[Caelus Chronicles] Chapter V: Endgame (Clan Fiction)

(Rian Taldrya) #1

The following Clan Fiction Updates have been written by Nihlus Vexrii for the final chapter of the Caelus Chronicles Clan event.

The updates will be posted over the next couple weeks so make sure to follow this topic and wait for the respective Newsposts.

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(Nihlus Vexrii) #2

Personal Office, Chancellor’s Residence
200 Stellaris, Imperial Sector
Chyron, Caelus System

The image of the Taldryan Consul floated in front of Drayen, illuminating the face of the supreme leader of the Caelus System with a soft blue hue.

“Chancellor, our last ships have been refueled and the fleet is about to leave for the Meridian System.” The ghostly image said, body not shifting even an inch.

"I hope this important mission of yours doesn’t take long. Vishes is still out there somewhere in the Caelus System and we need to find him,” a slight uneasiness crept across Ky’Lian’s voice.

“That is true. But the recent attacks on Iosan have only showed that there are other enemies that are threatening the galaxy at large - and it is part of our responsibilities to fight them.”

“I understand that, yet my utmost focus is on the Caelus System and the worries of its citizens.” Drayen Ky’Lian replied sternly. "Please come back as soon as you can, with you at our side, this system has become much safer.”

“Of course Chancellor Ky’Lian. I am honored by your expression of gratitude and yes, we will return as soon as possible.”

Ky’Lian nodded as he flicked a switch to shut down the holoscreen, turning his body to face the small pyramidical device he had carefully hidden from the prying eyes of the Taldryan Consul.

They call themselves Dark Jedi, yet they are unable to see through your deceptions… my apprentice.” A voice whispered in the back of Drayen’s head.

“Yes, the beliefs of their so called Brotherhood have blinded them,” Drayen agreed with the voice. He moved his attention from the holoscreen to the little pyramid on his desk before scooping it into his left hand. He brought it to close his face for a moment, examining the foreign text across it’s sharp and angular surface.

“It is time my apprentice. Time for you to unlock your true potential and fully embrace the command of the dark side of the Force,” the dark voice nagged like a cannock hungry for meat as it filled Ky’Lian’s head, “It is time for you to join me.” Drayen’s eyes remained locked on the device in his hands, fixated as he communed with the spirit within. He refused to move.

“Where must I go? Instruct me, my lord,” pleaded the Chancellor, anticipation for what lay ahead reverberating throughout his body. Only a moment later did he felt a dark prod of the Force at his soul, as the image of a location filled his outer senses like a haze. The Force Disciple closed his eyes, focusing intently on clearing the image. Everything depended on deciphering the location.

With intense concentration and focus, the haze between Drayen and the image in his mind began to clear.The planetary body was small, overgrown with woodlands; it seemed familiar to him. The sounds of running waterfalls filled his ears. Lost in a geological enclave created by a natural promontory, it stood there, abandoned. The temple. His temple.

It was a dark fortress that stood several stories tall, sharp and angular in it’s design. Two large triangular spires flanked it’s main entrance and facilities atop excavated bedrock, a small hangar entrance sealed in the lower left providing another possible way into the structure. As the location became crystal-clear in his mind’s eye, Ky’Lian’s eyes snapped open.

Ostara,” the Chancellor and dark voice in the Force said in complete unison.

Dark bands of purple energy flowed through the human’s body, crackling up his left arm like lightning. It travelled through his hand and into the triangular device that sat perfectly flat in his palm, the Force energy conjured activating the opening mechanism within. Gears whirled quietly within as Drayen remained fixated, the pyramid slowly unfolding from the top point. As the three sides unfolded, a small holoprojector within the device activated.

A circular map hissed and crackled to life before Ky’Lian, taking the overgrown and wooded shape of the Perune satellite moon. A moment later, it zoomed in on the upper-left hemisphere of the moon, where most of its rocky formations lie, highlighting both a landing point and the temple’s hidden location. The Chancellor immediately recorded both coordinates into his datapad, locking them behind an encrypted cipher.

If you fear the dark trials that await you, you will fail,” hissed the dark voice. Resolve filled Drayen as he clenched a bare hand against the surface of his desk, his attention turning back to the active holocron.

“I will not fail,” the man said as he clenched his left hand and closed the active holocron, the holo-image of Ostara fading away into nothingness. “Your powers will be mine.”

(Nihlus Vexrii) #3

Some Time Later…

Government Docking Bay R-1, Top Floor
Imperial Spaceport TR-934, Imperial Sector
Chyron, Caelus System

The dark metallic walls of Government Docking Bay R-1 were flanked with red and gold pattern silk tapestry, two fully armored squads of the Chancellor’s most elite and trusted soldiers standing at attention with their rifles on either side of an ornate red carpet. The fabric extended from the entrance to the rest of the top-level to the six-level spaceport, to the underbelly of Drayen Ky’Lian’s personal Sienar-Jaemus Systems Upsilon-class Command Shuttle, the Harbinger.

The black shuttle had just landed inside, the steady hum from the modern vessel’s sublight engines slowly beginning to fade away as the main reactor powered down and compressed gas was ejected through several holes on the underside. Behind the massive-winged shuttle a dark amber magnetic field unique to Chyron’s electrical grid snapped to life across starship entryway, sealing the vessel inside.

An empowered and dark armored Chancellor Ky’Lian stepped forth from the Harbinger’s underbelly and onto the black metallic boarding ramp as the entrance hatch slid open and ramp lowered, trench coat hugging his shape. Gone was the Chancellor’s previously rather political attire, replaced instead with a unique set of Sith armor from the Dark Ages created by his master long ago.

A smooth helmet fitted with a modern slicer’s heads-up-display encapsulated Drayen’s entire head, covering the Force Disciple’s recently mutilated face. Ancient armor covered most of the rest of his body, hiding it from the outside world and protecting him dangerous hazards. It featured a gauntlet on the left forearm that was slightly over-sized, but also had protection for the five digits on his hand. At his hips was a utility belt outfitted with all of the tools an excellent slicer requires, and a small pouch in the back that remained clasped. A slightly weathered .48 Caliber Slugthrower Pistol was holstered on the right hand side…

The most distinguishing and disturbing feature in the changed appearance of the Chancellor however was his right forearm, which was only partially covered by the armor. Ancient Sith patterns and integrated cybernetics that glowed with a soft red hue started at the elbow, running down his arm and towards his the back of his hand. They stopped just into the backside of his hand, a custom amulet and glowing warmly glowing amethyst Kyber crystal sitting nestled firmly in the skin on the back of the hand as though it’d been surgically installed there.

Drayen stepped down the boarding ramp of the Upsilon-class shuttle that had been modified as a mobile command centre for Caelus’ entire HoloNetwork, soles of his boots clicking against the metallic surface as the matte-black trench coat obscuring most of his Sith armor swayed slightly. The Chancellor continued even as his feet hit the soft red carpet, fiery yellow eyes scanning the soldiers that flanked either side from behind the custom-programmed heads up display.

Although the human usually had the utmost confidence in his elite guard, something was different… off, about this contingent of men. Ky’Lian stopped his stride down the centre of the red fabric as he reached a central position between the first two of the armored men, hands remaining at his side as his head turned from side to side slowly to face the two lines of troopers. The human studied their body language and form, before clasping both hands behind his back. He would have to follow his instinct, and take the risk…

Drayen cleared his throat, addressing the soldiers and officers within the docking bay, “Today, a new era begins for all within the Caelus System dominion.” As he spoke, the man’s regular voice was joined by a hint of an unnatural and darker, almost modular undertone. “With Taldryan under our command, we shall ensure ultimate security and prosperity for our citizens by building an everlasting Caelus Empire.”

The Force Disciple waited, but there was no reaction from either side. He continued, “We shall first assume command of their Force wielders, and then their fleet and military assets.” Still, there was no reaction from the soldiers. He made one final push, “Any who disagree with this course of action or attempt to prevent it, shall be purged from existence.”

The empowered Chancellor picked up on the movement instantaneously; A small shift in the stance of one of the guards, the man standing in the center of the soldiers lined up the left flank of the red carpet. Ky’Lian released his hands, bringing his right arm up and around to point a finger at the man that had shifted. “You.”

Without a moment’s notice, the soldier in question shifted from his position out onto the red carpet. He levelled his DC-15 rifle at Drayen’s chest shouting violently, “For a pure and free Chyron!” before firing off a shot aimed at stopping the dark Chancellor’s plan. No hesitation was found in the target’s reaction as an unnatural instinct took over Ky’Lian clasped his amulet hand towards the blast, channeling Force energy through his arm and into the Kyber crystal embedded in his flesh to invoke the inner nuances of telekinesis and freeze the blast in place.

Drayen retained concentration on the bolt of super-heated plasma as he moved like a blur to the side of the blast, closing the distance between him and the trooper. Fear was invoked into the soldier’s soul as he tried to evade the Chancellor’s grasp, but failed. As Ky’Lian neared, he released concentration on the trooper’s folly shot and projected his right forearm towards the soldier.

The amulet on the back of the Force Disciple’s hand erupted in a bright glow of several purple shades as the Ancient Sith scriptures on his forearm similarly flared, the rage of betrayal of one of his elite fueling the vicious assault of the dark side A powerful telekinetic wave of energy burst from the outstretched hand, sending the soldier flying back and pinning him against the wall a few feet from the floor.

Pure agony poured from the soldier for only a few moments as the loud cracks and crunches of his bones being broken against the cold durasteel wall filled everyone’s ears. As the twitching stopped and traitorous soul entered the afterlife as Ky’Lian promised, his anger subsided and the body slumped to the floor. No other members of the armored contingent had moved, their loyalty to the Chancellor devout.

The blast door to the docking bay slid open, revealing two regularly uniformed Caelus Security Force officers and the slim female form of Ceyra Ky’Lian centered between them. Drayen dropped the soldier to the floor as the remaining guards surrounding him attended to the traitor, turning his attention to his sister. The three in the doorway proceeded forward, a look of pure uneasiness forming across Ceyra’s face as she examined the interior of the docking bay.

An individual she did not recognize, and somewhat frightened her with their appearance stood in the center of some of her brother’s most trusted soldiers, while the crumpled and bloody body of another lay dripping against the right wall from her entry point. Ceyra clenched her fists and bit her lower lip as they approached. Two of the soldiers stepped out of the line towards the party, readying their rifles.

Drayen raised his left hand, covered in a gauntlet, motioning the guards to stand down. As his hand fell back to his side, Ceyra and her CSF escort stopped. Her gaze shifted from the dark armored man’s feet to his helmet and back down again, before turning to the escorting officer on her right.

“Dra-Drayen? Is that you?” her soft, shaky voice asked. She feared she already knew the answer, and it froze her in place. The Chancellor took two steps forward, looking down at Ceyre from behind the dark helmet on his head.

“Yes, sister,” his cold voice stated. Ceyra jerked back slightly, still in disbelief.

“I don’t believe this!” she shrieked, “What happened to you?!” her senses exploded and every nerve tingled. Her mind raced as fear and anxiety overcame her. Was she about to join their father in the afterlife?

The Chancellor was cold in his determination, and continued with his plan. None would make him falter or change his mind. He was the Chancellor of the Caelus System.

“Welcome to our revolution, dear Ceyra. I’m afraid due to your sympathies, you won’t be allowed to join the festivities.” The elder Ky’Lian grinned, slightly. He moved to stride past his younger sister, but stopped for a moment to whisper quietly in her ear, “Just like our father wasn’t.”

As Ceyra started shrieking the dark form continued forward, the Chancellor taking his leave of the area - and the bloody mess he had left against the wall. His sister turned, her frame tracking his as her face followed in complete shock. Just as he turned out of sight, Drayen stopped momentarily and turned his helmeted head back slightly to the docking bay.

“Lock her up.”

(Nihlus Vexrii) #4

Bridge
Command Deck, MC80 Paragon
Above Chyron, Caelus System

Aboard the mighty flagship the Consul, his deputy, two Quaestors and commanding officer of the Paragon each stood at the viewport as the stars of the hyperspace tunnel blazed past the bridge of the Mon Calamari cruiser. Seconds later the Taldryan flotilla emerged from hyperspace above the city-moon, hyperdrives powering down and sublight engines coming online as the bridge came to life behind them.

“Welcome home, my lords,” Chaf’arha’nuruodo said, a smile creeping along his face at the feeling of returning to the Clan’s new homestead. The feeling didn’t last for long, as the sound of an incoming transmission killed the moment. Moments later, the Chiss was approached by the ship’s head communications officer holding a datapad.

"My lords,we are receiving a high priority message from Chyron,” Farhan stated with a puzzled sound in his voice, reading the information presented on the screen of the pocket computer. After reviewing the information, he passed it off to the Consul. One of the female communication officers assigned to a station on the command bridge moved to her feet, awaiting additional orders from her superiors.

The Augur leading the Clan offered a small nod to the Chiss Admiral as he, Quejo, Justinios Drake and Andrelious Mimosa-Inahj accompanied the blue-skinned humanoid to the bridge’s communication consoles and the ensign that awaited her orders.

“Put the Chancellor through,” Rian said in a firm but kind tone to the female, anticipating the small holo-figure of Drayen Ky’Lian to appear before them. Around them, several officers shifted - very rarely were they in close proximity to Admiral Chaf’arha’nuruodo, and the assembled Summit of Force-Sensitives all at once; especially when presence of only one of them could have put bridge crew at unease.

Instead of the son of Astor Ky’Lian, the shape of his personal assistant appeared in a blue hue in front of the three men. To their surprise, he began to speak without waiting for a greeting from the Taldryans.

“Lord Taldrya,” he started without a bow, the Mirialan instinctively crossing his arms, “The Chancellor is requesting your presence at his private chambers to discuss a matter of extreme importance to the Caelus System.”

Quejo sneered slightly at the holoprojection, “Inform the Chancellor we shall leave for him at once when the Paragon has docked,” the Pau’an’s raspy voice filled the air. The assistant’s head turned to face furrowed-skin humanoid, before turning back to address Rian.

“The Chancellor has made it clear that he wants only the Consul to meet him,” The assistant objected.

“We will do as the Chancellor wishes,” Rian said before patting the shoulder of his second in command softly to sooth the matter.

With his masters message relayed successfully, the ghostly image of the assistant flickered before vanishing into nothingness. It was only then that Quejo raised his concerns to his Consul.

“Rian, this troubles me. Drayen has always been secretive towards the Clan and this only became more visible when his father died, but this takes it to a whole new level. I have an uneasy feeling, and can’t help wonder what he is up to."

“Don’t worry, old friend. I remember times every Journeymen of Taldryan had similar feelings toward you,” Rian said smiling, “I bet he wants to hear some front-line stories from Meridian.”

“I hope you are right.” Quejo replied, uneasiness clinging to his stomach.

Turbolift LR-117
Imperial Spaceport TR-934, Imperial Sector
Chyron, Caelus System

Jiq Morvit, a human of average height stood completely silent inside his set of Caelus Security Force armor as the second Caelus Security Force officer opposite of him on Ceyra’s other side pressed the button for the third floor of the spaceport. It would not take long for them to arrive; the window of opportunity was small, and he would need to act quickly. A moment later, the lift doors slid closed and the hulk of metal thrust downwards.

Grabbing Ceyra by the bicep, Jiq pushed her against the wall of the lift. He drew one of the blaster pistols holstered at his hip, before leveling it at the other guard in a flash. A soft blue coil fired from the end of the weapon and hit the Caelus Security officer squarely in the chest, stunning him.

“Lady Ceyra, we need to get out of here.” Jiq said, turning to the woman still stunned by the most recent events.

The ring of a bell announced the lift arriving at its destination. “Come on, we need to warn the Consul.”

“Who, who are you, and why are you helping me?” Ceyra stammered, slowly recovering from the shock of her experience.

“Jiq Morvit, at your service.” the human said with a grin, “I have been recruited by Clan Taldryan during one of their missions to locate the individual Vishes - I’ve have been working with one of their members, named Justinios Drake.”

Chancellor’s Residence
200 Stellaris, Imperial Sector
Chyron, Caelus System

It took the Consul of Taldryan less than fifteen minutes after the Paragon had landed in capital ship docking bay AA-6300 at the Motti Memorial Spaceport to reach the 200 Stellaris apartment complex. The complex was one of the most prestigious and exclusive residential buildings located in Chyron’s Imperial Sector, publicly accessible through four bridges or one of the four skydocks. It’s large, circular shape left its mark on the skyline and was visible from space.

Immediately upon entering the Chancellor’s private residence through the large stone doors at the main entrance, Rian felt a shiver run down his spine. The lighting was dim, with light shining through the large windows almost thinning with a strange aura tinting the air. Cautiously, the Mirialan’s feet carried down the hall and into the expansive living room. The Chancellor awaited him, standing with his back turned at the far end of a large and solid live-edge Wroshyr tree table.

As Rian approached, his attention was drawn to two objects that lay on top of his end of the table; one a helmet not unlike the one Augur had become accustomed to wearing in combat, the other a small ornate pyramid. The Grand Inquisitor’s training allowed him to almost immediately identify the pyramidal object as a holocron of sorts.

The Taldrya stood silently for only a few more moments, but spoke up as the Chancellor sat eerily still and continued to ignore his presence, “Drayen, you asked to see me privately?”

As if he had been off in a daze, Ky’Lian’s eyes finally opened and he seemed to take note of the Consul. Drayen turned slowly, revealing his scarred face to the Mirialan. The Force Disciple’s reaction to the man’s mutilated face was a bit of shock, but he hid it well and waited to speak again.

“Welcome Rian,” Drayen’s odd dark new voice began, “We have much to discuss.” The dark form opposite of the Consul slowly began to rise. As he did so, the holocron at the other end of the table began to glow red ever so slightly. Without warning, the Augur’s senses flooded with anxiety and peril, a dark power in the Force slowly revealing itself to him.

The Taldrya was no fool; what was about to happen was not good for him, or the Clan. Steadfast resolve took hold, clenching the teeth inside his mouth and creating loose fists with his hands. Had they been manipulated?

“Lets begin,” both Force Disciples nodded before the Consul continued, “What is our first order of business?” Drayen slid a datapad from his end of the table down the length of the Wroshyr tree to his Taldryan counterpart. Rian took it in his hands and reviewed the information on the viewscreen momentarily before slamming it into the table. A small crack crept across the front glass of the device.

“What dangerous game do you think you’re playing, Chancellor?” the Taldrya scoffed. A smile crept across and nearly split the face of the Caelus’ supreme leader as his irises erupted in a fiery yellow from the onyx pupils at their center.

“it is simple,” Ky’Lian retorted, forming an explanation for his move, “We in the Caelus leadership do not feel as though we can guarantee our citizens safety with a coven of uncontrollable, undisciplined Force wielders rampaging through the system unhindered. This treaty shall rectify that, by bringing amalgamating Taldryan with the Caelus Security Force.”

The words were as stern as the Consul had ever been, though he still did not move, “You want us to surrender to you and become a force for you to control.”

The Chancellor shrugged, “You could put it like that,” he started, lips curling at each end, “But the facts remain the same. I strongly urge you to sign the treaty, Consul Taldrya.” Drayen looked onward as the Mirialan’s eyes shifted from him, to the datapad, and locked back onto him. The Chancellor’s words implied war between him and Taldryan, and he thought he could detect a moment of doubt creep across the Augur’s mind.

Ky’Lian was wrong, for there had been no doubt in the Taldryans path.

“No,” snarled the Grand Inquisitor. His usually soft and cordial tone had disappeared, his choice ironclad.

“So be it,” muttered the Chancellor with a grimace, “This room shall be your tomb.” In a swift motion, Drayen’s right arm snapped to attention. The Kyber in the center of the amulet adorning the back of his hand flared with a fiery purple glow as the Force was channeled into it through his body, unleashing a blast of telekinetic energy towards the newly annointed enemy of the Caelus system.

The Consul’s senses had flared mere moments before Ky’Lian’s attack, alerting him to the incoming blast. Rian poured all of his focus into the Force, channeling its powers through his body protect him as his arms crossed in front of him. As Drayen’s attack connected the telekinetic force pushed the Consul and the custom regalia adorning his body backwards several meters. The CJ-7 Bo-rifle slung across the Taldrya’s back shook and swung softly following the push, the Taldryan seemingly unphased by the attack.

Rian’s arms uncrossed as his body slid into an offensive stance, right hand taking a firm hold of his lightsaber and thumb compressing the activation switch simultaneously. With a violent crack and snap-hiss, the deep-orange unstable blade of the Force Disciple’s weapon roared to life.

The battle was just beginning.

(Rian Taldrya) #5

Before seeing the concluding piece of fiction, you can find the winning entries for both Fiction Competitions of the final chapter from the Caelus Chronicles here:

Caelus Chronicles: Chapter V: Endgame - Fiction #1

and here:

Caelus Chronicles: Chapter V: Endgame - Fiction #2

Both of them are now considered Clan Canon and have been written by Andrelious Mimosa-Inahj

(Nihlus Vexrii) #6

The four individuals stood surrounding the small holoscreen showing a live footage of Drayen’s private chambers. The battle within had prolonged for over an hour now and normally they would have already rushed in to aid their master in the fight with the Taldryan leader, who again and again had managed to match the powers of Drayen - but their orders were clear. They were Drayen’s most loyal servants, tasked with coordinating the part of C-Sec loyal to Drayen in their fight against the warriors of Taldryan - before locking down the building and waiting for their master to return.

It was only then that one of them voiced the idea of slicing the surveillance cameras of their masters private chambers and watch him bringing order to the Caelus System - order in which the force-users of Taldryan bowed before the powerful leader of the Caelus System. The events in the holo-feed unfolded differently. A small group of insurgents had managed to sneak its way into the residence and joined the Taldryan leader in his fight against their master.

Just when the new arrivals lashed out at a disarmed Drayen, their most dreaded fears came true as a small framed human separated Drayen’s head from his shoulders.

Anger followed fear and the first of them, a dark skinned man, rushed towards the door to avenge his master but he was stopped by another one, a female human in her late twenties with normally piercing blue eyes grabbing him on his shoulders, stopping him. "No, if you go now, you will just end like our masters."

“I don’t care. Drayen is dead, I’d rather follow him now than get sentenced by these wanna be Sith.” The male acolyte’s angry eyes fixed on her as he seethed.

The woman hesitated, sure that his words applied to any of them. "We all would," she exclaimed, "But there must be another way."

Harbinger.” The other man burst out the name of Drayen’s private shuttle, drawing the group’s attention to him. “Didn’t you feel how much more powerful Drayen was after he left Chyron a couple of days ago? We could fly to where he went, maybe we can become just as powerful.”

"And then we can avenge him and kill them for killing our master." the fourth, another women chimed in.

“So be it.” the first woman spoke. “Let’s board the Harbinger then.”

Getting to and aboard the Harbinger was quite easy as was to get it airborne, and once they were free of the moon’s atmosphere they looked up the navi-computer’s last several jumps. Just when they found what they were looking for the small holoscreen in the cockpit lit up revealing a person clad in shadows with only his hands visible.

"Lord Vishes, I think we have a common enemy that we both want to see eradicated from the Caelus System sooner than later." The man spoke up in a deep voice.

The four individuals looked around each other momentarily.

"Drayen is dead, we are the Children of Caelus. Who are we talking to?" The dark skinned man queried.

“My name doesn’t matter right now,” the shadowy figure said, “If it’s true what you are saying, I still think we should meet to discuss our next steps. You can find me on Heaven’s Crest.”

Some Time Later…

Chancellor’s Office
Caelus Senate Building, Imperial Sector
Chyron, Caelus System

Ceyra stood in front of the full-body mirror against the far wall from the desk of the Caelus System’s leader, as both makeup and fashion artists worked diligently to prepare her. The youngest Ky’Lian’s hair was braided into a ponytail, sitting against her back. From the waist down, her form been wrapped in a cybernetic exoskeleton developed by the Sphere of Research and Intelligence after losing use of her legs during the previous battle.

Wrapping her slender frame was no elegant dress befitting a princess, but a bright-white uniform pressed to perfection - something that could also fit underneath the movement-enabling cybernetics. Black gloves covered her smooth, well-manicured nails and a shiny pair of black dress shoes protected her feet. Studying herself in the mirror once the ladies had finished, Ceyra turned her head to face the Caelus Senate official that patiently waited with a datapad in hand.

“Is everything ready?” she asked quietly, softly. Her eyes darted to the floor for a moment, then back to the official.

“Yes, ma’am. There was some resistance; talk of a revolt, but our allies were able to squash anything before it began,” the official stated flatly, “A copy of the treaty has been added to the official archives and several of their officers will meet with you after address.” Ceyra nodded, her mind quickly processing reasonings behind such a resistance. It would be ignorant for Ky’Lian not to take note.

So many unpredictable and gruesome things had happened recently, changing not just the shape of the Caelus System, but the will of her people too. Just as her misguided brother had predicted, a new era had been ushered into the independant star system. With it, she would have to change as well.

“Very well, shall we?” she queried, stepping off the small stool that had held her weight while she was tended to with help from an aide. She would never again regain full use of her legs, but with practice she would be able to walk slowly on her own.

Announcement Balcony. Facing Imperial Avenue
Chancellor’s Palace, Imperial Sector
Chyron, Caelus System

Holo-cams from several news organizations were poised on the empty and dark obsidian podium dominating the balcony exposed on the side of the Chancellor’s Palace that faced Imperial Avenue, a large and wide stretch that traversed a quarter of the sector. Gathered below the balcony that sat two dozen feet in the air were a score of impatient reporters, and in the expansive street behind them thousands of citizens and soldiers of the Caelus System.

The thousands of heartbeats that had assembled on Imperial Avenue waited in anticipation for the address to begin for nearly half an hour, some starting to think it would never happen and beginning to depart. Just as the skepticism grew to near intolerable levels, a form came into view on the balcony.

Ceyra Ky’Lian stepped out into the gaze of her constituents, placing the datapad that had been given to her by the government official on the podium in front of her. She examined the crowd as the holo-cams began to record her. The young woman cleared her throat for a moment, looking down at the datapad before back up at the crowd.

“People of the Caelus System,” she began, “It has by now become clear that the person who was responsible for the attacks during the last tumultuous months that have shaken our home has been no one but my own brother. Drayen’s lust for power, was also the reason why he killed our beloved leader and my father before turning against our allies and myself who have stood up against his regime of terror.”

“It was during one of these attacks, that saw me severely wounded if it wasn’t for the brave warriors of Taldryan protecting me from a save death.” Ceyra continued. “Sadly my brother was killed during the attack. To hold up the laws and regulations of the Caelus System, I stand before you to announce my ascension to the role of Chancellor.”

Immediately after the announcement of her new position, parts of the crowd gathered began to become rowdy and begin shouting at her. In order to try and keep them sedated, Ceyra continued her booming address. The forms of several Taldryans unexpectedly took up a position behind the Chancellor.

“In light of the recent events, I unequivocally issue the following decrees. First, the Caelus Security Force has proven to have failed in its role as a guiding beacon of security for all citizens, biased and inadequate in its effectiveness. Without delay, the ‘Taldryan Securities Treaty’ resigns all security and protection of the Caelus System to our new permanent strategic allies, Taldryan.”

The crowd became a little quieter, as people looked to one another.

“All existing Caelus Security Force personnel will be amalgamated into Taldryan’s existing forces, undergo extreme vetting, and then – under the treaty– serve as a separate branch of their military exclusive to the Caelus System, so that our people are not used in external conflicts.”

Silence engulfed the thousands, becoming eerily quiet as the thought of the “strategic alliance” processed through their minds; the notion was not immediately rejected. Ceyra used the opportunity to finish.

“Finally…” she grasped both sides of the dark podium, scanning the crowd, “The turmoil and chaos that the Ky’Lian family has inflicted upon this system has not gone unnoticed in my eyes. For that, I am truly sorry. To ensure no such situation occurs again, the ‘Fair Elections Act’ is now law; the line of succession for the position of Chancellor will no longer be hereditary. Your next Chancellor shall be elected by a council.”

The crowd erupted in cheers, and Ceyra smiled. She had managed to win them over, without calls for her own removal from office; even if the dream of a democratically elected Chancellor never came to fruition. With security of the system no longer a major concern, she could focus on the redevelopment of the system with the assistance of her allies.

The leader of the Caelus System bowed slightly, before retreating from the balcony with the Taldryans at her side.

Back inside the building, Ceyra realized that of all the members of the Taldryan Summit, the one who has saved her was missing. “Lord Rian, I wanted to once more thank Master Andrelious for saving me, but he doesn’t seem to be around?”

"I am sorry but I sent Andrelious on a mission earlier, he should be back in a few days." The Consul replied coolly to the Chancellor, "I will make sure he pays you a visit once he is back… This was a great speech by the way."

"Thank you my Lord. Do you mind me asking what sort of a mission you sent him on?" Ceyra asked.

There was no hesitation in the Consul’s response. He intended to forge a new, stronger bond between Taldryan and the Caelus System. "Of course not. Andrelious has been sent on a surveillance mission, something he has proven quite proficient in in the past,” Rian explained, his mind returning to the mission debriefing aboard the Paragon where Andrelious explained his experiences from his first visit in the Caelus System.

"Very well then," Ceyra nodded, seeing one of her senate officials winking her over to a group of local news reporters - they looking for more statements on her recent speech.

Once she left the group of Taldryans, the Aleena Proconsul spoke up. “Let’s hope he comes back with good news. A lot of time has passed since we fled the Kr’Tal system and other factions may very well have used our absence to seize control over the Rybanloth System.”

"True to that Justinios, indeed there are a lot of unsolved questions that need to be answered, but only one at a time."

Since the speech of Ceyra Ky’Lian four hours ago, the local holo-news hadn’t stopped reporting on it and the amalgamation of the members of Taldryan and the Caelus Systems Security Forces. The shadow had watched several of the reports, summarising what it would mean to their cause. Up until last, he had been sure that the full-on attack on Taldryan had been issued by one of their own. It would have been one more reason why these power hungry Force-users had to be eradicated from the galaxy. So much was true but as the recent loss of Meridian Station had shown, attacking the Brotherhood at a whole had again proved ineffective. For as much as they live up on their small squabbles, they would always find a way to fight side-by-side when they need to.

No, there was another way. In order to win this war, the Collective didn’t have to show brute force but cunning, destabilising one clan after another until there is nothing left to unite against them. And then, then the fist of Oligard would fall down on the Brotherhood, crushing it underneath. Having Taldryan arrive here in the Caelus System was a lucky coincidence, as the shadow’s Syndicate had already started to destabilise the Caelus System to establish a Collective controlled government - with the goal of using the system as strategic outpost for themselves.

Now, it would be the place that will be the demise of Clan Taldryan. Turning off the holo-screen he prepared to speak to the rest of his Syndicate. The crashed Taldryan flagship would bring in more than enough new recruits for their cause and the mercenaries he had hired on Kiast should arrive soon too.