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[CNS] Ashes Fall - Runon



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###Team Breakdown

Team Alpha - Sang (Catacombs)
Tasha’Vel Versea
Macron Sadow
Shirai Dupar
Allistaire Von Drake
Maelous Ascarend
Scarlet Agna

Team Bravo - Atra (Shadowlands)
Bentre Stahoes
Sildrin Sadow
Shi Long
Jeric Cyrin

The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System

Atra’s smirk disappeared almost the instant Sanguinius’ back was turned. For all the emotions he had abandoned, sarcasm was the easiest to hold onto and build into a facade. His face became ice once more, his lips pressed into a thin line as his mismatched gaze moved between the volunteers for the Entar’s ‘Alpha’ team. Macron was a surprise, albeit a welcome one. Under the the jungle’s canopy, their mutual dislike might have blossomed into something a little more… unpleasant.

Still, the Sith would do what was best for the Clan, as he always had.

A flash of blue caught his eyes as Tasha’Vel maintained a brisk pace that would put even the most seasoned of soldiers through their paces. Ventus felt the vaguest sense of malice seething off the Twi’lek as she passed, and all of it seemed clawing towards Sang’s back. He paid it no mind, better it remained squarely aimed on anything but him.

Atra didn’t bother waiting to see who else would investigate the catacombs, it wasn’t worth his attention. Instead, he pivoted in place and focused on the expanse of foliage that filled his gaze. He reached out with his senses, applying pressure outward with ever greater intensity until he broke free of his physical shell. Ethereal wisps of energy worked their way outwards like snakes, searching for something… anything!

Aside from so many kriffing insects his head was going to spin, the Quaestor of Shar Dakhan could feel nothing. “I don’t like this,” he muttered just beneath his breath.

Is there anything you like?” The question’s silken words slid unbidden into the Umbaran’s thoughts, resulting in a low growl from him.

His sense of awareness snapped inward once more, his concentration no longer enough to maintain the effort. His thoughts followed the trail to its source, his head turning at a harsh angle back over his shoulder. Ventus’ gaze settled on one of the shuttles furthest from him, spotting Xia seated just within the dark opening. Shi Long stood just outside the opening, leaning against the shuttle with a casual indifference. Again, Atra growled—though he wasn’t consciously aware of that fact.


The cry from just beyond their landing site caught the attention of the gathered Sadowans, punctuated by a sudden burst of concentrated blaster fire. The Warhost was nothing if not well trained, and the surprise of the unknown was one that could only be short lived. The men and women who had accompanied them on this excursion knew full well the threat they were walking into, even if they didn’t know exactly what that threat was.

A sequence of small explosions burst through the foliage, carrying with them an array of shrapnel and dirt. The trio of troopers that had brought their weapons to bear came rushing into view once more, their rifles still held at the ready. Their captain was already barking orders, demanding a report on what exactly they had just unleashed their fury upon. It didn’t matter to Atra though, his eyes had become entrapped by something unmistakably foreign to their environment, and all but glowing within the spectrum of his Umbaran eyes. He knelt down, grasping onto the metal limb.

Despite the newly added charring, the Quaestor could make out what appeared to be multiple joints that ended in an almost serrated point. He brought the tip up to his face, his nostrils flaring as he took in the scent. Then his tongue flicked out, playing over the surface for only a heartbeat before he grimaced. The taste of dried blood was rarely a welcome one, even for him. As he turned back towards the members of ‘Bravo’ team, Atra found himself cut off before he could say what he had in mind.

Unexpected momentum usually had that affect, after all.

Something solid clamped down on his shin and pulled before he had a chance to react, feeling the Force crawl up his spine in the same instant. He afforded himself a curse as his jaw slammed into the dirt, feeling his skull rattle with the sudden force of impact. The Quaestor was pulled into the brush, forcing his body to spin about so that he could at least see what had seized him.

It was a good thing he did, as a sudden flash of movement caused him to raise his left arm defensively. He felt the kinetic energy reverberate throughout his body as the creature drove vicious fangs into the meat of his arm, causing his prosthetic to spark around the wound in protest. Taking the opportunity, he pulled his saber into his hand with a subtle tug of the Force, igniting the blade and swinging savagely through the core of whatever it was that had sought to claim his life.

Bentre was the first to break through the brush, having been the closest, followed by Captain Killion—obviously no longer interested in his own troops. Atra shoved the heavy creature off, its core still glowing orange from the heat of his blade’s passing.

Wait, glowing?

Atra inspected the punctures on his arm, eyeing the green fluid that seemed to be seeping out from them. Meanwhile, Bentre knelt down to examine the corpse. “Are you kidding me?” the Knight nearly shouted, drawing the Quaestor’s attention.

“What’s up?” Ventus inquired with an even tone.

“You’ve found yourself quite the interesting droid here,” Stahoes remarked before looking up at the Quaestor with a grin, “can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The Umbaran kicked one of the droid’s legs with his boot, causing it to roll over in a bundle of limbs. “Looks like a spider,” he muttered.

“We’ll need to classify it, for ease of communication,” Captain Killion piped in from behind. “Might I suggest Arachne as a suitable codename?”

“Awesome,” Bentre muttered as he continued to prod the artificial, human-sized (aside from the whole eight-legged freak thing it had going on) droid.

Atra’s eyes narrowed nearly imperceptibly as he looked down at Stahoes. “You know, you could try being a little less excited about this,” the Quaestor’s tone turned to ice, “what with it trying to kill me and all.”

Bentre winced noticeably, turning his gaze up towards Atra before responding. “At least we have an idea of what we’re up against now,” he said.

“Do we?” Atra retorted with a raised eyebrow, wiping blood from the gash on his cheek where the Arachne-type droid’s legs had managed to cut him. He turned without another word, heading back towards the other members of the team.


The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System

Macron stood quietly, arms folded as he watched Saguinius give orders to the Warhost members detailed to aid in the investigation of the catacombs after Atra departed. Tasha’Vel walked up to him, eyes scanning the ragged holes below where pieces of the the Star Destroyer had crashed. “What do you make of all this?” she asked quietly.

“It’s hard to say,” commented the Alchemist. “I know this much, however. In my years in this System, any tunnels like this found on a planet that Lord Orian was active on are never good. It could be his doing, or something even older like the Kwa ruins we found on Aeotheran. Or younger- Sepros is a strange place. I like tunnels though, and catacombs as you know. Heh heh.”

Tasha nodded. She did her best not to glare in the direction of the other team as they moved into the jungle. Her enmity seethed at a glimpse of Darkblade in the distance.

“I can feel your anger.” Macron said with a giggle. “It’s quite justified and makes you powerful. You’ll have your day young Sith, never fear. Train hard and grow in power and you will revenge yourself upon his Anzati flesh. It is the Sith way.”

Sanguinius approached the two of them, having overheard parts of the the conversation. “Revenge only leads to destruction,” the Jedi quipped. “I have to admit, I’m a little surprised to see you hanging out with the madman here. He’s bad news I hear.”

“I figured you’d say that,” remarked Tasha. “Just keep me away from Darkblade.”

“Thanks for the compliment sir. We have an understanding,” Macron chuckled. “Neither of us cares for bullies. Sith I may be, but I have honor and do not prey on those weaker than I. Unless it helps the Clan, that is.”

Sanguinius thought for a moment. “You’re a strange one. I’ve seen you do awful things, but then again, I have seen the good in you. There’s hope for you yet. Either way I’m glad to have you on this mission. There’s no telling what’s down there.” His thumb jerked towards the yawning crevasses.

The Adept smiled. “Save your coercions for those upon whom they might work, Jedi. I do what I do for this Clan. I will follow your leadership of course.”

Another shuttle had landed and was debarking more Dark Jedi. Maelous, Shirai, Allistaire, and Armad all gathered around. Macron nodded at his former Apprentice Armad and Maelous.

“Quite the lovely group of nice people we have here,” stated Sanguinius wryly. “In any case, here’s the plan…”


The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System

The air simmered with the unmistakable aura of power associated with having too many Force users in one place. Although she was newly inducted into the Brotherhood, Allistaire Von Drake nonetheless was intimately knowledgeable about her comrades, as she had to be. As the apprentice of Methyas L’eonheart, a known Gray Jedi in the dark side ranks of Clan Naga Sadow, she was well aware of the dangers involved and prided herself on staying one step ahead.

Her best efforts to find information on the individuals she would be working with had not yielded as much as she had hoped; her Master had not been obliging enough to provide her with a starting point, but what she had discovered was satisfying…for now. By the time this investigation into the catacombs ended, more than one mission would be completed.

Allistaire glanced around to see two humans, both males, speaking a little ways away from their fellows, just ripe for eavesdropping. It wasn’t in the young Mirialan to care about the morality of what she was about to do; she didn’t quite strive for balance so much as she pursued knowledge, and this was another means of gathering information. Allistaire was grateful in that moment for her short stature and her silent nature as she drifted, unassumingly, towards the pair.

"…I will follow your leadership of course,” she overheard one of the men saying. It took every ounce of control not to scream when, upon closer inspection, she saw one of his eyes had a sickeningly yellow pupil.

The other man, a wry grin on his face and a blaster at his side (an unusual weapon for a Jedi, she noted) she recognized as Sanguinius Entar. Although she did not believe in the Force having “sides”, she did admit that the aura surrounding him was stifling for different reasons than that of her other Clan mates.

“Quite the lovely group of nice people we have here,” Sanguinius commented.

Allistaire had to agree. Knight Tasha’Vel Versea, a Twi’lek with distracting patterns decorating her lekku, had glared daggers at an Anzat named Darkblade; Battlemaster Maelous Ascarend, with Sith-stained eyes and scarring down the left side of his face, had a frightening Force presence; Battlemaster Shirai Dupar had luked without saying a word; and Armad, a Krath Priest, had leered at them all with eyes sunken into his gaunt face.

“In any case,” Sanguinius said, breaking her from her thoughts, “here’s the plan.”

As the Jedi outlined the details, Allistaire found herself questioning his words. She herself didn’t have a better plan, and she had to admit that it was good, as plans went, but couldn’t keep the skeptical voice in the back of her head quiet.

Is this plan going to work?


The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System

“We don’t know what’s going on here, all we do know is around 100 people have gone missing when responding to a crash.” Sang walked from one point to another, a few quick steps that saw him turn around and walk back to where he came from. “Atra is leading a team into the forest, following their trail to the ship. However, the shuttles and the troops assigned to protecting them have gone missing too. Our Consul gave me information that piqued my interest. I believe the catacombs discovered here when you were betrayed several years ago hold the key.”

He continued, “Locke has sent us ahead, to investigate. But as you all know, our ‘beloved’ Consul values his Warhost. A point of view that I wholeheartedly agree with. He will arrive soon and when he does, I want to have answers for him.”

A chirp came from the Entar’s comlink, alerting him that someone had information for him. He turned from the Sadowans and answered it. “Blood, we found something.”


“Some kind of spider like droid. Would’ve killed me if not for my arm.” Atra voiced his concerns.

“Are you alright?”

“Fine, though our good Captain Killion came up with a name for them.”

“Oh? Go on.” inquired Sang


“Sounds delightful.” Sanguinius’ sarcastic comment was expected by Atra.

“Aren’t I always?” came the glib reply, “Be careful, Blood. Wouldn’t want to have to explain to Little Boy Blue why his student is no more.”

The Entar rolled his eyes in derision at the smart remark and terminated the link to his fellow Quaestor. This new information was worrying, but he could plan for it, he would ensure that they would be successful.

The Vanguard waved his arm, encompassing all of the Sadowans and Warhost troopers standing before him. “If you were wondering what all that noise was moments ago, Team Bravo were attacked by several droids that appeared to look like spiders. One of them almost slaughtered Atra,” he paused for effect, ensuring he held their full attention. “That aside, we will investigate the tunnels and we will expect contact at any moment.”

“Any questions?”


The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System

Sildrin inhaled the damp smell of the Shadowlands, a mixture of rotten wood and fresh leaves - decay and life. Her long red hair laid over her shoulder, neatly coiffed into a thick braid that nearly reached her knees. The blind Adept had her weapons drawn - her purple saber in her left hand and an Amethyst Kukri in her right offhand.
That Arachne droid was something totally unexpected. Yet she was still a bit stunned by the fact that she had been able to pick it up by her Force senses. There was something to these droids that went beyond normal machinery.

Not only this Arachne droid and its twisted Force imprint made her nervous, but also the fact that Xue Long, known as Atra Ventus, was leading a team with Shi Long being part of it. Those two were two different sides of a coin - bound to eternally be what the other wished to eliminate. As the Matriarch of the Long she wished not for this, but it was the nature of these two Dragons to follow their dogmas. But not here, not now. This was not the right time. Even if it meant for her to step in between.

Her red and green eyes stared blindly into nothingness, yet she kept her senses on her Dragon Brothers. She sensed the tension all around in the team. Sweaty palms tightly on the grips of the sabers of the team; the tingling of the Force was nearly too much for Sildrin to bear.

Atra Ventus approached them, the cut on his cheek still seeping blood - and his cybernetic arm was badly punctured, but yet functional.

You forgot your anti-spider spray.

Her telepathic voice was filled with a grim sense of humour. Atra’s nostrils flared up and a small snarl escaped his lips. His patience and control had surely been diminished the last few days, though how long it would last was the bigger question.

Pounding sounds, rustling leaves and screams made them twirl around, seeking for the origin.

“There are two more!” A scream topped the noises.

With the last of the words screamed another Arachne droid broke through the brushes, pulling branches and torn twigs with it.

The corners of Shi Long’s mouth upturned, his mane flowing behind him as he jerked his hilt from its resting place. His sinews strained as he began his work. His dance of the blade was embodiment of Death and Strife.

Atra’s eyes sought Sildrin - as his golden speckled eyes found her, he saw the faint smile on her lips. And he realised she must have picked up his concern for her safety. Curse that woman, he thought. Is she able to snipe thoughts and emotions of others from thin air? He wondered.

Sildrin’s eyes stared blankly at Atra’s and within the blink of an eye she vanished from his sight as she made use of her Force Cloak power. Atra knew immediately she was still around - just cloaked from sight - even from mechanical eyes. A huge advantage of the Force Cloak she was about to use wisely.

Sildrin fixed the closest droid, troopers were swept aside. And one trooper was unlucky to get impaled on one of the Arachne’s hooked legs. With a sickening sound the Arachne-droid pulled out the leg, causing the trooper to splatter blood onto the ground from his mouth. He was dead before he touched the ground.

She ran towards the droid, still cloaked. A rustle of leaves next to Atra was the only indication of her presence. Just short of the droid she decloaked, jumping up into the air and landing with a somersault onto the back of the droid. She slammed down her saber as also her Kukri into the hull of the spider-like droid beneath her.

Sparks of electricity sprang into life from the damaged hull. Using the Kukri to secure her position on top of the droid, she continued to assault the metal beneath her with the saber. Sweat beads appeared on her forehead as she sliced through cables.

Maybe… this was not a good idea. It came to her mind. The droid started to buckle beneath her, its legs not capable to reach out for its vulnerable back. She started to lose hold, slipping to the side of the droid. Only her grip on the Kukri - buried deep into the hull - kept her on this thing. Cables emitting sparks twitched around her. The droid must have realised it’s moment of demise was about to come and started heading for the next victim to take along into doom. As realisation dawned in the chosen Trooper he immediately began to scream and run away from horror .

Sildrin shouted, slashing violently with her saber in her free hand at the droid.

“Kill this damn thing! Kill it! It refuses to die!”

Atra growled beneath his breath, his silver blade tightly in his hand as he ran to cross the path of the Arachne. A sudden scream of pain from the red-haired Adept on top of the droid made him wince.

He leaped forward, slithering the last meters right between the legs of the Arachne-droid and with a swinging movement he sliced three of the legs. He just made it to the other side as the droid collapsed onto one side, twitching and flailing and to finally lay still.

“Sildrin?”, Atra hissed. He struggled to his feet and saw with relief how the Adept stood, pulling her Kukri from the droid’s hull.

“I am… fine.” She said, wiping her forehead, keeping her saber still ignited.

Atra’s eyes looked her up and down for any wounds, remembering her screams of pain, but he found none. “What happened? You screamed.”

For a moment a hint of red tinged her cheeks. The Matriarch’s hand sneaked behind her and she muttered:

“I got zapped by the cables at a sensitive spot.” She carefully rubbed her behind.


The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System

Tasha’Vel looked about the current group. At the mention of arachnid type creatures and Atra having difficulty with them, some of the Warhost soldiers seemed quite a bit uneasy and even fearful. “Fear, something that can make others want to do your bidding. Something a lot of Sith in the past ruled by.” Just then, Darkblade had been mentioned and the Twi’lek stiffened slightly. That name still had a foul taste in her mouth. He would get vengeance served to him soon enough, but now was not the time to dwell on him. There was a mission and she had to focus her mind to the task ahead. Suddenly, she felt what seemed like someone staring at her. She turned her head and spotted the newly recruited Allistaire. “She must wonder about her comrades and if we can hold it together.”

Tasha gave a wry smile towards Allistaire and waved in a friendly manner towards green-skinned Mirialan. “Not to worry about a few creepy crawlies, I’ll squish them before they ever get to you.”

She then turned to face Macron who was close by Sang. “Hey Macron want me to catch one for you? I’m sure you would have a lot of fun experimenting on one of those.”

Her Echani master grinned gleefully at the statement as he checked his bag of sith potions and other tools. “You might want to watch your jokes Tasha,because I could always say yes and have you catch one for me.”

She laughed a bit as she then checked her own gear. “Always be prepared to fight. Something my grandfather always told me.”

Her Echani vibroblade was in its sheath and clipped to her belt on the right side.On the opposite side was her lightsaber. Deftly, she took the blade in her hands and waved the lightsaber around a bit. It had a nice light, yet balanced feel to it. “This will do nicely.”

Grinning, Tasha then walked up to Sang. “I have no questions Sang, just point me in the direction you want me to go and I will fight my way through.”


Warhost Command Center
ACC Absolution
Sepros, Low Orbit

Locke looked at the tactical grid laid out before him. The blue hologram showed a topographical map of the area, including the Shadowlands and the massive crater that marked where the Plaguein star destroyer had once crashed. Small, green squares indicated the general area of Warhost troops, while triangles of the same color showed groups of Jedi, one in the Shadowlands and one at the entrance to the catacombs. A square with a triangle on one side indicated a mixed group, showing Bravo group in the Shadowlands. There, a Warhost Lieutenant had just made a report of what they were facing.

At first, this mission had seemed like little more than a topic of interest. It had been an excuse to mobilize elements of the Warhost for something besides training drills. It had given their commanders an opportunity to handle a situation with actual unknowns. No one had suspected it would become very serious. Now it seemed to be going that way. Enemies had been reported that matched no known droid or being in the galaxy. That was a great unknown.

The tactical grid was surrounded by other beings. Admiral Araic Simonetti was there, representing the fleet. Byron Cargas was present, as the main General of the Warhost’s ground forces. Clan members were present, including Marcus Kiriyu and Malik Sadow. The latter was there to lend his own tactical expertise to the cause, as well as his knowledge of the workings of Naga Sadow. The former was present because Locke needed a way to keep him busy, and because this ship had become the Rollmaster’s base of operations of late.

The Consul was not sure he trusted either of them. Malik was an old ally, and his reasoning for what he had done made sense. Nevertheless, it had shown he was unpredictable, and forced Locke to re-analyze the Neti. Marcus, in contrast, had gone totally off the deep end. On the other hand, he had taken advantage of a conflict most Knights would stay away from. He showed much ambition and cunning.

Now, if only I could get him to use that for the clan’s benefit, Locke thought.

“How’re we looking?” Locke said, speaking to no one in particular. Besides the Jedi and Warhost leaders, half a dozen advisors had places around the grid, each there due to their knowledge in some area or the other.

General Cargas spoke first. Locke had given him provisional command of the Warhost forces for this operation, since it dealt primarily with ground forces. That meant that he, Simonetti, and their advisors could act without Locke’s permission. They would still keep him informed whenever possible, however.

“A flight of four K-222 interceptors have been launched from our Sepros airbase and are circling the area. In addition, the Hyperion has been called in and is hovering over the Shadowlands as additional support. It’s turbolasers are on-call, should the ground forces require direct support. The interceptors are mostly there for air cover, but will serve as needed. Finally, we have troops supporting Team Bravo. Currently, Alpha is composed only of Foxtrots.”

He paused, waiting to see if there were any questions. Only Simonetti spoke. “What of the Absolution?”

“Currently, this ship will stay out of range, but just close enough to launch our gunships to deploy additional troops and material if necessary.” Cargas paused, as if waiting for something. When Simonetti nodded, Cargas did as well.

It seemed to Locke that the two worked rather well together. That was good. This mission would be a good test of of that. Locke thought back to what one of his superiors in the Galactic Alliance had once told him.

A successful fighting force understands each of its’ parts and works like a well-oiled droid servo.

When they were done, Locke broke in. “If you agree, I will take a contingent of clone troopers to join Team Alpha. Even if these ruins have been buried, we do not know what is in them. I’ve read enough old tomes to know that ancient dark side sites can still be deadly after thousands of years. If any of the defenses are animated, or if any bizarre creatures have lain dormant, it is best to have support - even for Foxtrots.”

Cargas and Simonetti nodded at that, so Locke continued.

“As for the Sadowans themselves, for this mission, our Quaestors are taking the lead. I will be there merely as support.”

And to keep an eye on things, Locke thought. The conflict at Dentavii had left a delicate situation and the wounds were still healing. He looked at Malik and Marcus.

“Malik, I need you to stay topside and assist Bravo if you can. Cethgus will also watch over the operation up here. Marcus, you will head to the catacombs with me. Any questions?”

Not surprisingly, there were none. Locke thought that Marcus probably still wondered what his Consul thought of him, while Malik was a man of few words to begin with.

“Good, let’s go.” After a short series of salutes, Locke turned and left the Command Center, Marcus at his side. He certainly did not trust the Rollmaster, and that was one reason that Locke wanted him nearby.

As they headed down a corridor toward one of the Absolution’s hangars, an officer caught up and hastily saluted.

“Sir, message from Alpha Team. Sending to your personal comlink.”

“Acknowledged,” Locke said. He fished the mini holo-projector out of a pocket and turned it on, a short hologram of Sanguinius appearing.

“Consul, we are at the catacombs entrance. Will you be joining us?”

“Yes,” Locke said. “Go ahead and enter, but be careful. I will catch up with reinforcements.”

“Understood. Don’t worry, I’m not new to this sort of thing. We’re heading in now. If these ruins hold any useful information about the disturbance Bravo team is facing, we will discover it.”

As the signal cut out, Locke just grumbled under his breath. “Jedi.” He wasn’t sure of Sang’s goals, either.

Do I trust anyone? Locke pondered.

“Huh?” Marcus asked.

“Nothing,” Locke said. “Let’s get our equipment and head down there.”


Overlooking the crash site

Winter was coming.

A cold gale whipped across the vast crater which was all that remained of the Star Destroyer that had collided with the planet many years earlier. Motes of ash fell like snow, having been cast up by the small patrol craft that had crashed near the edge of the crater, and a small fire smouldered.

A lone figure stood on the edge of the shadowlands of the forest, looking down into the wound that had been torn in the planet’s surface, and exposed the catacombs that had lain undisturbed for millennia. The icy wind whipped through the Falleen’s long, greying topknot of hair.

A dust mote settled on the hand he had gripped around the ebony staff he leaned on for support.

Xanos’s body was not as lively as it once was. The injury Sildrin had caused him back during the climax of the Dark Crusade on Korriban the previous year had been aggravated by the recent events here in the Orian System on Dentavii. The Prophet had only recently returned to Sepros, and had not yet had the opportunity to explain his actions, but what had now occurred on Antei had proven why they had been necessary. The cries of the dying echoed in his head again and he staggered forwards, having to grip his staff tighter to keep himself from falling down, debilitated.

It had felt like a thousand voices all cried out in pain together and were suddenly silenced…

The Prophet closed his eyes and steadied himself, breathing deeply to calm his memories of the massacre that had taken place when the presently still unknown agents- although he had his suspicions- had systematically slaughtered the apprentices and acolytes training on Antei.

The Sith Code may have taught that pain was a source of power… but the Sith Code was wrong. Passion may have led to strength, yes, but only when in moderation, not when in such volumes and intensity that it deafened and debilitated all those attuned to the ebbs and flows of the Force, such as he was. All too belatedly, the Prophet understood now that this is the imbalance he had predicted in his visions in the months earlier, and which had led him back to the Orian System, to carry out the ritual he conducted on Dentavii. They had all wrongly accused him of seeking to repeat something akin to the Rite of Immortality the late Grand Master, Lord Ashen, conducted on Antei and repeated on Korriban, but that had never been the case. Like Xanos had said when he had appeared before the Sadow Conclave, he had sought only to protect them, to shield them, from the tide that he had seen washing across the Force, blackening stars and erasing histories…

In the end, his actions had proven successful- if only partially. The shattering of the crystal world of Ombus, which orbited the star Orian in between the planets of Sepros and Tarthos, had indeed shielded the Clan from Antei’s pain… at least it had shielded those who were not cursed with the degree of Force Sight that burdened Xanos. Had the ritual been completed fully, perhaps even he would not have needed endure the traumatic waves that had torn through the Force, but…

The tortured screams clamored inside his mind again, and once more he had to steady himself.

He collected his thoughts and gazed down at the open entranceways into the undercities. He had briefly explored them once, many years earlier, with Sildrin, but it had only been a small section. Not even his Master, Trevarus, had ever gone far into the labyrinthine mazes that predated even the Sith Lord Urias Orian himself. Their secrets… were unknown, and between the recent joint cataclysms on Dentavii and Antei, even Xanos’s farsight could not peer far into their depths.

Another dust more settled on the back of his palm.

He was still waiting to hear back from the Odanites. He had contacted the Jedi to… seek common ground, and an answer for what had transpired on Antei, but it was understandable that they may not have jumped to believe the words of one who had formerly been a Sith Lord of the Dark Council. Those days were long behind him, but his reputation as an outsider and a heretic did him no favours either when it came to seeking trust in a Clan whose entire culture was so fundamentally different to his own, but… there were so few in the Brotherhood who he currently felt certain he could trust to get to the bottom of what had taken place.

His eyes settled on the smouldering wreckage of the patrol craft again, and the small team of Sadowans who had made their way toward one of the passageways that led into the underbelly that hid even further beneath Sepros’s surface than even the gloomy shadowlands of the wild, almost Kashyyykian jungle. As if on cue reading his thoughts, a deep, feral growl howled from somewhere in the forests behind him. Unlike the Wookiees of Kashyyyk, the ones who called Sepros home were a backwards, primitive tribe of savages, whom space and technology had passed them by. The growl cried out again, sending a flock of birds startling out into the crater clearing. The Wookiee sounded in pain, and its growls turned to whelps, and then silence.

The Falleen looked down into the crater again, then back at the forest.

With his sight clouded, Xanos had no way of ordaining what was going on, but like with the Odanites, he needed to win back the Sadowans support, needed to show them that he was not the enemy, and make them understand why he had done what he had.

He closed his eyes to meditate as best he could. An answer would come to him…


“These are certainly exciting times,” the Corellian murmured to himself as he looked over the second of these now-dead things.

Well, dead is not quite quite the word is it. Would I call it inoperable? Or non-functional?

As Bentre knelt down he cast a sidelong glance at his Quaestor and Xia Long. He was in the presence of two fine and mighty warriors, but he couldn’t shake a feeling of unease. These creatures were obviously fierce, if only because they were so unusual.

Does this mean that I will become a weak chain in this group? The thought troubled him even more than before. Perhaps if I had been a little quicker I could have struck down the Arachne before it managed to chomp into Atra’s arm.

The Knight shook his head, and tried to focus on the task at hand. They were all in far too dangerous a place for Stahoes to allow his doubts to dull his focus. Even if he was the weakest member of the trio, he still had to make himself useful.

The thing lying before him was quite intriguing. Despite seeming artificial, it was quite nimble. Where did it come from, and why would somebody build something like this?

As the Shadow turned the metallic frame around in his hands, he was a little surprised at what he did not find. He scratched his head with a finger before he spoke aloud.

“Hey, if these things are something like droids, why can’t I find some kind of port?” Plunging a hand into his jacket, the Corellian fished out his trusty, worn datapad. “Normally I could plug into a droid through an interface and get some idea of what makes them tick. I would be able to run diagnostics, debug or alter software, shutdown systems, just those kinds of things.”

He glanced at Atra out of the corner of his eye. “I don’t think I have the tools to make a more direct connection to its innards. Unfortunately there isn’t a call to carry that kind of gear around with me very often.” Bentre’s words drew the barest of annoyed expressions from his Quaestor. The expression was brief, little more than the turn of a the mouth, but it had been there.

With a sigh, the Knight placed the creature back on the ground before slipping his datapad back into his time-weathered jacket. Dropping his hand to his belt, Bentre unclipped the lightsaber on his side. He raised the unlit weapon up, considering for a moment if he should activate it and try to cut open the Arachne up with a quick swipe.

A shiver ran down his back, and Stahoes spun around. He felt as though eyes were watching him. Something was moving out there, and he could just barely pick up the noise of its footsteps- if it could be called that. It was as though there were shadows skittering about in the trees surrounding. Normally, he would have just dismissed such sensations, attributing it to nerves and paranoia.

It is so quiet, but surely that is not just in my head. These aren’t another one of these damned hallucinations I have been suffering since Dentavii, are they?

Walking about ten feet away from Atra and Xia, he took a minute to take a deep breath. Bentre held his breath and tried to focus on listening very carefully. The sound seemed to cease as he inched forward, and for a brief moment, the Shadow dared to believe that between fear and adrenaline he had been hearing things. He took in a deep breath, enjoying the smell of growth and wildlife for just the briefest of moments, trying to clear his head.

Igniting his lightsaber to illuminate his surrounding in crimson light, the Knight looked around himself, glancing up at the trees for signs of anything mechanical or out of place. He barely caught the glint of light off of metal before one of the monsters descended upon him. A cable flew just past the Corellian, as he sidestepped out og its trajectory seemingly by pure chance. Whirling his weapon around in a tight arc, Bentre cut upward into one of the creatures as it descended. It fell to the ground with a crash, throwing up a small cloud of dirt as it did so.

“I got lucky that time, Atra. I think that we might have a problem in just a-” The Shadow broke off his words as another cable descended from the trees. Attempting to pull away out of reflex, he found the cable had entwined his flesh and blood arm. Wide-eyed, he looked up to see three creatures descending from the trees.

“Need a little help!” Bentre cried, his voice cracking as he struggled to free his arm from the cable.


MAAT Gunship interior
Final approach to Sepros

The journey had been remarkably quiet. Marcus had spent most of the time in quiet meditation, trying to organize his thoughts. He found that his recent status as a traitor to most of the Clan still distracted him. Even though he had now distanced himself from the teachings of the Sith, he could still hear his own mind whisper promises of power, if only he would take his weapon and strike upon the unsuspecting Consul sitting across from him. All could be his, if only he had the strength to stri-.

A shudder that reverberated throughout the gunship served to signal their arrival into atmosphere as well as shake Marcus from his reverie. He noticed his hand was upon his weapon, this bothered him. He had promised himself to abandon the path that lead to his wrecked body and pride, he would abide by it and rebuild what he had lost. That plan did not include giving in to his own insidious whispers. He looked up at the Consul, who apparently had been observing him intently.

“We’ll be arriving soon, what are you orders?”, Marcus inquired, more to break the silence than anything.

Locke eyed the scarred visage of his Rollmaster for a moment, clearly deciding what tone to take before replying, “We join up with Sang’s forces once we land, lend assistance to those that need it.”

Marcus nodded, trying to focus on the task at hand, but his own thoughts distracted him. Why had Locke not answered immediately? Was he weighing what to tell him? Of course he was, he betrayed the man. He had been forgiven it seemed. Despite the beating Cethgus Entar had given him, causing the loss of his first lightsaber which had forced him to build his second, the Consul had never sought to punish him.

Locke looked on as Marcus’ eyes drifted out of focus, his mind elsewhere. Wondering what the Knight was thinking, he stepped forward as the shuttle touched down in a small clearing in the verdant canopy.

“Come Marcus, focus your thoughts on the here and now,” Locke said as he carefully placed a hand on Marcus’ shoulder in an effort to engender trust, though the Consul was still weary of the former traitor.

As Marcus nodded in confirmation the compartment door opened, revealing a tall and lithe Iridonian whose tanned skin was marred by black marks, a trait which all Zabrak possessed. The Epicanthix stepped towards the unexpected guest, who quickly made a small bow to the Rollmaster.

“Aexod. It’s been a while, how goes the training?” Marcus asked the Journeyman, acknowledging the small token of respect. Secretly glad that not everyone would be judgmental of his actions on this trip, Marcus listened intently to the story of the young Sith he had picked up several months ago and brought to the Brotherhood.

“Locke, this is Aexod Burgoo. One of my new recruits, of apparent and prodigious skill. If he keeps this up, he’ll surpass both Bentre and Tasha,” Marcus joked.


The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System
Crash Site
Catacomb Entrance

“No questions,” remarked Macron as he eyed the gaping crevice. Xanos was near, he could sense his Sith Master and did not care to deal with him anytime soon. It was time to get moving. “I intend to get us some answers, though.” He keyed his comlink. “Alchemist to Squid.” There was a longish delay, more so than Macron expected.

“Lexiconus here,” came the crackling reply. “I’m in transit out of the system.”

“In transit?” quipped the Adept. “Do tell.”

“Yes, I’ve been transferred to Clan Scholae Palatinae. I’m taking an Aedile position. What’s up?”

“Ah yes. The path of power… like a good Sith. I hope to remain friends and allies.” Macron giggled. “Did you get to encounter the droids here on Sepros before you were whisked away? My own knowledge of droids is meagre other than old Sith models.”

“Briefly. I got a look at one of their claw appendages.” The static hissed and popped on the open line. “Looked to me to be a mech-deru job. Skillfully done.”

“That’s what I needed to know,” replied the Sith. “Stay in touch, and best of luck.” The Alchemist turned to Sanguinius and the others. “Lexiconus had more than a passing knowledge of droids as a tech-weaver. He claims they are mechu-deru constructs.”

The Jedi nodded, considering things carefully. “That’s bad news. It means our own tech-weavers won’t be able to interface with them. And with the Consul and his group due here at our location any minute now that’s doubly unfortunate. With the reports that they are tough enough to challenge an Equite, it’s rather a dangerous situation.” The others stood by and pondered their own paths. Maelous, Tasha, Allistaire, Armad and Shirai checked their gear and weapons.

“Then it falls to me to volunteer as the strongest of us here,” replied the Adept carefully. “I will go first and clear us a staging area. Strength is a responsibility, and it must be used to further one’s mission and Clan. I’m happy to put my life on the line again for this Clan. It is my duty.” The madman stepped to the edge of the precipice and giggled. “Yoo hoo, coming down for tea and a visit!”

“I’m not surprised,” smiled Sanguinius. “Spoken like a Jedi.”

“No, like a Sith,” Macron chuckled. “I’m going down there and giving absolute Hell to anything that I come across. Peace is a lie. The only peaceful enemy is one that is utterly and completely destroyed.” The Adept closed his helm and his voice echoed from the vocoder within. “Should be safe to drop in after a minute or two.”

“And if not?” Tasha asked.

“Then you’ll all be dead really soon, as it was something I couldn’t handle. In which case problem solved either way. Muah ha ha!” The madman threw a zip-line over the edge, clipped it to his belt, and flipped over the side down into the darkness below. The Sith plummeted out of sight into the blackness like a stone.

“Good grief,” muttered Allistaire. “Is he always like that?” The others smirked and chuckled.

“Pretty much,” replied Maelous. The voice in his head was uncharacteristically silent. “Don’t let it fool you. Like the tale of the Tatooinie scorpion- the desert wolf knew he was a scorpion when he carried him, after all.”

Shirai nodded in assent. “Quite the character. I’d say he’s on uncharacteristically good behavior really.”

“He’s been good to me as a martial arts teacher,” Tasha’vel offered quietly. “As good as a Sith can be anyhow.”

“He was… a good teacher to me, but hard and strict. A very different context I think. A Knighthood student is something else entirely.” Armad looked at his lightsaber hilt. “I survived, unlike some of his former students I hear. He apparently spaced a Zeltron Apprentice out an airlock 5 years ago after he found out she had betrayed the Clan.”

“People often change for the better. You see, there’s always…” Sanguinius’ Jedi saying was interrupted by flashes of blue light from below and shouts of rage. The thunderous crash of stone slamming into more stone with metal in between followed. He winced. The Jedi opened his comlink. “Consul Sonjie, we’ll meet you in the entryway.”

“Soup’s done!” came the amplified and modulated voice from down below. “It’s about a fifteen meter drop. Mind the rubble… but our welcoming host is much the worse for wear I’m afraid. Heh heh.” Macron knelt and placed a portable scanner from his belt on a piece of the droid that protruded from the rocks. The composition of it’s alloys began to flash across his HUD readout. The others began to drop down into the open chamber, Sanguinius leading.

“Interesting… interesting. A combination of antique and modern alloys. That’s rather odd.” Macron peered about the tunnel as the scanner finished up. “Looks to be from Lord Orian’s time by the carvings and geometry of the tunnel.”


Catacomb Entrance
Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

Ah, but is he loyal to you or to the clan? Locke wondered as he greeted Aexod.

"It’s good to see you, " the Consul said. “I’m sure you’ll do great here.”

He looked beyond the Zabrak, examining the entrance to the ruins at the same time. Behind, the surface they were on dropped steeply toward the center of the massive crater. Above the ruins’ entrance, it stretched toward the horizon.

The detonation of a star destroyer had not been kind to these ruins. If Locke recalled right, the ruins had still been buried, and only detected through careful scanning. Then it had required mining lasers and hundreds of hours to carefully remove the blasted soil covering the ruins, which revealed the sight before them now: a scattering of ancient column and wall sections, thrown about like a giant child’s toys. Beyond them was a small entry that led inside.

“I suppose the rest of that was blasted to hell by what made this crater?” Aexod said, looking at the entrance.

“Yeah,” Locke answered.

Marcus looked at the entrance and around it, as if examining something. “There’s only one way in or out? That’s not good, if it collapses we’ll be trapped.”

“Indeed, that’s what our friends here are for” Locke answered. The sound of gunship repulsorlifts rose in pitch as two more MAATs settled to a hover nearby, disgorging Sadowan troopers. Some offloaded boxes of equipment and supplies.

Locke shouldered his AXM-50 rifle for a moment to salute them. He had his typical weapon set: his S-5 blaster pistol, the three thermal detonators he carried, and his SH-9 slugthrower, as well as his lightsaber. Once, a short while ago, he had been comfortable with only the lightsaber and the Force. Now, he felt that he needed as many options as possible. The injuries he had sustained in his duel with the Jedi Herald had left him unable to stay in motion for long periods of time, as his old fighting style demanded. These weapons were one possible solution. He hoped they would effectively compensate for his weakness.

The group’s commander followed as the three Jedi made their way toward the ruin entrance. When they got there, they found Darkblade waiting just inside.

Locke spoke first. “Still watching out for me, eh?”

Darkblade shrugged. “Figured I should guard the entry, but now I’m guessing you want those guys to do it.” He pointed to the group of soldiers behind Locke and the others.

“Yep,” Locke said. He stepped past Darkblade, examining the hole below. He saw lights down there, likely given off by glowrods.

“Hey,” Locke said, his voice echoing, “we’re coming down!” There was movement and waving down below, although it was a fair drop.

He turned back to the soldiers. “We need to rappel down there, can you assist?”

After their leader gave orders, several troopers pulled tools and rope from their packs. They assisted the Jedi with them, and in minutes everyone was safely down at the bottom of the pit.

“Glad we could make it,” Locke said.

Aexod landed beside him. Locke heard the Zabrak mumble something along the lines of “Great, this looks like a fun bunch.” The Consul thought he detected a hint of sarcasm, but wasn’t sure.

“It’s about time,” Sang said.

Locke rolled his eyes and looked at the Quaestor. “Yeah, well, giant hole.” He gestured up with one arm and turned to the soldier’s leader who had come down with them.

“Sergeant, secure this entrance, and get some engineers down here. When we come back, I don’t want to have to climb up here. Build a ladder, or stairs, or a ramp, or something!”

“Yes sir,” the man answered. He immediately began shouting orders back up the shaft.

Locke nodded to Sanguinus. “Well, it’s your show. I’m just here for backup. Lead on.”

“Right,” Sang answered. “Armad, take point. Let’s give our Adept a rest.”

Macron barked a laugh, but did not object. Armad held up his glowrod and led them deeper into the ruins.

As they walked, Locke noticed that Darkblade stayed near the back of the group, as if guarding the rear. He thought it was nice of the Anzati to keep an eye there. The others arrayed themselves in a seemingly random group, although Locke couldn’t help himself from thinking of what alliances might be brewing or who was grouping with who.

Stop that, he told himself. We’re all on the same side.

Allistaire decided to break the relative monotonous sound of equipment and clothing shifting as they walked.

“Has anyone else wondered how those droid things got down here?” she said. “That was a big drop for us. Maybe that wasn’t the only way in.”

“It’s possible,” Sang said. “Good thinking.”

“Or why they’re here,” Marcus added.

They soon came to another room, this one large enough for the group to spread out some. With more than ten Jedi present, ranging from the fully dark to the light, the space seemed to relieve an uneasy tension. There were two corridors leading away from this one, besides the one they had come down.

Tasha, near the front of the group, swung her glowrod back and forth between the two. “Two paths, which do we take?”

Aexod crouched down and looked at the wall between them. "Looks like some ancient graffiti. “‘Ancient Sith was here’, maybe?”

“Anyone speak ancient Sith? Assuming that’s what this is,” Sang asked.

Macron stepped forward and dropped to one knee in front of the wall, still an imposing sight in his armor. “I have studied it. Hmm. This just looks like it says ‘promenade’ and ‘workshop’, or something like that. The writing is old.”

“There’s more over here,” Darkblade noted, gesturing to the wall near where they had entered the room.

Macron approached and began to study it, while Shirai looked between the two paths.

"One of these goes up, the other down. Could it be possible that the ‘promenade’ leads up, perhaps to the surface, and the ‘workshop’ down, into the bowels of this place?

“To the surface?” Allistaire said. “That would explain how they got in here.”

“Aha,” Macron said. “This is most interesting. It is difficult to decipher, but so far I have noted the word ‘alchemy’ multiple times. There are others here. I think this one means…‘power’, or ‘control.’ Then there’s one that may be ‘device’ or ‘weapon.’ I cannot be sure. The text here has been scuffed off somehow.”

“That almost makes it sound like it was on purpose,” Sang said.

“Aye, it could be, Jedi.” Macron laughed. “If I had a powerful weapon of control, I wouldn’t want others to find it!”

“That’s not good then,” Maelous said. “Maybe these droids are hunting for something.”

“Possibly,” Sang said, right on top of his Aedile. The animosity there was obvious. Turning to Locke, Sang continued.

"We need to find this other entrance, and make sure the droids don’t find what they’re looking for. Will you take a team on this ‘promenade’ route and find it, while I and the others continue down to the ‘workshop’ and beyond?

“I will,” Locke said, “and when I do, I’ll contact the Warhost and have it secured.”

“That settles it then,” Sang said. “Who will go with Locke, and who will go deeper into the ruins. I warn you, I will not allow anyone to gain personal power from whatever is down there without the clan’s consent.”

Macron barked a short laugh. “Of course. We cannot allow these tools to be used inappropriately.”

“It’s scary to see you two agree,” Locke said. He turned to the others. “Let’s figure this out, then.”


Catacomb Entrance
Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

Shirai fixed his face even noticed the Ancient Sith writings on the wall. There was always a reason to be suspicious about the intentions of other Sith when things like this approached them. That usually meant there was something of interest that led further into the catacombs.

He spared an eye to Macron who was one of the other Horseman like him. He was sure he would not seek a weapon that would put his house and clan on edge. But he would.

Armed with a bit of armor, the Force and his lightsaber he was going with the group to the workshop, to see what answers it really had. The Consul and old friend Locke had come as backup and would be going to the promenade. But Sang was adamant about nobody in the group using whatever was down there for personal uses. The Battlemaster felt this was ludicrous request when mostly all Sith seeked such power.

Shirai would play on this, there was always a plan even on a mission like this. “Well I’m ready go to this workshop. I’m sure we’ll find the answers we’re looking for there.”

“I’m not to sure. We may not like what we find,” Maelous said walking beside him.

“As long as we get whatever it is away from these droids. That’s the priority,” Sang replied.

“Let’s get this show on the road. Whoever’s going with Locke to the promenade, make your way now. The rest…to the workshop it is.”


Catacomb Entrance
Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

Turning back towards the group, Tasha raised her glow rod to look at the bunch.

“I am ready to go deeper into the catacombs and search the workshop. Anyone who wishes to advance further with me can come along. Though I feel once we get deeper, there will probably some of those spider things Atra spoke of earlier. So I ask that we all stick close and be aware of our surroundings."

Checking her belt and small pack, Tasha made sure her weapons and datapad were secure before glancing over to Macron, who was still admiring the walls. Most of the group was either standing or half leaning against the intricate walls of the catacombs.

As she glanced at the party, Allistaire seemed to be watching Sang and Locke from her place near Maelous. Meanwhile in front of Allistaire, Sang and Locke began to make plans for two groups.

Allistaire seemed a bit antsy just sitting still and spoke up. “It would be too boring just sitting here. I will go with Tasha.”

“Well I can’t have you two getting all the fun. So I will accompany you all to the workshop. Who knows, I may even find some neat tools to play with.” Macron chiimed in as he grinned towards Tasha.

“And since my Battle Team Sergeant is going, I probably should come along to add some support.” Piped Armad.

“Hey, don’t forget me I want in on some action too!” Aexod added not wanting to feel left out of the current conversations.

Sang sighed a bit before speaking. “Well, since we have a couple of our newer recruits going with the workshop group, it seems I should tag along. After all, I can’t have Macron corrupting their minds with some of his less than stellar methods of doing things.”

Macron laughed. “Oh come on Sang, where is your sense of fun?”

“Right alongside my common sense, Macron.”

I could come along and add more excitement.” Maelous grinned. “We could be quite the team together, right Sang?” Maelous answered while winking towards Sang. The Jedi shot a stern glare at the Sith.

“Really Maelous, could you even be able to behave for two minutes without starting some sort of riot?” Sang inquired as he shifted his left foot back a bit.

“Since when do I start anything my cute little jedi? But since it pains you so much to be around me, I will go ahead and work with Locke for the time being.” He then gave Sang his most mischievous smile. “I promise not to start anything, but you can be sure as the nine hells I will finish whatever gets started.”

“All right, since we have established partial teams so far, who’s next?” questioned Locke.

“Locke’s team sounds fun. I’ll come along and bring some extra entertainment. ” Marcus replied as he stood with his arms folded across his chest.

“Right, so who else do we have to decide?” Locke asked as he looked about the party.

“I believe that would be Darkblade,” Tasha quipped. “Dupar has already indicated that he intends to be with the workshop group. Now, once everyone has decided, I will be ready to go.”

“Darkblade is going to be in for a surprise soon enough, if he comes with our group.” She thought. “He’s lucky I don’t just punch his sniveling face right now.”

Tasha then leaned herself against the left side of the wall as she waited for Darkblade’s answer.


Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System


Something that he had been dabbling with for a couple of months now. Armad thought he had worked out how to achieve the best results when creating a Mechu-deru droid. He was hoping that he might chance upon one of these Arachne, alive if possible, freshly killed sounded like a better option.

Looking to his Master, who was taking one last look at the ancient Sith writings on the walls, Armad knew that Macron would be as interested in getting his hands on these mysterious droids as well, to see what they could make of the Alchemy used to create them. Turning to face down the tunnel leading to the Workshop, Armad knew that if he wanted to learn he would have to venture down this path.

Since he did not need a light source, due to his Umbaran eyesight, Armad grasped his lightsaber and disappeared into the darkness that led down further into the catacombs. Pushing his senses as far as he dared go without stretching too thin, the Techweaver hoped that with his experience working on and using Mechu-deru droids that it would give him an advantage in sensing them when they were close.

“Is anyone coming?” Armad quipped from the darkness. Slowing his pace just enough so that the group could catch up, and so that he wasn’t caught alone should one or more of those Arachne decide to attack. Now that he was in total darkness, the Umbaran was going to have to avoid turning around, so as to not blind himself from the rest of the team’s lights.

Armand could feel that the dark side permeated everything in these tunnels, that would make differentiating threats difficult. But if he was just able to concentrate and focus, yes, there up ahead roughly ten meters was something, something that was emanating malice that seemed like it was directed at himself, or the group.

Raising his hand to signal the group to stop, Armad quietly spoke into his comlink, “Ten meters ahead, unknown. Who wants the first crack at it?”


Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

As the group started moving through the dark tunnel, Aexod could feel the air become more and more musty with each step they took. He didn’t mind the conditions, as he was used to a lot worse while training to become a Shadow. However, he could see a few of his companions clearly unhappy that they chose to go with this group instead of going with the Consul to the promenade.

“Armad, slow down. Not all of us can see in the dark,” Sang whispered, his voice echoing through the tunnel. The Umbaran raised his hand, signaling the group to stop.

“Ten meters ahead, unknown. Who wants the first crack at it?” Armad’s voice came through the comlink as the group came to a halt.

“First come, first served! He’s all yours,” Sang replied.

“No thanks, I’ll gladly put it back together when you’re done with it though!”

“I’ll do it,” Aexod whispered, wanting to prove his potential to his superiors. “Should be a piece of cake.”

“This should be fun. Can’t stop you, so go ahead. Just don’t blame anyone else if you get killed.”

“Lights out please, I don’t want it to see me coming,” the Acolyte said, watching the surprised facial expressions around him as, one by one, they turned off their flashlights. Too bad they won’t see what I’m doing, he thought, letting the Force flow through him as he disappeared from sight.

He stepped forward, making his way toward the Krath Priest that was leading the way. The Warrior smiled, sensing another Force user in his vicinity.

“Watch yourself. Getting to it undetected isn’t as big a problem as dealing with it once you get there,”

“Just signal me when I’m in front of it and I’ll be fine”

Aexod moved forward, inching closer to the threat that was in their way. He stopped his breathing as he got closer, just to make sure not to give his position away. He felt his pulse rising as he prepared to ignite the armory lightsaber he held in his hand. Behind him, Armad coughed, and Aexod took this as the signal to strike.

He ignited his lightsaber and swung it in front of himself, hitting nothing but air. The rest of the group reactivated their flashlights, pointing them directly at the Acolyte standing there, dumbfounded at the sight of empty space in front of him.

“What the hell was that Armad?” the Zabrak yelled, turning back toward the group.

“A cough, what did it sound like? Not my fault it’s so dusty in here. Besides, I was going to tell you it was gone, but I just loved seein’ you all sneaky and concentrated.”

The Iridonian raised his lightsaber, furious at Armad for letting him make a fool of himself in front of the other Sadowans.

“Enough!” the Quaestor of house Marka Ragnos yelled, looking directly into Aexod’s determined eyes. “We’re not here to fight each other. Let’s keep moving, if that thing spotted us, I’m sure we’ll be seeing it again.”


Please refer to the Act II - Whispers in the Dark fiction for the current state of the story.


A full scale invasion has come to Sepros.

Those members caught on the surface will need to work with the entirety of the Warhost in order to manage what pockets of conflict they can, while working to achieve more solid intel on the enemy’s command structure.

For those still within the catacombs, they will need to be wary of a newly reinforced wave of droids seeking to claim the secrets therein for themselves, and perhaps far worse. Again, you will need to work to achieve intel on the enemy’s command structure, if able.


Sepros, Orian System

The cut on her shoulder from those Sith-spawned droids stung something horrible as Allistaire inspected the wound and found it to be shallow enough to heal on her own. As usual, however, everything came with a price; the drop in her strength from the brief healing left her breathless, and she cursed her lack of power.

Patience, she reminded herself. Your time will come soon enough.

It wasn’t just her lack of prowess in the Force that nettled her. Blinded as she’d been by the dust she hadn’t noticed until the weapons in every group member’s hands until the fight was over and the droids finally fallen. Unable to do more than use her armory saber as a blunt weapon, she hadn’t bothered to draw the thing, instead allowing the others to handle the droids for her. She promised herself that mistake would never happen again and would soon be rectified.

Overall it had been a closer call than the Mirialan would like to admit as she glanced over those who had chosen to venture deeper into the catacombs. Shirai Dupar, whom had mostly stayed aloof from all but Maelous Ascarend, seemed tense and wary but unharmed, and the Jensaari likewise. Armad and Aexod, whom she had not paid much attention to beyond dismissing them as relatively unimportant when the mission started, were glaring vibro daggers at each other and at Sanguinius, who stood between them.

The attack certainly hadn’t brought them all together, Allistaire thought ruefully, absently fluffing her black hair.

“We cannot afford to fight amongst ourselves,” the Jedi scolded the pair. He scanned over each of them in turn, seeming to check for serious injury but, she suspected, really ensuring his words would be heeded. “Is everyone alright?” he asked the group at large.

As they all answered him one by one, it occurred to Allistaire that if it hadn’t been for Macron Sadow’s quick use of Force lightning it was highly unlikely that any of them would be standing, except perhaps Maelous or Sanguinius.

Speaking of which…where was the so-called ‘Mad Alchemist’? She glanced about once more and found him a ways away, sitting cross-legged and staring intently at a wall, which led her to wonder if he truly was mad after all.

A sudden burst of static erupted from the comlink held limply in Armad’s hand and they all jumped, distracted, as the familiar voice of Atra Ventus cut through the air. While everyone else was distracted by the Quaestor’s message–“Sang, if you can hear this, I will say it once…I do not like this…”–the young Neophyte rose to her feet, dusted off her robes, and drifted over to where Macron sat.

Fascinated, she stopped a safe distance away and saw he was muttering to himself while staring at a patch of more faintly glowing Sith writing that seemed to have been unearthed in the commotion.

“…of all the things the maggots have to learn…fire walk with me indeed, humph, yes, I can see even if they are blind, hehehehe, yes…”

Allistaire knew that, even if it sounded like strange nonsense to her, it obviously meant something to Macron and couldn’t help but break the stream of hastened whispering.

“Master Sadow?”

While most would feel highly unsettled by the tattooed Elder and would not have dared approach him, she was only vaguely concerned about disturbing him and did not hesitate to speak. “Have you found anything interest–”

He turned his head without warning and she paused, distracted by his putrid, corrupted eye and by the fact that he seemed to stare straight through her as if she didn’t exist. It was most unsettling, and she now knew why he was called ‘the Mad Alchemist’ when she hadn’t understood the odd title before.

“Everything is of interest, little green one,” he hissed, his eye glinting madly and his tattoos pulsing. “Especially when everyone is blind to the mutterings! Teeheeheehee!” Frightened despite herself, she backed away from him towards the rest of the group, determined to give him a wider birth from now on.


Sepros, Orian System

As they descended deeper into the catacombs, Tasha was on high alert. Atra was right, those creepy looking spiderish droids were no pushovers. Already one of those nasty droids had injured one of the new recruits.

“That’s not going to happen again.” Tasha told herself. “I must protect them.”

She moved closer to Allistaire.

“Are you alright?” She asked the new recruit.

“It’s only a small scratch that has been taken care of. Takes more than just a blaster bolt to knock me out.” Allistaire grinned.

Just as they walked along the cavernous tunnel with Macron still admiring the walls behind them, several red hot blaster bolts ripped through the air. Seeing the sudden danger ahead, Tasha ignited her red lightsaber and began to spin her blade against the oncoming shots. She managed to deflect a few of them away from Allistaire and sprinted ahead towards the two spiderish droids in front of them.

“We got company folks. I need some help here!” Tasha yelled towards the group. Without even hesitating, Sang instantly sprang forward with incredible speed to the front where Tasha was standing. "There are two of them, Sang.” He nodded as he began to focus his mind. Realizing he needed a small bit of time, Tasha charged towards the droids.

“You are not having your way today!”

Concentrating hard, She threw out her hands and sent a crushing wave of telekinetic energy towards the ugly droids. It struck one of them, causing the droid to stagger back slightly. Panting a bit, Tasha hoped it bought some time for Sang.

The second droid aimed a scorpianish tail and fired a blaster shot directly for Tasha’s head. Right before the bolt hit, it collided against some invisible force and dissipated. “Sang must have put a barrier around me.” She thought. “All right then, let’s see if droids like having their systems fried.”

She raised her right hand towards the second spiderish-looking droid. A force of blue lightning spiraled out from her hand and caught the spider droid right in the middle of its body. The droid began shuddering slightly while smoke rose from the charred midsection. Tasha then smiled as she sank her crimson lightsaber into its body.

“Didn’t like that did you?”




Macron was useless. The emanations from this old Lord Orian system f@racked with his head. The visions in the walls…. challenged him. They brought out his inner Dark Side, and stood it forth in a mental challenge. “Kucck… sthaveth wrostheh…kutsek shavitsh ikasarot…” The old Sith words came from his mouth as he sat in total reverie against the wall as the others fought. The runes themselves were a trap. If one could read them, then the trap was open….

Around him the Jedi and Force users of the catacomb team worked. Tasha seemed unaffected as she fought and sent a solid burst of Force Lightning to burn down a droid in front of her. Sanguinius was completely composed and cool as he dealt with the lesser scuttling droids. “To me, team. Set your parameter and terrain. We have the known terrain. Breathe deep, let the Force flow, and defend.”

Tasha and the others stood back from her effective Force usage as other droids capered up to take the place of the ones she had destroyed. Allistaire backed her up, popping in and out of a force cloak and then using newly workedForce Lightning to burn the droids down.

The team worked. Aexod, Tasha, Allistaire, Sanguinius, Armad, Shirai, Maelous. It was like a hand that touched everything.

The others fought well and took control of this chamber. Macron was lost.


Catacombs "Promenade"

“Well,” Marcus said. “There they go.”

“Guess it’s just the four of us,” Locke answered. “The lure of dark knowledge is strong, as you are probably aware.”

Marcus twisted his lip in what might have been a look of disgust or something else. “True.”

Darkblade gestured toward the stairs leading upward. “Shall we continue then?”

“Yeah,” Locke said. “Marcus, take point, Darkblade, guard our backs, Maelous, keep your eyes peeled.” That way, I can keep an eye on Marcus.

The three began moving up the corridor, glowrod’s illuminating the way. The ancient ruins continued to be a mix of stone and metallic walls. Dust coated everything. They soon came to another intersection, three paths disappearing on into the darkness, with a fourth blocked by fallen rubble.

“I hope that wasn’t where we were supposed to go,” Maelous said, pointing to the rubble.

“Indeed,” Locke agreed. “But which way now?” He had not thought about what they would do without Macron’s ability to read the writing.

Darkblade walked down one of the side corridors a little bit, until his light was small in the distance. Then he trotted back. “That one is blocked.” He soon checked another one, again with no warning, and this time the light disappeared.

“Darkblade!” Locke whispered. He jogged halfway down the corridor, head swinging back to Marcus and Maelous to make sure he could still see them. Then he turned back to look for Darkblade, finding him much closer.

“That one descends lower.”

“Then the other must be our path,” Locke said.

Darkblade nodded. The four regrouped, and continued down the third path. At first, it gave no sign of being the correct way, but they soon came to another stairwell leading up. The group continued on that way for some time, barely speaking. They came to many crossing corridors. At each one, Darkblade explored each corridor a little ways and the group chose the best direction on what he found. They sometimes came across rooms, ranging in size from a closet, to a bedroom, to the size of a large chamber. Their purposes were lost on the four Jedi. In one, there was a row of circular depressions in an uplifted stone block. In another, they found a long stone table with worn statues lining the side of a large room. There was nothing of value here. Whoever had inhabited this ruins, it seemed they had left in a hurry. Anything they had left behind must have deteriorated over the eons.

Either that, or someone had been here more recently. The dust did not seem to be disturbed, but there was a lot of it. None of the four were particularly good at tracking. Darkblade and Maelous had some experience, but weren’t sure.

“When I look at it, it looks like it could have been disturbed. But that could be rats or something as well, or a trick of the light,” Darkblade said.

“Yeah,” Maelous agreed. “Can’t be positive.”

They had come to another crossing corridor and had stopped here to rest for a moment. Darkblade had already determined the path that was the best option for them to take. The hallway got wider and seemed to slant up, possibly indicating they were close to the surface. It was there that they heard a noise.

“What is that?” Darkblade asked.

Marcus looked the way they were supposed to go, shining his glowrod in that direction. When he did, moving shadows were illuminated around a bend in the hall.

“Maybe that’s what lives down here?” Locke asked, readying his rifle.

Marcus ignited his lightsaber, violet blade springing to life in the relative darkness behind the cone of their glowrods. “I don’t think so. Hear that?”

Locke heard. It was a metallic clicking sound. “More of those droids?” Maelous asked, standing behind them.

“Looks like it,” Marcus said. “A whole group of them. They must have been sent to cut off the group, trap them in the ruins, and kill them.”

Locke raised an eyebrow and the two locked eyes for a moment. Marcus shrugged. “It’s what I would do. Orders, Locke?”

“We’ll hold them. Back up to the prior corridor, where the space is more narrow and we can force the odds in our favor.”

“I can hide in one of the crossing corridors,” Darkblade said. “Take them from behind.”

Locke thought it over for a moment. “Alright, just be careful.”

“Of course,” the Seeker replied. He faded into the darkness of one of the cross corridors.

“Looks like the standard Hoplite models we encountered before, two ranks, no spiders though,” Locke said, dropping his glowrod so he could aim the rifle better. Marcus still held his in his offhand, illuminating the oncoming enemies. Maelous ignited his weapon as well, ruby blade glowing in the air.

“Right,” Marcus answered. “But wait, what’s that?”

Something slithered ahead of the row, three snake-like creatures which charged straight at the three Jedi.

“Sithspit!” Locke said. He heard Marcus mouth some similar curse. A split-second later, Locke opened fire with his rifle. As the creature moved toward them, Locke’s shots trailed it, making it difficult to keep up with.

“What the hell?” he growled, throwing the rifle down as the serpent reached him. He quickly jumped out of it’s way, letting it pass by. Instinct taking over, Locke summoned the Force. He called his lightsaber to hand, igniting the blade. The Arcanist struck toward the creature, sunfire slicing through the last section of it’s tail.

It turned, only a tad more sluggishly. Metal glinted in the light of Locke’s lightsaber. He found he was back to back with Marcus now, the Knight fending off his own creature, his glowrod having been discarded One of the snakes slithered over it, extinguishing the light. “Dodge right!” Locke yelled. The two jumped to opposite sides of the corridor just as the serpents dashed forward. They slammed into each other, barely deterred.

The third serpent engaged Maelous, who seemed to stand his ground, but Locke could barely spare a glance for him.

Then a roar came from the darkness, followed by a distinctive snap-hiss. A second violet blade ignited, slicing forward. Darkblade’s weapon cleaved the head from one of the creatures, the body, uncontrolled, careening into one of the walls with a shudder.

Locke grinned with triumph for a moment, but it was short-lived. The others were oncoming, and, realizing their serpents were in trouble, they were not holding back. The group opened fire, blaster bolts lancing down the corridor. Marcus jumped to the side, presenting a low profile, while Locke tried to maneuver to keep the remaining serpent between himself and the other droids. Maelous did the same with his own, giving ground as it advanced on him.

It took all of Locke’s energy and focus to avoid his own opponent. The thing had blades where hands might be. They spun toward Locke, and he jumped back. Then the creature’s mouth glowed and blaster fire poured out, following Locke with continuous fire as he circled and closed the distance again, barely dismembering one of the creature’s spinning blades.

As he danced with the serpent, Locke felt the beginning of a nearby Force surge in his mind, distantly hoping Marcus knew what he was doing and would not use this opportunity to attempt to kill Locke.


Flicker of old tricks, but save Locke.
Work together with Darkblade
Locke with Maelous; Gracious ferocity.
Get hurt.

Kill him. The insidious whisper in his mind came unbidden, disrupting his focus long enough to delay the outburst of energy form his outstretched fingers. Marcus felt his self-loathing surge at this unwanted suggestion from his inner psyche. Mentally fighting the urge to do as the deceptive whispers demanded, he aimed his hand at where Locke was fighting the … whatever it was.

Locke spun about to dodge one of the mechanical blades that tried to separate his torso from his waist. His movement provided him just enough time to glimpse in the direction of his Rollmaster and the strange look in his eye as the latter took aim, on him. His mind grasping for some kind of escape from the impending treachery, Locke was forced to spin out of the way once more as another razor-sharp blade nearly cleaved him in two. Turning to face Marcus again he found a second blade, millimeters from his face, too close to evade.

The moment was there, kill him now, his darkest impulses screamed in his head. If he took his shot now, he would give pause to the Consul long enough for the droid to finish its deadly work. Instead he felt urged to hold his fire, whether this was an urge from his subconscious or of the Force, he could not tell at that moment. Then the faintest hint of motion came from Locke and Marcus let his rage erupt from his fingers. As Locke spun away to dodge a blade that would’ve cleaved him in two, the tendrils of embodied rage reached the spot where the senior Equite had been just seconds before. The attack snaked its way across the body of the drone, arcing across its surface and into the innards of the mechanical creature. A high-pitched clicking erupted from its vocoder, leaving the droid immobilized as the precious few seconds of lightning died away.

Maelous tore into his opponent with a cold but fierce anger, teetering on the brink of losing himself in his own fury as he swatted aside the attacks from the mechanical creature attempting to violate him. A blurred barrage of controlled lunges and parries quickly diminished the bio-mechanical beast, its end definite as the Battlemaster impaled the central unit onto his lightsaber. Not wasting a second, the experienced Sith launched himself towards the frozen drone attacking the Consul with inhuman speed, neatly severing the blade that had nearly took the Consul’s eyes, rendering it useless with a vicious and guttural roar.

Marcus had dropped to one knee, his display of anger having cost him dearly. As one of the droids opened fire on the now defenseless Rollmaster, a periwinkle blur appeared in front of him, neatly deflecting or redirecting the incoming bolts of contained plasma.

“Ya alright Marcus?”, the Anzati Knight asked him, as he sidestepped a salvo directed at his sternum.

“I’ll be fine, give me a few,” the heaving answer came.

Acrobatically fending off the incoming hail of blaster-fire, Darkblade protected the Rollmaster with ferfor. His movements were already slowing down though, the lavender blur of his lightsaber becoming less pronounced. Suddenly the drones that had opened fire upon the duo launched forward, clearly intent on ending the Anzat’s life prematurely. Momentarily distracted, a salvo broke through his unwavering defense, clipping Marcus’s right arm and eliciting a scream of pain from the Epicanthix.

Suddenly an orange whirlwind carved through the oncoming droids, the two Equite working together to decimate the charging force. The two had combined both their styles, creating a graciously ferocious tornado of slashes, parries and mechanical parts. Debris flew left and right, and for a moment it seemed as if the oncoming tide of enemies would recede. Darkblade took advantage of the situation, helping Marcus up, who nodded in thanks and took up his lightsaber with his left hand, instead of his now useless right.

Just as the duo meant to join their elders in the frenzy, a loud rumbling stopped them in their tracks. Dirt and small stones fell from the ceiling, giving pause to all four combatants. With a sudden crashing rumble the ceiling behind them caved in to reveal more droids, pouring in from above. They were surrounded.

Marcus took one quick look behind them, then nudged Darkblade. “Back to back,” the Rollmaster suggested, clearly mimicking their elders. As the horde of newly arrived droids charged, both Knights tensed up.

“Let’s do this,” Darkblade mumbled.


The Shadowlands

A blast rang out through the forest. Birds cried out in panic and took flight. Startled, predators bolted alongside the prey they had been hunting in the dark undergrowth, all stampeding away from the thundering impact where yet another unknown transport had been shot down.

The Falleen’s right hand tightened around his black staff.

Overhead, one of the heavy branches of the wroshyr-sized trees creaked. The Prophet’s eyes did not shift from the flames glowing further into the forest and where he had been heading, however his Force senses narrowed from the wider forest to focus on his more immediate surroundings.

No life stirred in the trees, except he made out a distinct foulness in the Tapestry of the Force, a knotted wound of pain and determination. As his senses narrowed on one branch above him in particular, a deep, bestial growl hissed overhead, more canine, but with a distinctly robotic lilt to the words. Xanos was not learned in the Wookiee tongue of Shyriiwook, but it required no fluency to discern the universal condemnation in the curse that the Wookiee above him spat.

The Falleen turned—

Before he had seen the wounded, one-armed Wookiee, whose chest had been opened wide and now had more metallic tubes and interlocked girders holding it together than tendons, a polished A tendril had slid down the closest trunk and shot toward the Falleen’s staff. In ordinary times, the Prophet would have sensed the attack, but his mind still reeled from what he had experienced on Antei a matter of days earlier, and instead, the metallic arm had caught him off guard, and wrapped around the decorative, ebony staff, before it snatched the staff, tossing it aside.

The next moment the injured, half-Wookiee-turned-half-mechanical-device fell on top of the Falleen. The claws in what had once been the Wookiee’s singles surviving arm plunged into the Elder’s chest, just short of his ribcage. In civilised Wookiee society, to use their claws would have seen them cast out and shunned as madclaws, but such orderly rules and boundaries did not exist in the ranks of the already stranded outcast tribe who called the forests of Sepros their only home.

That went doubly so for the mechanical construct with its claws currently a matter of mere millimeters from the Prophet’s heart. Where the Wookiee’s eyes had once been, a cold void of blank, greying orbs looked down at nothing, the artificial construct instead having presumably been using some sensory data received from a photoreceptor positioned… somewhere along one of the randomised, irregularly shaped metallic plates that had shackled to the Wookiee’s corpse, piecing the dead parts back together like something reminiscent of Frankenstein’s monster, only this something far worse, built of something that had already been a beast, and now reinforced with alchemically reinforced steel and the dark fire and hate of the master who had built it.

The metallised corpse of the Wookiee stank of the Dark Side—

Previously, the reverberations from what had taken place on Dentavii combined with what Xanos had felt back on Antei, they had both clouded his senses, blocked him from divining what these automatons were or where they had come from. But the answer now stared back at him- or didn’t as the case was- from those blank, dead eyes of the dead Wookiee, which were now enslaved to the Sith magicks that had forged these automated monsters.

The automated Wookiee pulled its claws back out, eliciting another robotic growl in the process, and both unavoidably and automatically an equally strained cry from Xanos’s body itself- even the Prophet could not fight back the pain that such a near-fatal strike had inflicted on him.

But his resolve was unquenching.

It was not so much because he believed he would not die here, but because he did not die here, and he knew it. If his farsight told him nothing else, it was that he would live, that his life still had more to do, more to see, more to accomplish, and that this… metal thing would not stop him.

The Falleen wrapped one of his arms around the back of the mechanical construct… and tore through the threads that bound the Tapestry together. One by one, the Elder plucked the threads that tied space and time together, and like in any act of fission, the ensuing release of energy burst out like an unholy fire, an electrical storm of potential that surged through the Falleen’s hand, throwing up the choking odor of ozone which caused him to cough, while burning his own flesh as the arcs of energy seared the Wookiee’s flesh, kicking off an uncomfortably enticing smell not far off from the smell of burned bacon, while the lightning simultaneously shot through the robotic construct’s metallic casing, shorting the mechu-deru machine.

The metal monster collapsed- its weight uncomfortably heavy when it crumbled on top of him.

The Falleen threw his head back and joined the metal-Wookiee-monster in passing out, but not before releasing a cry through the Force toward those nearest in the forest. Even though she herself was similarly engaged, he felt Sildrin’s silent acknowledgement and relaxed, closing his eyes to sink back into the Force to collect himself and do his best to recover before another of the metal monstrosities would catch him while he still lay there, his blistered and scolded hand still twitching and smoking, but otherwise unable to move while he continued to bleed out the green life blood that supported him…


Deeper Catacombs
Sepros, Orian System

Sanguinius, Armad, Allistaire, Tasha, Aexod, and Shirai had driven off or slain the Hoplite and Arachne droids that had crawled up on them. It had been a ferocious battle but the Force-users had prevailed. They took a minute to take stock of their wounds and supplies. None was severely wounded, but all of them were beginning to feel the fatigue of constant combat and tapping of the Force.

“You okay Master?” Armad asked after he shut down his lightsaber. His Master was staring at the wall muttering to himself and fiddling with a lightsaber hilt.

“I’m… okay now.” The madman turned to the Umbaran with wild mismatched eyes. “I had a moment. It has passed. The Dark Side is powerful, but it can be treacherous.”

“Truly,” nodded Sanguinius. “That’s the peril of the easy path. Seductive, quick, but deadly to the wielder.”

Macron laughed out loud as the words fell on his ears. He stood up gingerly. “Easy? It is anything but, Jedi. In my minds both paths require diligence, self-sacrifice, and fortitude. The flavor is admittedly different though. The quick part comes first, and then you have to claw your way towards every discovery. Unlike the Jedi path, which is slow but the discoveries come easier at the end, or so I hear.”

“That could be.” The Quaestor looked at the folks that stood with him. “Everyone else okay?”

“I’m good,” Aexod Burgoo commented. “We Zabraks can take punishment better than humans.” His tough words belied the fatigue showing from the Journeyman Hunter’s can-do countenance.

“Good to go here,” Tasha’Vel said quietly. “Some minor cuts but nothing I can’t deal with.”

“I’m solid so far,” Allistaire remarked as she stood slightly away from the group to the side of the tunnel. “Unlike the rest of you liars, I’m beginning to tire.”

“I appreciate your honesty,” chuckled Sanguinius. “Shirai?”

“I’m good to go,” replied the Battlemaster. “Got a solid cut on my arm but I’ve already healed it.” The dark countenanced human male smirked. “I have some skill in that area.”

“That leaves our resident madman.” Sanguinius looked to Macron. “What’s your status?’

“I remain uninjured thanks to all of you,” replied the Adept. “I’m still relatively unfatigued. I can tell you this- something bad has happened to my Sith Master up above.” The synthetic human jerked a thumb towards the roof of the tunnel. “And I will also be honest about this. If something can render the Apostate Prophet unconscious and injured, that does not bode well. I’m more disturbed than usual. I do, however, have something that can help us. I saw it as I walked in reverie.”

“And what, praytell, might that be?” asked Sanguinius quietly.

“Crystals. I collect them- which is why I’m usually broke.” The Adept opened the access portal on the side of his scarlet-hued backup type-II lightsaber and held it out for the rest to examine. “My main orange blade won’t take one of these, but this one has a Luxum crystal as a secondary focusing novae. Luxum crystals are hell on droids. They create an ionic effect that is devastating. I have one .


The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System
Atra growled as he shred the sheet of paper apart that he had found stuck to a tree nearby. He knew it was meant for him. Bentre turned to Atra: “What’s that?”

Atra’s voice was low: “Nothing. Just someone who believes he has claws.”

Sildrin moved closer to Atra, her saber in her one hand and her kukri in her off-hand. With a sigh she said: “Isn’t it time to go to the root and eliminate what threatens us? Before we are all dead.”

The Umbaran replied with a growl: “What do you mean? The root? If I knew who is responsible for this, they would be dead by now!”

Sildrin watched the group gather, tending the wounded. And she leaned in closer to Atra: “I can lead us to the source.” Her voice was quiet and only meant for his ears.

“How…?” Atra scowled, not believing her words. “What did you sense…?”

The Matriarch of the Longs lightly tilted her head, searching for words to describe the impressions given by her Force Sense. “It is a presence… one presence. I was first confused as I felt a thin presence in each of the droids, but now I am sure it is one and the same. But it originates from one and the same place.” Sildrin raised her head up to the sky, pointing a finger in a certain direction. Atra’s eyes followed the direction of her finger - only seeing a roof of trees.

He scoffed: “Of course…” He turned away from her.

Her fingers held onto his robe, holding him back. Atra’s eyes stared at her; her head was lowered in concentration, eyes cast to the floor and she whispered: “Contact Locke and ask if Marcus’s right arm is not hurt too badly from the drones’ blaster shots.”

Atra froze at her words, slowly raising his communication device while not taking his eyes from her. The answer was quick to come:

“Sithspit! How d… [bzzt]… you know?!”

Locke’s voice was fragmented from statics. The Umbaran whispered: “If you know about this… what else…” He could not continue.

Sildrin lifted her head again, her face for once showing a serious expression: “I can feel people’s emotions… feelings and location around me… I can feel the small animal hiding beneath that tree, its heart racing from fear. I can hear unintentional thoughts… though mostly yours scream loudest.”

Atra snorted, anger rising within him.

The Snow Tiger has contacted you. Hasn’t he? Her mental voice intruded his mind.

A metal claw digged into the bark of a tree nearby - slowly Atra dragged it deeper across the tree’s skin.

The Dragons will be united to fight the upcoming threat. But not now. She gently added to his surprise.

He shifted his thoughts away from what he wished to pursue and concentrated on this battle. “Do we need a ship to get to the source controlling the droids?”

Sildrin shook her head: “No. He is preparing to land.”

“He…?” Atra frowned, staring up at the dark canopy of the trees.

He gathered the group - it didn’t matter what or who it was - he would make sure it would be quickly killed.


Catacombs "Promenade"

Locke paused for just an instant as his head swiveled to take in the full scene. Marcus and Darkblade were surrounded. He ducked just as a thin blade sliced the air, almost trimming his hair. The Augur’s hand reached out as a storm of Force energy erupted in violet tendrils of light. They struck the Hoplite as it moved in for another attack, it’s body seizing as the lightening spiderwebbed over it’s form frying circuits and organic material alike.

As the creation collapsed Locke’s eyes found Maelous. The Consul could sense the torrent the man created in the Force during combat. He watched as the Battlemaster ripped his saber from the gut of the last of the metal creatures the two faced. He spun to the left, while simultaneously bringing the blade up to strike at the thing’s head.

“Maelous, Marcus and Darkblade are stuck,” Locke nodded in their direction. The two had managed to hold back the attacks but the enemy forces were putting on the pressure and the two could not hold them off much longer.

The Aedile turned toward the pair, his crimson blade reflecting off the darkened lenses of his helmet. He roared and charged toward the the encircling Hoplites, the lust for combat consuming him. His eyes caught movement, but it was too late. Another snake like beast slammed it’s full weight into Maelous, sending him soaring. His body slammed into the wall with a sickening thud, before he came to rest on the stone floor.

Locke gritted his teeth and turned to face off with the serpentine beast. Maelous would be up quickly, he had seen him recover from worse in the heat of battle, but now was not the time to test that theory.


Please address this link for the [Act III Fiction Update] (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1htfSTbqOHUKYsXmeeOn55vBRlCO5Dz7JyaTseJ9IptY/edit?usp=docslist_api).

Prompts remain the same.



“Join us…join us…join us…” It was overall quite frightening to hear a droid brains forcing Wookie vocal cords speaking Basic. It was a corruption of the very fabric of nature, and to Allistaire it was as if everything she had ever known about the universe was false. She backed away from the cyborgs as they advanced on the group, disgust outlined on her face as she beheld the true horror of these enemies.

Mon Calamari eyes stared wetly out of chrome heads as human hands held blasters, and she saw with shock that a couple of the cyborgs not only spiced the air with Falleen pheromones but rippling with their unique chameleon camouflage.

These were the monsters of nightmares, if she were the kind of person to have nightmares.

“They’ve built themselves out of other species to adapt,” Macron said. She could tell from the interest in his voice that the Mad Alchemist longed to dissect them or even, she shuddered to think, replicate the effects.

Allistaire muttered “Disgusting” at the same time Macron added, “Fascinating”.

Amidst the garbled cries of “Join usssss…” the cyborgs raised their weapons, and if it weren’t for Sanguinius’s quick thinking they would all have fallen under the oncoming barrage of blaster fire.

“Weapons!” At the Jedi’s cry the group (even Alllistaire for all the good it would do) activated their lightsabers and brought them to bear, forming a wall of energy between themselves and the cyborgs.

“Macron! You, Shirai, Tasha, Armad and I are going to hold them off! Form a shield and let’s keep them at bay!” Sanguinius yelled, his voice barely heard of the hum of lightsabers and the whine of blasters. “Allistaire! You and Aexod need to find something that can help or shut them off! We can’t hold them off forever!”

Relieved to be out of the line of combat, Allistaire backed up and allowed Tasha to take her place; far from being offended, she was quite happy to be out of danger. Lurking about in the shadows and hunting for information was where she was comfortable and do the most good.

Looking about, she noticed several things at once: they seemed to be in a sort of reception room, with a half moon desk against a wall and several old screens mounted behind it, as well as what looked like doorways on either side of the desk. She completely ignored Aexod as she went over to the desk and saw to her amazement a dust covered control panel…that, conveniently, seemed to have been designed for non-humanoid hands to operate.

“Sithspawn,” she growled. There wasn’t a button or anything of the sort anywhere, or even anything looked remotely useful.

“Some hurrying would be helpful right about now!” called Shirai. His comment annoyed Allistaire. It wasn’t like she wasn’t trying.

“There isn’t anything,” Aexod pointed out, coming along to peer over Allistaire’s shoulder. “No buttons or anything.”

“BUTTONS?!” roared Shirai, “Are you two FORCE USERS or NOT?!”

Oh. Right.

Allistaire flung out a hand and summoned the Force that dwelled within her, bringing it up through her fingertips as fiery tendrils of lightning that cooked the control board. Almost at once the doors opened and the cyborgs dropped, their cores momentarily fried as the board short circuited. The droids would come online in only a couple of minutes, as her Force lightning wasn’t strong as it could be and its effects were only temporary.

Sanguinius looked up at her and grinned, shaking back the sleeves of his singed and smoking robes to stow his lightsaber away. “Quick work,” he said, sounding impressed. “We don’t have a lot time so we need to decide now: which door do we take?”


Deeper Catacombs
Sepros, Orian System

“Quick work with those buttons are needed," Macron said, sounding impressed. “We don’t have a lot of time so we need to decide now: which door do we take?” More of the awful amalgamations shambled forth from all of the doorways.

That’s disgusting!” Sanguinius remarked as the half-droid and half-organics shuddered towards them all. Most of them just drooled on themselves, but a few could manage dangerous moves. A center source voice pulled at his mind… “Come to me, come to me.”

“By the Force,” Sanguinius exclaimed. “There’s a whole factory of these things down here.”
The Jedi took every bit of the Living Force that he could amalgamate within his body in this awful place to lend him the ability to lay these constructs to rest. Allistaire felt her hand… go cold.

“Join us, Join us…” The mechanical mouths worked overtime as the deep-delving crew reacted. The Dark and Grey Jedi worked as a team to clear a perimeter around Sanguinius. Every one of them was needed. Armad, Allistaire, Scarlet, Tasha, Aexod, and Shirai hit the workshop with awful fury. The disgusting amalgamations between flesh and droid were pushed down into the darkness by hot lightsabers and blasterfire.

“i’VE BEEN ENTECHED BY THE gRRUGH AKKLTHPP URGGG gagggh hurk hurk” The awful reptilian snake-droid biomech Echinda groaned the awful things it had experienced as it moved forward. Around it hordes of Hoplites and Arachne droids moved to attack. It went right for Allistaire.

The response was wonderfully well-orchestrated. Sanguinius gave orders and the Clan elements followed him. “Armad, Tasha, Allistaire, Shirai, Aexod, ! Stop the… ugh… surgery tables.”

“Fascinating,” The Sith Adept whispered as the awful snake-droid amalgamation stood up on him. The awful thing was- awful. “I’m going to hold this stinker here and kick it’s ass. You will not destroy my Clan. Folks get back. I can take this thing. And if I die in the service of my Clan so be it. The rest of the battle is up to you.”


Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

No sooner had the group finished deflecting mass amounts of blaster fire, Armad heard Sang ask which door should they take. Looking between our choices, Armad took in several deep breaths to try and catch his own, and to help replenish some of the drained energy he’d lost battling these curiously wonderful Mechu-deru concoctions that seemed no end to. Secretly hoping that when this was said and done, he’d have the chance to “study” these formidable opponents, for personal reasons, and Clan use, of course.

Armad felt Sang’s gathering of the Force, marveled at how much the Jedi could call upon, at the same moment he heard the chorus of “Join us. Join us…” resound anew as the endless hordes started their advance once more.

Risking a glance around, Armad could see that everyone, but Macron, was evenly spaced around Sang, who was still gathering the Force to him with a plan that only he knew. Macron, on the other hand, was entangled with an Echidna, and seeming to enjoy the fight.

With a suddenness found only in Force-users and droids, several of the Hoplite droids armed with blades in hand, or blades instead of hands, rushed those encircling the Vanguard. Everyone deftly dispatched the first wave, and was waiting on the second, when out of the corner of his eye, Armad saw that a couple of the droids were headed straight for his Master, with blasters raised. Switching hands, Armad drew his blaster and spun, avoiding a downward strike from his nearest attacker, letting the Force guide and direct his shot. Armad hit one of those about to shoot Macron in the chest, dropping it, his second shot connected with the carbine of the second, knocking it from it’s hands. Completing the spin, Armad sliced through the Hoplite that had tried to kill him. A split second later, a blast of Force energy swept those two droids into several more of their kind, knocking the group down and taking them out of the fight, at least for the moment.

Armad looked over as Shirai was lowering the hand that had delivered the blast. Seeing that Armad was looking at him, the Juggernaut just shrugged, “Nice set up.” He smirked before turning his attention back to the droids that were now upon him. Quickly holstering his blaster, and switching his lightsaber back to his right hand, and continued to defend against more that had moved forward during that time.

“I saw them.” Armad heard Macron shout over the monotonous chorus that was echoing throughout the cavern.

“Just watching your back, Master. You have too many apprentices lined up for the chance to kill you, for some droid to claim that honor.” Armad quipped jokingly. Having to concentrate more on his opponents, Armad missed what Macrons retort was.

Now he was starting to wonder what was taking Sang so long.


Between seen and unseen…

The white is worse than dying.

Xanos stood alone in nothing. The ground stretched out into the distance, infinite. He allowed himself a brief backward glance; the same awaited him in the opposite direction from whence he came. The infinite white, stretching from the beginnings to the ends of eternity- a bleak, endless, white expanse of nothing, without form, without shape, without purpose.

The white simply… was.

And he stood amidst it, his mind adrift between that seen and that unseen…

“Wake up.”

The voice was strange but ever so familiar.

He glanced over his shoulder again. Still white. Still nothing as far as the mind’s eye could see.

Somewhere in the Shadowlands

Xanos’s eyelids fluttered but did not open.

“Wake up.”

The Falleen remained where he had lain now since the Wookiee-turned-battledroid had short-circuited and fallen on top of him, pinning him beneath its hulking frame. His abdomen was green with blood from where the wardroid had stabbed him with its stolen claws, though the blood flow seemed to have stopped, and the green blood had begun to dry, sticking his ripped clothing to his cold skin. Xanos’s body, however, remained motionless.

The voice repeated, but this time it sounded closer, more like a whisper:

Wake up.

Xanos’s eyelids felt like lead when they tried to open. He had heard the voice. It was still faint and too indistinct to recognise, but he had heard it enough for his mind to have been drawn back.

The Falleen’s eyes- ever so slowly- drew open.

Too little light penetrated the heavy jungle canopy so it was too dark to make anything out, and the weight of the half-metal Wookiee-construct still weighed heavily on him to look around–

But neither of those stopped his eyes from beholding the shimmering form looking back down.

“Wake up,” the vision repeated, as it waved a hand over him- and the Wookiee rolled off.

Automatically, the first thing Xanos immediately did was reach down and run a hand over where the Wookiee wardroid had almost stabbed his heart up from under his ribcage. The vision’s eyes followed his own as he ran his hands ran over smooth, unbroken skin where the wound had been.

“Remember,” said the figure and it disappeared.

The Falleen lay there, still not fully sure what had just happened. He still felt weak, and was in no fit state for any further combat. The droid that had attacked him had been fuelled with the dark power of a master of the Force, and it was a wonder it had not killed him outright. He could not even clear his mind enough to reach out and let anyone know he was alright, although those that mattered, like his two apprentices, would undoubtedly have felt the shift themselves anyway.

Xanos reached out for his ebon staff to try and help himself back to his feet. Even if he could not fight, there remained things he could do, not least to reaffirm them all he was not the monster they had labelled him when he had tried to sheath the Orian system in Ombus’s protection. These metallic monsters had to be stopped before more fell beneath the blades of another titan.

“I remember,” the Falleen said into the darkness.

He felt a snowflake land on his cheek. The ash was still falling.


Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

Aexod heart started pumping heavily as the army of droids walked, perfectly coordinated, toward the group.

“Join us, Join us…” the droids unrelentingly chanted.

“Everything we have done here so far is irrelevant compared to what is ahead of us. Gather your strength, focus on the Force, and defeat these abominations!” Sang yelled, activating his lightsaber. The rest of the group followed suit. Aexod could feel the Force flowing through the air as all of his Sadowian brethren concentrated on the task ahead.

Sang, always a protagonist of the “lead by example” phrase, charged forward, quickly followed by Armad, Tasha, Allistaire and Shirai. Aexod was still stuck in place, with Macron at his side, reluctant for a split second to move forward.

As the first lightsabers clashed against the metal of the droid army in front of them, Aexod snapped out of his trance and charged forward himself. He reached out to the Force, absorbing it and letting it hasten his movements and improve his concentration.

In the corner of his eye, Aexod saw a certain, distinctly bigger Hoplite about ten meters from their location.

“Sang? See that thing?” he yelled, taking a second to look at his superior.

“Yeah, I’m on it!”

“Alright, I’ll cover… AARGH” Aexod was interrupted by a piercing blow to his shin. He fell to the ground, feeling every inch of the Hoplite’s blade stuck in his foot. “Need help here!” he yelled, desperately trying to fight the pain. But everyone was preoccupied fighting their own battles. A strong blow to his face was the last thing he would remember from that fight, as he had passed out, completely collapsed on the floor in the middle of the battle.


Locke looked up at the large serpent. He had struggled to fight the previous one, but knew their weakness now. Servos and gears clicked and whined as it rose up in front of him. The Arcanist growled in anger. These creatures had come to his world and threatened his clan? They would feel his power.

Extending his arm, the Krath Adherent focused. The dark side rushed from the heart of his soul, into his arm, and lanced out from his outstretched fingers. The lightning slammed into the serpent’s upper half, spreading across it’s body in brilliant arcs.

“That’s right,” Locke spat. He lunged forward and cut the beast’s head off, lightsaber sizzling as it sawed through both metal and mishappen flesh.

“Locke!” Maelous yelled. The Consul’s head whipped around, and he saw the glowing eyes of more of the humanoid warriors approaching.

“Let’s take them,” Darkblade said.

“Wait,” Marcus stopped. “Do you guys hear something?”

Locke was about to say no, but then he heard it too. “Are those…voices?” he asked.

Darkblade held a hand to his head. “They’re saying to join them, or something?”

Maelous just laughed. “If they think they can get inside my mind…” He let out a roar and charged at the oncoming droids.

“I think…he’s got the right idea,” Marcus said, wincing. “We can fight through this.”

“Right,” Locke agreed. “Let’s do it.”

Darkblade led the charge into the group of new warriors, the group cutting a path into them. “What’s our objective he asked?”

“Push the entrance,” Locke said, “call for reinforcements. If these things can just burrow through the ceiling, the other team is probably in trouble and we need all the help we can get.”


The team charged forward as one, an unparalleled display of hatred forged by their desire to end their enemies’ existence. Parts flew left and right as the group advanced, and it seemed as if they would reach the entrance, their exit.

Suddenly the ceiling caved in on both the advancing group and their opponents. The deafening roar of rocks and dirt replaced all sound, dust filled both lungs and surrounding air.

“Everyone alright?” Locke asked as he shook his head to clear the ringing from his ears.

Maelous was already on his feet, pulling a half unconscious Darkblade from the rubble. “He’s okay, I think.”

“I’m okay, mostly,” Marcus groaned as he pulled himself from the debris. His face was cut open and there was an ugly gash on his right leg.

As they became aware of their surroundings, they saw the cave-in had created a path straight to the surface. “There’s our path,” he quickly ordered and began climbing the rocks towards the surface, the others following suit with Maelous carrying the shallow breathing Darkblade.

As they reached the surface, instead of the long-awaited freedom, they were faced with a horde of Hoplites. Maelous quickly discarded the still-unconscious Darkblade and lit his sabers in a furious roar. Marcus and Locke followed suit sans noise. The horde charged as Locke took up position near the unconscious team leader. Just as they were to reenter combat, the air filled with charged plasma-bolts and shouted orders, giving pause to the surrounded Sadowans.

“It’s the Second Legion,” Locke breathed in relief. “Now let’s back them up!”

Backed by their warhost’s legion, the Sadowans advanced into the fray. At range the Legion had the advantage, their blaster rifles poking holes into the multitudes of swarming enemies. Close up and personal however, the Hoplites held the advantage and pressed it hard. The group of Sadowans quickly moved to protect their allies, but there were far too few of them to hold back the growing tide of hybrids that were cutting up the soldiers in melee. They were quickly pushed back and surrounded as the enemy kept diminishing their numbers. It was looking hopeless.

Just past the enemy line Darkblade opened his eyes to a splitting headache. Wincing he sat upright, trying to get his bearings. He quickly noticed the group of troopers and his Clansmen under attack, surrounded mere feet from where he sat. Locke’s last command echoing through his mind, he scrambled up, spinning around looking for some working comm-equipment. Spotting a dead comm-officer several feet away, he clambered in its direction.

Suddenly three Serpents burst from the earth to his right, and they opened fire. Dodging their fire clumsily, Darkblade kicked up some rocks as he made his to the radio. Just two more feet, and he’d be able to call in reinforcements. Suddenly a sharp pain exploded from his knees as one of the shots grazed his upper shins. Sagging through his knees, he focused his will on nothing but getting to the radio.

Stumbling forward, it took all his resolve to keep moving, but he moved forward. One feet, another one, just one more feet. Just as he reached the comm-unit a shot grazed his cheek and he fell down on his elbows. He’d made it though and with his last moments of consciousness he keyed in the activation sequence.

“This is ground team one. Under heavy assault, send reinforcement all. Repeat, reinforcement all.”


Catacombs Workshop
Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

“Thank you, Armad and Shirai,” growled the madman as he realized what had happened. The bottom line was this- no one was invincible. A well-placed attack could fell even the most powerful person potentially. And his theory was soon to be proven. The madman finished the Echidna off, a well-placed saber stoke cutting off a chunk of it’s arm and torso. The Sith used the Force to slam a pile of debris on top of the writhing halves.

The tension in the room broke as Sanguinius shouted. “…defeat these abominations!..” The Alchemist turned in time to see Aexod struck in the foot by a Hoplite’s blade. “AARGH” screamed the Zabrak Night Raptor as the blade sunk in. Aexod called for help as the thing withdrew the blade and punched him in the face with a metallic fist. Mercifully, the blow knocked the Hunter out before the droid stooped to deliver a death-blow with it’s blade.

There was little time to think, and even less to act. The Sith Elder reacted instinctively. He threw his lightsaber with punishing force towards the Hoplite. It spun in a blurred orange disc to neatly buzz-saw the Hoplite in half, dropping the twitching chunks to the ground as Aexod lay unconscious.
Unfortunately this action gave a hiding Mark Two Echidna the perfect opening to attack the madman. It launched itself from a hidden cyst beside on of the surgery tables and tackled Macron. The attack caught him completely by surprise. The thing must have been created from the remains of Force-users along with droid matter, and it had managed to mask it’s presence. The Serpent droid stuck a razored claw deep into Macron’s left side.

The Sith roared more in surprise and anger than in agony- it took a second for the pain to hit. His returning lightsaber dropped to the floor to clatter on the debris as his concentration broke. With his left side in convulsions he could not draw his backup saber. The Echidna withdrew it’s claw and came in for another attack, and this time the attack hit flesh that was momentarily as hard as Zal Alloy.

Strong as the Juggernaut was, even with the Force he could not match the mechu-deru droid physically. Lightsabers were out of the question, and at this close range lightning might fry him as well. There was only one real option.

A barrier of invisible Force energy was erected between him and the Echidna. As the thing pounded on it, the shield began to give. But a few seconds was all the Sith needed. His mind reached deep into his own blackened soul and tapped all the anger stored there, all the passion, all the fear. Fear of defeat, of being seen as weak, of an Apprentice taking this moment to finally end his life. The pain he felt amplified and focussed the energy rippling outward and wrapped it around the Echidna.

The blanket of dark energy began to squeeze. The Echidna was crushed as the telekinetic attack worked it’s magic. Droid coolant and other more organic fluids burst out of widening splits in it’s metallic hide. The remains of circuitry and pulped organs burst forth from gushing rents like gory toothpaste from a tube. The droid fell with a gurgling squawk, and Macron fell too.

Sanguinius continued to lead the fight. Armad stood with him, along with Shirai, Tasha, and Scarlet. No more Echidnas crawled forth and they managed to beat down the remaining Hoplites with a coordinated team effort. there was no guarantee more would not come but for now the workshop had fallen silent.

“Sanguinius to Locke,” canted the Jedi as he keyed his comlink. “We’ve found some sort of awful droid workshop down here. Armad says it’s a mechu-deru job. we’ve secured it for now but we have wounded. Aexod is out cold and Macron is… down.”


The Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System

Atra muttered under his breath: “Finally reinforcements….”

Before he could continue to talk, someone grabbed him by the collar and pulled him backwards. A gigantic hand of a titan swiped trees aside close to the area where Atra had been. Bentre muttered behind him - “Watch it…!”

Atra grumbled as they made haste through the trees: “Yes yes… We need to run. Those titans take too long to kill and they are slow. We need to get to that location of the control guy.”

More trees toppled over as another gigantic hand reached for them. They tumbled as branches hit them and the hand was moving to crush them. There was no time for words as they tried to get away as quickly as possible from the possible impact.

But the hand had halted in movement - frozen in motion.

Atra frowned: “What the…?”

His eyes moved over to his Matriarch who had one knee on the ground - fingers placed against her temples. Sweat beads ran down her forehead. Her lips moved, communicating in silence.

Bentre muttered: “What is she doing?!”

“I hope not killing hersel… “

“Run you fools…” was her hissed reply. The titan’s hand trembled - then with unpredicted swiftness it swiped her into the bushes behind them.

I… am fine… was her shaky telepathic reply. Move on… I will find you. Head further north-west.

A few minutes later
Bentre and Atra carefully approached the landing platform. “Should be easy enough to get through those defences… I hope.” Bentre quietly mumbled to the Seer next to him.

Atra nodded checking for any hidden dangers. A noise behind him made him twirl around, but his golden flecked eyes only fell upon his Matriarch. He arched an eyebrow as he eyed a trace of smeared blood on her left side of the face. Before he could question, she whispered: “A branch decided to be harder than my flesh…”

Bentre innerly sighed. Seeing blood on that woman made her for once appear not as ghostly and ethereal… she was truly a human of flesh and blood. His unease faded more and more around these people. “What happened with the titan… how did you…?” He even managed to address a question to her.

Sildrin grimaced: “I tried to… convince the Progenitor to stop his attack. But his reasoning is too far controlled by the binary logic of computer. For a moment he faltered… but his logic won against my persuasion.”

Atra shook his head in disbelief: “You tried convincing to a computer?.. What’s up next? Dating a mousebot?”

Sildrin scowled at him. Overacting Atra clamped his chest with a hand: “Oh no… that look!” She rolled her eyes.


Bentre looked between Atra Ventus and Xia Long. He was having some trouble processing everything going around him. Despite the relative danger they found themselves in the Longs managed to find a moment of jest. It made things feel a bit surreal somehow.

“…his reasoning is too far controlled by the binary logic of computer. For a moment he faltered… but his logic won against my persuasion.” The words sounded out of place in the Shadow’s head. Atra’s words echoed momentarily in his head. “You tried convincing to a computer?..”

Bentre fingered the datapad in his pocket for a moment, deep in thought. How would I manage to dissuade a computer from following its normal course of thoughts? Normally I would be able to insert a bit of code, run a program, or take advantage of some vulnerability. Far too many software engineers fail to take pride in their work.

The Corellian shook his head, slowly drawing a deep breath. It is not like I could just tell the Progenitor’s army to shut down could- The slicer’s eyes widened for a moment.

That is it!

He pulled the datapad from his pocket with a jerking motion, and immediately began to search his prepared programs with vicious intent. All I need to do is transmit a signal to the droids, try and issue a shutdown command. Or even just flood any channels the droids might use with junk. I would end up either confusing them, or shutting them down.

As his fingers glided over the datapad’s touchscreen, Bentre glanced up at Atra once more. How will he feel when this affects our electronics, assuming it does actually work out? Biting his tongue, the Knight finished typing in the last of the commands.

The connection between my datapad and my commlink should presumably suffice for my purposes. Maybe the gods will grant this Corellian a little favor this day. Gritting his teeth, Stahoes punched in the last commands, and started the process. When he looked back up, the Journeyman saw Sildrin giving him a rather bemused smile. Her eyes seemed to beg for an explanation.

“Let’s get going on from h-here,” he stuttered the last word. Once more, he chanced a prayer to the impertinent gods he had abandoned in his youth. Hopefully something would come of his actions. He had a feeling that either way, today he would either fight his way out, or die gloriously in the attempt.


Please address this link for the Epilogue Fiction Update.

All posts prior to this one count towards RO placement. You may now have one last post to finalize your individual story lines. These do not count towards your placement.

I hope you all had fun. See you next time.


Unidentified Vessel, Shadowlands
Sepros, Orian System

“For some the world changes quickly - leaving no song but silence.”

Atra’s pain beyond the door intruded Sildrin’s mind as he fought the droids. There was nothing she could do to shut this out. She reached out a trembling hand towards the locked door, her lips opened but the anguished cry would not pass them. She wished for a blinding wall between.
The remaining team members shouted for retreat - knowing Atra’s life was already forfeit - a sacrifice for their own. Dazed, Sildrin was dragged along with them.

As the explosion occurred her connection to Atra broke.

Of Force Sense Sildrin knew but one truth - nothing could silence it - save death.

Days later
Temple of Sorrow

Locke Sonjie walked down the corridor - his own consular room in the temple being too confining for his mood. Death was daily business, but this one he could not easily shake off.

Shi Long was right next to him. The warrior had always followed his own road, yet Shi’s steps never took him too far away from Naga Sadow. Locke turned his head to Shi.

“Any updates?”

The bronze-skinned Korunnai slowly shook his head; black locks trailing the movement.

Locke let out a faint sigh - the only sign of a faint emotion he allowed himself to have. He came to a halt, looking outside a nearby window. His gaze fell upon the lone figure standing motionless at a gravestone.

“She hasn’t spoken a single word since… “. Shi’s sentence remained unfinished.

Locke leaned on the window sill, watching. A chilly wind picked up, playing with the Matriarch’s knee-long hair. Long curls waved in the wind, slowly sinking back as it died again. The hair wrapped back around her - a fine silken mantle of silvery snow-white.

“As long as she means no trouble… “ Locke’s voice died as Sildrin turned her head towards him - blank white orbs stared into his direction - void of any signs of life.

Sildrin’s eerie look made Locke turn away immediately. He had forgotten her strong connection in the Force for a few moments; it enabled her to easily snatch feelings, thoughts from the aether. Had she picked up his thought?

Shi left the Consul alone with a short nod of his head.

No matter what, Locke just did not want to hear her mental voice in his head again. Since Atra’s death she had only sent one single word into his mind - and the mental contact felt like eternal ice encasing his heart.

Trails of ghostly white hair followed the Matriarch as she walked back inside the temple. The dark entrance engulfed the white figure.

The Dreamscapes

Thoughts and intention gave birth to a coalescent shadow resembling what once had been Atra Ventus. Confusion had lead it to this cold place, bare of any warmth. Yet it did now know where it was or when.

A cold wind made his skin tingle and he reached up, wondering if he was for real - if this place was real. For now he was, but he knew it was a fleeting moment. Pillars, jagged ledges and alcoves carved from blue ice - covered with frosty rime. He did not dare touch any, knowing they would burn his skin with a burning cold.

He was in a palace adorned by a spiky crown - all made of crystalline ice. Facets of diamond hard surfaces reflected his face with a frosty hue. Slowly he walked this silent place. Not even the sound of falling rustling snow was heard - for there was no snow - only eternal ice.

He reached a huge hall which was carried by tall pillars carved from ice. His fingers started to tingle and ache from the cold. How real was this? He knew he was no longer, yet he felt the burning ache within his flesh.

The hall was empty, wide and cold. He felt a shiver run down his spine, eyeing a silent white figure kneeling on the floor in the middle. Frost covered blue fingers reached out to play with a miniature ice palace. White hair ran down in waves, kissing the floor.

He carefully approached the person, knowing it must be her. Cheeks reddened from the cold, lips having turned blue and her eyes were white orbs staring lifelessly at the creation in front of her. She wasn’t feeling the cold anymore as the chill had been kissed away by his death. He wanted to reach out, but pulled his hand back - he could not interfere with the world of the living anymore.

Her body stiffened - was she able to sense him? She was just about to turn around as a part of the miniature palace collapsed. Her face did not show any hint of frustration and yet he knew immediately this had not happened for the first time.
With blue fingers she reached out for the ice shards for rebuilding.

A couple of human sized statues drew his attentions. Some were familiar to him, others were not. But those familiar he knew to be dead. One was of Chi Long who had died years ago. The hairs in his neck rose as he eyed the last two figure. One showing himself. His eyes turned to the last, and he shuddered as he saw Sildrin’s features on it.

His eyes turned back to the Sildrin in the middle of the hall. She had rested her face on the ground - the reddened cheeks drained by their colour, only leaving behind a blue hue. A part of the palace yet again collapsed - a puzzle that was never to be finished. Silently she started to rebuild it again.

Her face and the palace melted away like the wax of a candle - and he was pulled back into the nether where he came from. A part of him hoped his thoughts were allowed to rest in this void without the burden of knowing what had become of those he had left behind.


Catacombs Workshop
Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

The med-team worked efficiently as other Warhost troopers and Verpine Engineers flooded the chamber. The Verpine mostly talked among themselves, clicks and buzzing sounds reverberating from them as they impassively examined and cataloged the chamber of horrors. Aexod was now conscious and sat on a portable gurney as two Warhost medics treated him.

“That’s a class-three incision and puncture along with your concussion,” commented the Corporal. “This is going to hurt.” The Corporal sprayed wound sealant into the foot wound as a Private hooked Aexod up to an intravenous bacta-feed. The Zabrak grimaced. “No problem. We are tougher than humans.” His face went a little pale as the drugs in the spray and IV began to work on his wound. “Shavit.”

Macron lay in an open-faced medical capsule. The Sith’s armor was wrecked, his breathing slow, and his eyes closed. Green fluid seeped slowly from the horrible wound in his left side. A medic Captain was attending to the Sith along with two Privates, and the Captain shook his head. “I just don’t get it. He should be dead. He’s not responding to the drugs and appears to be in hibernation. And this green liquid is poison. I can’t tell if it was injected or was already present. He’s got a split kidney, a punctured lung, and damage to his liver and intestines. Or what passes for those organs. And this genetic scan is a mess. There’s no common DNA signature, rather a scrambled hash of them, with Human being the most prominent and Echani a secondary theme.”

“Interesting. Information he withheld. I’m not surprised,” replied Armad as he shuffled forward. “He’s been damaging his liver for years like a true Sadow.”The Umbaran smiled grimly. “My Master is not affected by many drugs. It’s both a blessing and a curse. In this case, a curse. Try something harsher. Industrial organic solvents like dichloromethane, chloroform, or pyridine direct to the heart is what he once told me in passing. I do hope he was being serious for once.”

“Are you serious?” The Captain turned to the Umbarak Dark Jedi. “That would kill…”

Armad cut him short. “A normal man? Yes? You’ll have already noticed he’s quite far from normal. Do it, that’s an order.” The body of the Adept jerked and twitched as the medics bent to their work. “And if it kills him, then I have succeeded…” the dark thought passed briefly through Armad’s mind as he dispelled it. “No.”

Sanguinius surveyed the carnage. Aside from the members of his team that had fallen, this place was utterly abhorrent. The conversion facility had been in operation for some time, and a literal stack of parts of various species were littered about here and there. One or two had been intact and had been whisked away to medical facilities, but the rest were… beyond saving. They were nothing but parts. It would have turned his stomach except for his strong will and walking meditation.

Tasha stood by, her own face crestfallen at the situation. Scarlet stood quietly with her, the two of them now blood-sisters in arms. “I believe in the Force,” Tasha said. “But this is just wrong.”

“I just don’t know what to say,” Scarlet commented. “In any case, I need to return to the ships and get back to my team.” She strode away quickly. Perhaps it was her own way of putting this horror behind her.

Allistaire stood watching the mess get cleaned up. Her face remained impassive, and did not show what she must have been feeling inside.

“This is disgusting,” the Jedi commented. “So many lives wasted in a perverse way.” Sanguinius keyed his comlink. “We’re moving out to the transports. We have two casualties. One can move under his own power,” he said while looking at Aexod. “And the other…”

Macron coughed, green goo spilling from his lips. “Is in bad shape.”

“I’ll call you guys back.” Sanguinius shut the com switch. “By the Living Force, you should be dead. I’m actually glad that you aren’t.” The Jedi walked to the capsule and stood over the Sith as the medics continued to work on him.

“As am I, Jedi.” The Sith laid back down into the capsule weakly. “My life energy refuses to join the Force so easily, it would seem. I’ve been rejected yet again. Huh huh.” The Adept grimaced and his tattooed face contorted in agony as more fluid bubbled from his side and the medics closed in again. “You mentioned waste. I agree, this was a most inefficient system. Wasteful and weak. Our modern methods serve to elevate the joiner of their own free will, not turn them into mindless puppets.”

“Unreal.” Sanguinius just shook his head. “You saved Aexod’s life. Why? I thought Sith cared little for life.”

“Aexod is a valiant warrior and did not deserve to die. It was my duty…. cough…. to save him from these worthless abominations. All warriors, man, woman, or alien deserve an honorable death. I’m… fading. Please. Get me to Gamuslag and the Cenota facility quickly. The droids there can replace my organs. I have to hibernate now. Thank you.” The Sith’s mismatched eyes closed.

Between seen and unseen…

“Master….” Macron’s voice called. He had sensed Vexatus in this shadow space and could not find him. It was time they had a long talk.


Catacombs Workshop
Crash Site
Sepros, Orian System

Allistaire watched, utterly impassive, as her teammates were patched up by medics. As new as she was and as distant as she usually appeared, she had come to care for them all in light of the disaster that the catacombs turned out to be.

At least, she had.

The sneaking suspicion that had plagued her since her arrival on Antei was now devouring her; what had been pure anxiety was now festering resentment. Her teammates had essentially left her for dead in the moments before the med crew had arrived, and in fact she was only standing here now because a stray medic had discovered her.

It was just as well, she supposed. She had ignored them and operated on her own parameters, but she certainly hadn’t abandoned them. In fact, she distinctly remembered saving them before Macron had awoken more of those kriffing cyborg monstrosities.

They didn’t even bother seeing if I was alright, she thought bitterly. Her resentment curdled to become plain dislike. Not even Sanguinius, our fearless leader.

Allistaire shook her head, dispelling the thoughts from her mind, knowing full well that such a mindset was unlike her. She wasn’t sure where these intense emotions had surfaced from, except that she was now entertaining those notions of abandonment when she had been striving to ignore them whilst in the Catacombs.

She turned from the group in disgust, hating not only them but herself. Too weak to save any of them, too weak to be useful…

That will change, the reasonable part of her mind tried to remind her.

The Mirialan strode away, leaving her teammates with the med crew, unable to hide her sneer of disgust.

Soon enough, she promised herself.

Treachery is the way of the Sith.


The war had been fought, the progenitor’s ship destroyed in battle and the droids brought offline. This day, the clan of Naga Sadow had been challenged and fought bravely against overwhelming odds. They were victorious,but victories always come with a cost. Rising from amidst the wreckage of shredded, torn up droids, Tasha’Vel had rendezvoused back with the others to hear the news of the other team.

Hearing Bentre’s voice again was a relief to Tasha, however the pain of losing Atra was heartbreaking. She had felt a huge ripple of the force the moment, he had gone down. She did not want to believe that anyone had fallen. He at least died saving his clan and proved to all that he was a hero and savior.

Tasha had the greatest respect for her fallen comrade. As is customary of any fallen warrior, Tasha pulled her sword from its hilt and performed an intricate sword dance in honor of Atra. She danced for the victory, his sacrifice and for a safe journey to the afterlife. Speaking in the language of the Twi’leks, she spoke of his glorious battles and wished him farewell. Taking up her blade, she then saluted to the sky and ground before sheathing her blade. A single tear fell from her left eye.

“Farewell, my fellow Sith in arms, may the force always guide you as you make your new journey.”

Things were going to be different, She wasn’t sure how the clan was going to move on after this.

“It is painful, but we can move on and still become greater. Let this be a brief time of sorrow and remembrance of Atra. There will be many more foes in life we will all face, but together we can still stay strong as a clan. Atra would want us to continue to stay strong for him.”

Turning, she saw Allistaire had been watching the others as they were getting patched up. She went over to her and gave a soft smile. “You did good, Allistaire. I wanted to thank you for trying to fight with me. I know that you will do great with our clan."

What will happen now?” She thought. “Only time will tell.”


Somewhere in the Shadowlands

This was how it felt to be undesired.

On a dry, gnarly wooden branch overhead, a small, fragile little shadowmoth displayed its white spotted wings, only for a female perched on the same branch to shrug her grey-white abdomen dismissively and reject the male for the second time.

In many other species, the male would have accepted defeat and simply moved on- but shadowmoths were complex creatures, and so the little grey moth plucked up the courage to open its wings again. The male was noticeably more wary this time, though, and unfurled its spotted wings a little more slowly, taking great care to make certain its last attempt at its well rehearsed courtship would be performed to perfection.

Unfortunately, the moth’s care proved its downfall, for right after the moth completed its third of the eight movements that comprised its performance, the female suddenly reared up and struck- her jaw clamping around the male’s thorax.

And that was the end of the male shadowmoth.

Below the branch, the Falleen sitting silently on one of the roots took his eyes off the moths and went back to healing the near-terminal wound that had been opened beside his heart. Even though what the Elder had watched may have only been a pair of insects, he could not help but see parallels between the survival of the fittest in the natural world and the constant competition and one-upmanship that infected the world he lived in.

Even though several days had passed since the battle had ended, he had still not yet returned to the palace for that same reason.

The commlink clipped to his waist had been chirping for days. Macron, Sai, others, each wondering where he was, what had happened; their concern was unwarranted, but after enduring such recent trauma, it was understandable why they may be concerned.

Back in the Temple of Sorrow, the moths there were still mourning their own losses, as they too often did. The Falleen himself remained weak, the wound to his chest still too deep to fully heal. He reached up and an ebony stick laying against the trunk of the tree floated into his hand; the Elder used his staff to push himself onto his feet and stood up.

But, however hated and misunderstood he may have been, however undesirable, and even if the assassins that had massacred the students on Antei may not have turned their swords against him, he had stood among the rogues and outcasts for a long, long time, he could not remain lost in the shadows of the forest forever…

Xanos had made the mistake of thinking he could change things alone once before.


KSD Damnation
Sepros Orbit

Several Hours After ‘Ashes Fall’ Events

Locke marched down the long corridor leading to the brig, followed by Admiral Simonetti and two Warhost troopers.

“Run it by me again, Admiral,” Locke said as they walked.

“They were modern star destroyers. Class two. Their fighters were a mix of Imperial models and others, including HLAFs. Their combat maneuvers and tactics indicated that they did know what they were doing. If not for the Damnation, they might have defeated us. In the end, we destroyed two of their star destroyers, and the third limped out of the system.”

“So now they know about us,” Locke said. He had a feeling in his stomach. There was a slight anxiety there, but it was overwhelmed by his anger. So much had happened so quickly. His image of the clan’s perfectly secure home system had been shattered.

“Any word on Atra?”

Simonetti paused for a moment. “No. It is unlikely he survived, judging by the reports of where he was last seen.”

“I won’t accept it without a body,” Locke growled, trying to keep his frustration in check.

The Admiral was probably right. Atra probably was dead. Sildrin had been acting very strangely sense the battle. Locke had felt a coldness toward the end that he could not explain. Still, he did not trust one such as Sildrin. Atra had disappeared before. Maybe he would return again. That cold feeling could have been anything.

Like the fact that we were just assaulted by almost overwhelming odds, out of nowhere.

In any case, Locke would not allow Atra to be marked as killed in action. Instead, he would be MIA, unless a body was recovered.

“And this prisoner you’re leading me to, what about him?” Locke asked, changing the subject.

“The star destroyers refused to jettison life pods. We found him among the wreckage of one and secured him before he could attack us. Judging by our…conversations with him, this group is not with the Organization, or at least, he does not know it.”

“Great,” Locke said sarcastically, “another enemy for the great Clan Naga Sadow.”

Simonetti chuckled, but it seemed hollow. Neither was in a very good mood on this day.

“Our losses?” Locke asked.

“A few thousand troops on the ground, who will take some time to replace. We did not lose any ships, though the Abyss can barely operate her gravity wells, the Harbinger’s hyperdrive is out of order and her shields are out, and both the Covenant and Retribution will require major repairs of their own. We also lost quite a few fighters. It will take months or years to replace these.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Locke said stubbornly.

“Yes,” Simonetti said, apparently choosing not to challenge Locke on this at the moment, or to point out the difficult of their position.

We’ll raid pirates and smugglers for supplies…increase recruitment, Locke thought. We’ll do something to get back up to full strength. I won’t let us remain vulnerable for too long, not like before…

Then they came to the brig and stepped inside.

The man in the cell was human, just like Locke or Simonetti. He seemed calm, though he glared at Locke as the group entered.

“Are you the leader of this group?” the man asked, voice heated.

“I’ll ask the questions,” Locke said. “Who are you?”

“I am just a man,” the prisoner said, “and you will soon be destroyed.”

Locke’s anger began to mount. It had been a frustrating day. His friend was missing and possibly dead. The clan had been attacked on their own soil. Thousands dead. The fleet was in tatters and barely functional. Some new enemy had appeared. And now one of their members was taunting the Consul, tossing out typical threats as if they were revolutionary. Locke was almost insulted.

“Who is your group? Do not test me.” Locke punctuated each word of the statement, speaking them deliberately.

“Do you really want to know?” the man asked. “Fine. We are the Dominion. This galaxy will be ours one day, but your system will be our home first.”

When the man stopped, Locke prompted him to continue. “And where does your ‘Dominion’ come from? The Republic would deal with any group that grew too large. Why should I believe that we didn’t just destroy your entire force?”

That was too good a thought to be true, but Locke had to bring it up.

The man tossed his head back and laughed. Locke opened his cell door and lunged forward, anger surging through him. He grabbed the man by the collar and hoisted him up on his toes, the Consul’s grip enhanced by the flow of the dark side filling him.

“Answer me,” Locke growled.

“That was but one small force,” the man answered. “The Republic does not know of us. We will take your system, and from there we will grow. You cannot run to them for help, just as we cannot reveal ourselves to them. Or did you think we knew nothing about you, Jedi?”

Locke felt sick in his stomach at the man’s words, as he wondered just how much he knew. Did this Dominion have spies in the clan? How long had they been watching?

“Where is your Dominion located?” Locke asked, voice low.

The man just laughed again. That was more than Locke could take. He knew he would get no answers here and he had no mind for interrogation to begin with. The Force coursing through him, he hurled the man against the far wall of his cell. Then the Consul reached out with the Force, tearing one of his soldier’s blasters out of it’s belt holster. It fit into Locke’s hand and he raised it, aiming the weapon at the prisoner.

The Consul fired the weapon. One shot, two, then three more, all into the man’s head. When he was finished, the prisoner’s face was unrecognizable and he had slumped to the floor, smoke rising from his body. It was a vomit-inducing sight, but the anger kept Locke’s mind busy.

When he spoke, his voice was a whisper. The anger still seethed within him as he sought to bring it under control.

“Tell your Dominion that we are coming for them,” he said, knowing full well that it was impossible for the man to do that. “Tell them that we are coming for revenge.”

Slowly, the Consul turned back to Simonetti and the troops. The soldiers seemed shocked, but Simonetti had likely seen other such outbursts from past leaders of the clan. Does he think I’m just like them, now? A volatile madman?

“We have a lot of work to do,” Locke said, voice emotionless. “Do you have other prisoners?”

Simonetti nodded.

“Good. Learn all you can. Then we will begin, and we will strike back against this…Dominion.”

The Admiral did not point out that their fleet was heavily damaged. He did not point out that part of the Warhost was severely depleted. He didn’t mention the injuries to the clan’s members, or the one who was missing. Locke was grateful for it.

The Consul walked past the Admiral and soldiers, leaving the brig, his mind lost in thought. There was a lot of work to do.


I must commend the artist of the Ashes-Fall graphic, it looks awesome! I have always had great interest in fire emblems and the way this one flows off the circular diagram is a rather impressive and intriguing concept. I highly respect conceptual artists that take their time to create such symbols and or with meaning behind them.


That would be me, and thank you for your commendation.