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

[CSP][Midnight] Trial of the Soul


This is the run-on event for the Midnight Clan Event. Full backstory can be found here. This run-on will take place on the discourse forum, and will last for the entire length of the Midnight event. Full prompt will be posted in the run-on for ease of reference.

There are two open run-on threads on the forums. You may participate in one of them. Please review the prompts posted there in deciding which of the two you would like to participate in.

Judging will be based on the fiction grading rubric. Level of cooperation with fellow clanmates in the run-on will also be taken into consideration. This includes, but is not limited to, keeping a flow of continuity with the story, including other members in your own posts, not derailing the story for your own story.

Participation in this run-on will earn you Clusters of Ice, as well as points toward the parent competition of the Midnight Clan Event. Participation will be manually added to the competition listing for this run-on at the end of the event.

This is a Level 3 competition for Midnight.

General Post Guidelines:

  • Minimum post length of 250 words
  • Maximum post length of 1000 words
  • Minimum of 2 posts required for participation qualification
  • No posting twice in a row, one other member must post before you can again
  • Posts should be only continuation of the story, no OOC posts, save for posts from the event runner.
  • Posts may be edited by the poster only, and no edits on a post will be allowed once the next post is made in the thread.

Helpful Hints:

  • Check out other people’s character sheets to help write them in your posts
  • Remember Star Wars Realism Counts. No out of universe swearing!
  • It always helps to have at least one other person proofread before posting
  • Reserving posts helps prevent people from posting before you get yours in.
  • Be courteous to your fellow housemates, and don’t reserve a spot then not post.

Opening Prompt

Trial of the Soul

You have decided to accompany Stana and Polis on their risky attempt to free Xen’Mordin from the grasp of Darth Fallax. They have taken you deep into the forests of Judecca to avoid being disturbed by the New Dawn while the ritual is in progress. You and the fellow Palatinaeans who have agreed to attempt this ritual now sit in a circle facing in on an ornately carved crystal, which hovers several feet from the ground.

This ritual will not take place with your bodies, but your minds and souls. Rendered unconscious you now find yourself in a projection of Xen’s mind. While it looks and feels just as real as the normal world it is far from it. Here you will not be facing the soldiers of the Empire, or the disciples of the New Dawn, but the demons within. The world ripples and changes around you as Xen’s terrors, your own nightmares, and the full might of Darth Fallax’s twisted persona now sit between you and finding Xen.


They opened their eyes to disorienting darkness. Shadows made gross and distended by hatred and pain, clawed at them. Impish laughter, blood curdling shrieks, greeted them. With a sigh, the shadows dropped back, crept back and away from the lone hillock they found themselves upon, overlooking the corroded tatters of a tortured mind.

Mune blanched to see the wasteland the inner workings of their Emperor had become. He hadn’t known Xen for so long as most with him had… however he knew well this was not what he ever would have expected. Fallax had done his deed well.

Before them stretched a wood, barren of life. Ash was swept through crumbling husks of trees by a breeze reminisce of the cold fingers of death, so frigid was it through their clothing. It bit at flesh, rising goose pimples. The fingers of death hovered what felt like a hair’s breadth from their throats, ready to throttle the very life from them given the chance. It was dread, gnawing at the recesses of their minds. The path into the wood lay clear before them, as though Fallax himself dared them tread upon it. The sky above was mottled grey, sickly yellow and eerie purples. Lightning flashed but never broke the clouds, rather flashing within the blackness overhead.

“This is not what I imagined…” Mune spoke near a whisper, as though he could wake something dreadful if he spoke to loud.

Elincia shook her head, in truth, she herself had not thought to imagine what to expect. This, however, had not been it. Stana and Polis could not have described the nightmare that awaited them, now even they looked on in quiet dismay at the dread images lay bared.

“We need to free him, no matter the cost.” Elincia spoke, expression closed off.

Mune knew well, she was correct. Whether by ending his life or saving it, Fallax could not be allowed to remain. The damage he could do to was unimaginable if allowed to continue moving forward. The hybrid glanced to his companions, were they enough to garner freedom for their Emperor though, he wondered.

“Looks like we have a lovely walk in the woods ahead!” Kylex chimed in, to break the foreboding silence that had engulfed their small hillock. More than one of them noted the near gleeful, sing-song note in his voice.

Mune eyed Elincia for a moment, worried. “Are you up for this?”

“I have to. You and I both know, whether we can or not, we must.” She tried to smile at her Master but, failed, the worry too near the surface. She turned to her fellow clansmen, Stana and Polis. “We all know our mission. We are here, so let us not dallie. This may well be our best chance to free our Emperor from Fallax.”

Her words captured their rapt attention.

“We cannot fail here. We must prevail.” The Togruta continued with a note of urgency. She said nothing that they did not already know. Her words, though, made it somehow that much more real. Elincia and Mune shared a glance then, without another word, turned and led them down from the hillock and into those ominous woods.

Being amongst the trees did nothing to abate the oppressive atmosphere that had first greeted them. The shadows thickened across their path, lusting after their fear, drinking in their uncertainty and doubt. It was one thing to know one’s mission and understand failure was no option; achieving that needed victory was another. None were one-hundred percent certain they could attain it. They could but try. The shadows within their own minds, their own souls would swell with the wicked caress of the shadows of the Xen’s own mind and prison. Onwards they strode, ever deeper with every step. Brittle branches and dry leaves crunched under foot, the breeze like a knife cutting through clothing; the only sounds other than their rhythmic breathing.

“How long do you think it has been?” Dek asked.

Lexiconus thought about it. It had felt as though no less than a few hours had passed since they entered the wood. Did time move the same here as it did back in their bodies? The Quarren could not begin to hesitate a guess. He could assume the others chose to pay the question no mind. There were larger questions to dwell upon after all.

“Mune… did you notice we are being followed…?” Lexiconus asked instead.

“Since we entered the forest, yes.”

The shadows giggled, a sound chilling to the bone. “That is not at all creepy.” Dek commented dryly. The giggles echoed maniacally all around them. They rose up among the branches, swelling to engulf what little light they had to begin with. The darkness gaped its maw to swallow them whole. How could they defend against the darkness. The ground felt torn from under them, a void opening to send them tumbling through the vast blackness.

With a rustling of fabric and multitude of grunts and thuds, they found themselves deposited within a dimly lit hall. What little light was to be had, they could not tell the source from whence it came. It revealed only damp stone walls, trailing off into the darkness beyond, and oddly spaced photo frames.

With a groan, Kylex was on his feet and muttering, “I think you spoke too soon Dek, Fallax just one-upped himself.” He referenced one of the frames. It contained a crude painting in blood, of a man chained up, curled in a ball in agony.

“The imagination of monsters…” Mune whispered. Already, his breathing had deepened, his heart thudding violently against his ribs. “Let’s move, before Fallax changes the game board again.” He needed movement to pretend the walls away, to chase back the panic of his own growing sense of terror. Why would Fallax not throw them into a cramped and enclosed hall, Mune thought bitterly.


The whole group progressed slowly through the seemingly endless halls. Fog crept over the floor like a thick blanket, and in different places the little light they had seemed to dim even more. Zehsaa had always been a lucid dreamer, but this was something worse. She could not control any of what was happening around them, they were puppets in someone else’s dreamscape… if it could be call it that. The frames on the wall showed various horrible things happening to the same figure over and over again.

“They really need to get a better artist here,” Kylex said, trying to break the gloomy mood of the halls.

“Can we please hurry along a bit?” Mune said with slight desperation in his voice.

After some curious looks the group started on again, the halls turning this and that way. As the group progressed, the fog got thicker and it became harder to see where the others of the group were. The sounds of footsteps became more muffled, while an eery giggle seemed to haunt them before going silent all together.

Zehsaa looked around her and saw only a few shadowy figures and gulped, she didn’t want to get separated from the others. That one time on the icy planet was enough loneliness for her in a long time.

I don’t want to end up alone again! she thought with a slight panic and hurried after them.

Grabbing one of her companions hands, she smiled sheepishly as it got rewarded with a curious look and a slight frown.

This place eats on our fears, it seems, and I’m sure Fallax is only warming up… toying with us. Zehsaa thought as the group continued on through the thick fog.


“Geez Z, at least take me to dinner first.” Kylex said, wriggling his hand free of her iron grasp. He shot the Togruta a cheeky grin, his eyes focused elsewhere. The fog seemed to be getting heavier, closing in on the group as they proceeded down the hall. Kylex noticed something small scurrying towards them.

“AAAAARGH! A MOUSE!” Yelped Kylex, jumping backwards into the arms of an unexpecting Quarren. Lex looked down at the Knight, straining to hold the man.

“Oh, my hero.” The Knight said just as Lex dumped him on the floor. A couple of chuckles could be heard from Dek and Sparky.

“You two cut it out.” Elincia said harshly. “We need to keep moving.” Kylex nodded, picking himself off the ground and patting Lex on the back. The group continued down the hall, the paintings growing distorted and warped as they proceed. Mune’s ear cocked, as if he was listening out for something.

“You guys hear that?” The Hybrid asked, paranoia in his voice.

“I can’t hear anything apart from our footsteps.” Dek said. “It’s just your mind playing tricks on you.”

“No, something is there.” Lexiconus said, slowly reaching for his saberstaff. Suddenly out of the darkness, a being leapt at Kylex, tackling him to the ground.

“Get off me!” He yelled, desperately trying to fend the thing off him, grabbing his lightsaber from his belt and impaling it. The being went limp, sliding down on the crimson blade before vanishing into embers.

“Ok, explain to me why that was nothing, and why didn’t you help me?” Kylex said grumpily.

“It looked like you could handle it, and it sounds like there are more on their way.” Mune said, quickly igniting his lightsabers as its icy blue plasma sprung to life.


The beings could be heard trampling towards them. Dek did not get a glimpse of the first one that Kylex had killed. However, he wasn’t going to stick around to find out. Looking around, while pulling out his blaster, he attempted to glance through differing parts of the fog. They had been in a tunnel, but the movement of the fog continually upwards seemed to show that the tunnel was long gone. Could they escape at all? Dek ran in the opposing direction of the trampling, whizzing past Zehsaa, “Dek! Come back! Don’t abandon us!” She felt his body move out of her echo range.

Lexiconus swung upwards at a beast while Kylex burst his saber through another. Mune used his lightsaber blades to slice through a few of them. Eli stood back a bit, calculating a path to take from here. They were beings of pure darkness. No facial features, skin with the absence of light, just shadows that had come alive.

The fog was extremely thick now. Zehsaa pulled out her rifle and looked around, searching for someone. The noises faded slightly, and she spoke a bit over the combat, “Eli? Lexic? I can’t find you!” No one responded the lightsaber noises faded even further. “I can help fight,” she yelled, “Just point me in the right direction.” It’s as if someone was turning down a violent holovid lower and lower. “Hey! Respond to me!” But it was futile. She ran in the direction of the combat, fired a few shots, but the sound was…absent. Not only was she alone, but she was slowly losing her hearing. Her Togrutan echo location could not sense anything. She couldn’t even hear herself breathe. Walking through the fog, finding anything she could dowse, was useless. She was alone in a place with no direction.

Kylex and Lexic fought hard against the beasts. More and more came upon them. Mune tried to flank them, but was being fought back on his own. Kylex yelled, “Mune! We’d be better in a formation! Less for each to deal with!”

But the Grand Admiral had fallen back into the darkness that surrounded the fog. “MUNE!” Shouted Lexiconus. Nothing responded. Lexic quickly spun around. Eli, Zehsaa, and Dek were gone. He spun back quickly enough to kick one of the creatures in the face. The bodies had started to pile, when they suddenly stopped coming.

They quickly caught their breath.

“The others,” Kylex questioned through a controlled breathing technique.

The Quarren shook his head.

thump thump

Massive breaks could be heard. Lexiconus looked down and the ground appeared to be rocklike with red sand, as if they were in some dry land desert of sorts. The thumping continued. Through the fog came a giant version of the creature, the size of a rancor. Their sabers still ignited, they immediately trounced upon the being. Kylex rolled between its legs and sliced behind it, while Lexiconus swung and deflected the hands that would come down in an attempt to grab him. Soon, looking up, he saw a sun behind the head of the rancor. The fog was clearing, and they were on top of a rock table on a desert mountain. A rumbling could be heard and mountains in the distance started to crumble. Kylex clumped some of the dark skin into his hand and reached the top of the being. The Knight slammed his saber into the skull of the beast.

The groan was deafening. Lexiconus deactivated his saber and clasped his ear holes. Kylex did the same, but started sinking into the beast. But not before the beast from head to toe started to melt into tiny little creatures that bustled over Kylex and pulled him deeper into the abyss of the creature.

“SiiiiitthhhSPIIIIIIIITTT!” Kylex let out a yell, flicking small creatures away from him, attempting to press against their tiny bodies in order to yank himself out. It was no good. Lexiconus watched in horror as the Human fell into the crumbling creature, but the land went along with him. The mountain area started to slide away from the outer edges. Lexiconus could no longer see mountains in the distance. Only giant pillars of stone where they once stood.

As the wave of small creatures gently coasted Kylex down the mountain, Lexiconus kneeled to the ground. He knew what was coming and he started to breathe at a steady pace, setting his breathe to a normal, unfearful speed. The mountain eventually went away, leaving him along in meter by meter area space pillar of stone. The Quarren was in a dry desert, with wind whipping by him on a kilometer high pillar.

Dek ran and found a metallic door. Opening it, he looked back and bellowed, “I found a way out!” He continued, assuming they would follow the direction of his voice and join them. If not, they would probably continue fighting. He wasn’t loyal to them. He simply wanted Xen back to normal. How could power be attained further without such an ally on your side? His journey…his journey…

Dek suddenly realized his throat was hurting. He could barely think, or even speak for that matter. The pain! It’s as if someone dripped acid down his throat and then burned it into place! The corridor he was in was also very familiar. It was the corridor to the Imperial Senate chamber. He reached the doorway to the small rotund room. The dais in the middle had a political annoyance that Dek did not enjoy to see.

“Senator Ironius! I was just telling the Senate of your ethics violations! Care to defend yourself?”

Ethics violations?! No such thing had occurred! He tried to yell, but nothing would come out. His voice too destroyed, his throat too dry and fiery. If only he could speak! He would need to find a way! He wasn’t one for violence, but this was a dream. He reached down to his belt and unclipped a sonic grenade. He smiled.


The ground below was but a field of mist and glowing eyes, their bloodshot stare shook Lexiconus down his spine. But then he saw their teeth, their bright white and sharpened teeth. Like daggers, glistening in the mist and desert sunshine, as an orchestra of wicked giggling grew. Their giggles turning into laughter, as they sat impatiently and shook the pillar at its base. They grew thirsty for blood, and only a Quarren’s blood will do. But Lexiconus wasn’t going to give in just yet, his eyes scanned the horizon, the sun burning through his sockets, he could still hear the pleas of his Emperor.

With a heavy and nervous sigh, Lexiconus carefully rose to his feet, the stone of the pillar shaking as he did. He scanned the horizon, looking for the way through but his eyes only came across the crumbling ruins of the fallen mountain, and that misty field of grins. Looking down, the Quarren didn’t see any rope or ladders from his ledge. The message seemed to be clear.

“The easy path is never the right path here, perhaps I’m missing something,” He said to himself, the fear still catching his throat. Whispers perked his ears, only gentle and indistinguishable from the wind at first, but then they’re voice slowly raised.

“Yes, yes, you’re missing something,” A collective chant said. Lexiconus frowned and looked around, as the voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.

“But what am I missing? And who are you anyway?” He shouted back, he wasn’t going to be tricked by spiritual voices.

“Who are we? Who are we!” The voice repeated Lexiconus’ question, seemingly offended by it and rose its voice. The mist whirled and concentrated into the form of a talking skull, as Lexiconus stood in awe and shock.

“You invaded our precious realm, you forced entry through our barriers, you and your ilk continue to taint our lands. It is you who should be answering our questions!” The skill roared, as a ball of fire erupted and melted before Lexiconus’ frightened sight. The Quarren ducked and rolled away, then rose to his feet and prepared his fists.

“You want a fight? A fight you shall have, I am a master of the Force, the light and dark side both bow to me!” He confidently replied, his stoic expression rivalled that of a hero. The skull simply laughed, as his cackle descended several octaves and into a booming and gravely tone.

“Tell us, master of the Force, how do you hurt mist and fog?” It mockingly replied, the voice back to its normal octave. Lexiconus slowly nodded in agreement and sighed as he lowered his hands. The skull noticed that the platform started to tremble and shake on the side Lexiconus stood, which prompted the Quarren to quickly jump back to the centre.

“But as I said earlier before you rudely offended me,” a cup with a straw appeared in mist form and the skull then caught the tip and drank, then the mist cup faded away. “You are certainly missing something,”

“Did I forget to bring something?” Lexiconus said, as he patted his robes down. “My physical body has a lightsaber, I guess the spirit world took it when the mountain crumbled,” He pondered. The skull scoffed and a mist hand slowly formed and headed towards Lexiconus. Frozen in shock, Lexiconus could only watch as the fingers of the mist slowly closed the gap and swirled around him, disappearing entirely.

“You silly boy, it has been with you this entire time. You rely on it every day, it is part of who you are. Your very soul glows with it,” The skull lectured Lexiconus, its voice showing its impatience.

“The Force?” Lexiconus asked, his face scrunched in confusion. The skull groaned and as a misty hand formed, he covered his face in frustration.

“If you can only understand the Force, then I shall give you a hint that only the Force can understand. Riddle me this, you narrow minded fool!” The skull barked, then slowly the words formed in front of Lexiconus. The words of a riddle, which the skull slowly read out.

“What makes a king out of a slave? What makes the flag on the mast to wave? What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? What makes the Death Star a wonder? What makes the dawn come up like thunder? What makes the Tuskens so hot? What puts the ‘ape’ in apricot? What have they got that you ain’t got?” The skulls voice roared at the end as he finally disappeared, leaving Lexiconus to his thoughts. His thoughts scrambled across each of his strengths, his aptitude, his cleverness. He bounced from Force power to Force power, then dismissed it as if it were irrelevant. Then it hit him, it was as clear as the sun set in the horizon.

“Courage. I’m missing courage for this trial,” He said with a proud smile. His eyes scanned the mist field below, the daggered teeth of grins still shining out as the red eyes glowed. The Quarren slowly inhaled as he approached the edge, his toes on the lip. Then with a sharp inhale, Lexiconus leaned forward and dropped.


Sparky’s head felt heavy. His entire world was spinning. There was a constant drone of lightsaber hums and hisses, panicked shouts and orders, and the eerie cries of the attacking beasts in the fog. When the beasts initially attacked, Sparky immediately dove behind a nearby stone wall for cover. He forced himself to focus when there was an immediate stillness fell over the scene.

All at once, Sparky heard nothing at all, and could see nothing but the matted ground beneath him and the thick fog surrounding him.

He choked back the rising gorge in his throat as he called out, “Eli! Zehsaa! Ky? Dek? Anyone?”

He seemed to recall seeing Lexiconus rise above the group and ascend away from the scene – but how could that be? Was his mind playing tricks on him? Sparky stepped uncertainly away from his cover and into the fog. Utter silence permeated the entire area. The silence itself was deafening. Sparky was completely alone.

Without warning, an immensely loud and powerful boom shook the ground Sparky stood on as a TIE Striker swooped low overhead. In an instant, the fog cleared and Sparky was standing on a ridgeline overlooking a battle in the valley below. He gazed across the carnage. TIE Strikers swooped low over the field, cannons ablaze with red points of light shooting towards the various fighting positions on the ground. In the distance, stationary anti-aircraft cannons spat their staccato blasts in response, as stitches of green light stretched across the bleak sky towards the aircraft. Scores of Stormtroopers, white armor beaten, cracked, and tarnished, jockeyed for position on the valley floor. The troopers were in various fighting positions and trenches. Even at Sparky’s high level above the field, he could hear the panicked cries of his battalion commanders below as they tried to fight the overwhelming rebel menace on the other side of the battlefield.

The valley floor was littered with broken Imperial bodies strewn across the dirt. One trooper wondered in the no man’s land, shocked, lost and alone until he was ruthlessly cut down by heavy blaster fire from rebel positions. The dirt floor was dry and red. An arid wind gently kicked up dust obscuring much of the action occurring below. Very few rocks offered cover to Sparky’s troopers.

Rebel troops, their black and grey uniforms crisp, maintained their positions on the high ground opposite of Sparky. Crew served weapons, heavy blasters, and mortars poured concentrated bombardment and destruction on Sparky’s troops below. The cacophony of the carnage was overwhelming. Fighters shrieked through the sky, dancing their swift dance of death. X-wings snap-rolled and spat their red death towards Sparky’s TIEs. Stormtroopers were being cut down mercilessly by the concentrated green blaster fire pouring from the ridge across from where Sparky stood, helpless.

Sparky took stock of the situation below. This couldn’t be happening again! He’d fought this fight before. He’d won this fight before…but how could this be happening? After a moment’s hesitation, Sparky seized the comlink on his belt and began to bark orders to his battalion commanders below. Yet all he heart in response was broken static and bits and fragments of situation reports, creating a situation of complete and total chaos in the battle below. The battle was lost and Sparky couldn’t change a thing.

With grim determination, Sparky unclipped his slugthrower pistol from his belt and began to ascend towards the battle below. He wouldn’t go down without a fight! He would not fail until he’d exhausted his every last breath.

As he stepped forward, the entire scene vanished, and Sparky came to, crouching behind the rock wall. He rose and saw Kylex, Mune, Dek, and Eli standing near him in the labyrinth of stone in combat positions, lightsabers ignited looking ready for another wave of beasts.


Kylex landed in a heap as the little black beings disappeared, leaving him alone. He stood up, rubbing his head as he looked around. The Knight had been transported to a flat plain of grass, stretching on for what seemed like forever.

“Is there anybody out there?” He yelled.

Nothing. Great. Kylex thought to himself, plopping himself back down on the grass, legs folded.

“Of course, as soon as I’m promoted to Knight, Fallax takes over. Typical.” He said flopping onto his back and staring at the sky. The sky was a dark blue, storm clouds rolling in from one direction. The Sith closed his eyes, resting as rain began to lightly fall down. It was an odd feeling,
for once, he felt calm.

Ironic, I find peace amongst the chaos of another’s mind.
The Knight smiled, quickly leaping to his feet as he avoided a giant sword crashing into the earth. He spun around, looking at something not of his world. A beast, mainly human looking with the exception of a bovine like skull with four eyes and a tail. The beast carried two massive blades, breathing heavily as steam escaped it’s skull.

“Ooh, aren’t you scary looking.” Kylex said, calling his lightsaber to his hand. He ignited the blade, raising it above his head in a stance, showing his training in Djem So.

“Come at me ugly.” He said. The demon charged at him, swinging its massive blades at him. Each swing narrowly missing the Sith as he leapt backwards.

“This is going to be anti climatic.” Kylex said, ducking under the beast and driving his blade through it. The demon went limp before dissipating into embers.

“Knew it.”



The grenade went off, piercing the ears of everyone around them, explosively squealing. Dek closed his eyes and held his ears. He looked up and saw the Senator of the dais knocked down, ears bleeding, and slowly melting. Dek no longer felt the pain in his throat.

It’s a dream world, but I must remember it is not my dream world. This is the mind of a Force user, or at least two of them together. I cannot fall into the trap of thinking of this place as too real. But sometimes it may be too real as well.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath…breathe in breathe out…opening his eyes, he was no longer in the facade of the Imperial Senate chamber. It was a long room with many meeting chairs. At the end of the room sat one brown-haired man, his chair more elaborate than the others. The room had windows that looked out onto a planet.

Judecca, thought Dek. He knew the planet from space. It was home.

He looked back at the figure who had his hands folded in a pyramid and his head slightly bowed. The man spoke, “Ood is in a weak position, as is the House. We cannot continue with weak leadership. We must rid the current power structure of the House.” It was Xen. A younger Xen, but still Xen. Definitely not the imposing figure many knew him to be today.

Dek responded and pulled out a chair at the middle of the long table and sat, “How…do we get rid of the leader?” He had to craft his words carefully.

“It won’t be easy, but I have contacts. Soon we shall regain control of the Dominion for true Scholaeans!”

Dek smiled. Maybe this Xen could help them in some way. Dek definitely wanted to overthrow Fallax. Maybe this part of Xen could help them.

The Togrutan was still lost in the fog. Deaf and also blind to others, her loneliness was biting at her. But she would succeed in defeating this!

Dek ran somewhere. And so it seems a few others. Maybe they found something.

So the Arcanist started to run in a random direction. Hearing nothing, she ran faster, and started holding each breath, forcing her body to work even harder. Nothing from the outside.


She heard her heart!

“Maybe,” she started, realizing she could hear a dulled version of her voice, “the dream is telling me something. It’s all fictitious and inside of me. The answer to the outside lies within!”

She continued running. The fog increased, but so did her hearing. She wouldn’t stop talking, wanting to fully hear her voice come back into her ears.

“Through passion, strength. Through strength,” there was a crack in her ears, as if a wall of water and wax had drained itself out of the canals, “power.”

Faster and faster! Suddenly, she tripped over something and rolled, tumbling into a small structure of sorts. She held her back, “Agh! Dammit!”

Her hearing had fully returned, but she was now in a room, the fog having gone. Chairs lined the room. A man in brown hair sat at one end, with Dek Ironius II conversing with him at the same time.

“Dek? What’s this?”

“Whoa! I didn’t see you come in. Come. Join us. We’re discussing a coup!”

“A coup for what?”

“To take control, of course!”

The embers that dissipated from the beast flew onto the grass.

“Oh, fwec!” The newly promoted Knight ran to the grass, attempting to stamp out the embers, but instead made more. A gust of wind swooshed through this grassy valley and fed the tiny fires even more. Kylex stood back and he suddenly realized a fire was going to sweep through this area very soon. So he started going into a light jog that would slowly escalate. He had no exact clue as to where he would go. The grassy fields around him would not shelter him from the burns. The fire was spreading quickly.

Kylex ran over a small hill that was taller than most. The mountains in the distance were gone, and grass could be seen everywhere. Clouds and blue sky touched the horizon. And behind him? A roaring fire!

“There has to be a safe spot! Somewhere!”

He went through different situations. Digging would take too long. Running would delay the inevitable and tire him out. However, there was one thing he could try. The Knight looked at the grass intently and attempted to see beyond it. He saw black grass, already burnt with no fire near it.

He ran as quickly as he could, pulsating the Force through his muscles and body and took a great leap above the flames. Upon landing, he rolled, but when he got back up he was not in the grassy field. He was in a room with a long table with chairs. A brown haired man sat at the end. Dek was conversing with him while Zehsaa checked her sniper rifle, occasionally listening in.

When one dies, they say there is a long wait, or a flash that lasts forever. This feels like forever.

Lexiconus Qor opened his eyes once again, with the wind kicking up into his face he slammed through the fog. He still fell, but needed a sudden urge to run and so he did. He slowed his pace and stopped in the fog. Walking slowly, he wafted his hand at the fog, removing it from his face. As he slowly inched closer into the fog, he could see something. A table. Chairs. A window. A brown haired man. Dek, Kylex, and Zehsaa all around the room, doing different things.


The darkness, it was all around him. The only sound, the thudding of his heart within his chest. Ba bum… ba bum… ba bum… It filled his ears with its rhythm, the only assurance that he actually still lived. The cold seeped well into his skin, muscle and bones, leeching all warmth away. He could not move, the only scent was of his own familiar one. From all indications, he was alone.

When had he stopped fighting? He wondered. He remembered weaving through the enemy, his sabers flashing out to sever limbs and carve bodies. The fog had grown so thick, it had become so difficult to see ahead. One by one, he lost sight of the others, their sounds seemingly muffled then gone. Then came the darkness. Shadows straining to claim him. He could do nothing as the darkness clung to him and drew him ever deeper until all light faded. He thought he had lost consciousness at some point, though, one darkness only looked like the next. This darkness was no exception. An inky void of pure nothingness.

Don’t panic… just move…. he assured himself.

So he did, but found quickly his wrist restrained. He blinked, eyes attempting to trace where he thought his arm should be to his wrist. He tried again to move that arm but again, it refused to budge. He tried the leg next. It refused his movement altogether. His chest constricted as the insidious fingers of panic grasped for his heart. Ba bum, ba bum, ba bum, beating quicker and quicker. The wraith of terror swallowed his analytical mind whole. He screamed out. The walls kept out all light. Trapped. Desperate.

“How often were you tied down and locked away while they did their tests, I wonder.” The voices whispered all around him.

He swallowed, throat already raw from his screams. His breath ragged, he began to count. This is just a nightmare, snap out of it!

The maniacal laughter rang in his ears. All around him, so easy to fill the tight space with the sound. Memory after memory tore violently through his head, the terrible sensory deprivation chamber, the cold, the needles and scans. “You are not there Mune! Elincia made sure you would never have to go back there!” He yelled into the darkness, shredding the laughter with the sound of his own voice.

“Oh. But what if you are wrong? What if she is lying?”

“Heh… Elincia knows what loyalty is, unlike some…”

“Like you when you left the clan for Isradia? Like when you also left them for your own selfish ends.” The laughter fills his ear drums again, making him wince. The voice continues coldly, “Now, they have abandoned you. Welcome to your prison.”

He felt the walls closing in. Even if he could not see them, he felt them, pressing against his body from all sides. His eyes widened. He realized he could not breath, his lungs burning for air. Panic painted his every thought, and all thoughts screamed that he was trapped. He would not die, he would be trapped here.

“No! Get a hold of yourself damn you!” He barked into the dark. He clenched his fist, claws dug deep to draw rivulets of blood. The scent filled his nostrils soon enough, giving him something new to focus upon. He closed his eyes, basking in the pain, counting the seconds. He regained control of his breathing, then his heart slowed to match. He refused the panic, refused the shadows that feasted upon his anguish. He would not give Fallax what he wanted. “The past can no longer hurt you… you have put it to rest, with the help of your friend. Fallax can never use it against you, this is just a sick game.”

The growl that tore from his throat was filled with disgust, that someone like Fallax could have even held him for a second in so disgusting a trap. He ripped free of the bindings that held him prone to this space, the walls shattered and sent scattering like leaves to the wind.

Elincia and he came face to face, a grin upon both their faces as their respective prisons fell to the nothingness behind them.

“Fear of confined spaces?” Mune asked with a smirk.

“You know me too well, old friend,” Elincia winked.

They rose together and turned towards a door that rose from the fog. Forward they pressed, stepping past the threshold into a room that already hosted most of their team. Mune could not help but note the absence of Stana and Polis. Though the presence of a younger Xen gave him pause. He knew better than to question in this place, and the presence of a young Xen could very well mean something beneficial for them in this strange battle they were faced with. An unforeseen ally was still an ally.

He nodded to Dek, then offered the others a bit of a smile. “Sorry we are late… our ride got rough.”


Hesitant about this next area of curiosity, Lexiconus stopped and assessed the area for what it truly is. A table built from a solid oak or birch tree, as displayed in the bright caramel polish, and chairs with high backs and the same wood to match. Drapes of noble patterns in purple and gold cloaked the chairs, while an ivory white cloth blanketed the table itself. Silverware was laid out neatly and with perfection, while candles flickered and rested in silver molds. Lexiconus felt the area was properly dressed for a feast or supper of some kind, and yet the only food he could see, was being eaten by an adolescent male. His hair filled with streaks of blonde and brown, and his chin was soft like a babe’s rear. The male continued to crunch and chew at the roast potatoes, yet his eyes flickering between his dinner and the group, told Lexiconus he was totally aware of their presence.

“Please,” he said with a full mouth. “Sit. Enjoy the scenery and the mulled wine. It shouldn’t be too long now,” then ate another slice of roast potato. Lexiconus stared over at Dek and Mune in confusion, seeing both of them with scrunched up faces and hands on hips. Elincia was the first to step forward, walking over to the nearest chair to the male, then pulled it out and sat down. As she did, a bottle of mulled wine conjured in the air. Before the warm, ruby liquid could be poured Elincia raised her hand to it and shook her head.

“You should know by now, Xen’Mordin, I don’t touch the vile stuff,” she rejected, but Xen shrugged and continued to eat. Lexiconus was struck back in shock, he couldn’t believe his eyes that this could be a younger and more energetic Xen’Mordin, the future Emperor of their Clan. He seemed so passive, relaxed and blissful in his chair. As Lexiconus slowly walked up, pulling out the chair opposite Elincia and sat down, he took note of the Human Prince’s large appetite. This wasn’t part of their present Emperor, nor Fallax. The Quarren’s eye was caught by the bottle of mulled wine gliding across to his glass and slowly pouring itself, then to the glasses of Dek and Mune as they sat down. The Quaestor took a sip, the warm liquid soothing his tongue and cheeks, as the soft burning aftertaste excited the back of his throat, he smiled, pleased at the drink. Lexiconus decided it was time for some answers.

“Excuse me, Xen’Mordin, but what are we waiting for?” He enquired, as his eye caught Kylex who snatched the wine bottle from the air and began chugging the contents down. The young Sith put his knife and fork down, then patted his lips with a cloth and took his goblet of wine.

“For the royal guards with the intruders, of course, this Stana and Polis were caught escaping the grounds with stolen goods of the Empire. They will be punished, do not fear,” he assured Lexiconus, who looked at Elincia with worry in her eyes. She tapped Xen’Mordin’s youthful hand, feeling it as soft, unscathed and warm. A deep contrast from his present self.

“Xen you cannot, we ordered them to do this act. It’s part of our mission for The Cause, remember?” She pleaded. All Xen’Mordin did was grin confidently and wink at Elincia. It was a signal she knew to recognise, he was simply following the orders of his superior. His ulterior motives would be present once Stana and Polis are safe.

“My lord, there’s a problem in the palace, a force to be reckoned with has usurped the throne and causing mayhem,” Dek spoke out, his hand tightly around the goblet. Others may not have picked it up, but Lexiconus could see his arm tremor slightly. The Quarren also felt a wave of fright, shock and impatience wash over Dek. He seemed to be in a lot of pain or insecurity being here. Then Lexiconus realised, the hot wine.

“Dek! Your hand!” The Quaestor shouted, and Dek quickly took his palm off the goblet, seeing his skin turning red and pink with burns. The Seer quickly stood and jogged around the table, checking Dek’s hand and running his own over it. Xen’Mordin, who placed his goblet down and rose to call someone beyond the fog, looked with great concern on his face.

“I will get the best doctor in the system to treat your hand, Dek. You are in safe care here,” The young Sith said with sincerity.

“I’m already here, Xen. It shouldn’t be seriously damaged, just some superficial overloading of the skin cells. There’s nothing the Force cannot heal,” Lexiconus promised Dek with a warm smile. As the Seer worked the Force to hasten the healing process of Dek’s hand, four royal guards marched through the fog with Stana and Polis. They dropped the prisoners onto the floor and aimed their spears at the duo. Standing from his chair and placing his hands behind his back, Xen’Mordin slowly moved to in front of the prisoners and sighed.

“Now, what shall we do with you two?” The young Sith pondered, but Elincia and Lexiconus smiled to themselves. With the slightest of hand movements, Xen’Mordin gripped his lightsabers.


Zehsaa had been standing at the side, as the others slowly entered the room as well. She had been looking her rifle over, checking the mechanical parts, the ammunition and her scope to make sure it was still working ok in this realm. Looking up from her rifle she saw Dek still calmly talking with the younger Xen and Kylex tumbling in from the shadows, a few moments later Lex joined in as well. Both Lex and Kylex seemed like they been through a rough deal.

I wonder if this Fallax guy knows we are all getting together here… and if so, how long will it take before this turns into another hell? Zehsaa thought silently.

Closing her eyes she reached out carefully, like she had done many times in her lucid dreams. Around her she felt a bubble like field, which was keeping the “nightmares” outside, but they were fighting and trying to force themselves through the bubble. Opening her eyes she saw that Mune and Elincia had also joined. Mune made it look like it wasn’t much, but both he and Eli looked far from it. The team was now almost complete, only Sparky was not here yet. There was a slight hesitation before they slowly sat down at the table and continue their conversations.

Hugging his slugthrower closer Sparky got up from behind the wall he was crouching and moved towards the others. If they were going to fight then he would be part of it, he wasn’t going to fail his friends. As he got closer his friends seemed to be snatched away before his eyes, as if ghostly hands picked them up like pawns and taken elsewhere.

“No!” Sparky cried out and fired a few rounds into the ghostly hands, but it was to no avail, his friends vanished. Dropping his slugthrower in defeat he dropped to his knees. Thoughts raced through his mind, he wasn’t able to save his friends, it was another failure. His shoulders sagged further. It was true… I failed, he thought.

Laughs and chuckles echoed around him, scolding him of his failure, that he was worth nothing.

Balling his fists he frowned, “No… this is not true, this is all a lie!” As he began to remember what happened to him before, the scene had changed when he got up and charged the fight, determined to help.

“You couldn’t save them…” An echo chuckled.

Grabbing his slugthrower he got up, “This battle isn’t over yet! I will be able to save them, just you see!”

With that, Sparky ran through the maze, determined to find his friends and show them he isn’t a failure at all.

Standing next to the door, a habit she got from acting like a guard for a few years, she could hear soft footsteps growing near. She looked towards the door and held her rifle ready as it opened and Sparky stepped in, panting as if he had run a marathon. Sighing in relief as she recognized him, it was Sparky, and lowered her rifle.

Sparky watched the room and glanced towards Zehsaa.
“What’s going on?” He whispered towards her.

“I’m not really sure, but it seems like both of them couldn’t be trusted as we thought they could be,” Zehsaa whispered back, “Though, Lex and Eli seem to know something else. Dek has also been talking to the younger Xen for a while now, like he knew him from the past”

“Maybe we should take a closer look and hear what they have to say,” Sparky suggested.

She nodded and both of them walked closer to the scene. Xen was about to get his lightsabers out as he watched the two prisoners on the ground before him. There was a mixed look on Lex’s face at first, but then he and Eli smiled to themselves. The prisoners at the other hand looked up in worry towards Xen.


Sparky glanced sideways at Zehsaa and was reassured by her presence. Of course, he was also reassured by the loaded and charged blaster she held at the ready. Sparky silently crept towards the back wall of the room, close to the door and listened to what was happening.

He glanced back at his Togruta companion, and murmured quietly, “Wait a moment…if this is all a figment of Xen or Fallax’s imagination, are Polis and Stana real? What happens if they perish? Will the ritual cease?”

Zehsaa’s brows furrowed in thought. She shrugged and shook her head and said, “I…I’m not sure.”

Sparky took a deep breath and attempted to calm his nerves.

Lex was standing with his back towards the door about 5 paces away. It appeared that he was doing something to Dek’s hand, although Sparky had no clue what it was. He assumed it was some Force mumbo jumbo that the Jedi and Sith were always doing. This wasn’t the first time he’d wondered what the galaxy might be like without the Force, and wondered if perhaps it might be better. He dismissed the distracting thoughts and continued to examine the situation.

Eli had a strained smile on her face and was quietly observing the room. As if on cue, Eli glanced towards the door and made eye contact with Sparky. Sparky froze as fear gripped his heart. Eli gave the most imperceptible of smiles and continued scanning the room. Relieved, Sparky leaned back into his hiding place. It would be too dangerous now to watch, so he could only listen.

Dek swore, “Sithspawn that hurts, Lex!” While Sparky couldn’t see Lex’s face, he could hear gentle mirth in his voice as Lex responded, “My friend, it will be healed shortly. All is well”.

It was then that Xen grabbed his sabers in his hands, and in one fluid motion ignited them with a snap hiss. Not knowing who had ignited the sabers, Sparky and Zehsaa reflexively snapped into battle stances, bringing weapons to the ready, in time to see Xen viciously stab the two bound prisoners with his lightsabers! The entire world seemed to shake as their lifeless bodies rolled onto the floor.

As the rest of the team dove towards cover and pulled out their weapons, Xen opened his mouth to speak. But to the horror of the team, a distorted voice came from Xen. The voice radiated pure power and hate. Sparky thought he saw a fleeting expression of pain cross Xen’s face before the look was replaced with a steely determination.

The room grew colder, and darker as Xen spoke, “You’ll never save your precious Emperor! Bend your knees now to Fallax, and you may yet live!” His voice echoed in the room as Fallax stared in rage at the rescue team, waiting for their response.


Dek Ironius II and Kylex Vizsla were suddenly held in place, immovable. Xen lifted his hand and let a few strains of lightning lurch out at the others. The room morphed into Xen’s throne room with Xen standing at his throne. Lexiconus lifted Stana and Polis in the air with the Force and pulled them to him while running out of the throne room. Mune ignited his saber to deflect the shots of lightning and Zehsaa and Sparky brought out their weapons and aimed while moving backwards, Elincia behind them. Mune gave Dek and Kylex a worried look, but chose to fall back. Sparky let out a few blasts towards Xen, but he took them and absorbed them into himself. They left the throne room, the metal door closing behind them.

Xen looked over at Kylex and Dek, frozen in place, “You both serve the Empire. One as a criminal for the Empire to control from beneath, the other as a follower of the Empire to control from above.”

He would not let them reply.

“And you’ve chosen to come here, to my mind, to stop me. How you’ve gotten here I don’t exactly know. But if you are here only I can choose if you can leave or not. And since this is now my realm, you cannot stop me without my permission.”

He let them go. Kylex immediately disappeared.

“Futile.” Xen let out a sigh.

A saber ignited and at the same time is stopped in place from within striking distance of Xen.

“That was your moment, Dek,” Kylex let out critically and towards the Senator.

“I’m not a warrior, Kylex.”

“But you hold a weapon.”

“Enough of this bitter speak,” Xen started, “Come on in.”

Through a side entrance a group of Mandalorians came through. Not just any Mandalorians. Kylex recognized them as Vizsla; his family.

“Your payment is on your ship,” Xen let out with a sneer.

Kylex appeared and was thrown across the room to the floor in front of the Mandalorians. The leader spoke, “We’ll take him off your hands,” he changed his direction to Kylex, “'Bout time we found you again.”

The Vizsla leader snapped a Force collar onto Kylex and took his saber from him, as well as his other weapons, including the dagger in the boot. Then, dragging him by the collar, he took him out of the throne room.

“The pest has left,” Xen snorted towards Dek.

Dek composed himself and walked up close to Xen.

“Fallax, I assume?”

“Of course,” Xen looked deep into the eyes of the politician, “Please tell me you knew this since I had announced it…”

“Yes, but I had to be sure. I would in fact prefer to talk to you over Xen.”

“You can find out more about me that way, but I am not so easily manipulated and neither are my plans. I am possessing The Manipulative after all.”

Dek did not respond. Xen walked over to a window overlooking Ohmen. Dek followed, watching a battle rage below.

“If this is your realm,” Dek started, “why allow these events to play out?”

“Interference,” Xen laughed. “I’ve already won. Xen is mine. The Empire and Cocytus is mine. But you all allow another threat to enter. Your minds manipulate the realm. I’ve still maintained the reality though.”

“Wasn’t this Empire something else under you?”

“To me, it was Cocytus. Who do you think implanted the idea within the first Force user to enter this realm.”

Dek chuckled. This revelation was thoroughly interesting. If Fallax did not wish to enslave and Empire, Dek would certainly wish to learn more from this Sith Lord.

“Any other interesting facts to tell me?”

“Yes,” Xen’s tone became serious, “The Empire will crumble. The Imperials were great in any time period. It’s why the Sith constantly return to the Imperial ideal. The Sith know it works well and they maintain power with it. Without it, they fail. A central dictator in a well oiled Empire. That is one facet of success. It is also its downfall. The dictator goes away and the Empire falls. Palpatine. Kane Vader. Myself. I evolved. I learned from my mistakes. I learned that there is only one superior system to Imperialism; it’s the gift I gave to the Judeccans thousands of years ago. With it they constantly evolved. They fought hard. But they always succeeded further. They formed into Warlords and fought each other. They formed into strong feudal districts and lived amongst each other as well. They had a nobility and a hierarchy.”

Dek’s face grew sour, “Not a Monarchy.”

Xen laughed, “It is the only way. I can live forever under a dictatorship that embraces me politically and religiously. The nobility will support me because I support them. My followers will eventually form into this nobility, the houses serving me. The Warlords will reform and fight for me, eliminating each other and making each other weaker in the process, never being able to become stronger again. The Monarchy will last under me; the ultimate Tyrant. The ultimate Monarch! And your precious Empire will lie in the dusts of Antenora!”

Xen turned to fully face Dek. “So you Dek. Your family and you are a product of me! You exist because I willed people like you to exist many thousands of years ago! And I will will you to exist yet again! Or not to if I choose…”

Dek was horrified. Not only would Fallax take over the Empire, but he would destroy it! All that work gone, through this megalomaniac!


Mune and the others withdrew past the great doors of the throne room, closing with an odd sense of finality. Lexiconus tried his hardest to tend to their two companions, wounded upon the ground where he had lain them. Mune could but watch in dismay as the scene unfolded. He listened to the heavy breathing of the other two as they too watched while Elincia was cursing under her breath.

Zehsaa came to Mune’s side, “Dek and Kylex are still in there.”

“I know…”

“We need to help them.” She pushed softly.

“I know.” Mune muttered.

“Well…? Do you have a plan? Does Elincia have a plan?”

“Do we look like we have a plan!” He snapped, a vicious growl ripping past his lips. His slitted pupils narrowed to slivers. The rage bubbled violently near the surface of his mind. The look of utter shock on the girl’s face gave him pause then, the sound only just registering to his own ears that perked and confusion passed over his own face. Ears laid flat again he whispered, ashamed at his lack of control, “I am sorry, Zehsaa, you did not deserve that…” He felt the eyes of the others upon him. They were all watching him, not unlike he was watched back in the labs. He swallowed back the anxiety he felt and offered them a slow and nervous smile.

“Really, I’m sorry… stop staring. Please.”

“How am I supposed to collect data if we do not watch you?” Elincia asked softly.

It is an almost patronizing tone, Mune thought, his gaze turning to his friend and apprentice. He swallowed, trying to brush it off as nothing but the way she smiled knowingly at him. His gaze shifted to Lexiconus, whom he could have sworn should have been administering to their two allies but was like Elincia watching him, studying him. He realized why he was on edge… they were doing just that. They all watched him with looks of fascination, Elincia taking notes on her datapad. The looks were the same ones he had seen repeatedly in the labs. They did not care, he was a creature to be analyzed.

“Elincia… this is not… Stop it.” His heart beat a bit faster in his chest. “You are not Elincia, are you?”

“Who else would I be. You think I nursed you back to health for kindness’ sake?”

The words rang in his ears. Panic wrapped its vicious talons about his heart. The fur of his tail stood on end as fight or flight took hold and he had to fight it back with every ounce of his will to not bolt.

He felt the grasp of Sparky and Zehsaa on either side of him. He could not help but wonder where they had gotten the lab coats. Then Lexiconus was approaching with a syringe ready. Elincia only stood grinning behind. Darkness engulfed his mind. Before the Quarren could close on him, Mune had planted both feet and with a feral roar, Zehsaa was whipped around and into Sparky. Mune was quickly over Lexiconus’ head on on top of Elincia, both crashing to the ground in a heap.

Elincia let out a startled cry as Mune came crashing down upon her. Lexiconus lept to his feet from where he had been trying to save the lives of their two allies. Zehsaa was sprawled, groaning where Mune had thrown her when she had only been trying to talk to him when he had seemed to be only staring off into the distance, unresponsive. He had completely snapped, and, on top of Elincia, he had her pinned and claws dug into the woman’s shoulders. Blood, the scent of it, metallic in the air began to fill his nostrils. The doctor stared up at the Hybrid in open horror.

“Mune! Stop! Please!” She desperately pushed at him, trying to shove him off her.

Lexiconus stared on in confusion. What had just happened? He searched his satchel for a tranquilizer, only to realize, he did not understand what he was looking at. Every vial, every bottle, he did not recognize them. What were the strange names on them? Which were poison, which were medicines. He looked up at another desperate cry from the Togruta. He saw the welling of blood on the woman’s left cheek. Sparky had finally come to their aid, trying to get the wildly thrashing Mune off their superior.

“S… since when has Mune been so strong?!” Sparky yelled as he forcibly dragged Mune back, sweat beading his brow.

“Adrenaline. Something is wrong.” Lexiconus muttered, searching frantically for anything that could help but, the medical knowledge in that satchel he always carried evaded him completely. He could accidentally poison his friend.

“You think?!” Sparky snapped back at him. “Hurry Lexiconus! Drug him or something!”

“I can’t! I… I don’t know what… or how… or…” His words growing frantic by the second.

Mune slammed his head back into his attacker’s face, Sparky’s nose breaking with a crack and a rush of blood. Mune slipped his grip and within seconds slammed the other man up into the sealed doors, holding him by the throat, claws digging vicious furrows into his flesh. Somewhere, lost in the instinctive need to survive, to fight to live, Mune’s intellectual mind screamed out in terror at what he was doing, but his grasp never loosened, even as Sparky choked and wheezed for air. “I won’t go back to being a science experiment… I will kill you all first!” The Hybrid screamed into the other man’s face. The blood stained his claws, his fingers, ran down into the collar of Sparky’s shirt.

Sparky clung to consciousness, though barely.


Zehsaa stared a moment at Mune and Sparky, before getting into action and used the butt of her rifle against Mune’s head, knocking him out.

“Sorry about that, Mune, but it had to be done,” she said as she knelt by Sparky and checking his neck wounds, pressing her fingers against it, “Lex, I’m going to need your help.”

Sparky had fallen to the ground and was coughing as he gasped for air, grabbing at Zehsaa’s wrists in a reflex as he felt them, but eased a little as he felt the pain lessen. Lex moved over towards Sparky after he made sure the other two were safe and took over from Zehsaa.

“What had gotten into him? Why was he yelling about experiments?”

“That’s a long story, for another time,” Eli answered, “but it must have been one of Fallax attacks that drove him mad.”

Zehsaa knelt besides Mune and laid him on his side, making sure she hadn’t done to much damage with her rifle and rest a hand over the welt on his head, closing her eyes and let the Force flow through her, to stop the welt from growing worse.

Sparky sat up slowly after Lex helped him with his wounds and rubbed his head, “Thanks, what will we do now? We can’t leave Kylex and Dek in there with that freak.”

Lex and Eli both looked around to see where they were at the moment, but all they saw were more walls and the big metal doors behind them. The halls were all the same, no difference showing in either of them.
“It all looks the same around here,” Eli said.

Meanwhile Mune stirred slightly again under Zehsaa’s hand and opened his eyes, looking up at Zehsaa’s face, to the cut on her cheek, before moving silently away from her. Zehsaa didn’t move though, her mind seemed somewhere else.

Zehsaa found herself in a big plaza. Lights of different cafeteria were around her, welcoming everybody who wanted a drink of something to eat. The streets were busy with people from all species, having chatter amongst themselves. Moving slowly about them Zehsaa started to notice that the people had no longer faces, they became unknowns. Frowning slightly she continued on, walking into a smaller road from the plaza and the people became more like shadows. She felt a fear growing inside her, were they leaving her here all alone? She became afraid and started to run, searching for people that still had faces. In the distance she saw a group of people.

“Mune, Dek! I’m here! Eli, Lex, Sparky! Don’t go!” Zehsaa cried out towards them and started to run towards them.

They didn’t react to her screams, they were laughing amongst themselves. She kept yelling at them and ran up the stairs towards their platform, but as soon as she got up, they were gone.
Looking around in horror she searched for them on the platform.

“No! Guys! Where did you go?!” she yelled in panic.

A little distance away she saw the group again, again the ran towards them, as fast as she could and making sure she didn’t lose sight of them. When she got there they were frozen in place. Checking each of them, for a pulse or any other sign of life they crumbled as soon as she touched them. Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked in horror as her friends got blown away in a gust of wind, leaving her alone in the field. Wiping her tears away, she looked around, but she saw no one else around her anymore, even the ghost people were gone.

Holding her montrals she fell to her knees, crying out her terror. This was worse than being alone on a snow planet, knowing your friends were still around. Now they were lost, lost to the wind, nothing remained of them.

Mune, Sparky, Stana, Polis and Eli were discussing which way they would go, to get back at Fallax or a way to get them and him out of Xen’s mind, while Lex moved over to Zehsaa.

Zehsaa had been unresponsive since Mune got up again.
Gently Lex placed a hand on her shoulder, “What’s holding you, Zehsaa?”


Tied to a metal table, Kylex had prongs of metal stuck into his fingers. Bleeding from the head, a dark sky above him twisting to his agony, he felt every last pulsating throb worse than the other. The prong were to test his Force abilities. And to abuse them.


Lightning shot into the prongs. This was defeat. This was his family and they hated him. They hated his strengths. They hated him because he had the Force. They hated him because he needed no tools for war. He was the embodiment of what they could not be without outside help. They could use him, but they chose not to. And that was his realization. He was not needed. But he didn’t need to be.

In that moment he simply removed the prongs from his hands, got up from the straps holding him down, and walked back through the doors to the room where Dek Ironius II and Fallax/Xen were. Dek had a horrified look on his face. But then he saw Kylex.

“You were taken,” the Senator exclaimed. “They took you away!”

“And I overcame it. Just as we will overcome this, Ironius.”

Dek realized in that moment that he also felt heavy; in heart and in mind. Xen disappeared and the room changed. It started to melt away, leaving it behind was a dark walled room with a glass ceiling of clear veins with a mucus liquid coursing through them.

“What is this?” Kylex queried.

“It’s the chamber of the ritual.” Polis responded, Stana behind him.

“I won’t ask how you’re here, but just assume you are.” Dek critiqued.

“None of us can die in here. Trapped maybe, but die, no. Otherwise we’d all be dead to some degree.”

“The others?” Kylex asked.

“The other part of the ritual, Fallax needs a distraction.”

Zehsaa had a trickle of happiness roll down her spine. Completely joyous not only to see the others, but feel them. Sparky, Lexiconus, Mune, and Elincia were all there, as normal as could be, recovered from their ultimate despairs.

“The others?” Zehsaa questioned.

“They are elsewhere, doing what they need to do,” Elincia responded.

“Where are we going,” queried Sparky.

Lexiconus slithered, “To Fallax.” He started to stroll through an opening. It was pink and fleshy and in the shape of a tunnel. It was dark on the inside, but the others followed.

Eventually, they could see a room that was pure white and in the shape of a rotunda. They entered into it fully. The floor had a small clear vein-like pattern with clear liquids coursing through it. They could see Polis, Stana, Kylex, and Dek below the floor.

“The others!” Sparky pointed out.

“They are too late,” a voice spoke bluntly.

A figure could be seen in the small rotunda room. He was tall. Long, black braided hair with strands of grey. His skin was pure white. His pupils blood red. His upper body was not covered but his lower body had draped black clothing over armor. He wore a third-size skeletal mask that did not cover the pointed teeth he had.

Lexiconus riled, “Fallax?”

The figure smiled, “Before I died the last time, this was my figure. You are truly in my domain.”

Fallax looked through the floor, “They will fail. The ritual was invented by me in order to make sure only I could truly take myself from my mind.”

Mune scoffed, “If you think that, then you don’t know the power of the Force.”

Fallax lifted his lightsaber hilt and ignited it. The others did the same.

“We’ll see.”

His body swirled in black, but when it left the figure left standing was Xen with the same eyes and teeth as True Fallax. The room fell and it became the Throne Room. It fell again and became wilds of Ptolomea. It fell again and became a Yuuzhan Vong battlefield. War droids on Antei. Pacre Datship in Ohmen. Sand dunes of Anetora. Bridge of the Dark Paladin. Dark forests of the planet Kashyyyk. The places where Xen had occupied were appearing and disappearing.

“The fight is far from over,” Fallax spoke, finally settling upon a furious battlefield of Dark Jedi surrounding them.

Kylex, Dek, Stana, and Polis sat quietly and examined a crystallized brain in front of them. This was supposedly the power of Fallax. The center. And in his mind he usually chose to defend it. But he was distracted at the moment.

“Four trials you mentioned?” Kylex spoke up.

“Like I said,” Stana started, “Walls, Hail, Blood, and Beasts.”

Polis continued, “He built the walls that crumbled, he built the swords that hailed, he trained the beasts that crawled, and drowned his enemies in blood.

“It doesn’t rhyme,” Dek chuckled.

“In Ancient Antenoran it does,” Polis responded.

They heard a rumbling. The clear vein roof was gone. In its place were giant walls building up. They went further and further from inside the dark landscape with red skies. And then they started to fall.

“Run!” Shouted Stana. And they all scattered. Rocks ploughing down into the ground and the bricks shooting out in different directions. Kylex was hit in the shoulder by one. Dek’s face felt the ricochet of a rock. Stana was stuck under a rock with Polis trying to pull her out. Kylex reached out and pulled the rock up, letting them free. Dek tackled Kylex as a giant boulder fell into the place of where he was standing. They both got up and quickly scanned around. They saw the crystal brain in the distance glowing. They all ran towards it. Kylex vaulted over a few stones and tumbled over others, finally placing a hand on the brain. It shot him back, but all the rocks melted into nothingness.

Suddenly, thunder could be heard. They could see rain in the distance. The brain somewhere else in said distance. They ran towards it. The rain became needles, flying harder and softer into them at differing points.


The Dark Jedi spread out all around them, a sea of eyes, a seal of bodies, all leering at their enemy, Fallax’ enemy. They had come this far, however, and so were not about to back down now. They could not back down.

Mune ‘s eyes narrowed, pupils narrowing to slits as he grinned ferally. “It ends, no matter what, right now. No more games.”

Fallax sneered at the hybrid and in that instant, the battle was joined. He crossed the space between him and the Palatinaeans in no time, his saber rent the air in a violent slash of vicious light. The hybrid gasped, driven to one knee but he caught the blow, his left lightsaber crackling violently. Sparky fired, breaking the saber lock and giving the Hybrid a chance to roll backwards and back out of melee range.

“Elincia! Time to drop it!”

Elincia let her illusion fall apart, Impetus’ lightsaber igniting in a brilliant flash and she cut towards her enemy with Zehsaa moving in tandem. Mune stayed back, mind already wildly calculating. He saw from the corner of his eye the movement of numerous Dark Jedi finally coming against them. He did not need to say a thing, already Sparky and Lexiconus were on it, the Quarren’s green saber staff flashing and tearing through the sad imitations of warrior in a spectacular arc.

Kylex and Dek maneuvered through the needles, a cry here, a gasp from Dek as a needle pierced through flesh but they kept on. Stana and Polis valiantly plod forward, together with their companions making for the crystal brain. Kylex grit his teeth and took another needle through the thigh. Dek pushed past him and his hand brushed the surface only just and again all dissipated to nothingness and they were left once more staring at a distance at their target.

“What the…”

“The ritual.” Stana called to answer Kylex’ question, “The next trial…”

Then the sound of the beasts converging upon them.

Fallax moved quickly, blade ripping a path through the air. Impetus dropped her saber low, taking the blow while Zehsaa made to cut at his upper body. He threw her back with the Force, sending her tumbling through the air to crash to the ground in a heap. He broke contact with Impetus and made to drive his saber through her when Mune crossed the space and with a vicious snarl used the Force to place a barrier between himself, his student and the monster in Xen’s mind.

“Not that easy!” He gathered the Force to him, Elincia worried at the feral fire burning in the Hybrid’s eyes. Then, he plunged the Force forward in a telekinetic wave, using the impact against his own barrier to through Fallax away and catching him very much by surprise at the maneuver… The air exploded from their lungs, both sent hurdling back, Mune into Impetus and both tumbling over the ground. Fallax rose, covered in dust and confused by the mess his attire had so easily become… from the attack of what he saw as a lesser.

Mune giggled a bit as he slowly got back up with the help of the pro-consul. “What you lack… old man… is imagination… That is why you are so surprised right now…”

“Apparently… you dirty animal… I’ll make sure to peel the flesh from your bones…”

“Sore loser…”

Kylex grunted, they fought hard to break through the many creatures that assaulted them with claws and fangs. Cuts and lacerations, wounds that trailed blood were the records of their hardship as they wove their way through to reach once more the epicentre of the madness that raged all around them.

Contact was made for a third time and once again the trail became as nought all around them. They were all weary, panting for breath. The fourth trial near, and hopefully the final as they straightened slowly.

“Blood.” Stana muttered.

“So what does it mean he drowned his enemies in blood?” Kylex asked quizzically.

“Exactly what it sounds like.”

Then it began to rain once again, only this time… no needles pierced them… Blood poured forth from the skies, to puddle and pool and rise ankle deep within the chamber. Rapidly, rising to consume them.

The Dark Jedi attacked in droves. Zehsaa joined Sparky and Lexiconus in holding back the horde. Impetus drew in alongside her Master, the Hybrid shared a glance with his leader, then both drew their weapons into a ready stance. Mune ignited both sabers once more, Impetus drawing her one in line with her target, then they moved. Sabers slashed the air, a hiss, a crackle and another wicked slash of the air. Mune would repel a strike to give Impetus an opening, only to be kicked aside and her attack blocked.

Mune would be in again just as quickly and going for a low cut, parried by a much more honed skill than his own. His mind rushed over calculation after calculation. Every opening, every motion being set to memory. In and out they both wove, parrying Falax’ attacks to counter with their own. They caused no injury but in turn, took none.

They knew not how he fought, but at the same time, he only knew them individually, not as Master and Student, so long had Mune been away from the Clan and for so long had Impetus been in disguise. They knew each other. Mune came in high with his left saber. He twisted, the Force screaming through his senses even as the saber of his enemy passed through the cloth of his tunic at chest level. He felt the bite of the blade, even as it just barely missed full contact. He kept focussed, biting back the yelp that wanted to tear from his lips. It was enough time for Impetus to drive her own saber through Fallax’ right thigh.

Now he was angry.


The rain of blood came down faster and faster, pounding the vast lakes of blood around their waists. Close to them was the crystallized brain, now showing cracks.

“Can you swim?” Stana asked towards the others.

Dek was removing his political attire. It was sopping and dragging him down. Kylex and Polis nodded. However, Polis had a broken arm. They decided to move on without Dek, who was trying to throw his clothing a distance away (and failing).

Soon, Stana and Kylex were the only ones making head way. They were close to the brain. A rumbling started to occur. A wave could be seen in the distance. It was a tsunami. A tsunami of blood.

Fallax yelled, dropping his own Xen-like disguise in favor of his original form. The battle had only just begun in his mind. He swung at Mune who had dodged out of the way and then deactivated his lightsaber, instead touching the forehead of Impetus with his hand. Her body was frozen. With his other hand he changed the scenery into an asteroid. Elincia was still frozen in place, the others starting to gasp for air and feeling the creeping cold surround their veins and bodies.

Elincia started to phase in and out between Togruta and Twi’lek. She morphed between those two forms, eventually taking on some Fallax like figures.

The leviathan waves of blood washed over them. They were is a disconnect with the dream state. The suffering of choking on blood was enough to put any person into mental frenzy. Dek was already gone, unable to handle the stress of the situation, his body drifting through the bounding waves. Polis grasped for his throat. He saw himself going further and further into deep slumber, drowning in the abyss of this dark world. Stana and Kylex were still fighting to get to the brain. It was glowing white and gave off the strain of victory that they had not seen yet.

Stana couldn’t take it anymore though. She wasted too much time and simply gave up under the pressure. Her body forced her to breathe in the blood, choking her underneath the warm liquid. Kylex swam. He swam like no other. There was a moment that he thought he could make it, but a small wave pushed him aside, and he realized Fallax may have won. But a force pushed wave came from someone, he looked back and couldn’t see quite clearly, but it was a brown haired, smiling Human male with clothing fit for an Emperor.

Kylex was so close to the brain that he attempted to reach out to it.

Fallax was going to empower himself with Elincia’s mind. He was going to suck her dry of this world, killing her in the other.

But his eyes grew wide. He kicked her into space and changed the scenery back to the white rotunda. Lexiconus, Elincia, Mune, and Zehsaa all gasped for air, the warm rush of Oxygen filling their lungs. Fallax immediately looked down and pierced the floor with his lightsaber, forcing the membrane and veins to fall away. He swam below, into the blood. What he saw he couldn’t believe. This Knight was close to destroying his brain. Kylex reached for his saber and swiped, but missed. Fallax pushed himself with the Force. And telekinetically pushed Kylex further. But nothing happened. The others above him were combining their powers to move Kylex and the blood towards the brain. Fallax was close and attempted to place himself in between the brain and Kylex. But he felt a tugging on his leg. Stana was coughing blood into her lungs, but was able to grab Fallax’s leg in a last ditch effort.

Kylex reached out with his saber. So close, so close, so close.

He touched the brain with it, melting a piece of it off, and then slammed his saber right into it.

And then the world fell apart. Everything was in free fall. And then everyone jolted awake in the forest.