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

[CNS-TAR] New Ties Run On Competition


Lambda-class T-4a Shuttle
Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

The shuttle soared through the valley, hills flashing by as the pilot honed in on their target. The Lieutenant piloting the shuttle scanned the horizon, watching out for any inherent threats that would impact their flight path. Three other Lambda-class T-4a shuttles accompanied the ship.

The co-pilot watched the data output from the computer and pressed a button to open the comms to the seating area where several Sadowans and Warhost soldiers sat. “We’re approaching the drop site, prepare for landing.” The co-pilot then flipped a switch that bathed the seating area in red light, a visual warning for the passengers.

Raikou Keibatsu checked his rifle in response to the warning, the Aedile had volunteered to join the lead party investigating the reports of ancient ruins on the planet. Naga Sadow had undergone a recent metamorphosis. Their previous Consul, Locke Sonjie, had announced that the Clan were to rebuild the mythical Sith empire of the legend, Naga Sadow. To do so, they were to seek out ancient Sith artifacts that could be used against their enemies and tear down the power of the Dark Council and the Star Chamber.

The soldier didn’t care much for the idea, but he always relished the opportunity to excel and prove that he was more than a clone and worthy of respect. The strike by the Iron Throne against Naga Sadow had debilitated the Clan and destroyed several of their larger ships and injured Locke Sonjie. The Proconsul, Sanguinius Tsucyra Entar, had stepped into the void and risen to command the Clan that wished to herald in a new Sith Empire.

It was he who had declared that the Clan would continue to follow Sonjie’s vision and seek out artifacts. The Consul was situated on the Harbinger, a recently appropriated elderly Venator-class Star Destroyer in orbit over the planet. The Harbinger had been named for it’s predecessor, lost over Sepros in the strike by the Iron Throne. The Venator was accompanied by several other vessels, the bulk of which had been bought or stolen to shore up the losses that the Warhost had suffered, yet they did not plug the wounds that had been made.

Raikou didn’t regret volunteering for the mission in the slightest, and nodded at his companions seated opposite him. Tasha Vel’Versa smiled and nodded in response, while Armad simply stared back at the Aedile. The pair had been hand-picked by the Consul to be part of the expedition, who was assured of their loyalty and dedication to the cause.

Each shuttle contained more Sadowans, such as the new Quaestor of Shar Dakhan, Evelynn Wyrm and his compatriots, Aul Celsus and Lilith Alema’rha Versea-Stormwind.

The red light bathing the seating area began to pulse as the shuttle came into land and then turned green as the door opened. Raikou hit the release switch on his harness and exited the shuttle, his rifle raised as he scanned the area for threats. More Warhost troopers stomped down the ramp as the other shuttles landed.

VEN Harbinger
In orbit of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Jax Bendal stood on the bridge of the Harbinger, the newly appointed Proconsul was a relative newcomer to Naga Sadow, yet the man had filled the void in the Shadow Academy left by Marcus Kiriyu’s death. The Raider had a need to prove himself to his compatriots and was over eager to see that this investigation was a success. Admiral Simonetti, usually an ever-present addition to any Warhost operation was still recovering from his wounds received during the attack and instead the operation was masterminded by the Captain of the Harbinger, Wes Terol, who had commanded the Harbinger’s namesake.

The Chiss watched the progress of the shuttles on the computer screen, noting their touchdown with satisfaction. The planet was uninhabited according to their scans, yet caution was always required to avoid catastrophe. The shuttles had been accompanied by a squadron of T-70 X-Wings, who had parted ways to fly overwatch before returning to the Harbinger. If there was any trouble, air support could be scrambled and reach the expedition in minutes.

Sanguinius sat uncomfortably on a chair that had been installed near the rear left hand corner of the bridge, put there despite his protestations. The Augur had taken the role of Consul, but disliked the pageantry that often accompanied the role.

Wes Terol stood up from where he was leaning over the computer display and moved to where Sanguinius and Jax were located. “It appears that the expedition has landed safely, Consul.”

“Thank you, Captain.” Sang replied, smiling at the Chiss. “Please do keep me informed if there are any further developments.”

“As you wish, sir.”

Jax watched the Captain walk away before speaking. “Why are we not on the ground leading the expedition?” he enquired.

“Because despite the position I find myself in, Jax. I feel the need to let our fellow Sadowans blow off some steam.”

“So, we should have struck back against the Iron Throne!” Jax demanded.

“That would be folly, my friend. Let Pravus think that we are scared and licking our wounds. It makes us all the more dangerous.”

Jax kept silent, biting his tongue.

“Anyway, let us hope that the expedition has some good news for us.” Sang finished.

Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Evelynn stalked the ruins, her watchful eye studying the environment as Warhost soldiers secured the area. The Quaestor had taken advantage of her new position to demand the honour of commanding the expedition. Sanguinius had been amused by her demands and had humoured her, pleased to see that the new Quaestor was so eager to get stuck in.

Tasha Vel’Versea ran her hand across a stone wall, coating it in dust. A technician stood nearby, a scanner surveying the surroundings. They had progressed through the ruins, cataloguing the area and taking images that were instantly uploaded to the Sadowan database, allowing the Warhost forces in orbit to see what they were seeing. Each soldier wore a body camera that streamed footage to the Harbinger where specialists watched, keeping track of the progress.

Raikou halted before a large building that had stairs ascending into a large atrium. The Keibatsu took point, followed by several troopers wearing the same colour armour as him. The other Sadowans followed close behind, allowing a line of flesh and armour between them and potential danger. They had spent enough time in the Brotherhood to know not to trust the thin veneer of safety in numbers.

The ruins had encompassed an area of several square kilometres, the remains of an ancient civilisation and there were several drones hovering over the city, sending images to their controllers. This had allowed the Sadowans to plot a path to the large complex they were now accessing.

The atrium had several exits leading from it, forcing the group to split up to investigate the complex. Evelynn and Lilith had paired off, accompanied by several troopers. The pair wandered through the rooms that were situated off the atrium, guided by some innate force.

The soldiers pushed forward, taking point as they came to an ornate doorway. Evelynn began to get excited, feeling that they were close to what they came for. The soldiers moved in, their training serving them well. The two Sadowans followed in after them, shocked by what awaited them.

Ghostly figures hung there, their faces blank of emotion. Evelynn walked amongst them, ever mindful of her surroundings. Lilith and the troopers followed her, the sergeant commanding them activated his commlink, alerting his comrades situated around the complex of what they had found. Already, the other groups were convening on them.

One of the soldiers reached out with his rifle, sweeping it through the spectral form before him. The spectre didn’t respond to the action. Lilith noted that the spectres all wore the same garb, leading her to assume that they may be some form of religious order.

Evelynn reached a platformed area, surrounded by low pillars that housed items on them. As the Savant stepped onto the platform, a ghastly scream echoed through the hall and across the complex as the spectral forms opened their mouths and howled in unison. The scream was full of anguish and rage, sending chills through the Sadowans and Warhost in the complex. One of the troopers cried out in surprise as the ghosts began to move. Ice cold pain shot through his body as the spectres passed through him, driving him to his knees as his nerves rebelled under the pain.

Evelynn and Lilith shot into action, running away from the approaching spectres, both instinctively knew that a lightsaber was no use to them here and it was obvious that they were protecting the objects on the raised platform.

All across the complex, spectral figures made an appearance, attacking the expedition members. Panicked cries for help were soon clogging the comm channels.

VEN Harbinger
In orbit of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Wes Terol glanced up at the Lieutenant, “They’re…what?”

“They’re under attack, sir. They claim some sort of spectre is attacking them.”

Terol sprung up from his chair and walked swiftly towards where Jax and Sanguinius were situated. “Sir, we have reports from the expedition that claim they’re under attack by ghosts.”

“Ghosts?” Jax asked.


Sanguinius sagged momentarily and sighed, “It’s always something, isn’t it?” he jested.

The Consul’s attention was caught by the sight of Muz walking onto the bridge, accompanied by Ashia Keibatsu. “I hear that your expedition has run into some trouble.” the Grand Master’s voice carried to the Entar.

The Augur smiled in response and stood up, “As expected when looking for Sith artifacts, someone inevitably gets hurt.” The callous reply was out of character for Sanguinius.

“Something about spectres?” Muz enquired, “Perhaps you may take some advice from me?”

“And what would that be?” Jax interjected.

“During my time as Grand Master, the Tarenti were known for their… aptitude in dealing with the dead. I’m sure they’d be willing to help if we ‘asked nicely’. ” Muz replied.

“Contact the Tarenti? Aside from making such a thing happen, how do we know they won’t simply backstab us like Scholae did?” Sang had stood up from his makeshift throne and began pacing the width of the bridge.

Jax eyed the Consul for a while as he paced the bridge, lost in thought. Just as he was about to speak up, the former Grand Master cleared his throat.

“Scholae was a completely different matter, one that we had no control over.” Muz mused. “This time we come to them, and it will not just be any Consul asking for their assistance but a Grand Master. No offense intended of course,” he added.

“And we have something to offer them,” Sang added, perking up. “A site, free of contamination, for them to study. There is just one problem. How do we contact them?”

“I believe I can be of assistance there,” Jax finally spoke up. “It’s a fairly simple matter to connect two holonet networks together, and create an interplexing access route through which duplex communication is possible,” he rambled.

“Wait… what?” The Augur couldn’t do much but look bewildered. A quick look around the bridge showed that none of the assembled persons had any idea of what the slicer was talking about.

“Sorry. Uhm, think of it as a droid plugging into another droid and communicating with it. It’s the same principle, except on the holonet,” Jax replied. “Suffice to say that I can set up a direct link with someone in Tarentum.”

“Very well. Muz, if you’d be so kind to utilize this link that Jax is referring to, then I think we can turn this debacle around.” The Consul stopped pacing and stood looking out the bridge window instead, looking down onto the planet below. “Signal the forces on the planet, tell them to withdraw until they hear from us. They’ll need to hold until we hear from Tarentum.”

The city of Taras
Yridia II
Yridia System

Darth Aeternus had listened to the request before connecting the comm-feed to his Consul’s line. The former Master at Arms had served under Darth Ashen before he had withdrawn from the political scene. Jax Bendal had worked his magic with the holonet and Muz had given Jax instructions on who to contact.

Frosty Romanae Tarantae listened carefully as Muz explained the situation before muting the connection. Sith Bloodfyre stood nearby, the Proconsul had served Tarentum faithfully for years and had heard the whole conversation.

“Who are we to deny a fellow Clan come to beg for assistance?” Bloodfyre asked, the Elder sensing the opportunity to further his agenda regarding Tarentum. The chance to forge the Clan through the crucible of combat was one that many had seeked before.

“The opportunity to study a new site may be of interest to those who seek knowledge and power.” Frosty replied, his tone hesitant, unsure of whether it would be in Tarentum’s interest.

“Usually I would caution wisdom in such matters, but with the troubles from the Throne, the chance to seek new additions to our alliance against the tyranny of the mad man, Pravus, are too good to pass up.” Bloodfyre conceded.

“Pass the word to our comrades and inform the fleet, Tarentum will come to their aid.”

VEN Harbinger
In orbit of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector
Several hours later

Sanguinius smiled as several ships exited hyperspace, a counterpart of the Harbinger hung there in space, surrounded by Nebulon B Frigates and CR90 Corvettes.

Muz, Ashia and Jax stood nearby as the Harbinger was hailed by the arriving ships. Wes Terol turned to the Augur, “Tarentum forces in orbit, sir. They claim to be here to help.”

“Stand down, Captain.” Sanguinius replied, glancing at the Quaestor of Marka Ragnos. “Please pass my compliments to their commander and invite them aboard, it seems that we have some new friends.”

Naga Sadow is investigating a lead on a Sith Artifact that has led to them seeking help from Tarentum, a Clan that has experience in handling the dead via their necromantic past.

This is the Run On Thread for members to use. Each week’s fiction update will be posted in this thread and used as the prompt for the Run On.

To count towards participation and placement, members must complete a minimum of two posts with a minimum word count of 250.


Hmm. He wanted to go take a look at the surface. However, until he was allowed to leave, Blackhawk wouldn’t approach. His shuttle was ready, just as he was, just as others were, but they needed the clearance first.

“Mesa ready to go,” the voice of his quaestor rang out behind him. Kah Manet joined him in the Clawdite’s personal shuttlecraft.

“We will leave when we are given clearance to,” Blackhawk replied firmly.

Beeboop. Blackhawk’s communicator beckoned his attention.

This better be good Blackhawk thought.

Pushing the button, the holographic blue image of Darth Aeternus appeared.

“Clan Naga Sadow has called for our aid. On the surface of Qirool 4, their advance team was attacked by what they are claiming to be ghosts. We are to investigate and assist in any way we can. You may leave when ready.”

With that, the Sith Lords’s image flickered and vanished.

“Finally,” Blackhawk said. “We ready to go?”

“The HMS Liath is ready to launch at your command, master” the RX series pilot droid replied.

“ Launch,” Blackhawk ordered as he and Kah strapped in. The view of space would normally be something that Blackhawk might stop and admire, bit cluttered by the fleets of two different clans, it wasn’t an environment where such a thing like the beauty of the stars could become the first thing on his mind. Blackhawk couldn’t help but check his gear on the way down.

Once they had safely dipped below the atmosphere, Blackhawk unstrapped and moved to check his speeder. The Grey Wolf appeared in working order. Blackhawk felt a cold breeze, abnormal for his ship. Whatever was down here, they would have to deal with it.

“Prepare for deployment,” Blackhawk ordered. As the ship landed, another piolot took the controls of the HMS Liath, his job to bring the ship back when it was needed beggining. The RX series pilot droid took up the driver’s seat of the Grey Wolf. Kah jumped into the passenger seat while Blackhawk took up his current position.

“Go.” The speeder accelerated quickly gaining altitude. Now, they needed to go meet the CNS troops already on the ground.


Flight Deck, VEN Titan
Qirool VI Orbit

It’s amazing how these cultists are able to function with all of their silly superstitions…

With a chuckle to her rather condescending thought towards her current employers, Satre Pelles looked around the flight deck as the aging warship dropped out of hyperspace. Deck hands, flight crews, and troopers all made their ways quickly around the flight deck while she sat on a munitions crate next to one of the transports. A Human female with little to distinguish her, she brushed a stray lock of black hair out of her green eyes. Unusual for the scene, she was wearing a black-on-black suit, a finely tailored set that was equal parts tasteful and tactical.

Aging? It’s a relic. But I suppose with so many on the open market after the Clone Wars, you’d be crazy not to buy one. I might buy two at those prices. She thought with a mental snicker. As she did, a uniformed officer approached her with a datapad in his hand. Satre did not stand up, but her gaze locked with his in acknowledgement.

“Your documents check out, but that does not entitle you to lounge around on my deck,” The officer scowled.

“Then that means your commanders accepted my terms,” Satre stood up and clapped her hands, a broad smile on her face, “Wonderful. Then we can get to work. I’d like a situation report, since all I got was this nonsense about going to help another sect in this quaint little cult.”

“You will show respect to our Clan,” The officer sneered, taking a step towards her.

“Right, Clan. The terminology is so obtuse sometimes. But, your wording is quite important. Why, I remember this time I was at Club Vertica, on Nar Shaddaa, and the poor waitress had no idea what I was ordering when I was asking for ruby. I had to finally dumb it down to red wine, I forgot where I was at,” Satre shook her head with a chuckle of amusement.

“We have been summoned to provide aid to Clan Naga Sadow with a situation on the ground. But to what use you could be is beyond me, you seem better found at a dinner party,” The officer replied, making a show of looking her up and down.

“I like to be dressed tastefully. I find that wearing a well cut suit is just all the more gratifying, it makes a statement and you feel good about yourself. I detested wearing uniforms back in the day,” Satre commented, moving to pop the latches on the crate she had been sitting on.

“I find it hard to believe you were military,” The officer commented with a scoff.

“Indeed I was. I had opportunities for an eternity, and I decided I wasn’t going to die for a dying cause. When I decided my time was over, I left at the rank of Major. Satre Pelles isn’t really my name. It’s TKI-8492,” Satre said, still smiling.

Oh come on, he’s not going to fall for that… Satre thought to herself.

“I don’t understand. TKI? A Stormtrooper of some kind?” The officer asked. Satre reached into the crate and pulled out a helmet. It was flat black, harsh and angular in its design, but it had a faint resemblance to Stormtroopers. But after the Battle of Scarif, it had become quite infamous in its own right. Especially since the officer’s eyes widened.

“You’re a Death Trooper? How is that possible?” The officer’s demeanor had changed to a mix of amazement and fear.

“I was, yes,” Satre replied For about a week before the psych exams deemed me a better fit elsewhere…after so much work

“I see. Well, I’ll leave you to prepare. The transport leaves within the hour. Carry on,” The officer nodded and took his leave.

Still got it. Satre chuckled to herself as she went back into the crate for her duffle bag, and then took her leave of the flight deck to change out of her suit and into her armor. When she returned to the transport, she was in full armor and ready for combat. Over her shoulder was a well worn E-11D blaster rifle, while resting in holsters on her left and right thighs were a pair of jet black A180 pistols. A combat vibrodagger in an inverted sheath on her right shoulder plate rounded off her combat gear. On her way to the transport, she gingerly set the suit bag with her suit back into the crate she had procured her equipment from, and then finished her journey to the waiting ship.

A lone soldier was waiting at the ramp, and waved her up.

“Satre Pelles?” The soldier asked.

“Yes, that’s me.” Satre’s voice was heavily modulated by her helmet, sounding more like a droid and betraying nothing about her gender, race, or speech inflections.

“Come on aboard, we’re lifting off.”

Satre nodded and thudded up the ramp, finding an open seat among a group of various individuals. She nodded once to all of them as the ramp sealed shut. Once she sat down and strapped in, the ship rumbled as it lifted off.


VEN Titan
In orbit of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

That’s right, keep your distance. The Clan Naga Sadow Fleet lay off to his starboard side, about 15kms away at his 45 degrees off his bow with a small exception of a flight of CNS X-Wings moving a little close for comfort. Granted Tarentum was here to aid CNS, while they weren’t enemies they were not official allies, at least not yet.

The Admiral of the Tarentum Navy turned to look at his crew. The command deck of the Venator-class Star Destroyer was busy with activity. Crewmen manning stations in the pits on either side of the walkway with their senior Non-commissioned Officers keeping an eye on their people. The officers maintaining control of their teams from above. Sith Battlelord Hades nodded his approval and returned his attention to his duty. Helping provide support for Clan Naga Sadow while making sure the Tarentum Fleet didn’t fall victim to some plan devised by Pravus and the Iron Fleet. Every ship under his command was ready move at a moment’s notice should the situation call for it. But hopefully, today will turn out like the Summit hopes it will, a nice new ally in CNS.

“Admiral?” A young lieutenant stood off his left shoulder. He turned toward her, and as he did she continued. “Sir, Master Bloodfyre is on the comms for you.” Hades nodded.

“Lead on, Lieutenant.”

The lieutenant lead him to the aft holotable just behind the bridge where most of the tactical information was displayed.

“I’ll have the room.” Hades said loudly. The crew members inside quickly filed out and when the blastdoors closed, he opened the comm. Hades nodded to the robbed blue figure standing before him.

“Proconsul, we have arrived at Qirool VI. Our teams are being dispatched as we speak and both Clans’ forces appear to be playing nice. This might turn out like we hoped.”

“We shall see, Admiral.” Hades narrowed his eyes ever so slightly, he was expecting Bloodfyre to be in a better mood.

“Please provide updates to the Summit as they occur.” Ordered the Tarentum Proconsul.

“Of course. Shall I send one transmission to the summit as a whole or to each separately?” Hades bowed slightly as he spoke. Sith grunted quitely before responding.

“Seperately. I might pay a visit to Qirool VI myself.”

“As you wish, Proconsul. Any further orders?” Hades inquired.

“No, Admiral. Carry on.”

“Very well.” The transmission ended and Hades was left chewed his lower lip before he opened a comm channel to his Corvette Squadron Commander, Rear Admiral Scion Altera who also happened to be
Quaestor of House Mortis.

“Yes, Mr. Admiral?” said the electronic voice coming from the station in front of him. Hades smiled a bit.

"Scion, before you leave for the surface, put both of your X-Wing squadrons on full alert. I want them outside the bubble at a moment’s notice.

“Yes, sir. Anything else?” Asked Scion, clearly in a hurry.

“No. Stay safe. If you need fire support, you know where to find me.” Hades said.

“Roger. Firebird, out.”

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…


Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Evelynn ran out of the room, not because of fear, but because she knew it was the only way to survive. As she ran through the hallway, the Battlemaster felt a drop of sweat trickle down her cheek. Entering the room that led to the atrium, she came to a halt, Lilith following her lead closely. The chill was gone, as were the wails of the spectral beings. A strong sense of stale air hit the Quaestor across the face, as if the room has been hermetically closed for a century. Glancing in the direction of the entrance, she realized what was wrong. The archway leading to the atrium was now occupied by a stone door, blocking their exit.

“Guess we’re not going back that way,” Lilith said jokingly, though her facial expression undoubtedly showed fear.

“We’ll see about that,” Wyrm murmured, unstrapping a lightsaber from her belt. The red blade came to life with a snap-hiss, dimly illuminating the circular, dark room they stood in. As she approached the newly closed door, she realized something peculiar about it. It was covered in dust, as if it had been untouched for years. She had a feeling this wasn’t going to work, but had to give it a try as opposed to calling out for help, something her ego would not allow her to do easily. Pointing the tip of her lightsaber directly at the massive stone obstacle, she thrust forward, only to get thrown backwards by an invisible force. Dropping her lightsaber to the ground, she fell flat on her back, about a meter away from the door.

“Are you alright?” asked the Savant, sensing that Evelynn was suddenly in pain and extending her hand toward her Quaestor. Frustrated, Evelynn jerked her hand away from Lilith. “I’m fine,” she replied as she stood up, grasping her lightsaber and powering it down. She reached for her comlink, aggravated at the fact she would need to call for help.

“This is Evelynn to Raikou, do you copy?”


“I repeat, this is Battlemaster Evelynn Wyrm, is anyone there?”

Frustration turned to rage as the Sith threw her comlink at the wall, smashing it to pieces, her heart pulsing faster and faster. She raised her hands, aiming at the impenetrable door and letting streams of lightning loose from her fingertips. She didn’t expect anything to happen; it was just an outburst.


The ghastly voice came out of thin air, freezing both of the Dakhani solid. After a few seconds of dead silence, Lilith was the first to speak out: “We need to get out of here, this place is creeping me out.”

Evelynn nodded, turning her attention toward the corridor they ran out of and hesitantly taking a step toward it. It was not like her to be afraid, but she was fully aware of the potential influence of the Dark Side of the Force in this place.


VEN Harbinger
In Orbot of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Muz nodded at the Consul before turning, his warcoat flaring out as he left the bridge in silence. His queen followed suit, keeping pace with the Lord of the Krath as he made his way through the stark and grey imperial architecture.

Jax looked at Sanguinius as the doors slid shut behind them, the unspoken question hanging between the two. Sang furrowed a brow and glowered at the man, then looked back toward the transparasteel.

“Really?” Jax muttered, half under his breath.

“If you want to stop him, be my guest.” Sang waved with his hand toward the door, eyes locked on the Tarenti fleet. It was impressive, he had to give them that. “That said, I would rather not have to find a new second so soon.”

Jax raised an eyebrow, his mind spinning through scenarios and plans.

“Yes, he is.” Sang interrupted his chain of thought with the simple words.


“Yes, he is that scary.” Sanguinius folded his arms behind his back, and island of calm amidst the hectic buzz of the bridge. “Be glad he is on our side.”

A sensor technician turned from his display. “Sir, we’ve lost contact with the Fallen Spear.” He adjusted his cover awkwardly, and then cleared his throat. “I’ve already done secondary sweeps.”

Sanguinius dismissed him with a wave of his hand that reached up to stroke his freshly shaven chin at the end of the movement. The game just got more interesting, as he somehow always knew it would.

ADS Fallen Spear
In Orbot of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

The bay doors slid closed as the clan transport cleared them, the view of the Venator vanishing from sight. Ashia moved behind him, the click of her heeled boots echoing across his ears as she moved toward the turbolift, pausing to look into the shaded part of the cargo bay. He turned, watching her stare into the microclimate. Stepping toward her, he rest a hand on her shoulder, her hand reaching up to touch his.

The chirp of his arm interrupted him. He twisted his arm, the display engaging, folding out of the mechanical arm, as the comm was acknowledged. Blackwind’s lilted basic came through clearly.

“As you suspected, Lord, we are getting a hail from the Tarentum flag.” Ashia looked up at him, half of a smile on her lips as she stepped away, calling the turbolift to their level.

“Right.” He closed the arm, the smooth gears and pistons pulling the panels closed so that all that was left was the smooth polished seams. He had spent years working on it, perfecting it to be exactly what he had wanted. He looked up at her as the doors opened and she stepped on.

Are you going to be okay? She let a glimmer of concern cloud behind her eyes as she let the words cross the ether between them.

Muz looked at her, his eyebrow twitching up a half degree, his head tilted slightly. hy wouldn’t I be?

You’ve talked more in the last two hours than you have in the last three weeks. She smiled at him. Are you sure this isn’t a bit too much socialization for you?

He let out a slight chuckle and shook his head. She was right, after all. Words were generally a waste of breath, things people used because they loved to hear the sound of their own voice. And yet, he had to be uncharacteristically vocal in explaining things to the new consul. It bothered him on some level, but the alternative was letting the clan stumble and fail. That was an unacceptable end.

The turbolift opened, the dark corridor ahead of them lit by false torches, holographic flames flickering in a close fascimile of fire. They moved forward, the corridor coming to two doors on either side. She stepped past him, the whirring of locks opening rising above the crackle of flame before the sound of rushing water and insects washed over them. He stood in the hallway, watching as she stepped into the verdant embrace of the forest night. She turned and smiled at him, the artificial breeze catching her long auburn hair.


He stepped forward, letting the air wash over him, the scents of a hundred thousand plants, the essence of the soil, the water, the Force signatures of all of the life rustling across his senses. He could almost not hear the dull throb of the Ship’s engines, the whine at the edge of the periphery that told him that the cloaks were engaged. The meditation gardens were not easy to come by, but a welcome solace.

Korras is coming. He watched her smile shift for a moment. It’s been a long time. I should meet him.

She laughed at him for a moment. Should I be worried?

Muz let his head slide lower and tilt to the right a degree.

About getting back into politics after all of that?

Muz let a smile creep up the side of his face.

Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Raikou watched the ghosts roil a few meters in front of him, his eyes lit by purpose and interest. The spun in random patterns, wisps of ephemera tangling between each other as they swarmed the air, stirred into action by rage and a purpose they had yet to divine.

He found his hand wrapped around that book again, the chains that bound it to his belt cool and assuring to his hand. He listened for her orders, for her demands, but heard nothing. He resisted the urge to lower his blaster, to raise the book and all but invite the voice back.

“This is Evelynn to Raikou, do you copy?”

He felt the repeater getting heavier, his willpower ebbing, addicted to whatever madness bloomed when the smoke behind his eyes mixed with the twisted symbols of that old parchment. He could almost hear her now, speaking through the space between his ears, a soothing counterpoint to Muz’s gravel tones. She would know what he should do here, a million years and miles away, but still with him. Always, bathed in blood and love.

He watched the ghosts spin as her voice came to him, quiet but steady.

I have a use for you…

ADS Fallen Spear
In Orbot of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

The shuttle hissed as it lifted up, antigrav maneuvering jets spinning the transport around to park off to one side of the bay as the weird wobble sound of the cloaks engaging again echoed through the closing bay doors. Darth Aeternus, the last of the Obelisk High Commanders and a Master on the Star Chamber stood in the evaporating wash of the jets, waiting. The rumors said he was as immortal as the man he was here to meet. He had heard some of the hushed rumors, people wishing that there was a holofeed of the next few minutes.

It was folly, rumor and wishful thinking. He had another name, back then, but they had gone through Lyspair together, through the ranks of Tarthos and Sepros, and then, when Muz took the throne, he commanded his armies for years. Aeternus smiled broadly as he saw his old friend step off of the turbolift. “Always biting off more than you can chew, you crazy old Krath.”

“It gives me a reason to call you in to handle my light work.” Muz chuckled as he grasped the other man’s arm, bringing him closer so he could thump him on the back in a greeting. “Besides, maybe this time you and I can have that rematch.” He stepped back, his left arm glinting in the light. “I owe you.”

Aeternus let the smile fade for a moment. “I think I’ll stay with my 1-0 record, thanks.” He stepped forward, walking with him toward the lift as he laughed. “Do you want to tell me why we are out here?”

Muz stopped, turning to look at him. “You know exactly why we are here.”

Aeternus smiled.


Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

To your left my champion. I have a gift for you…

Her voice echoed sweetly in his ears as he strode the corridors of the ruins. The chains on his armour swung lazily in the stale air and each footstep brought a fresh rattle that filled the empty chambers.

The Keibatsu had abandoned those that had walked with him, she had told him too and without a doubt, her word carried more weight than those fools he was forced to call allies.

“Raikou, just where the hell are you?” It was the second time Tasha’s voice had tried to reach him via the communicator. “Armad if you are still with that idiot respond,” the voice clipped through the open channel.

Armad’s voice responded over the comm channel. “He’s eh not here. We dealt with a batch of these things and by the time we had turned he was gone.”

“Gone?” Came the curt reply. “What do you mean by gone? You two left me behind to kill some of these things!”

“Well, he’s just not here.”

Silence reigned for a few seconds whilst the voice on the other end mulled over the options. “Fine, let him rot. One less idiot to worry about. I am pinging you my coordinates, try and meet up with me. I’ll move towards you.”

“Understood,” the reply was short and from there, nothing else came.Grateful for the silence Raikou continued following the directions which seeped into his brain. This felt right, she seemed right.She always seemed right.

Stop. This room to your left. It contains the power you wish. The power to control these things.Go in, break the seal and take it.

“As you wish my lady,” he responded as he pushed open the heavy door which separated the empty corridor to the small chamber beyond. Musty air crept in through his helmets filtration system and he almost gagged at the smell. Bones littered the ground and something brushes past his leg in an attempt to flee the light that shone from his helmets torch. Nothing else stirred as he gingerly moved his way into the room, the putrid scent of decay grew stronger and he needed to stop to remove his helm to vomit where he stood.

As he righted himself he surveyed the room properly, his helmet under his arm. Proceeding forward his eyes were drawn to a chair upon which sat a long deceased figure. A helm lay upon the figure’s lap, horns protruding from either side and the face of death etched upon its features.

Take it

So he did and as he raised it up high and played it upon his head he felt…nothing. Then all at once, the room was no longer empty as he stared into the face of a ghost.

“Thief! Remove my helmet this moment. It is not for the likes of you Tomb robber.” The figure’s voice echoed in his head and it felt uncomfortable.

“I have the control now, obey me!” Raikou snarled back at the monster, his voice modulated by the helmet. But that was it’s only trick he quickly realised as the ghosts moved towards him.

New plan my champion, run.

So he did.

ADS Fallen Spear
In Orbit of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

“We are having a few issues raising your wayward brother My Lord, The commander seems to have cut communication and disappeared once again like he did on Moraband,” the Nihilgenia’s voice was obviously strained as it came across the communicator.

“Understood. Let me know if he turns up,” Muz’s reply was short and curt and gave no indication he wished to continue the conversation as he looked back up to his company. “I guess freedom can do odd things to some people.”

“He’ll be fine, he’s Keibatsu for a reason,” his Queen’s thoughts entered his head. Muz nodded and turned back to Aeternus, the momentary distraction put behind him to deal with bigger things.


VT-49 Decimator Gemini Alpha
VEN Harbinger Hangar
In Orbot of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

It’s nice that I can now pilot my own ship without someone giving me a lecture about my own safety, Locke thought, as he maneuvered his new power chair into the pilot’s position on the ship he had recently acquired. The Gemini Alpha was a VT-49 Decimator. It was developed as an Imperial assault craft, but Locke had appropriated this one for a variety of uses. It was large enough to transport people and supplies, but also nimble enough to survive a dogfight.

He had to focus on the positive things if he was going to keep from going insane from being in that chair. If his injuries had prevented the use of his arms, Locke would have screamed. At least this way, he could fly a ship, and that meant he could be in control of something.

That’s one way to be useful.

Locke had mixed feelings about this mission and working with the Tarenti. On one hand, he knew they could be valuable allies. On the other, he did not trust them. In truth, there was almost no one he trusted, but another Clan was high on that list. It’s not my concern, now, he told himself. He was no longer Consul. Now, the Augur saw himself as merely another soldier, albeit one who couldn’t walk. Still, he had the Force, and his other skills.

“I’m still dangerous,” he muttered.

“What was that, Sir?” a mechanical voice asked him.

Locke cursed softly. He had almost forgotten about the droid. “Nothing,” he said flatly, moderating his tone to one that was neutral. He didn’t know how much the droid could pick up in his tone of voice, but didn’t want to chance it. All that practice in diplomacy, and here he was using it so that a droid wouldn’t question him.

RX, or Rex, as the technicians had called him, was a pilot droid. Technically, the VT-49 Decimator required a small group. With the droid, Locke could control it as if it were a starfighter, and he liked that very much.

What he did not like, was putting up with the droid.

“Are you sure? Muttering like that is indicative of underlying issues,” he stated matter-of-factly.

“You’re a pilot droid,” Locke said. “Do your job.”

The droid made a noise that sounded like a bizarre laugh, before answering. “Going through preflight now, sir. We will be outside the hangar in moments. Then, I will hand control over to you. The troopers in the cargo bay all seem to be comfortable.”

Someone had thought it would be funny to let him use a droid who was sarcastic. That seemed to be a problem with droids; you let them go too long without a memory wipe, and suddenly they developed a sense of humor.

Locke did not hate the droid, truly, but he had been raised to dislike droids. They were not very popular on Bakura. It especially chafed at him that he needed this droid.

“Good,” Locke said. His excuse for being here was to take a small group of troops to the surface of the world and set up camp to help support the efforts to figure out what went wrong there.

They sat in silence as the droid - Rex - went through the preflight sequence. Then, instead of taking off, he paused. “We have more guests,” he said.

“What?” Locke asked. “I’m only supposed to be taking the one squad of troops down to the surface.”

“Well,” Rex answered, in as casual a voice as a droid could have, “we have new visitors. One is on his way up right now.”

“Hey there, thanks for the ride,” a new voice spoke in a somewhat jovial tinge.

Locke eased back from the pilot’s console and swiveled his power chair around to face the newcomer. “Do I know you?” he asked. “Wait…”

“The name’s Jax,” the new person said. He took a look around the Decimator’s small bridge and then dropped himself into the command chair Locke had had placed there…before the injury that prevented him from using it.

“That’s my seat,” Locke said, as he thought about that name. It sounded familiar.

“Your buddy Sang hired me as his Proconsul,” Jax said, just as Locke realized who this was. He silently cursed in his head. He had wanted to avoid anyone high ranking, not have them on his ship!"

“Ah,” Locke said, keeping his voice flat. “Hired” he said.

“Anyway, are we taking off soon? There’s a couple others down in the cargo hold. They’re as ready as I am to get this show on the road.”

I hate this guy, Locke thought. I have a strong urge to kill him, but that wouldn’t be productive, assuming he even survived the attempt.

Locke put on his best neutral expression and chose a voice to match. “Yeah, we’re taking off, right Rex? Before anyone else gets onboard.”

“Right,” the droid stated, mercifully not making any sarcastic quip.

After they cleared the Harbinger’s hangar bay, Locke took personal control of the ship. He guided it toward the world below, enjoying the sense of control it gave him.

“Take us out,” Jax said. “We can’t let the Tarenti get there and have all the fun without us.”

“I’m doing that,” Locke answered. He briefly thought about disabling the ship’s inertial compensator and throwing Jax against a bulkhead, even though it would likely kill everyone else on board, as well.

This was going to be one long trip.

He accelerated the vessel to full speed, intending to get the unwelcome visitor off his ship as soon as possible.


ADS Fallen Spear
In The Orbit Of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Due to his frequent and prolonged absences, not many of his cousin’s men knew who he was but knew his name, luckily Shimura had served with one of the two guards at the Spear’s entrance and was allowed to board. A plethora of blasters, bladed weapons and explosives filled the lockers and shelves to either side of the meditating Battlemaster. His hands grasping his tunic, brow furrowed, sweat streaming down his face from his demonic crown like a salty waterfall as he tried to maintain the concealment of his force signature.

The door in front of him opened with a hydraulic hiss as an armoured Nihilgenia entering was taken off guard by the Sith’s presence. The Nihilgenia saluted and quickly spun on his heels, exiting as fast as he had entered but the damage was already done. Shimura felt the blanket of Force energy he had wrapped himself in begin to shred apart as if it had been put through a grinder.

Welcome Cousin. Muz’s words were so loud Shimura could hear them echoing within his thick skull. We’ll talk as soon as I’m finished here.

Warmth filled his chest. Love. Ashia’s presence were clearly identifiable behind the feeling. Shimura stood up and wiped the sweat from his face on the sleeve of his cloak. A low grumble emanated from his gut. Another clearly identifiable feeling. The Sith strode out of the armory and nearly collided with a young officer. Shimura scowled, the officer clearly nervous as he recognized him as a force user.

“S-s-sorry sir. My deepest apologizes.”

“Never mind that. Where can a guy get a meal around here?”


Personnel Transport Shuttle, VEN Titan
Qirool VI Orbit

Thanadd watched as yet another soldier – or so he thought – boarded the transport shuttle. He peered through the nearly lightless cabin at the servicewoman, his eyes missiles of suspicion.

Pelles. He was certain he had heard the name, somewhere. The more he plumbed the cavities of his memory, trying to recall the source of such tenuous familiarity, the less he thought it likely that the woman was some kind of mere infantryman. She carried non-standard arms, a well-used rifle leaving its perch on her shoulder as she strapped into the shuttle bench.

Expendable nonetheless, he thought.

The haunting sound of Mawgath’s respirator seemed to stir errant particles, minuscule globules of dust tumbling through chamber space with each slow, electronic heave. He locked his sullen visage on the woman’s vibrodagger, softly touching his own pauldron in a rare moment of empathy – as if there should be something there. His brow furrowed, realizing what he had done, but he made no explosive effort to abort the display. Few on board would possess the nerve to ask questions of a Sith.

“Preparing for departure,” the speaker reported, the syllables fuzzy from amplification. The voice continued with coordinates and some other jargon – for the rank and file present, likely – but the massive Tarenti paid it no mind. He was far too interested in “Satre Pelles.” There was something about her…

…and the vision cleared, the warzone manifest. Antei. The clamor of suffering, glory, and destruction.
Thanadd, in his mind’s eye, lay in the rubble which supported his mangled body. The whir of a lightsaber mocked him, and as he surveyed the mandala of his splayed and severed limbs, Satre – no, somebody like her – raised their weapons towards the lone Jedi and…

Ermpph,” Thanadd groaned, the shuttle rocking the curious regiment as it began to ascend too quickly, pressurizing with far too much enthusiasm. The craft moved with a cocksure abandon, as if the heap of metal itself were anxious. The armored Pau’an – the black hulk in the room, which nobody wished to discuss – felt anxiety wash over his titanic frame, too. Ghosts of the past lingered, clawing their way to forethought from the cheerless recesses of his mind.

Yes – ghosts.


Star Cruiser Panthac
In Close Orbit of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

“Yes, my Lord.” Macron smiled with some effort as he looked at the viewscreen. The scar tissue on his face was not cooperating. “You’ve lost contact with Raikou.” The Alchemist gestured at the astromech droid. Truth be told, the Sith was not all that great of a pilot. His skills lay elsewhere. “I gladly serve you, the Sith Lord who has always treated me fairly. I serve with a fierce heart. And I serve this Clan, and it’s Consul.”

“Yes.” Nothing else needed to be said. This was a conversation that had been held many times, over many years, in many systems. Macron lived by the Sith formalities, and Grandmaster Ashen acknowledged this in his own taciturn way. “We have. He is… probably fine. I would appreciate it if you could check in and see. There’s an old temple involved.” The flickering blue holoimage of the man with black eyes in a battered warcoat wavered. “Your Umbaran student is with him.”

“Armad?” asked the madman as he closed his mismatched eyes and concentrated. Energetic swirls of many Force users adorned the planet and area in a muddled mess, but the bond between Master and Apprentice was not easily overlooked. “Yes. I can feel him somewhere down there. I can’t tell much more, my skills are not as refined as yours are. I sense Locke still lives, and is near.”

“Yes. Tasha seeks Raikou as well.” The silence said plenty as the space between the two Darksiders spoke to them both. “Let Locke be. We need everyone.”

“I see.” The Adept gritted his metallic teeth. “I can wait longer. My fate seems to be deeply intertwined with Tasha Vel’Versea, and Armad as well although we have had no contact for some time. He has become a skilled Force User in his own right. The bird has flown, and he does not need me.” The madman smiled proudly. “He has become powerful.”

“Be that as it may, do go and see.” The channel closed.

“Droid, interface with the ship’s brain and put us on a descending orbit to the coordinates that Lord Ashen sent immediately,” remarked Macron as he gestured at the Astromech droid. The Sith unclipped the harness straps and stood up, gingerly making his way back to the cargo hull.

“HK 22, get your rusty can in gear,” chuckled the madman as he grabbed his own lightsabers from their charge ports. “There is combat ahead.”

“Yes, Master Meatbag. Will there be hostiles to terminate?” The Droid unfolded itself from the gravbench and picked up a heavy repeating blaster. It quickly cycled through a weapons check and then reached for a bandolier of thermal detonators.

“Considering you view everything as hostile until proven otherwise due to your cruddy combat programming my friend, yes.” The ship began to buck a bit as it hit the atmosphere of the planet. “Drop your gears and grab your rears, we are landing soon 22. Get ready for deployment.”

“Copy that meatbag,” smirked the droid in audio only as it clacked energy packs into the heavy repeater and secured a blaster carbine over the other shoulder. “Ready to eliminate mushy weak inferior petulant meatbags at your command. Sir. I have a bad feeling about this.”

“You don’t have feelings, you metallic liar. Of course. Would you expect anything else but carnage droid? Seriously. Who are you serving again?” The Sith finished clipping on the rest of his battlesuit as the ship hove to a stop on the surface. “Time to put up, or shut up. Get on the bike you jerkstick. You better be loaded for bear and your bits better be right and tight. Cover me as I drive. Like usual. Time to ride!”

The drop-bay opened, and HK 22 rode behind Macron Sadow as the speeder bike dropped from the hold and blasted out at maximum hot-rodded speed towards the Temple.


Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

“I understand, I’ll let him know,” Tasha looked up towards Armad who had joined her minutes after the communications between the pair. “Seems Macron is on his way down, or by my calculations he’s already on his way.”

Armad looked at her and rolled his eyes, sighing as he did so. “I may admire the man but this isn’t really the place for his rancor in a china shop approach,” he shrugged a bit. “Nonetheless perhaps some of his expertise can be of use with these ghosts. Unlike that Aedile of ours. One minute there, the next gone! No sense of direction.”

“Unless he purposely ditched you of course…” Tasha muttered quietly, Armad raised an eyebrow but said nothing. “Anyway, we nee…wait what’s that noise? Sounds like footsteps from that passageway up ahead.”

They both approached the corner to the next passage, hands upon their saber hilts. There were definitely footsteps approaching. Fast paced ones, getting louder and they both hung back to see who would appear. No longer had they both wondered if an enemy approached the swift flash of a purple and black warcoat flashed past their faces and disappeared down the other side. They looked to one another.

“Raikou?..” Armad hazarded a guess.

“Has to be, come on let’s get after him,” without waiting for his response Tasha pushed herself from the wall and shot off after the running Aedile. Armad took little to no time to follow her. “Rai…Rai! Stand bloody still and stop running!”

The man before her slowed down and peered across his shoulder. The horned helm upon his brow made her momentarily confused but the shape of the armour the man wore definitely matched the Raider.

“Sorry, no time to stop!” He yelled back, increasing his speed as he took the next bend in the ruins.

Tasha swore under her breath and rounded the corner after him. She nearly cascaded directly into his back and only just stopped herself. Armad, however, was not so lucky. The three collided and the Aedile at the front was momentarily crushed against the dead end they found themselves in.

“Get…get off me! Help me find a way out, there must be something, a passage, a lever. Hurry!” He snapped at the pair. His hands scrambled over the rock surfaces and as the other two disentangled themselves it took Armad to ask what they both wondered.

“Why were you fething running? And why are you freaking out?”

“Look back around that corner you fool, then ask later!”

Armad peered around the bend they had all just come from and his heart leapt to his throat as the wave of ghosts approached, led by a larger one. They did not look happy in the slightest. “I see you made some new friends, the big one doesn’t look happy…what did you do?”

“Nothing, now help me!” The agitated man spat back.

Just then a voice filled their heads. Anger seeped through their bodies, not from themselves but by those who approached. “Thief! Betrayer! Tomb defiler!”

“Okay, perhaps I stole a hat but she said it would help us control them, but it does nothing!” Raikou spat out the last few words. “Now either help me get us out of this mess or go kill the ghosts!”

It’s not all my fault Champion, just because I said to do it doesn’t mean you had too.

The voice almost sounded stroppy which took the cultist by surprise as he turned on his heel and waited for what was to come.


Landing Zone, Qirool VI Surface
Qirool System

Satre glanced around the troop compartment, her green eyes flicking at the occupants under the impassive gaze of her helmet. It appeared most of them were regular troops, though there was a rather interesting armored individual. What little of him that showed from his armor suggested alien, everything was off to be a human, and for a moment, she was sure that he had been staring at her.

She was snapped out of her observation of the other personnel as the shuttle rocked as it set down. The ramp lowered onto the ground, and Satre was on her feet, her E-11D in her hands. With a pair of the soldiers, she trundled down the ramp and looked around at the landscape. It certianly was not a location of her taste, it was too dour and unwelcoming.

Maybe if someone opened up a reputable casino, it would be better… She thought to herself with an unseen grin. She turned to look over her shoulder, the armored fellow and the rest of the troops disembarked, and once they were clear, the transport lifted off.

“We should consider splitting up. I can take part of the squad and scout one way out. Divide and conquer,” Satre suggested to the armored alien. His gaze turned to her and lingered for a moment. He then nodded, and looked to one of the soldiers.

“Squad Leader, assign some of your soldiers to Pelles. And they are to follow her orders as if they my own. Disobey them at your peril,” The voice was mechanical, much like Satre’s was through her armor’s vocoder. The soldier nodded and pointed to two of his men, who fell in with Satre. Without another word, the imposing alien figure took the lead in another direction.

“Follow me. Three meter spread, column formation. Watch your angles,” Satre stepped off in the direction the shuttle’s ramp had let them off at. Setting a slow pace, she glanced around from side to side, looking for any signs of anyone else. After about twenty meters, she heard the sound of a glass shattering.

Her right hand came off the foregrip of her rifle and was extended at a right angle over her shoulder, her hand closed into a fist. Both of the soldiers behind her stopped as soon as she made the hand signal.

“What is it?” One of them asked quietly.

“I heard something. Glass,” Satre replied. She looked around, trying to find the source, but there was nothing but wilderness ahead of them. Jutting out of the treeline in the distance was a large stone structure, likely whatever ruins that the other sect was interested in, but there was no sign of anything that could have made that noise.

She lowered her hand and then pointed forward, stepping off once more.

”…killed me…killed him…”

A faint whisper seeped through her helmet’s protection and into her ears as if she wasn’t wearing anything over her ears or head at all. The voice was feminine and familiar, carrying a tone of accusation as it drifted in and out, like waves rushing forward and back once more. But Satre couldn’t place why it was so familiar, not with just a faint wisp like that.

Focus. Stone structure, you’re on the clock. And it wouldn’t do to start talking to the wind. Satre’s own inner voice fought back against it, to keep her focused.

”Murderer. Liar. You killed us and we want our revenge.” The voice was angrier and clearer. Satre clutched her rifle a bit tighter, recognition flooding into her mind. She started to take deep breaths, trying to regulate her focus away from the voice.

As she glanced around once more for signs of anyone other than the landing team she was with, she caught a glimpse of movement. This time, however, she did not stop. She knew what this scene was, but not why it was playing out. A light from an unknown source, likely part of the illusion, focused on the movement. Satre was standing there, in her black suit, while a male Twi’lek with green skin in a swoop jockey’s jumpsuit shouted at her. Behind him was a young human woman, bright red hair and a sparkling dress.

You both brought that on yourselves. He could have walked away. And you could have chosen to not betray me. Satre’s mind shot back at the whisper.

”Murderer! Liar!” The voice shouted louder in her mind, as that image disappeared, and another appeared ahead of her. Satre was standing behind the Twi’lek now, both of them bearing cuts and scratches on their faces. The Twi’lek was on the ground while Satre wrapped a sheet around his neck. The woman appeared behind Satre and smashed a bottle over hear head, and the image faded.

I was ready to walk away from everything for you. And you chose to play me for that ugly kriffer. No, my dear, you got what was coming. Both of you. I hold no regrets.

A new image appeared ahead, this one was the Twi’lek now hanging from a balcony, the sheet around his neck as he struggled against it. Satre approached the woman, looking distraught, trying to comfort the woman. As soon as that image faded, a new one appeared of Satre behind the woman, and then grabbing her and smashing her head on a sink, letting the woman drop. The image faded.

”MURDERER! LIAR! MURDERER! LIAR!” The woman’s voice screamed in Satre’s mind, and finally, Satre stopped in her tracks.

“I’m sure that playing on that memory, however you’re doing it, seems like you’ll break me, but to the contrary. I loved Carina, make no mistake, but I take betrayal poorly, especially from those I love. So, I appreciate the effort, but please, be more creative next time,” Satre said out loud.

“Who are you talking to?” One of the soldiers behind her asked.

“Just someone with a poor taste for theater and a love of the cliche. Keep your wits about you, I suspect that there’s something out here that affects your judgement. Let’s keep moving, see who we bump into,” Satre replied, stepping off once more.

She could still hear Carina’s voice in her mind, but it was at least somewhat muted now.


VEN Titan
In orbit of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Solas smiled beneath his mask at the curious stares of the soldiers he passed. If he had to guess most were staring at either his height or at his mask. Both things that made him stand out amongst other humanoids.

‘Curse you Master for having me walk all the way from the hanger.’ The Sith mused to himself when another, more erratic voice entered his mind.

‘Yeah, hehehe, he should have sent someone to carry us.’

‘You fool he wouldn’t have someone carry us.’ A second voice chimed in. This one sounded more feminine than the first.

‘Still he should have at least sent someone to guide us there.’ A third, distinctly older sounding voice spoke up.

‘Silence! All of you.’ Solas shouted inside his own head, leaving himself with a mild headache. One of the many prices he had to pay to attain the power he held. A power he was certain would come into play here.

After an unbearable amount of time Solas finally strode onto the command deck of Venator-class Star Destroyer. The man was tense, for many reasons but mainly due to the ranting and ravings of the voices in his mind. Trying to bring his thoughts into balance, he wasn’t entirely paying attention to the young man who had been frantically following him since he arrived in the command spire.

“Sir. Please, as I’ve said, this is a restricted section. If you would please return to lower deck and tell me why you are here.” At this the young man placed a hand on Solas’ shoulder. For half a second the command deck seemed to stand still before a loud voice rang out.

“Bad idea sailor.” Battlelord Hades’ words rang true as Solas spun around and drove his forehead into the man’s nose. Cartilage and bone met armor with a dull crunch akin to a melon being dropped from a great height. The young man staggered back clutching at his face as blood began to pour our his lips. The sailor began to feel weak and soon his legs gave out from under him. However he did not feel the embrace of the floor, rather the feeling of an incredibly strong hand grasping him by the throat. Solas’ raspy voice echoed from behind his mask.

“Master, is this one essential?”

The question struck Hades. He knew of his apprentice’s military past so to hear him ask if a soldier was essential was confusing. “Well not exactly, he is only an aide. Why do you ask?”

Solas reached up with his free hand and grasped his mask. With a quiet pop and hiss the seals around the mask released and the Sith removed the piece revealing his sinister yellow eyes and striking black facial tattoos.

“I am hungry. It was an awfully long trip from home.” The epicanthix’s voice had an odd tone to it. Almost as if multiple people were speaking at once. “May I eat?”

For a moment Hades forgot Solas’ initial question and responded to the newest one. “Yes, of course.” A moment later the Battlelord regretted his choice as his apprentice opened his mouth and bit the young sailor’s neck. The man screamed in pain as he was lain down. But soon his screams died off and the only sound that filled the command deck were the visceral sounds of eating. Wet squelches of blood, audible cracking of bone, loud chewing and swallowing. No one dared move to stop the man, most were frozen in fear. The chewing and chomping continued for a few minutes before an audible swallow was heard followed by a loud belch.

“Ahhh, now that’s a relief.” The epicanthix stood from where he was crouched over the sailor’s body. “Somebody clean that up! There’s a dead body on the floor, hehehehehe. You could almost say my attack really floored him, hahaha.” The man laughed at his own joke as everyone stood in unbelievable awkwardness.

Ahem!” Hades loudly cleared his throat. “If you are quite finished Solas…” The laughter died down and Solas locked eyes with his master. “We have things to discuss.” The older Sith turned and walked to a small room off to the side of the command deck. “And someone clean that up for fracking sake.”

Solas’ smile swiftly vanished and was replaced with a look of grim determination. He followed his master into the room.

“So Master, why have you called me here?”


Star Courier Demolisher


Jurdan Krennel sat in the pilot’s chair of the Star Courier Demolisher, his personal starship. He was a tall man with a clean shaven head, save his longer than normal soul patch. His blue eyes stared intently at the hyperspace display clock. It was counting down the last few seconds before reverting to real space. There was a thud behind him in the cockpit and he turned to see what it was. Jurdan turned to see his Loth cat, Mr. Thimble, hugging up against his leg, purring. Mr. Thimble had been rescued during a mission to Lothal. He was in a ditch and couldn’t get out of it. He was a small kitten at the time. Jurdan reached down to pet the little rascal just as his hyperspace counter reached zero.

Jurdan reached back for his console and pulled the handle to drop him out of hyperspace. The blue and white swirl of hyperspace slowly faded and turned back into a starry backdrop. He was in space above Qirool VI. He had recently been appointed as Aedile serving under Evelynn Wyrm. Before he had made it to Clan Naga Sadow’s base of operations he had received an urgent communique to change course, and to head straight for Qirool VI. There was a temple that Naga Sadow wanted to have explored. Jurdan opened his communications to the planet below so that he could notify his Quaestor that he would arrive shortly. There was no response on her personal comm channel. Jurdan was about to leave the comm unit when he instead received a notification that someone was contacting him.

“Jurdan Krennel, welcome to Qirool VI.” The man said promptly. Jurdan recognized the man as the former leader of the entire Dark Jedi Brotherhood. “Battlemaster, we have been out of touch with your Quaestor. You are ordered to the surface as soon as possible. You will enter the temple and lead troops in finding our missing clan members who have failed to contact us. There is also the matter of the specters that have been found in the temple.” Grandmaster Muz finished.

“I understand my lord. It will be done.” Jurdan bowed as Muz closed the channel. He had never before spoke with a Grandmaster, current or past. It was bone chilling to say the least. Jurdan sat back at his console and plotted a course to the surface of the planet. The search for his new comrades would come shortly.


VT-49 Decimator Gemini Alpha
On approach to Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

As the Decimator hurtled towards the surface below, Jax leaned back in his chair thinking how lucky he’d been to not be on board on one of those crowded smelly transports.

Here I have a view, a comfortable chair, and even my very own personal pilot, Jax thought. This is great! I wonder if he’ll consider piloting for me full time.

“Hey listen,” he started but just as Jax opened his mouth the ship bucked rather violently, nearly throwing him from his chair.

“Sorry about that,” Locke offered. "There must be something wrong with the inertial dampeners.”

“Sir! There is nothing wrong with our inertial dampeners.” The droid commented. "The ship reacted so violently because we traversed the atmospheric threshold. I will attempt to avoid such rough manoeuvres.

“See that you do, Rex,” Locke set the droid with a stare that would’ve given a rancor pause and then turned back to Jax. “What were you saying?”

“N-nothing,” Jax groaned as he felt his stomach upending itself. Maybe he’s not such a great personal pilot after all. “Let’s just try not to do that again.”

The droid made a point of it to attempt to look innocent but ultimately failed. Locke’s facial expression remained stoic and focused on their approach even though he wasn’t the one piloting.

“Look,” Locke began to explain, but just then an explosion rocked the ship. “I think we just lost our starboard deflector, sir,” the droid interrupted.

“Alright, that wasn’t an atmospheric threshold.” Locke was at the controls, even though he was bound to his powerchair and hadn’t had this ship for very long, it was impressive to see how fast he could operate it.

“Rex, half thrust, angle down, forty-five degrees.” The droid quickly acquiesced to his commands, sending the Gemini Alpha into a steeper dive.

“Incoming missile,” it warned them.

Jax had strapped himself down into the command chair and was panicking slightly.

“Dodge it,” he screamed. “Dodge it now!”

“Calm down,” Locke replied. “Don’t yell. I’m right in front of you. Rex, I’m going to deploy countermeasures, I want you to disengage the engines upon impact and switch to repulsor flight only. Understood?”

“Sir, at this altitude we might not have enough power to sustain lift,” the pilot droid warned.

“I know that but it’s either that or their missile tracks our heat emissions and blows us all up.”

“Who is they?!” Jax was still panicking.

“I dunno but,” Locke was interrupted by the proximity alert. “Get ready…NOW!”

Nearly mashing the controls for the countermeasures, Locke made the Gemini Alpha release a spurt of superheated material and reflective transparisteel, a system designed to counter the tracking of most missile-based weaponry. It worked. The missile mistook the released materials for its target and detonated. Almost simultaneously, with the reflexes only a droid could exhibit, the ship’s engines powered down and the repulsors whined to life, the sound of their strain nearly deafening.

The ship would be in freefall until its repulsors could find something to lock onto and reverse gravity’s effects. From within the cockpit, the ground was coming up fast, too fast.

“We won’t survive the impact, sir,” the droid warned again. “We will,” Locke replied. At least he sounds confident, Jax thought.

“Angle the ship into a horizontal position and divert all power to the inertial dampeners and the repulsors. Then brace for impact.”

As Locke secured his power chair into its current position belts deployed from the sides, tying him down. Locke had said the last bit more to soldiers below than to the people in the cabin, but that didn’t stop Jax from freaking out.

“A-are you effin’ serious?!” Jax screamed at the top of his voice. “Your solution is to crash your ship?!”

“BRACE!” Locke yelled in reply as the ground was just meters away.


Landing Zone
Qirool IV Surface

“Master, I am spotting several hostiles up ahead,” commented HK 22 as it’s droid eyes focussed over the distance. Air blew by the pair of bipeds as they rocketed towards the main landing area. The blacked-out droid unlimbered a heavy repeating blaster and peered through the long-range scope. “Terminate?”

“Hold your capacitors, you damn droid,” growled the Alchemist through his helm. His own voice sounded eerily like the droid’s through the vocoder. The Sith twisted his grip on the speederbike’s hand throttles, kicking the engine up another notch as the bike turned towards the group in the distance. There was no way he could drive and spot at the same time at this rate of speed. “Identify markings.”

“They appear to bear the insignia of Tarentum.” HK 22 sounded almost disappointed, if a droid could sound that way. “One foxtrot uniform judging by the Inquisitor armor, and several more soldiers of different ranks.”

“Copy that. Do not engage. We’re heading their way. Perhaps they know something of the situation on the ground here.”

“Yes, master meatbag.” The droid almost sighed in disgust.

In the distance the whine of an approaching speederbike traveling at a high rate of speed reached Thanadd’s ears. “Sir, we have a pair of potential hostiles approaching.” One of the Tarentum soldier’s raised a pair of electrobinocs and scanned the rapidly-growing bike and riders. “Two bipeds, one appears to be an HK series assassin droid with a heavy repeater. The other… I cannot identify that make of armor. A male who appears to be wearing Naga Sadow insignia.”

“I see.” The Warrior unclipped his lightsaber from his belt and held it in his fist. “They are supposedly allies, but it is best to leave nothing to chance. Spread out and take cover in case they attack.” The Pa’uan stood his ground as the bike drew closer. Dust whipped up around him as the bike slid sideways and screeched to a stop.

The HK series droid regarded Macron quizzically. “Master, may I…”

“Shut up droid.” The heavily armored figure reached up and removed the faceplate from his helm and addressed the Pa’uan. “Are you in charge here?” Heavy scarring and distinctive tattoos covered his face and one alien-looking eyeball bulged weirdly.

“I am.” The Battleteam Leader looked over the troopers with pride. “Warrior Thanadd Mawgath, Deathsworn, House Mortis of Tarentum. And you are?”

“Adept Macron Goura Sadow, House Marka Ragnos, Clan Naga Sadow.” The madman kicked out the bike’s stand and leaned it to one side as he and the droid dismounted. “Well met, Sith Warrior.” He brushed the worst of the dust off his armor.

“I’ve heard of you.” The Warrior did not pursue the line of reasoning far- there was no need. He could feel the Dark Side whispering. “I’m going to guess we are here for similar reasons that probably involve violence.”

“I’d imagine so. Hell, I certainly hope so! Hehe. We’ve got some of our people in there,” The Sith gestured at the Temple in the distance- “who may be in trouble. I got sent down here by Lord Ashen to find our missing Aedile.” The Sith shrugged with a clank of armor. “I’m not the finesse type. May I ask who your Master was?”

“Master Bloodfyre,” came the spirited response. “I have just been elevated to Equite recently under his tutelage.” Thanadd gestured the all clear to his troopers.

“I know him. He was Sith High Warrior when I joined the Brotherhood, and I served under him as Combat Master briefly. He is an honorable man. You had a good teacher of the Sith Way.” The Adept looked around as the troopers returned to gathering their gear. “I understand there are shades in there from the com chatter.”

“That’s a concerning development,” nodded the Warrior. “A lightsaber does little against those with no flesh.”

“True. There are other means though. The most important thing is avoiding possession. They will target Force-users first and the others last. I think cooperation on this matter would be the best way to handle things. There is no hostility between our Clans, and in these times of oppression by the Throne we both need allies. What say you, Mawgath?”


Well, that was mature, thought Lilith as Evelynn threw her comlink and then attacked the wall with lightening.


Freezing in place and then looking over at her Quaestor, Lilith quickly understood, by her expression, that she had also heard the voice. At least I’m not going crazy. With a full body shiver the Battleteam Leader said, “we need to get out of here, this place is creeping me out.”

Evelynn looked back at her and nodded. You could tell that she wasn’t real thrilled about the idea even as she took a hesitant step back towards the corridor, as the only way to go was back from where they had just ran from, shrieking, swirling ghosts and all.

“We are going to have to be very careful when we head back into that room. We have no weapons that have any effect on ghosts,” said Lilith. Where is Macron when I need him, she thought. After working with him on the last mission, she had developed a kind of respect for the crazy, mad-scientist. He would know what to do, or have something attached to his belt that would help, she continued her train of thought as they moved cautiously down the corridor.

“Maybe you could trying calling for assistance again?” Lilith asked only to get a dark look from Evelynn. “Oh, uh, sorry. I’ll try to see if I can get anyone. It seemed like we had some communication in the other room, maybe when we get closer? I would say that maybe the “ghosts” are assigned to that room since they didn’t leave it to chase after us. I wonder what happened with the Warhost that was with us? I only saw the one go down but why didn’t the rest follow us?” Lilith realized that she was rambling and sheepishly looked over at her partner, “sorry.”

Evelynn chuckled and said, “don’t worry, I’m really nervous about this too. You ramble and I….”
The Battlemaster stopped mid-sentence. Cocking her head and holding up her hand to Lilith before she could say anything, stood there listening for a minute. “Do you hear that,” she asked?

Lilith listened for a moment and said, “hear what?”

“Exactly,” came the reply. “It’s quiet, we should be hearing shrieking and moaning by now. All I hear is nothing.”

“Oh this can’t be good,” Lilith answered back.

Evelynn and Lilith very slowly moved to the door that led back into the room where all the trouble had started. Peering in, all was still. The “ghosts” were back to their unanimated state. The Warhost that had accompanied them were now suspended in the air along with the guardians.

Ducking back into the corridor, the pair looked at each other. “Let’s see if we can get a communication out,” said Evelynn, her purple tattoos glowing even more brightly against the now washed out natural color of her skin.

Lilith gulping audibly, nodded her head and with a squeak to her voice, pressed her comlink. “Th-this is L-Lil-Lilith. Is anyone there? Can anyone hear me?” Static met her stammer. “Maybe we should just wait here, someone is bound to come looking for us.”

Evelynn looked back into the room and then back at Lilith. “I agree,” she replied.

Sighing, both slid down the wall by the door and sat on the floor. Contemplating all that had happened so far, while waiting for a rescue to come.


Qirool VI Surface
Qirool System

The large stone structure filled the clearing as Satre stepped out with her squad. Satre lowered down to a knee, and looked around. Under her helmet, she frowned as her green eyes traced over the scene before them.

“This isn’t right, there’s no patrols, no sentries. Fan out,” Satre stood up and started towards the building itself. It was imposing, likely stone wasn’t the only thing used in its construction. There was something unnatural about the dark tone that the stone bore, as if it wasn’t supposed to be so close to black.

Don’t be silly. Remember that statue in CorEx’s lobby on Coruscant? Black as the depths of space, and it was just some rare ore that they wanted to flaunt. You’re just getting jittery, letting these cultists get in your head.

Satre afforded herself a reassuring chuckle for a moment, but the moment passed as soon as she heard a noise, like a crate being pushed. She raised her E-11D at the direction of the noise.

“Come on out! I’m with Tarentum, we’ve been dispatched to aid your forces!” Satre called out, and began to approach the source of the sound, a stack of crates near the steps leading into the structure. Taking a deep breath, she sidestepped around the crates, and laying there was a body of a soldier, the other Clan’s by the look of his uniform. He was stabbed repeatedly, but looked like he had died long before some of the stab wounds.


Satre spun around to see another one of this Clan’s soldiers rushing at her with a vibrodagger in each hand. She snapped up her rifle and fired off a single silent bolt into his leg, sending him tumbling into the dirt. Satre advanced on him, planting a boot on his wrist and leveled the barrel of her rifle on his face.

“I’m sorry about the knee,” No I’m not. “But I’m not a demon. I’m with Tarentum. Who are you?” Satre asked with a concern that was almost entirely lost by her helmet’s voice modulator.

“Let me go! No! Demon! Help! It’s going to eat me!” The soldier screamed hysterically, thrashing to get free and get to his dropped blades.

“One more time. I’m not a demon. I am here to help. Now if you don’t calm yourself, I will have to hurt you, which I don’t want to do,” Yes, I do. “But I will if you force my hand.” Please, force my hand.

The soldier started pounding on her armored boot, crying with insanity as he tried to break her grip. Satre reversed her grip on her rifle and slammed the butt stock into the soldier’s face, knocking him out. Without another word, Satre turned and headed up the steps, while her squadmates regrouped behind her.

“Nothing but dead bodies. I think I heard shooting in the distance,” One of the soldiers commented.

“This place is starting to get unnerving. What the hell do the Sith want here?” The other soldier added.

“I really wouldn’t concern myself with that, gentlemen. Religious zealots will do what they do, there’s no reasoning with them. But, we have a job to do…oh come kriffing on. Really?” Satre gestured at the massive stone door blocking them from gaining entry.

“Not to worry, ma’am. We’ve got breaching charges, we’ll get in. Like you said, we’ve got a job to do,” The first soldier reached into his pack and began setting a detpack on the door. Satre nodded once, a smile of approval crossing her face unseen.

”Can’t help but wonder what’s in there, can you? Could be plenty of treasure…” Yet another intruding voice in her head, this was starting to get old.

Please, if you would be so kind as to shut the kriff up, I’d take it as a kindness. Thank you.

The charges were set and once the squad was clear, they went off with a crash, revealing a ramp that led to another door. Satre took point, heading straight to it. Despite her armor, she could feel a chill emanating from the walls.

“Lever over here, ma’am. Shall I pull it?” The second soldier asked.

“By all means,” Satre gestured and then snapped up her rifle at the closed door before them. The stone door slid out of place, and Satre’s gaze fell onto two women in the chamber.

“Raikou?! What the kriffing hell?! Where did you go?!” One of them demanded, stomping up to her.

“That isn’t Raikou. The armor isn’t the same.” The other replied, standing up.

“I’m afraid I don’t know who that is, and it doesn’t seem like I really want to if they strand acquaintances in such miserable conditions such as these. They must have absolutely dreadful tastes,” Satre lowered her rifle, as did her compatriots. Once again, her tone of amusement was lost in the electronic haze of her voice modulator.

“Who are you, then?” The second one asked.

“Satre Pelles, an employee of Tarentum. It seems that you are in enough trouble that your leaders reached out to mine. And given that your forces outside seem to have taken leave of their senses to the degree that they’re murdering each other, I think I see why,” Satre replied, “So. Since you probably have a better read on the situation, would you like to suggest the next course of action, or shall we just head back to the landing zone?”

”You can’t trust them. Kill them, kill them now!”

Oh of course I can’t trust them. But I also don’t take advice from random voices in my head, either.


Landing Zone
Temple Approach
Qirool VI Surface

“He is an honorable man. You had a good teacher of the Sith Way.”

The Tarenti thought, for a moment, about Macron’s words. About the honor between Sith acolytes. The strange sense of equitability and righteousness harbored by his master, especially in recent years, was not what most called “honor.” The mercy of the Dark Side did not extend far – but Macron was nonetheless right.

Allies were necessary. Tarentum had come to aid a powerful clan in their time of need. Someday, they would return the favor. Leverage was a simple mechanism, employed carefully by followers of the Dark Side – who built relationships despite such maneuvering.

The mighty Pau’an was pleased to have crossed paths with the Brotherhood’s legendary alchemist. His mind, Thanadd often heard, was as deadly as his hand. He respected the latter most, and out of habit considered what it might be like the cross blades with the man.

Macron Sadow did not see the grisly smile that began to crawl over Thanadd’s putrid lips, concealed as they were by the prosthesis which now amplified the alien’s words. They erupted from some abyssal pit, laden with electronic menace.

“I say we finish this – quickly,” he croaked, circling his hand to the troops.

Time to muster and march.


Shadows danced with Macron Sadow’s facial tattoos, an inky tapestry which reflected the dark, labyrinthine tomb the pair of Sith now found themselves in. A few feet away, Thanadd offered a grim nod to his unit’s sergeant, a trooper whose eyes were hidden behind a blast shield. His jaw bore the scars of burns, the tissue scorched and hardened.

Wordlessly, he commanded his personnel to flank the foxtrot uniforms, whose armor rendered them tank-like. They seemed to move with the same caution and determination, gargantuan frames cutting an imposing silhouette against the muted stone edifices. Pinholes of brighter light seemed to guide their path, somehow overcoming the stubborn density of rock.

A pair of halls branched off from the massive portal ahead, the granite held in place by the pressure of the design. The arch above the doorway invited wanderers to enter, its ancient geometrics almost friendly in their precision.

Macron and Thanadd shared a knowing glance, and gauntlets soon found their way to hip-mounted lightsaber hilts. Each fingered their weapon, almost comforting in familiarity, but a sense of anticipation prevailed. Neither of them knew what to expect.

As they approached the threshold, footfalls slowed even more. The clicking of blaster rifles and synchronized formations were especially loud in the silence, but nobody seemed to pay it any mind. Tarentum’s loyal troopers dutifully performed a breach of the ornate passageway, and soon disappeared into the darkness ahead.

Macron and Thanadd waited, expressionless.

What sounded like the gentle hiss of intercoms and the tapping of combat boots was almost musical, usually a sign of operational success. It was relieving, in a sense – but the two Sith did not yet move. Deft fingers wrapped themselves masterfully around the weapon of a Sith, waiting.

A door at a time, Mawgath thought.

Moments passed, stretching into a dark eternity.


The scream was bloodcurdling, although the frowns and now-furrowed brows of the two Sith warriors portrayed no such fear. Responsible for the contingent of soldiers, Thanadd rushed towards the ghastly echo, as more like it began to break the stillness of the temple. Blaster bolts reported, and Macron leapt into the darkness with a bold equanimity, both Sith illuminating the stale opacity with impossibly hot blades.


The laments of dying men grew louder in the seconds spent trying to reach them. Macron and Thanadd arrived just in time to see the men turn on them, bodies animated by something which seemed to force its way in through bodily orifices. They seized and shivered like cheap puppets, a mockery of their true selves.

Neither had time to process the arcane carnage, lightsabers turning and shifting to deflect volleys of blaster fire. The Sith deflected and redirected the bolts with expert grace, their technique and efficiency a beautiful foil to the abject horror which pervaded the expansive chamber.

With inhuman sneers, a pair of the unfortunate troopers tossed their ineffective weapons to the cracked and crumbling floor, advancing on Mawgath with a troubling confidence. He recognized one of them, the burns on his face a haunting reminder.

The sergeant.

Reaching out with the Force, the Pau’an lifted the revenants into the air, closing an invisible clamp around their throats. The gurgling and gasping that followed revealed that the spirits inside experienced the suffering wrought by the Force. As the necks of their corporeal incarnations snapped, they burst forth through the eyes and nostrils of their discarded shells…

…right towards Macron Sadow, a wry grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.


Outer Temple
Qirool VI Surface

“Unfortunate.” The Sith Adept quickly triggered his backpack energy shield and the two filmy spectres recoiled, shrieking their way back into the interior of the temple. Blaster bolts again began to pepper the madman and the Pa’uan. Both worked to deflect the bolts with precise movements but the barrage of fire had stalled their further entry into the Temple proper.

“Enough!” shouted the Alchemist as Macron deflected two blaster bolts with an orange lightsaber in one hand. The Sith’s other empty hand waved towards the quartet of Tarentum troopers whose leering visages loomed above their firing weapons.

A hard ripple of telekinetic force waved out from his simple gesture. It slammed the four soldiers against the wall with meaty thuds of flesh and combat suits hitting stone. They slumped to the floor unconscious but not dead. Macron had held back and spared their lives.

“You could have easily killed them,” asked Thanadd from his vocabulator. “They were a threat and you did not. May I ask why?” The Warrior took a second to activate his own shield generator. “I also noticed the shades reacted to your shield.”

“Twenty years ago I would have. Do not take my actions as compassion, my Sith brother. Violence is a tool best used judiciously,” remarked the madman as he stepped over to check the neck pulse on one of the downed troopers. “Some broken bones but they will live. These men attacked us through no fault of their own. They were once a valuable resource. By sparing their lives, they may serve you again. And will owe you a life-debt.”

“I see.” The Pa’uan held the place on his armor where his chin had once been in a massive hand quizzically. “By sparing them, we conserve resources and indebt them to us.” The lesson had not been lost on the young Sith. His species was fascinated with leadership and gave close attention to such matters. “I imagine if they had been a serious threat you would have acted differently.”

“Indeed. They would now be quite deceased. Speaking of which, the shield generators should cover the possession attempts for now. You asked the reasoning yes?” The Adept and the Warrior began to move again towards the interior of the temple in natural coordination. Both had similar Sith training and combat movement was part of every young Sith’s labors. “You should take point, Warrior. You have more training in that regard.”

“You have more experience than I?” asked the Tarentum warrior. “And are greater in rank? Should you not go first?”

“A good leader admits when he has less experience in some area than someone of lesser rank,” smiled the madman with a metallic toothy grin. “To do otherwise is hubris. I’m good at killing people, science, and lore but not so great at tactics. My comrades often complain of my predictability in that regard.” The madman frowned.

Mawgath was more of a natural tactician and took the lead with a nod of his massive head. “All noble disciplines to a Sith. So be it. I am curious, yes.” He raised a crushgaunt-clad hand, indicating that the Alchemist should stop. The younger Sith peered around the corner. “The way ahead is clear, at least to the next door. I still see signs of recent combat.” The monolithic Sith flexed one cybernetic limb. “The spectres seemed to have little interest in me.”

“The lore of the Sith teaches us about things like shades,” commented Macron from behind as they began to move ahead again cautiously. “Forever apart from the Force, they exist as a sort of coherent energy shell. Anything that disrupts that field disrupts their ability to manifest and affect their environment. Drains their batteries, if you will.”

“Interesting. So the energy field disrupts them.” Thanadd checked the readout on his power supply. “Much of my body is cybernetic, so I assume I am not an inviting host. In that regard, what happens to us when the shields run dry?”

“We use other methods. Anything that contains charged ions or produces ionizing radiation will do. Ion guns, smoke canisters, bright light, acid vapors, even salt water mist. That’s why I left the droid by the front door. He has an ion pistol. This is why you don’t usually see shades in the sunlight- solar radiation is ionizing.” The madman frowned. “Death also releases the spectre from the corpse, but as you see it leaves nothing useful.”

“By that reasoning, then I may have something that can help.” Mawgath pridefully took a second and rummaged in his utility belt. He produced a small fusion-light. A quick flip of a switch activated it, producing an almost-unseen purple radiance. The weird light backlit both their faces from below, causing Macron’s tattoos and Thanadd’s sharp teeth to glow in weird shades of blue and yellow.

“Excellent!” remarked the Adept as the sounds of distant combat echoing down the hoary chambers reached them again. “Ultraviolet light will do the trick.” The Adept closed his eyes I sense two Force-users ahead. Two are familiar to me, Lilith and Evelynn. The other person… is an female human warrior. She does not use the Force, and I can’t tell you more at this distance.”

“That could be Professional Satre Pelles. I’m aware that she had penetrated the temple from a different vector according to our Clan communications channels.” The Juggernaut listened carefully, pulling upon the Dark Side to enhance his already formidable Pa’uan auditory range. “I can hear their voices echoing. I hear Satre for certain, and two other females. We should be to them in under a minute or two.”


Qirool VI Surface

The assault transport had landed with a rough crash. Amazingly enough it was still in one piece, well the engine area was. Firith sat back against the bulkhead somewhat bruised and dazed by the rough landing and having been thrown about. Shaking his head to clear it only made him dizzy and nauseous. Great I probably have a concussion, kriffen’ Hell, he thought rubbing a lump on the back of his head.

He had arrived at the VEN Harbinger earlier that day in his private shuttle and docked in its hanger. Without so much as a by your leave he had then stowed away in the engine compartment on a VT-49 Decimator assault transport heading down to the planet.

He knew he would be answering to Grand Master Ashen, and Sang and Jax as well. He had not heard from DarkHawk in a while, but he would probably get his backside chewed by him too. He hoped they would be soothed by the fact he had been successful in killing the stinking Hutt and the informants it had been using within Clan Naga Sadow. The Hutt’s people had been responsible for letting Grand Master Pravus know where and when the Naga Sadow Navy was going to be. Moreover, by providing that information, they were the ones that made the destruction of the Damnation possible.

Sliding the door to the main compartment open some he could see movement. Not wanting to find out who it was, or be caught, he looked around for another way out. Espying a pressurized maintenance hatch in the deck, he unlocked it and lifted it up.

The service tunnel ran under the decking and he could see daylight filtering through the haze of smoke, about two meters away. Wiggling forward, he made his way towards the light. The Dark Jedi smiled to himself,If Lilith could see this, she’d laugh at the irony

Crawling up to the rents in the metal, Firith found the landing had ripped off the lower quad laser cannon. It’s rotator gears and bearing were twisted and warped and a couple of access panels had been torn off. Allowing access to the primary and secondary hulls, and the more importantly, the outside world.

Firith dropped out of the craft and fell to the ground below, then crawled out from under it. Checking that his lightsaber was still on his belt, he sat down and using the Force he cloaked himself. Now all he had to do was wait to see what the people in the ship would do.


Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Lilith and Evelynn sat on the dusty floor for a bit, each caught up in their own thoughts, thinking of the horror that they had witnessed and the possession of the members of the Warhost that were with them.

Lilith looked over at Evelynn. “How long do you think we’ll be stuck here before someone notices that we haven’t checked in?”

Evelynn shrugged her shoulders, “I figure that the others have probably run into some traps also, so it may be awhile.”

Each fell silent again. Suddenly there was a loud rumble, something that sounded like an explosion. The ground started moving, rocks and debris falling down from the ceiling on the pair as they scrambled to their feet in an attempt not to get hit by anything.

“What the Kriff?!” Shouted Evelynn as she jumped out of the way of a large piece of rock.

“Is this planet known to have earthquakes?” Lilith yelled as she steady herself.

“Not that I know of,” the Battlemaster responded.

Everything stopped as quickly as it had started. Sitting back down on one of the larger pieces of, looking around, the pair wondered what was going to happen next, when the sound of gears grinding met their ears. Dust from the fallen debris swirled into the air blinding them as the pair looked towards the now opening panel that had held them captive.

Seeing a figure in dark armour Evelynn leapt to her feet and shouted, “Raikou?! What the Kriffing hell?! Where did you go?!”

Lilith, being a little farther from the door, and the dust storm that had started when it open, was able to see that it wasn’t him. “That isn’t Raikou. The armor’s not the same.” She said standing up from her perch on a rock.

The woman in armor identified herself as being Satre Pelles and informed the two that the Naga Sadow had called on Tarentum for help.

Evelynn looked over at Lilith and then back at Satre whom it seemed was taking everything in stride. “Did you not feel that earthquake that we just had?”

Satre laughed and stated, “that was not an earthquake. I detonated a charge and blew out a section in the wall of the temple to get in here.”

“You WHAT?” Lilith winced as Evelynn’s tone reached a decibel that she never thought she would ever hear from her boss. “Why would you do such a thing? Do you often go around destroying property? Historical sites? You, you, you,” the Quaestor sputtered.

“How else could I get in here to rescue you? Your forces outside, what there is of them, seem to be murdering each other so they were of no help. Aaand, it looked like that was the way in since there were tracks in the sand that ended in the wall. I figured that someone had sprung a trap and now the door was gone, so I made one. Then once inside, we were able to find a lever to open the door leading in here. This was a rescue mission, mission accomplished.” the Professional quipped.

At that point, you could literally see the steam coming out of Evelynn’s ears. “ You Moronic Nerf Herder, you can not just go around blowing things up! What is wrong with you? Do you have any common sense at all?! We could have been on the other side of that wall! You idiot, you could have killed us! As it was, we were pelted by falling rocks, choked by dust–” Evelynn still had a full head of steam when Lilith touched her arm. Whipping her head around to her Battle Team Leader she shouted, “WHAT?”

Lilith looked her her stoically, not really wanting to interrupt the well deserved dressing down that the other woman was receiving but knowing that she really had no choice said, “we have another problem.” She looked back towards the room and wafting from it, heading straight towards them were the possessed Warhost. She looked back at Evelynn, who had turned to see what Lilith was looking at.

The pair, looking back at each other, simultaneously yelled, “RUN!” Both turned and took off running towards the outside not caring whether or not the “rescue party” was following.


Temple Area

Qirool VI

Jurdan had landed just outside the temple site and quickly left the safety of his starship. He walked the short distance to the temple and heard blaster fire coming from the direction of his comrades. He ran up and perched himself on top of a boulder that was sitting on the wayside of the temple area. There were Sadowans and Tarenti firing their weapons at other Sadowans and Tarenti. Something wasn’t right here. He could feel something stirring in the dark side of the Force. “This feeling is not natural. Why are our forces fighting with each other? And why does it seem like we have split sides and then started fighting each other?” Jurdan thought to himself.

Jurdan ran up to one of the Sadowan troops and asked what was going on from behind cover of the broken wall they were sheltered behind. The trooper explained the situation with the spectres and how men and women had just started to turn against each other. Jurdan stretched out through the Force and could feel the auras of the men and women who had been possessed. In his mind they stuck out like explosions in space. Their auras were red and pulsating as he felt around for them.

Jurdan broke cover and headed for the entrance of the temple. He could feel Sadowan and Tarenti forces were inside looking for something and he was going to help. He leapt up and over the wall igniting his purple bladed saber with a snap-hiss. It hummed to life like his Loth Cat purring when he petted it. He ran through the fray of blaster bolts and lightsaber swings. He sliced the closest enemy combatant as he ran by, removing his arm from his armored body. The dead appendage fell lifeless to the ground and lay there, the soldier he was fighting quickly blasted him in the face after the distraction. The man’s corpse fell to the ground just as lifeless as the arm. He looked towards the temple seeing many more foes in his way. This was going to be a push for him.


Temple, Qirool VI Surface
Qirool System

As the two most ungrateful people to ever be rescued dashed off at the sight of incoming soldiers, Satre moved to a corner for cover, as did her squadmates. The incoming enemies moved jerkily and without any precision befitting anyone with an ounce of military training, and it would have been funny if it wasn’t all so surreal.

“Orders, ma’am?” One of the soldiers asked.

“Well, despite the lack of anything resembling gratitude from our friends running the other way, we should still do the decent thing and cover them. Open fire,” Satre raised her rifle and began firing. Even as the first three dropped, the group continued to rush towards Satre and her squad. A few raised their weapons awkwardly and opened fire, but it was inaccurate, sloppy.

Why are they even trying to one-hand E-11s? Why aren’t they going for cover? Satre’s mind was analyzing the fight even as they continued to fire. The incoming soldiers were behaving more like something out of a horror holo. Clearly, there was more than hallucinogenic compounds in play.

One of the leading soldiers dropped his rifle and pulled out a pair of grenades, and began rushing at the Tarentum squad, letting out an almost unnatural howl as he did. Both spheres were glowing and chirping, the red lights getting faster in pace as the chirping increased in tone and intensity.

One of the soldiers shot the rushing bomber in the head, but both grenades dropped and started rolling towards them, still live and ready to blow. Satre stood up and started towards the door that the other two had run out of, but it was now closed. Instead, two others on either side were now open. Without warning, she was shoved through one of the openings, and the door slammed shut right before a pair of muffled explosions thudded in the chamber.

“Please tell me you two are still alive,” Satre said into her comms. Only static replied.

“Well. Now why the hell did they do that? All three of us could have fallen back,” She looked around, the only route was forward, deeper into the structure. Satre slung her rifle and drew one of her A180 pistols with her left hand, and toggled on the scanner on her right wrist. Finally, she pulled her vibrodagger from it’s sheath and took it into her right hand, blade sticking outwards, and rested her pistol on her right wrist.

Satre started forward, only silence and darkness loomed ahead of her. On either side of her, the walls were inscribed with glyphs of some kind, but it was in an entirely unknown language to her. All she could tell was that they were harsh to the eyes, very angular and jagged, with little in the way of elegance or grace.

”Power and wealth are here for the taking. You need only accept us as your master.” The sinister voice in the back of her head started to chime in again.

“I’m not at all interested. If what you have to offer is insanity, then I’ll pass,” Satre murmured to herself out loud in response.

”They resisted, they are weak. You fear the unknown, that is an understandable fear. But you don’t need to sell yourself to lesser beings. They should be bowing before you.”

“The problem with you is you think that living in the spotlight is where it’s at. It’s not, it’s where you get a targeting reticle painted on your head. The only thing we seem to have in common is that I prefer to pull the strings in the dark,” Satre replied quietly, barely above a whisper as she walked. The hallway seemed to be unending, but she wasn’t going to trust her eyes, which is why she consulted her scanner. The device indicated that there was an opening further ahead, so she kept pressing onwards.

”Then you understand true power. Why do you deny what would be a gift to you? The people here, all of them could be your pawns and never know it. Even their reviled Grand Master that plans to lay waste to them would be yours to control. Just take what we offer you.”

“You really are delusional. You’re offering insanity, just dressing it up differently. Thanks, but no thanks.” Satre rolled her eyes under her helmet as she approached a small chamber.

”You’ll regret this. I will break you.”

I’d like to see you try.

She looked around, and heard the sounds of footsteps approaching. She toggled off her scanner and started looking for cover, but the chamber was a dome with only small supports, not even wide enough to consider using in a firefight. Before she could decide or backtrack, the figures stepped into view. One of them was familiar, the armored alien from the shuttle. The other was a human, his face covered in tattoos, but unfamiliar. Satre lowered her weapons slightly, just in case they were driven to madness already by this place.

“Where are the others?” The alien asked.

“The soldiers are dead, killed by some of the other group’s men who took complete leave of their senses,” Satre replied.

“What about Lilith and Evelynn?” The human asked.

“They decided to run from said men. I’m pretty sure they’ve been touched by this place, they were rather ungrateful to being rescued and quite eager to run when the shooting started. They likely locked us in the chamber on their way out,” Satre said with a shrug.

“You mean touched by the spectres? Possible, but not likely, they are skilled in the ways of the Force. But if they were affected, that could complicate matters.” The human replied.

“Can we please leave the religious dogma out of this? There are no such things as ghosts. This place clearly was sabotaged, likely flooded with some kind of cocktail of chemical agents that is driving people to insanity here,” Satre said flatly. The two arrivals looked at one another and then back at her. The alien then held up an ultraviolet light at her, scanning it over the armored mercenary.

“Am I contaminated?” Satre glanced down at her armor.

“No. Which does not explain why you are willfully ignorant of what is going on around you.” The alien replied.

“Gentlemen, I deal in facts, rumor, and fine wine. I was not hired to debate theology or go chasing after that which does not exist. I accept there is a problem here, we need a solution, the rest is semantics that can be better discussed later. Can we at least agree on that much?” Satre asked.

“That much is true. Leaving you here to succumb isn’t going to help anyone, so you should stick with us. We’ll find a solution to this problem yet.” The human said, taking the lead.

“Fair enough.” Satre tucked her pistol and blade away, and went back to her E-11D.


Thanadd didn’t bother to suppress a smile as Satre spoke, for it would simply go unnoticed. She wasn’t just a skeptic, but a nonbeliever. Not stoic, but cocksure. Her confidence was a sign of reliable prowess, perhaps – or maybe lack of experience. It was puzzling to Thanadd that she could deny the presence of the temple’s ghostly sentries, or the clearly supernatural nature of their predicament. The titanic Sith contemplated leaving her to the cold grasp of wraiths, but Macron was right:

It would be a waste.

Besides, there was something about Satre Pelles that Mawgath couldn’t quite place. He could sense it, almost articulate it – but closure avoided him. He needed to know. If only he could look upon her face…

“What is it?” Macron inquired, recognizing the pensive grimace which contorted Thanadd’s brow. Blackness crept deeper into his flesh, as if leaping onto his features from the ambient shadows of the chamber. It took a moment for the Pau’an’s wrathful eyes to meet Macron’s peering gaze, his concentration broken. The man knew something lingered, but did not ask. He nodded with a quiet understanding as the Tarenti replied.


Gravity pulled Mawgath’s mighty boots hard into the ground beneath, leaving a wordless memento in the dusty slabs as he lead his companions back into the temple corridors.

“You know where we’re going?” Satre asked, not a creature of hapless trust. She was obviously shrewd, and her voice carried the strength of her confidence. She expected answers. The alien cyborg leading her more deeply into the complex had few, but drew answers from some place fathomless. Dark. His voice was stained with an ominous rasp, filtered through a collar of tarnished metal.

“The Dark Side pools further into the temple. Hallways line these successive chambers, presumably leading to more like it. They are, perhaps, connected.”

Neither Macron nor Satre broke marching rhythm, cautiously anticipating an explanation. They received it.

“The presence is strong - a group, probably. Or a pair? It’s difficult to tell…”

Mawgath again turned his visage to his fellow Sith, who was not at all intimidated by his counterpart’s lowering milieu. Macron Sadow emanated even greater power, and Mawgath embraced such fortitude. He was emboldened by it.

“…but more than one.”


It felt as if the trio kept pace with the passage of eons, traversing an endless landscape of gloom and identical stone pillars and bastions. Mawgath watched as Macron eyed the mysterious script which adorned the colorless walls, but didn’t process the behavior and so didn’t ask for a translation.

His focus remained on finding the locus which beckoned him. He tracked it through pure instinct, as if Dark Side of the Force was were physically extant and waiting for him. For all of them.

Satre’s words broke the monotony of their trek, defined by suspicion of everything around them - even one another, perhaps. Maintaining the rear of the trio’s solemn formation, she watched the Sith with a keen eye, ever prepared for something only she could possibly identify. Eventually, curiosity gave her pause.

“Sadow, is it?” she whispered, the syllables tearing at the dust and cobwebs of the sanctuary. Macron did not answer, but cast his visage beyond his right shoulder, slowing a step to entertain conversation – something which Mawgath found quite odd.

“What’s with the Disruptor, anyway?” she inquired, spotting it on Macron’s person even in the darkness. She wielded formidable faculties.

Cult not providing all the solutions, eh?” she jested, taking care not to become distracted. Her finger remained on the trigger guard, the weapon swiveling with careful motions of her hips. They were the subtle habits of an experienced sentry.

The Sith lurched in his armor, standing even more upright as he offered a technical explanation that the Pau’an ahead completely ignored.

“It’s detuned, set for a systematic – and therefore slow – disintegration. Overstimulates the nervous system, including receptors which signal acute decomposition - at least in living tissue.”

Macron’s smile was chilling in its girth as he finished the lesson.

“It is quite painful. I enjoy the screams.”

It dawned on Satre immediately that he didn’t need the weapon at all. She might have had time to process the realization more, had Mawgath not interrupted with a terrible hiss.

“Let me be the first to assure you that you are not hallucinating, Pelles.”

Satre and Macron looked ahead into the chamber before them, the source of the powerful Dark Side presence revealed.

Innumerable wraiths groaned and wailed, cocking their heads at the arrival of guests.


Dark Side Nexus
Inner Sanctum
Qirool VI Surface

“Believer or not, it’s hard to deny That.” Macron pointed into the chamber. The keening spirits swirled around angrily, seeming to be drawn to a large stone urn in the center of the chamber. “This is dangerous.” The Adept peered around. “No sign of the others. Raikou, Lilith, and Evelynn are around here somewhere.”

“I know that at least two of them are back there somewhere,” quipped Satre as she backed up a bit and drew her twin blaster pistols. “I’m not quite sure if a blaster works on those… things.”

“They won’t,” grated Thanadd’s metallic voice. “Ion weapons or electrical discharges will disrupt them temporarily. Only the Force can stop them permanently.”

“You Dark Jedi and your outdated religion. I’m not carrying an ion weapon.” Satre frowned underneath her helmet. “The intel we received said nothing about droids down here.”

“Fortunately I am,” remarked Macron as he handed her an ion grenade from his belt. “Only one though.” He didn’t bother asking her if she knew how to use it. It was obvious the woman was a skilled warrior and knew her way around modern weaponry. “And we are Sith, not mere Dark Jedi.”

“We need a plan to address this.” Thanadd stood looking into the room. “Most of the roving spectres must be possessing soldiers from both Clans and making them slay each other in the outer halls. I know you could read some of that script,” stated the Pa’uan cyborg. “What did it say?”

“Most of it was historical data. Begats, this king did this, blah blah. However, there was more. Some of the bastardized Sith script spoke of a power nexus, a reliquary of sorts.” Macron gestured at the interior of the swirling spectre-filled chamber. “In there.”

“Let me get this straight. If we destroy the reliquary, we stop the effect.” Satre Pelles hefted the ion grenade. “I don’t think this will do it though. Not much blast effect.”

“No, it won’t stop immediately if the locus is eliminated. But it will eventually.” Macron chuckled and handed her a thermal detonator from the other side of his belt. “Enriched baradium straight from the Last Breath mine on Sepros. Kaboom.”

“That’s an odd thing for a cultist to carry,” remarked the Professional as she hefted the detonator. “Nice heft. Not exactly a lightsaber like you folks normally use eh? I can appreciate it though. You’re an odd one though for a Sith.”

“Thermal detonators lobbed into an area are most useful for indirect projectile attacks,” chuckled the Adept. “Takes the fight right out of most living beings, anyhow. Warrior Mawgath, you are studied in the art of Terror, correct?”

“I am,” stated the cyborg proudly. “It is a Sith discipline of interest to me.” The giant’s dark eyes flashed with menace as he answered. “I’ve studied it extensively.”

“Good. Here’s the plan. I’m going to blaze the room with Force Lightning. Thanadd will then bathe that room in fear. Even shades will feel it as it is an effect born of the Force. It will paralyze them, hopefully.” The Alchemist looked pensive. “Their will to manifest and their coherent energy forms should be quite disrupted.”

“Hopefully?” Satre Pelles looked nonplussed. “I’m going to guess that’s where I come in.” She tossed the ion grenade and detonator up and down confidently, one in each hand. “I’m going to assume I’m not here to play battle-ball.”

“Indeed. You are the most skilled among us with explosives. I think I can surmise your plan, Adept Sadow.” Thanadd received a nod in reply and continued. “While the shades are feeling the effects of our meditations, you can hit them with the ion grenade and then the reliquary with the detonator.”

“Exactly. Destruction of the locus of manifestation along with ionic disruption of the area should stop the possessions. Most of them. Theoretically anyhow. Are we ready? Then let’s begin. Thanadd, start your Terror effect and I will loosen up the crowd a little bit. When the lightning stops, that’s your cue Professional Pelles.”

The Adept raised both hands, face twisting into a hateful snarl as he tapped deep into the Dark Side of the Force. Bolts of fierce blue electricity slashed from his hands in a web of arcing ozone-laden power. The madman pulled every bit of concentration he could, battling internally to keep the Dark Side from eating his body alive as he channeled the lightning. The azure light revealed the room and the the three allies without in a chiaroscuro of intermittent illumination as the Sith howled in rage. The shades quivered, their danse macabre around the urn stalling as their forms wavered. “Now Thanadd!

The Warrior reached deep within, seeking the center of his own connection to the Dark Side. Sith sought power from inside themselves. Waves of pure terror radiated out from the Sith towards the shades as the kernel of darkness within his blackened soul grew into a tempest of pure fear. The ghostly forms inside the reliquary chamber grew even more indistinct as the Dark Side affected their will to manifest.

As the terror washed over the chamber Macron gasped and dropped to his knees. The lightning spraying from his hands died with fitful sparks as he groaned with exhaustion and pain. “Can’t… hold it.” The Adept slumped to the floor with a grunt. He was conscious but temporarily incapacitated.

Just at that moment, Satre Pelles wound up her throwing arm and heaved the ion grenade into the room. “Bottom of the ninth, fellas.” The grenade burst with a blast of crawling blue ions that finished the disruption of the already-weakened shades in the room. “And now for the follow up pitch.” She transferred the thermal detonator to her left hand, thumb switching the firing lever to “contact”. The woman was strong and her aim was true. A deft throw placed the detonator exactly on target. It exploded with a blast of actinic light and baradium-fueled flame that blew the reliquary to dust. A flash of energy swept across the room as she smirked. “You’re out!”


VEN Titan
In orbit of Qirool VI
Qirool System
Taldot Sector

Of all the… Hades was grinding his teeth as he watches his apprentice murder one of his officers in cold blood. Then he started laughing and making jokes. Had he really taught him so little? Will this really be his legacy? He could feel the eyes of everyone else on the bridge turn to him. And he could feel the question that was burning deep within each and every one of them: “Am I just as expendable too? Will I be next?”

Fear of your superiors leads to a large reduction in performance. It does not win you the loyalty of your crew by any stretch of the imagination. It leads to an everyone for themselves mentality at best, and us versus them mentality at worst. With all the time he spent cultivating the culture of the Tarentum Navy to have it completely blown away at once, and by his own apprentice! It angers Hades beyond measure.

“Well? Why did you call me here, Master?” Solas asks again, wiping a spear of blood from his face.

“You petty child.” Hades says loudly. His apprentice looks side to side at the crew’s expressions, a small streak of embarrassment moving across him as he does so. He matches his eyes with his Masters.

“Excuse me?” Was all he could muster in his shocked reply. Didn’t his Master just give him the OK? Or, wait, was that just in my head?

“This is MY ship. This is also Tarentum’s ship. The people here are loyal to the Consul of Tarentum and to me! They do not do this for your amusement, they get paid. They are NOT paid to have their life stolen from them as a means of entertainment for you!” Hades began to walk closer to his apprentice. Solas stood his ground, the Warrior drawing himself to his full height.

“But Master! He was juSSTT…” Solas was suddenly moving toward’s Hades outstretched hand, his throat almost magically finding his Master’s grip. With his feet dangling off of the ground, the apprentice struggled against the Master, the two locking eyes. What fear there had been in Solas has now turned to anger. The lesson is tough, but necessary. This must be public so the crew will know they will not be slaughtered randomly by a religious zealots for no reason.

Hades threw Solas towards the briefing room at the rear of the bridge, the epicanthix stops after a brief flight and a longer slide along the decking. Hades was quickly standing over his apprentice as the door opened. He orders the room cleared before looking down as his apprentice, a young man who he hopes has a long future in Tarentum.

“In.” Solas quickly rolled over to his feet and moved into the room. He spun around in a ready stance, waiting for a fight. Maybe even hoping it would finally come. Hades moved into the room as the doors slid shut behind him.

“Oh please. If I wanted to fight you, you’d be dead already.” Hades shakes his head and looks at Solas again, this time with softer eyes.

“Solas, if there is one thing I place above anyone, myself included, it is Tarentum. I am in charge of helping it to survive and to thrive. And I can’t do that effectively with you murdering an officer ever time you step on board a ship simply because they piss you off! A crew will not fight as hard for someone or some organization they fear rather than a person or group that they believe in and are loyal to.” Hades moves closer to Solas.

“This crew.” He gestures around behind him. “They will lay down their life for a person or cause they believe in. That’s dedication. They will do that for me.” Hades shakes his head slightly. “But they won’t do that for you. That lessens the effectiveness of this crew, this ship, and this Navy. And for what? A sick joke at the end? To make yourself feel better?”

As with most Sith relationships, Hades knew it was time. He lowered his head and took a step back and turned around, his back to his apprentice. His lightsaber was ready, just in case.

“Do you understand apprentice?”

Solas stood for a moment, staring at his Master’s broad shoulders. His hand drifing down to his lightsaber. Oh how he could strike him down so easily. One quick move was all he needed. Solas feels his body relax slightly as he did not rise to the obvious challenge, at least not this time.

“Yes, Master. My apologies.” Solas says, finally. Hades turns towards him once more.

“Now. The reason I called you up here was to inform you that I will be moving down to the surface. Marshall Oberst will be arriving shortly to assume command. Since I was a Krath for many, many years and have experience with the undead, I will be assisting the mission on the surface. You will be joining me and a platoon of troopers on an Assault Transport. Departure in one hour, port side hangar bay.”

“Yes, Master.” Solas bows and turns on his heels and exits the briefing room. The young epicanthix not realizing his hand it clinched tightly in a fist at his side. Apparently the approval that he believed his Master gave him earlier were yet just another voice inside his head. He needed to work on those. Maybe. Eventually.

Qirool VI Surface

The Assault Transport (ATR), one of several in the Tarentum Navy, lands with ease just half a click from the Temple. Battlelord Hades moves disembark. Ordering two squads to set up a perimeter Hades leads the last two towards the temple. Solas was by his side as is Tahiri Drakon, Solas’ own apprentice. Once the group reaches what appears to be an entrance into the ancient structure, the elder Sith turns to the assembled men and women.

“Listen up. We have several conflicting reports. Several of which mention members of both clans being possessed by some sort of spirits. We are going to move in to see if we can provide assistance to those inside. If you see someone who appears to be…“possessed”, hit them with the stun setting. Once they are down, get them outside to the ATR. We have a shuttle on standby to evacuate any wounded. Or whatever you want to call them.” Hades made sure everyone understood before moving on.

“As we move deeper into this structure, I want a trooper to drop a chem light at each corner. Let’s make sure we find our way back. Am I understood?” A solid “Yes, Sir!” from every trooper with a nod from both of the Tarenti.

“Good, let’s move out.”


Qirool VI Surface

Getting bored waiting for the people to come out of the crashed transport, Firith shook his head and rolled his eyes. Groaning in pain, he stood up, uncloaking as he did.

In the distance, he could see a large stone building sticking up above the trees and rocks. One that had numerous starships flying around it or landing nearby.

Looking at the debris that had broken off the transport during the crash. Firith found a piece of piping that sufficed as a cane and began hobble away from the downed ship towards the stone building in the distance.

Qirool VI Surface
Temple approach and Landing Area

Stepping out from behind a large tree, Firith could see a large flat area with a few transports and larger ships parked in front of a beautiful temple like building.

Keeping hidden he looked at everything, to see if any of it made any sense. He could see both Clan Naga Sadow ships and Clan Tarentum ships parked in the landing area. The ships of his clan parked here and there, showing the more relaxed nature of his clan. Whereas the few ships from Clan Tarentum that were there, had been parked with anal precision and were perfectly aligned with each other.

What in the kriff are those Bantha brained spook lovers doing here? He thought looking at the Tarentum troops formed up in the distance. Looking at the building he could see massive damage done to the entryway, the statues collapsed and the door shattered. What childish, stupid idiot would destroy such beautiful artwork just to open a door? Shaking his head in disbelief, he couldn’t believe his clan would destroy such artifacts. He knew the Warhost were under strict orders to preserve property and keep civilian casualties to a minimum when at all possible.

Looking up at damaged building again, he also knew it had to be someone who had no idea what he or she was doing when it came to demolitions. The damage far exceeded the opening, cracks radiated up into the buildings walls and chunks of stone had already fallen out of the surrounding façade.

Firith noted the troops near the base of the structure had formed up and were heading towards the gaping wound in the front of the building. Just then two figures came stumbling out of the destroyed door, coated in dust, his wife Lilith and her Questor, Evelynn Wyrm.

Sitting down on a nearby tree stump, Firith took out his pipe, slowly filled it, then lit it. Puffing on the t’bac Firith sat back and looked at the landing area and temple again. What in the name of the Gods is going on here?


Qirool VI Surface
Temple approach and Landing Area

Ruined. The whole operation had to be ruined by a trigger happy Mercenary.

As Evelynn and Lilith stepped out of the ruins, clearly frustrated at what had happened, she recognized a familiar face sitting in on a tree stump. The Battlemaster turned her attention to Lilith, whose face overflowed with joy, meaning she had recognized him as well.

“Firith! You’re alright!” The Battleteam Leader started a steady run toward her husband.

Evelynn, however, slowed down, letting them have their moment. The Quaestor was not a people person, and she didn’t really care too much about the wellbeing of others, but she had a soft spot for Lilith Alema’rha Versea-Stormwind, whether it was due to them both being females in a man driven world, or the sheer fact that the Savant had always been there for her no matter how cold Wyrm was toward her. Had it not been for Lilith, she would have surely killed that Journeyman on the spot.

The Equite turned her attention toward the main entrance to the ruins. There stood what she counted as two squads of troopers accompanying a couple of Force users who she could not recognize. The two Epicantrix and a Torguta female made their way inside, and Evelynn headed in their direction with the intention of figuring out who they were.

As she approached the entrance for the second time today, the troops turned their attention toward her, blasters at the ready.

“Halt!” exclaimed the tallest of them, and Evelynn recognized him as their Commanding Officer. “This is a restricted area, identify yourself!”

“I would step aside, Human, unless you have an overwhelming desire to die today.”

The troopers exchanged puzzled looks as they raised their blasters into firing position, taking a step backwards as they did. The Battlemaster extended her hand toward the Commanding Officer and thrust him in the air, holding him about half a meter above the ground.

“I’m sorry, was I not making myself clear?” she said with a grin on her face. “I said step aside!”

“Now, now, Human, there’s no need for violence just yet. We’re all on the same side here.” The shorter of the two Epicantrix stepped through the entrance of the ruins, a smile on his face. “I am Battlelord Hades of Clan Tarentum. We’re here to solve that ‘ghost problem’ that you seem to be having.”

“Solve the problem or level the entire planet? 'Cause that’s what the last Tarenti we’ve encountered is apparently trying to do,” Evelynn replied, releasing her hold of the trooper.

Hades signaled the troops to lower their guard while taking another step toward the Sadowan. “Looks like we got here just in time. Come with me, we have business to attend to.”


Qirool VI Surface
Temple approach and Landing Area

Hades turned to walk away, moving toward a spot for a quick discussion with the Quaestor when something made them all pause. The area grew unnaturally quiet. It seemed that there was a dullness to everything now, their heartbeats pounding in their heads a little bit louder than before while every other sound felt somewhat muted, filtered through a pool of water.


Evelynn cocked her head, looking strangely at the Tarenti, an eyebrow raised in curiosity. Hades narrowed his eyes in response, turning toward the crumbling entryway as he watched the swirling grey come pouring out like a fountain. This was not what he had expected. It swept over the stomes toward them, thinning into tendrils that reached for them, for each of them at once. Their words came again, muddled by the grave, by the nexus of energy that brought them here all too many eons ago…that brought the clans here now.


Sabers blared into existence, swiping at the mist, severing things that had no form, sending them back away from them only to have them pool and crash against them again, a tide of ancient horror that saught their flesh, their minds. Tarenti and Sadow alike bounded backward, their weapons arrayed in defensive velocities as they guarded themselves against each progressive assault.

n̷̲̘y̢̮a̸͍̤̠͙̥k̫̯̝a̡͕̥̟̻̫̩ͅi͈̖̹̯̞͕d̞̺̬̤̝̩̙a ̮̺͖̺̹t̛̹̤̦̥ș̲͉͉h̸u͇s̱̖̱̹̟͠ḥ͇̯̺k͟a̪͕s̝͖͎̪

That is enough.” The words echoed in their heads and their ears, the outstretched hand of the Lion of Tarthos directing the Force to smash through their ghostly form, sending the wisps to swirl in panicked eddies. Next to him, the silver trimmed hood of Darth Aeternus was pushed back, his calm eyes regarding the scene ahead of them.

Evelynn let out a breath, standing up a little taller as she watched the smoke pour back into the temple. “Good timing.” She raised an eyebrow and turned back to the Lords.

Aeternus let out a soft chuckle as Muz stepped toward the entry, giving the fellow Quaestor a quick nod. Korras turned to them, half a smile creeping up on his face. “Well then.”

Hades brow furrowed somewhat as he regarded the Obelisk Lord, the unspoken question hanging suspened in tension.

Aeternus let the smile bloom completely across his face. “Well, I’m not about to let him have all the fun, are you?” He turned as Lilith helped Firith to his feet, stepping forward to follow the Grand Master into the breach.

Firith snorted as he found the flask in his pocket, unscrewing the stopper and raising it to his lips in a smooth movement, the liquid courage bolstering his mindset. Hades nodded, following the Lord, his pace steady and measured. Evelynn smiled, the taste for revenge as sweet on her lips as any candy.

Now, the dead shall die.


Temple Sanctum
Qirool VI Surface

“Nice work Satre.” Macron congratulated the professional as he entered the chamber slowly, gesturing for the others to follow. “Damn fine pitching arm you got there. Did you ever play battle ball for real?”

“Not outside of regular athletic practice,” chuckled the woman. “I’ve thrown quite a few grenades in my day though. A much more useful skill, if you ask me.”

“Granted,” nodded Thanadd as he swept his black alien eyes over the interior of the chamber. “I don’t see any remaining revenants.” The Pa’uan Juggernaut ran his fingers over the wall closest to him. “These walls must have seen incredible sights.”

“Nor do I,” replied the madman quietly. “But turn your senses without for a second. What do you feel?”

“I don’t feel anything other than hungry,” stated the mercenary woman flatly. “I’m an unbeliever. Whatever you Force Users do, it has to be based in reality.”

“To be sure,” chuckled the Adept. “It is a science of sorts. Even that which is called sorcery, is a science of manipulation of possibility and energy.”

Behind him Satre grunted in disgust. “That’s basically what all of you say, paraphrased.” She rechecked her gear as the other two gazed in admiration around the chamber. “I’m still good to go on weapons. One blaster has a half-charge but works.”

Thanadd spoke up. “I feel… disruption. Like the shades are struggling to re-coalesce. I’m afraid our ploy will be only a temporary halt to their attempts to possess the living.”

“You are correct.” The Alchemist had reached the hole blown into the floor of the temple where the reliquary had lain. “They are tied to the very stones and earth of this place. We dealt them a harsh blow but they will reform unless fully disconnected. None of us here have that kind of power. I’m afraid my own training in sorcery and ritual is limited. They have all the time in eternity, after all.”

The Sith Adept reached gingerly into the hole with a gauntlet-clad hand. He rummaged about and then the hand came back up with two glittering synth-crystals. Each was a half of a larger fist-sized one that had been split in two. They were a ruddy garnet-red, with layers of smoky lines that seemed to shift as one looked at them. “I think this may be what our leaders were looking for.” He handed one half to Thanadd and an unspoken agreement passed between them.

“Copy that.” The Professional touched her helm. “Com chatter has it that Lord Aeternus, Grandmaster Ashen, Hades and others have landed and are entering the Temple. I imagine that is our cue to exit.”

“Agreed,” both Sith said nearly simultaneously.

Outer Temple
Qirool VI

The three battered stalwarts stepped from the blasted inner doorway with a puff of dust. They met an ominous party seeking ingress with other Dark Jedi, Gray Jedi, and mercenaries trailing behind them. Macron spoke up first with a bow of deference.

“Lord Ashen, Lord Aeternus.” Macron had served Aeternus too, a long time ago before the Master’s current incarnation had traveled to Clan Tarentum. His weird mismatched eyes roved over the rest of the party. “Battlelord Hades, by your description. Quaestor Evelynn, Savants Stormwind. I Have been unable to locate Raikou or Tasha’Vel in the ruins.” The Adept gestured towards the ruined entrance. “There are many wounded but saveable servants of both Clans in there still. Warrior Thanadd and professional Satre have both done their Clan proud in their service. Much of my energy is spent but I’m able to use medicine on the wounded still.”

“You’ve done well, all three of you.” Grandmaster Ashen held out his hand as he looked at the three in turn and then with dead eyes at Darth Aeternus. “You found thelocus stone.” It was a statement and not a question.

“We did.” Macron and Thanadd both presented a shard of the broken crystal to each of the Elders. Satre stood behind them, gazing around at the wounded.

Both the Grandmaster and Master grasped the crystal shards. Lord Aeternus spoke first. “With these, the bond between our Clans is sealed.”

“Together we fought. And we will fight.” Grandmaster Ashen wasted no words. “Let’s get this place cleared out of both our peoples before it comes down. We will deal with the shades.” Darth Aeternus and Grandmaster Ashen stepped into the structure.


Locke coughed as he dragged himself up on the main console of his ship. He looked around, noting that the bridge view pane was cracked, but not broken. “What’s our status?” he croaked.

The metallic voice of his droid replied. “Passengers have disembarked with minimal injuries. Armor protected them. We have a nice big hole where the ventral turret used to be, though.”

That metallic hunk had to survive the crash, didn’t it? Locke thought ruefully.

“Very well,” he said. “Let’s see if we can get in space again. Can we fly?”

“Perhaps,” the droid said. “The bottom deck is exposed to atmosphere where the turret used to be.”

“Seal the corridor going to that chamber,” Locke ordered. “Focus on repressurization.” He resituated himself to where he could grasp the flight controls. Can’t believe we got shot down right away like this. Have I lost all ability?

“Okay,” he said.

“The hole is sealed off,” the droid said.

“Lets get airborn then. Repulsorlifts…”

Gemini Alpha groaned loudly as her repulsors fired. Locke felt the ship rise, hearing the sound of gravel and rock sliding off the ship as it ascended.

“Hovering,” the droid said. “Pressure seems correct.”

“Let’s get away from the battle before we try to break for space,” Locke said. “No need to get shot at again.”

“Of course,” his droid answered. “Wouldn’t want to experience any more of your crazy maneuvers.”

“Right,” Locke muttered. “Main engines.”

“Engines engaged.”

“Give me control,” he said.

“Against my better judgement,” the droid replied. “Flight control is yours in three, two, one…”

Locke felt the controls shift in his hand as the ship was transferred to him. He continued guiding it away from the battle, low over the surface.

“That’s the last time I take passengers,” he said.

“Sure it is,” the droid said.

“We’ll see,” Locke growled, settling in for the flight away from the battle.