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

[CNS] Inferno


Temple of Sorrow
Orian System

Sanguinius Tsucyra Entar Sadow stepped through the halls of the Temple of Sorrow, keeping a measured pace. His Proconsul, Bentre Stahoes, stayed right at his shoulder.

“The situation on Aeotheran is coming around…” Bentre was saying, reporting on current events in Sadow’s domain. Sang listened with his ears as his eyes admired the Temple. It’s corridors were lined with ancient artifacts from the time of the Sith. The most valuable would be in the vault deep below ground, but here vases, chalices, artwork, and other pieces of Naga Sadow’s ancient legacy hung on the walls. The museums in the core worlds would give a fortune for such a collection, but these belonged to Sadow’s legacy.

“Good,” Sang said quietly, nodding for Bentre to continue. The pair came out into the Grand Hall of the Temple and he stopped in the middle, looking around. This chamber made it clear why the structure was often called the Sadow Palace: it’s vaulted ceiling and massive columns that flanked the room made it an imposing chamber. It was made to empower whoever sat in it’s throne, despite the fact that they sat below a huge bust of Naga Sadow himself.

“It’s all going well then,” Sang said, turning toward the exit of the Temple. “Good. And these dignitaries we are to meet…”

“Orian Assembly,” Bentre said, a touch of apathy in his voice. Was he in another one of his moods?

“Ah,” Sang said. “What a pleasant waste of time.”

They stepped outside in silence, watching as the shuttle approached. Sang could just hear the whine of the ancient Imperial Shuttle’s engines in the distance and see its’ distinctive vertical wishbone shape.

Then a deafening roar blocked out everything else.

Time seemed to slow. Sang turned. Bentre’s mouth was opening as if he was shouting, but no sound came. Sang looked over his shoulder, eyes widening at the sight beyond.

The Temple of Sorrow was in flames. Explosions rocked the towering structure, slowly working their way up the side, each blast barely audible, as if in the distance: boom-boom-boom-boom. Then there was a crack. The top half began to fall, slowly collapsing over their heads.

Sang looked to his side. Bentre had stumbled back out of the path of the structure. Sang joined him, dodging between smaller, falling pieces of what had been parts of the Temple’s outer structure moments ago.

Finally, after mere moments that felt like an eternity, the main superstructure fell. They were barely out of the way in time. Sang summoned the Force, trusting the power to protect him. He shoved a barrier between himself and the rubble, stopping a landspeeder-sized chunk of wall from crushing himself and Bentre. To his credit, the Proconsul had one lightsaber out, his head swinging from one side to the other, as if looking for other threads.

Of course, Sang thought. “How many others were in there with us?” he muttered, or thought he did. It was hard to tell as his hearing slowly returned to normal. The distant sound to everything was replaced with the roar of fire; smoke billowing from the broken top half of the Palace. Flames blossomed higher as remaining pieces of the wall caved in on themselves, crushing the weakened structure below. In moments, it was engulfed in flame.

“-sassins,” Bentre was yelling. “Watch it!” Sang turned and jumped backward, watching two blaster bolts sizzle past his head.

He had his own lightsaber ignited in a moment, deflecting the next strike. It was followed by a flurry of bolts from a different direction, as if their unseen attackers were trying to flank them. Sang slowly advanced in that direction, lightsaber held defensively, mind still numb to what had just happened. Flaming wreckage littered the ground around them, and the fires were spreading through the surrounding jungle.

Just as Sang swept his lightsaber up to disarm who had been shooting at him, another form stepped out of the shadows. This one had a vibroblade and lunged at Sang. The Augur turned to respond, but before his new assailant could reach him a jolt of electricity shocked the would-be assassin’s hand, causing him to drop the vibroblade. It was followed by a thrown lightsaber through the chest.

Drae’lath stepped from the shadows. The Knight recalled his lightsaber and studied their surroundings. “You’re safe,” he said. “This isn’t a total loss.”

“Thanks,” Sang answered. "Who would do this, though?

Sang knelt over the being Drae’lath’s lightsaber had impaled and fished through his cloak and pockets. He was just a man, but he had to have something to identify who he was. Feeling around the chest area, Sang felt a necklace or medallion. He tugged, pulling it free, and held it up to the firelight.

The emblem was distinctive: three pillars, the middle one rising slightly higher. They were framed by a circle, or perhaps it was the outline of a star. Either way, Sang knew who it belonged to.

“The Collective did this,” Bentre breathed, looking at the emblem in Sang’s hand.

“Yes,” the Consul agreed. He closed his fist over it. “We should see who else survived.”

Undisclosed Location
Sadow Territory
Orian System

The meeting room was filled with a hush, but the anger was nearly palpable in the air. Sang did not doubt that feeling for a moment. The members of Naga Sadow had cause to be angry. The Collective had struck at them and destroyed their headquarters, at the heart of their own dominion. He could feel the dark side’s presence, and for once it did not bother him.

The room was stone - ancient. It was hidden far below the Temple of Sorrow. There was no technology here, just a circular table ringed with chairs. None of them were occupied. Everyone stood, as if poised for action. The plain stone of the table was covered with only one thing: a tattered, burned banner with the Sadow emblem across it’s center, recovered from the destroyed palace.

Sons and Summit alike talked back and forth, and for once there was little debate.

“We should strike back at once!” Macron was saying, slamming a gauntleted fist on the circular table at the center of the room. Even the heavy, ancient stone cracked under “It is an outrage that they think they can attack us like this.”

There were several nods around the room. “We must consider every angle,” Malik said, much more calmly. “But right now, they think we are a weak, easy target.”

“We can’t let them think that,” Darkhawk said quietly. “They’ll attack us in force.”

“And we won’t,” Sang said. “I spoke with Simonetti briefly after their cowardly attempt.”

The Consul unrolled a parchment over the table, showing the local star systems. He pointed at one world, close to the Orian System. “This is Ruuria. We have reports that the Collective have been staging forces there. We were going to leave them alone before, while the Dark Council strengthened their hold over the other Clans, but we will wait no longer.”

“Let us crush them, then,” Evelynn Wyrm said. “And make them pay for what they’ve done.”

There were murmurs of agreement. “And we will,” Sang said. “We will make the Collective think twice about attacking us again, and we will beat them down until they give up on us.”

He was not sure of Sadow’s ability to do that, but it was the encouragement they needed, and it was sound strategy. If they hit the Collective hard enough, and stayed on the offensive, then their enemy would not have a chance to react before the Dark Council’s fleets were ready to strike again. The Grand Master had already promised to end the Collective’s threat to their domain and the Entar had no doubt of the Grand Master’s power.

“We leave within the hour,” Sang said, ending the discussion.

Ruurian Orbit
Outer Rim Territories

Naga Sadow’s Warhost emerged from hyperspace ready for battle. Starfighters surrounded the Venator-class star destroyer Damnation, while smaller capital ships formed up around it and moved ahead, intending to meet the enemy forces head on.

Collective ships turned to engage Naga Sadow’s, putting themselves between the attacking fleet and a large space station. They were smaller in number than Admiral Simonetti had predicted would be here, but it was still a formidable enemy fleet.

Amidst it all, dozens of smaller craft emerged from the Damnation’s ventral hangar, hellbent on destroying the Collective’s ground base. Their orders were clear: destroy every vestige of the Collective. Kill any who wore their emblem. Destroy their ships, starfighters, and bases. Leave only scorched earth behind.

Naga Sadow had left the Collective to themselves after the Battle of Nancora, leaving them to survive until the Dark Council was ready to face them. But now the Collective had roused a sleeping giant.

And they would pay.