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

Exploration of Installation Seven Runon (CNS Invite Only)


Level 13 Armory
Cenota Facility

The lighting was dim and reddish in the deep hole. So far down below Gamuslag’s surface the humidity was high and the walls literally sweated moisture that had an acrid stink. Down here the toxic gases that scoured the surface only gave a hint of their presence in the recycled air, and far away an inhuman scream reverberated faintly through the stale atmosphere. “I only need a few crates of explosives, ammunition, blasters, and a few droids,” argued the Alchemist with the duty officer. “I have the clearance.” Beside him Daedric nodded. The Knight was eager to learn more of the site himself.

“Commander Turelles, Commander Sadow, we have been given orders….” The officer said with a nervous gulp. “No supplies to be released except by Consul Sonjie’s approval. And he is unavailable at the moment.”

Macron leered. “That’s Marshal Commander to you sergeant, or Adept Sadow if you wish to be formal. In the old days I would have just killed you where you stand, right now, and taken what I want. I could easily do it you know. Ironically I have no real problems with Locke anymore. Better him at the helm than me. He has done well.” The madman flexed his hands into fists as he chattered on. “But this is not how I operate these days. Tell me, Sergeant…. Klass, how long have you been with the Orian Assembly?”

“One year sir. I joined around the end of the operations on Aeotheran.” The human smiled nervously, sweat beading on his brow. “I made sergeant one month ago.”

“Judging by your medal rack, you served well. You saw combat there against the Gomorag’s minions, no?” Daedric pointed to one of the bars. “That one is for bravery under fire in the Mucenic campaign. That’s commendable. This one is for sharpshooting. Respectable but not so hard to get.” The Knight nodded. “Ever seen a pile of orphan babies set on fire with plasma grenades soldier? No? I hadn’t either until the scumbags we hunt came to Aeotheran. I suggest you look at this.” He gestured at Macron.

The Sith Elder turned to a wall mounted holopad and began typing. Hologram images of slaughter, ruined fields, and razed homes began to scroll past. “Have a look. Do you see these images? Surely you must have, as they were all over the Orian System news. They are burned into my very soul. The Gomorag and my crazy bitch of a sister killed an awful lot of beings in this system. Soldiers and Dark Jedi yes, but also women, children, animals, the handicapped, the ill, hospitals, agricultural sites…. there is no sense in this sort of wasted and wanton slaughter. No purpose, no honor. She is still down there. Do you understand me?” The madman’s weird eyes turned back to the soldier. No Force power was used, only a sincere and honest plea. “We’re going for revenge. We are going there to terminate her with prejudice so it can never happen again. Ever.”

“I do, sir. According to the rules, you can requisition about half of your request in an emergency situation. This appears to be one. I’ll have ASP labor droids begin loading your ship.” The sergeant saluted and picked up his comlink.

“Thank you for your compliance,” replied Commander Turelles crisply. “Have them onboard the Nachzerer at oh-four-hundred.” The two men left the area.

As the two Dark Jedi walked to the turbolift, they talked between themselves. Daedric spoke first. “I disliked seeing those images.”

“I am… I did too. In my younger days I did… bad things.” Macron frowned and looked at the floor as they walked in the echoing corridors. “Just as bad to gas thousands of people with Violator gas. I regret that now. In my youthful ebullience, I mistook wholesale destruction for true power. That was not power. There was no honor or precision in those attacks.”

Daedric held his chin thoughtfully as they entered the turbolift going up so far to the surface. He put on a rebreather as his Sith Master sealed his faceplate. “I see. I heard the stories. There’s a different side of you down deep. People see you as inhuman, but I would differ. Maybe you feel everything more. Either way, we are going to purge the system of these freaks.”

There was silence for a solid minute as the lift sped to the surface. Macron spoke. “You gain insight and you sound like a true Sith. I had not considered that Daedric. In any case, let us contact the others so they can join us in the exploration of Installation Seven.”


Cenota Facility

As the turbo lift reached the surface one could feel the air change. The thick acidic pollution that filled the surface of Sepros Major made Daedric’s rebreather work a little harder as it attempted to protect his lungs. He reached to the straps behind his head and tightened them down a little tighter.

“Next time,” Daedric started, his voice being slightly distorted. “Remind me to get a helmet like you. This rebreather is quite unpleasant.” Marshall Commander Sadow just shook his head as he watched his Sith Apprentice mess with his life support. Moments passed as the two walked to a near by building located about fifty meters away from the turbo lift. As the pair walked in the separated, each going to their own communication console to call for the other Dark Jedi.

“Jedi Hunter Stahoes, I’m sending you coordinates to Sepros Major, or Gamuslag. We are going to be investigating Installation Seven. You have 12 hours to reapond.” After the recording had ended, Daedric encrypted the file and sent it to his Apprentice. He sat back in his seat, thinking of others he could invite aswell.

After the messages had been sent, Daedric met his Master at a near by table. The two had never dined before, but seeing as it would take a while for the other members to respond and arrive, Daedric felt he should take the time to learn more of his Master.

“Master Sadow,” Turelles started as he took a seat across from the Elder. “Ah, Commander Turelles. Take a seat my young Sith. I take it that the messages have been sent?” The elder questioned as he picked up his beverage from the table and took a sip. “Aye Master, they’ve been sent. I requested that my Apprentice join as well. I feel even an Obilisk could learn something from iSeven.” Daedric finished. A server entry Droid approached the newly seated patron.

“What can I get for you, sir?” The Droid questioned. “I’ll take what he’s having.” Daedric replied as he gestured towards Macron who was taking yet another sip. “Right away Master Turelles.” The Droid confirmed and rushed off to gather the beverage.

“Over the time I have known you, you have never spoke of why honor meant so much to you. You have said it means everything and while I believe you, you have never spoken on the reason why. So tell me, why does it mean so much to you?” The question from the Alchemist struck Daedric off guard. No one had ever asked him such a personal question before. No one really had cared to even know, as long as Daedric was loyal it really didn’t matter. “Interesting question my Master. To answer such a question would take to long. Maybe one day we can sit and I share the entire story to you. When I was a little boy,” Daedric was interrupted by the protocol Droid returning with his drink. He used a small touch of the force to lift the drink off of the tray and sit it down in the table in front of him. “My father told me that only a man with honor can know true power. For with honor comes loyalty and with loyalty comes subjugation. I crave what all Sith crave Master, but I know how to control my cravings, use them to fuel my plans for more power, knowledge. See the basis for all of my power is to carry my self in an honorable way. Or atleast attempt to.”

Daedric took a sip of his beverage and his face immediately puckered and soured. A burning sensation erupted in his throat that followed all the way to his gut. “Holy shit, what is this?” He exclaimed as he slammed the glass back on the table. “Heh, it’s Bob’s brew.” Macron admitted as he took yet another sip, his facial expression not changing in the slightest.

A communucation console began to beep and flash red indicating a message had been recieved. Daedric pushed his drink away, refusing to take another sip and made his way to the flashing communication console. He entered in his crediitials and read the message on the screen.

“Master, they’ve answered.”


The Valley of the Dark Lords

A cold wind blew through the forgotten valley. Weeks had passed since the last treasure hunters had abandoned the planet Korriban and once more left the dead to rest in peace. Atop the ruined steps of the tomb of the last lord of the Golden Age of the Sith, the Dark Prophet stood alone, his long greying braid fluttered behind him as his apprentice’s own scarlet locks swept side to side in the alternating gusts of wind as she made her way to the summit of the colossal staircase.

Sildrin had come to try and reason with him, like she did each day, hoping that her Master could be made to understand why she had done what she had in the final days of Muz’s madness, but Xanos was not looking at her, his eyes fixed on the night sky above them. Master and apprentice had scarcely spoken since the end of the Great Jedi War. Her… betrayal, for lack of a better term, had stung her Master and wounded him deeper than anything before. The wound may not have been physical- though she had dealt him those too, and he remained weakened- but not being a physical injury had only made it worse: Sildrin had broken Xanos’s trust, and after all he had done for her, all the sacrifices he had endured, there could be no crime that left a deeper scar.

For to Xanos, trust was paramount. Maybe that made him a hypocrite… but he had learned these exact same lessons for himself all those years earlier back on Lehon. He knew first hand what it meant to betray another, and he felt it lucky either of them had come out alive.

Because who knows what would have happened had Sildrin fallen…

“Master,” greeted Sildrin, although she knew full well that he had already sensed her approach.

For the first time in a very long time, the Falleen lowered his head and turned to see her.

“You know what you did,” Xanos said disappointedly. Even though the pair were not speaking, his silent facade had come to an end with the end of the war. With Muz’s defeat, the shadow that had been cast over the Force had been lifted, and for the first time in many years, the Prophet had finally been able to cast his eyes upon the writhing sea of possible futures… not that they brought him any comfort, for what he could now see had only brought with it new doubts.

“Only what I had to,” answered Sildrin plainly. There was no regret or apology in her voice, but why should there be? The sorceress held firm to her belief that what she had done had been right.

Xanos’s face looked different to her. Gone now was the finely crafted veneer of youth that he had worn since his return on Runculo… that, it seemed, had forever been nothing but an illusion, conjured by the Falleen’s own self-denial of the injuries he had suffered at the hands of his own Master. In the veneer’s place, she now looked upon a tired, weary figure, not as youthful as he had been before, although still by human standards Xanos remained young- Falleen, after all, were born blessed with a far greater lifespan than humans, though Xanos was perhaps proof that such a gift was not as desirable as humanity might believe it.

Still, Sildrin’s eyes traced the lines and cuts that her Master had endured in his long life, not that in years he was any older than her- they had been born in the same year in fact- but where her body had been made young again ten years earlier when she had been cloned, Xanos’s had died and come back… but still he wore the same broken shell, still he carried with him a lifetime of suffering, still he held onto the same tortured memories and broken dreams…

Her Master was looking just as intently back at her, although whether or not he was reflecting on the same things was impossible to tell- knowing him, his mind was likely adrift elsewhere and probably staring right through her, as though she were no more significant than an ant, standing beneath him at the base of the mountain atop which he perched and stared out into the cosmos…

“You think yourself irrelevant,” Xanos said, reading her thoughts- how she hated that, and had long despised no longer feeling like she had anywhere to herself- “but you are wrong, Sildrin.”

Hearing Xanos speak her name sounded… strange. He never used her name. She was always just the apprentice, nothing more… her individuality had been robbed from her. So why had he-

Xanos continued, cutting her thoughts short.

“You do not realise your importance.”

There was a flash of golden light in the Falleen’s eyes and Sildrin suddenly found herself being forced back down the steps of the tomb until she was backed up against a lingering leg of one of the broken statues which had been brought down during the fighting- maybe even by one of the two of them, although the final battle had been so chaotic it was impossible to remember clearly.

Sildrin knew better than to try to fight back- even in his weakened state, she knew her own powers in the Force were but a glimmer next to the brilliance of a man who could himself had risen to Grand Mastery had he chosen to walk a different path.

Xanos stepped toward her and laid a hand on her shoulder.

“You were my rock,” said the Falleen as his hand squeezed, “the anchor to which I could find my way back to whenever I became lost…” His voice trailed off a little, but his eyes remained locked on hers, studying her own face as intently as she was right then studying his.

Sildrin remained quiet for the moment. It was rare for her Master to talk, and even rarer still for him to explain something in words she could understand, rather than buried in cryptic riddles.

“I see the truth now,” continued Xanos, his expression so much softer than normal, as if he had been freed from some heavy burden. And, indeed, freed from a burden was exactly what had happened, as he went on to explain: “My sight is no longer hindered… I finally see beyond the cloak of shadows and lies that has forever wrapped itself around us all.”

Sildrin had heard words like this before from Trevarus, but that had been so long ago, and the Oracle had never gone on to grant her any explanation of what he had meant. The woman looked back into her present Master’s golden eyes and simply said: “Go on. I want to know.”

Xanos did not speak and simply placed his other arm on her other shoulder. The tribal tattoo of a third eye that had been scratched into the skin on his forehead glowed slightly, and the sorceress felt the tug of the Force on her. A second later, she felt as though she were lifting off the broken steps of the tomb and being carried off… but in fact, Xanos had simply taken his arms off her and stepped away. The Falleen then gestured down the steps of the tomb- and finally she saw them:

Dark shapes, shadows, filled the valley. Everywhere Sildrin turned, she saw figures, some humanoid, others less, many were distinctly human or maybe the ancient Sith species that had once called Korriban home, but regardless of their appearance or their origin, what stuck out was the sheer volume of them. Millions of figures of a thousand shapes, everywhere.

In the back of her mind, she could could hear Xanos’s voice.

“I have lived with this for so many years…” the Falleen’s voice whispered, as the black, faceless wraiths swept through the lifeless sands, like an army of unseen ghosts. “You look upon all the different paths that history could have taken… as well as the futures that have yet to be walked…”

The sorceress tried to pick out just one figure at the foot of the staircase, but as it turned to head back down into the valley, the figure split in two, the two mirror images heading off in opposite directions, before splitting again… and again… for a brief moment, she thought she caught the shimmer of her own brilliant red hair… but there were so many of them… so many shapes…

Sildrin’s mind reeled at the images and she turned away to look up at the night sky… at least the stars could be relied on to provide her some comfort. But even that hope proved to be false. Instead of the quiet quilt of stars and constellations that she had come to expect her whole life, she stood and watched as the stars that she had always been able to trust to be where they should be now blinked out one-by-one, vanishing in distant flashes of light. Even if she could not see it with her naked eyes, waves of radiation swept across the sky, as the heavens exploded in a sea of supernovas, like a nuclear war that had broken out between the gods in the heavens above…

She had to shut her eyes. She could barely breathe. It was all too much.

“Now you see the truth,” her Master’s voice echoed again.

When Sildrin opened her eyes, she was back where she had been standing before, Xanos’s hands still resting on her shoulders. Her face was covered in sweat. It had only been a few moments, but it had felt like she had just lived through an eternity in the space of a few seconds…

Sildrin was still trying to catch her breath and get her breathing back under control when her Master continued his explanation. “The Force is awakening…” Xanos began, but this time, even he sounded cautious, “and this dream is coming to an end.”

The woman frowned a little. She had recovered enough to speak a little now. “Dream?”

Xanos took his hands off her- for real this time- and looked down, breaking their eye contact for a moment. “Life, my apprentice. Life. We are the dream… and the Force the dreamer.” He looked back up at her again. “Now you understand what Muz wanted to run away from. The Force is the enemy, and I intend to outlive it.”

“Master…” She was unsure what more to say.

For all these years, Xanos’s purpose had been clear: to outlast the end of everything. His goal had never been one of conquest, but of survival. Deep down, he was… afraid. He feared the end. He feared his life holding no higher meaning than just another of the infinite number of shadows that filled the Force. But for some reason, he and Sildrin found themselves there, at that moment, together. For so long, their lives had been intertwined, their souls entangled. Back when Trevarus had drawn Xanos back from the realm of shadows after the Falleen himself had become lost in the void through the folly he had wrought in his own naivety all those years ago, it had been Sildrin’s blood that Trevarus had used to anchor his apprentice back to the realm of the living…

And now Xanos himself finally understood. He had beheld the same horror which Trevarus had been witness. But then, history always had a way of catching up with you…


“Jedi Hunter Stahoes, I’m sending you coordinates to Sepros Major, or Gamuslag. We are going to be investigating Installation Seven. You have 12 hours to respond.” the voice of his Master crackled over the holo. The projector in the shuttle was about as worn out as the rest of the ship, which lent a metallic echo to the audio. He shook his head. Bentre was pretty sure the heap of junk ship was being held together by mesh tape, a little string, and hope. The Jedi Hunter just hoped it wouldn’t break down on the way to the rendevous.

The aging shuttle shuddered as the thrusters shot at irregular intervals, turning the nose about slowly. It was going to take a few hours before he would reach his destination, but it was not going to be a restful one. His latest operation had denied him the use of a droid, for fear of offering a security risk.

As was often the case, his mission did not go off without a hitch. Thankfully, corruption proved to be present everywhere. He didn’t particularly look forward to the debriefing that would await him for that particular gaffe. He knew Daedric expected more of him as he increased in skill. I wouldn’t want to give him a chance to get rid of me. Bentre drew a slow breath, shaking his head slightly. I have been keeping my head above water so far. It would be horrible to trip up at this juncture.

Turning on the holorecorder, Bentre tried to avoid looking straight into the camera. He cleared his throat, and spoke: “Master Turelles, this is your apprentice, Stahoes. I will rendevous with you at the given coordinates as quickly as possible. I will be glad to serve along side you in this endeavor. Bentre, out.” After the message had been compressed, he sent it on its way, and turned himself back to the shuttle’s control panel.

Re-running the calculations through his head, the Jedi Hunter bit his lip. I think that should work. Taking a moment to compose himself, Bentre threw the switch activating the hyperdrive, and just hoped he would not find himself in the middle of a star shortly.


Aedile’s Office
Alebrek Citadel
Tarthos, Orian System

Maelous leaned forward, steepling his fingers, as the holo image blinked out. He had almost forgotten about Installation Seven and what had taken place on that planet. His yellow eyes glinted with the chance to murder those that escaped them, and to explore the ruins and learn their secrets.

His hands reached out, claiming his helmet from the desk, as he rose to his feet. The Sith slipped it over his head concealing his corrupted eyes. There was a whir and a slight hiss as the helmet sealed itself to the rest of his armor. He absently touched his saber hilt and the pouch of durasteel projectiles on his belt as he left the room.

Shuttle Bay
Cenota Facility

The Aedile of Marka Ragnos stood at the bottom of the ramp to his transport vessel. He tapped the screen of his wrist mounted holopad and watched the screen flicker as the message he recorded was sent out. The recording was designed to keep Sang from looking for him for a while. The new House Quaestor needed to be removed; the meer thought of the light-sider brought a disgusted sneer to the Sith’s face.

As he began to walk toward the the Shuttle Bay exit The familiar voice in his mind raged at him. Kill Him! Let him be the first in your reign of death!

You are dead! I watched you die! Maelous roared inside his own head as manic laughter overtook his thoughts. He focused, forcing the laughter to the back of his mind; he could still hear it but it was less distracting.

“Maelous,” the voice startled him. He spun, his hand reaching for the lightsaber on his belt but stopped just before drawing it, he saw the Mad Alchemist and his Apprentice. They stood silently; every muscle in their bodies ready to explode into action… The corridor was electrified as the Dark Side welled up inside each of the them.

The voice flooded his mind again, Leave this one alive, he is filled with hate! He can help us.

Shut Up! he thought back as he repressed it once more. Finally, the Sith Warrior relaxed and let his hand drop away from his weapon.

Macron eyed him for a moment, but did not give his customary chuckle, “I thought someone may have sent you to kill me, but those days are behind us now I believe. Come we have much to discuss.” The Elder walked passed him. His Apprentice, Daedric, followed giving Maelous a suspicious look. The Sith glared back from behind the dark lenses of his helmet then fell in step with them.


Side Conference Room
Shuttle Bay
Cenota Facility

“…and so, right here is the entrance.” Macron’s finger stabbed at the holoprojection. “Here. They know we are coming eventually, although not exactly when. The Battle of Korriban delayed us. That is both to our advantage, and disadvantage.” The Adept chuckled quietly.

“They will wonder why it has taken so long, and will be uncertain of our timing. But they will have had time to prepare.” Daedric looked at the holoprojection thoughtfully. “We’ve heard nothing from the site since we invaded it, and that bothers me.” The Knight studied the readouts carefully.

“It bothers me too,” replied Maelous with a grimace. “We should have killed them much sooner. It is always best to eliminate enemies in your own backyard as quickly as possible.” The Sith Warrior frowned, and placed one hand on his helm as it sat on the table between them. “There is always time to make it right though. To kill them- all of them. And then use their bones as wind chimes on the outside of the Palace as a warning to others.”

Bentre Stahoes regarded the Sith around him with caution. They were not just Dark Jedi- every one of them was an actual Sith. He was the only Obelisk in the room. Obelisk were true warriors, and less interested in politics. Even so these Sith talked like real killers. He knew his Master was one, and had heard of the others by reputation. His hazel eyes regarded the data and images with an almost manic intent, as he knew the others were watching him closely to see what he was made of, so to speak. He disliked working with groups but in this case it was out of his control. He spoke up.

“Pardon me, gentlemen. I use the term loosely.” There was a collective evil chuckle in the room as his dark humor was appreciated. “They have to have some sort of data feed that I can tap into. As well, from what you have said of the Kwa gate, they have failed to properly use it or we would all be dead. They might not be in as good of a defensive situation as we think.”

All eyes turned to the Jedi Hunter. “Indeed,” said Macron with a smile. “Indeed. Your input is valuable. Keep that up, and one day soon you will become a Dark Jedi Knight.” The Alchemist resumed his talk. “I have supplies laid in, and we will be taking one of the Clan shuttles. My own ship, although formidable, will not have enough cargo space for all of us. Especially if we are joined by others.”

“Do we have word from any of the others?” asked Daedric quizzically. “I’ve heard nothing except from my Apprentice who is here as requested.”

“The others have a way of showing up when the time is right,” replied Maelous dryly as he seemed to listen to an inner voice. “The Dark Side calls them to red ruin as it wills. I wouldn’t worry about it. They will come and share the glory, or they won’t and they will miss out on the fun.”

“Fair enough,” replied the Knight. “We should check our equipment and make ready.”

Macron closed his mismatched eyes and felt within the Force to the bond between himself and one of his teachers. “My Sith Master… I can feel him. He is interested. He may bring others…”


Cell Block
Cenota Facility

Burning eyes squeezed tight behind a crooked elbow as the supine Primarch pulled himself from a bog of self-inflicted inebriation into the consciousness of a new day. His cell was bare and comfortless save a durasteel basin and a thin mattress stuffed with Rancor bristle. The photoluminescent lumens on the ceiling noisily crackled and flickered, making the mildewed walls flash alternately cobalt and slate.

Prisons, by design, were not expected to find themselves on any connoisseur’s “Five-Star” listing. This prison, and this particular cell block, even less so. Commissioned to house the Clan’s most heinous of offenders, it was a charnel house of mental and spiritual anguish, meant to punish and torture in the most capital of ways. The block that the hungover guest currently occupied was dedicated to him, much to his surprise, and consecrated to a guard that he’d supposedly slain during his very first stay there a literal lifetime ago, whose name he’d no way of recalling.

Still, Shi Long continued to find himself waking there at some point or another, a reward for what he called his countless nights of carousing that blended into neverending mornings of fellowship.

The local constabulary on the Sadowan worlds he frequented felt differently, choosing instead to name “carousing and fellowship” as “Public Drunkenness, Disturbing The Peace and Assault and Battery with Extreme Prejudice” on his charging flimsis.

Recalling this, the Obelisk chuckled, the sound dry and muffled by the arm draped across his face. “No sense of humor,” he said as he sat up and swung his legs wearily over the side of the bunk. After all, what could Sadow expect when there was an Engine of War at her disposal but no wars to fight? Energy, after all, could not be created nor destroyed. It could only transform. In this time of relative peace, destroyed enemies of Sadow had transformed into emptied liquor cabinets, drained ale casks and broken jaws, severely sprained limbs and bruised and mottled flesh.

Again, Shi chuckled, standing and stretching as he did so. “None whatsoever,” he tsked, and strode right out of the cell, Nenshogeru stuffed into the sash at his waist and slugthrower on his thigh.

It should be noted that the facility’s guards had long stopped disarming the Long and securing the hatch to his cell. He’d only break it down everytime he wanted to leave, and the subsequent alarms would cause them to rush to the area…then there were the whole “collection of his effects” ordeals to deal with. The administrator was forced, after a seventh such incident, to issue a standing order to leave the hatch open so he could combat the facility’s rising repair costs and skyrocketing health insurance premiums. Seeing as how Shi would end up there anyway, after the peacekeepers would finally corral the wayward Son after his evening, it was deemed the safest, most cost-effective and least offensive way to go.

Luckily for the beleaguered administrator, it was not spirits and strife that called Shi forth this time. A brief flare of Force-signatures had initially roused him, and later a singular, prolonged spike in the Dark Side piqued his curiosity. His feet, having traveled nearly every corridor of the facility, led him to the hangar-bay and to a side conference room. Macron had sent a beacon to his Sith Master, but unbeknownst to the Alchemist, Shi had heard it as well. Not the content of the message, of course - such a bond was sacrosanct to Master and Apprentice, alone. He’d felt the intent, and at day’s end, a call to one Dragon, awakened or no, was a call to them all.

The cobwebs of lingering drink still dimmed his vision as the conference room’s hatch slid open and he squinted, walking into the meeting as if he owned the place, settling heavily yet comfortably into a chair. The meeting’s attendees - four, in total - fell silent at his intrusion, incredulity spicing the Force around them.

Shi smiled, still struggling to focus. “Any of you lot have a cigarra? I could use a smoke and a cuppa caf, if there’s any.”



The young orphan child did not understand. Down here in the filthy guts of Coruscant, it was kill or be killed. There were no friends. Everyone- and everything- was a resource to be grabbed with scrabbling desperate claws. And many of those scavenged resources could, or would kill you. You couldn’t make friends, as they would kill you, let you down, or die. Just last week a bunch of garbage diggers had located and scrapped an old machine. Unfortunately, they found out it was a cancer radiation teletherapy device that someone had tossed down Coruscant’s collective toilet to forget about and avoid the proper disposal protocols. The victims finally understood days later as they died from fatal radiation poisoning. The hot glowing blue sparkely powder that the children had delighted in playing with was their death sentence. It was fairy dust to them- a brief respite from the filth and muck of life down below. It had taken their lives. Their limbs swelled, flesh blackened, eyes turned grey and looked like the eyes of boiled fish, and their hair fell out as they died alone and in fear. Their bodies were thrown into the universal acrid filth that pooled at the bottom of the bowels of Coruscant and the scavengers subsequently fled the area. “Never forget,” his sister Anaxela said as she slapped him hard. “Everything is out to kill you. We are nothing but toilet decorations to those above! You must take power, and survive! You can’t even trust me! Swear to me that you will fight for life! We will rise!”


The nasty greenish Violator gas swarmed the city of Milmefia on Antei. Hundreds, thousands of the defenders died in fear and agony as their flesh putrefied and deliquesced off their bodies. The gas artillery shelling by Clan Naga Sadow surely reduced the enemy’s will to fight as it reduced their physical bodies to quivering slime, but it was not an honorable fight. Even so the gas got the job done with limited casualties of Clan and Dlarit forces. Still- this was not the real Sith way. Macron had regrets… although it had saved them all from the Vong later after his betrayal.


The Yuuzhan Vong held him in the Embrace of Agony. All Macron could do was scream… scream… scream… until his voice gave way, and even then the pain did not abate. It only increased. It always increased. If he had been sane to begin with, he would not be now. Fortunately he was already rather “loose” with his sanity. Then the spine-ray was pressed upon his back. He would have passed out, except the Embrace and his own weird synthetic biology would not allow it. He felt every bit of it, every second, always conscious. There was no escape from the agony. His own propensity for torturing others was nothing compared to this purity of suffering. He had thought himself a master of the art, and had been shown that he was a mere poor apprentice. The Vong had shown him a new way to see things. He hated them with an evil passion in his soul even as the spine-ray warped his will to serve them temporarily. The Dark Side approved…

Present day
Side Conference Room
Shuttle Bay
Cenota Facility

“Shi Long,” came Macron’s voice as he returned his focus to the room. “You are welcome here. Pardon me. I was considering… options.” The grimace on his face as he lied told the tale to those who knew him. The memories buried within Shi Long resonated, and he knew the madman had been in reverie. “I am happy to see you here, my old and new comrade. I long to see all of our blades united in eliminating this old sore. The combat will be glorious.” The Sith Adept looked to Maelous, Daedric, and Bentre and smiled.


Side Conference Room
Shuttle Bay
Cenota Facility

  Jade stood just outside the conference room and took a breath.  The dark presences in the room were both

welcoming, and strange. Though she recognized some as her “family” they too felt different, but she couldn’t explain it. The dagger hidden and strapped to her lower back shifted as she crossed her arms and stared at the door. Opening it would mean an adventure, would allow for vengeance. But it would also mean death, she wondered if that death would simply be their target, or if she would have to end up burying one of those in the room in front of her.

  A dark shadow slipped over her skin, feeling like cold snakes sliding all over her body. Jade shivered at the power behind it. She still couldn't explain it or what was behind it, just did her best to keep its dark hungry claws satisfied, if she didn't...she shook the thought from her head. With one hand on her saber hilt and the other carrying a bottle, she stepped into the room.

   "Good evening gentlemen!" Jade smiled, the tips of her fangs showing as she swayed her hips walking into the room.

  Maelous turned towards her, he had felt someone outside in the hall way, had known it was Jade, but he couldn't put his finger on the sudden chill that crawled down his spine as she walked towards him.

  Daedric and Bentre noticed the bottle in her hand but it was Macron who spoke first. "Told you they had a habit of showing up when needed. What's in the bottle?" He eyed the bottle then his old apprentice. There was something different about her, perhaps darker...no, it had to be his mind playing tricks on him. 

   Jade smiled and handed him the bottle. "Something to help keep the fire for vengeance warm in your belly." She winked.

   Bentre looked at the Krath woman as she easily handed Macron the bottle. She obviously knew Macron well, but he didn't recognise her, save for the feeling he got around the disciples of Sadow. The dark side reached out from her, like she had invisible dark tendrils.  As though sensing his stare she looked right at him. His heart skipped a beat as he could have sworn her eyes flashed to a soulless black, from the dark purple he had seen only moments before. He wanted to look away, afraid he had just offended her and now her saber marked his death, but he couldn't look away. Jade blinked and looked towards Maelous, her change of gaze made Bentre release a breath he hadn't known he was holding. The sound of laughter made him look towards Maelous, he realized why the dark Krath had turned from looking at him. Maelous was laughing at his reaction. There was no way he was going to question those soulless black eyes now.

  Jade looked towards Shi Long, her face a mix of emotions. Memories flooding the back of her mind, she pushed them aside and smiled. "This is going to be a fun trip."

En route to the Orian System
Unmarked Corellian transport

Sildrin Sadow was sitting on a simple bed within a small cabin on the transport. For once she was kinda glad to have left Korriban - she hatred hot and desert-like planets, but still - the mysteries of what yet was undiscovered on that ancient planet called out for her - wanting to be dragged out into the sunlight, waiting to be explored.

Carefully she covered her eyes with a black, silken blindfold. Lately injured by her Master’s claws, not fully healed, her eyes were still sensitive to any kind of input. She pulled up her knees, her head was still aching from the impressions her Master had shown her. Members of her own family were once known for occasionally possessing the same gift as her Master - the ultimate foresight. But most of them hadn’t been able to hold onto their sanity.

And, for sure, her own Master’s sanity was debatable.

My Apprentice, my sanity is as debatable as your own.

Of course - she was not alone. Not anymore. And who knows - maybe for all eternity, if Xanos’s will were to come true. She shuddered, attempting to do the impossible - to raise a solid mental barrier and for once shut out her Master’s ever lingering presence within her mind. But his presence remained - not caring about her attempt. Maybe he didn’t even understand what she tried to achieve. Instead, her Master drew on her memories, following her thoughts about those of her family possessing the same prophetic gift as himself.

Sildrin’s face turned into a grimace at the mental intrusion. She rubbed her temples with her fingers; her force vision was blurry from the headache. She felt her Master’s contentment with the information he had drawn from her mind. Breathing hard - angry and upset - she stood, pacing up and down the small room.

You owe me for your betrayal, was his cold reply.

And you owe me your life - if not for my blood… she began to retort, but then a sharp, sudden pain within her mind brought her to her knees.

There are no ifs. You are bound to me. You are mine.

She growled, this time speaking out loud: “And it never came into your mind that this bond is mutual?! You long for eternity, but how can you achieve this with my mortality connected to you?”

His voice continued within her head. The solution is simple: You will join me.

The Krath woman lowered her face - lacking any response to his deranged goal. For the tiniest of moments, she sensed her Master’s confusion at her lack of enthusiasm for his plans and his offer to share his grand achievements with her, but then it was gone again - washed away by the ever so stoic - and ignorant - attitude of her Master.

We will go to Gamuslag. Our first step of our grand journey, my Apprentice.

Her eyes flashed violet behind the blindfold for a moment. Finally the mental pressure on her mind lifted. For once her mind was out of reach - for now Shan Long’s presence within her acted as her mental shield. The Dragon within her did not often commune with her, but once in a while he chose to speak to her.

The frustration as Xanos hammered against the impenetrable barrier was too far away for her to sense. And after several futile attempts he retreated - possibly into meditation.

The voice of Shan Long drowned out Xanos’s.

Like Trevarus, he does not know what price he must pay - a price Trevarus once was willing to meet, but even he will one day realise that he chose a curse and will beg for it to be undone.

With a soft sigh, she laid onto the bed.

Rest now, Matriarch of the Dragons. Rest.


Unknown Pre-Sith ruins in the Nifokalija Mountains
Original survey team designation: Installation Seven

Deep engravings covered the cold, stone walls from floor to ceiling. Made up of deep, intricate signs and patterns, the language, or perhaps they were languages, that the runes was written in was beyond ancient. Older than history, the delicate carvings and artwork were in a tongue that was no longer known, let alone spoken, and Anaxela could only guess at their meaning. However, while the markings could have kept a university of archaeology researchers busy for several lifetimes, none of that mattered, because the witch was here with a specific objective in mind.

A lone electric lantern hung limply above her, creaking.

In this time from before time began, the light was out of place. It flickered on and off. In that brief moment of illumination, she could make out the cables and tubes that lined the ancient corridor. This was not the first time she had strolled through this particular part of the ancient facility, so they no longer surprised her, albeit when she had first strolled these halls nearly a year ago they had confounded her- and they still did.

The tubes themselves ran along the walls, the liquid which they had once circulated long having sat idle, and separated into its different constituent layers. In some places, it had even solidified. To most people, it would not have been the most relishing sight, but for Anaxela, a woman whose life had begun in a research lab, the artificial womb within which she and her brother had been grown having also been a tank, nothing that she saw here shocked her. If anything, it just hardened her resolve to seek out the solution to her own body’s degradation, and correct the mistakes that had been inflicted on her even before she was born.

With the liquid not pumping, it was as silent as the grave as she continued on her way.

The lights blinked on again briefly.

Nearby on the left hand wall, the pipes and wires fed into a cylindrical device. A tank. She knew those all too well. On the surface, she could make out the words ‘The Omega Protocol: Subject Ninety-Seven’.

Beneath that was stamped the all too familiar hallmark of the Adasca BioMechanical Corporation.

Further down the hallway, where another tank stood fixed up against the ancient engraved wall, she now realised the floor was covered in broken glass, the cylinder having been cleaved in two. The cut had been clean, and there was only one weapon in the galaxy she knew of that would make such a smooth cut:

A lightsaber.

She did not remember this at all. Despite her earlier thoughts, this must actually have been a part of the facility that she had not previously explored. None of this should have been there. This temple was ancient, and yet Adascorp had only been in operation for a small fraction of that time.

The lights blinked on and off again.

Anaxela now realised that many of the marks she had previously only thought to be engravings were in fact the damage left behind by a lightsaber, almost as if someone had deliberately tried to desecrate the ancient decorations that had been etched into the walls so long ago. None of this made sense. This structure had been sealed for thousands of years… since before even the days of the ancient Sith Empires…

In the end, though, she simply shrugged and shook her head.

None of this was of any consequence to her.

Whatever battles had or had not been fought here were not of interest to her. Her objective lay in finally discovering the entrance to the ancient vaults that had been carved into the caverns in the side of the Nifokalijan Mountains so very long ago by the long since extinct blue reptilian race of the Kwa.

And that purpose is what drove her.

Some might have wondered why she did this? Why she remained so driven by a singular purpose? Alas, to that question she had no answers… Her drives… her passions… her obsessions were what had defined her all her life… perhaps she had just been made this way, perhaps this had been her purpose in life…

Looking into the face of the unborn being in the tank beside her, the woman whose own life had begun in a surgical tank so very similar could only chuckle to herself manically as the lights blinked on and off again…


Side Conference Room
Shuttle Bay
Cenota Facility

“Bentre, Jade Sadow once upon a time was my Apprentice if you were wondering. She is now a mother of sorts to many Dark Jedi within our Clan. Methyas, Locke, Teu, and many more came from her lineage.” Macron looked thoughtful. “In any case, it is time for us to put aside wastes of time and get to the heart of the matter. Welcome, Shi Long, my… or…… yes.”

“Yes,” replied Maelous. “Yes. We should move in.” He twitched as the unseen voices struggled within him. “Soon. We waste time with these conversations.” The Sith’s fingers contracted on the edge of the table.

“Granted, let’s remain focused on the mission.” Daedric asserted himself, ever the military professional. “We need to have a count of supplies, ammunition, energy cells, and ordnance. As Macron has stated let’s get this sorted quickly and get moving.” The Knight stood up and the others responded favorably. He spoke truth.

Shi Long spoke up. “I’m interested in this dungeon delve, and not so much interested in idle bullshit talk.” The warrior shifted and smiled as he laid things bare. “I long to test my mettle against those down there. When do we get going?”

Jade looked grimly at Macron. “What do…. they… say?” The Krath asked pointedly.

Macron closed his eyes and sought for the lifeline of his Sith Master and the Betrayer, Xia Long. “They are coming. More, I cannot say. We must get moving.” He grimaced. “We need to move.”

“I’ve got the hangar coordinates,” stated Bentre. “With your combined clearances we are set to launch.”

Shuttle Bay
Cenota Facility

“Cleared for launch, shuttle 14.”

“Copy that,” replied Daedric as he guided the assault shuttle to its exit vector. “We are on course.”

“My Sith Master…. will be here soon.” Macron grimaced. “Pudu.”


Side Conference Room
Shuttle Bay
Cenota Facility

Jade smiled as she thought about Macrons words, a mother to many Dark Jedi, she had never really thought about it, between apprentices and just supporting the members of the Clan she had helped the family grow. Her eyes darkened as flashes of good and bad ran through her mind. It had been a long time, but she had learned from the very best and would uphold the lineage of those that had helped her.

The force shifted as the tension in the room went up, even Maelous looked more on edge than usual, this was going to be a battle of high proportions, guaranteed to test everyone in one way or another. And knowing Sith tricks, likely exploit the weaknesses they didn’t even know they had. Jade looked again at Macron as he almost visibly aged with vengeance and tiredness that only came from unfinished business, as he spoke; even under his armor. “They are coming. More, I cannot say. We must get moving. We need to move.”

Jade looked around the room as not one dark soul disagreed, but rather stood and went in unison to the shuttle.

Shuttle Bay
Cenota Facility

“My Sith Master…. will be here soon.” Macron grimaced. “Pudu.”

Jade came up behind him and playfully slapped his shoulder. “Don’t swear in front of the youngin’s.” She nodded towards the others in the group.

Macron felt the briefest of smiles before his sensed the hidden threat in the force, waiting for them. waiting for him. He would finish this. There could not, and would not, be any failure.


”Jade Sadow…a mother of sorts to many Dark Jedi within our Clan.” The Corellian dwelt upon those words for a while. He wondered how Jade was ‘related’ to each of the Jedi here. Bentre had felt largely like he was an outsider even in the Brotherhood. For some reason the thoughts of this being like a large family did little to assuage his discomfort.

There is little reason to keep dwelling on the what manner of relationship who has to whom, he grumbled to himself. They are just as apt to stab me in the back anyway if the opportunity presented itself. He let a breath of air escape his nose. It came across as a snort, which earned a very odd look for Daedric.

“Um,” he looked up at his master wide-eyed for a moment. He gave an uneasy smile to try and cover his real feelings. “We should be approaching Aethoreran shortly, Master Daedric. If my calculations are correct, easily within the hour.”

I doubt he would be very interested in my feelings anyway. He shook his head silently as he watched the navicomputer console.

“Can you give us a closer estimate, Stahoes?” The tone was obviously a command. Bentre almost heard the words echoed in the back of his mind. That couldn’t be, he snorted.

“We should be there within the next fifteen minutes, so long as we don’t end up going off course, Master.” He bit his tongue, trying to calculate the jump coordinates mentally. “I could try a micro-jump to get us a little closer if you like though.”

The Sith gave a grave nod and Bentre felt as though his Master had read his thoughts. “We don’t need to rush that much, my apprentice. Just keep up on course.”

The Corellian Obelisk pulled out his datapad, and began to thumb through the small library of data he had been building in the last few months. He pulled up the information on Aeotheran and began to read a bit between glances at the navicomputer and the space outside. Even if his rough estimates based on mostly guesses were going to be accurate, he still had a lot less time to read up on their destination. He knew it was a planet of the Clan, and had housed the Dlarit Corporation. He would have to expand on this limited knowledge.

You don’t want to be a disappointment to your Master, do you? The foul thought rolled about in his head as he read.


Approaching Installation Seven
The Nifokalija Mountains

The shuttle’s walls whined as the transport ship neared its designation. Outside the cockpit, fierce forks of lightning tore through the angry clouds, constantly striking down into the thick and foreboding foliage that covered the mountain range. Tall, sharp, needles of black rock, the mountains of Nikolija dominated the remote and largely ignored island of the same name. Each thundering roar sent another shudder through the diminutive ship.

“The Dark Side is strong here,” warned Macron as he stood in the cockpit, looking out the main viewport into the writhing storm clouds. He omitted his customary chuckle. In any ordinary circumstance, he would have relished these mountains, relished being bathed in the dark ebb and flow of the depths of the Force. But Nifokalija was not a normal place, and the Force itself there was out of balance, and constantly writing as if somehow its threads had somehow knotted in upon themselves. “Be cautious,” Macron added. “Even my senses are diminished here.”

It was difficult to reach out into the world around yourself when that world was out of flux and constantly parsed in and out, like an old video cassette that had somehow gotten stuck in a loop.

However, Macron did not need the Force to point out their newest guests.

“I should have known…” the Alchemist muttered under his breath to himself.

Back on Gamuslag, Macron had reached out and called to all those who he felt might aid him in this final chapter in his vengeance on the sister who had long shunned him. But not even that did anything to change the fact that even Macron always got disgruntled at unnecessary surprises.

Such as the ‘surprise’ of seeing the unmarked Corellian transport that was parked outside the crumbling walls of the ancient Rakatan temple designated Installation Seven which Macron and his team’s shuttle rapidly approached.

“Master…” Macron growled, before adding in little more than a whisper, “…and her.”

Outside Installation Seven
The Nifokalija Mountains

Xanos stood outside the gateway that led up into the Rakatan temple, leaning on his ebon staff. Even though months had passed since the Battle of Korriban, his leg had still not completely healed from the battle he had had with the red-haired woman who once again stood beside him.

The deep red robes which the Falleen was wearing whipped in the wind as the Sadowan shuttle’s repulsor lifts hissed steam when the ship made its final descent and settled down into the small, overgrown clearing that must have once counted as the courtyard for the ancient Rakatan temple, which had been built over an even older structure used by the star system’s earlier Kwa masters.

“Your… apprentice will not be happy to see me,” Sildrin said to her current master, referring to Macron who had studied the ways of the dark side with the Falleen Elder years before Sildrin.

“If he cares at all for his brothers, he will do as I instruct him.”

The sorceress studied her master for a moment while the shuttle finished its landing process and its ramp began to lower with another hiss of compressed air. She still was not used to the fact that Xanos had become more open with her again; for so many years, he had kept to himself, his thoughts hidden behind an impenetrable veil of shadows. But ever since the climax of the Great Jedi War in the red, blood soaked sands of Korriban, the Prophet had finally started returning to the person who she remembered from the days back when she was still a lowly Dark Jedi Knight.

“That was before I had found the answer,” Xanos said, listening to Sildrin’s private thoughts.

Xanos had still not explained the question to which he had sought an answer, however.

“Soon,” the Falleen said, “very soon.”

A voice called down from the top of the Sadowan shuttle’s landing ramp.

She is not welcome,” barked Macron, striding down the ramp into the ruined courtyard. His armoured fist instinctively dropped to one of the lightsabers that hung at his side. “Dealing with one treacherous bitch is enough,” added the madman, referring to his sister, Anaxela, the woman that he had assembled his team to hunt down and finally put out of her misery.

The people grouped behind Macron held back at the ramp for the moment.

Sildrin scowled.

“You should be thanking me,” retorted the sorceress with just a hint of sarcasm. She was not going to rise to the bait. “Had it not been for my actions, Lord Ashen would be dead.”

Macron snorted with derision and snapped his lightsaber off his belt.

“Spare me your lies, traitor,” snarled the Alchemist. “You betrayed your Clan, and fled rather than face justice for your actions in siding with Cotelin rather than one of your own blood!” Macron referred to Sildrin’s deception during the final battle of the Great Jedi War, when she had changed sides, siding with Cotelin’s rebels, who had tried to prevent the Rite of Immortality that Lord Ashen had sought to carry out to allow him to rule the Dark Brotherhood forever.

However, following the battle, Xanos, who had suffered an injury to his leg during the fight in which he himself had brought his own apprentice to her knees, had sided with Sildrin, and taken it upon himself to deal with her, after which the pair had headed off into the desert, having not been heard from since until this reunion many months later.

As Alchemist and Sorceress stared each other down, each waiting for the other to make the first move, the Falleen in between them rapped the foot of his ebony staff on the floor.

“Enough, my apprentices,” Xanos said, not raising his voice.


Outside Installation Seven
The Nifokalija Mountains

The silence was deafening. Bentre, Jade, Daedric, Maelous and Shi Long stood on the gangplank behind Macron. It was a literal shatterpoint.

One of those who stood behind him was a powerful Long and not to be trusted. The others…. Maelous heard voices and he moved to his own timing. Jade…. Jade could be trusted as long as Macron showed no weakness. Daedric could not be trusted at all beyond a common bond as warriors. Sith Master-Student relations always involved an attempt to kill the teacher by the student. And Bentre… Macron figured Bentre would follow Daedric’s lead.

The epiphany that came to him regarded the nature of students seeking the Force. Jedi could generally rely on, and trust their Apprentices. Sith could not. Ever. It was a fact. True, most of the Jedi were puling weak simpletons, but there were a awful lot of them and they were eager to serve. There was a lesson here to be learned. The words he had heard of being written by Lord Kaan echoed in his mind briefly.

He could not risk an open confrontation not knowing everyone’s loyalties, and not knowing if his Sith Master Darth Vexatus would strike him down. It was part of the Way. Macron might be able to dispatch Sildrin with some serious effort on his own, but the tides of war often ebbed and flowed.

The scheming Alchemist was not stupid enough to try testing the waters just now. The timing was not right, as the Dark Side whispered to him in his mind. “Yes,” Macron growled as he put his lightsaber away. “Yes. We’ll… discuss this at a later time.” The furious powder keg of his disapproval boiled beneath the surface. The madman muttered to himself mentally in the Sith tongue. Qotsisajak. Through passion, I gain strength. “We should get on with it. Let us loot that ancient hold, and eliminate a threat to us all. What do you say, those who are gathered here?"”


Jade shifted her weight and Bentre and Daedric made a show of fidgeting with their loadouts, the clicks and clacks of their fasteners barely muting a slow, deliberate exhalation from Maelous. Nodding curtly, the Sith Elder raised an armored crushgaunt, sweeping it towards the gangplank’s end to signal the strikeforce forward. Taking the lead, the Alchemist tramped down the ramp, pressing a series of buttons on his suit’s forearm. As Sildrin turned towards Xanos in quiet palaver, the ASP droids acquired from Gamuslag dutifully began to unload the crates containing the Alchemist’s requisition off of the shuttle.

Still at the top of the gangplank, Shi artfully sidestepped one of the whirring labor droids, his mercurial eyes surveying the scene. He chuckled inwardly at some private joke; rather, he would call it a truth. Where Macron had taken the group’s silence as deferential assent, Shi knew what it really was: relief.

The shuttle’s engines hadn’t even cooled and Macron’s rage had nearly sparked a conflagration that would’ve caused them to destroy one another, right there at the installation’s doormat. Shi’s mouth curled in delight at the prospect, but the grave had not only granted him power and the will to use it, but also had gifted him with a sort of detached insight.

Macron was the lynchpin, Shi realized. The Alchemist had not only convinced a very capable force of Darksiders to join him on this ‘raid’ - personal vendetta, to those who could see - on Anexela, he had gotten his own Master and new nemesis to meet him as well. Still, there was the matter of the sharp spires of agitation lancing the Force’s landscape, mostly emanating from Macron and successfully infecting the others. And twice the Long had witnessed Macron stay his righteous fury. So very unlike him.

Had Shi Long still been the man known as Sai Keibatsu, Macron’s hesitancy could’ve been chalked up to maturity, with inaction being reclassified as pragmatism. One would be wise, after all, to pick one’s battles. But, the Primarch was not Sai. He was a Long. The Dragon of Stone - Strife’s Avatar - did not share that view. He strode down the gangplank, catching the tail end of a private conversation between Daedric and his apprentice. “…a close one, but be mindful.” The pair swallowed their remaining words as Shi approached, their distrust evident.

The Long didn’t spare them a glance, instead hinting at his knowledge of their shared concern. “Oh, don’t worry. A fight’s coming…and it’s coming today. I’d draw lots now if I were you.” The pair stared as he moved past them and squared up on Macron. The Alchemist looked up from his forearm’s display, seething. “What?” Macron brusquely demanded.

Shi cocked an eyebrow, the facial tic and his pause barely perceptible. The Long appraised him, looking him up and down before speaking. “You’re divided. You can’t serve two Masters, Mononoke; get it together, or you’ll get us all killed.”

The Force flared slightly before Macron retorted, “What do you care? I thought you were up for a good scrap. And only my friends call me that.”

Shi guffawed. “All of your friends are dead, Mononoke. It seems one set of facts can exist irrespective of the other, can’t they?” Spreading his arms, he finished, “They must; after all, here we are.” Backing away, his arms still spread, Shi left Macron to think on his admonition. Their eyes locked for the briefest of moments before Shi whirled and moved to speak with Xanos and Sildrin.


Outside Installation Seven
The Nifokalija Mountains

Sildrin Sadow moved closer to Xanos muttering under her breath “How much longer do we have to put up with this, Master?” Her Master remained silent, but she knew his answer anyways - not for long. But there was something more within his silence - unspoken and hidden. A frown crossed her face as she just caught a glimpse of something behind the veil of slyness. “What are you hiding from me, my Master?” her words weren’t audible, but their minds linked ensured that her Master took notice of her question.

Again there was only a wall of silence, so she turned her attention to Sai approaching them. She would surely find out sooner or later. A slight smile appeared on her lips as she stepped towards Sai. “Brother,” her voice was gentle and she embraced him. The Stone Dragon inhaled her scent, lightly taken by surprise.

She turned her head into Macron’s direction and the Alchemist caught her movement. Her eyes despite - being blindfolded - pierced into his soul. She gently leaned her cheek against Sai’s chest and her lips curled into a mocking smile. Macron clenched his fists.

Sildrin whispered: “It is good to see you.” She sensed the seething rage of the Alchemist, but she was not disillusioned about Sai’s loyalty. He was the Stone Dragon, the Foundation of the Longs, but yet his path was determined to be Strife’s Avatar and battle would follow him and he would follow battle. An alabaster finger of hers curled around one of his locks. Her touch was electrifying. “Sister," he began with a coarse voice. A light chuckle and she had vanished from his arms: “Be cheerful, a war is heading our way. And you will be part of it - Or maybe it is the other way around?”

His mercurial eyes locked onto her - she knew him too well.

The holographic device displayed a rough map of Installation Seven. Many parts were yet blurred and not completed. Macron’s armored fingers jabbed at some of the areas, explaining vital points to the people he had managed to gather. A few details had been added recently by Sildrin’s skills - after a few hours of slicing the Installation Seven computer systems she had managed to gather a couple of more details for Macron to add to his holo map.

At first Macron had frowned upon her actions, but he could not deny the offered benefit.
“Ok. Get your equipment. We will move together in One Zero Zero hours.” His eyes briefly moved over to Sildrin; he was not keen on having this betrayer close to him, but he neither dared to let her run freely around.

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

Xanos’s voice rose over the scenery: “We waste time while the witch gets ever closer to her goal. We must make haste. I will show the path."
Macron frowned at his Master’s words, but yet… who would be so foolish to say “No” to a Dark Prophet?
All eyes remained glued to Macron and Xanos, missing out the puzzled look on Sildrin’s usually dispassionate face. My Master must have been here already?.. But why? And for what?
Maybe time would reveal the answers to her questions, but she had a bad feeling that she may prefer those answers to stay unrevealed.


Outside Installation Seven
The Nifokalija Mountains

The laughter in his mind made it difficult to hear what was being said around him. Macron and the blindfolded woman he did not know were just waiting for the right moment to strike at, and the potential chaos that would cause made the ghost of his past louder.

Maelous gritted his teeth under the helmet and growled at the voice, “Enough,” the sound of it rumbling from the vocoders of his helmet as the eyes of the Elders turned on him.

Careful, the voice in his head chimed with a mischievous tone, you don’t want them to turn on you. You know how power works here, Sith. You sound like you’re challenging them.

“Maelous, calm yourself,” Jade whisper as she stepped up next to him, the voice in his mind suddenly becoming nearly inaudible. “They will not hesitate to end your life.”

The Sith turned his head slightly until she came into view, she was bearing her teeth in a grin as usual, though he could feel something had shifted within her.

He nodded, “I am aware,” his helmeted head turned back to the group that seemed to be leading the expedition as they plotted out the next move on a holomap, “It’s good you are here,” He said finally, “the fight here should be something worth being a part of.”

“You know, Maelous, you can reach me anytime you need someone to bail you out of trouble,” she tapped the back of his helmet where the bundle of thoughts and emotions that connected the two of them seemed to reside and snickered. “I’m always there.”

The Sith Warrior opened his mouth to reply but froze as familiar presence in the Force reached out and touch him. He search through his mind trying to remember that feeling as the phantom voice began to scream in a far off corner of his mind. A pounding began in his head as if the voice was trying to break free of his skull.

Maelous stumbled, “No,” he said spinning, his head swiveling, trying to find the location of the Force presence that washed over him in waves, then suddenly it was gone. He stopped, his dark side corrupted eyes darting from side to side behind the darkened lenses, the voice in his head sobbing softly. The Aedile straightened himself, and tried to slow his labored breathing.

An armored hand gripped the Sith’s shoulder, he turned slowly to come face to face with Macron. “Maelous, you’re coming with me.” the alchemist said. All he could do was nod.


Outside installation 7
The Nifokalija Mountains

Jade looked over the gangplank, nervous energy building as she longed to taste blood of soon to be victims. Her attention snapped towards Shi Long as he walked closer to Macron. She had known him better as Sai, had learned much from him, had considered him a mentor and a brother for the longest time. But she didn’t know him under his new life as it were, his stone dragon title a mystery. Her hand was on her saver hilt as he stood next to the madman. Her body taking a protective check just in case, for both Macrons and her sake. She couldn’t help the strange feeling as he walked passed and headed to Xanos and Sildrin. Something dark in side of her was drawing her towards the three, as if sensing a tendril of the dark side that shared a common desire. Jade shook her head, must be memories.

   Fear and confusion hit the back of her mind, but they weren't her emotions. She turned towards Maleous. That same feeling, drawing her towards the three darkened souls, tried to push this connection down. Like a virus hiding from an antibody. She tapped his helmet. "I'm always there." She grinned as Maleous caught himself, acting as if she not only didn't feel him have a moment of weakness, but that no one saw it. 

    As Macron gripped Maleous shoulder she looked at him. macron was definitely out for vengeance, but there was more to him. A battle he suspected might be coming, yet tried to perhaps ignore it, in hopes it wouldn't come. She didn't blame him, friends, enemies, all around him, all leading towards one of his biggest nemeses. *A fool*. Jade jumped as she heard a dark voice, low, sinister, predatory.  It made her fangs itch and her claws sharpen in anticipation of a hunt. She blinked rapidly and stared back at Macron and Maelous.

    Macron looked at Jade. Something had shimmered inside her, like heat waves from a sun scorched road. He couldn't put his finger on it, but something aroused his alchemy and old experiment teachings, telling him to be watching for signs. To what, he couldn't yet tell, like a word stuck on the tip of his tongue. He'd figure it out, but for now he had to worry about not only the battle with his sister, but with watching the three dark Jedi heading off in the lead.

    Bentre looked at Daedric, he had a feeling there was something going on. Perhaps they were all plotting on stabbing him in the back?! A trip to flush out the new blood. Distract him with stories of a glorious battle, yet when he turned his back, he'd find a saber in it. 

    Jade felt cold inside. Like a fist of ice was wrapping around the pit of her stomach and slowly spreading. Why did she have a sudden draw towards the ones that at some point took on the title of betrayer? Her hand moved from her saber to her hip as she moved to step into line with Macron and Maelous. Whatever the reason, she would figure it out after she drew blood... *Hmmm sweet merciless victory..*.the voice growled with delight deep inside of her. Jade looked around to make sure one of her fellow travel companions weren't playing a joke on her, then decided she needed a vacation.

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Inside Installation Seven
Nifokalija Mountains

Master and Apprentice walked alone through the abandoned corridors of what had impossible transpired to be a modern facility, no more than a few decades ago. The power supplies that had once powered a long, narrow row of striplights that had run along the length of the corridor’s ceiling had long since run out of energy and whatever had served as heating had run cold.

Xanos had wrapped his thick cloak tighter around him, however the silent, red-haired witch that strode through the empty corridors alongside him gave no sign that the cold bothered her in the faintest. But why should it? Sildrin had grown up on Cottman IV, a world on which the woman had never known any warmth-- no more from the people, than from the world’s sun.

“What is this?” Sildrin asked, having stopped for a moment, her eyes currently studying the text on a display board that was bolted onto one of the sidewalls that read: OMEGA. That word had been embossed on the main door back when the group had first entered the ancient Rakatan, or maybe Kwa, facility, or whichever of the races that had once called the Orian System theirs.

Since the altercation when Macron and his team had first arrived and found the two Apostates already there, Sildrin had remained quiet, but now that the Dark Prophet had decided that they would head off down a different path than the others-- after Shi Long’s suggestion that they split up into smaller groups in order to scout the facility and locate Anaxela quicker-- Sildrin had decided it was time to get to the bottom of where this facility came from- and its true purpose.

And she had known Xanos long enough to detect when he was keeping something from her.

He knew.

However, the Falleen did not answer and just continued down the corridor, the only illumination coming from a sporadic crackle of energy that snaked its way down from his shoulder along his arm and up into the shimmering ruby gemstone that topped his ebony sceptre-cum-staff.

Sildrin followed after the man she-- for the time being-- still addressed as Master.

“Master, you cannot hide from me,” the woman said plainly. “Our link goes both ways. Just as you can see into my mind, so too can I peer into yours…”

The Falleen had just so happened to have come upon an open doorway when he stopped.

Xanos did not turn around when he addressed his apprentice.

“There are some mistakes that cannot be unmade,” said the Falleen, his voice a touch harder than it typically was. “And there are some that can.” The hand Xanos did not have clasped around his staff drifted casually down toward the rarely used lightsaber hilt that still hung at his side. Even if he hardly ever drew the weapon anymore, and preferred instead to poison the thoughts of those who would seek to rise against him, until all that ever remained was an unharmed, but jabbering mass of flesh, his, hers- or indeed its- brain left broken and confused, it had never stopped the Sith Lord from still carrying his Jedi lightsaber with him at all times out of habit.

Sildrin stepped behind her Master and came face to face with the impossible.

Inside was a small unlit room, again illuminated only by the light the Falleen was funnelling into the gemstone that topped his staff. The sanguine glow from his Ruby Scepter bathed the room in an unsettling glow, but nothing was more unsettling than the sight that met her blindfolded eyes:

On either side of the room stood a number of glass canisters. Impossibly, the liquid inside the tanks was still circulating, and there were a small number of standby lights still blinking on a control panel on the glass face nearest Sildrin and Xanos. There had to be a backup generator.

“You said this facility was ancient,” the sorceress said, still keeping her eyes on the tank.

Macron said it was ancient,” corrected the Dark Prophet, but he did not explain in further depth. Instead, the Falleen simply made his way to the back of the room, passing the two pairs of tanks that were lined up against the walls on either side of the small room.

For a brief moment, as Xanos’s arcane torchlight briefly passed over surface of the cylinders, Sildrin could have sworn that for a split second she caught sight of someone else’s face looking back at her. The sorceress tried to expand her Force senses… but her sight failed her confronted with the maelstrom of tangles and knots which had been spun through the Tapestry of the Force throughout the Nifokalija mountains. Sildrin said nothing for the moment, and simply watched.

Xanos stopped in front of the single tank that sat against the back wall in the room.

Sildrin could make out the words: “The Omega Project: Subject One.”

Xanos placed his hand against the surface of the tank.

“I feel your confusion.”

He was not talking to Sildrin, she could tell. Something was very wrong here.

“You have slept for too long,” Xanos added, “but it is time I put things right.” The Falleen reached down and keyed something on the front of the tank-- typing in a passcode-- without having needed to stop and pause to think even for a moment about how to operate it.

A mechanical voice chimed.

“Welcome back, Consul Zorrixor,” said a robotic voice, and a small row of lights lit up the inside of the glass cylinder, revealing its contents as the liquid began to drain through the pipework.

Sildrin could not suppress her shock at the sight that greeted her:

Within the tank, floating peacefully, floated a naked grey-green, organic humanoid male.

“You will tell me what’s going on,” the sorceress hissed accusingly, her own hands instinctively dropping to her own two lightsabers hanging either side of her waist. “What is this?”

Inside the tank, the face that stared back at her may have been much younger than the one she was used to looking at, but the likeness was unmistakable.

Her Master’s younger self opened its eyes and looked at her.