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

Clan Plagueis: The Tides of Darkness (Clan RO)


Plagueis RO - Instructions

This is an official, non-competitive Run-On (meaning that no Crescents will be awarded, but we will reward posters with Clusters of Ice) for all members of Clan Plagueis. Participating means that you need to follow all the general rules for Run Ons (available here), and follow these instructions for posting so that we can keep things clean and orderly-ish.

Reserve your post. You will need to reserve your posting spot before you start working on your post, so that others will know that you’re next in line and won’t write over you. If there is no reservation, simply put up a post that says “#User reserves this post,” then begin working on your post.

If you reserve a post, you have 24 hours to replace your reservation with your post (min. 300 words). If you don’t replace your reservation with a post within 24 hours, your spot will be forfeited – removed and opened up to the next reservation. We have to keep things flowing, and that means letting people get their posts onto Discourse in a timely fashion.

Keep it consistent. This is about following the story, and keeping things formatted as much like other user’s posts as possible. We can handle some side-quips, and even a couple of side-stories, but if you’d like to take some of this Run On and make it into the basis of your own, smaller story, please make a new private run-on so that everyone is able to participate in this larger Clan-wide opportunity.

Disable your signatures so that we can keep the Run On clean and legible.

Periodically, Drac and Eiko will be reserving a post to keep the plot moving forward. We would love for this to work without oversight, but that’s entirely impossible – so, respect our reservations so that you can continue to have a good time. The plot updates will be larger and tailored so that they’ll better mesh with the story so far, so that takes a little bit more time and effort.

Thanks for your attention!

Run-On Details

Open to all members of Clan Plagueis and its sub-units.
Running from January 2016 (39 ABY) until completion, with breaks for major Clan events.
Non-Competitive Run-On for Activity and Entertainment


[NSD Preeminence]
[Quaestor’s Chambers]
[The Anchorage]

The gentle hum of the holocorder and its faint blue light washed over the Quaestor’s private chambers aboard the Preeminence. Arrayed throughout the spacious quarters were two dozen figures – all grainy, pale and translucent. Some stood in their natural forms, others masqueraded behind avatars or protocol droid surrogates. But it was impressive enough to see Karness Muur assembled in one place.

“From the Preeminence to Sigma Horizon, wherever our influence spreads – achuta,” the Quaestor raised his masked face and turned slowly to address all the individuals ahead of him. “Your presence is appreciated and noted. I will keep this briefing short and clear. First, the rumors are confirmed – Callus Bo’Amar, our brother-in-arms, has passed on.”

The shuffling of the holograms, even in their silence, spoke to the uneasiness. Some of them knew, inevitably, why and how the Epicanthix had perished. If they didn’t know, then perhaps they were casting their aspersions on the new Quaestor, who had returned so recently to the fold and swept into the Preeminence’s helm with little pause and even less ceremony.

“There will be time for considering the aftermath of his death, but as you are aware, there is much more to be done before we reclaim the Anchorage fully. Ours is an exploratory mission to track down several unaccounted units last commanded by Xander Drax that escaped the Anchorage in the midst of the firefight, with their last known trajectory taking them towards a barren moon within this sector. With rising tensions abroad, the Summit has requisitioned the majority of Task Force Cresh to maintain the defense of the Anchorage – including the Preeminence. Insertion and extraction will be conducted by the AIC-4 Benzayn and any individual craft volunteered to the effort.

“Those unwilling to risk their personal craft will be welcomed aboard the Benzayn according to their needs. These directives are from the Dread Lord, and will be treated with the kind of respect you afford his Grace. The effort will be led by my second, Mystic Darkblade, and Warrior Ragnar of the Apostles of Syn, and you will be joined on the ground by the Pallians. This is a mission of value to the Dread Lord himself – your rivalries can wait until the opposing force is eliminated.” Eiko’s metallic monotone hung for a moment before the anonymizer fully processed and released his words.

A rapping on the quarter’s door drew Eiko’s attention away.

“The Left Wing is waiting, sir.” An officer, one of the bridge’s couriers, called from the other side of the door.

Eiko’s posture returned to face the audience in the room. “All the relevant information will be released to you momentarily. The Right Wing of Dread shields.” He clapped his closed fist against his chestplate while the motion was imitated by a crowd of holograms. His abruptness would have to be forgiven, he thought dryly to himself. After all, the Left Wing had no reputation for being sedentary.

[NSD Preeminence]
[Command Bridge]
[The Anchorage]

“You’re looking well,” Dracaryis smirked. “Thin, patient. It looks good on you.”

If he didn’t know better, Eiko would have marked the Quaestor of Ajunta Pall as another face. But the digital projection of the Quaestor merited his attention, and the coordination between the two needed to endure.

“Your forces are prepared to clear the moon’s surface, I presume,” Eiko replied.

“Only the best for our Lord,” Dracaryis inclined his head slightly. “Will you be joining your forces on the ground?”

“My duties are elsewhere. As are yours, I know.”

“Ah,” Dracaryis nodded. “You’re taking this rumor about the Jedi as something to be concerned about, then. I didn’t know that the situation seemed so grave.”

Eiko suppressed a grimace. The lie was easy enough to spot, and the grace with which Dracaryis swept over the conversation was admirable – both Quaestors knew why their flagships were kept to defend the Anchorage, and the Dread Lord rarely jumped at mere shadows.

“Still, I’ll admit that I’ll miss the chance to get my feet muddy. Even if it is for the good of the Clan, a fight like this doesn’t come often enough for my tastes. While our orders are executed, perhaps you’d give me the benefit of a game of Dejarik?”

“My House was told to keep their rivalries in check until their mission is fully completed,” Eiko smiled, the lightness of his tone barely expressed in the hissing of vocoders. “I, however, could be convinced into a match or two.”


[NSD Ascendancy]
[Quaestor’s Chambers]

The Left Wing of Dread and his Blade sat in the Quaestor’s office aboard the Ascendancy. The games of Dejarik had not gone quite according to Dracaryis’ plans and he had lost hard, much to the amusement of Eiko.

“I’m sure he cheats.” he muttered to Taranae. “He beat me every time.”

“Maybe you’re just rusty, Drac.” the Aedile replied, smirking slightly from under her the fringe that hung just over her eyes now. It had seen a growth spurt recently and she had found no reason to stop it. It added to her mysterious nature, she thought. Dracaryis had noticed the change in the Blade of The Fallen recently. He wondered often to himself what had brought the change of attitude and demeanour upon his Aedile and he inwardly guessed that a couple of Tarenti members could shed some light on the subject. But that was for another time. Right now, the meeting with the Dread Lord weighed heavily on his mind.

The Jedi on the moon’s surface were a worrying prospect and he knew the role his House would have to play in the forthcoming forays. He sighed loudly, drawing a puzzled glance from Taranae.

“What’s wrong, Drac? I’ve never seen you so tense.”

“The Dread Lord requires us to send out our forces to the moon in this sector. He believes that the remains of Drax’s forces fled to the surface and are hiding out down there.” He glanced to Taranae as he mentioned Xander Drax’s name and saw her face redden with anger. They had spent months scouring the Anchorage for him before finally tracking down the form he had taken and capturing him. Unbeknownst to the Quaestor, the dark energies inside the station and around the captured being had taken their toll on her and now the dark side of the Force inside her ebbed and flowed like the tide. She was like an explosive waiting to blow.

“We’ll find these Jedi,” she replied, her fingernails digging into the palms of her hands as they balled into fists, “and they will die just as easily as the others did.”

“I have no doubts that they will,” replied Dracaryis, watching her carefully, "but I believe that this operation will require more than just brute strength; maybe a little tact, Taranae?"
He was shocked to see her relax slightly and unfurl her fists, blood flowing freely from the deep gashes in her palms. She looked down at them disinterestedly and sighed.

“Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re not. But all the same, we will find them.” she replied. Dracaryis nodded, noticing all the changes Taranae went through and wondered how stable she actually was. Would she be a help or hindrance to the mission? Only time would tell, but he had to begin to sort through all the armaments, personnel and craft they would need for an operation of this size.

“We will.” he said. “But first we need to decide how we’re going to pull this off.”

“Who is protecting the Anchorage?” she asked, out of the blue. This took the Quaestor by surprise and he mumbled the answer.

“Karness Muur, huh? Seems fitting I suppose.” she sneered. “They never were ones for getting their mitts dirty were they?” Dracaryis began to berate her, but she waved him off with her hand. “I know, I know. We’re working together. Fine. Let’s work this out.”

She pulled out papers, plans and datapads and began to scrutinize them. “Ok who do we have, what weapons can we spare and how are we travelling?”


[NSD Preeminence]
[Command Bridge]
[The Anchorage]

“Those Dejarik matches went well in your favor Eiko.” Darkblade said chuckling slightly. “I did not know you were good at the game. I’ve never played it before, however I did enjoy watching you wipe the smirk off the face of Dracaryis.” Eiko looked up at the Anzat from the table and sighed. “Not everything is a competition you have to win, Darkblade. We are a Clan, and we have to work together at times in order to see that any threats are neutralized.” the Savant replied as he got up from the table. “Have you heard anything from the others? They should be en route to the given co ordinations.”

Darkblade reached into his robes and pulled out a datapad. “It seems Knight Zuser Whuloc has answered the call, but it does not state where he will meet us. It could very well be on the planets surface, in orbit or he could be en route to the Preeminence.” he replied. Eiko remained silent.

“Sir?” the Mystic asked carefully.

Cocking his head slightly to the right, Eiko spoke words that ran a chill down the Anzat’s spine. “You will do whatever it takes to nullify the situation, and ensure that no unneccessary casualties are taken by our side. You will make sure that members of Ajunta Pall are treated just the same as our own member. Taranae Rhode will meet you on the Benzayn and the both of you, together, will ensure this mission is a succes. I will not tolerate any personal rivalries to interfere with this mission. Have I made myself clear?”.

Darkblade bowed his head, showing he understood the Right Wing of Dread’s orders. “Make your way to the Benzayn, we will provide a shuttle for you to reach the ship.” the Human stated.

Noticing this as a dismissal, the Anzat left the command bridge and proceeded to head towards the transport docks which would start his mission. Feeling slightly nervous, his first mission for Plagueis was one not to be taken lightly, and the responsibility to ensure that both Houses cooperated made him nauseous. As he boarded the shuttle which would take him to the AIC-4 Benzayn a feeling of unease washed over him as he realized he had never even met Taranae Rhode. He grabbed his datapad and punched in her name, bringing up her files. He would have a lot of reading to do in the short amount of time he had before meeting up with her on the Benzayn.


[FRS Chaser]
[En Route to NSD Preeminence]
[Anchorage Space]

Knight Zuser Whuloc sat in the pilot’s seat of the Chaser, his eyes browsing over the datapad that showed the mission briefing once again. In the viewport sat the Preeminence, his destination. Zuser’s eyes scanned the phrase on the datapad, specifically about Callus’s passing. He didn’t know Callus that well. It was true that they had been on a mission together, yet after that he didn’t see much of Callus much even on the Anchorage prior to the One Sith taking it over.

Suddenly a chime rang from the comm. Zuser answered the call instantaneously. A woman’s voice spoke up.
“This is the NSD Preeminence. Identify yourself.”

“This is Knight Zuser Whuloc, piloting the Chaser. I am here to rendezvous with the Benzayn. Requesting clearance to land.”

There was a brief pause before the woman responded.
“Access granted Knight Zuser. Proceed to the hangar. Lord Eiko has been expecting you.”

“Thanks you very much!” Zuser’s mouth split into a wide grin, a little excited to see Eiko. He had worked with Eiko many times. Namely the time they went spelunking in an abandoned, derelict space ship and the time they went on a mission to wipe out some One Sith in an abandoned Mandalorian armory. Those were good times.

[NSD Preeminence]
[The Anchorage]

A few heads turned at the presence of the Firespray ship turning horizontal and coming in to land in the hangar. He was known as one of the craziest pilots in Plagueis, after all. The Chaser touched down in the hangar, the ramp lowering as soon as the the ship met the durasteel floor. He put his Mandalorian helmet on before he started walking down the ramp, his newly redone lightsaber handle attached to a harness on his right shoulder. He stepped off the ramp and looked around, his eyes looking for Eiko. He found the masked Savant standing by the Firespray. Eiko nodded his head in greeting to the Knight.

“I know that ship and that helmet anywhere. I trust you have been well, Zuser?”

Zuser pulled the helmet off his head, showing his green eyes and the scar on his face, grinning widely.

“Yeah! It’s been a long time, Eiko!”

The two shook hands and Eiko turned to leave the hangar.
“Come Zuser, we have much to discuss.”

“Yes sir!”

The Knight put his helmet back on and fell into step with Eiko.


[NSD Ascendancy]
[Ophelia’s Bunk Room]

Ophelia sighed as she pushed herself up from the floor, a bead of moisture dripped past her nose and as she stood she rolled her shoulders, cracking her neck. She had been pretty much left to her own devices since arriving back on the Ascendancy and she wasn’t entirely bothered by that fact. Besides the odd meeting with Taranae and her run in with Kalon, she hadn’t really felt the urge or need to leave her room except to train and admittedly even then she spent most of her time working out in her room. Something she had been doing until the message came through anyway. She ran her hound down her wrist pulling off her hair tie and in one fluid motion dragged her hair back into a tight tail and secured it in place before reaching over grabbing her towel and heading off to the showers.

The comm buzzed mid shower and as she reached out to smack the console she could barely make out the voice on the other side, in annoyance she turned the water off.

Great, just what I need. was the only thing that came to mind as she smacked the water back on removing the soap from her eyes. It didn’t take her long to slip into her clothes and bodysuit, content she began equipping her armour and though she had done it numerous times before it had been some time since the beskar’gam had been worn.

As she slipped her second kom’rk on and over her cybernetic hand she turned to her mirror and viewed herself. Blue and green hair cascaded down her shoulders and back, her tattoos meshed imperfectly with her cybernetics and the once bright blue eyes had taken on an almost sad aspect. Dar’manda is what he had called her. She had replied one cannot choose the believes of your aliit yet she knew she had said it to quiet the voices and doubts she harboured. She shook her head and reached up fastening her cloak before picking up her helm and leaving the room.

[NSD Ascendancy]
[Ascendancy Hanger]

The walk to the hanger didn’t take long and as the Mandalorian moved along the corridors the crewman moved to her side and let the warrior pass. Though they were used to the Sith running around the place they weren’t entirely sure of her yet, rumours had circulated of her combat doctrine as she led the Disciples of Dreypa in combat a couple of years before and her temper and viciousness had earned her something of a nasty reputation. She paid them no heed and soon found herself in the hanger. She had sent a message down before she arrived and an uncomfortable guard met her, leash in hand as the two Vornskr lazed comfortably at his feet.

“Scourge, Scorn k’olar!”

They rose as the handler passed them over to Ophelia who unclipped them, allowing them to walk easily alongside her. As she walked she reached down to her comm unit and sent a very brief, very direct message to her Aedile.

“Ophelia heading to the Benzayn. If I don’t make it back kid, just know…well. Ni kar’tayl gar darasuum.”

She sat herself down in the cockpit of her Kom’rk Class fighter, Scourge and Scorn lay behind her on the floor of the craft and as she was given the green light to leave she lifted the ship from it’s mooring and gracefully turned it about heading off into space and setting her destination to the Benzayn.


[NSD Ascendancy]
[Ascendancy Hangar]

A supply shuttle carrying assorted foodstuffs carefully docked within the Ascendancy. Short bursts of pressurized air released as the vessel came to a final rest aboard its designated platform. A handful of haulers and droids swept in to unload the goods and register them with Supply. The pilots themselves stepped down from their perches and twisted their bodies to release some of the stress of the trip, eagerly awaiting a break before they had to return to the Anchorage. All was empty inside the silent freighter, the only sound the echoes of activity at the far end of the hangar.

A blur in the cargo room moved from its spot in the lightless corner, pausing a moment to read its surroundings. Behind it, lodged behind a row of personal storage containers, a lupine head popped out and sniffed the air in a huff of expelled carbon. The blur jiggled.

“Come on out, girl. It’s clear.” The blur dropped his cloak, light once again painting him for what he was, a Zabrak in shadowed armor. He knelt and laid a tattooed hand on the Vornskr. She wiggled under his touch, sensing the slight aggravation he couldn’t hide from her. One of the pros and cons of bonds with a seemingly simpler creature. The controller’s pain is as much theirs as the vice versa.

He ran a hand over the silver streak that outlined her spine. “Let’s go, Shar’kala. We’re going to have a word with my master. Apparently all I’m good for is guard duty. I refuse to accept that and shall argue my case to join the ground forces on this mission.” He didn’t mention that he was technically disobeying orders by being here. Some things even a mental bond could not explain.

[NSD Ascendancy]
[Hallway Outside the Quaestor’s Quarters]

A de-hooded Kul’tak peered around the corner, trying not use his Force senses lest he alert someone to his presence early. A couple of patrolling guards stamped their way across the hall. If they were out of the way this would be easier…he did not realize until too late that he must have triggered a response in his companion, who abruptly took off down the hall towards the guards. Kul’s eyes grew wide and he shouted through their connection, SHAR’KALA, HEEL!

The Vornskr halted her run just as suddenly as she’d begun it, and the Zabrak almost gave a sigh of relief. That is, until she skidded, her claws grazing the durasteel floors with a squealing grate. Obviously he still had some work to do about her comprehension of his commands.

The two armored men turned sharply at the sound, bringing their rifles to bear. They muttered in mild surprise when their view only held a single Vornskr, calmly sitting and wagging its tail. They shuffled closer, wary yet unsure how to react exactly. One of them reached for his comm unit to inform his superior most likely, while the other approached Shar’kala. Neither saw the shadow slip behind them. The comm user quickly fell to a burst of well-placed Shadowfist strikes upon his neck and helm. He fell incapacitated, barely scraping the ground before Kul had the other guard in a headlock. He began to tighten his sinewy arms, bringing the solid weight of his vambraces against the man’s throat. It was during this moment a swish announced a door opening.

“KUL!” Aw, Sithspit. The Knight’s gaze slowly rose to the face of a clearly upset, Taranae Rhode, his master. He released the guard quickly and threw a balled hand across his chest plate with a resounding smack. “Master!” Noticing a presence behind her, he threw in a bowed head and a quick, “Quaestor.”

Her fingers curled and uncurled in embarrassment as Dracaryis watched from behind her. “What is the meaning of this? You’re supposed to be meeting the others!” Each word stung more than the last. The Zabrak fought the urge to bow his head even lower. His master was not someone he had wanted to upset. If she was described as “fiery,” it wasn’t for the red hair upon her head. He fought the feeling of guilt and replaced it with one of anger, strengthening his resolve. It didn’t help when Shar’kala sidled up to her, recalling their first meeting after he’d tamed her on Myrk.

“To be frank, master, there’s an op going down and I want in. My blade hungers for battle.” He hoped his dedication to the cause would mollify her slightly. Anything to keep her from removing his head.


[NSD Preeminence]
[Command Bridge]
[The Anchorage]

“Sir,” a woman in uniform said in uniform approaching him, “You have an urgent message.”

Without looking at her, Eiko responded “I’ll deal with it in a mom-”

“It’s from the moon’s surface.”

It made his eyebrow raise at the location’s mention. He gave an approving nod and watched the miniature holonet that revealed a young man. He was dressed in casual attire, but bore aviation crest patches on a notable flight jacket. “Is… Is this thing on?” he said squinting his eyes.

“Speak quickly,” Eiko called into the hologram.

“Oh! Okay it is. Ehem. Sir, this is Felix Fulmen of Ajunta Pall. I’m one of the new mercs.”

The name didn’t ring a bell, “This transmission is said to have come from the moon’s surface.”

“Yes!” Felix replied, “We came down here on my freighter as soon word reached us about the mission.”

“We?” Eiko replied.

The sound of a distant man yelling in pain within the transmission made Felix looked back for a moment before going back to his message. “We were able to get a good landing spot that is out of range of orbital sensors we picked up. Areticus Altainatus, his apprentice Lo-Kain, and I have one of their scouts held hostage and are currently extracting information from them. Areticus says he can get you their guard rotations, passageways, and security traps within a few hours. If it’s of any interest, I’ll send these coordinates and go over the details when the cavalry arrives.”

The name Areticus did ringed a bell in Eiko’s mind. He recently knighted him, though it was more of an introductory conversation. He was a distinguishably sophisticated man, one of notable worth. “Thank you for this information Felix,” Eiko concluded, “remain on standby and learn as much as you can.”

[Moon’s Surface]
[The Rivergleam]

“Roger that, out,” Felix said before ending the transmission. He went back through the cockpit of his YT-1930 and out the opened hangar. There he saw Areticus in a small chair with his legs crossed facing their captured scout who looked a lot less comfortable. Blood trickled down his face with a missing tooth, black eye, and a burning rash starting to form on his wrists from his bindings. Behind the unfortunate man was a towering Zabrak holding his head up by his hair, with some of them detached from the scalp.

“We…we rotate positions in the halls counterclockwise every two hours, the outside posts change shifts every four.”

“You’re lying again,” Areticus said taking another sip of his wine before waving a white gloved hand to Lo-Kain. Lo-Kain raised him up by the back of his neck and pushed his head into the dirt. He then turned himself around, yanked the hostage’s binded arms to his upper chest and proceeded to bite off one of the fingers. The scream was high pitched but muffled from his lips pressed into the dirt. When the finger finally detached, the zabrak pulled the injured man back to his seat and wrapped a cloth around his finger to prevent further blood loss. He then turned to face the scout and splashed water from his canteen to keep his consciousness afloat. Lo-kain stared dead in his eyes while chewing on the severed finger in his bloodied mouth.

“Good thing for you, Lo-kain enjoys toes as well. You have 19 more tries,” Areticus said before nodding to his apprentice to back off.


[Moon’s Surface]
[The Rivergleam]

The scout slumped over, breathing heavily from the loss of his finger and blood. “Please, I’m telling you everything I know” he pleaded as he watched Areticus slowly sip his wine once more. “We keep the rotations on a schedule, and rotate every hour …” Areticus raised his hand once more to give Lo-Kain the signal to provide more incentive to tell the truth.

The Zabrak nodded as he spat out the remaining bones of the scouts finger in front of him. “I do enjoy these little snacks I get in between slaughters,” Lo-Kain remarked as he backhanded the scout while pulling up a chair that he brought out from the ship before they started the interrogation. He sat backwards on the chair facing his soon to be diner if he kept up this supposed act. “The more you lie, the more I bite off. This is your last warning before I start taking more fingers,” Lo-Kain added. Areticus looked up at Felix as he approached the three from the YT-1930’s hanger door

“Ah Felix, nice of you to join us. I was just beginning to bet how long before our captive here spills the information to Lo-Kain. If you would like to join me I have my current wager at least 4 fingers.” Felix passed Lo-Kain and his snack as he stood to the side of Areticus, "I gave higher up the information. Our orders are to stand by and report back any information. Oh, and I have my money on three,"he replied with a smirk to their hostage.

“Always the gambler. Alright then let’s see what ends up happening then, 50 credits,” Areticus remarked as he took another sip of his wine.

Lo-Kain glared at the bloodied scout as he asked again, “What are your rotations and defensive measures for your base?” The scout tilted his head up, resting his head on the back of his neck as he spoke “You might as well kill me, I’m not going to tell you anything aside from what you already know.” Lo-Kain gave him a huge grin as he registered what the man just stated. “I was hoping you’d say that,” he said. Lo-Kain then stood back up to walk around his prey. He forced the scout’s bound hands upwards locking his shoulders as his chest and pushed into his knees. “Last chance,” Lo-Kain hesitated as he held the scout’s right ring finger extended. “I’ve said all I needed to say.” Without hesitation Lo-Kain bite down on another finger.

The scout’s screams were muffled in his legs as he felt his finger being chopped off. “Please just kill me!” The scout sobbed as Lo-Kain released his hold, letting the scout’s arms fall. Pulling him by the hair, Lo-Kain sat the scout upright, then re-wrapping his hand to accommodate both missing fingers now.

Lo-Kain held him by the roots of the scouts head as he whispered in his ear “Sorry, you still have use to us. Now tell me everything I want to know and we’ll let you go.” The scouts face filled with blood and tears let out a slow cry as he shook his head up and down slowly. “Good, now tell me everything we want to know.” Lo-Kain let the scout go as he walked back around to sit in his seat.

“Areticus I believe were ready for you here,” Lo-Kain spoke up as he looked at the two bickering over the amount of credits.

“Whoa wait a minute you just said 50 for me if I got it right and 50 for you if you got it right, and lastly 25 each if neither of us got it!” Felix disputed as he heard Lo-Kain call for them.

“I claimed that I would get 50 for you if you won, 50 for myself if i won, and we get our respective bets if we lost. Hold on a second Lo-Kain” Areticus replied as he stood from his seat sipping his wine. “Look we both lost and this is the only way I could see it being fair.” Areticus argued as he started to walk towards Lo-Kain.

“I’m not arguing that, I’m saying that we would both get 25 credits since that’s the way it happened.” Felix replied as he started to walk beside Areticus.

“But if you put in 15 and I put the remainder, you would still come out on top of this” Areticus disputed as they reached Lo-Kain and the scout “Ok, are you finally ready to talk?” Areticus asked.

“Yes … I’ll tell you anything, just please let me go,” The scout whimpered as he divulged the full changing of guard, security specs of the base, and even passcodes needed to enter the emergency escape passages that exit out 2 and a half miles away from the facility.


A cloaked figure lay prone with a pair of macrobinoculars trained on a YT class freighter some two kilometers in the distance. The vessel was surrounded by several males arguing loudly around the cowering figure of someone in a military style uniform. The uniformed figure was clutching their hand to their chest and some blood could be seen on the uniform. One of the figures, possibly a Zabrak, hoisted the uniformed man up by his hair and did something that was very unexpected. The Zabrak bit the finger off of the uniformed man, chewed on it and then spit the bones out. Though they were too far away the observer imagined that the man’s screams could be heard. “A rather gruesome display.” the observer commented lowering the macrobinoculars to check the chrono. It seemed as if these were the people that the observer was searching for.

The cloaked figure stalked silently towards the freighter using the Force to hide it’s presence from the gathered forms still conferring around the landing gear. They seemed to be talking about their captive, their voices couldn’t be heard but their intent was clear. The Zabrak was gesturing sternly towards the form curled up on the ground while a tall human man with hair almost pasted back in a slick was holding his hand up in a calming gesture. What looked to be the youngest man with dark brown hair was looking back and forth between them. The fourth was on his knees and still clutching his hand to his chest. From their gestures and looks they were arguing the finer points of killing their captive. If the uniformed man was part of whatever faction their mission was to attack then letting him go was not an advisable course of action. The observer crept even closer keeping the pace to a near crawl as the voices became audible. “We should just kill this one and toss the body in a ditch.” the Zabrak growled as he drew a vicious looking vibrosword from its sheath.

“No.” Said the slicked haired Human man, stepping towards the Zabrak and his right hand warningly placed on his hip near a curved cylinder on his belt. “We should take him with us when we go just in case he has been holding back anything from us.”

“He’s a liability master! He’s just as likely to stab us in the back or make an escape attempt.”

“No, and that’s the last I’ll hear on the subject Lo-Kain.” The Human stared the Zabrak down and the latter resheathed his sword. “Felix, get him patched up and feed him. Then secure the perimeter with Lo-Kain make sure everything is secure for when the Benzayn arrives.” The young man hauled the captured man to his feet and began to lead him towards the boarding ramp of the freighter. The observer had gotten within 2 meters of the group and took this time to make the group’s acquaintance. With a deliberate movement the observer struck, an amber blade erupted to life through the chest of the uniformed man. With a gasp the man died as the observer came into view of the others when the Force cloaking around the observer fell. When the others were able to tear their eyes from their fallen captive the observer removed the hood shrouding it’s face. to reveal the tattooed face or a middle aged woman with slightly tan skin and her dark hair pulled back in a tight ponytail.

“Hello gentlemen,” She said in a soft voice with a small smirk on her face. “lovely to meet you.”


Kalon pushed the empty mug across the metallic surface of the bar and back towards the barkeep as he rose from his stall. He had been in the vessel’s cantina for the last few hours and had been burning through Corellian Rum like it was nothing. He had been drinking far stronger beverages since he was a child and therefore he was affected much by the drinks. Tipping the patient barkeeper, he stalked out of the entertainment deck and back out to the rest of the ship.

The Mandalorian progressively made his way along the corridors of the ship, squeezing past other members of the crew as he did so. When everything kicked off, he had decided to finish his drink before heading towards the hangar bay, no doubt to see if he could make himself useful. The Savant still considered himself fairly new to Plagueis, and perhaps it was for this reason that he wasn’t taking the situation as seriously as his peers.

Turning round a corner at the end of one corridor and continuing on, it wasn’t long before Kalon walked past another Dark Jedi. This man was quite a bit shorter than him and dressed in a fairly standard garment. However, what interested Kalon was the Mandalorian helmet he wore. Despite being fairly ancient by standards, it was still considered a prized possession amongst his kin. Thinking the wearer to be one of his own, the Savant turned on his heel and called out to him.

“Ke’pare Mando!” He said, watching as the other Dark Jedi stopped in his tracks, turning to face him. “Tion gar aliit ga, verd?”

For a moment after that there was a couple of seconds of awkward silence before Zuser broke it.

“I’m sorry, I don’t speak Mandalorian.” He replied, confusion in his voice as to why he had been stopped and approached by the Savant in the first place. The Knight had been on the way to the bridge after docking his ship, and no doubt did not appreciate the delay.

Kalon, upon realising that Zuser was indeed not a Mandalorian converged on him with a sudden burst of speed, catching the Journeyman off guard. He lashed out aggressively with his fist, feeling it connect with Zuser’s stomach. The knight coughed as he fell to his knees, the strike so unpredictable that he had no time to defend himself.

“How dare you insult me and my people by wearing something that does not belong to you!” Kalon growled, looming over the fallen Knight. Zuser struggled to his feet, the punch having winded him.

While Kalon’s actions would have been seen as odd by any passer by, the Savant had his reasons. The Mandalorians prided themselves on their craftsmanship when it came to their weapons and armour. Whilst it was possible to obtain replica suits, any and all legitimate pieces of equipment belonged to the Mandalorians, as was one of the tenants of his people. Being a former Protector to boot, Kalon upheld the tenants with severity.

“Listen…” Zuser began, removing the helmet and holding it in his left hand, the other was clutching his stomach where the armoured Mandalorian had punched him. “…me and my team found a cache under enemy control during the Dark Crusade. This helmet was just one piece there!”

“You should have let us come and reclaim our equipment.” Kalon replied, the harshness evident in his tone of voice. He could feel the confidence of the Journeyman slowly begin to drain away as he became more and more intimidating.

“Well…we destroyed the armoury, in order to deprive the enemy of an important asset.”

Sighing in disgust, the Savant did nothing for a few seconds except stare down at Zuser. The Journeyman could see his own reflection staring back at him when he looked into the cold, obsidian visor of Kalon’s own helmet. The tension was so evident you could cut the atmosphere with a knife, it wasn’t until a few more seconds that Kalon spoke again.

“Unacceptable.” He said, his passive voice perhaps the most unnerving part. However, Zuser had little time to contemplate this as Kalon’s fist connected with the side of his head, knocking him to the ground with force.


[NSD Ascendency]
[Conference Room]

Dracaryis sat back in his chair and propped his feet up on the conference table. Strewn across its surface were old holos, hand-drawn maps, data pads, and the remnants of his breakfast. He stared out the large windows in silence, his eyes wandering from the gases of the Stygian Caldera to the hard lines of the Anchorage. He sat, flipping his lightsaber in his hand, and contemplated the boredom of command.

I should be out there.

Dracaryis had considered using command privilege to take one of the Ascendency’s fighters out for a spin, but the constant communiques from the Dread Lord and the Right Wing had prevented him from doing so. Houses Ajunta Pall and Karness Muur were supposed to be working together, but instead were bickering amongst each other and attempting to jockey for either favor or power within their respective units. One of them, a whelp recently elevated to Knightood named Kul’tak Drol, had attempted to kill two of his guards just outside his chambers. Had he not been the apprentice of his Aedile, Dracaryis would have killed him on the spot. But his directive that the Houses work together included him as well, and killing the man would have done nothing but temporarily satisfy his rage. The long term effect would be the loss of his alliance with Eiko, a man Dracaryis both trusted and respected. The pair had worked tirelessly in planning the operation to clear the moon where Xander Drax’s remaining forces were holed up, but the their subordinates were failing to follow their directives. There had to be a way to force the two Houses to work together…

Dracaryis sat up, and tapped the comm panel on the conference room table. “Bridge.”

“Bridge here, my Lord.”

“Hail the Preeminence. I need to speak with the Right Wing of Dread. Patch him through down here.”

“Acknowledged, sir.”

The idea had come to him in a flash: combined teams of Karness Muur and Ajunta Pall. If they would not work together by choice, he would force them to.

The comm panel beeped. “Speak,” Dracaryis barked.

“Sir, Eiko of House Karness Muur has responded. Patching him through on a secure channel.”

Dracaryis turned to the holo projector. He watched as the holographic image of Eiko materialized in front of him. “Eiko. How are things going on your end?”

Even through the mask, it was obvious Eiko was as irritated as Dracaryis. “As well as can be expected. I expected resistance to the idea, but this is a step too far. They have problems.”

Dracaryis laughed. “Problems are an understatement. Our Houses simply refuse to work together. Force Users refuse to work with my officers and mercenaries, subordinates are standing outside my door attempting to kill my guards, and we’re no closer to clearing that damned moon than we were when this started.”

Eiko nodded. “There’s no reason why we need to intertangle our forces if it’s unnecessary. The moon could be taken by either one of us, split or paired. Perhaps the threat of losing to you would spur my House to overtake yours?”

Dracaryis shook his head. “No, I had a better idea. We create joint strike forces. One member of your house and one from mine. We attach two companies of troops to each team.”

Eiko’s holographic image stood silent for a few moments, and then the sound of unmistakable laughter emanated from behind his mask. “I’ll bite. It’s a choice I leave in your hands, Dracaryis. It’s unkind to torture your own so lightly, though.”

Dracaryis smiled. “How do you want to work the pairings? Troops aren’t a problem.”

“Whatever happens, we can’t compromise the mission’s integrity. From all the reports I have, it seems that some of our team is still in route – and others have been held up by their own challenges. One of your mercenaries has been less than accommodating to one of my recently returned pilots. I can share the security footage with you if it interests you.”

“Your recommendations on pairings,” Dracaryis gently prodded Eiko.

"Our Aediles would benefit from seeing things from the same perspective. Taranae and Darkblade should be left to organize the effort without extra interference from us. That would leave… the d’Tana mercenary should rendezvous with the advance party. Drellik will supervise the Fulmen boy and Lo-Kain, and Ophelia will have the care of Areticus.

“That leaves the head of the Disciples to survive with Kul’tak Drol and one of the most reckless pilots I’ve ever seen,” Eiko waved his hand in front of him in a nearly apologetic gesture. “It’s bad blood now, but those are my suggestions. If it’s played right, we could have something that verges on respect between them by the end of this – and there will always be more pieces added to the board.”

“You enjoy this, don’t you?” Dracaryis smiled broadly. “Playing with lives like toys.”

Eiko’s tone hardened. “They are not merely lives. I’ve found that it takes the imposition of vision and invention of adversity to make a House great.”

“Or a clan,” Dracaryis added.

“Yes. Or a clan.”


[Moon’s Surface]
[The Rivergleam]

Areticus turned at hearing the ignition of the blade and the plop of the corpse. He was unamused and frankly a bit annoyed, “You know I wasn’t done with him. We were about to switch to the good cop role to get more information. It’s rather rude to execute someone else’s prisoner.”

Lo-Kain took a step forward with his vibrosword drawn, “Master, allow me to dispose of this Jedi for you. We’ve learned all we needed, and I could use some pleasure before my dinner.”

Areticus shook his head, “No. Jedi aren’t known for killing their own so quickly. They’d rather perform a rescue instead.” He then turned and gave a quick look at the woman. Approximately 1.7; 35, 24, 34. Well aged. Kiffar tattoos over left eye. Blaster, saber, relatively skilled. “Might I ask your name madam?”

“You could,” she replied.

Lovely, “Madam I get the sense you intentionally want to play alpha dog. Honestly that’s not what I am here for. If I did I would politely ask my pilot to simply close the hull of the ship and leave. Perhaps give a complementary farewell with an ion cannon. So let’s skip the pronoun games, jokes, and clever responses and have proper conversation, shall we?”

Her expression changed at his words, none of it showed amusement either, “The Quaestor sent me to make sure nothing went poorly before the main group arrives.”

“Interesting. Nothing was going poorly until you killed my source of information.”

“Yeah, sorry. It happens.”

“Do you have any proof?”

She took out some card with her picture on it. It looked identical to the one Areticus had, yes. However things can be forged easily, knowledge can’t be. “Does Eiko keep his rancor on the east or west wing of the Preeminence?” Areticus asked.

She blinked a couple of times with a face of confusion and slight shock, “He has a rancor on his ship?! Since when?!”

“He doesn’t. A liar would have guessed. If you don’t plan to be hostile or take charge you are welcome to some tea.”

“It’s Va’nia Drellik, by the way.”

“I know,” Areticus said without turning back from heading into the ship.

“Oh really now? Didn’t you ask for my name earlier?”

“That was before I saw your ID.”


[Moon’s Surface]
[The Rivergleam]

Lo-Kain slowly put his Vibrosword away as Areticus walked up the ramp of the YT series ship. "I don’t see why he wouldn’t want a Rancor on the ship, feed his insubordinates to. Keep everyone on edge about being Rancor food, the only real issue Lo-Kain could see is if it just so happen to get loose. However at that point its kill or be eaten.

Turning his attention to the new acquaintance, he eyed her from top to bottom, judging her abilities as he did so. Not enough meat to enjoy the taste.Lo-Kain turned to Felix who was still in shock at the site of the new party member. “If you could Felix …” Felix snapped out of his trance as he responded " Yea yea, I know I’ll bring him to your room."

Lo-Kain gave a smirk as he made a good stretch at the thought of a good meal for once. The Zabrak watched as the human pilot dragged the corpse up the ramp complaining the entire way under his breath. " I always find the Captain, and I always end up dragging the body back into his room …always the same thing over and over" he muttered as he dragged the body past the Knight standing at the hanger doorway.

So what do we do now master?" Lo-Kain asked as Areticus stood in the frame of the hanger door. “We go pay a little visit to our friends at the base. Don’t get too affectionate yet, we have a job to do.” The human stated, turning his back at the puzzled Zabrak and Kiffar.

Lo-Kain looked at the Kiffar as he continued into the ship’s hanger “Not my type really.” the Zabrak snickered as he stared the Kiffar in the face as he walked into the ship. “Your not much of a looker yourself.” She retaliated, following suit to join them on the ship.

Once Lo-Kain reached the lounge room, Felix had just finished delivering Lo-Kain’s meal to his room. The human stretched his back and walked towards the cockpit, passing the Karness Muur Zabrak along the way he muttered “Your dinners in your room”

Lo-Kain grinned as he heard the apathetic pilot’s words of ‘dinner’. Without hesitation the muscular Zabrak jumped at the chance and dashed to his room for the feast that awaits him.


[NSD Ascendancy]
[Private Quarters]

The holo-com beeped in a pattern not heard in several years. Long enough that Tra’an had to listen to make sure he’d heard it correctly. Reaching out to the table beside him, he picked up the device and activated it. The Sun Manadyne logo appeared briefly before being replaced by the glowing face of a mask he knew all too well.

“Achuta Tra’an. I’m sure you know why I’m calling.” With a low, throaty rasp, the Kaleesh chuckled, though it wasn’t a sound that most people identified as such.

“I told you he wouldn’t stay. He was too hungry for power, though he’ll find little of it under Locke. He has an iron grip on Naga Sadow, that one.” With a grimace, Eiko nodded, though it was hard to tell in the mask.

“So what can I do for you Quaestor? I’ve much doubt that you need a washed up has been such as myself. You and the Left wing seem to get along so famously these days.” With a rasping sound akin to heavy laughter, Eiko saw his former Revanite lift a glass of Whyrens and make some disappear with a quaff.

“That’s not true. Sigma needs you as much as Revan did when we were in the early days. I need you to go to the moon and make sure that these others we’ve dispatched don’t stray from the mission. If you should happen to hook up with Taranae to provide her the support that my former Aedile was to given her, I’d be grateful.” Tra’an raised an eyebrow, th scales disappearing as he lifted them above the cutout in the mask.

“Are you certain that’s wise? I’m not certain how she or the others will react. After all, they’ve not seen me in some time.” He stood and walked out of the frame of the communicator. Eiko could hear rustling in the background and smiled.

“You know as well as I do that once a leader, always a leader. They will adapt, or they will fail. At the very least, it will ensure that they have an experienced hand who can guide them, and defend them if need be. Not that Tarane needs defending, but we’ve only a hint of what may await them on that moon.” Eiko lifted his hands and spread them, a gesture just as well understood for the shrug of understatement that it was.

Tra’an moved back in front of the holo-com. He stood garbed in his robes, ready to leave.

“If it was anyone else Eiko, I’d have told them to go entertain a bantha. I trust you’ll make it worth my while?” Eiko nodded to this.

“I’ll send your erstwhile apprentice over. He’ll be bringing others with him.” Tra’an sighed.

“I see. Just ensure that he knows to keep it together. I don’t need another repeat of his stunts from the retrieval of the fleet. His piloting is insane if he’s not under thumb.” Eiko laughed and signed off without saying anything further.

Tra’an took one last look around his cluttered quarters before thinking about finishing the last sip of his last bottle of Whyrens. Looking at the glass, he lifted it up in toast.

“Maybe this time I will do better Ronovi. You deserve that much at least.” He finished the Whyren’s before smashing the glass against the durasteel wall. Turning, he left for the hangar without looking back.


[Fury-class Imperial Interceptor]

Today was the last day, his body was going on for twenty nine days straight of shape shifting. His legs of a Rancor, head of a Rodian, arms of a tree trunk, chest of Mandalore armor, eyes of pebbles, teeth of small Anzat mandibles. Over four hundred years of training have allowed the Shi’ido to achieve this proud state of shifting, but not without the cost of his decrease of Telepathy, random spurts of shifting, and of course the discoloring of species. Which is why his Sith Pureblood form had taken to a Dark Black color instead of the Crimson Blood Red they were once known for. For now in front of others he wore a mask for anyone who did not know him, not for kindness but to keep from killing any stupid student he would get.

My love, your set training time has now been completed, thirty days complete.”

The voice of the computer set so long ago by his dying wife, the Battle master allowed it to be a treasured memory to keep him strong as he wondered the universe searching for her cure. Over Three hundred years have passed but not a year goes by that he does not visit her body hidden away in the Unknown regions of space before he sets off on his month long shift training.

“Any messages from the Brotherhood?”

I will archive and keep them brief my love, the messages are as followed

Drenched in sweat the Sith stood and walked to wall panel as the messages came in

-Callus dead
-Non Force Users apart of the Brotherhood
-Eiko Cheats
-Presence needed back at Anchorage

“Set course for Anchorage.”

Course set, arrival time four days, eighteen hours and twenty seven seconds. Jump in 4…3….2….1

[Four days later]

“Approaching Fury Class, power down your drives, lower your shields and send docking codes. Failure to comply will be meet with deadly force.”

“Then I guess I should raise my shields and arm my weapons… sending docking codes now.”

“Fury class, your codes are outdated by a couple of years, lower your shields and pre- forgive me Lord Silent, it seems our systems were wrong if we had known it was you, you would already be landed.”

“Consider yourself lucky today then, send word for someone to fix me a room and secure my ship once I have landed, I have some things to do.”

“At once my Lord.”


Heavy boots trod upon the durasteel walkway, weighted more with shame than physical pounds. Rubbing his bruised chin, the Zabrak could not help but feel some surprise. His master had responded illy to his presence. He had a brief moment’s pause to await her response to his query when she decked him with a mighty temper-fueled punch. Sensing her burst of hatred within the Force, Shar’kala had immediately retreated in terror. Even the Quaestor nearly took a step back at her outburst. Confused and feeling his own anger rising, Kul’tak had left in a somber mood. While Taranae had spun on heel and marched back inside the quarters, the Quaestor had informed Kul that teams had been orchestrated to complete the tasks ahead. Apparently the Zabrak was tasked to aid a Mando named Entar, and a rather reckless pilot (or so he’d been called) named Whuloc. Dracaryis flicked a gaze towards his guards as they stood awkwardly to the side, unsure of how to precede, before he turned back himself.

“And never assault my men again, Knight. Or I will destroy you myself.”

Even just looking back, Kul felt the cold in the Quaestor’s voice. He had not even raised his volume one iota and it seemed as if it had filled the hallway. The Zabrak was not one to usually fear another so easily, but he sure would remember to be more careful from now on.

He stopped a minute to scratch his Vornskr’s hide reassuringly, the shock still causing havoc with her senses. As a side effect he was feeling slightly woozy himself. That would take some getting used to.
He took the respite to ponder his predicament. He knew the names of his fellow team members, but had never met them personally. They could be anywhere onboard for all he knew. He gave a mental shrug and continued down the corridor, Shar’kala bouncing along behind him feeling a bit more like her usual self. They rounded the corner, to come face-to-face with two sets of walking Mandalorian armor. One was taller than Kul while the other, a human holding his helmet weakly to his side, followed at a distance but was less physically bearing. The larger of the two halted as they came into contact, poking a finger into the Zabrak’s breastplate.

“Move, journeyman. I’m taking this sorry excuse to see the Quaestor.” He offered up nothing else, as if not needing to explain himself to begin with. He raised a hand to push the Zabrak aside, who responded by delaying the action, a swift flick of his wrist smacking the hand aside. He could not discern the Mando’s response with his face covered, but he peered around him and directed his voice at the young human behind.

“What is your crime, friend?” The human quickly glanced at the larger Mando before giving a quick response.

“He’s insulted that I’m not Mandalorian, yet wear the armor. But I got this during a mission and earned the right through conquest.” Kul nodded.

“Indeed. Though, the Mando’a carry strict concern for their tech. Hence his earnest to correct some wrong, apparently. What’s your name, non-Mando’a?”

“Zuser. Zuser Whuloc.” Kul’s eyebrow rose at that. It would seem Fate still enjoys a laugh or two.

The Zabrak glanced once more at the large Mando, who was breathing heavier in an obvious venting of anger. “I don’t suppose that makes you, Entar, does it?” Recognition of his name caused him to pause and relook over the Zabrak.

“Maybe, what’s it you you?”

Kul steadied his stance, trained instincts focusing in the Mando as well. “Curiosity, I suppose.” The Knight swung a kick suddenly, but the Mando blocked it. Following his momentum, Kul hammered a fist into Kalon’s helmet, while the Mando’s own bruised the other side of Kul’s jaw in an instant. The two backed off and appraised each other’s fighting capabilities more closely. Kul gave a small dip of his head and straightened up.

“Curiosity satisfied. Perhaps we’ll live through this, after all.”

Zuser drew closer at that and looked between the two. “What do you mean by that…?” He gave a questioning wave of his hand.

“Drol, Kul’tak Drol. Knight of Karness Muur. I mean, we are a three man team. Apparently the action is going to start soon. So now that we’ve been acquainted, we should probably find out where we need to be.”


NSD Ascendancy

Zuser huffed to himself as he rubbed where Kalon hit him, his Mandalorian helmet tucked under his arm. He had gotten a message via com link from Eiko, informing him that the guy who just hit him twice and the guy with the Vornskr were now a team with him.

Moments later, his holo-com beeped. He pulled it out from his pouch and it lit up, showing two eyes he knew well.

“Zuser, I hear you have had a scuffle?” Tra’an Reith said.

“Huh? Uh, yeah. How did you-.”

“I heard from Security. Now listen. The mission is still the same. Just now you have two teammates. Kalon Entar, and Kultak Drol.”

“Entar?! You mean the guy who just punched me twice?!”

“He has already? He must like you. You will work with him and Kultak, and the 3 of you will travel together to the moon’s surface.”

“But Master-!”

“Enough, Zuser. This is not open for discussion. You have your mission. Now get to the Chaser. I am flying with you to the moon.”

Yes Master…

The young Knight walked ahead of his two newly acquired companions as he thought back to the conversation with his Master. He could feel Kalon glaring a T-shaped glare at the back of his head. He knew something was bothering his Master. He could tell during their conversation that Tra’an was agitated about something. Perhaps it was just that he had emerged from his quarters for the first time in a while. If nothing else, that itself had him concerned.

The trio plus one Vornskr crossed through the hangar, the various hangar crew trying not to stare at the small group as they passed. As they approached the Chaser, Kalon’s head tilted up, taking in the ship itself.

“This is your ship?”

The Mandalorian’s arms crossed over his chest as he approached the ship.

“Yes, it is. Why?”

Zuser turned his head to glare over his shoulder at Kalon as the boarding ramp lowered for the trio. Kultak looked up at the Firespray, Shar’kala following his gaze.

“It just seems unlikely that you could pilot a ship as complex as this.”

The young Knight growled and grit his teeth as his step took on an agitated stomp.

“Just get onboard. My Master-,.”

“Is here. Greetings, my Apprentice. Are these your teammates then?”

Zuser spun around to face his master, the Mandalorian helmet still tucked under his arm as he put his other arm across his chest in a salute and went to one knee.

“Master Reith. These are Kultak Drol, his Vornskr companion, and…”

Zuser growled and looked to the side.

“And Kalon Entar…”

“Fine. Get it started Zuser. We need to be gone soon. You three have an urgent mission, and I’ve an Aedile to find.” Tra’an Reith snapped.

Zuser glanced at Kultak and then glared at Kalon before hurrying onboard, the Mandalorian, Zabrak and Vornskr staying behind with Tra’an. As Zuser set his Mandalorian helmet on it’s stand, Kalon approached Tra’an, who was standing by the ramp waiting for Zuser to start his pre-flight procedure.

“Are you sure the chakaar is capable of flying us?”

“You are joking, right?” The Kaleesh lifted back his hood, nostrils flaring. His scaled lips pulled back to reveal sharp teeth. “You do know that he’s one of the best, right? With the way you’ve agitated him, it’ll be a bumpy ride to the moon. Treat him well or you will suffer my wrath.”

Tra’an lifted his hood and turned to walk into the ship, leaving Kalon and Kultak behind.

Zuser stood by the pilot’s seat, flipping switches and turning knobs. He glanced over his shoulder as his Master swept into the cockpit and sat in the co-pilot’s seat, waiting for his apprentice to finish. Kalon and Kultak walked around the seating area before finding seats.

Without looking, Zuser keyed the command to close the ramp and began the system start-up. As Zuser sat down in the pilot’s seat, the Chaser came to life.

“This is Knight Zuser Whuloc aboard the Chaser, requesting clearance to leave.”

There was a brief pause before there was a response from the comms.

“This is the bridge, you are cleared for take off. Good hunting.”

Zuser flexed his hands before letting them fly across the controls. The reckless pilot turned his head to glance at Kalon before focusing back at the viewscreen. Zuser pushed on a lever to lift the ship off the durasteel floor and sliding horizontally out of the hangar. As soon as the Firespray was clear of the hangar, Zuser flipped the Chaser into it’s vertical form and abruptly shot off, none too gently. It was barely noticeable, but Tra’an made sure to secure himself a little more in preparation for the rough flight ahead.


[Moon’s Surface]
[The Rivergleam]

Areticus looked up as he saw the lights of the ship’s roof power down. He looked around and saw the computer mainframe and even the appliances all lose power. He got up from his seat and walked over into the cockpit to see Felix’s hands up in both annoyance and confusion.

“Did you upset her?” He asked the pilot.

“I have no idea what just happened, did a full PMCS before we left. She should be fine,” Felix replied.

“Must be existential. Lo-Kain and I will have a look. We need keep communications with Ascendancy, see if you can get that running.” The Sith then went back into the main hanger and opened it to the moon after notifying his apprentice to join him. He felt a small grip on his chest the moment his shoes touch the soil. Something was eerily wrong. The Force was telling him to move, he listened and turned his body to the side and threw his head back just before a green flash drove just above his face. He saw his apprentice’s saber drawn and motioned for his to do the same.

“We have been compromised,” the Zabrak stated while moving in a zig-zag pattern to some cover. Areticus instead kept his composure and held his blade before him. He scanned the area with his eyes but couldn’t see anything. The trajectory of the blast came at him at a relative 330° ish angle, 0° being his current direction. The next shot that came for him he was able to deflect. It’s trajectory this time was more or less 140°. Not only were they found, it’s possible the entire ship is surrounded. The power outage was probably triggered via EMP. He needed to find the compressing unit and contact their House. It was time to move.

“Lo-Kain, past the ridge to the northwest side of the starboard I suspect is where you will meet the enemy. I need you to cause a distraction that will give me time to find out what they did to the ship. We won’t survive long without help.”

The Iridonian was gone in a full sprint in the open after Areticus said “distraction”. He enjoyed himself when the plan involved violence. The nobleman kept himself wary of other incoming blaster fire as he relocated himself under the freighter. He scanned the area while using the Force to make himself transparent to the naked eye. The outer layer of Rivergleam’s underside was kept smooth with armor plating. He couldn’t see any compartment that would allow for a device to be placed. Either it was on top of the ship, or it was done from a distance. A gut feeling told Areticus that it was the unfortunately latter. Just in case, he unveiled the cloak and made an illusionary fog begin to surround the area of the ship. This gave him enough concealment to allow him to reach the top of the ship without exposure. Once he found his way to the roof through the inside compartment, he expanded his fog to where it formed a cylindrical wall around the Rivergleam. Again, he saw no foreign device attached. Typical electromagnetic pulses are caused by disrupt systems by sending energy to disrupt currents. A disruptive radius from the educated guess of their approximate location would have been too strong to go unnoticed.

So how is it that they were able to cause such an impact in such a subtle manner? Unless… Unless the EMP’s magnitude wasn’t covering a radius, but in fact it was engineered to be compressed and launched in precise directions. Point and power down. A remote control EMP, so to speak. Marvelous technology, if it hadn’t been working against them. Areticus came to this conclusion and decided it was time to join his apprentice and find the culprit. He lowered himself back down and dropped the illusion around the ship.

“It’s a directed compressed electromagnetic pulse. Lo-Kain is currently engaged, I am about to as well. Seems those primitive slugthrowers of yours that only rely on mechanical energy may come in handy. Rerout the power couplings and mainframe and then join us in our defense. If you see indication of the disruption field gone, send immediate word to the Ascendency.”

Felix loaded one of his slugthrower pistols he grabbed from his weapon rack with ana ammunition clip before holstering it, “What about the woman?”

Areticus rolled his eyes, “I really don’t care.”

Felix chuckled, “Alright. When the comlinks are back on, you’ll know when to get back here. I’m taking off the minute we get power.”

“If we do leave, do not head in the direction of the Ascendency. Our position may be exposed, but if we leave they will more than likely track us upon departure.”

Areticus exited the ship once again to find the fire becoming more intense and collaborating on the location he sent Lo-Kain to. The brute does his job to Areticus’ expectations. He took out a pair of white gloves from the pocket of his slacks and rolled back the sleeves of his buttoned shirt under his vest. The curved hilt of his saber rested comfortably in his palm as he ignited it once again. He mimicked the movement of his apprentice’s sprint and allowed the Force to once again notify him of blaster fire that could be potentially accurate. The fatal shots were averted and he found himself turning the corner of a large boulder and letting a widened lunge pierce the chest of an adversary. Another uniformed scout, very similar to the one they previously interrogated. He pushed the fresh corpse aside and spawned an illusionary copy of himself to head for the next three targets while the real him averted back to where he came. He heard the sound of blaster fire and kept a mental fixation on the cloned image falling to the ground dead, burned shots in the chest, and the transition to a pale complexion from loss of blood flow. When he rounded about the boulder he saw the three scouts looking down at the fake body as it began to fade. Areticus stabbed the closest one through his back, wheeled the blade across the second’s face, deflected the third’s blaster fire and ended his life as well.

Blaster fire was still echoing through the layout expanse, along with some screams of pain and the occasional pounding crack of a slugthrower. Seems his companions were doing their part as well.


A sudden hit of turbulence jilted the Firespray as they slowed to make their descent to the moon below. Kul rubbed his temples as his sense of balance swayed to and fro, all while he was clearly sitting still in his chair. His stomach had been complaining most of the trip. Whuloc certainly enjoyed flying, perhaps a little too much. The Khaleesh, one of the respected di Plagia, moved from the cockpit and took a seat next to Kul’tak. Sensing the Zabrak’s discomfort, he turned his head slightly, a sound escaped him sounding like a strong cough.

“You get used to it. He may not look it, but the boy is an excellent pilot. Just don’t upset him and we should be fine.”

Kul grunted in response. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Kalon, a solemn stone wall behind his armor.

“Not me you’ll have to worry about, my lord. The Mando’a, perhaps.” Tra’an nodded in agreement. The Zabrak fidgeted slightly when a silence arose, the only noise the whirring of the ship’s mechanical gadgets. Tra’an did not bother feigning acknowledgement, having sensed the disturbance before he sat down. He merely cleared the air.

“Ask your question, Knight.”

Everyone in the vessel focused on the two now. The question had been on the tips of their tongues the whole flight. Kul laid a hand on his Vornskr as she laid her head on his knee.

“From my understanding, we were placed into groups comprising of members from both Houses. I can see why: in order to strengthen House relations. The Left Wing stated that the teams were small, so maybe three members of ranging ranks. But why send a di Plagia? Surely that’s overkill for a simple retrieval mission, right? Or is there something we haven’t been told?”

The di Plagia shook his head slowly. “Don’t tell me you’re getting cold feet, Knight? Zabrak don’t normally shirk from a challenge.”

“No it’s not that. It’s…” Something feels off. Before he could finish, Kul was interrupted as Zuser declared they had broken the atmosphere. The surface of the moon swelled up in front of them. And their mission lay somewhere upon it. The Khaleesh stood and headed back to the cockpit. When he reached the entryway his head turned back slightly.

“The Dread Lord does things in his own way. I’m here merely to keep you lot from killing each other and staying on task, but if there is something else going on…well, we’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?”


Behind his mask, Eiko’s expression was slack with surprise. The news reeked of the same disappointment that had faced him on New Tython, with Revan shredded to a hundred pieces before the fighting had even started. The ships had only just departed, and now the Dread Lord…

“Yes,” Teylas repeated himself with uncharacteristic patience. “Turn them around.”

“While our information is still fresh, I suggest that we eliminate what remains of Drax’s forces before they have the chance to dig in further.” Eiko drew his shoulders back to regain his confidence. Persuading, bargaining, showing the delicate balance that he was caught in once again – the Dread Lord would understand.

“Did I tell you to turn the slaves around?” Teylas barked.

Eiko hesitated on his answer. “No. The Willing and the Knighted, only.”

“This isn’t strictly my decision.” Teylas’s expression softened. “We have orders, and a more appetizing target. Pravus has scorched New Tython.”


“Not more than an hour ago. We received word from the Master at Arms; the Brotherhood has declared war, and means genocide. The Consul of Arcona, the Clan of Urr, and their sympathizers face the Council’s ships, and we have been requested to join them in purging the impure. Personally.”

Eiko smiled. “I haven’t seen New Tython since our last war there. The Willing and the Knighted are honored by the thoughts of the Grand Master.”

The message arrived simultaneously in a dozen cockpits, bearing the side-by-side images of Eiko and Dracaryis.

“On the request of the Grand Master and the orders of the Dread Lord, you will return to the Ascendancy and the Preeminence and assume general quarters, awaiting further instructions,” Dracaryis began. Even in the grainy and distorted image, his excitement was apparent.

Eiko continued. “As of today, we have resumed a war-standing against Clan Odan Urr on the directive of the Grand Master and the Dark Council, to eliminate their influence on the galaxy and strengthen the Brotherhood. Your individual missions will be dispersed securely and privately upon your return. The attack on the moon will be carried out by the forces of Plagueis without the oversight of the Force-Users and Willing. Your work thus far in gathering intelligence and preparing for the attack has been noted, and is integral to the success of that mission.”

“New Tython is burning,” Dracaryis smiled, “and we will arrive at the front while the fires are still alive. In darkness.” He saluted crisply and his image flickered out.

“In darkness,” Eiko nodded. “End transmission.”


The causeway between the Preeminence and the Anchorage was choked with bodies – mostly intact, mostly mobile, but sprinkled here and there with the casualties of breaking New Tython to the will of the Grand Master. In the distance, outside the viewport, Eiko could see the hole in the stars where the Ascendancy impressed her cold shape into space.

This, he thought to himself, is the price of a job well done.

Whatever was left of New Tython now, Eiko didn’t care to dwell on it. The planet had been wrapped a blanket of turbolasers and thoroughly scoured so that, when the time came for the Grand Master to claim it as his own, no remnant of the Undesirables would assault his soles – if, after all, Pravus was concerned about the dirt he trod upon. To have the planet wiped clean was almost a relief from Eiko’s vantage; the delicate balances of appealing to the light and the shadow, the Dread Lord and the Undesirables, the constant effort of keeping an eye on every movement and an ear to every inch of the Brotherhood’s territories… taxing on his mind.

The stress was nothing like the game of Dejarik that he impressed into his memory. That match, the now-overseer’s over-exertions and foibles, would have been more remarkable if it had been more public.

Now, as Plagueis reassembled to count its losses and set its next aims, Dracaryis stood alongside Roh at the side of the Dread Lord. The Mandalorian Kalon stood as his peer, and the Pantoran beside him, diligently recording each passing unit on a datapad.

“Status,” Eiko called out.

“As expected.” Yeoman Uscot spoke almost more to the datapad than his superior. “The reports we received en route are consistent so far – losses in most every unit, but not the kind we can’t recover from: mostly the slaves and a handful of Willing.”

Eiko turned to face the Pantoran. “Are you considering yourself replaceable, Aedile?”

Laren tried to hide the confusion that flashed across his face. With the metallic hiss of his words, Eiko’s voice could have been a joke, a reprimand, or even a sincere question.

“I’m not sure how to respond, Lord Right Wing.”

“Are you replaceable?” Eiko repeated. “Yes or no.”

“No,” Laren answered on instinct. The reasons why weren’t clear in his head, but the sharpness of the word leaving his mouth could have been mistaken for confidence. Or arrogance. Or idiocy.

“Good. I agree. When you’re done here, see that you properly introduce yourself to the House – and the Apostles, once they’ve arrived. I have business with the Overseer.”

Laren stepped to the side as Eiko strode from where they had stood, watching Plagueis return from one war and gird itself for the next fight. With the Right Wing gone, Laren’s focus returned to the datapad, and the monotonous clicking of duty.


“We’re agreed, then.”

Even as Quaestor, the times in which Eiko had stood face-to-face with the Dread Lord were few. And now, that number had reached its peak. From the side of the room, Taranae Rhode stepped forward and offered a slight inclination of her head. From the reputation she carried, the subtlety of the gesture was admirable.

“Your service is noted and appreciated,” Teylas continued.

Eiko swept his arms out in an exaggerated bow. “A pleasure, as ever. Mistress Rhode, I am returned to the service of the Right Wing of Dread.”

Over the Dread Lord’s shoulder, Eiko caught Dracaryis’s glance and nodded slightly.

“You are relieved.”

“I am relieved,” Eiko replied.

The image cupped in his hand was of a small globe, festering with hostile red marks where the Undesirables landed. All throughout the room, the voices of Taranae, Kalon, and Laren Uscot outlined the basics of the instructions.

Listening to another’s intelligence, suddenly caught up in the backwash of the world around him would have been more jarring to Eiko if it didn’t make him feel so… dead. Out of touch. Like part of his body had been severed and pulled away without notice.

His breathing slowed, trying to control all of the spinning thoughts. Dracaryis hadn’t made a move in their match since the start of the briefing, but that didn’t stop Eiko from focusing on the potentiality of each move.

“… the primary attack force will be comprised of units from…”

On the board, Dracaryis’s Savrip pushed into Eiko’s defensive line, then reneged, then pushed into the same square, then reneged again. Eiko’s earpiece shot out an alert to an incoming message, then stopped suddenly.

“… the chief goal of the primary attack force will be…”

Again, the Savrip shuffled forward, then backward with a mechanical cadence.

Four sharp, sudden movements of the Savrip were all feints. Then Dracaryis’s Strider pushed over to shield one of his more offensive pieces, and the turn passed back to Eiko.

The possibility was more interesting than the briefing, and Eiko let the holograms of his compatriots rattle on in the background while he pressed an attack against the Savrip – a poor tactical choice, but one that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but attentive listening.

Dracaryis’s Savrip took three longer movements back and forth before another piece was moved into position.

“You’re beginning to make sense after all,” Eiko smiled to himself.

Welcome to another season of the Plagueis RO!

While I no longer will be acting in an official capacity as Quaestor – congratulations to Taranae! – I will continue to be your proctor, your guide, and your assistant in this RO. The goals are still the same, and the rules haven’t changed. As a refresher:

Reserve your posts. You will need to reserve your posting spot before you start working on your post, so that others will know that you’re next in line and won’t write over you. If there is no reservation, simply put up a post that says “#User reserves this post,” then begin working on your post.

If you reserve a post, you have 24 hours to replace your reservation with your post (min. 300 words). If you don’t replace your reservation with a post within 24 hours, your spot will be forfeited – removed and opened up to the next reservation. We have to keep things flowing, and that means letting people get their posts onto Discourse in a timely fashion. When you have posted, notify the next person in line so that they can get working on their own post!

Keep it consistent. This isn’t a competition, but it should feel reasonably coherent as we continue. Side-quips, side-stories, and other diversions are welcome as long as they stay inside the bounds of the RO – otherwise, if something seems too big to fit into posts here, take it to another RO thread!

Disable your signatures.

Plot updates will be released periodically. Please respect the reservations – they’ll be larger and tailored to mesh with the story of this RO and Plagueis at large, and that sometimes requires more time and effort.

As a starting point for those who don’t know where to begin after our hiatus for the Feud, consider using the following starter to get your post going:

What happened to you in the Feud?
How did you make it back, and what scars (mental, physical, etc.) do you have from the conflict?
Did you bring anything back from the war on Florrum?

Good luck, and have fun!


Abadeer stared absently off into space, watching stars slowly pass by. His ship, Nemesis, an Infiltrator class starship was in the process of it’s preparations for light speed jump. Looking down at one outstretched hand Taasii contemplated all that had happened to him in the last few months.

The attack on Florrum had taken it’s toll on the young Hunter’s mind. He thought back on events of the Feud with Odan Urr. The lives passed, battles won and battles lost, heroes that rose, and those that fell. Abadeer had been sent on a few covert missions. As part of Karness Mur, intelligence work was supposed to be a forte of his. One particular mission weighed most heavily on him.

Taasii thought of his first team that he lead, Team Epsilon, and the utterly disastrous turnout for that mission. The Togrutan Sith was given a chance at leadership, and he’d failed. Their mission was to find and eliminate one General Allack Jar, of Clan Odan Urr. He was difficult to locate, and that was as far as their mission progressed. One of the members of Epsilon, a Kiffar female named Janyck, was expert with ciphers. She’d intercepted and interpreted a coded transmission that gave them information they needed on the General.

Upon tracking him through the desert of Florrum, Abadeer discovered too late that his team was being led into an ambush. They were held for several weeks with minimal rations. One of Epsilon died during this time period before the Urrites even attempted to gain information from them. Over the weeks that they were held, Abadeer began to develop feelings for the Kiffar woman. The feelings were mutually reciprocated. Taasii was picked out as the leader of the group, and was given the option to be let go for the sake of his team and some information. He jumped at the chance to save his own skin in an instant. He was able to come up with convincing lies to not give any real information away, but the enemy had never planned to let him go.

The Urrites that held Epsilon team captive were no Jedi. Mercenaries and soldiers who would go greater lengths to win the war. Instead of letting Abadeer go, his team was instead tortured and killed in front of him. Even now the young Sith had every intimate bloody detail of Epsilon’s faces burned into his mind. They were all informed that he’d betrayed them for his own sake. They saved Janyck for last, and the soul shattering look she’d given him, followed by the screams that proceeded her death for three days, had left lasting scars on the Togruta’s mind.

After being held for some time more, one of Plagueis’s greatest war heroes Arden Karn had come to save him. Abadeer’s participation in the remainder of the Feud was limited. Taasii knew that he’d done wrong. He’d gone farther into darkness than he thought he would. He was always out for number one, but as the leader of a team entrusted to him, he’d betrayed them all. They all died because of him and his own hubris, and selfish greed. Taasii was dedicated to build his own self esteem back from that event. He was going to far flung corners of the galaxy in search of himself, and lost knowledge of the Sith of old.

In his travels Abadeer had found a shrine that held remnants of the ancient Sith Empire from the days of the Old Galactic Republic. He’d found an armory preserved from time with armor that had been worn by the Sith of old. There were holicrons and other containers of ancient knowledge that the Plaguein had spent days poring over. He took one of the armor sets for himself, and from his travels a new found sense of purpose and who he was supposed to be.

Upon returning to the Anchorage, Taasii was summoned to the quarters of Arden Karn. Entering the simple and neat dorm, the Hunter bowed to his senior. Arden stood never letting his gaze leave the Togruta. He nodded, the bow being acceptable.

“I’ve summoned you here to inform you of two things. You are no longer under the tutelage of Kz’set. The end of the remainder of your training as a Knight will be supervised by myself.” Arden finished looking for a response from Abadeer.

“What happened to Master Kz’set?” Taasii asked, seeing his chance for questions.
“That is none of your business, and I won’t hear any more questions on the matter. You’re nearly a Knight now, and I don’t expect that I will have much to do to finish your training. Just see that you don’t do anything that will reflect poorly on myself. Secondly, you’ve been summoned to presence of the Lady Right Wing. She expects you promptly.” As Arden finished, he turned to look at some documents on his table. The conversation was finished Abadeer knew, and he wouldn’t get anything more from the stone faced man.

“Of course Master. I will take my leave at once.” Abadeer bowed and turned.

“See that you do. Shut the door behind you.”

Abadeer stood outside of the doors of the Quaestors office. He knew little of the new Right Wing, but she had been promoted by the Dreadlord himself. She was no one to be messed with. Taasii buzzed the speaker to announce his arrival.

“Who calls?” A muffled voice came from the speaker.

“Abadeer Taasii, Hunter, to see the Lady Taranea, Right Wing of Dread, Quaestor of Karness Mur.”

“Enter.” the voice cut out with a short click of a latch being released. The Togruta pushed his way through the door to enter into the presence of the new Quaestor.
“Welcome Abadeer. Please have a seat,” Taranae, an imposing figure in all her greatness, gestured to a seat in front of her desk.

“I have an assignment for you. I’m aware that things did not go to plan in Florrum on your last mission, but after careful discussion with Dracaryis and Laren Uscot, we’ve decided to promote you to the Battleteam Leader of Karness Mur. You will be leading the Apostles of Syn in the coming campaigns.” Even as her words came quickly to his ears, Abadeer had a hard time contemplating them. He’d been chosen as a Battleteam Leader?!

“Of course my Lady… but if I might be so bold… why me?” he struggled to get his mind wrapped around what was happening.

“You’ve been selected one merits apart from your current lack of leadership abilities. We have faith that you will prove useful to us in the months to come. If not, you will be easily and quickly replaced. We see potential in you, and the Clan needs new leaders. Do not disappoint, for your own sake.”

Back in his ship Abadeer was pulled back from his thoughts to his present surrounding by the beeping of his ship informing him that light speed was ready. A new chapter of his life was about to begin. Taasii was going to begin it with a bang.


Soft pitter patters echoed within the dark wing of the KSD Transcendant as the midnight-furred creature paced beside her master. His own footfalls attempted to mask themselves, but more out of reflex than any will to hide himself. In fact, he could have cared less had anyone shown their face to him. He was still aching from his time in battle, even though it had been a few days now. Or had it? Time had been a peculiar illusion recently. Besides, it was highly unlikely for anyone else to be this deep within the station. Well, almost anyone. The Zabrak gave a sidelong glance to his side.

Attempting to keep pace beside his master, the much shorter Alishu tried his best to follow while avoiding the whip-like tail of the Vornskr weaving its way through both of them playfully. Kul must have signaled her somehow, because not long after nearly tripping him she quickly moved to their rear with her head bent low in submission. Kul watched the small Sullustan in his robes and wrappings as they drug across the floor. His apprentice’s power had grown exponentially in a short time, thus allowing him to prove himself quite the warrior on the battlefield of Florrum. The Zabrak projected his deep voice so the cloak hood upon his head would not muffle it.

“I want you to know that you’ve made me a proud master, Shu. Your time on Florrum has revealed the strength hiding in that tiny frame. I look forward to watching you progress further.” He clasped his gauntlets behind his back and they made a turn, heading in the direction of the Karness Muur quarters. The clomping of the Zabrak’s boots played a sharp contrast to the shuffling of the Sullustan’s rags.

Alishu felt a warm pride rise in his gut. Kul did not give praise vainly, and so the Sullustan accepted the rare treat eagerly.

“Thank you, Master. I have gained much in the knowledge of the Force, and I hunger for more.” The Obelisk in him, no doubt, the Zabrak mused.

“As you should. But do not forego your physical training, lest you find yourself beneath another’s blade.” The rags ruffled in what Kul had come to learn was a laugh from his apprentice.

“I don’t know, master, I might could take you now that I’m a Knight as well. Surely they would not have granted me the title if they thought I was weak.” It was Kul’s turn to chuckle.

“Defeat me? You’re welcome to try, my eager apprentice.” Alishu turned to gaze at his master expecting more to the statement, but the Zabrak had quickly resumed his cold look of determination. Alishu knew that his master would welcome a fight. He seemed to get some sort of primal pleasure from the act, taking beatings from higher ranking members just for the experience.

“DROL!” The voice reverberated oddly against the durasteel walls they followed, but upon turning they soon saw why. The owner was covered in Mandalorian armor, presently removing his helm. Kul turned to face him, a look of annoyance on his otherwise bored face.

“If you want to get someone’s attention, you needn’t yell, Kalon.”

The Mando’a merely glanced over the smaller Zabrak, replicating his expression. “That’s ‘Sir’ from you Drol. I’d accept Lord as well.”
Alishu tensed as he saw his master stiffen.

“I defer to my direct superiors. Not a Pallan stand-in.” Both the Zabrak and the Mando’a took a step forward. Alishu hoped his master wouldn’t start anything now, but he was there if needed. Kalon broke the staring contest first.

“You do now, Drol. Report to the Consul’s office immediately for the ceremony.” Kul’s usually piercing gaze softened beneath a glaze of curiosity.

“What ceremony?”

Kalon barked a huge Mando laugh. “No one told you? You’ve been recommended for the Battle Team leader of Ajunta Pall. You work for me now, Zabrak.” He emphasized the statement with a ghoulish grin.

Consul’s Office, KSD Transcendent 34 ABY

The Dread Lord watched, unamused as the Zabrak’s tirade went on.

“I’ve served well enough in Muur, why must I be placed under such–” he threw a passing glance in Kalon’s direction. “-- questionable leadership?”

Teylas had heard enough. The Dread Lord of Plagueis nodded once to his Overseer, who walked casually up to Kul before smashing him to the ground with a disciplinary fist. Teylas cleared his throat once before speaking.

“Whom do you serve, Knight?”

Kul, who was now prostrate before his leader, considered the question carefully.

“Y-you, my lord.” Teylas sighed before weaving his wizened gaze amongst the present group.

“No, Kul, you serve Plagueis. A little competition amongst houses is fine, but I grow weary of the dragging hostility. Had Urr recognized such a weakness, Florrum might have gone quite differently. Now rise and prepare for the ceremony.” The Zabrak did just that, no hesitation evident in him at all.


After the ceremony, Dracaryis remained behind while the rest filed out. Teytay waved him forward. “What is it, Overseer?”

“My lord, should I have Drol watched? It’s no secret that he felt a strong tie to Muur. His excessive loyalty could be dangerous if it became resentment.”

The Dread Lord merely shook his head. “The beast has a wicked bite, but he is loyal. I don’t believe he’s a threat. His claws can be forced upon our enemies, in any case. All he really needs is a solid footing and direction. Have Kalon sharpen him, and make him a blade that Plagueis can wield well.”

The Overseer nodded his approval. “Aliso would be an excellent opportunity. I’ll see to it that his new Battleteam is one of the first to hit the ground.”

“Good. You are dismissed, Overseer.”

KSD Transcendant 34 ABY

The Zabrak marched out the Consul’s office, his indomitable will sporting a small crack. Lost in his thoughts, he passed by his apprentice and Vornskr who had waited for his return. Shuffling behind him, the Sullustan-in-disguise had to fight Shar’kala for a spot beside their master. Alishu knew the beast was his favorite; his intractable connection with fauna was a strange thing, for sure. Still, the Vornskr was unable to talk.

“What was that about, master?”

The aura of writhing anger coming off the Zabrak mollified slightly as he remembered his surroundings. He gave Alishu a glance as he collected himself.

“They assigned me as a battleteam leader.” His voice betrayed no signs of pride or any happiness at all. His steps had gradually grown shorter, Alishu gratefully noted. But something was gnawing at him.

“Is that not great news? The Apostles will thrive with you at their helm.”

Kul stopped, his hood staring ahead into some unseen dimension.

“I’m being transferred to the Disciples.”

Alishu nearly tripped over his rags. “The Disciples, master? What would be the purpose of that? Unless…”

The Zabrak nodded. “I was just thinking the same, ‘Shu.” His use of the moniker he’d jokingly given his apprentice meant Kul had calmed down considerably. Alishu was happy to hear that he’d left the “Little” part out.

“The Dread Lord mentioned the hostilities that often arise between the houses. The attack on Florrum was the first step, I believe, in a bold attempt to assuage those hostilities. Now there’s word of a mounting assault on Aliso.” He knelt and laid a hand on his Vornskr’s head, who wagged her serrated tail excitedly. “It would not surprise me if the invasion was a combined assault. Most likely the squads will be a mixture of the houses.”

Alishu mulled over the thought before raising a questioning finger. “Do you think it will work?”

Kul turned his head to answer, his orange eyes seeped in hunger.

“We shall see, apprentice. We shall see.”


“What, can your puny arms not keep up with the rest of them?” The masked human cracked a whip onto Laren’s back, and his once smooth blue skin and soiled black shirt were marred with a long, thin gash. It was purple on his exposed skin where the whip had made contact, and the youthful Pantoran writhed in pain.

“Get up! GET! UP!” The whip cracked, faster and harder than before and

Rising sharply from his bed, Laren was sweating profusely, his breathing hoarse. He was in temporary quarters aboard the NSD Preeminence, which was little more than an eight by eight pace room with a rock-hard bed, a desk built into the wall, and a simple computer terminal. Other than a small brown duffle bag with his equipment, and spare clothes cleanly kept under his bed, he had no other valuables or trinkets. He was not a man used to being in one place for an extended period of time, always on the run or moving to his next job. But since he was approached by his most recent client, it seemed his migratory tendencies had been curtailed in favour of steady, challenging, and handsomely paid work.

Laren got up from his bed, his limber cerulean feet resting on the lukewarm, durasteel floor as he reached down to his duffle bag and pulled out a dark towel, wiping the dampness from his face and neck. He took care to wipe the sweat over the scars on his cheeks and forehead, part of the reason for his troubled mind. Get a grip. He scolded himself with a shake of his head. It wasn’t that Laren felt guilty for working with people—though he questioned whether they were people at times—that took others as slaves. His own work had, at times, made slavery seem humane and dull in comparison, and he had no qualms about repeating said work for the right reasons and the right price. His own time as a slave had dulled his capability for compassion, and instead had ignited the flame of ambition in a specific field of gruesome work.

Satisfied he had scraped the last of the sweat from his brow, Laren threw the towel onto the ground and laid back in his bed, staring at the lights on the low ceiling. He was sure his nightmare was due to being around so many Sith at once. He knew enough of the Force and its Dark Side to realize that being in the presence of so many who could channel its ancient magics might cause him problems besides the obvious looks of arrogance against a Non-Force user like himself. Even on the battlefield during the Florrum operation, he had felt his usually cool demeanour slip into anger unbecoming of him. Luckily those looks had subsided some, since it had been revealed he was under the employ of the Dread Lord. He had proven himself a more than capable warrior with nothing but fist, blade and blaster, and the problem of doubt had mostly dissipated among his subordinates. Subordinates, Laren mused, knowing full well he had to face the day ahead of him sometime. Well he didn’t have to, but he was paid to.

Rising from his bed once more, Laren went through his routine. He left his face unshaven and put on his dark brown and black robes with care. Every piece of clothing was made for function, though simple enough that he could blend in with any crowd. Lacing his shoes, he placed his dagger in its regular sheathe hidden in his left boot, and finished changing by holstering his DC-17 blaster snug on his hip. Satisfied he was prepared to face the troops placed under his command, he stepped through the automatic doors of his quarters and marched with purpose toward the ship’s internal lift. He had a job to do and another point to prove. His former Quaestor’s words echoed in his head over and over again.

“Are you considering yourself replaceable, Aedile?”

“I am not replaceable,” Laren muttered, not realizing it was out loud.

Failure was never an option for Laren, unless failure meant his death. If he could nip his death in the bud, he would never let it happen with these fools. He hoped the member of the Willing he had ordered the evening before had assembled the troops as ordered.

NSD Preeminence
Main hangar
Half an Hour Later

Laren arrived to a spectacle, one he had never seen. Scores of soldiers were aligned in perfect formation, holding their weapons in ceremonial fashion against their chests. Ahead of them, Force Users from House Karness Muur were standing not as rigidly still, but just as well placed, their dark robes and elaborate armour in sharp contrast to the uniformity of the Ascendant Legion. As he continued his slow advance to the front and centre of the formation, he even saw members of the Saraask’ar loosely assembled, standing quietly, except for the constant buzzing of their reptilian tongues, instinctively testing the air for their next prey. It wasn’t the entirety of the House’s forces, but it was enough to serve his purpose.

The tension in the Main Hangar was palpable. As Laren rooted himself, stance wide and hands clasped behind his back, he examined the troops before him. All eyes were on him. The Sith and Dark Jedi, the ones who didn’t hide their faces with complex masks or armour, held cool expressions, emotionless except for brief slips of arrogance that seemed to always seep from these types. Laren tried to ignore those looks, though he was sure his own expression was slowly slipping from indifference to anger. Damn Sith.

Standing in front of all the rest was a Togruta, about the same height as the Pantoran—if not for his montrals. His robe was black, though abruptly ending at the shoulders, and his hands were bandaged from palm to forearm. Abadeer Taasii, the new Battleteam Leader of the Apostles of Syn. Unlike the rest of the Force Users, the scowl on his face marked his displeasure about being a subordinate to one such as Laren. Even the troops assembled behind him looked harder than the rest, from Sith to simple soldier. Their performance on Florrum had been integral to Plagueis’ victory, and according to reports, Abadeer had well-earned his station.

“If you aren’t a bloody Dark Jedi or Sith—whatever the bloody difference is—I want you out. Now!”, roared Laren. The sudden booming sound of shuffling feet and weapons being holstered met his ears. Soldiers shuffled past their still commanders efficiently, and within minutes the entire hangar was empty, save his official escort of two Ravagers and the Force-wielding members of the House. In hindsight, Laren wondered whether being alone in a room full of lightsaber wielding, highly deadly people was a good choice. But he knew the only way to gain the respect of those who fought to gain power was to prove his strength without their treasured Force.

“You may be wondering, Sith,” Laren began, almost spitting the final word and taking steps toward them, his escorts flanking him, “Why I chose to keep only you here.” He let his hands fall to his side, his left arm noticeably more limp than the right, ready to grasp his blaster at a moment’s notice. “The truth is, I know you don’t like me. In fact, I know you all hate me. Our Dread Lord saw fit to make me, a bounty hunter and mercenary, an Aedile. An Aedile! With only a blaster on my hip.” And a dagger in my boot, Laren added mentally, knowing the value of keeping a card up your sleeve.

Laren had stopped only three paces away from Abadeer, who himself stood a few paces farther forward than the rest of those still assembled in the Hangar. Behind him, the Pantoran caught the glances of hardened Equites, glinting with jealousy and rage, as they stared into the back of the newly-minted Knight. But these were quickly covered when the Togruta glanced back at them.

“Some of you still have trouble controlling that precious hate of yours, and I have no doubt one of you will attempt to strike me down.” If there was any shock among the throng, Laren did not notice it. He scanned the room, his eyes piercing through the hardened expressions of all those before him, as he tried to determine who would attempt the deed. One of the younger members, maybe, or at least one of the less experienced among them, but there was no way to be sure.

“Am I wrong, Abadeer?” Laren almost whispered to the Togruta in front of him.

Abadeer seemed stunned for a moment, confused as to why he was suddenly talking to him. He quickly shook it off, responding, “If you could feel the Force, perhaps you could—”

From the far right end of the assembled group, an ebony-skinned Zabrak lit his crimson saber and leapt at the bounty hunter. Laren’s prediction had come true, and for a moment it seemed as if the Pantoran had been made, his expression becoming muted, and his eyes squinting with immense concentration. But in that same instant, Laren rolled to the side, and as the Zabrak’s lightsaber came crashing down with a loud hiss on the plated floor, Laren took the dagger from his boot and, in a smooth upward motion, found himself behind the taller Zabrak with the dagger at his throat, and another hand on his mouth. From the stunned looks he was receiving, they had no idea how close he had just come to death. Bloody fool.

“Yield, Sith,” Laren hissed in the Zabrak’s ear. He knew the man as Lo-Kain Vamielaga, a powerful man with a long streak of arrogance. Laren had studied the files of all those under his command, most of all the Sith. The Zabrak worked the lightsaber and deactivated the red blade. Laren let the dagger slowly slide from the man’s throat and took a few steps back to where he had been standing previous.

“I do not need your respect, nor do I need your constant obedience. What I demand is what the Dread Lord commands: unity.” He let the word sink in for a moment, looking among them, slowly letting his eyes rest on each and every one of them. He had to know that now, more than ever, he spoke the truth, as rare as it was. They had to know.

“I am not your direct commander, that task falls to Mistress Rhode,” he paused, catching a glimpse of Eiko’s mask, a knowing glance passed his way, “Lord Sunstrider, Mistress Roh and the Dread Lord himself.” The words Dread Lord were still foreign in his mouth, still used to referring to Ramar by his last name, as he would any client paying for his services. “But mark my words, if I bloody well need something done, it will be done.” One final look, and Laren turned away, his escorts flanking him step-for-step.


Main Hangar Entrance
NSD Preeminence

Piercing emerald green eyes cradled by fiery red hair watched the Pantoran as he made his way toward the entrance. The new Quaestor of House Karness Muur, Taranae Rhode, stood a head or so shorter than the bounty hunter, walking with the gruff stance of a soldier, her own stance much more relaxed, feet spread close together. As Laren stopped in the door, he couldn’t decide whether she seemed as if she was ready to dance, or if she was a lone wolf ready to pounce upon her prey. Her short figure screamed of bottled aggression and danger, and it made Laren resist the urge to take a step back. Unlike those he had just addressed, he knew she was a woman brimming with power. She was the fight he would run from. One of the few.

“Good speech, Laren,” she spoke softly, her eyes baring into his own. Sweat beaded on his brow, her own gaze unnerving him slightly. “I’m surprised you weren’t teaching them drill!”

Her smile was genuine, though it still could not hide the subdued ambition in her eyes. Laren knew the comment had been meant as a joke, but he was still on guard. This was no Eiko, who had made their relationship of superior and subordinate perfectly clear from the start. Taranae was a different beast, albeit slightly more approachable, but that made her twice as dangerous.

“Before I make you quiver in your boots some more, we have much to discuss. Come.”

Laren quickly dismissed the Ravagers as his escort and followed the Quaestor, stepping no more or less than two paces behind her. It didn’t take them long until they were seated in a small office usually reserved for senior pilots. It was a long room, and they sat at the front desk. Behind Taranae was a large screen, black and blank from lack of use, and reflecting the back of Taranae’s head almost as clearly as a mirror would. Laren took a chair from a nearby table and brought it to the other side of the desk, and he sat facing the Quaestor. She was rather pretty, and Laren might have considered staring for a longer period of time if not for the fact she could kill him without her hands. That, or toy with him. Some Sith preferred that slow method of inevitable death. He openly shivered at the thought, though the temperature of the room was rather warm.

“Unless you pull that blaster on me, I have no intention of beheading you,” Taranae began with a slight grin. Laren shifted in his seat uncomfortably, but said nothing, focusing instead on keeping eye contact with her. “You may not have the Force as your ally, but if the Dread Lord trusts you, so do I. Let’s discuss the intelligence you have on Aliso.”

Just like that, they were at it. Perhaps not all the Sith were as insane as the others. Distantly, Laren thought he felt the slight twinge of a headache, a residual effect of his lack of good sleep from the nightmares. They weren’t all one hundred percent evil, but they still ate away at his sleep. Damn Sith.


After being gone for so long, the Transcendent was a welcoming sight. Florrum had made time seem to pass so quickly, and only as Doku headed to his quarters did he feel like things were going to change for the better. He was used to traveling, but happy to be back at rest.

“What a trip, Nero!” The doors opened at Doku’s presence, his Nexu waking from his daily cat nap. “So glad to be back.” He fell tiredly onto his bed, slamming his face into the pillows. Getting up from the floor, Nero laid next to him, pushing his owner a little, as he made himself comfortable.

“I see you’ve returned.” The sound of a female’s voice rang throughout the room. His master, Va’nia, was standing in the doorway. “I had forgotten how slow you are.”

“Quiet as usual, I see. And not a moment’s rest to remind me.” Doku sat up. “I had procured something of interest to me, and it made me take longer than the others .” He shifted his weight forward, anticipating the next snarky comment that was going to come his way. “What brings you here without even a word of notice?”

“I thought it fitting that I deliver this message. You’re needed at the Consul’s office, immediately, once you’ve changed into something less dirt-filled and tattered.” Va’nia handed him a datapad with instructions. “After eleven years, the time has finally come for you to join our ranks.”

Doku thought she was kidding, but clear as day, the datapad had the temporary passcode to the office. “Never thought I’d see the day come.” Doku chuckled as he went to grabbed a new set of robes he had laid aside. “I’ll make haste, soon as I’m changed. Maybe I’ll finally have an upper hand on you.”

“Not a chance,” his master laughed, turning to leave. “But when you’re ready, come at me.”

KSD Transcendent
Consul’s Office
Moments later

No sound could be heard beside the clinking of Teylas’ boots, pacing along the floor, as he looked upon the four men in his office with cold calculation. Selika observed the room, while Dracaryis waited for the Dread Lord to finish his inspection. Tensions were high, but Doku knew why he was here, and it was all white noise to him at this point. All he wanted to hear was that his Knightship was over, and that the climb to further power was ahead of them. Moments later, Teylas went to take his seat near the back of the room, nodding to Drac.

“Abadeer and Kul’tak step forward” The silence was broken with a resouncing boom from Drac’s voice. Both Journeymen stepped forward and take a knee in-front of the Overseer, ready to hear what they were summoned for. One by one, each man was falled forward, and presented with new ranks in service to the Dread Lord. Doku felt good leaving the chamber, finally bestowed with the next step of his training. His only thought now was to pick his new weapon from the armory.

KSD Transcendent
Clan Armory
Several Hours Later

Time of day was irrelevant in space, but the quietness of the star destroyer made it evident that most were in bed. This was the perfect time for Doku to determine his new weapon. Leaving his room, Doku quickly made his way to the armory, pondering what type of saber he would use. His curved saber had served him well for all these years, yet something felt missing. Was it the excitement for a change or the need to make himself stronger that made him pull away? No matter the obstacles his mind created, he knew that moving forward was all for the better. Weaving down hallways, the journey to the armory wasn’t too much of a trek from his room. The armory at night almost looked like a museum of sorts, with all the weapons and ordnance lined up ready for use.

Weapons were neatly placed on racks, side by side. Massive torpedoes lay on repulsorlift pallets, ready at a moment’s notice for transport. Plagueis’ destructive might and military precision was clearly shown in this part of the station. And as the grandeur of the armory was apparent, Doku’s focus was on the back of the room. Making his way to the back, he proceeded into one of the armory’s side rooms. This particular room held blueprints and materials needed to create one’s personal lightsaber. Shifting through the various tomes, he came across the one that he knew was perfect for him.

Several hours into the night, Doku was hard at work on his new weapons, and it was only after trying many different combinations that he finally created his new sabers: two straight-hilts made from black steel, with red bands near the top. Picking up the sabers, he flipped them on, and their crimson blades ignited with a soft hum that made Doku feel at home. Swinging them back and forth, the formality of his training all those long years had at last paid off. Both sabers hissed as they were deactivated and placed on their clips.

These will do nicely, now will be the time that the next chapter of my journey begins. Making his way back to his quarters, Doku awaited the next call to action.


**NSD Preeminence **
Main Hangar

Zuser sat on the tail of the Chaser, goggles on his forehead and hydrospanner in one hand as he watched Laren give his speech. He also happened to see the Zabrak attempt to gut Laren, before he walked away with Rhode. It would be odd having a non-Force sensitive in a position of power for a change. He shrugged his shoulders and turned back to the open panel he’d been working in on the nose of the Chaser, namely the panel where the target scanner was housed.

His Mandalorian helmet sat on a nearby cart, accompanied with various tools and parts. Thankfully, he hadn’t encountered his new Mandalorian ‘friend’ Kalon, so there was that to be grateful for. He pulled the goggles down on his face to cover his eyes as he resumed working on his ship.

As he worked, his mind wandered to the battle on Florrum. He’d mainly stuck by his Master, Tra’an Reith, and acted as an errand boy for him, which was fine.

Not really, he thought. I hate it when he doesn’t let me out of his sight for fear I’ll destroy yet another vehicle by trying to pilot it, or get myself captured. I’m a Knight after all! A Knight! Zuser wiped the sweat off his forehead as he continued to work on removing the damaged static discharge vent from the Chaser, having been shot at when she arrived over Florrum and made to drop off some supplies while Zuser was grounded.

He hefted the, now removed, damaged vent out of the Chaser and dropped it on the durasteel floor of the hangar. He sighed, irritated at the damage his ship had suffered while he was on the planet, and at the fact he was, as usual, kept on a tight leash during the conflict. The poor pilot who had been flying the Chaser at the time got a massive chewing out from Zuser.

The Knight stood up on the nose of his ship and climbed down the ladder that was parked there. He walked over to the table and began preparing the new vent.

After finishing the preparations, he shouldered the vent, carrying it up the ladder. Crouching down in front of the open panel to install it, pulling the tools from the holster as he needed them.


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