know, our war on the undesirables of the Brotherhood continues. At the same time, these agents are long entrenched, and not so easily removed. They have taken refuge and secured several key locations, and have made their removal difficult.”

“You will go to one such location. I am sure that you have heard of the Temple Boyna, if you have not visited it yourself. The Inquisitorius have already visited this temple, but the Obelisks have regrouped and formed a strong defense. Forces of the Iron Throne military have them contained, but they cannot penetrate the Temple’s defenses. Furthermore, the Obelisks have activated an energy shield, which prevents bombardment from wiping their infestation out of existence.”

Having been a Krath, Locke knew of the Temple Boyna’s existence, although he had never visited it. The Obelisk had always claimed it was an impregnable fortress.

The Consul waited, wondering how he fit into all this.

“Your skills are needed,” Pravus said. “You will travel to Antei and land near our perimeter around the temple. Assume command of the troops there, and find a way to break the Obelisk defenses. Do you have any questions?”

Why am I being sent to preside over a military engagement? Are you trying to get me out of the way for something? Do you suspect that I have harbored races known as ‘undesirables’ at some point?

Locke did not voice these questions. “No,” he said. “I will leave at once.”

“Good,” Pravus said. “One more thing. I am sending a member of the Inquisitorius with you. Sith Battlelord Pel, of Clan Tarentum will accompany you. He is there as a representative of the Inquisitorius, and his task is to locate a particular undesirable who has gone rogue. You have overall command of the situation, but he reports to the Inquisitorius, not to you, and you will assist him in any way that you can.”

Great, Locke thought. “Understood,” he said. Distantly, he wondered if Pravus could somehow read his thoughts.

The Grandmaster did not comment, however. “Go then,” he said. His image vanished, leaving the room dark again.

Locke stood there for a moment, thinking of the situation. He couldn’t help feeling that he was being removed from Sadowan space for some purpose. On the other hand, his latest reports indicated that the Prophet, Xanos Zorrixor had traveled to Antei. Maybe Locke would have an opportunity to look for him there. Sadow could use the Elder, and even if he would not return, just knowing of the powerful Sith Lord’s whereabouts and activity would be beneficial.

Then Locke was in motion. He had plans to make.

Enroute to Temple Boyna Perimeter
Antei System

Locke sat in the passenger compartment of the old Lambda-class shuttle, collecting his thoughts as they made their final approach to their destination. His new apprentice, the Zabrak Kalu Burgoo, sat across from him. Pel, the Inquisitorius representative, was up in the cockpit. He had stated that he felt better up there then in the passenger compartment. Locke had wondered about foul play, but found that unlikely, since they were on the same craft.

“This is a warrior’s temple?” Kalu asked, sharpening the ryyk blade he carried. The clang of stone on metal echoed through the chamber. It seemed a strange weapon for a Force user, especially one who was not a Wookiee. On the other hand, Locke appreciated the unorthodox. He had seen the value of it himself in combat.

“Yes,” Locke said. “A remnant of an earlier age. There are those who cannot let go of the past.” He pondered the best way to explain this. If it had been Locke’s decision, the Obelisk would have been reintegrated into the Brotherhood without bloodshed, if possible. He knew that many of their members actually had been, but a core remained. That core would not surrender, and it seemed they intended to fight to the death.

“Time waits for no one. These refused to acknowledge progress peacefully, and so they must be broken by force.”

Kalu continued sharpening his blade. “They sound like fools,” he said.

Glad you agree with the mission.

Before either of them could say anything else, the shuttle shuddered violently.

“What the hell?” Locke grumbled. He stood up, heading to the cockpit. The scene there was one of frantic motion.

Outside, large bursts of energy streamed by outside. Inside, Pel was shoving the pilot out of his chair and sliding into it himself.

“Are those AA defenses?” Locke asked. “I thought we were outside their range.” He was surprised at his own calm, but then, it wouldn’t be the first time he had been shot down, if it came to that.

“It seems our intel wasn’t that accurate,” Pel said, seemingly focused on piloting the shuttle. “You might want to sit down.”

“Right,” Locke mumbled. He slipped into one of the other chairs in the cockpit as Kalu did the same. The Zabrak was using the Force to quickly strap himself in. Locke smiled at his creativity, but he trusted his hands more, quickly locking the harness into place. The original pilot occupied the last chair of the cockpit, quickly fumbling with his own harness.

“I really hope you know what you’re doing,” Locke said.

Pel grunted. “Not my first time getting shot at.”

“Oh,” Locke answered, leaving the Sith to focus. He immediately sent the shuttle through a harrowing series of maneuvers. The inertial compensator struggled and then failed. Locke felt his stomach lurch. If he was going to do this, he would have rather been in control of it. There was no time to switch, though.

Outside, lasers continued to lance out at the shuttle, narrowly missing it to either side. Below, the ground quickly rose up to meet them.

“This is going to hurt,” Pel said.

“I trust you,” Locke lied.

Nearby, Kalu braced himself. The shuttle’s pilot looked sick.

“Here we go!” Pel added. He avoided the towers fire as best he could as the shuttle descended in a seemingly uncontrolled manner. Locke assumed Pel was doing something to soften their crash.

Then they hit the ground. The shuttle bounced. Locke grunted as he was thrown against his harness. The shuttle hit the ground again a moment later, and bounced again. The next time, it slammed into the dirt of Antei’s surface, sliding forward until eventually coming to a stop.

“Long range anti air,” Locke said. “Gotta love it.”

“I thought the Brotherhood had better Intel than this,” Kalu said.

Locke just glared at him as they unhooked themselves. The group made sure they had all their gear before leaving, but the boarding ramp was smashed into the ground below. Instead, Locke and Pel used their lightsabers to cut open the cockpit window, and stepped outside.

A small group of beings had formed a line a ways ahead of the shuttle. After his vision adapted to the area, Locke was able to identify them as the troops he was supposed to meet. The Consul jumped down from the shuttle and stepped forward.

“I’m Locke Sonjie. I’m here to take command,” he said.

“I’m Captain Lurzka, and I’m glad to put this predicament in someone else’s hands. Follow me, and I’ll bring you up to speed.”

A few minutes later, the group was in a large command tent in the center of Captain Lurzka’s main camp. The Captain wasted no time in bringing them up to speed.

"We have a perimeter around the temple, but the Obelisks have not tried to leave. We have attempted to assault it multiple times, but each time been repelled. They are deeply entrenched. Also, their shield is still active, but it does not appear to stop physical travel - just energy.

“It’s intended to protect against bombardment,” Pel said.

“Makes sense,” Locke said, silent for a few moments as he thought over the situation.

Kalu interjected in that silence. “Every structure has a weakness,” he said. “If we could sneak in, we could do a lot of damage from the inside.”

Locke smiled at that. “True. Captain, are there any points you have noticed that may be weaknesses in their defenses?”

The Captain placed one hand on his chin as he thought for a moment.

“The Obelisk defense is tight, but the initial strikes on the temple have rendered much of the exterior structure fragile. You may be able to find a way inside through a weak point in the outer wall. They can defend against a large assault…but they can’t stop a rodent from wiggling into every cranny. Ah, sorry for the analogy.”

“It’s alright,” Locke said, “do you know of any likely locations?”

The Captain brought up a hologram of the temple over the central table. “Hmm, we did notice on, one the east wall. The entire wall seems to be fairly fragile. You may be able to find a way inside there.”

“Alright, we’ll go then.”

Pel turned to Locke. “Don’t forget why I’m here.”

“I won’t. Captain, myself, Pel, and my apprentice, Kalu, will personally investigate this. The Force may succeed where conventional means cannot. I will take a comlink, and contact you as necessary.”

“Can you distract the Obelisk in some way?” Pel asked. "Cover us, so their attention is directed in a different direction?

“I have some artillery,” the Captain said. “I will bombard their shield for the next several hours. Maybe they’ll think I’m planning another attack.”

“Good,” Locke said. “Let’s head out. Kalu, you’ll lead the way once we get close to the wall.”


(Kalu is having issues with posting on the discourse so Sarin has given me permission to post on Kalu’s behalf.)

“The Captain wasn’t messing around when he promised us a diversion,” Pel said, his words barely audible from the constant battering of the turbolasers. A cheeky smile spread the Human’s lips. “I hope the Obelisk haven’t filled their pants yet, this temple is already as messy as it gets.” Kalu’s grinning face was the only response he got.

Proudly the wall stood, towering the giant crater beneath it. It’s crackled surface riddled with holes from the countless assaults testified to the endurance of both the complex as well as the men defending it. In its base, amongst the rubble and the dust, Locke was having a quiet conversation with Captain Lurzka. The final member of the party was preoccupied with staring at the wall, arguing to himself about what Pel assumed was finding a way in.

Suddenly, a spark of idea lit the Zabrak’s face. “Master? Could we use my detonators. I’ve found several weak spots and cavities we could exploit.” He asked, looking at Locke inquisitively.

“It won’t work here.” Locke sighed. “The structure is already in bad shape, further explosions could cause it to crumble, and we don’t want that. Plus such a blast is bound to be noticed by those within temple.” He responded, standing up and raising his hands. “We need a more methodical, precise approach. Observe.”

Focusing his attention, the Augur started to move his hands slowly. The cracks started to expand as the debris came to life floating in the air, torn away from the structure. Almost hypnotically the stones started to descend, landing on the ground with a quiet thud, leaving a gaping chasm behind.

“Impressive display, Augur.” Pel said absently, stroking his mustache. “We should get a move on.” He said after a brief pause. “It’s probably wise to keep a low profile from now on. Don’t want any needless attention.”

“Agreed.” Locke nodded. Crouching into stance, he leapt, pushing himself off the exposed stone over the ledge and in the temple. The two quickly followed him.


Deep inside the Temple Boyna

The halls of the temple rumbled.

Another explosion could be heard in the distance, probably from the fleets of the Iron Navy attempting once more to bombard the shields that kept the surviving remains of the temple that had been built to honour Lord Ferran, the founder of the Obelisk Order, so very long ago, back in time immemorial when Krath, Sith and Obelisk lived as one.

On a small, untouched overhang, jutting out above a large training hall, the Elder who had turned his back on the Dark Brotherhood, and left to pursue his own path, sat, his face currently illuminated in a ghostly blue glow from the sparkling fireflies that lit up the platform above the training area on. The Elder’s golden eyes locked on the map projected from the holocron he had recovered from the ruins of the Triumvirate Library.

Xanos was currently on the second floor.

The Falleen swept his hand over the map and the sparkling fireflies swirled, the display swishing in response to his hand movements as he pinched and pulled, studying the layout of the temple- at least, the layout as it would be had the temple not been sacked.

Behind his head, on the stone wall, the stones that had stood firm for untold centuries now bore the streaks and scars of lightsaber wounds, and higher up, where the gentle glow from the holocron faded, one would just have made out the sea of black marks where the wall had been peppered with blaster fire where the Lord Marshal’s death squads had ransacked the halls, showing no sign of respect for the legacies of the past.

He shut down the holocron and darkness enveloped the chamber again.

The Elder knew where he had to go.

On the fourth floor, in the surviving ruins of what had been the command centre, where once Ferran himself had presided over his Obelisk warriors, the few survivors who had escaped death at the hands of the Dark Council’s assassins had collected the artifacts and teachings with which the Obelisk Order could be rebuilt and its legacy survive.

Rising to his feet, the Falleen stepped over to look down into the training area. No light shone on the scene, no, but the Prophet did not need his eyes to reach out with the Force and look again upon the horror that he had walked through on his assent of the temple.

Body parts littered the room, corpses piled one atop the next, each silenced with a single, calculated shot to the skull. Executed. The Lord Marshal’s forces had left no apprentice or warrior alone. One after another, they had been mown down, their lives snuffed out, all at the command of the incumbent Grand Master, the Dread Lord whose rise to the Dark Council the Prophet himself had helped to orchestrate…

But the horror that Darth Pravus had enacted had not been what Xanos had desired.

The Oracle’s apprentice, a student of the Krath and the Sith, trained in the arts of the Obelisk, learned in the ways of the Rakata and Dathomir and innumerate other arcane cults, the Falleen looked down through the Force at the barbarism that the new Dark Council had exacted following the departure of Lord Ashen into exile, and all Xanos felt was disappointment, disappointment at how much history had now been lost…

History was a strange mistress.

He understood why Pravus and those who followed him had been raised to believe in the supremacy of the Sith, and vice versa, why others like Lords Ashen or Chi Long believed the opposite. Indeed, even the events that had taken place there on Antei four thousand years ago- or maybe two thousand, the stories varied depending on whose account you believed more- depended on whether you held to the account contained in the holocrons passed down by the Krath, who told that the Obscuration had been the desire of Tiamat from the start, or if you preferred the tale told by the Obelisk, whose histories branded Tiamat a witch and a traitor, who had lost control, and Ferran Antei’s tragic saviour.

The Sith records, of course, labelled both heretics and Okemi the one betrayed.

But the truth was only part of the puzzle- how one arrived at the answer mattered just as much, and Xanos disagreed with Pravus’s desire to forget the path that had brought them here. That was why the Prophet had come to Antei weeks earlier, back when the Lord Marshal’s death squads had first made planetfall, and the initial massacre of the Krath Temple had been carried out. For those close enough attuned to the ebbs and flows of the Force, the shockwaves had been deafening, and, indeed, even now, there in that hall inside the Temple Boyna, still the screams echoed in the Prophet’s mind.


(Kalu is having issues with posting on the discourse so Sarin has given me permission to post on Kalu’s behalf.)

As soon as Kalu had entered the temple, a wave of intertwined emotions splashed him. Anger, rage, desperation and fear roamed his mind chaotically, deafening the sound and darkening his sight. Fighting the intrusion took him longer than he had expected. As he regained his senses, he was met with two men staring at him.

“It’s alright, take your time. You’ll learn to shut it off” Locke said, a hint of concern colouring his voice.“ Still shaken, the Zabrak nodded.

Lifting his head, he noticed a row of torches lighting the area. The flames on some of them were extinguished, engulfing the corridors in darkness. Almost simultaneously the scent of death filled his nostrils; crimson trails on the ground showing the path towards the source of it.

“Let’s keep moving.” Pel said grimly, unsheathing his lightsabre and threading forward through the tunnel to the right. Kalu followed, holding his Ryyk blades in a tight grip. The Augur moved silently behind them, monitoring the surroundings thoroughly.

Minutes later, they reached the crossroads. Three paths stood ominously, with the fourth one through which the party came through, forming a cross.

“What now? I don’t think it is wise to split up. Should we maybe-” Pel’s words were cut off by a sharp blast coming from one the corridors.

The seniors scattered into cover, using the gateway pillars as cover. Through the smoke two crimson blades snap-hissed to life; their owners charging at the staggered Kalu in the center of the hall. They stopped abruptly as the yellow beam slashed through the smoke and onto the intruders. Swinging his lightsaber in a flurry of attacks, Locke pressed on, gaining ground with each stroke. A couple of downswings, stabs and slashes later, the first Obelisk fell, letting out a horrifying screech. The second one disengaged; his eyes spread and jaw clenched, gazing maddeningly at the Augur. Out of the shadows behind him a figure moved; the Obelisk’s chest burst with red as two blades peaked through, and retracted. His eyes dimmed as he collapsed on the ground, leaving a blood soaked Kalu standing.

“You’re deceptively agile, Locke.” Pel said, leaning his head in acknowledgement.

“Yeah, battles do that to you.” Locke responded calmly. “Next time you won’t have time to recover, so learn from this.” He said, turning to Kalu. “Come on, let’s just take one of the paths and go along it.”

They ventured into the dark corridor, echoes of their steps bouncing off the walls back and forth. The previous scream made the stealth approach to things almost meaningless now, as the Obelisk were bound to be alerted. Out of the blue, something strange touched Kalu’s consciousness. He had never felt such presence before, the threatening strength of the foreigners mind opposed the soothing approach that it radiated with. It lingered only for a moment though, before fading back into the swirling storm of emotions. Curious, he threw a look at his equally confused master. Pel’s emotionless face, however, did not reveal if he had sensed it too.

Brushing it off, the Neophyte pressed on through the hallway; his two companions trailing behind him, cautious of further traps down the road. Moments later they reached the door at the end of the passage. Powering through the malfunctioning door they were greeted with an unusual sight.The tech of some sort was scattered both on and around the table, placed between two wall sized shelves filled with various items. On the furthest wall, near the collection of data pads was a droid hunched over the desk, tampering with the remnants of another one. It looked up at the approaching group and vocalized a single word, “Busted.”


Pel looked quickly around, wondering once again how he lets himself get into these predicaments. Had he not swore that long-ago oath to the Iron Throne he would not be on this accursed planet, in this ruined temple, staring at a ‘busted’ Battle-Droid and it’s mentally deficient comrade. Nor would he be walking the fine line between reluctant service and outright defiance to the mysterious Inquisitorious.

At any rate, Pel had a job to do, and if it involved working with the Sadowan and his apprentice then Pel was looking forward to getting it done with as quickly as possible. His orders had been to join them, and report back on both the progress of their mission, and if he was able to find Kaiburr. Events had moved more rapidly than expected, with their shuttle being forced down and all, that Pel had yet to report anything.

Coming back into the present Pel addressed the droid, “Status report?”

“Unit 1313 retains 78% functionality, Unit 421 retains 0%. Mission success is no longer probable without assistance. Are you assistance?”

“We are, confirm your mission goals Unit 1313.”

“Locate, and detain or destroy the Kaiburr Unit.”

Turning to Locke, Pel noted “Looks like we may have another diversion if we need one. This unit may be useful.”

“Yes Pel, it may be. Let’s stop talking to it, and get moving, I don’t like wasting time when we don’t even know what forces are against us. All prior intelligence has been proven false so far, I don’t know what we are facing.

“Kalu, this way led us nowhere, back to the intersection, and let your senses reach out further, open yourself to the Force. Let it guide you to the correct path.”

Without a word Kalu accepted the minor rebuke, and led the way back to the intersection, the droid clanking along at the rear. As they drew close to the juncture Kalu began to wonder how he could open himself up more to the Force, there were already too many emotions and half-consciousnesses pressing in upon him. This place had seen far too many deaths, rituals, and consecrations to allow the novice the ability to sort through all the information present in the Force. At least this time there were only two choices. Kalu stopped in-between the remaining openings, and sank down into a meditative posture, hoping the calmness of meditation would help him meet his Master’s goals.

“This might take a few minutes, eh” Pel asked, “I’ll watch the East corridor, Unit 1313, watch the West. We know North and South are already clear. Locke, any pointers for your apprentice that might speed this up? We’re probably going to need to head for the the greatest current concentration of life if we’re looking to find answers.”

“Pel, leave this alone, I will teach my apprentice as I see fit- go play with your droid and we’ll let you know when we have need of you.

“Continue Kalu, but let’s not be all day about it.”


Deep inside the Temple Boyna

Muffled voices drew Xanos’s mind back from the spectres of the past to the present.

Down in the hall below, a torchlight flickered from a corridor that exited into the training room directly beneath the balcony on which Xanos currently was waiting, and the Prophet drew his own Force senses back inside himself as the voices slowly drew nearer, and a quartet of figures strode slowly, but determined, into the hall.

The lead figure jerked to a sudden halt and snarled.

“Filthy shabuire!” barked a heavily modulated voice as the torchlight flickered over the bodies that had been strewn across the hall, or stacked high in the centre, almost as if they had been left there deliberately as a warning and to mock the Obelisk who survived.

The one who had sworn, presumably a Mandalorian going by his language, grabbed an object from inside his robes and immediately a blue energy blade snap-hissed to life.

“Krilis, easy!” called one of the other figures, who had a bundle of objects clutched underneath his arm. He reached out and put a hand on the other’s shoulder. “Save your anger for when we catch up with the schutta who–”

The one with the lightsaber, Krilis, snarled again and turned on the figure trying to calm him down, shoving him backward. The second stumbled back into the wall, and dropped the object under their arm, which struck the stone tiles underfoot and shattered with a loud, glassy crash, ornate pieces of carved glass flying out in all directions.

“Idiots!” shouted a loud, female voice back down the corridor they had come from.

A fifth figure hurried back into the torchlit training room beneath Xanos. This one looked very unlike the first four. Whereas the four who had stepped out originally were all clad head to toe in heavy black bodyarmour, the woman was draped in long, ornate, robes, the fabric decorated in arcane runes and patterns, which the Prophet recognised as having been written in the language of the original inhabitants of the planet Korriban.

Still muttering under her breath, the woman knelt down to tear off the fabric covering her left leg, and immediately began gathering up the broken shards of the holocron.

“Fools… do you know what–”

Before she could finish her sentence, the woman was cut off when the first warrior quickly brought the blue point of his lightsaber blade just in front of her throat.

“Watch your tongue, Krath,” Krilis growled, snarling the last word like it were an insult. “Don’t forget you’re only here because you’re of use to us.”

The warrior’s blade continued to glow beneath the woman’s neck, but the Krath gave no sign of concern and in fact just laughed. “Put that thing away,” she snorted, “remember, if you touch me, you’ll never unlock the secrets written on that.” Her hand rose to point at a long, narrow object, around the same length as Krilis’s lightsaber blade, which one of the other warriors held tight against his chest, his right arm wrapped around it, cradling it protectively.

Krilis sneered and muttered something but shut down the blade and stepped away.

“We don’t have time for this,” muttered one of the others, an unlit lightsaber hilt in one of their hands, a large bag in their other. “Cyrena, you can inspect your holocrons when we get to the command deck, for now we need to make haste.”

The group bickered for a while, while the Krath woman finished collecting all the broken shards of the holocron. When she went to stand, she glanced up- and her eyes caught Xanos’s own.

For a long moment, the two stared straight back at each other.

“What is it now?” growled the sergeant.

The woman’s lips parted, but before she could speak, the Elder quickly pushed his own thoughts into her mind, and projected a thought directly into her head.

Nothing. You see nothing.

The woman shut her lips again and shook her head. Xanos began to push harder, and little by little, the Krath’s expression began to soften. Her resolve was strong, but not strong enough to fight back the mind powers commanded by the Prophet.

The Krath breathed out.

“It’s nothing,” she said finally, turning back to address the Obelisk sergeant. “I thought I saw something move, but… it must just have been a trick of the light.”

The Obelisk eyed her suspiciously, and followed her gaze in Xanos’s direction, however by then, the Elder had already vanished back down the corridor he had come from. He could not pursue them at this close range, especially now that it appeared the Obelisk and the Krath had decided to forge an uneasy alliance, however full of distrust it may be.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, though, and it was not hard to assume that perhaps some of the surviving Krath had taken shelter with the ones who clung to the teachings laid down by Ferran. After all, back during the Obscuration, it had only been Ferran who had stood firm against Tiamat and Okemi’s combined madness, and that drive and determination, that resolve, was what had forever defined the Obelisk.

The Elder disappeared back down the corridor, his presence marked only by the sound of his staff clicking on the floor tiles. He knew now where the party of Obelisk were headed, and more, he had already sensed… others, whose presence on Antei could be turned to his advantage, one way or another.


This post was removed by a moderator.

(Looks like this post somehow ended up in the moderator queue, and wasn’t approved until additional replies had been placed, which made the post appear out of order. Seeing as @Vexatus has posted on @KaluBurgoo’s behalf, I have removed this post. If necessary, previous post content should be available through post history.)


Grayish tendrils snaked stealthily around the ground, weaving in and out of the gloom and shadows that played around the burning wreckage. A low moan sounded mournfully in the shadows, and occasional dust devils whirled around, disrupting the cloying mist and causing it to writhe unnaturally. In the distance, the large ziggurat loomed menacingly over the desolate plateau, purple-white bolts of ethereal darkness striking the area around it with the full fury of the Dark Side made manifest.

A high pitched screech blared suddenly, the sound echoing in the darkness like a wounded Thranta’s scream, and a purple glow suddenly appeared in the shadowy light cutting through the heavy durasteel armor plating of the downed spacecraft. With a heavy clank, the metal fell to the ground and stepping out of the large circular hole, Kaiburr trudged mechanically through the shifting sand to the top of a large sand dune and trained his photoreceptors on the Temple.

The former Krath had nowhere else to go, and now that the Brotherhood itself had shown its true colors with the purge of the so called ‘undesirables’ he was even further cut off from the galaxy at large. He no longer could call on the power of Tarentum to aid him, he could no longer depend on the covert aid of the Shadow Clan to aid his efforts in his war against the exploitation of his kind and last but not least, he had no way to communicate with his comrades in the ‘Protegat’ - the kriffin’ Jedi had seen to that…

Cursing his luck and murmuring hexes in the terrible language of the ancient Sith, Kaiburr activated his sensors and set them for maximum coverage before powering up his flight system and taking off in the direction of the ruined Temple. As the kilometers ticked down and became meters, the fury of the Dark Side storm seemed to boil to unforeseen extremes, it’s terrible rage more than doubling and showering the Temple with massive strikes of energy. The massive onslaught was so thick that it drove Kaiburr to the ground or risk being impaled and utterly destroyed.

Diving towards the ground Kaiburr wove through the deadly hail and just before impact he flipped upwards and flared the afterburners and the stabilizers in his palms, landing in a controlled crouch. Carefully rising from the ground, he watched the deadly streams of coherent light fall - however instead of blasting down into the Temple, his scanners showed that the bolts dissipated harmlessly about a meter before the actual surface of the supposedly abandoned building.

I guess there’s someone left alive, if the deflector shields are still operational the Shard thought to himself which means a way off world!

Slowly making his way forward, the ground shook violently with each deafening crash, and as he got closer to the pyramidal shaped structure a hitherto unheard sound floated through the shrieking winds and wormed its way into the droid’s audio receptors. Through the shrieking of the high force winds, beyond the terrible crashing majesty of the lightning bolts and the deep thrum of the shield generator - the programming in Kaiburr’s droid host managed to scrub out the ambient noise and filter one crucial sound: that of a turbolaser strike.

This temple was under attack!

Someone apparently was laying siege to whoever was ensconced in the former Obelisk’s Temple and was attempting to batter their way through the shield. Alerted now to what was going on around him, Kaiburr understood now why the storm had been whipped into such a frenzy - the close proximity of hundreds of Dark Side users and the violence they unleashed on each other made this focal point a terrible wound in the very fabric of the Force itself!

Making sure that he had quick access to his lightsaber, Kaiburr closed his eyes and called upon ancient Sith mantras to focus his mind. The proximity of a previously unheard of concentration of Dark Side energy was confusing to the senses, and like everything that the Dark Side touched - it was a heady concoction of sweet promises and cloying corruption.

Moving forward with as much stealth as he could manage, the Shard made sure to be on the opposite side from where the furious barrage of energy bolts was being launched and made his way towards the feet of the Temple. Brazenly marching forward once he reached the main causeway, his entire body rippled in the heat and morphed into the countenance of an Obelisk warrior. Kaiburr counted on his appearance fooling the guards at the perimeter for at least a few seconds and giving him a split second advantage that he could use - these were Obelisk after all.

As he got closer to the outer perimeter, in one of those random and inexplicable moments, the gloom and fog parted with a swirl of wind and the entire Temple compound lay revealed before him in all its broken glory.

The featureless desert landscape was abruptly broken as a massive stone wall rose up from a deep canyon. On each corner of the four winds an enormous Obelisk reached towards the sky, its splendor unmarred by the subtle arrays of antenna and gun blisters that dotted each of the massive spires.

Two smaller pyramids dotted the inside of the walled compound, now ruined husks in the aftermath of the initial Brotherhood assault. And in the middle of the large compound was a breathtaking pyramid. Standing over one hundred and fifty meters tall, the multilayered structure was an enormous testament to war itself, with gun emplacements studding all four corners of the Temple and massive laser artillery cannons standing impassive on their rails awaiting their time to unleash hell.

Around the entire place a shimmering veil twisted the air into fanciful knots with burning energy, coalescing into a bluish-opaque dome with every turbolaser strike. Patrols marched like clockwork around the perimeter of the temple safe under the protection of the shield, maneuvering through the broken rubble on old Clone Wars era AT-TE’s and accompanied by the smaller AT-RT walkers as they swept for any attempted incursion by Loyalist forces.

With the same abrupt swirl that revealed the Temple, the wind whisked the fog close again and hid the awesome vista once more. Stalking through the half-light, the lone figure made his way forward to the Temple and finally made his towards the walls. As he walked forward he noticed a flare of activity on the east side, and what appeared to be a small company of Obelisk troops pouring through what appeared to be a hole in the wall and setting up defensive emplacements.

Stepping out in plain view, Kaiburr strode boldly towards the troopers and watched as the Obelisk soldiers scrambled to adjust to the situation. Blaster Rifles snapped up with the smooth speed of veteran soldiers, and webbing was surreptitiously checked for grenades and a Lightsaber snapped open with a crackling snap-hiss that heralded the emergence of the deadly blade.

A burly warrior clad in heavy looking armor and a blue pauldron on his right shoulder denoting his rank of Captain stepped forward, the lightsaber clutched in one hand and his other hand raised in the universal sign for ‘stop’ . And sure enough, a gruff voice rang out across the distance, distorted slightly by the helmets audio filters.

“Halt and state your business!”

Kaiburr slowed down and simultaneously reached forward with his mind towards one of the troopers and slipped into his thoughts. Swimming through his thoughts he searched for a name and trooper designation before withdrawing silently from the troopers mind. Stopping in front of the Captain he brought himself to military attention as he had been taught in the Grand Masters Royal Guard, and subtly tweaked the illusion he had originally woven around himself.

Trusting in his ability to conceal his signature in the Force, Kaiburr saluted and then took off his ‘illusionary’ helmet. Revealing the scarred face of the Warlord himself!

“At ease Captain” he said as he idly returned the hasty salute from the Captain, the Warlord’s voice issuing perfectly from his voice-box. Glancing at the surrounding troops as if inspecting them, he walked forward among the troops “Just here to check up on this alarm. It seems that we might have uninvited guests…”

Turning his head slightly, he motioned to the Captain who had followed him in his inspection “I want you to get this breach fixed as soon as possible, and make sure that no one leaves or enters again - I will herd the foolish Inquisitors here, and then you will finish them off. Understood?”

Kaiburr could feel the soldiers blood lust and eagerness in the Force, swelling with each word, and the entire group roared with their approval “SIR, YES SIR!”. Saluting the Captain once more, he turned around and entered through the breach.


Inside Temple Boyna
Lower Floor, Shield Control Room

Like a cornered fox, the surviving Obelisk had become desperate.

Down in the ruins of the ground floor, the band of Obelisk tomb raiders had made their way to the shield control room. Back during the initial attack by the Lord Marshall, the temple’s shield had been sabotaged by an inside agent. But one defeat was not enough to bring down the stalwart Order of the Obelisk, and Ferran’s descendants had repaired it.

Out in the Shadowlands, their commander, the Mandalorian Krilis, had salvaged a replacement core from the wreckage of a Star Destroyer that had been downed two years earlier during the siege of Antei by the traitorous Grand Master Zoraan. Just like the holocrons that Krilis’s squad had recovered with the help of Cyrena-- the Krath witch whose knowledge of the ancient tongues used by the artifacts was the only reason the Obelisk had agreed to grant her sanctuary in Temple Boyna-- the shield generator itself was for all intents a forgotten relic too, and well beyond its best.

The striplights overhead the Obelisk party flickered and the blue-white surface of the shield around the generator and the turbolift behind it rippled and sparked-- one charge of electricity shooting off and catching the Krath defector with them on her thigh.

The witch cursed. “Murglak!!”

The woman stumbled forward, nearly dropping the holocron she was carrying.

Warn me next time,” she snarled.

“Enough,” growled the sergeant, as he stepped toward one of the Obelisk defence droids that were gathered in the shield generator room, defending the last fortification that kept not only the entrance to the turbolifts to the upper floors intact, but also the shield that protected the Temple Boyna itself. That was why they had been forced to repair it, salvaging parts at such short notice, regardless of the parts’ integrity or general safety.

It was far from perfect, but right then, it was all they had had available.

As if reading the sergeant’s mind, an earthquake shook through the temple. The shields sparked again, and a brick broke free from overhead, smashing onto the shield-- and vaporizing in a hiss of smoke, grit and dust.

“Halt,” stated the droid in its deep, robotic tones. “Instruction: State your business.”

“Warlord Krilis,” replied the Obelisk. “Lower the shield. We need to head upstairs.”

“A moment please.” The droid turned its cranial photoreceptors on the Mandalorian. “Application: Searching memory banks.” Another shockwave rocked through the remains of the shield room and the lower barracks while the Obelisk waited. “Identity confirmed,” continued the droid finally. “You are approved to head upstairs, Warlord.”

With an unsettling crackle, the shield phased off momentarily for just long enough to allow the band of Obelisk the time to pass before the shield re-engaged. Even still, even in that brief moment, another thunder rocked the palace, and Krilis cursed.

“Kriffing Star Destroyers,” the Mandalorian muttered.

Temple Boyna
Lower Floor, Remains of the Obelisk Barracks

After his encounter with the Obelisk and the Krath, Xanos had disappeared in the opposite direction. He knew they were making their way to the old turbolifts, but the question remained about how he was going to bypass the internal shield systems.

In addition to actual body parts, the ruined corridors were still littered with the broken remains of the battle droids that had for years stood guard in the halls of Temple Boyna. Here and there, a sensor would light up as the Falleen walked by. One robotic arm had even jerked in the rogue Elder’s direction, like a dead skeleton rising from the grave in a churchyard, the cogs in its fingers and its wrist whirring-- but then it had fallen slack again, the ghost in the shell falling back asleep, and resuming its artificial rigor mortis.

The Falleen had paid the dead robots no attention.

Xanos knew it was suicide to try to sneak in through the main turbolift, since that was where the surviving droids had congrated. Like any robotic, the defence droids would fire on anyone that approached-- even their own allies if they failed to pass a security check. Distrust ran high on Antei that moment, but that was understandable, after the betrayals that had enabled the Lord Marshall to march straight in the front door.

At the end of the next corridor, the corpse of a female Cathar had been pinned against the wall, her blackened and bruised face peering back down the hall-- straight at Xanos-- with a look both of pain but also determined resolve etched on her features.

The Cathar’s death had clearly not been quick.

This was not simply a murder. It had been an execution.

In the back of his mind, the Prophet could still see how the Cathar had clawed at the wall behind her-- the marks were still there now. A proud example of her Order, she had remained defiant to the end, denouncing the new Grand Master as the real traitor.

Traitors?” the feline woman had grunted, gutturally, even as she was clubbed and beaten. “The… traitor…” the feline had coughed, “is the fool on the Iron Throne!

It had clearly not been enough for the Lord Marshal and his death squads to just topple the Obelisk; no, this, and the many other scenes of death and barbarism that had taken place all throughout the Obelisk ruins, had completely defamed their order’s legacy.

“The Sith have no further need of your miserable cult.”

Even though the events had taken place days earlier, the Lord Marshal’s haunting words still echoed in the back of the Prophet’s mind, the grizzly execution having been forever etched in the fabric of the Force. Like always, Xanos’s thoughts drifted away, his attention forever adrift, lost amidst a glittering sea of stars and memories…

All of a sudden, a sharp, metal clack shunted his attention back to the present.

Xanos opened his eyes, and looked forward.

His eyesight was still cloudy, his head spinning from the unexpected interruption. He reached up and rubbed his forehead as his mind focused on the currently still unfocused outline of a shape that now stood in front of the mutilated corpse of the Cathar.

His eyes settled on feet, legs, a torso, and… some sort of head.

It stepped forward. Another clack.

A battle droid?

Few things caught the Oracle’s apprentice unaware, but it explained how the droid had snuck up without him noticing its approach. Even Xanos’s Force senses, and his control over other’s minds, were rendered moot when confronted with the mundane artificial, mechanical sparks of electrical energy that made up a droid’s faux-consciousness and imitation of intelligence. For all intents and purposes, to the Prophet, a droid was no different to an illusion, just an illusion made up of iron and steel. Neither were real.

As the Elder focused his mind, he realised this droid looked more humanoid than the others, somewhat reminiscent of the hunter killers that had been deployed during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion many years earlier. Even more unusually, this droid was wearing a black cloak, almost as if it had taken a memento from one of its targets.

Such behaviour would fit with the ritualistic slaughter of the Cathar pinned to the wall.

As Xanos’s mind cleared, however, the shape began to reveal how wrong he had been.

In addition to the dark cloak, the figure was wearing an old Mandalorian kama, and the cloak gave way to a face, a familiar face, which matched the Obelisk warrior from the group that the Elder was pursuing and who had argued with that strange Krath witch.

“You are not welcome here, Inquisitorius scum,” growled the Obelisk warrior–Krilis, Xanos remembered the name now-- although his voice was strange, almost like it was coming from elsewhere. Krilis reached under his robe-- his arm moving impossibly fast, faster than any human should ordinarily move-- and pulled out a lightsaber.

A snap-hiss and the corridor lit up-- unexpectedly-- in purple fire. An unusual choice for an Obelisk, as well as the Mandalorian’s saber having been blue back in the training hall.

Even more strangely, a shorter blade crackled to life from the base of the hilt.

Something about this was not right.

Krilis charged, but rather than react, the Prophet leant on his staff and closed his eyes again, reaching out in the Force and focusing his mind on the figure before him-- only, however, to find nothing there but a shadow. The Falleen opened his eyes again to find the Obelisk’s lightsaber moments from striking-- but rather than cleaving Xanos in two, the weapon merely passed straight through him.

An illusion.

Focusing his mind, the Obelisk faded away into smoke, and instead the droid that Xanos had originally seen standing at the end of the corridor was still there, looking at him, the same amethyst lightsaber the illusion had wielded clasped in the droid’s metal hands. This was not Warlord Krilis. The real Obelisk commander must have been elsewhere.

Impossibly, Xanos felt the droid looking back at him.

Reaching out with the Force again, he felt the droid’s heart, saw its glow, where a stone buried in the core of its framework ebbed and pulsed, like an actual heartbeat.

This was not an ordinary droid. It was alive.

The Falleen held up his open palm.

Disarm,” was all Xanos said, holding his voice firm.

The Elder pushed out in the Force, pressing his command on the strange life signature that he felt throbbing in the droid’s metal chest. The droid’s arm stiffened, shaking unsteadily, as it fought back against the Prophet’s psychical command…

Like the metal skeleton it wore, the creature within the droid’s core resisted.

Qâzoi Kyantuska,” invoked the Prophet, his amber eyes glowing as he reached out to channel the dark energies, calling upon the voices of the past to lend him their strength. “Drop your weapon,” repeated the Elder, pressing the command even more firmly.

Slowly, reluctantly, the droid’s metal fingers uncoiled from around its weapon’s hilt, one at a time, until finally the lightsaber snapped off, and the metal hilt clattered to the floor.

Still keeping his mental hold on the strange droid’s consciousness, the Elder held out his other hand and the lightsaber hilt floated back up into his own hand. Images flashed through the Prophet’s mind the instant the weapon touched his skin. The Yridia System. The Mystics Asylum. An escape. Dajorra. Inquisitors. An old Imperial admiral. Antei.

Finally, he found what he sought. A name.

The Falleen’s eyes settled back on the droid.

Kaiburr,” said the Elder, but still kept the living droid’s mind clasped. Its reason for being here remained unclear, the images the Prophet had just witnessed still muddled.

But there was not the time for explanations.

Agents of the Inquisitorius already moved inside the Temple Boyna, and the Lord Marshal and his Star Destroyers orbited above, waiting for their chance to land the final strike to end the Obelisk Order forever. This… Kaiburr would have to wait to explain his reason for fleeing to Antei another day. Right then, the Prophet needed a way to reach the command deck, and that required getting through the shield blocking access to the turbolifts… and this droid would be just the tool to achieve that.

He reached forward, probing the strange creature’s mind.


Temple Boyna
Lower Floor, Remains of the Obelisk Barracks


The voice that dripped out of the darkness was at once hauntingly beautiful, with a heart wrenching tenor that evoked images of paradise and angels. And yet, seeming to echo in the dark, a deep bass pitch that sent terrifying chills down the back of anyone who heard the malicious timber.

The shrouded figure lowered his arm slowly, dark mottled green skin sliding smoothly back into the sleeves of the robe that concealed its features. A plain robe adorned the figure, etched with different runes ascribing various mystical symbols and diagrams in addition to a long ebony staff carried in its right hand, the only other outwards signs of identification in the smoky gloom of the underground corridor.

Pale amber eyes suddenly flared in the darkness, like burning flames dancing in the night, and the room darkened momentarily with the unleashed power that flowed from the Sith Lord in almost palpable waves. Smoky tendrils of darkness manifested themselves around the droid and quickly wove themselves around the helpless machine, binding him in a terrible cage of dark side energy.

Soft whispering flowed outwards from the Elder “J’us valia haji kia nun!”, the ancient Sith words echoed in the tunnels, throbbing with power and lending terrible weight to his binding. Xanos glided forward, barely seeming to move his body and reached out with his empty hand to touch the heart of the droid. With almost barely a thought the Prophet reached out to the Force and propelled his mind outwards and into the mind of the alien being standing before him.

Images rose out to meet him, as the Falleen sought to command the mind residing inside the strange droid. Foreign thoughts and patterns, that at first confused the Prophet with their alien nature, shimmered into being in his mind’s eye.

An intelligence previously unimaginable in scope, ponderously awakening in the night… Thousands upon thousands of voices echoing through the bedrock, and yet somehow all a single collective mind… Sudden pain as the sky spat forth flames and metal, causing millions of the Hive to die…

The onslaught of alien feelings and memories nearly overwhelmed the Falleen, but Xanos was no simple Sith playing with a captured mind for the first time - indeed, with his own mind now linked to the Elder’s, Kaiburr felt a power near to the Grand Masters themselves.

Opening himself even more to the Force, Xanos reached down into the dark furnace that was the very core of his soul and dipped into the molten fire that was the Dark Side. Channeling the energy outwards, he sent forth his power as hundreds of mind shards that trailed through the alien mind and brought it crashing down to submission.

To his surprise, a roaring presence surged out to meet him and pushed against the mental hold that the old Krath had established.

«Itik. Del. Iv. RE. DVASI!»

Taken aback at the ferocity with which the alien being had managed to rally against his mental intrusion, Xanos was momentarily shocked to hear the alien shout out in Ancient Sith. «Get. Out. Of. OUR. MIND!» its cry echoed in his mind again, and thoughtfully the Falleen withdrew his mind-touch from the helpless droid.

Pacing slowly around the incapacitated droid and whatever type of alien must reside inside of it, Xanos absentmindedly reached out and snuffed out a wave of energy from the alien being as it tried to break through the Dark Side bindings.

Stopping in front of the helpless droid, Xanos let his cloak fall to the floor, revealing himself for the first time. Strong facial characteristics and the sleek symmetry of his features lent him a calculating and cold demeanor. Exotically beautiful by humanoid standards, his revealed figure displayed prominent facial and spinal ridges, green colored small scales and slightly clawed fingers - identifying him as a Falleen.

However one detail stood out from all the rest - an intricate tattoo born of mystical symbols and unknown arcana merged on the Falleens forehead and formed the image of a third eye.

The terrifying voice, that was full of dichotomy rang out once more in Kaiburr’s mind, and this time the full might of the Prophet’s power was vested in the sending.

«You are strong with the Force, little alien, and you intrigue me. I haven’t met a mind as strong as yours in a long time. Let’s see just how strong it is»

Almost without warning, a raised hand caused the tunnels to erupt with massive purple-white lightning bolts. Seething chains, almost pure white with the unrestrained power of the Dark Side, lathered the caged droid and arced throughout the small corridor. Seemingly endless rivers of power stormed through the small area causing the walls to rumble and shake ominously, stone columns to shatter, lighting fixtures to shatter with a screech and Kaiburr’s chassis to nearly tear itself with apart with the fury of the Sith Lord as he smashed into the side of the hallway.

When the storm finally abated, Kaiburr focused his photoreceptors on the Falleen standing before him and slowly picked himself up from the ground. Leaking small tendrils of purple mist, the raw power evoked still seeming to linger in the hallway and seep from the gaping hole in his chestplate.

The last vestiges of the illusion covering him shattered in the cold air and Kaiburr’s true visage stepped forward, revealed for the first time in many decades. Shining forth from a gaping cavity in the droid’s chest was a bloodred crystal pulsing slowly with electromagnetic energy, and connected to the droid by a veritable forest of cables and fibre-optics. Half of its face was caved in by some unknown force, torn wires hung askew from various torn ports it’s formerly sleek and whole body was a mass of torn plating and skeletal support beams lying in plain sight.

Pale orbs shone forth with a malevolent light, and a skeletal hand rose forth to point at the Falleen.

«Darth … Vexatus»

The Arcanist’s mental-voice ponderously rang out in the dark hallway, its mind touch conveying a deep sense of sluggishness, the crushing weight of mountains and a alien sense of belonging, as if it was part of some sort of Hive. «Your power … is as vast as the stories say they are…» his mental sending trailed off for a few seconds «But you misjudge our own».

With a gut wrenching shiver reality seemed to shatter and rebuild itself anew, and the destruction and carnage in the hallway vanished as if it never had happened. Stone became whole once more, light shone forth from the ceiling and the alarming cracks and fractures faded into nothingness.

«Your Illusions … are powerful… ».

Blood red fire spat forth from the crystal in the droids heart and the robot took a step forward, its eerie eyes glowing bright with risen power. «But we … know the truth, and our systems … were unaffected. You cannot fool us, Prophet»

Dark power once more filled the air inside the Temple, and shadowy tendrils reached out invisibly to snare and subdue the mind. But this time, the power was directed at Xanos and the battle for mental supremacy was conducted in the labyrinthian mind of the Sith Lord himself.

Cold marble shocked Xanos into awakening, Blinding darkness and the closed feel of claustrophobia lent his heartbeat an edge as he peered through the Force and tried to make sense of where he was. Shadowy whispers washed across his mind, as the presence of many minds came together in the dark void.

A flash of insight in the Force showed him an ebony coffin being carried through the huge throng, its dark and elegant facade streaked with gold and red symbols telling a legendary story of a great Sith.

A heavy rushing resonance, almost like that of a powerful waterfall sounded in the black nothingness, and Xanos felt an unimaginable black power rise and start to suck at his spirit. Dark words flitted across his mind borne of the Dark Side “What does it mean to die? Or to escape death? Can you escape?”

Unimaginable fear crept into the Prophet’s mind, and gathering his power he lashed outwards with every scrap of strength he had

«I refuse to die!»

A mighty blast of energy erupted outwards and the vision shimmered and then shattered with the risen might of Darth Vexatus. Blinking his eyes rapidly to clear them, the familiar thrum of a risen lightsaber filled the air and purple fire flared across his vision.

Calling on the Dark Side, Xanos focused the Force into a tiny shield around his hands and batted the blade away. For a split second, a crimson bubble flowed into being and collided with the buzzing lightsaber, causing it to bounce backwards with no harm done to the Falleen. Blocking blow after clumsy blow from the droid Xanos finally clenched his fist and the droid rose savagely into the air, carried aloft by the power of the Son of Sadow.

Channeling his rage into a white-hot sword, Xanos focused his power into a lethal blade of Force energy and with a savage cut, cleaved Kaiburr from the Force. Funneling his risen power into Kaiburr’s now defenseless mind, Xanos overwhelmed the Shards mind and implanted his own commands within.


Locke glanced at the droid Pel had discovered, distrusting the new acquisition. It seemed to be seeking the same target as the Battlelord, but Locke distrusted droids. The Augur had had more than his fair share of run-ins with malfunctioning droids. Still, half his own clan’s military was made up of them, and they could be useful when one did not want to risk a living being’s life.

Focusing on Kalu, Locke pointed up the corridor ahead of them. “Don’t rely solely on the Force,” he said. “It is strong in this place, and dark. Even the dark side, while a tool, can be overwhelming if treated improperly. Use what you know first, and your Force abilities second.”

Kalu nodded before he replied. “The Obelisks seem to be huddled in the upper floors of the temple. Down here, we’ve run into small groups and seen mostly ruin. But they have a shield.”

“Indeed,” Locke said. “If you were planning this base, where would you put a shield?”

The Neophyte thought for a moment. “I don’t know much about base construction.”

“Neither do I,” Locke said. “But I do know that I want my center to be my strongest in a fight.”

“So I want my most valuable organs to be as well-protected as possible…by bones and flesh.”

“Right,” Locke said patiently.

“Then I’d put the shield as deep in the temple as possible?”

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Locke agreed. He looked at their Sith companion. “Pel, we’re heading deeper. Stay on guard. The Obelisk may not be everywhere, but I’m sure they will be guarding their shield generator.”

“It seems likely that a fugitive would hide in the bowels of this place anyway,” Pel said. “Lead on.”

Locke nodded to Kalu, who began leading them further into the temple. There were many stairways and crossing corridors, but they tried to stay near the biggest, main ones, and continue downward. On paper, the Obelisk temple was broken up into four main levels. In reality, it seemed that those were generalized areas and the structure was much larger than previously thought.

That made sense, the Obelisk would want to be secretive about their headquarters’ vitals.

Once, Kalu broke the general quiet of their searching. “This place is pretty complex. Do we know our way out?”

Locke paused, thinking about it. “We sort of do, but right now we need to focus on getting inside. The path back out will present itself, and may change as the environment changes. For example, there may be Obelisk troops guarding the hole we made to get in here.”

Kalu didn’t say anything to that, but Locke could vaguely sense some disagreement. As long as he followed the mission, Locke didn’t care. The Neophyte would have to challenge the commands of others eventually if he was to succeedsucceeed in the Brotherhood.

Pel stayed close behind them, the droid he had found following. He did not say much. Locke imagined him plotting how best to stab the Augur in the back and still complete his mission, but he chalked that up to more paranoia than anything. Just being from different clans did not automatically make them enemies, though Locke was sure many members felt that way.

Finally, when Locke thought they must be nearing the shield generator room, he broke the silence. It was odd that they had encountered no resistance, and the Augur did not want to be ambushed, but he had to know something before they got too far.

“Pel, what will you do with the being you are searching for once we find him?”


“Not that it’s really your concern, but in the spirit of cooperation, I’ll share. I won’t be doing anything -to- him, but there are those who desire to know where he is, I’ll just let them all know. As you may have noticed, personal combat is not my specialty, I do much better in a starfighter.

“You sense anything up ahead, Augur? It seems like we should be near the center of the temple, but I don’t sense any defenders.”

“It’s difficult even for me to sort out actual beings from the background in this place, but I don’t feel any. Why don’t you send the droid ahead, Pel. If it is attacked we will know there are defenders.”

“And then the defenders will also know we are here,” Pel countered, “ I think we have a better chance of being able to take out any defenders if we approach them as friends first, rather than hiding behind this droid. We can then choose the moment of our attack, instead of having a droid start the fight when it feels like it.”

“Very well then,” Locke capitulated, “would you and it at least take the front then, since you have this great idea. My apprentice and I will be right behind you when the fun starts.”

“Of course.” Pel ordered Unit 1313 to the front of the group, and took his own station a half pace behind and to the right, to ensure his sabre and sabre-arm were free. The unlikely duo now led the small group into what looked like barracks - or what was left of barracks after the combat that had torn through the area. Broken bodies and parts of both droid and sentient littered the area. A nearly audible hum became apparent - the near-sound of a shield generator running! Pel felt that the group was getting close, and pushed out with his senses, searching for some idea of what was up ahead.

What Pel sensed was more confusing than ever before. Two strong presences in the Force were quite close standing out from all the background impressions, and they seemed to be almost merged into one. Thoughts ran through Pel’s head, of what it could be; a merging of an ancient presence and a present one, a pair of Obelisk with a shared battle-mind, some alien species?

Pel halted the droid, and turned back to Augur Locke, “There’s something around the next corner, do you feel it?”

“I do, and I’m unable to place it, we’ll have to look and see.”

Pel put action in place of words and turned the corner. He looked down the corridor and saw two beings partway down. They were practically motionless, even though one was holding the hilt of a lightsaber in his hand. The other was clad in a black cloak. The pair seemed to be focused totally on each other, as neither turned when Pel entered the hall. It quickly became apparent that the strong presences that Locke and Pel had felt were coming from these two, and that the commingling of their essences was one of mental combat, and not a friendly sharing.


“Well, this can’t be good…” Pel spoke softly, as if his voice would somehow agitate the hooded figure. “Unless we have a Sith Lord or two of our own I suggest we talk. But be prepared to run, whatever good that will do us. He must have sensed us by now.”
Kalu’s face frowned as he threw a concerned look towards his Master. He did not have an answer for this riddle. Fist to fist combat,weapons and explosives- those were Kalu’s prowess and they all seemed so futile after the display of power that they had just seen. The rules of combat changed fundamentally by adding the Force into the equation and it bugged the hell out of him. Being powerless was not a pleasant feeling, especially if you are deep within a hostile temple. Taking a deep breath and loosening his muscles he brushed off such thoughts. The situation was not alarming, nor did the stranger show any sign of aggression yet. Pel’s words tore the silence.

“We have no quarrel with you stranger. We ‘d like to pass through towards the upper levels without having to endanger ourselves more than we absolutely need to.” Pel said inquisitively, prompting a response.

«Tell me why would I spare those who endanger my very being?» a cold voice echoed through Kalu’s mind. It was obvious from the sudden change in posture that the other two heard it as well.
“Well, honestly, i understand your drive. But we mean you no harm. We are as much in a mess as you are. And i’m sure Locke shares a similar view on recent things. And i’m not here for you. I need the droid.” Pel finished with a grin.

The voice in the mind continued. «So it is desperation that has driven you to me. Fair enough. You get the droid once i’m done with him. We need to move fast, the temple is about to fall.»
The speed at which they proceeded was far greater than before. It seemed as if Vexatus bent the fate and the Force around himself. As a result they did not encounter any resistance until the generator. Kaiburr entered the scene, slicing the defending droids with a whirl of lightsaber swings, the last one slicing the generator. The barrier dissolved and the three powered through, and into the turbolift.


With the distraction of the Kaiburr-Unit going crazy on both droids and machines, and the confusion of Xanos’s mind-speech to everyone, Pel took a moment to finally fulfill his mission. A few taps on the advanced comlink he carried hidden on his person and the fact that Kaiburr was in the Temple was now known to the Inquisitorious. His obligations to that Order now complete, Pel felt free to choose his own path out of the current situation - with the highest priority on making it out alive. After that, it was whatever would bring him the most benefit, which at the moment was leaving the Sadowan, his apprentice, and the Rogue Sith Lord in his debt. If he could also arrange it so that Kaiburr was free, and owed him as well, so much the better. To that goal, Pel joined the group in the turbolift, leaving 1313 behind, after ensuring that it had no idea that one of the new additions to the group was in fact Kaiburr.

It had been a fortuitous meeting between Xanos and Pel. Years before the two had served in the TIE Corps, but time had made them strangers. There was not time enough to re-establish any old ties, but at least Xanos still thought about grand strategy and not just short-term goals. He cared nothing for Kaiburr, or those seeking him, they were just tools to him. Once he was through the shield (thanks to Kaiburr) he was fine with letting him go. The same for the Sadowan and his apprentice, while Xanos had once been part of that group, he had gone Rogue to accomplish his own goals. If they were able to help him, he would take the help, then abandon them afterwards.

As to Pel, a small amount of flattery and misdirection enabled him to save Kaiburr for the moment as well as avoid the need to fight Xanos. Now it was just a matter of seeing what Xanos was going to do, and maybe passing THAT information onto the Inquisitorious would make them not notice that Pel had been unable to detain Kaiburr. Or perhaps working with Xanos would be good on its own.

It was only after the doors closed and the lift started its trip to the upper floors, that Pel realized that without the shields protecting the temple, the assault that was their distraction was now in danger of actually destroying the temple, not to mention the possibility of the Inquisitorious coming after Kaiburr.

“Augur, we might need to hurry this up, I don’t think this temple will last long with the shields down. Even if that force outside doesn’t invade, they’ve been blasting at this place non-stop.”

“Already ahead of you on that, while you were playing with your droid, I alerted Lurzka to slow the assault, and prepare for the Obelisk to counter-attack. I also instructed him to prepare a shuttle to pick us up.”

Any further conversation was forgotten as the turbolift doors began to open. Each member of this motley crew had their own expectations of what would be waiting for them; none were prepared for what they found.


Temple Boyna
Command Center

A martial, combat oriented sect, the Obelisk Order had forever prided themselves on their mastery of the ways of the lightsaber and the Jedi Arts. Upstairs, on the fourth floor of their ancient palace, data terminals and monitors filled what resembled a Star Destroyer’s bridge. Unlike the lower floors, which had suffered the worst of the vicious assault by the Dark Council’s strike teams, the command centre remained intact.

At the far end of the hall, opposite the turbolift entrance, a robed figure stood in front of a fixed, dark stone chair, reminiscent of an admiral’s command chair- and fittingly so. Like throughout the rest of the room, more banks of monitors surrounded the chair. If this had been the Temple Tiamat, the palace’s throne would have been decorated with elaborated carved runes and engravings, with protective wards etched into the stone itself. But this was not the headquarters of the Krath, this was the seat of power of the Obelisk, and this was a chair that had been carved for their forebearer, Lord Ferran, the legendary swordsman who had ruled alongside Okemi and Tiamat.

The robed figure inspecting the command seat smiled to herself as she studied another of the many holocrons that she and the Obelisk, who behind her were watching her intently, had together recovered from the ruins of the Triumvirate Library, and which Cyrena had now placed around the various monitor stations in what had become almost a shrine more suited for a tomb than the Obelisk command centre.

The collection of holocrons whispered together in their ancient tongues.

One of the Obelisk took a step toward her.

“Well?” said Krilis, the Obelisk who now commanded the few who still survived.

“Patience,” Cyrena said quietly, and the Krath looked down from the bank of holocrons that she had positioned around the Obelisk throne-- an amusing sight, she felt, in what must have for centuries been such a stark place-- and ran her finger instead over the runes that lined a sword that had been placed over the arms of the Obelisk throne.

Hmmpf,” grunted Krilis, and the Mandalorian pushed past her to pick up the sword.

From the outside, apart from its age there was little remarkable about the blade. A metal blade, just under three feet long. Sigils were etched into it, but frustratingly for Krilis and the other Obelisk, the language was long since lost to history, and nothing in the surviving teachings they had recovered shed any light on the sword’s origins.

Its history, however, was not in question.

Cyrena reached around Krilis from behind, and placed her delicate, tattooed hand on the blade again. The Krath sorceress either knew nothing of fear or she was a fool.

“Trust me,” the woman whispered sweetly, though Krilis knew her words were poison. Krath, he knew, were never to be trusted, and she had only been brought here to allow the Obelisk warrior to decode the artifacts they had collected.

Her fate after that, well…

He watched her fingers wrap around the blade, and felt her try to pull it away. The woman did not care when her own blood started to trickle down the blade where she had tightened her grip. The Mandalorian growled, but finally turned back to face her, and, reluctantly, loosened his own hold and handed the weapon back.

The Krath looked up at him and smiled, but he knew her pleasantries were false.

Cyrena ran her fingers along the length of the blade again.

Son’Jiatt,” she said longingly, reading the runes, her voice almost sounding seduced. “The Sword of Thunder’s Fury.” Cyrena’s hand wrapped around the hilt, and she looked back at the holocrons assembled around the Obelisk throne again. “So beautiful.”

“Just remember,” Krilis growled, “Ferran’s legacy is ours, not yours.”

The witch quietly chuckled.

Krilis heard the Obelisk behind him shifting impatiently. Like them, he knew the agents of the Iron Throne were on their way. They no longer had time to waste idly yearning for the days of yore-- the Krath, whose own temple had already fallen, should surely have understood the need for haste, and he would entertain her empty ritual only a moment.

As if having read his thoughts-- and knowing Krath, she probably had-- the witch turned back to face him again. “And whose legacy is Ferran’s?” Cyrena questioned.

Her eyes flicked across the holocrons, and, still holding the blade, she picked one up.

Krilis heard whispers, as the blue holocron thrummed in the witch’s hand, almost as if it protested to being handled by one whose own teachings differed so deeply from its own.

“The stories passed down by your forebearers… so amusing,” Cyrena said. “Revelation…”

She then tossed the holocron up into the air before striking it with the blade. The device shattered with a blinding flash of blue light, and even Krilis had to avert his gaze, as he heard the shards of broken glass flung in all directions, smashing into the surviving data banks and projectors that still filled the command room of the Obelisk headquarters.

When he looked back, he saw wisps of smoke filling the air where the holocron had exploded, saw faces of old, as ghosts from the past floated through the air, barking their final words before disappearing into the air. The holocron’s gatekeepers were angry.

Krilis, too, was suddenly furious.

Behind him, the other Obelisk warriors’ hands felt to the hilts of their blades that hung from their belts, while Krilis did the same, his own weapon snapping to life with a hiss.

“You dare…” the Obelisk commander snarled. “This world would be ash were it not for us!”

“And is it not already ash?” Cyrena replied, her voice calm, insultingly so. The Krath witch gave no sign of concern at being outnumbered four-to-one, and the sword in her hand began to shine with an unnatural, ashen glow. “Lord Ashen’s ritual may have been a failure, but…”

She weaved her hand through the air, drawing lines and sigils in the lingering smoke left behind by the shattered holocron, and identically shaped shackles of smoke wrapped around Krilis and the group of Obelisk, rooting the group in place in her Force hold.

The Krath turned her eyes back to the other holocrons.

“In Tiamat’s name, I will return this world to dust, and all the true Undesirables-- all the Obelisk and Sith-- will be washed away from the pages of history.” Her eyes flashed with a dark, violet fire. “Like they were meant to have been erased all those years ago.”

“Re… lease me… witch!” snarled Krilis.

Behind him, he heard the turbolift moving. Time was running out.

Lightning flashed around the witch, rising from the blade. The dark energy arched toward the other holocrons, lancing through the air, as Krilis felt the woman drawing on the Dark Side, drawing on him, his own life force, as well as the dark energies that slept forever across the surface of the planet, like an inexhaustible well of infinite energy.

Krilis hissed, and tried to fight back the mental snare that Cyrena had trapped him in, but his movements were stunted, and even with his resolve, he could not push past her.

“Foolish little insect,” the Krath chuckled, “I was the High Priest’s last apprentice, the only one to escape the horned butcher’s blade.” Cyrena spoke of Darth Necren, the Ikotchi assassin who had brought death to her own order’s temple, slaying the last High Priest in cold blood on the steps of the Temple Tiamat. “But we Krath will have our revenge.”

“What…” hissed Krilis, fighting back her hold to talk, “what are you on about… now?”

Cyrena smirked back at the Obelisk. “Our power has finally awakened. Do you feel it?”

The holocrons began to glow, becoming brighter and brighter. Another roared with light like the one the witch had already struck with the sword of Son’Jiatt, blinding the room in another blinding white flash, before the ancient holocron burst into flame, leaving nothing behind but smoke and dust. More spectres spun into the air, whispering their final whispers, adding to the cacophony as Cyrena herself shut her eyes and changed.

“Mother of Dragons, I will finish what you started…”

A surge of unholy fire surged through the witch, the tattoos covering her body glowing, and all at once the remaining holocrons all simultaneously burst asunder, throwing their ghosts too into the ever growing maelstrom of dark energies, which only grew more intense as the voices of the past lent their whispers to the incantations Cyrena called upon to reshape the Force.

Her hold broke, and Krilis and the other Obelisk were sent hurtling into the wall on the far side of the room, not far from the turbolift, which he could hear getting ever nearer.

“Let Antei burn one last time!” Cyrena shouted.

“Not if I can see to it,” Krilis growled, finally pulling himself back onto his feet, while his brothers did the same, right as the turbolift chimed and its doors swooshed open, before the intruders who had violated the Obelisk Order’s ancient seat of power poured out.

“You deal with them,” the commander snarled, waving a hand toward the agents of the Iron Throne, who he saw quickly readying themselves for the imminent confrontation. “I’ll deal with… her.” He sneered as he looked at the Krath witch, who stood in the heart of her own inferno, which she was so desperately seeking to unleash on them.

He understood now what she had sought all along. The sorceress was calling on the souls of the dark who had been struck down by the Lord Marshal and his assassins. That was why she had come with them to the Temple Boyna-- all along, the traitorous harpy had sought to bring the Obelisk-- and the Inquisitors with them-- down together by turning the death that had been inflicted throughout the Obelisk palace into a weapon.

And so, the Inquisitors had come, and the Krath had shown her true colours, but the leader of the remaining Obelisk was not about to see his order die without a fight.

Ferran would have expected nothing less.

They were the guardians of Antei, and they would not see its legacy die.


Command Center
Temple Boyna

When the turbolift doors opened, the scene was chaos. The air almost seemed electrified, as on one end of the room someone seemed to be creating quite a Force storm. Locke recognized her Krath robes, but knew nothing else about her. He had always distanced himself from the core of the Krath Order, finding their ways too archaic.

Four other beings inhabited the room, all dressed as Obelisk. One, who seemed to be their commander, was trying his best to reach the Krath, but her storm seemed to create some sort of protective barrier around her. The other three stood poised to help. Two had ignited lightsabers, the third wielding a large blaster weapon.

The command center itself was a mess, with relics and crates everywhere. Between them were rows of terminals. Spider-like cracks ran along multiple walls and the ceiling, as the muffled sound of artillery fire boomed outside. This place wasn’t going to last much longer.

“Maybe it’s best if the Orders are destroyed,” Locke mumbled, surveying the scene.

“I thought you told them we were here,” Pel said, referring to the army camped outside and their artillery.

“I did, but they have their orders to keep the Obelisk from escaping. They musn’t think going outside is a good idea. The army has to hold them until the fleet can bombard, which they will do in a few minutes, so we need to get out of here.”

“How?” Kalu asked. “This doesn’t seem like a good place to come for that…”

“There’s an emergency landing pad attached to the command center,” Pel answered. “It’s our only chance.”

Locke nodded. “Right. Lord Vexatus-”

He stopped as the Elder growled something about a sword under his breath and headed for the Krath sorceress, all his attention seemingly focused on that. Kaiburr followed him, as if intending to protect the Elder.

“Great,” Locke mumbled. “Guess it’s just us left to clear a path out of here.”

The Obelisk leader seemed completely focused on the Krath and had not noticed them. That left the three remaining Obelisk to deal with.

“This isn’t going to be easy,” Pel said."

“We’ll have to work together if we want to make it out alive. Pel, can you distract one?”

“I can do more than that.”

“Good.” Locke turned to Kalu. “You ready for this?”

“I am,” he said, a grin slowly spreading on his face as he shouldered his Ryyk blade. “I wonder how they’ll fare against a thermal detonator.”

Locke smiled. “I think you should toss one and find out. Pel, get ready-”

“You there!” one of the Obelisk - a guant-faced Duros - shouted at them. “Who are you, what do you want?” He raised his blaster rifle to face the group.

Their only reply was the metal-on-metal sound of the detonator rolling across the floor. The Duros moved as if to push it back with the Force, but Locke felt something from Pel and the Obelisk stopped, eyes wide as he seemed to see something else. At the last moment the Obelisk shook his head and leaped away as the device exploded.

Amidst the ringing in his ears, Locke ignited his lightsaber. He brought it up, intending to attack the nearest of the Obelisk, but that one was already on him, gleaming blue blade crackling against the sunfire of his own. “You scum,” the Obelisk growled. He was human, his accent placing him as having been Coruscanti before he joined the Brotherhood.

While the Duros recovered and the Coruscanti engaged Locke, the third Obelisk moved toward Kalu, seeking to eliminate the source of the detonator. He was a Twi’lek, wearing a wicked grin across his face as he attacked. For his part, Kalu had his Ryyk blade held up defensively, as he backed away, glancing to the sides for anything he could use.

“Pel!” Locke shouted, parrying another strike from the Coruscanti. “The Twi’lek!”

There was another surge in the Force, and this time lightning arced from Pel’s outstretched fingertips. It hit the Twi’lek’s side as the Obelisk focused on Kalu, sending him reeling into a nearby terminal. Pel ignited his lightsaber and attacked the Twi’lek, who turned to face him. The Obelisk beat the Sith back with a wicked series of strikes, but had his attention focused on there. Whether through stress or foolishness, he seemed to dismiss the threat of Kalu as he sought to eliminate Pel.

Locke turned back to his opponent. The Coruscanti was strong and fast. He beat at Locke’s defense with hard, brutal strikes, but the Krath defended as best he could. Still, he knew he would not be able to win this duel.

“You don’t have to fight me,” he said. “This temple is about to be destroyed. You could leave.”

“And be cut down by you?” the Coruscanti laughed. “You lie as badly as the Krath.”

“Well,” Locke mumbled, “I was Krath.”

He realized words were not going to work. Sidestepping, Locke deflected another strike. He glanced at the Twi’lek and Pel. The Twi’lek wore a snarl on his face, but he did not see Kalu until it was too late. The Zabrak’s blade erupted from his chest as Pel stepped back, away from the Obelisk’s flailing lightsaber.

“Your brothers fall, one by one,” Locke said.

“But I will still be victorious!” the Obelisk said. Suddenly, he seemed to attack with greater fervor. Locke parried one strike, then another, and another, before the Coruscanti battered through his defenses, blade knocking Locke’s away. A split-second later, the Obelisk’s shoulder slammed into Locke, sending him hard into a pile of stacked weapons.

Thankfully, none of them went off. Locke groaned as the Coruscanti stood over him. He might have had a broken bone, but was unsure.

A hail of blaster-fire indicated the Duros was back in action. Kalu took cover behind a console as lasers ripped the front of it apart. Pel ducked behind a stack of durasteel crates as lasers left glowing holes in the other side.

For his part, Locke summoned the Force, fighting through the pain. The dark side was strong here, it’s influence warping the power. The Krath Adherent was not sure if it would react normally, but he would show this Obelisk that blade skill would not determine the outcome of their fight.


Loyalist Forces

Brotherhood Military Base
Outskirts of the Obelisk Temple

Wind howled in the distance and thunder crashed among the clouds, as the storm that frenzied perpetually in Antei’s sky raged unchecked. Rain pelted the Brotherhood forces arrayed in siege formation, and sleet poured mercilessly down upon the huddled soldiers.

The deteriorating weather conditions weighed heavily on the besieging troops, and morale was suffering as the seemingly eternal standoff dragged on with no end in sight. Even the appearance of Locke Sonje, the Consul of Naga Sadow, as the new commander on the ground hadn’t been enough to motivate the despondent troops and with his departure on some ‘secret’ mission into the Obelisk Temple, things seemed to be getting even worse.

The only signs of life in the base were the bright flashes that erupted methodically from the large heavy artillery cannons on the far side of the base, the roaring flames of the shells arcing off into horizon and disappearing in the oppressive gloom, and the ponderous crawl of the large and cumbersome AT-AT’s assigned to perimeter patrol duty.

Inside the Command Center, a chaotic dance was being artfully choreographed by Captain Lurzka as the situation unfolded with alarming speed. Information packets from Locke arrived, and simultaneous updates were constantly being shown on the main command screen from the heavy artillery crews. Different voices shouted out updates and operation officers scrambled around checking on all their monitors.

“Captain, all firing solutions are a go”
“Flight crew Alpha-One report all systems ready and await your command”
“Sensors are picking up an anomaly in the vicinity of the Temple grounds, type unknown. Power readings are off the charts!”

Standing tall in the center of the room, the Captain stood with his hands behind his back and his eagle eyes staring at the main screen. “Alpha-One is a go, tell them to get the Consul out of there as fast as possible” he barked with military precision. “Inform all artillery batteries to cease fire, and send a message to the Augur that transport is on the way. Landing co-ordinates are 4QFJ 2648”

The communications officer looked up at Captain Lurzka with astonishment “But that is right on top of the Command Center inside the Temple. How are they supposed to reach there? The Obelisk will tear them apart!”

“The Temple schematics show that the closest landing pad to their location is an emergency Hangar Bay attached to the enemy Command Center. It’s their only chance to escape before the Orbital Bombardment will obliterate all that is left of the Obelisk compound,” replied Lurzka, before turning away from the screen and heading out.

“May the Force be with them, because the Lord Marshal certainly won’t be…” he mumbled to himself.

Entering his private quarters, the Captain locked the door and called up his personal holo-com. Entering the memorized codes he had been given, Lurzka knelt reverently on the cold floor and bowed his head. A large blue-white figure materialized in the darkened room, buzzing slightly before solidifying.

“Report, Captain Lurzka.”

The voice that issued out of the hologram was distorted and warped by electronic security measures, and the figure was shrouded in a formless cloak disguising his identity. Keeping his eyes on the floor, Captain Lurzka was about to speak when the entire room flashed twice and then fell dark and the holographic image winked out of existence. The communications had gone offline.

Something was disrupting them…

Outside the Temple

The already darkened sky rumbled and sparked with newfound power and purpose, charcoal black clouds pregnant with condensed water clashed against each other and started to swirl. Winds suddenly picked up and churned the clouds together, their wild howling joining the already terrifying cacophony, mixing them into a chaotic maelstrom and spiraling away into the darkness.

The ground started to shake and rumble, slowly at first but with increasing regularity and power. The earth heaved itself skywards and then shook with rage, stone shattered and exploded with the virulent hatred coursing through Force and with a bone shattering scream cracks snaked through the base and wreaked havoc among the troops.

The ever present sleet and cold that formerly was just an irritating nuisance doubled in ferocity, and then tripled itself again. Hailstones of the like which had never been seen before hurtled down from the sky with murderous intent. Smashing into vehicles, tearing holes in tents, killing the unprotected livestock indiscriminately and wreaking havoc among the by now terrified troops.

Lightning flashed through the sky - previously a harmless ‘natural’ phenomenon - now lay waste to the entire area, lancing down from the sky mercilessly and killing screaming soldiers with each purple bolt of death. Bodies flew everywhere with each repeated flash and fires sprung up among the prefabricated buildings, adding toxic smoke to the already deadly nightmare.

But the worst had yet to come…

As the Krath witch’s ritual rose to its apex and sucked in with greedy abandon every shred of power it could, the whirling sky started spinning with a violent ferocity and a high pitched screech erupted from the wounded heavens. Winds spun in angry protest and clouds snarled together with savage energy, coalescing into a deadly funnel that hungrily reached down to the ground.

The massive tornado swirled into being a kilometer from the Loyalist base and spun towards them, leaping forward with unnatural speed. Tearing into the forces arrayed against the Temple it gobbled up AT-ATs with frightening alacrity, smashed through hardened durasteel barriers with the fury of a lightsaber, sucked up fleeing troopers by the dozen and spat them out broken and limp.

It seemed that there was no hope left for the beleaguered Loyalist forces…

Fourth Floor,

Obelisk Command Center
Inside the Obelisk Temple

Oblivious to the seething battle that raged around him, Krilis lent voice to the rage coursing through him and released a primordial roar that echoed through the room. With each step that he took blood pulsed with a rising frenzy, thick, dark blue veins ran down the Obelisk’s arms, throbbing hard, where they poked up through his skin…

Muscles corded and bunched underneath the heavy armor, and his eyes turned blood-red with crimson rage. Armored boots thumped with increased speed as the Obelisk commander flashed across the battlefield. Moving with primal grace and feral aggression, a long heavy rod flashed into his hands, faster than the eye could blink and blossomed into a long sapphire beam.

With an expert whirl, another sapphire beam blossomed into existence and Krilis brought the long saber-staff to bear. Leaping above overturned chairs and broken consoles, the Obelisk charged at the raging inferno and the demented witch inside of it.

With one final exertion, the marauder brought his saber forward in a brutal overhand chop that was intended to slice through the fiery corona protecting the Krath Priestess and cleave her from head to toe. But just as he reached the apex of his swing, he was thrown backwards brutally and sent crashing into the ground. Cruel laughter sounded in his mind, and with mounting terror Krilis felt a foreign presence slither into his mind and coil around his soul.

Jerking awkwardly to his feet and spinning towards the intruders, the Mandalorian felt his body move with a purpose that wasn’t his own. Eyes clenched tightly against the mental hold, sweat beaded on the warrior’s face and a small rivulet of blood trickled down his neck, dripping from his nose. “Leave. me. ALONE!” he howled with anger, staggering slightly under the onslaught and visibly shaking with tension.

Grabbing his helmet with both hands and jerking it off his head with feverish haste, he let it fall to the ground besides him as the crushing pressure inside his mind forced his body to its knees. The empty helm rolled to the floor and landed with its faceplate facing the shaking Warlord, the azure jaig-eyes mocking him and the numerous battle decorations a silent testament to his failure.

With a sudden groan he jerked backwards, head snapping up and back arching unnaturally while his eyes rolled up into their sockets leaving eerie white orbs in its place. Sinking to his knees once more, Krilis braced himself with both hands and bowed his head as if resting from the exertion. Like a marionette, the Witch’s will caused him to push himself up with one hand and he got to his feet with sudden and jerking movements.

«Surrender… it is pointless to resist…» a seductive voice whispered in his mind.

The Obelisk’s jaw opened, but… no words of his own answered. Instead thrusting out a gauntleted hand to the side, the puppet-soldier leapt forward and charged at the Falleen Lord with wild abandon. Calling out through the Force, the commander’s long handled lightsaber hovered for a moment in the air, shaking slightly, and then streaked towards his outstretched hand.

However, this time he was a sad shell of his former self, a sorrowful parody of an Order sworn to war. Where formerly primal power surged in the Obelisk’s powerful frame, now uncoordinated movements and heavy-handed maneuvers defined his actions. Where feral aggression and dazzling martial skill once resided, now only a macabre caricature of his old swordsmanship remained.

Rounding on the motionless Falleen, Krilis called on the Force and with a sudden burst of speed seemed to blur into a streak of movement that culminated with a brutal shoulder slam. Using his body’s raw momentum, rather than the Warlord’s usually practiced finesse to stabilize himself and lend more strength to his strike, he spun around and brought his saber into a deadly spin expecting to find a dazed and unprotected target.

However a blue blade flashed into existence at the last second and intercepted the savage blow. Staggering backwards from the unexpected resistance, Krilis caught himself and stared straight at the lightsaber that spun in the air with lethal grace. A beautifully carved shoto saber, with gilded runes and teal symbols spun around the hooded Sith Lord, held aloft in the air by an invisible hand.

Head bowed and eyes shut, Xanos’s countenance was hidden in the folds his cowl and his hands were folded almost serenely in the folds of his robes. And yet power radiated outwards from the motionless Prophet in palpable waves, energy pulsed out from him and lashed out at the snarls that entangled the stricken warrior, as the Obelisk’s stolen lightsaber was wielded solely by thoughts radiating from the Falleen’s mind.

Pearly laughter rang out and from the burly Obelisk a sickly sweet voice chimed out with malicious glee “Well done, little Sithling. You can play your little tricks as much as you like, but it will do you no good.” Snarling once more, the Obelisk tottered forward and lunged forward with his blade but his clumsy strike was once more warded off by the circling shoto.

This time the voice that came out of the Obelisk was his own: “Get your filthy hands off my saber, Sith. You are not fit to wield that blade!” but Krilis’s momentary resurgence was broken as Cyrena’s voice rang out once more. “Do not deceive yourself into believing that history will be repeated once again, little one, this time there is no ‘Ferran’ to come save you and this Obelisk is my little plaything.”

Manic laughter filled the room and a massive storm of lightning sprang forth from the center of the inferno and spilled across the room, stunning the rest of the combatants and causing them to sink to the floor too paralyzed to continue their duels.

“S…stop… her…” Locke groaned before collapsing to the ground, clawing weakly at his comlink: “L…Lorzka… come in… Lorkza…!!!”

With barely a moment’s hesitation, Xanos breathed the storm in and fed the dark energy coursing through his body to the slumbering wyrm within his soul. With an almost indifferent motion of his hand the Sith Lord raised his open palm and released the pent up energy outwards, deflecting the lightning storm into the towering Obelisk who hurtled through the sparking air and smashed headfirst into Kaiburr.

A terrible scream shattered the sudden silence as Krilis clutched at his head again in violent pain and inside the inferno, Cyrena also grabbed at her skull as the psychic link fed his pain to her. Rolling weakly on to his back, Krilis wheezed heavily and coughed as blood trickled from his mouth. He groaned with pain and shook his head as he fought to break free of the witch’s power but with a violent mental lash, Cyrena crushed his will once more and asserted her dominance.

However this time Xanos was ready and already deep in trance within the Force, and with a gentle touch he sank into the Force, letting its currents wash his awareness away. Almost without conscious thought, cool energy washed across Kaiburr’s consciousness and awoke him from the terrible nightmare within which he had been imprisoned.

Struggling to reconnect his synapses within the artificial construct that housed the Shard, Kaiburr focused his rage and his pain into a diamond-hard spear and calling upon the Dark Side, cast his senses outwards.

Nearly shutting down once more from the sensory overload, Kaiburr called upon his training and focused on the teachings that his master in the Mystics Asylum had taught him. Two nodes of the Force shone like lighthouse beacons in the room, their signatures burning brightly to his Force-enhanced sight. One node a conflagration of searing balefire and surrounded with a deadly corona, while the other was a glacial void that seemed to greedily suck up the very warmth from the area.

Shadowy tendrils of power connected the two titanic beings as they struggled against each other for supremacy, and smaller tendrils trailed off from the two beings and reached out towards himself and the fallen Obelisk.

Withdrawing his consciousness from the Force, Kaiburr activated the movement software located inside his droid host and the droid rolled to its feet with mechanical precision. Still moving sluggishly from the electrical overload, a simple order crystallized in his mind and without even awareness of his actions the snap-hiss of his lightsaber heralded the birth of his peculiar blade.

Mimicking him with like some sort of macabre doppelganger, Krilis brought his own saberstaff to bear and both blades erupted from the hilt with a snarl. Forgetting form, forgetting skill, the Obelisk warrior lashed out with savage blows that landed with bone crushing strength on the Shard’s purple blade.

Falling into a Klarin Chi defensive stance and trying to bring to bear all his meager training in Soresu, Kaiburr barely managed to hold the mindless Obelisk. It was all he could do to deflect the heavy overhead blows that rained down on him like an unending torrent. It was only thanks to the metallic configuration of his host that Kaiburr managed to deflect the spinning blade, and with each strike small pieces of his body crumbled to dust or spun whirling to the floor with a metallic clang.

Knowing that he couldn’t hold on much longer against the superior ability of the Obelisk, despite his weakened and mindless state the Shard struck out the only way that he knew how. Calling upon the Dark Side, the Shard Arcanist reached out with his senses and dredged up every fearful memory and every moment of terror that he had ever experienced.

Fear washed over him weakening his resolve, crumbling his will and sapping his hard won discipline as the very Dark energies that he sought to tame raged inside of him. Harnessing that energy and channeling it out of him, Kaiburr funneled all of it into the palm of the droid’s hand and released the fel power at the mad Obelisk.

The fiery energy burned through his host’s body and caused even more deterioration in the chassis’s structural integrity, but almost reluctantly the wave of terror washed over the Obelisk marauder and crumpled him to his feet, gibbering with fear and babbling incoherently.

However his victory was short lived, as the powerful mind of the Krath witch shattered his spell and violently heaved Krilis to his feet. A surge of the Dark Side sent Kaiburr flying through the air and crashing with metal shattering force into the far wall, while the Obelisk leapt through the air, lightsaber held overhead, for a second recapturing his old grace and glory as he reached the apex of his jump, before descending with murderous intentions towards the battered and half shattered being.

Time suddenly seemed to slow down and everything froze in place, causing the puzzled Shard to slowly pick himself up and look around with confusion. The fountain of dark power in the center of the room was uncharacteristically still, the murderous Obelisk hanging in midair blade extended forward as if to impale Kaiburr and the hooded figure of Darth Vexatus still motionless and still in his place.

«Krilis is too strong, you need my power. Only together can we strike him down.»

The deep timbre washed across Kaiburr’s mind, the haunting voice coming from everywhere at once. Pacing forward slowly, the Shard waited for the voice’s wearer to appear before him. A ghostly apparition suddenly flashed into existence besides him, the familiar Falleen features of Vexatus staring back at him with an unreadable expression.

Once more the Sith’s voice rang in his mind «You are outmatched. Death is all but certain for you» he said, «I could save you, I only require the briefest moment of control. Accept my help or watch yourself die. Choose quickly, time has not stopped.»

Knowing what fate awaited him if he failed, Kaiburr sent his assent to the Sith Lord.

«I am ready, now.»

Time sped up once more and Kaiburr felt his will thrust aside roughly with barely a thought, as an entity more powerful than he could imagine reached out through him and raised his arms together. Purple-white bolts of power lanced upwards, electricity crackled violently in the air and lightning pulsed out of Kaiburr in a never ending torrent of electricity that engulfed Krilis and threw his smoldering body to the floor smoking from the dark energy that coursed through him.

Abruptly, violently, the torrent of power disappeared and Kaiburr was thrust back into his own body once more. The feeling far more jarring and draining than before, as if Vexatus was ripped prematurely from his body.

But this time a deep dread lodged itself in his gut, and Kaiburr felt the air crackle and spark with newfound power. Capitalizing on Xanos’s momentary distraction, the Krath Priestess funneled all her might and concentration into the ritual and with one last bloody scream sent the ritual’s power out across the Temple.

In the Force, a great wound ripped open and thousands of ethereal voices howled in pain and despair as they were sent careening and spinning impotently into the void. The souls of the dead and the leaking power of the Holocron gatekeepers fused together into one terrifying sinkhole, and whirled madly around the figure of the Krath witch. Like some sort of banshee, maw gaping grotesquely open and outreached hands grasping hungrily, the very life force of all present seemed to seep and tear out of their earthly shells.

To those with the sight, the Duros lieutenant clutched at his chest and with a terrified shriek of despair his soul ripped out from his clutching body and was dashed into the maelstrom as his lifeless body fell with an almost anticlimactic thud to the ground.


Antei Orbit
Brotherhood - class Star Battlecruiser Nightfall

The Lord Marshall remained glued to a holographic display of the events unfolding on Antei’s surface. The Krath Temple had been routed. The Shadow Academy plundered. But in the darkness of the Shadowlands of Adas, a thunderstorm gathered, interrupting all scanning attempts by the flagship of the Eighth Fleet to penetrate its dark shroud.

“There is still no contact from Captain Lurzka, my lord,” reported a comm officer.

This charade had gone on long enough, Nix thought to himself. As the Grand Master had foreseen, the Undesirables had flocked like flies to the decaying ruins of their Orders, where the last of them would finally be extinguished so that the Sith could rule alone.

He focused on the blackout across the Shadowlands where the Temple Boyna should be.

“Can you not feel it?” Nix said. “The blossoming of power? They have failed us.”

The Lord Marshall turned his back on the hologram. He had made his decision.

“Commence orbital bombardment.”

There was a momentary pause. The voice of the Nightfall’s captain finally replied: “Lord Marshall…” began Admiral Beeliz carefully, “our strike team is still inside. Should I first inform–”

“Do as I say,” Nix interrupted. “Or do you wish to suffer the same fate?”

“N… no, of course not, my lord,” Beeliz coughed.

The Lord Marshall headed for the turbolift and left them to carry out his instructions.

Back in his private quarters, Damon Nix keyed in an encrypted frequency on his room’s independent holo-console that was coded only for his private channel. Few beside Nix knew the whereabout of the Super Star Destroyer Suffering, let alone how to directly contact the Dark Brotherhood’s flagship, but the Lord Marshall was not just anyone. A few moments passed, then a giant, blue-white face projected into his room, filling it.

Nix dropped onto one knee, and bowed his head.

“My Master.”

The head of the Grand Master of the Dark Brotherhood looked down at his apprentice.

“Lord Esoteric,” Darth Pravus said, “what have you to report?”

“The purge is nearly complete, my lord,” Esoteric replied, “and the Great Obelisk Temple will soon be confined to the history books.” The Lord Marshall raised his face to his Master. “Also, the one who walked away from your Dread Council is with them.”

That made the Dark Lord’s eyes flash.

“I see,” Pravus replied, and was silent a moment. “Let him burn with the rest of them.”

Temple Boyna
Command Center

Xanos’s skin pulled against his bones as he pushed toward his target in the heart of the ancient Obelisk temple. His strength was draining rapidly as he fought to fight back the Krath witch’s mental control. Even as an Elder, the Prophet had his limits, and he too was succumbing to the same weight that had brought the rest to their knees. Even if they could no longer even stand on their feet, Locke and the others still tried to fight on, their hair greying, the weight of their lightsabers becoming as heavy a burden as rocks, as all struggled in vain as the witch’s ritual neared completion.

This was the Dark Side at its most potent, distilled into nothing but a dark oblivion.

His own weight heavy on his ebony staff, the Prophet reached out toward the maelstrom of fire and madness that swirled chaotically like a miniature supernova held caged only by the fragile jar that was the deranged Krath witch’s mind, but about to burst free at any moment now, right in the centre of the command room where once Ferran himself had once held court from his steel throne, which still stood, even now, at the end. The consoles and monitors had all blown and shattered, the desks and chairs reduced to ash.

The Falleen’s grey-green skin blackened and peeled. He had to pull away.

He could not get any closer.

The witch’s voice gloated in his mind. You should have known it was futile, Cyrena said, her own voice strained, and sounding like it was no longer coming from this plane, but then maybe it wasn’t, when she had already sucked so much death out of Antei’s corpse. Xanos’s hair, already grey from his decades spent too deep in the Dark Side, had turned as white as snow, his skin pale, thinning, as the stolen years he should never have been handled back the last time he had come this close to death were sucked back out of him.

“C…can’t go on… much more,” coughed someone, though at that point, the Prophet was not paying enough attention to whom the voice originated, or whether friend or foe.

The maelstrom hissed and zinged when he tried to reach toward it again, the sparks flying off in all directions, one striking something with a metallic chime, and he heard a drone like an engine shutting down. “N… noooo…” came the Kaiburr-Unit’s metal voice.

Cyrena stared back at Xanos from the depths of the dark inferno.

You have lost, apprentice of the Oracle.

Her mind shards redoubled their attack and it took all the Prophet could do to remain conscious. Xanos let go of his staff and fell to his knees, no longer any more able to fight back the power the sorceress had awakened than could Locke, or Pel, or Kalu. His groan joined the dark choir of screams from the Inquisitors and the surviving Obelisk rebels as Cyrena’s laughter echoed through the command center, the walls thundering, bricks falling, pillars collapsing as the Temple Boyna shook from the combined dual onslaught of the orbital bombardment outside and the madness that had been awoken within.

The witch… had won

Inside, a small part of Xanos understood why Pravus had ordered this madness purged, and the Undesirables marked for death, the Krath and Obelisk expunged from history, but… there was always another way, the Prophet was not ready yet to surrender… Even so, even with all his resolve, his strength faltered, and he fell forward onto his elbows, his face near enough the dark fire that he felt the heat against his skin, burning, cooking.

“We… cannot…” Another voice behind him, not the same, but still no consequence.

There was nothing any of them could do.

The Force is not always the answer.

A voice. Xanos was not sure where it had come from. Was it his? It was not Cyrena’s. Female. So none of the others. He did not understand. Was he imagining things? He reached out, trying to push through the mad cacophony, but his power was too drained, his strength exhausted, he could no more collect his thoughts than try to stand up.

The message rolled through his mind again. The Force… the answer…

A flash of insight shot through the Falleen’s mind.

“No,” coughed Xanos, looking up at the writhing shape of the insane Krath witch, the last apprentice of the last Krath High Priest. He pushed his arm out to reach for his staff, and slowly, heavily, dragged it back toward him, pulling it bit by bit, even though it only weighed a few pounds. “No,” the Prophet repeated again, responding to the mad Cyrena’s earlier proclamation that he, the Oracle’s apprentice, had lost, and she already the victor.

No,” Xanos growled for a third and final time, and with all his might, pushed himself up from the floor with his staff. Even if he could only make it onto his knees, it was better than to die like a dog down on the ground. “It is you… who don’t… understand,” he choked the words, struggling even to breathe in the ash and smoke that was filling the room.

The Prophet shut his eyes again and, with all his focus, reached into the great tapestry that bound the universe together, every link and chain, every thread that tied everything and everyone together in one whole, unified collective commonly called the Force. But it was not all powerful. It was not absolute. There was… another way.

With the last of his strength, the Falleen funnelled his remaining energy into his hand, like a silver spear, a small hole where the dark maelstrom did not reach, a quiet, tranquil haven, free from the darkness of Antei, free from the madness of the last apprentice of the High Priest, and… punched his fist into the chaotic whirlwind of darkness!

The rest of Xanos’s body burned and smoked, where his arm had pierced through the shell that Cyrena had sheathed herself within, but where he had pushed back the Force, where he had fought back her dark vortex, nullifying it, suppressing it, even if he could only do so within a small, concentrated bubble, he reached for the sword held in her hand, her focal point, and clasped the blade, it taking all his willpower not to pass out.

Cyrena was too taken aback to react.

Lost in her own absolute conviction of her victory, certain there was no power that could overcome her own, she did nothing as Xanos pushed the ancient sword of Son’Jiatt, the sword that had brought an end to Tiamat’s madness before her, back in Cyrena’s own direction, and shoved, throwing himself forward into the arcane storm with all his weight, forcing the blade up into her ribs, and directly through her heart!

The Krath witch screamed, and the pair of them, Prophet and Sorceress, collapsed on top of each other, as the ritual collapsed, the energy rebounding like snapped rubber band, shattering the stone throne where it had begun, and hurling those around it away into the desks and walls or whatever object they each struck first.

Outside, the storm finally ceased, and it began to rain.

The madness was over.

Outside of the Obelisk Temple

Rain poured across the smoking fires that had now gone out over the broken spires of what had once been the Great Obelisk Temple. The Obelisk cultists had been finished, and with it, their Order consigned to dust. Recovery teams were hurrying across the wreckage that remained following the combination of the mad witch’s Force Storm and the Lord Marshall’s planetary bombardment by the Navy of the Iron Throne.

Captain Lurzka was speaking with the Sadow Consul, who had a crutch under his left shoulder to help support him. Locke’s apprentice, Kalu, was sat on a chair nearby, a medic examining the Zabrak for any signs of internal damage from the impact when they had all been thrown back from the blast when the ritual was brought to an end.

“For a moment, I thought you weren’t going to make it,” Lurzka said.

Locke winced a little when he turned to the captain to answer.

“Not all of us did,” the Consul replied, and nodded his head over at the motionless robotic skeleton that had been carried out from the ruined command center before the Lord Marshall’s fleet had finished razing the temple’s main pyramid to the ground.

“At least it makes my report easy,” Pel said, who himself was having one of the staff officers make sure that his uniform was still tidy, as befit an old Imperial admiral. Even if it had been years since Pel had been a member of the Empire, some habits died hard.

Nearby, a tired man growled, and Locke took a glance-- wincing again-- to see one of the Obelisk who had fought them back inside the temple, but who was now restrained and being escorted to a waiting shuttle by more forces from the Inquisitorius. Their face was burned, and the Consul could not make out which it had been, not that he cared. The Dark Council would decide the fate of the Undesirables who had made out out alive…

Hopefully for the worst, Locke thought privately. There was no love lost between him and the Obelisk, nor Krath who gave the Order he had once called his own a bad name.

As Lurzka and Locke talked about the results of the operation, the captain explained why, in his and his men’s eyes, the last holdout of Undesirables who had trapped themselves in the Temple Boyna had reinforced the reasons why the Dark Council wanted to unite the Dark Brotherhood into a single, coordinated group.

“As a military officer,” Lurzka continued, “it just makes sense.”

While they had been talking, another shuttle had thrummed past over their heads, and had now set down on a clearing behind the medical tents. An upturned AT-AT stood next to where the Imperial shuttle had landed, having been swept up in the tornado that had torn through the base camp-- and the temple itself-- during the final battle.

Locke recognised the markings on the shuttle.

“I will speak with you later,” the Consul said, and made his way to the shuttle, the Inquisitor from Tarentum joining him. Kalu was still being checked over for head injuries, though Locke expected his apprentice would be fine after a few hours of bacta.

The Lord Marshall was already waiting at the foot of the shuttle’s ramp.

It was Pel that approached first. He had, after all, been the Inquisitor specifically assigned to the unit not just for the capture of the Kaiburr-Unit, but secretly to keep an eye on the Sadow Consul as well.

“Greetings, my lord,” Pel said, while Locke nodded beside him.

“Inquisitors,” Nix said curtly.

Behind Locke and Pel, the Obelisk they had heard complaining earlier was pushed forward by a pair of armed guards, the prisoner unsteady on their feet and looking close to collapse, their clothes scorched. The man had his hands shackled, as well as a mask covering his mouth, which was more like a canine’s muzzle than to stop him speaking.

“Filthy Sith dogs…” the Obelisk growled, but stopped short of more when one of the guards behind him shoved the butt of their rifle into the large man’s back. Even if the Obelisk warrior might have been strong on a normal day, right then, in the Inquisitors’ camp, he was nothing but another prisoner, and still drained both from their fight and the Krath witch’s mind control.

“Commander Krilis, I believe,” the Lord Marshall replied, evidently more well informed than any of them. Locke had no idea how the aid to the Dark Council knew the Obelisk warrior’s name, but it did not surprise him that Nix would have had access to more thorough classified records than other Inquisitors.

The Obelisk muttered under his breath as he was herded up aboard the shuttle.

“The Grand Master will be pleased with your results,” Nix said, turning his attention back to the two Inquisitors. “Today saw the end of the last traitorous rebels of the Krath and Obelisk cults, you should feel proud.” His eyes drifted to the medical tents behind Locke and Pel. “And what of the other member-- or rather members– of your party?”

The Lord Marshall gestured toward the camp, and Locke and Pel began back toward the tent where they had left Kalu and the remains of Kaiburr so Nix could see for himself.

“My apprentice will heal,” Locke answered.

When Nix did not reply, Pel added: “The Kaiburr-Unit was disabled,” the Battlelord said, “although we are uncertain what became of the Shard itself. Destroyed, I presume.”

“I see,” Nix said, though for the moment he did not elaborate.

Kalu was still sitting with the medical team when they got back inside the camp. When the Zabrak spotted the Lord Marshall, he bowed his head in respect. The wreckage of the Kaiburr-Unit remained where it had been, crippled by the witch’s arcane storm.

The Lord Marshall studied the otherwise empty camp with a quickly souring expression.

“In addition to the Undesirable you recovered,” began Nix, his tone darkening, “I was under the impression there was a fifth member join your team inside the temple.”

Locke and Pel both looked at each other in turn and frowned. Locke had a vague memory of… something, but the final battle was a blur, the memory of everything that had happened before the Krath witch’s ritual backfired and exploded now all muddled.

“In addition to the Undesirable we captured, there were only the three of us, my lord,” Pel said, his answer surprisingly slow, as if he knew he was trying to recall something, but the thought kept running away from him, “Consul Sonjie of Naga Sadow, his apprentice, and myself.”

The Lord Marshall’s eyes flashed, but to his credit, he kept the fire in him hidden.

Somewhere in the Shroud
Inquisitorial shuttle

“You will take us to Gallinore,” Xanos said, waving his hand at the pilot.

There was a pregnant pause. “I… I will take us… to Gallinore,” the pilot finally answered, nodding his head stiffly, the robotic movement seeming more droid than human. The onboard astromech bleeped an acknowledgement from the co-pilot’s chair when the pilot plotted in the course from the Antei System to Gallinore in the Hapes Cluster.

The Falleen turned back to the small comm console behind them.

“It is done, my Master,” the Oracle’s apprentice said. He leaned heavily on his staff. “There will also be no record of my actions on Antei, nor our recovery of the artifact.” He still sounded drained from his battle, and it was still an effort even to stand upright. The Falleen’s face looked burned, almost incinerated.

His Master did not pay any attention to his apprentice’s weakened condition.

“And the Shard?”

The Falleen looked down at the dark bloodstone that was hanging from his necklace.

“Safe,” Xanos said, “I will see that it leaves Antei rather than fall into the hands of the Inquisitors or any of the Dark Lord’s other agents.” His amber eyes looked into his master’s. “This meaningless purge does neither us nor Pravus himself any good. The resistance will only grow.”

“You have done well,” the Oracle replied. “The Tripartite Path will not be silenced with a blade. Like the Sith Order itself, a belief does not die with those who follow it.”

Indeed, during the weeks he had spent on Antei, the Prophet had recovered scrolls and documents, which could be used to continue the teaching of a new generation of Krath and Obelisk adherents. Their two Orders might have been gone, and the Brotherhood shackled to the yoke of the Sith, but the past was not so easily erased, and try as hard as the Dark Council might, the teachings-- the legends– would not be forgotten.