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[CNS] Nov 2015 - Slice of Life RO


This thread will be used for all non-objective based RO for CNS throughout the month of November 2015. Please keep it to the single thread so as not to flood the Discourse. Thank you all.

Several Days after the events of Ashes Fall
Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

Locke watched with a solemn gaze as the men he had contracted went about their work. His mind was still working over the events of the past, trying to piece together a different path. Any path at all that would have spared the sacrifice of his friend. No matter what approach he took, the outcome never changed. Somehow, though, Locke felt that Atra had been ready. Ready for the rest he had craved, but never put voice to.

As a man, there was not much else he could do for his friend, other than maintain the memories they had shared. As a Consul, however, he would ensure that none would easily forget the sacrifice any man or woman made in service to the Clan. So it was that he had instructed the creation of a marker, nothing grand or obnoxious, just a permanent tablet planted firmly in the main grounds of the Temple of Sorrow. Engraved upon its surface was the date and a brief memorial, outlining the actions that had led to its formation.

He could feel the shuffling of the bodies behind him, those who had come to look upon the marker as it was completed. Locke didn’t look to see who they were, to put names to their faces. At the end of the day, it was a grim reality that any in the Clan, no matter how powerful, could fall like so many leaves upon the wind. This was testament to that.

Satisfied that the job was complete to the letter of his request, Locke nodded to the men and motioned for their departure. He took several steps closer, placing his fingertips lightly against the tablet’s surface, tracing the feel of the engraving. “Farewell, my friend,” Locke spoke softly so the others could not hear him, “I hope you found your peace.”

He had waited, with great patience, though he didn’t know exactly how long. It was a significant risk he took by sneaking into the system, but it had been a calculated decision. Mirus Hi’ija stood in the shadows until only he remained, making his approach in silence. He stood above the grave, knowing no body lay within it, but that wasn’t important. It was a matter of honour, for which he had come. Such things were worth the risk. He reached towards his side and drew the blade from its sheath, admiring the metal as it reflected the fading light. It was this blade he had held in his hand the first time he had crossed swords with Atra. With grim determination he knelt down, using his bare hands to move mound after mound of dirt. Mirus laid the weapon down, hilt towards the marker, and buried it once more before rising to his full height.

He didn’t say anything, and why would he? A warrior had no need for words, they spoke through their actions. The Titan merely gazed upon the lone marker that represented a friend’s passing, knowing that it could never hope to describe all that Atra’s actions had during his time. He turned then, at long last, adding his own footprints to those who had come and gone, leaving the marker to its solitude once more.

Unknown Location

Her eyes fluttered open, the pupils contracting almost instantly to protect her from the sudden touch of light. Infinity filled the expanse within her gaze. Countless auroras danced before her, shifting through a never ending spectrum of hues and accents even as they twisted and turned. Shooting stars fought for attention as their innumerable cascade fell like rain over the horizon.

Infinity was the word her mind deemed to call it, for she lacked the ability to truly define what her eyes were conveying. There was no beginning, no end, just existence laid bare and the gnawing truth creeping through her thoughts like a cancer.

None of it was real.

Formless but moments before, she was suddenly all too aware of her body. Its confines became chains pulling her back from the endless beauty she wished nothing more than to drift into for eternity. Unable to keep aloft, her body sank ever further only to suddenly stop.

There was no pain, no sense of falling. It was just… nothing.

Darkness now fell upon her vision, the stars dulling 'till nothing remained save for the wispy trail of the auroras. She lay there, unmoving, waiting for her vision to adjust once more. Something flickered across her field of view, followed by another. Then another! She blinked rapidly, tilting her head with unabashed curiosity. She raised her left arm, seeking to grab hold of whatever the offending objects were. She paused instead, her gaze focusing on the substance now falling from her flesh.


She should be cold shouldn’t she? From what she remembered snow was cold… Remembered? What did she even remember? Certainly not her name or even where she was, that much was clear. And yet, within the confines of her mind, a voice kept repeating over and over that nothing was real. Was it a dream then?

Her right hand pressed hard into the ground, twisting slightly as it fought through the layers of snow before gaining enough traction to support her weight. She pulled her legs in under her, planting them firmly against the ground before rising to her full height. As she did so, a sea of leafless trees seemed to rise at the same time, as if in answer to her.

The voice in her mind grew ever louder, almost screaming the words now as if trying to convince her of the truth. But why would she need convincing? If this wasn’t real, it simply wasn’t. Belief had nothing to do with it. A dark shape moved just inside the edges of her vision, causing her head to snap towards it in hopes of setting sight upon its source.

Within the rows of skeletal branches she saw… nothing.

Still, the voice pounded against the confines of her mind and yet was no longer alone. She could hear it there, the most peculiar thing. It was almost like a purring of satisfaction. From what though? She pivoted on her heel, her head searching back and forth in hopes of finding whatever was there with her, in the place that wasn’t real and yet was in its own way.

Suddenly she stopped, feeling air flittering against the back of her neck. The most peculiar thing, however, was that the sensation had been the first she had felt since opening her eyes. Not the cold, not the wind, not even the soft caress of the gently falling snow. None of these things she had felt during her experience, only this sudden intrusion. She turned, ever so slowly, as if part of her didn’t want to see.

Not air, she realized all too late. It was breath.

Her eyes snapped open, this time greeted by the empty expanse that was the ceiling of her quarters. She sat up, the sheet of her bed slipping towards her waist even as she drew a knee up to rest her arm against, supported her head in her hand. The creature’s roar still echoed in her mind, fading into obscurity.

What was it? And why had it seemed so real?

Providence, as it were, held no desire to allow her time for contemplation. The darkness of her quarters shrank back as the door slid open and the light of the hallway washed over her.

“Keira?” the Miraluka standing in the opening spoke her name with an obvious note of concern. Though she was not of his kin, the L’eonheart’s wife and children had been all the family the woman could remember. “Get your things, it’s time.”

“Right,” she replied. Keira almost breathed out the word, exhaustion still gripping her. She tilted her head to the side, grasping her knee with both hands as she laid her head against it and affixed Methyas with an accusing stare. “Blind or not, you need to give a girl some privacy here,” she exclaimed while barely managing to contain a smirk.

The Son of Sadow’s lip twitched in response, as if fighting a grin of his own, before inclining his head with a nod. “Of course,” he stated before turning back towards the corridor and allowing the door to slide shut, plunging the room into darkness once more.

Consul’s Office
Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

“Right, I’m going to need you to repeat that one 'cause it sounded an awful lot like: hey Locke, you should make this woman you’ve never met the next Quaestor of Shar Dakhan!”

Frustration was written clearly across the Consul’s features; though Locke was never truly clear how much the Miraluka could actually make out. He glared at the other man regardless, trying his best to focus his gaze on where Methyas’ eyes would have been if he had any.

“A gross oversimplification of the situation, Consul Sonjie,” Methyas responded as he rubbed his chin with his left hand. “I have been preparing her, personally, for over a year now. I’ve taught her everything about leading within the Brotherhood that I know.”

Locke pressed his palms against his desk and pushed off, rising from his chair while turning his gaze away from the other Son of Sadow. His arms crossed over his chest as he paused a moment in contemplation before beginning to pace. “You haven’t exactly been the most present of Sadowan, Methyas. Your recommendation does not hold the weight it once did,” he said after much thought.

The Miraluka simply nodded, adding nothing in response for it would serve no purpose. An awkward silence came over the room as neither men moved to make a statement. The steady, uneven rhythm of their paired breathing punctuated each heartbeat of silence before Methyas straightened in his chair and tilted his head so that his right ear was pointed towards Locke, a smile spreading on his face. “If nothing else, Locke, consider this. The landscape within the Brotherhood is changing, as I’m sure you’re aware. Would it not be best to have someone you can trust to not be coloured by it? To have been kept free of its influence?” Methyas let the weight of his words hang, almost positive that Sonjie had already been considering much the same.

The Consul turned to give Methyas a long look, weighing his options carefully. His arms unfurled as he leaned forward to press a button among the many that adorned the console of his desk. The door to his office slid open with a hiss, too suddenly to grant the revealed eavesdropper any chance at reprieve. She fell to the ground with a thud and a groan, laughing nervously as she looked up at the two men.

“Keira Viru,” Locke said with a controlled flow to his words, “I have a job for you.”

Outer Grounds
Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

The newly appointed Quaestor of Shar Dakhan sat quietly upon the front steps leading into the temple. They were wide enough that Keira was able to remain out of the way while still managing to watch the steady stream of cadets and Sadowans flowing in and out. She tilted her head to the side, resting it against her palm as she let out a long sigh.

The damned Miraluka had stayed behind to talk to the Consul, while leaving her to become acclimated to what was supposedly to be her new home. It had taken relatively little time for her to ascertain that there were far too many people there, and she felt like that may be something she hated. Maybe the truth of that was hidden somewhere in the swirling black pool of her memories that not even Methyas had been able to see through for her.

What did ‘acclimated’ even mean for someone like her? She didn’t know these people and they definitely didn’t know her. As she let her senses spread she could feel them all pressing in around her, and frankly it was terrifying. Not too far from the steps she could sense Allistaire in deep contemplation, though Keira didn’t actually know the Mirialan’s name. Like so many of the other Force users she felt, there was a distinct ‘flavor’ to the sensation. Then there was another, coming up the steps with a feeling of purpose. This one was not a Force user, but one of the more accomplished Mercenaries that now counted themselves among the Sadowans: Courier Qyreia. Truth be told, that woman from Devil’s Shroud had quite the colorful language at her disposal, but that was something Keira would learn in due time — maybe.

“So you’re the new Quaestor,” a voice stated from behind her.

Viru jumped to her feet and spun about in a single motion, instantly ready to put distance between them if she identified a threat. Marcus Kiriyu eyed her with a somewhat amused expression, but was most definitely not a threat… well, not just yet.


Temple of Sorrow

Allistaire Von Drake settled into the depths of the Force, trying to call her mind as Methyas had taught her. The events that had come to be known as Ashes Fall, as well as a series of personal events, had shaken her convictions to the core.

Who am I? she wondered. The last time she had seen those Sadowans who had ventured into the catacombs with her had haunted her in the days that followed, her memories of her thoughts regarding those individuals bringing with them a fresh wave of guilt. Having never endured something as trying as those fights with the cyborg droids, she was experiencing what older Brotherhood members had gone through at one point or another and wasn’t equipped to deal with the ensuing obsessive thoughts.

Treachery is the way of the Sith was a phrase that had been bothering her for some time now. It wasn’t a thought of her own, of that she was sure; it was too vague, too cryptic. No, that thought had come from outside herself. While not an inherently evil phrase, she was bothered by it because of the anger and conviction to cause harm with which it had crossed her mind.

Such rage is beneath me, she scolded herself. It won’t happen again. It can’t.

Allistaire settled deeper into the Force and sunk into the Abyss.


Private Landing Area
Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

The shuttle with Clan Naga Sadow markings from Gamuslag landed in the courtyard, the heat from atmospheric re-entry still making it’s hull ping as it settled down. Troopers rushed to secure the unannounced landing but backed away as the codes were sent. The landing ramp dropped, and a Verpine Engineer stepped down followed by a limping red-armored human.

“Engineer Zzzclk’ik, Marshal Commander Sadow,” the trooper in charge saluted.

“At ease, Sergeant.” the Verpine’s translator module interpreted the insect’s clicks and buzzes. The giant insect regarded the Elder walking beside him. “Are you sure you are up for this, human? Though your organ replacements took, you are still operating at a low level of functionality.”

Behind him, the Sith gestured towards the nearby Hall. “Nothing those days in a bacta tank didn’t cure. I can deal with the pain using the Force. I have to go pay my respects.” The two figures entered the Great Hall, one walking easily and the other limping slowly. They walked to the plaque commemorating the fallen Atra Ventus.

“I thought you did not have good relations,” commented the Verpine. “I do not understand non-hive behavior.”

“That is true. I… altered Atra in my youth. He was one of the first besides Tsainetomo. It didn’t go well unfortunately. I learned from the experience, but it made him hate me and rightly so. Still, he did ask for it. And he became powerful indeed as he became more experienced.” Macron opened an ornate bottle with the Clan logo embossed on it and poured out a stream of whiskey onto the plaque solemnly. “You fought and died like a true warrior. Though we did not see eye to eye, I honor you, my fallen comrade. Give ‘em Hell on the other side.”

“I see. You were inexperienced and inefficient. That is an unfortunate failure.” The Verpine’s compound bug eyes remained unreadable and impassive. “I do not understand these rituals either. That’s a waste of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.”

“I would kill most people for saying that. But that is one thing I love about you Verpine. You get right to the point. You are, of course, quite right about my failure.” The Adept stepped to the side of the Hall and touched one of the datapads. “Locate Shar Dakhan Quaestor.”

The data-interface beeped. “Outer Grounds, Front Steps. Marcus Kiryu and Courier Qyreia also present.”

“Let’s go meet the new Quaestor and see what she’s made of,” chuckled Macron with a grimace. "Locke is usually a good judge of character as much as I hate to admit it.I hope she’s up for the job- and the bizarre group of people she has to lead.”


Outer Grounds
Temple of Sorrow

“Oh kriffing hell,” the Zeltron muttered quietly to herself as she clutched at her head, “why do I always let that Wookie talk me into those drinking contests of his? Body mass like that… Ugh, I should know better, and now I’m down twenty creds.”

After a night of hard drinking away from the Sadowan headquarters, Qyreia was finally making her way back to this new-found home away from home. Still acclimating to the climate of the organization, the smuggler-turned-mercenary found no lack of people claiming to be friends, though how many of them were simply taking advantage of her contractual obligation was difficult to say. With the recent demise of the late Quaestor Atra Ventus, her already tenuous position seemed even more so.

Enjoy it while you can, kid, she mused absent-mindedly. Mercs are only good as long as they’re useful. Once the cost outweighs that little factor, they’ll be kicking your cargo hold to the curb.

As she strode to the steps, she finally managed to lift her head and see the small congregation of her fellow Sadowans. Great, she thought hopelessly, I’ve got a hangover - which is rare enough - and I have to be a people-person. As she drew closer, finally able to make out the features of the people present, she instantly stopped. “Holy Hutt-humper,” she murmured to herself, “who’s the hottie?” She noted Kiriyu beside the woman, already familiar with the man from her recruitment period.

Okay, just relax. Be cool, act natural… Stop talking to yourself and wasting time looking awkward on the staircase… Ah, cut the phobium, Q. Walk past, act natural, and you can go about your business.

Mustering up what little intestinal fortitude that she could without vomiting up her competition drinks in the process, the red-skinned woman walked purposefully up the steps, trying to maintain her balance. “Heya Marcus,” she said, foregoing formality entirely. Who cares? You’re a merc. She turned to the seated woman and could swear that her own face turned a deeper shade of red. “H-hey. I’m Qyreia. Nice to meetcha.”

Stupid. Should have walked past when you had the chance.


Outer Grounds
Temple of Sorrow

Keira’s ice blue eyes bounced between Marcus and the Zeltron mercenary. Already, the half-Umbaran wanted to hunt down Methyas and beat him within an inch of his life for not warning her about - or preparing her properly for - the realities of her new found situation. Not only was she now thrown into the deep end, after having spent a year in isolation with the L’eonheart family, but she had to lead them. How exactly was that going to work?

She closed her eyes and fought to center herself, seeking the calm pool at her core and latching onto it like a lifeline. Once her anxieties were quelled she allowed her eyes to open once more and quickly brushed a strand of raven-black hair away from her gaze while putting on a smile. “Um, Qyreia… right… pleasure to meet you?” Keira managed, feigning confidence she didn’t truly possess.

Still, if she was to lead an entire House of such people she would need to wear her metaphorical armour at all times.

“I’m Keira Viru,” she continued while rubbing the side of her neck and glancing to the side, “newly appointed Quaestor of Shar Dakhan.”

Having the introduction out of the way helped immensely in clearing away the fog that hung over the young leader’s mind. Already she felt like some of the weight had been lessened from her shoulders, if only just a little bit. Her eyes glanced from Kiriyu to Qyreia, not quite sure what to do next but was faced with the overwhelming feeling that the temple was about to get a whole lot more crowded.



Allistaire ended up deciding that meditation just wasn’t for her. With a weary sigh she got to her feet, stretched, and nearly stumbled as she sensed a familiar-yet-not-familiar presence. For a moment she thought Methyas was here, but that was impossible.

Methyas wasn’t here, he couldn’t be. He never traveled. Still it had to be worth the look, and besides she didn’t have anything better to do.

She headed from the meditation area and towards the blinding sunlight, blinking until her eyes adjusted to the brightness. Emerging into the courtyard, she saw a small group of people–what looked like Marcus Kiriyu and the mercenary, Qyreia, but she was too far away to tell for sure–clustered around a solitary figure sitting on the worn steps.

Not being the friendliest of people, and still bothered by her failed meditation, Allistaire started to swerve away from the group when she heard a female voice shout her name.


She winced. Never in her entire life had she been addressed as such. Who would except Qyreia? she thought regretfully. With no choice now, she changed direction mid-step and headed towards the little group, groaning with internal dislike at the thought of having to socialize.

Qyreia stopped mid-question as Allistaire approached, and the Zeltron wasted no time in throwing an arm around her shoulders. “And this is Allistaire Von…something or other. Alli, say hello to Keira Viru!”

She thought that Keira looked a little tired and overwhelmed, which was how the Acolyte felt herself.

“She’s been staying with Methyas,” Marcus said in an undertone. Allistaire understood, then, why she thought she’d sensed her Master here and couldn’t help but feel miffed that he hadn’t thought to find her, given her recent promotion and the events of Ashes Fall.

“Welcome to Naga Sadow,” she said, carefully shaking off Qyreia’s arm. “I’m sorry my Clanmates aren’t giving you more space.”


Main Grounds
Temple of Sorrow

A leaf blew through the palace courtyard as Xanos strode through the familiar paths in search of the memorial that he had overheard mention of since he had returned to the palace. Like so often was the case, he felt a stranger in the very seat of power he himself had helped forge alongside his Master so many decades earlier. A robed, hooded student, most likely Twi’lek or Togruta judging by the head tails peeking from their cowl, passed him from the opposite direction, without so much as even looking up to acknowledge him.

It had been less than a month since he had tried to shroud the Orian System in the ashes of the Star of Ombus, and already it seemed the youngest novitiates had forgotten, but perhaps it was better that way; he had never sought to be remembered as a monster…

Like the new recruit, the white-haired maiden sitting on the tree trunk alongside the memorial did not turn to acknowledge him as he approached behind her. All warmth and colour had faded from the woman’s formerly vibrant mane, and all that remained were the long, cold, ghostly white tresses that now ran down her neck, past her shoulders, and only stopping short of her knees, as if her entire frame was itself wrapped in a soft white blanket of snow and ice.

This was not the woman he had known a few days earlier… no, it was more like looking into a mirror and seeing a reflection of his own past, back when he himself had once closed himself off from the world…

Fallen leaves rustled underfoot when Xanos approached, the gilded foot of his ebon staff also clacking against the rocks in the soil with every step. The Falleen’s steps were more lumbered than usual, sounding heavy, where the woman’s onetime master had been wounded, although Xanos gave no sign of acknowledgement of his fragile condition. The wound he had suffered during the recent conflict had still yet to heal fully, but he had spent nearly a week out in the forest, and had accepted he could not sit by and watch from the shadows forever.

The only sign of life that the woman showed at all was the mist where her breath quickly turned to ice each time she breathed out.

It would have been a mistake, however, to think the woman had not sensed his presence- the sorceress’s senses rivaled that of his own, surpassed them even- but still she gave no sign of recognition, no greeting, not even a minute tilt of her head. The tree trunk where she sat looked cold, and, indeed, where a line of small insects marched in a row up the base of the trunk, upon reaching her spot, they deviated, looping around underneath, and taking the longest way possible, rather than risk to pass nearer to the silent female Elder.

“Appren–” Xanos began, but quickly stopped to correct himself- the scarlet-haired sorceress, and her hair would forever be scarlet in his timeless eyes, had grown beyond just his student. “I should have foreseen this,” was all the Elder instead said.

Despite Xanos’s acknowledgement of his own shame, his own failure at his stunted vision, the woman remained silent, still not affording him even a backward glance.

But then, it was understandable. He had failed himself, which meant failed her, failed her family.

A stern, modulated voice broke the pair’s quiet reflection.

“Apostate, halt!”

The seer did not need to turn around. In his mind’s eye, he had already seen the group approach across the courtyard, a team of four heavily armed marines, together with a single figure, their outline hidden from head to foot in black, face hidden behind a dark, faceless mask; a Black Guard, their identity, their self, replaced by service to the throne.

“You are to follow us,” the guardsman barked. “The Consul would speak with you.”

Paying no heed to the Black Guardsman’s command, the Falleen kept his eyes on the woman, but where before he would have read her like a book, now he felt only an icy chill, which rose up inside his own chest, making his own breath shadow the ice of hers.

Sildrin’s thoughts were unreachable beneath a blanket of snow and cold; unreachable, in spite of the Force bond that entwined her and her Master’s spirits as one. She had saved him once; he did not wish to see her walk the same lonely path he had once mistakenly trodden.

Apostate,” snapped the Black Guard again.

“Do not repeat my mistake,” was all Xanos said, before finally turning around to the guards, however the woman remained lost in her own silent contemplation, even as the guards led Xanos away…


Outer Grounds
Temple of Sorrow
About 30 seconds prior to Alli’s arrival…

“Y-your the new Quaestor?” Well bork me right in the choobies, I was eyeing up the boss. …Oh well. “So, um…”

“Yes?” Keira’s voice seemed half nervous, half expectant, and Qyreia had a hard time telling which. The look in Marcus’ eyes was more wary, if not warning the Zeltron to watch her proverbial step, only serving to compound her own nervousness.

“I-I don’t mean to pry or nothing, but I’ve just never seen you around and so I thought I’d say hi and… and stuff.” Keep it up, red. Really hitting her with that charm that you’re famous for. “Er… So haaave youuu,” she drew out her words, looking around for something, anything to say, and noticed Allistaire coming down the steps, “met Alli?” She turned her attention up the steps. “Alli!”

She introduced her Mirialan friend, though “friend” was likely a strong word. Amiable coworker? she thought casually, throwing an arm around the Gray Jedi. “And this is Allistaire von… something or other. Alli, say hello to Keira Viru!”

Whew, she thought as Allistaire proceeded with her own introduction, that worked out well. Well, it went better than expected anyway. She felt very contented with herself, only half-listening until Allistaire shrugged her off.

“I’m sorry my clanmates aren’t giving you more space.”

“I was giving her space,” she mumbled dejectedly. Better than smothering her with my chest like I had originally planned.

“It’s alright,” Keira said softly, pushing a lock of her black hair back behind her ear. I wish I could do that, Qyreia thought absent-mindedly.

Whilst the Zeltron fantasized, the Quaestor’s eyes narrowed, seemingly oblivious to Allistaire and Marcus for a brief moment. As Qyreia fidgeted, muttering something about the weather or some other nonsense, the Umbaran woman rose hesitantly, resembling a wary cat as she leaned in close to the Zeltron, looking her over with close scrutiny. Allistaire was about to pause her coworker’s overtures when Keira yelped and fell back onto her behind on the steps.

“Good job mercenary! You scared her!”

“I’m a little confused…”

“Y-you… You’re red!”

Qyreia exchanged looks with Marcus and Allistaire both, but they seemed as confused as her. “Um… yes?”

“How are you not in pain?!” When Qyreia resumed her confused, shifty-eyed expression, Keira took to her feet again and pinched the red woman’s arm.


“I mean, this is one heck of a sunburn!” She looked over various bits of exposed flesh, particularly the neckline. “Not a single tan line either.”

Well, I have lines, but that’s ‘cause I work out… Wait wait wait. “Um, have you never seen a Zeltron before?”

“Zeltron? What’s a Zeltron?”

Qyreia didn’t know what to say to that, yet when she looked at Allistaire for help, she got a bit excitable herself. “Hold on! You think it’s weird that I have all this red skin, when standing right here is an all-green girl?!”

Keira stood back, nonplussed. “Well of course not; she’s a Mirialan.”

Qyreia could feel Allistaire’s inner laughter, and it made her want to punch the stupid Jedi, yet she managed to refrain, noting Marcus’ own confused amusement. “Oookay. Well, I’m an alien known as a Zeltron. We’re red-skinned, usually good to look at, and aside from myself, are generally party animals.”

“Why aside from you?” The others even seemed interested by this yet-unheard confession.

“Well… y’see…” She hesitated, trying to think of some way to phrase it so as not to start some sort of gossip. “Listen, if you’re free sometime, I’ll tell ya about it over dinner.”


Main Grounds
Temple of Sorrow

Hidden in the shadows under some trees the Neti stood, quietly watching the scene in front of him. It seemed exceptionally bold for the Black Guardsman to make commands like that at the Prophet, Malik was certain that if Xanos had desired to resist their command then there would be nothing the little security detail could have done about it, but for now he seemed to comply. Maybe the Falleen had changed over the years after all, he had vehemently claimed to be trying to protect the clan recently during the ritual at Ombus and perhaps he had been correct, Malik had heard rumors about what had happened other places in Brotherhood space and for now Orian seemed to have been spared the brunt of it at least. He still wasn’t quite sure what to think of the Prophet who had at times served as his leader and at other times as a part of his summit when the Adept had been Consul, but his recent actions had made him realize that perhaps there was hope for change in everyone still.

He turned his gaze on the memorial marker and lowered his head for a moment. Atra Ventus wasn’t the first Sadowan who had lost his life in service of the Clan and he wouldn’t be the last, but where many often died in their own pursuits of further power, the Umbaran had seemingly died in a selfless attempt to prevent much more damage, had the Progenitor been taken out by one of the ships in orbit instead. If he had known nothing else about his former Quaestor then that would still have been enough to honor him.

Having no desire to disturb the Prophet’s Apprentice the Neti quietly walked away towards the entrance to the Temple of Sorrow.


Outer Grounds
Temple of Sorrow

Keira tiled her head to the side again, contemplating the Zeltron’s words. It had been longer than she realized since last she had eaten anything. Was it on the way to Sepros in the shuttle with Methyas? Surely it had not been so long as that, yet the sudden growling within her stomach verified the truth of the matter. Still, she was taken aback somewhat. Everything was so new, so different to what she was accustomed to. Dinners with Doctor Naomi L’eonheart had always been a more intimate affair; the dinner table was always quiet and calm, even the children behaving.

Somehow, the Quaestor had the feeling things wouldn’t be remotely the same in her new home.

“I suppose I could spend hours staring at your dossier, or take you up on that offer,” Keira quipped as she gripped her chin between her forefinger and thumb, visibly contemplating. “Sure, why not?”

She glanced at Allistaire and Kiriyu respectively, giving them a quick nod of acknowledgment. Already she was steadily gaining the confidence she needed to fulfill her role. The initial shock of her new surroundings was fading and her trademark wit beginning to shine through. “You two as well… wouldn’t want you to start feeling all neglected,” Viru remarked. Her lips were spread into an almost ear to ear grin as her gold-starburst filled eyes flicked between them.

The smile faded almost as suddenly as it came, replaced by an almost solemn curiosity. “Um… I’ve just been wondering… how familiar were you guys with my predecessor?” she asked quietly. Truth be told, Methyas had been less than forthcoming with information on that. He had all but slammed the metaphorical door in Keira’s face when she tried to broach the subject. Usually the Miraluka was far more forthcoming with information when prodded, having a thirst for knowledge that was well known and the desire to share it.

Still, she needed to be able to lead within Shar Dakhan, and to do so she had to know what they were accustomed to.


Outer Grounds
Temple of Sorrow

“You two as well…wouldn’t you to start feeling neglected,” Allistaire heard Keira say. It took a moment for those words to make sense to the Mirialan, and when finally she understood what had just happened she felt rather blindsided.

Was I just invited to dinner? she wondered. While feeling rather honored to be given the rare chance to see someone so high ranking outside of a professional setting, she had no desire to spend any length of time with either Marcus Kiriyu or Qyreia Arronen.

Plebians, she thought, with a mental sniff of disdain.

“…how familiar were you guys with my predecessor?” To Allistaire it seemed like their new Quaestor was nervous, which made her quite curious. What would someone like Keira Viru have to be nervous about, whenever she had been tutored by an individual as knowledgeable as Methyas L’eonheart?

“He was pretty…well, I mean…” Qyreia started to say. Allistaire wished that she would not open her mouth unless she planned on ever finishing a sentence.

Thankfully Marcus interjected, and whatever his shortcomings as far as loyalty he at least could speak properly. “Atra Ventus was very well respected,” he said carefully. Whether he was trying his best to be respectful of the man’s memory or simply spouting off an opinion he did not truly believe, Allistaire did not know for sure.

“He is dead,” she said in the silence that followed. She could feel someone glaring at her but paid it no mind; the dislike of others was hardly something she cared about. “He is dead, and you are here. If you truly were taught by Master Methyas, you will do well.”

Why am I complementing her? she asked herself, and why aren’t we going to get these infernal dinner plans over with?


Outer Grounds
Temple of Sorrow

Having her invitation extended to everyone stung slightly, but it was a splash of cold water that Qyreia needed. Hooh boy, you need to relax ol’ girl. Almost lost your head at first sight. I thought we didn’t do that sort of thing. The subtle but abject look of discontent on Allistaire’s face rather made up for the loss of her emotional high. When the new Quaestor asked about Ventus however, she was left dancing with two left feet.

“He was pretty… well, I mean…” Pretty nice? I never talked to the guy in detail so… heck if I know what he was like.

Her hesitation only got her an interjection by Kiryu. At least he had the good grace to fill in the spaces for her total lack of knowledge, though she knew enough that Allistaire’s matter-of-fact, higher-than-thou way of speaking was like a Hutt probing her ear with its tongue. It irked the Zeltron in all of the wrong ways; thankfully she managed to keep the commentary to herself for the time being. If anything, it settled her previous stammer and got her thinking about the whole dinner affair in greater detail.

Let’s see, she thought as the ponderous silence ticked away, how much do we know about the area? The unfortunate answer was: next to nothing. Due to the aloof nature of her position for the time being, she had learned about as much about her Clan’s spacial holdings as she did of the people that made up the organization, save for a select few. Thinking hard about it, Sepros on the whole offered little save for the austere Temple and the expansive jungle, neither of which being conducive to a comfortable, friendly environment.

“Well,” she said, returning from her brief thoughts, “I don’t know about you kids, but I just trudged through one nasty stretch of jungle after trying to drink a Wookiee under the table - something I don’t recommend trying - so I’m going to go hit the refresher. Miss Viru,” she said with a polite bow, “it was good meeting you.” She walked purposefully up the stairs, calling back with a casual wave, “Lemme know what you folks figure out for dinner, otherwise I’m cookin’ for one.”

Making her way inside and heading for her spartan room, Qyreia thought that perhaps her parting words had sounded harsh, even if she had said them in a joking way. Oh well. Not likely there’s anything but the mess hall anyway. Guess it’s the mini-stoven again. The ‘stoven,’ an ad-hoc stove and oven condensed into a half-meter box that she had thrown together - and had real mechanics tweak - for her small, personal cuisine. It wasn’t much, and it needed the occasional kick, but it worked for what she needed. I’ll buy a food synthesizer someday, she mused.

First order of business was the refresher though. Being out all night had made her weary enough, but hanging out in a ramshackle jungle dive-bar was not good for one’s hygiene under any circumstances. Without any sort of finesse, she stripped, turned the shower on, and stepped in. Almost instantly she could feel the grime falling away from her red skin, seeming to lift a great weight from her weary limbs.

“Ohhh fraaaack that’s nice,” she mumbled, enjoying the cleansing.

Once finished, she hopped into some clean clothes, dropped the other ones into her laundry, and lay down on the bed for a quick nap. As she drifted off, she remembered her confession about her differing opinion from that of other Zeltrons. “That’s gonna be a fun topic,” she said, staring at the ceiling. “I’m sure that Mirialan will just eat it right up too. Force-knows she doesn’t like me for some reason.” The idea kept rolling through her head over and over until she eventually fell asleep.


Outer Grounds, Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

Keira watched Qyreia depart with a slightly raised eyebrow, She didn’t know what to make of the Zeltron, though whether she was unable to — or unwilling to — figure it out was another matter altogether. Definitely a puzzle to be explored at another time; for now, she had to deal with those who still remained. With a sharp inhale of breath, Keira threw on her mask, the one that she had been practising for the majority of her short memory. She glanced between the Rollmaster and Allistaire with an almost mocking grin, as if in on a joke that neither of them were privy too.

“I do have to get to Aeotheran at some point, so maybe we should take that dinner to go. I’ll leave that up to you two, seeing as I’m all new here and what not. Otherwise, well, the Zeltron won’t be the only one ‘cookin’ for one’,” Viru stated with a smirk. The Quaestor took a quick step back and then made a casual waving gesture, spinning about and beginning to sprint away from the entrance to the Temple.

She had barely made it four strides before coming to a skidding halt, then backstepping towards the pair again, glancing back over her shoulder mid step. “Um, Ventus’ marker is—” she gestured in the direction she was facing before continuing, “—this way? Right… right…”

Once more, Keira sprinted forward after noting Marcus’ quick nod in response to her question. For whatever reason, she had this need to know more about her predecessor, if for no other reason than because she had thus far been unable to get any real answer to that question. At the very least, she could go pay her respects, see what kind of remembrance was earned for the long time Sadowan. The uneven terrain wasn’t even a challenge for Keira as she planted confident step after confident step, sprinting towards Atra’s marker in only minutes.

Perhaps the marker left behind to remember him could tell her a little something about the man.


After the war with the Gamurag on Aeotheran, During Awakening
On an unknown planet in a secret prison controlled by The Organization

A man, a Sadowan was held off the floor by chains in a chamber stained with the blood of countless people. Tools, various weapons, and needles filled with what can only be guessed as poisons and truth serums lined a table on one side of the small chamber.

“Same question as before Sadowan. If you behave then we will move on to the next question. Seriously we’ve been at this awhile, just make it easy on yourself already.”

The dark voice of the Sadowan replied “…alright…I’ll tell you… I saw the guard raping the wookiee in the cell across the hall.”

The questioner flicked a switch and grabbed to metal rods while retorting “cute, now I see why I was brought in. Apparently my predecessor really was a failure if you can still make comments like that.” Electricity flowed through the Sadowan’s body causing him to writhe and his muscles to jump uncontrollably


The man grunted and shook as the electrodes were crammed against his chest again.

“Tell me of the Alchemist’s experimentation!”

He spit at the question “SIT AND SPIN!”

The electrodes found flesh once again. Hours of electricity were followed by hours of beatings which were followed by hours of water torture and the cycle of random types of torture, both mental and physical, continued until Sonjie had finally sent three Sith and surprisingly a star destroyer to his rescue. They would have all died if the one that had come to rescue hadn’t done all he could to aid in his own rescue. They survived, but he had taken more than enough damage to kill a regular human nearly twice over. Only a medical induced coma would give his body the rest it needed to heal.

He lay unconscious through Ashes Fall

Medical bay
Temple of Sorrow, Sepros
Present Day

A body lay still as a corpse in an ancient stone room that was filled with a plethora of medical equipment including scanners and sensors. The patient was covered in a white sheet with tubes going to and from him. Glowing red eyes opened to a view of the old stone ceiling. The that had been unconscious suddenly realized that his rescue/aided escape wasn’t a dream and that he was somewhere he hadn’t seen in a long time. He was finally back in the Orion System after months of torture and endless questioning, none of which broke him.

A machine at his side began beeping and a droid rushed over to it before turning and running a vital scan. The droid as if it had emotion flailed it’s arms as if surprised and rushed out of the room. Mere seconds later the Consul’s private comm chirped loudly and displayed the message “The beast has come to.”


Temple of Sorrow

Xanos’s staff clacked on the stone floor tiles on his way to the Consul’s office.

The Elder had gone willingly with the Black Guard. Even though he had once sat on the Dark Council, and the rogue master’s powers rumoured to rival those of the Grand Masters themselves, Xanos had refrained from using his control of the Force to influence his armed escort.

The Apostate who had turned his back on the Sons of Sadow over a decade ago was not there to cause more conflict; he had returned to Sepros seeking an alliance. The echoes of what he had felt on the ruins of Antei shook through him again and he stumbled on his feet. The butt of the rifle of the guard behind him jabbed into his back and the Elder, who was still recovering from the injury one of the alchemical droids had inflicted on him out in the forest of shadows, staggered forwards, and gripped his staff tighter to stay upright. The Falleen remained silent, however, keeping his suffering to himself.

The Black Guard leading him paused and turned, but before they could ask the question that the Elder had already read crossing the guardsman’s thoughts, Xanos interrupted and spoke first: “Lead on,” was all the Elder said, even as both his mind and body reeled.

Xanos had not come here for their sympathy.

He had come for answers.

His attempt to contact the Jedi of Clan Odan-Urr had proven unsuccessful. Not that that had come as any great surprise; it was understandable why they would think twice about whether or not to trust a Sith Lord who had once turned his back on and betrayed those closest to him… but that was a long time ago, and in his long years alone in exile Xanos had turned his back on the Sith.

His Master had been Krath, and from the beginning, Xanos had been trained in the way of the Tripartite Path… however the Brotherhood had forgotten his Master’s lessons. If to be Sith today meant to subscribe to the actions of the Dark Council, then that was not the way that Xanos ever had trod; his path had forever been among the shadows and outcasts. That was where he had hoped the Odanites might have seen a fellow soul.

But alas, it seemed the Jedi of Odan-Urr sought war and chaos as much as the Sith, whereas Xanos had for so long stood alone, somewhere between the two, neither Jedi, nor Sith, but… something just as undesirable to both.

Temple of Sorrow
Consul’s Library

Locke was looking down at the main courtyard, where several of his fellow Sadowans stood talking in a small group, near the monument that had been erected in Atra’s memory. The Consul looked tired, but then, a lot had happened in the last few days.

Behind Locke, the lone figure, who had been escorted to the small library tower that served as one of the Consul’s private retreats, remained silent. The Consul had had one of the Black Guard bring the Apostate to explain the events that had taken place little more than a month earlier on the outer reaches of the Orian System. Darth Vexatus, or whatever name he went by these days, had tried to justify it, claiming his actions had been intended only to wrap the star system in a protective shroud, like Antei before it.

The Consul had not cared to argue… his thoughts were still preoccupied after Atra’s reported death, the truth of which Locke remained unconvinced of…

Locke distrusted Vexatus, and likely always would, but, for the moment at least, he had at least accepted that the Apostate did not intend any harm on the Clan, and as for whatever absurd cosmic goals the Prophet still pursued with his Master the Oracle…?

Well, the visions of a madman were of no importance, so long as they did not affect anyone else, and right then, Locke’s bigger concern was the other report he had heard, and which now Darth Vexatus had come to his office to confirm as the truth:

The Shadow Academy had been purged.

Worse, the joint Krath and Obelisk mission to try and return to Antei, and rebuild after the devastation that Darth Ashen had caused at the conclusion of the Dark Crusade the previous year, had been thoroughly destroyed, and both of the two Orders shattered.

The Consul had already heard whispers in the days following the droid attack, but Lord Vexatus had not only brought confirmation, but the Prophet’s apprentice, Sildrin, had also brought back a survivor, who the pair had rescued from the wreckage of the ruins of the ancient temple of Lady Tiamat herself.

It had all been so much to take in.

The Elder behind him clacked his staff on the floor tiles as he moved to look out the observatory window for himself. Even if Vexatus had not said anything, it was clear that Elder had sustained a terrible chest wound, though Locke had no idea whether it had been caused by the alchemically-enhanced blades of the droid invasion force, or if it had been something that Lord Ashen had inflicted on Vexatus during their explosive final duel on the ruined fragments that remained of the planetoid Dentavii at the conclusion of the Prophet’s attempts to carry out his arcane ritual to shatter the Star of Ombus.

“There are other options,” the Elder said, at last continuing their earlier conversation.

Locke’s mind returned from the scene in the courtyard far below and he reconsidered what Vexatus had been telling him about the Elder’s decision to try and make contact with the Jedi of Clan Odan-Urr to seek… an ‘alliance’ was too strong wording, but some mutual agreement to assist the survivors of the Dark Council’s purge of undesirables.

“We still have no proof that the Dark Lord was behind this,” Locke cautioned, not so much because he doubted the Prophet’s claims that the new Grand Master was trying to consolidate his power base, because Locke himself had already jumped to the same conclusion after the first rumours he had heard circulating.

“And the Odanites,” continued Locke, “are not to be trusted.” The Consul turned back from the window to address the Apostate directly. “They desire war as much as the Dark Lord himself.” It was a bold claim, perhaps, but Locke’s own experiences with the Jedi of New Tython had proven to him that Odan-Urr did not seek peace with the Brotherhood, but its destruction, and that their current armistice was nothing more than a deception.

The Falleen’s face remained as blank and unreadable as ever, and Locke did not even bother to try and pierce the shroud that the Elder surrounded himself with in the Force.

Locke’s comlink chirped and he glanced down to read the message:

The beast has come to.

Roxas. The Consul sighed internally, though tried his best not to let it show- not that he expected it would bother the Elder at that present moment, when Vexatus himself was still favouring his ebon staff like a walking stick, leaning on it to give himself support.

“I have other business to attend to,” Locke said. “I can offer what support we can, but… Clan Naga Sadow already offers sanctuary to an ousted Grand Master, I am unsure how much further we can risk antagonising the latest incumbent.”

“That will do,” is all the Elder said and he turned to leave.


Temple of Sorrow
Qyreia’s Room

Soft breaths tinged with the lightest of snores were the only sounds in the small, darkened abode. The Zeltron had, in her slumber, wrapped herself up in blankets like a cocoon to match the happenings of her pleasant dream, though as she was fully clothed, she was getting rather warm. Her unconscious mind didn’t particularly care.

“Mm, Quaestor,” she mumbled, rolling a little more into the covers, “I didn’t know Jedi did this sort of training…” She kept rolling, her limbs twisting and writhing along contorted axes. “Oh, Keiraaa!”

Too invested in her dream, Qyreia’s internal balances failed to notice the edge of her bed and she fell, mid-word, face-down onto the floor. Rudely awoken, she sighed, mumbling a frustrated “Kriff” into the floor and folds of her sheets wrapped up around her chin. It took her a fair amount of effort, particularly in determining the direction of the wrapped sheets, before she could get out of the overbearing heat and confines of her cloth prison. Once free, she sat against her bed, feet still somewhat tangled in her bedding.

“Damn… Always right when I get to the good part, too.”

Fanning off some of the excess heat under her shirt, the mercenary looked about her room to examine the damage. Nothing torn or destroyed; that’s good. Clothes sweaty but… smelling okay. I guess it could be worse. She shook her head, wiping a damp crop of hair out of her face. I’ve gotta be more careful, especially if that dinner thing tonight happens. Those Jedi can smell emotions, and I might scare her away before I can get a word in edgewise.

Thinking it was best to get some sort of nourishment, and with several hours yet to go before dinnertime, she took to her feet, threw on her boots and jacket, and headed for the mess hall. The staff were starting to get used to her, though there were some odd looks from the more combat-oriented personnel, but Qyreia was used to such things. Being a smuggler and later a mercenary, she had seen far more demeaning and hostile expressions than what the baseline Sadowan soldiery displayed.

The cooks in the mess area seemed perturbed when she only grabbed a small snack’s worth of food, though this was still somewhat larger than the average person’s. Thank you Zeltron metabolism. They inquired and asked for her to take more, but she only responded with polite dismissals, saying that she was more worried about what she was going to wear later on than getting a full meal in. When she saw their expressions, Qyreia bit her tongue and briskly walked off as they promptly started asking who the lucky guy was.

“I need to be more careful about who I talk to around here,” she grumbled, bumping into a small group of Sadowans as she made a beeline for her room again. Not like it’s even a guy, she thought, thankful that her red skin made it easy to conceal a blush if one weren’t looking closely.

Somewhere in the Temple of Sorrow, there was serious business going on. For this mercenary without an immediate mission, her business was substantially less morose. She wolfed down her lunch, taking bites as she searched through her wardrobe, looking for an outfit that didn’t say “Hi, I’m a smuggler, mercenary, and all-around dirty scoundrel.” However, being that she had led that exact lifestyle, her clothing options were limited. “How do I not own a single kriffing dress?!” she yelled, throwing her fists through the hanging clothes and sending several flying.

“Okay,” she said, taking a deep breath, “calm down. Don’t get crazy. I mean, we know it’s been a while since… Let’s just not come off as desperate. Yeah. I can do that.”

Taking a moment to clean up her newly-made mess, Qyreia picked from the assortment her nicest shirt and pants; they were still styled like a mercenary’s attire, but the shirt was whiter and there was a distinct lack of ship and weapons maintenance stains. This’ll work. Ditch the coat, keep the top buttons undone… No, bad Q. Collar bones, okay. Top button undone. She shined her less-worn pair of boots for good measure, and to kill a little more time.

“Alright,” she exclaimed, finally happy with her selection as she settled back in her chair. She wheeled the seat over to her desk and turned on the monitor. “And while we wait, we’ll see if I can get some Academy courses knocked out over the holonet.”


Outer Grounds, Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

The white haired Elder was still sitting on the tree trunk. Still lost in deep silence. She had recognised Xanos’s futile attempt to reach her, pleading not to repeat the mistakes he once had done. But he did not understand and she did not care to explain.

She rested her head against the tree, her blind white eyes staring into the sky and beyond. For hours, days she had reached out with the Force to seek him - her Brother Dragon. But there was nothing she had found. His Dragon essence though was free to roam and maybe it would settle somewhere soon. Until it had found a suiting host. But it was not Xue Long she was searching for.

Her slender fingers touched her temple - a pulse within the Force and she froze. She sensed a Dragon approaching.

How can it be?

Quickly she moved behind the tree, watching the person approaching.

Keira wiped a persistent hair strand from her face as she slowed down. She approached the simple marker - a grave silence lingered in this place. The smell of fresh earth was in the air. She stood in front of the marker of Atra Ventus. Small tokens, gifts from close friends had been carefully placed around it.

He must have been well liked… Keira mused. Something silvery white in the corner of her eyes drew in her attention. The Quaestor looked into the direction, her eyes tried to focus on the silvery thing - partly covered by a tree nearby.

How unusual… dressed in white. Sith usually wear black. She wondered. Keira finally raised her voice: “Uhm… Excuse me. I was searching for Ventus’ marker…are you… were you familiar with him?”

Finally the white figure moved from behind the tree. Keira blinked - she had mistaken the knee-long hair for a silvery white robe, but this woman was wearing a grey simple robe. Never had she seen such long hair before. Quickly she browsed the roster within her mind for a white haired woman, but none would really fit.

The woman in front of her appeared to stare at Keira - yet she was not sure for the strange woman’s eyes were completely white.


A mental voice, cold as ice, entered Keira’s mind. It caused Keira to shudder.

Something within Keira stirred, recognising this person. But she could have sworn she had never seen this person before. Yet the connection was undeniable.

You recognise the place you belong to

Keira slowly shook her head.

“I don’t know where I belong to. And I don’t even know if Naga Sadow…”

I am talking about family

The Quaestor clenched her fist, a deep frown appeared on her face. “You know nothing about my family…” How did this person dare. She felt vulnerable - maybe because she knew nothing about her real family.

The white Lady in front of her gave no reply. Her eyes appeared to look beyond Keira, as if having lost the focus already. And without a word she turned away from Keira, walking away.

“Wait… who… what is your name…?”



Outer Grounds, Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

Keira raised an eyebrow and pursed her lips as the other woman’s thoughts continued to invade her own. Clearly, ‘Sildrin’ wasn’t much for talking — at least not verbally like a normal person. The new Quaestor instantly gave herself a sharp mental kick at her own callousness. She knew nothing about Sildrin, and as far as the half-Umbaran was concerned the Sadowan standing before her could have been mute and communicating in the only way she knew how.

The Seer was so caught up in the minutia of her own thoughts that she very nearly failed to realize that Sildrin was still walking away. “Wait, please,” Keira said, getting the sense that if she pushed too strongly the woman in white would slip from her grasp. She clearly had knowledge, more so than she was willing to admit to. However, there was something offputting about her, like she only had one foot in the door. One wrong move and Sildrin would flee, leaving Keira to the proverbial wind.

That was unacceptable. Viru’s mind cried out for answers, filled with a need that was comparable to her lungs’ ache for each subsequent breath she was to take. Just like she couldn’t survive without air, she could not keep going in the dark.

Composing herself quickly, Keira rose to her full height and bowed her head respectfully, pushing the extent of her manners to their limit, and quite nearly beyond. “I am hosting a dinner this evening, and it would be my honor to count you among the guests, if it pleases you,” Keira stated with equal parts deference and command. She was, after all, a member of Summit — no matter how newly appointed — and there was to be a measure of expectation to all her requests.

It seemed to Keira like even the surrounding forest were holding its breath, a silence falling upon the eternity that passed within the span of moments before Sildrin finally nodded.

Several hours later
Private Quarters, Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

How was I supposed to know this place only had a mess hall!?

Keira’s inner dialogue was a dim echo in the back of her mind as she sat in the lounge chair nearest to the entrance with her legs lazily thrown over the armrest to her left. Her focus was everywhere at once, and somehow managed to be nowhere in the process. There had been an upside to her misstep, however, as the Quaestor had managed to salvage the situation. She had managed to secure a private room with a holoscreen — which appeared to be the thing to do within the Temple just then — which was streaming a live feed from the Grand Master’s Invitational Tournament.

Additionally, through a stroke of luck, the loyalist cooks from the mess hall had been inclined to provide ‘room service’, so to speak. In that regard, Keira wasn’t clear if it was entirely of her own accord that such service was attained or if her white haired guest had not had some manner of influence on the proceedings. It didn’t matter much in the end, they got what they wanted… albeit with a bit of disconcertion in regards to Sildrin’s level of influence.

If she could so easily influence them, what could she do to me, Keira mused thoughtfully. Her head snapped towards the doors almost half a second before the command terminal beeped excitedly, having sensed the presence pacing on the other side. The Quaestor had considered just opening the door and telling Qyreia to come in, suspecting the merc had gotten second thoughts.

While Sildrin’s focus remained on the holoscreen as Shi Long’s match began — as focused as she could be considering the woman wasn’t so much as looking at the screen — Keira rose to her feet and smoothed the blue cloth extending down her hip. Taking a deep breath, the Quaestor nodded to no one in particular and strode over to the terminal, triggering the unlock and tilting her head to the side in greeting as it revealed their red skinned guest. “Finally decided to come in, eh?” she quipped with a raised eyebrow. Keira turned and sauntered back to her lounge chair, wondering when — and if — Allistaire and Marcus would accept the invitation as well.


Private Quarters, Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

“Y-yeah,” Qyreia managed hesitantly, noting the blanched being watching the holoscreen. She took a careful step past the threshold, narrowly avoiding the door automatically closing behind her. Confidence. Ladies like a confident… lady? Sithspit, I’m doomed. Her hands fumbled for a moment as she produced a long bottle of pale yellow liquid. “I know the mess hall doesn’t offer much for menu selection usually,” she said, emphasizing the last word as she looked at the private room, “so I thought I might bring some wine to liven the atmosphere.”

The Jedi looked at the bottle with a half-interested glance. “Looks good. White wine?”

“Yeah,” Qyreia said as she took a seat by the Quaestor, “dessert wine, to be specific. I wasn’t sure what you liked, so I thought I’d go with something mellow.” Her eyes once again flitted over toward the stranger. “Who’s our new friend?”

“Oh her? This is… Sildrin.” Keira looked over toward their silent companion, but her attention still seemed half-fixated on the Tournament. “Thaaat’s all I really know.” And all I’m willing to tell others, she thought.

“Gotcha. Still new to the House and whatnot. I’m still learning names and faces too.” She wasn’t doing too well in the conversation, but the Zeltron was happy to see that they seemed to be in the same proverbial boat.

“Speaking of which, you mentioned Zeltrons before. Something about how you weren’t like others?”

“Oh, yeah… that.” A sigh escaped her lips as she gathered her courage. “My people - Zeltrons that is - are basically a big group of hedonists. Rich foods, lots of drinking, an ever-present need to be happy, and on top of that is the very present need for… passion.”

“Passion?” The subtle meaning of the word seemed to escape Keira, so the merc elaborated.

“Sex. They like to do the horizontal deesco, a lot, and that… that’s not something I’m… I wanted people to like me for me, not because I was trying to get my happy-vibe for the day.”

“I see,” Keira managed. Sex? I should look this up when we’re done here.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she continued, failing to see the Quaestor’s ponderous expression, “I still like… those things. Just not like the rest of them. It’s weird.”

“You’re fairly open about yourself, aren’t you?”

I am when I’ve got the hots for the one I’m talking to, she thought absentmindedly, thankful her skin was red as she felt a flush creep onto her face. “So how about that wine?” Ignoring that there had yet to be any food put down yet, Qyreia quickly requisitioned some glasses - even one for the silent Sildrin - and poured out the sweet-smelling nectar. It wasn’t top-shelf, but it wasn’t swill either, so she was very conscious about giving enough to satisfy her host but not inundate the poor Jedi.

“What about you? How does someone so gorgeous find her way into a spot like this?” Oh, keep drinking your wine, or else this Jedi might start sensing what exactly is going on in your head; if you don’t blurt it out, first.

“Oh, just good luck I guess; or bad, depending on your perspective.” Her joking smile put some of the red woman’s mind at ease. “How about you? Mercenary like yourself couldn’t find more lucrative work?”

“Lucrative, yes. Regular, not so much. Long contract like this keeps me from hunting for a paycheck to pay bills and have enough left over to eat, and with my species’ metabolism that can be rather important.”

“What else can your people do?” Her question was as much deflection from herself as it was to keep the very preoccupied mercenary talking. Keira was getting strange enough telepathic signals from Qyreia that she didn’t understand; she didn’t need to add fuel to the flames.

“Two livers means we can drink a whole lot of liquor, for starters. You saw me this morning. I had just gotten back from a drinking contest with a Wookiee.”

“Did you win?”

“Almost, but not quite. Only prize I got was a temporary hangover. Anyways, we’ve also got these pheromones that are supposed to make people like us better. Can turn it up or down more-or-less at will.”

“So that’s why I’m enjoying this so much. You’re drugging me with your hormones.” Despite the humor in the half-Umbaran’s voice, Qyreia still blushed, this time visibly despite her skin color.

“N-no! I would never!” Her voice seemed more sad, desperate even to disprove the notion, enough so that even Sildrin’s attention was temporarily caught. The Zeltron sunk into her seat in a vain effort at collecting herself. “I don’t do that kriffing Sithspit. It’s bad enough that my people have this latent emotional reading-and-display telepathy. It’s not fair to other people, especially ones I like.” S’not fair to me either, she thought as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“Oh I… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.”

“I know,” she said, letting loose a heavy sigh that visibly seemed to take some weight off her shoulders. “It’s just a sensitive subject for me. Hoo boy,” she said, looking at the still heavy-laden bottle of wine, “I’m gonna need some stronger stuff if I’m gonna be this sappy.” The mercenary caught a glance from Sildrin, an odd glimmer in her eye. “Dammit Sillysocks, don’t you look at me in that tone of voice! It’s hard enough trying to hit on her without your input!” The look in Keira’s eyes said quite a bit toward that. “Aaand I just said that all aloud. Well bork me, could this get any more awkward?”


Medical bay
Temple of Sorrow, Sepros

The sith spawn climbed out of the bed as the doctor and a nurse came into the room. The sheets fell to the floor exposing his bare body. The nurse blushed while the doctor covered her face and attempted to speak through the embarrassment “Mr. Buurenaar um…” she sighed a little flustered “your effects are in the locker by the sink and I’ve been told to ask you to wait. I believe Consul Sonjie is wanting to speak with you.”

He spoke, his voice unheard in so long even by himself that it sounded surreal. His voice was edgy and showed that harbored an amount of anger that he needed to work through. “He can wait. I have something to take care of.”

“What do we tell him?” the nurse said as she traced his body with her eyes.

He thought for a moment as he opened the locker and began putting on his armor. It wasn’t long before he decided to just tell the truth and get it out of the way “Tell him I am going to Mandalore to see my wife and that I’ll be back in a few days.”

The doctor wrote the message down as the nurse with a disappointed look spoke with vim before leaving the room “lucky her”

The doctor looked over his chart as he continued getting dressed “Your injuries have healed nicely, the medically induced coma was a good call. We were also to scan your mind while you were sleeping. It’s a rather new technology, but it’s sound. Whatever happened, you’ve adjusted well and it seems that the PTSD that you used to suffer from is a thing of the past.”

Roxas grabbed his helmet and saw his reflection in the visor, he quickly set it down and looked in a nearby mirror. His hair had grown longer and his beard was wild. He rummaged the drawers at the sink and found a trimmer which he used on his beard, but tied his hair back and clipped his helmet to his belt.

“You don’t have to worry about hiding your identity…” she said causing him to look at her slightly confused so she continued “It’s been a long time and you look different, most people won’t recognize you anymore. You’re a story in the halls of sadow now to inspire the new recruits, as far as anyone is concerned you’re a…”

He spoke over her “A phantom…only a few will be able to tell the difference between the legend and the real thing.”

With that he left the room and headed for the hangar, it took him longer than expected. It had been awhile since he had been in the Orion System.