As the Leopard dropped out of hyperspace everyone was greeted by an interesting sight. With The Anchorage looming in the distance, the Plagueis fleet was out in numbers. Opposite them was a massive display of force as hundreds of starfighters were backed by two massive cruisers; the MJHC Corsair and the RSD Revenge.
“What the-? Was Plagueis not informed that Tarentum was coming?” Solas asked with a snarl. “Tara?”
Taranae scratched the back of her head. With a sigh Solas turned to the captain.
“North, this is gonna sound crazy, but I want you to put us right in the middle of that. Brim, Caesar, get on the comms and let the Masters know what’s going on.” Everyone nodded, Brimstone and Caesar headed for the comm center and the grizzled captain ordered the Leopard into position. Soon Brimstone and Caesar returned to inform everyone that leaders of both Clans agreed to meet aboard the Leopard.
Soon after, three groups of darksiders sat around a conference table. To say that the tension in the room was thick would be an understatement. On one side sat the summit of Clan Plagueis. Across from them sat Tarentum’s Proconsul and Rollmaster. At the head of the table sat the members of team 3.
With a sigh, Battlelord Teylas Ramar di Plagia broke the silence. “I understand that you Tarenti didn’t come here with hostilities in mind. But why would you send two of your key vessels on this kind of mission?”
“This is a complicated time for us. But we primarily sent them both because Frosty was stationed aboard the Revenge and I aboard the Corsair.” Replied Sith Bloodfrye-Tarentae. “But enough about that.” He then pulled out his comm and quickly informed the commanders of both Tarentum cruisers to recall their fighters. Once they received confirmation that the cruisers had retreated to an appropriate distance, Teylas gave the order for their ships to stand down. The moment he did the tension in the room dissipated significantly.
“Alright now that everyone is feeling better. We can get to the real reason we’re all here. Caesar if you would?” Solas gestured to the Grey Jedi. With a nod Caesar placed the holocron on the table. and with a wave of his hand, Ithicor unlocked the holocron and released the secrets hidden within the ancient relic. He then retired to the quarters he had been assigned, claiming he needed rest.
To everyone’s surprise the holocron revealed an incredibly detailed map of the Anchorage. It even covered areas of the station that hadn’t been occupied or even visited in millenia. As much as this revelation garnered their attention, one thing clearly stood out to them. There was an area of the station near the very bottom that was labeled as the ‘Vault of the Dead’.
“I don’t believe I need to state this, but I also think you all know where you need to go.” Teylas said looking around the table. The members of team 3 looked at each other and nodded.
“With your blessing Masters. We will proceed to this ‘Vault of the Dead’ and bring back Drax.” Solas spoke confidently. The four powerful darksiders looked across the table at each other and each gave a silent nod. “Very well if there is nothing else to be said. I don’t see any reason to stay sitting here.”
“Agreed. Go now in the name of the Brotherhood and the summits of Clan Tarentum and Plagueis. Bring that traitor to justice.” With a nod everyone rose to their feet and the leadership departed to their ships.
As he left Frosty Romanae Tarentae turned back and shared a look with his former apprentice, Brimstone. He then gave a quick nod before boarding his ship.
As team 3 began to head for the bridge Brim called out.
“Solas, Caesar, a word? Tara you go on ahead.” The redhead gave a disconcerned grunt before leaving the three.
“Sure what’s up?” Solas replied standing with Caesar.
“Look, I still harbor much resentment towards your clan. But you and Caesar here have earned my respect, that arm being a testament to that. I hope we can count on each other in future endeavours.”
Brimstone then stuck out his hand. Solas firmly grabbed hold and an honorable partnership was sealed.
“Brim, change happens. I know that we can count on you when the time comes.”
“My sentiments exactly.” Replied the Chiss as he moved to shake hands with Caesar. “Be sure to give Anshar and Oberst my regards.”
Solas laughed, knowing exactly what his meaning was. “I will. Guess it’s time to take this new arm for a test drive.”
In a few minutes the Leopard docked with The Anchorage well below the lowest occupied sectors. Inside the docking bay the four Force wielders were finishing outfitting themselves in protective gear. Taranae lamented.
“Ugh, why are we wearing these? They’ll restrict our mobility.”
“Tara, there are parts of the station that haven’t been touched for thousands of years. We don’t know if life support is even active this far down.” Brim retorted.
“That and we don’t know what might be waiting for us.” Solas chimed in as he prepared to seal his helmet. “That is why I’m having my team stay behind.”
“Why? don’t you think they can handle themselves?”
“Oh they can. But seeing as Drax is a former Sith Lord, and the fact that this station was built by the old Sith Empire, we have no idea what might be lurking around in there. and while my team are good, I’d rather not put them up against a Force wielder with nothing to lose.”
“Hmph.” Taranae sealed her helmet. “What about him?” She jabbed a thumb at Ithicor.
“Please young one. If something as trivial as the air could harm me, I wouldn’t be here today.” The Sith responded.
“Whatever. Let’s get on with it.” Once everyone’s suits were pressurized, Solas shut the inner airlock. With a nod to the team he opened the door connecting them to the station. It slid open with a hiss and for a moment time stood still as they waited for the sensors to finish analysing the air around them. Finally the system registered all-green and everyone released a sigh of relief. Once they had removed their protective gear they descended into the depths of the station.
##In the Vault of the Dead##
Xander Drax lounged upon a pile corpses. “They have arrived.”
“I know that you fool!” His body suddenly coursed with lightning. “It is time for us to begin.”
##In the halls of The Anchorage##
Five figures moved as a group through the dark halls. Four lightsaber blades lit their way. As they walked, each would sporadically hear their name whispered, or they would see a form in the distance beckoning them to follow. The deeper they traveled the more frequent these events became, and soon they arrived at what they believed to be the door of the Vault.
“I’ll take point.” Solas offered. Everyone nodded and they slowly opened the door. Solas stepped into the dark room. The moment everyone had stepped inside the door slammed shut behind the group and torches and braziers jumped to life around them filling the room with flickering light. In the center of the room sat a man who resembled more of a corpse than a man. As the man stood, Solas began to walk towards him.
However, when he did, he felt that his allies weren’t moving with him. Looking back he saw each of them entranced by something unseen. As he turned back he was struck by a sight he never thought possible.
Before him stood an image of his wife. At a loss for words he could only watch in awe as she walked towards him. Drawing close she placed her hands on his shoulders. As she did he felt a calming wave pass over him. She then began to pass her hands over his upper body.
Suddenly a bright red light erupted from his chest shattering the image. The light seemed to also snap the others out of their trances. Solas reached into his robes and drew out the pendant that his wife once wore. As he did, the light grew in intensity and soon it bathed the entire room. Everyone was pulled from their wonderings when the man behind Solas began to scream and writhe in pain. Solas then turned the pendant so it pointed directly at the shambling corpse. His screaming became louder and louder until his soul seemed to be ripped from his body which was sent flying.
“***ARRGH! What have you done?***” he screamed. “***No matter, he had served his purpose. As have you, by bringing me my new host!***” The spirit then rushed passed the darksiders and slammed into Ithicor’s body. The Sith began to laugh.
“Hahahaha! I’ve done it! I now possess the perfect body.”
The group looked on in awe. “Who are you?” Brim asked.
“Why my dear Seabr’imsto’nedansr. I am the architect of your destruction. I am the one who will bring an end to your pathetic brotherhood. I am Tel’Ratha, greatest of the Keepers and the one who will rule this universe, from now to the end of time. Now kneel before your new master.” When no one did he shouted “I Said Kneel!” He then used the Force to push them to their knees.
“What was that?”
“I said no…”
“I said no!” Solas suddenly shouted and ignited his lightsaber and charged the possessed Sith. Who called one of the dropped sabers to his hand and blocked the attack. “***How dare you use her form! She was my everything! My partner! My Wife! You will not twist her memory to suit your needs!***” The two began a vicious duel. As they fought throughout the room, slowly the Sith began to lose his hold on the others. First Taranae broke free and quickly joined in the fight. After her, Caesar was able to get to his feet and rushed to the door to see if they could open it. All throughout the fight the Sith taunted them.
“You sad little creatures. You’re like ants fighting a god. I have transcended death.”
As the fight raged on Brimstone slowly rose to feet just in time to see Taranae be flung across the room and be knocked out when she slammed into the wall.
“Do you not understand? You can’t defeat me!”
Brim rushed to his former apprentice. As he was checking on her, he heard Solas grunt. Looking up he saw his ally on his hands and knees with their enemy standing over him.
“It won’t matter how many times you stand up. How many times you fight back. I will never fall!” The Sith raised his saber to strike down the Tarenti.
Suddenly Solas’ arms stuck out to the sides and two red lightsabers sprung to life in his hands. and in one fluid motion he cut the Sith’s hand off, leapt over his opponent landing behind him, kicked his knees out from behind him, crossed his two sabers in front of his throat and decapitated the Sith.
“Get up from that!”