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[GJW XI] Clan Taldryan: Team Ekky



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Judging will follow the Fiction Rubric.

Fiction Prompt

Civil War has befallen the Brotherhood. The Clans have split into three factions: the Loyalists, who have rallied behind Grand Master Ashen; the Rebels, following the banner of Jac Cotelin; and the New Order, led by the mysterious Sith Lord Esoteric. Each faction has stormed the surface of Korriban, establishing impressive fortifications and moving towards the Valley of the Dark Lords. Loyalists, Rebels, and the New Order clash across Korriban’s surface, all three attempting to gain control of the Valley of Dark Lords and the secrets it holds.

The Valley of Dark Lords has erupted in carnage, forces from every unit in the Brotherhood streaming into the ruins and temples, establishing makeshift defensive positions behind virtually every wall. Blood is spilled over every inch, each of the three sides gambling the lives of thousands of Jedi in an attempt to put an end to this conflict once and for all. The Loyalists, following Ashen’s command, seek to break through to the Tomb of Marka Ragnos, where the Disciples of Ragnos once sealed a chamber with writings on the Rite of Immortality. To open it, Ashen has sent three of his most skilled advisors in ancient dark rites and alchemy, but the way is not yet safe or clear for them, as the One Sith were originally entrenched in the Valley and still maintain a strong control over most of the area. Esoteric’s forces have a base of operations at the Tomb of Ajunta Pall, a fortified location that allows them a great deal of mobility throughout the Valley, which they use to harass any operations by the other two sides. The Adept Dantella Novae reluctantly commands Esoteric’s forces in the region, though she seems more interested in stealing the secrets of Marka Ragnos than in defending the Valley itself. Cotelin is seeking to contain and control whatever the Tomb of Marka Ragnos holds, through any means necessary… and before Ashen’s forces can reach it.

You and your team have found yourselves just outside one of the few entrances to the Valley of the Dark Lords. You know that inside the Valley, death and destruction have overtaken the ruins, but you also know that ultimately, victory for one side of the other is likely to come within the walls of the ancient tombs. Your runon should detail the battle within the Valley, and must illustrate (either through success or failure) at least one of the sides in the conflict - this will play a major role in your Story grade.


Zoron #13820
Dru #13796
Shaz’air #9193
Aeson #980
Kyber #14070
Raistline #299


“Sir! Grand Master Cotelin’s shuttle has been hit!” The pilot’s panicked voice cut across the shuttle’s comm channel. Kenath Zoron’s conversation with Aeson Rhys and Kyber was cut short as his head snapped up in response. He unbuckled himself from his seat and worked his way through the crowded troop bay into the command cabin.

“Show me,” he ordered. The co-pilot responded by bringing up the sensor screen with a playback already cued. Zoron watched silently as the dot representing the Grand Master’s shuttle abruptly stopped its evasive maneuvers and began a lazy arc down towards Korriban’s surface. The co-pilot stopped the playback.

“Do we have any sensors following the shuttle as it falls?” Zoron asked. The co-pilot shook his head. “Get me one, now”

The co-pilot’s hands flashed across his controls for a moment before another screen popped up. The screen now showed the other shuttle as it spun and rolled through the atmosphere, black smoke streaming behind it. Zoron could see brief flashes as its thrusters and maneuvering jets worked ineffectually to right the ship. As the shuttle was missing large portions of its flight surfaces, whoever was in the cockpit was fighting a losing battle against gravity.

Zoron pulled his attention away from the live feed and looked again at the sensor feeds showing the other shuttles in the group. He saw that the shuttles carrying the majority of the Massassi Derriphan units were making headlong dives to follow the Grand Master’s shuttle, no longer making any attempts to evade incoming fire. Zoron cringed as he watched a portion of those shuttles blow apart under enemy fire, but some still made it through and piled on speed toward the surface.

Good. If there are survivors, the Derriphan can protect and hold the crash site until we get there.

Setting his jaw, Zoron ordered the co-pilot to patch him in to the nearest allied shuttle. After a buzz of static, the co-pilot nodded that he could proceed.

“This is Aedile Zoron. Put your senior Jedi on. Now.” There was a moment’s pause before he heard a familiar voice come back.

“Zoron. It’s Raist. What’s the plan? My pilot just told me that the Grand Master’s shuttle took a hit. Are we going after him?”

Zoron was glad to hear Raistline’s voice. It meant that he didn’t need to worry about working with the other Jedi houses. Raistline’s shuttle would have a handful of other Taldryan Dark Jedi and another Darkfire unit.

“I think so Raist, but we’re going to need to clear a path in. Before the Grand Master’s shuttle was hit, Aeson and I were discussing meeting with a rogue Jedi named Connor Grey. Aeson has a bit of intel on Grey and thinks he can help us get into the Valley and then the Tomb through some lesser known paths. I think we may need his help getting ourselves close to Jac’s shuttle without taking massive losses.”

“I agree. I have Shaz’air, Dru, and Darkfire 5 in this shuttle. How are you set up?” Raist replied.

“Aeson, Darkfire 9, and my new apprentice, Kyber, in here. Aeson has a rough idea of where we can find Grey, so follow us down to the surface and try not to get shot.”


As their shuttle descended to the surface, the echoing sounds of bombs and turbo-laser batteries boomed in the distance. Rocked with glancing concussive force and tremors as un-tallied casualties built up. Swirling around, Zoron returned to the passenger seats. “Strap in, landings gonna be rough.” Obediently, Kyber and Aeson lowered the safety harnesses. To Kyber they felt more like restraints than anything, reminding him far too much of his once sedentary life.

As soon as he said that the pilot shouted back, “We’re as close to the drop-point as I could get us. The rest of the way is bogged down with anti-air ion cannons and rebel outposts. I’m afraid you’ll need to make the rest of your way on foot”

Undoing their safety harnesses, the Dark Jedi stood and strode to the exit hatch. As it lowered before them they gazed briefly onto a bleak landscape of red dust and yellow stone. Light winds whipped the landscape into mild obscurity. Weapon in hand, Kyber lept out, following his master and the Assassin towards a higher outcropping, in hopes of getting a better view of the valley.

The climb up was treacherous but not difficult for most of the group. It was, however, particularly difficult for Kyber. Because of the dry air and dust he could feel the servos of his joints beginning to wear. When this was all over a hot oil bath would be necessary to keep his terminal functioning.

As they reached the peak Aeson signaled for them to duck down. Two old-style TIE Fighters streaked overhead, their speed and inefficient engines temporarily deafening the group. They flew low so as to stay out of the worst of the anti-air fire and avoid scanners.

Staring off into the distance the Dark Jedi and their troops could see the downed shuttle that marked the last known location of Grand Master Cotelin. Surveying the valley with a pair of electrobinoculars, their hurdles became all too clear. There were at least three enemy camps between themselves and the shuttle. The nearest one seeming to be making preparations to advance towards it.

“What do we do now, Master?” Kyber asked, his viewports examining Zoron’s stance for signs of weakness.

Standing deep in thought, chin in his fingers, Zoron took a few moments to reply. “We keep to the plan. Find Connor Grey. Sneak our way to the crash site, then make our way back. If Kyber had a heart, it would have sunk. This was going to be…arduous.


Aeson drew out his encrypted datapad and brought up a map of the Valley of the Dark Lords.
Motioning for Zoron and Kyber to join him, the Priest started explaining his analysis of the situation to them.

"Here we are in the northern canyon of what is known as the Lower Wilds Outskirts. From my observations, Ektrosis 2 was heading for this cliff shelf in the southern canyon. They will have a short rappel to reach the canyon floor but we should be able to meet up with them at or near this fissure where the two canyons meet. We should be able make it there in about twenty minutes; Ektrosis 2 might take about 35 minutes to reach it but not much more.

“Jac’s shuttle went down with a trajectory that would place it somewhere here in the Upper Wilds. Dinaari was supposed to take the old military base between Markos’ tomb and the rest of the main valley to block Muz’s forces from reaching the tomb first. However, with Jac down, there is no telling what they will do. They probably will not respond to us over the comm. At this point, communication silence is key for the safety of Jac’s team.

“Scholae and Odan Urr each had their own missions so we cannot expect help from them.
Jac and the Old Fogies will probably still advance on the tomb as preventing Muz access is paramount at this point. If Muz gets whatever is in the tomb, we are all dead. I personally believe that it is the information for the rite that gave the Sith Emperor immortality. "

“What about this Connor Grey you mentioned?” Zoron asked. “How do we find him and is he trustworthy?”

"Connor maintains an operations base in an old hidden facility at the southern end of the Wilds. I know his presence and will feel it even if he is in Dreshdae right now. He can help us move through the Wilds with a minmal chance of detection. " Aeson replied. “As for his trustworthiness, he is not. Connor is a scavenger, smuggler, and a mercenary. He also used to be a Jedi under Skywalker but did not like the lifestyle, so he took to his own. Nevertheless, he probably knows this valley better than anyone does. It is just a matter of meeting his price and not letting anyone offer him a better deal along the way.”
“Then let’s go find this treasure hunter of yours.” Kyber spoke this with a tinge of doubt and sarcasm in his voice.

Kyber knew Aeson’s reputation. The Zeltron was known to be self-serving and place his own life and safety above those of his companions. Zoron’s apprentice wondered what angle Aeson was working now.

“One more thing,” Aeson announced loudly enough for even the Darkfire Troopers to hear. “Most of you have probably never spent much time here on Korriban, so you may not know about some of the local creatures that are more dangerous than any Jedi. You are probably aware of the Terentatek and the tu’kata and maybe even the Shyrack, but there are three other nasties that haunt the valley. Hssiss keep to the tombs where it is cool but come out at night to hunt and are invisible until they are ready to attack. K’lor’slugs wait in deep shadows, ready for any creature to venture too close. Finally, and probably the most dangerous, are the pelko bugs; venomous insects that swarm under the sand and attack in droves, paralyzing and devouring their victims. All of these are attuned to Force Users.”

“In other words, what?” Zoron asked.

“We need to split into three groups; one Force User and four troopers in each group, traveling within sight of each other. If one group is attacked, the other two can assist but it prevents the entire group from being caught off guard.”

The Aedile thought about it for a moment and then responded.

“All right. It makes sense so we will do it your way, but you will take point. After all, you are the one who can supposedly find this smuggler’s den. Also, Aeson, remember that I am the one who is in charge of this operation. You can offer suggestions. However all final decisions are mine.”

The Zeltron hid his smirk by turning away.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way, Zoron. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


Darkfire Team 5 grouped together around the crashed shuttle in a display of perfectly executed movements as they secured any equipment salvageable from the wreckage. They are professionals by every stretch of the word.

Raistline looked in amazement at the shuttle as it lay upside down on the very cusp of the ledge. The shuttle had crashed spectacularly into a small cliff at the top of the northern shelf of the Southern Wilds. The shuttle, carrying Ektrosis Team 2 including Wardens Battleteam Leader Raistline Majere and his Dark Jedi companions, had narrowly gained its footing before rolling backward away from the drop and onto the large, flat part of the cliff. Raistline was thankful to be standing where he was, relatively untouched.

Bustling was heard from the depths of the shuttle as the rest of the team made their way out of the awkwardly positioned exit. The enthusiastic young Sith Warrior Aiden Dru hopped out of the shuttle as Shaz’air Taldrya followed just behind him, an evening sun bathed the pair in a deep, orange light. The two glanced at each other for a moment before Aiden made a curt bow towards Shaz’air, “Lord Taldrya…” said Aiden, his face hiding a smirk as he silently mocked the status and position of the tall warrior.

“Shaz’air, come here please.” Raistline’s words cut through the dusty air with ease. “The course of our landing has set us- well, me… off track. Do you know where we are?”

“Of course we know where we are. We’re in the valley of the Dark Lords” said Aiden, once again barely hiding his sarcasm.

“We are indeed far off from our intended course. But we are not completely out of the way. Our Darkfire unit is ready to set up the equipment. We need to meet up with Zoron and the rest of his team where the canyons meet. Shall we begin our descent?” inquired Shaz’air, his deep, loud voice carrying it’s weight to all members of Ektrosis team 2.

Raistline nodded, “Yes, I think that is best.”

The captain of Darkfire team 5 nodded towards the two senior Dark Jedi before motioning with his hands towards the rest of his team. Instantly they exploded into an impressive show of speed and delicate precision as they carried out their orders.

Aiden began to walk toward the ledge where one of the Darkfire soldiers was almost finished with his rappelling kit. Shaz’air caught Aiden by the arm as he walked by, his piercing, blind gray eyes staring at the Sith with an eery deadness.

“A quick pace, silence and well-learned tactics are needed now. Do not idly give away our position, Warrior.” Aiden gritted his teeth. Shaz’air spoke with an air of confidence and power, a trait that he had learned through his many years of service as a leader of Taldryan; a trait that Aiden despised. “Let us find our Grand Master, my Lord.”

Shaz’air loosened his grip on Aiden while issuing a brief nod, tucking his arms behind his back. Raistline quietly marched up to Shaz’air, “So, let’s keep our heads about us, shall we? We are already behind in schedule… I think.”

The scruffy complexion of Raistline showed his years of service and showmanship for Taldryan. He had seen many battles, and survived all of them while hardly gaining a scratch. Raistline glanced down at his datapad, then outward towards the open valley, then back again to his readout. With a brief sigh, the Krath’s mind quickly began to wander as he imagined being anywhere but where he was right then.

Shaz’air gave him a swift pat on the shoulder and then glanced toward the last of the SpecOps unit as they descended quickly into the cavern floor below. Their hand signals motioned that the Obelisk and Krath were about to hook up for their rappel.

“My Lord,” said one of the soldiers and handed a harness to Raistline.

“Lord?” laughed the Krath aloud. “If I ever make it that far so as to be called a Lord, I will be far away from this place, so as the likes of you will never have to call me that ever again.”


“I’ve always hated this place,” Raistline said, more to himself, as he finished removing the rappelling harness and handing it off to a soldier. The Darkfire soldier packed the gear away without a word and returned to the rest of his team. Team 5 had taken a defensive position at the base of the rock, silently awaiting the move-out order.

Signaling to the other two Dark Jedi to follow, Raistline walked to the point of the defensive line. Pulling out a pair of electrobinoculars, he slowly scanned the desolate scenery of the canyon before him. He took his time, more for effect than anything else, since there was not much to look at. Putting the device away he turned to the other two.

“Lets go left along the canyon ridge.” He pointed along the canyon as he spoke, his fingers ending on a gap in the rocks on the opposite side from where they stood.

“That would add too much time. Lets just cut through and save some time,” Dru said angrily.
Shaz’air was eying the sky, watching the still raging battle above Korriban. “We’re too open out there,” he spoke nodding towards the canyon. “The side of the canyon will offer some air cover. We don’t want any of those star fighters to come crashing down on us. Lets just not hug the edge too close. The hills probably have dangers of their own.”

“Yeah. Not only will Muz and Esoteric’s forces be out to kill us. This damn planet wants us all dead.” Raistline spoke bitterly. Turning, he signaled to the Darkfire captain. “Select your best four men and have them follow Sith Warrior Aiden Dru as a forward scout group. The rest of us will follow fifty yards behind. Have them keep a brisk pace but to be mindful of their surroundings.”

Dru’s spirit lifted hearing the charge he was given. He walked back briskly with the captianin picking the right men. Looking back towards Shaz’air, Raistline followed his eyes skyward. The two watched as the front half of a capital ship, the aft long destroyed in explosions during its descent, fell from the sky in a crash course collision with the planet. Flames wrapped along the metallic siding, explosions sparking the sides at random points.

“Ever wonder why it always seems to come to this? Brother against brother, when we should be destroying the Jedi.” Shaz’air’s voice was distant, his mind with those on the fallen ship. For that moment it did not matter whose side the ship belonged. The crew, their affiliation, were still their brothers. At that moment they watched not only valiant deaths of their enemy, but possibly their friends.

“It’s the only thing I’ve been thinking about. I have only two goals for today; ensuring Jac saves the Brotherhood and proudly preserving my name as a member of the Krath.”

Without waiting for a response, without watching the final descent of the ship, the Krath Epis began walking towards the cliffs edge at a slow pace. The others would follow, Raistline knew. They had lost time and it was up to Dru’s eagerness for battle to catch them up.


Zoron nodded to Captain Ruondo, who split the team into three groups. He noticed that the Master Sergeant and three of the most senior troopers were assigned to Kyber’s section. That made sense, as his young apprentice would need the most help if anything happened during the trek to Grey.

“We’re set then?” A quick glance around got nods from the other men. “Aeson, take us out. And keep your heads on a swivel, please. The paperwork whenever one of you nerfherders get killed is migraine-inducing.” A small chuckle ran through the men as the sections split apart, moving through the sand and stone at a steady, careful pace.

A burst of movement to Zoron’s right caught his eye and he twisted his body around to look. He saw a four-legged creature bounding through the rocks toward Kyber’s section. The hound - he recognized it as a tuk’ata - went airborne with a leap of impressive height, aiming to land in the middle of the group. With no time to shout a warning, Zoron snapped a shot off at the beast, sending a scarlet bolt through the monster’s torso. Its body went limp in mid-air before landing heavily on top of Kyber’s droid body. The troopers around Kyber immediately snapped to a defensive posture, with guns aiming outward, but the threat was already handled. Kyber’s servos whined loudly enough that Zoron could hear them and the dead hound was pushed away.

Zoron keyed his mic, “I told you: heads up! I’m not doing any damned paperwork!” He watched Kyber get to his feet again. “Kyber. I’ve invested too much time in you already, don’t make me train a new apprentice.”


The scouting team led by Dru moved swiftly through the canyon edge. Progress was going better than Raistline had hoped for. Only thirty minutes had passed since their shuttle crashed on Korriban’s surface and they had nearly cleared the canyon. Their destination, a small pass through the rocky surface, lay less than a kilometer away. Lost in calculations, Raistline had not realised that the scouting group had stopped until Shaz’air gave him a light elbow to the ribs. Looking the short distance ahead to Dru’s scouting team Raistline could see the young Sith Warrior and his accompanied Darkfire troops standing before the mouth of a cave entrance along the rock wall.

“Scanners have picked up something,” the Darkfire captain spoke, listening to the voices coming in through his helmet. “They are going to give a quick check for possible threats.”

As the group continued their hike, Shaz’air and Raistline watched at a distance the movements of the Darkfire troops. Though the Force made distance unimportant in vision, their sight could not compare to that of the captain’s. His helmet’s HUD gave a live feed of a Darkfire soldier’s view, displaying translucent before the planet’s dismal terrain.

From his view he could see two Darkfires moving defensively into the cave ahead of Dru. The Sith Warrior’s cloak obscured his view for a moment as light within the cave dimmed. The infrared view lit up, casting stalagmites in a blue shade. Readouts of blood pressure and heat signatures aligned the side of his HUD. The front Darkfire’s hand came up calling for a halt.

The view showed two human bodies laying on the ground, readouts giving weak blood pulses. Bones of different animals lay scattered around them. Dru stepped up to the bodies and rolled one over. He pulled on the flight suit then stood up and began walking towards the entrance.

“Arconan,” he spoke as he walked away from Darkfire’s view, his voice coming through muffled. “Division XI medics. We don’t have time to interfere with something’s dinner.” His voice sounded disappointed. “We continue the mission. They are not ours to save.”

The front two Darkfire soldiers followed quickly behind Dru. The captain noted, as his Darkfire’s view turned, everyone was walking towards the entrance. Dru’s blood pressure jumped up on the HUD as his heat signature exploded into brilliance with Korriban’s light. As the view switched from infrared to normal sight bright light filled the view. A Darkfire body was hurled to the cave wall, where it lay still.

“Eyes front, we got trouble,” the captain called out, starting at a full run. The two Dark Jedi’s had already begun to sprint towards the cave. Skidding to the entrance, blades drawn they saw a hssiss leaning back and yelling as blaster fire struck its right side. The bright blue light from Dru’s lightsaber illuminated the cave entrance as he fought trapped under the hssiss’ front left foot.


In the lead, Aeson held up his hand and all three sections stopped and ducked into cover. The troopers scanned in all directions for threats, having learned from the last three tuk’ata attacks to watch for subtle movement. They’d managed to cover the kilometer or so without any serious injuries, but a few of the troopers’ armour showed deep gashes where the creatures’ claws had caught them.

“What do you have Aeson?” Zoron spoke into his mic quietly.

“We’re here. We should be safe enough for the moment.”

“Perfect, I’m coming up to you.” Toggling his comms to the whole group, he continued, “Darkfire, link up and watch our backs. Kyber stick with the Master Sergeant and keep out of trouble.” He closed the distance with Aeson and they worked their way down into a rift in the canyon edge.

Before they got more than twenty feet into it, a drawling voice came out of the shadows. “I wouldn’t come any closer if I were you.”

Both men stopped. Zoron pushed his senses out, but felt nothing except Aeson, Kyber, and the Darkfire troops nearby. After a moment he realized that Grey was probably hiding his presence. Found him. Well, sorta. “Mister Grey, I presume?”

“Depends on who is asking and what they want.”

Zoron looked at Aeson, who pointedly ignored him. I guess it’s on me to do the talking. Scowling, he spoke into the darkness. “We represent Clan Taldryan - you may have heard of us. We’re a little short on time, so I’ll be brief. We need your help to get us to some of our brethren who crashed in the Valley so that we can stop a ritual that will kill everyone on this planet and likely the next few systems.”

There was a long pause before Zoron saw a shimmer in the darkness as a man stepped into the light. Zoron watched as the man casually lit a cigarette and took a long drag on it.

As the man exhaled, he turned his focus to Zoron and pointed the cigarette. “And why, pray tell, would I help you?”

“Why would you want to help us save this planet?” Zoron was blunt as he continued, “I don’t know, maybe because you’re one of the idiots who lives on it!”

A deep laugh came from Grey and he waved his hand. “I was just messing with you. I gotta look out for my own interests. You don’t think all this -“ he tapped the side of his head, “- comes cheap, do you?”

“What are you looking for?”

Grey’s tone sobered and he answered immediately. “Access to the Tomb of Marka Ragnos.”

Zoron thought about the request. It wasn’t terribly unexpected, as the Tomb was difficult to access, even for experienced relic hunters. Anything left behind after this was all said and done wouldn’t be of much value anyways. Zoron held out his hand, “Done. By my word, you will have access once we finish securing it and leave.”

Grey shook Zoron’s hand quickly, leaving Zoron with a feeling that he might have agreed to something unwise. “Alright then. Let’s find your friends.”


Aiden Dru flailed on the ground under the immense pressure of the dark side beast, his downward incline making it impossible for him to get a decent angle of attack upon the monster. Loud, roaring hisses reverberated off the walls of the cave, deafening out Dru’s angry cries.

As Raistline’s boot breached the lip of the caves entrance, Shaz’air had already flown past him in a fully committed sprint towards the beast, a deep growl acting as his war cry as he plunged his body toward the hssiss.

“Shaz’air!” Shouted Raistline in protest as he saw the large Obelisk Primarch barrel his way straight at the beast’s front, exposing himself to it’s jaws.

Shaz’air moved with impeccable speed, and with a flash of light unsheathed the sapphire blade from it’s place at his hip and cut through the air until the large, sharp teeth of the hssiss wrap around the blue hued blade. Simultaneously as the weapon met it’s match against the jaws of the beast, Shaz’air’s arms and chest collided with the upper body of the beast; a loud thud emanating across the cave. The large, dark green beast was shifted off balance as Shaz’air put his full weight into the sith-manipulated animal. This distraction was enough for Dru to push against the back leg of his oppressor and roll out to safety.

The Captain of Darkfire Team 5 threw up a fist and then twirled it in the air, motioning for the rest of his unit to surround the mouth of the cave.

“Train your weapons, fire on command.” Yelled the captain in a calm and collected tone.

Raistline stood and watched the struggle, his lightsaber drawn. He was never a good fighter, and he would not make his stand for this Dark Crusade just yet. He raised a fist, reminding the unit that he was in control of Darkfire Team 5, and awaited for the judgment call from his peers within the cave.

Dru made haste to his feet and brought his weapon to bare, quickly coming up on the hssiss’ hind quarters. His bright blue weapon flashed in a downward descent, distracting the beast from Shaz’air long enough for him to gain his footing once more. The beast turned towards Dru, then slowly backed up so as to keep both Shaz’air and Aiden in it’s view, the sacramental weapon still clenched in it’s teeth.

Shaz’air put a hand to his forehead, grimacing. “Dru, I cannot see. This… thing is cutting off my vision in the force. I need you to tell me when to strike.”

“I… I cannot feel it in the force. It’s getting too dark… It feels like there is something very wrong… I-” Aiden’s words were drowned out by Raistline’s, followed by a bright purple light that flew overhead. The Krath’s weapon flew through the air between the Obelisk and the Sith, aimed at the hssiss. Shaz’air and Aiden lunged forward as the beast narrowly side-stepped the air born lightsaber, taking advantage of the temporary distraction.

Both of the Taldryan Dark Jedi leaped toward the hssiss, each grabbing one of it’s front legs with great force and pushing it backward until it was pressed against the wall. Shaz’air stood tall against the large sith-animal, his lightsaber illuminated in his free hand as he plunged it into the belly of the beast, a large growl echoing through the cave and into the tunnels below. The Obelisk Primarch quickly looked towards Raistline, and with the nod of his head motioned a command for Darkfire Team 5 to fire.

“Captain, open fire.”

“Fire on target!” The Captain’s words mimicked Raistline’s.

Bolts of energy shot towards the hssiss’s belly and underside, Shaz’air and Dru keeping the beast pinned against the wall of the cave. Moments passed and countless rounds of ammunition landed on their target. The two Dark Jedi let go of the hssiss in triumph. Raistline watched and reflected on what had transpired mere seconds earlier, about how quickly the predator became the prey.

The Krath turned on his heel as he felt a ping in the force. He looked over the landscape and saw a small group looming across the dusty plane. A smile crept across his face. “Shaz’air, Aiden… come up here.”

“Damnit, man! Enough with your kriffing Krath mysteries. Just tell us what you see!” Yelled Aiden Dru, the Sith Warrior throwing the dead carcass of the hssiss off of his center of gravity and sneered as the scaled creature fell to the floor in a limp fashion.

“The smile on Raistline’s face grew wider at Dru’s remarks. “It’s Zoron… they have Connor Grey!”


It would take some time but soon enough all six of the dark jedi would be able to regroup, Connor Grey in tow. With that matter resolved, it seemed that the company of six and their small attachment of Darkfire soldiers began their trek in full force. Following the same structure as before, they were separated out into smaller cells. Each group stood between ten and twenty meters apart, close enough to react if the adjacent group was in danger, but far enough to prevent being destroyed by an artillery shelling or monster attack.

They had made surprisingly good time - especially given their earlier difficulties - and so far had caught up on their time table moving to the next objective. That was of course, until Aeson held up his hand. Given his strength in using the Force to sense nearby creatures, he had focused on locating not only their objective, but also had taken to feeling out any of the wild monsters or enemy squadrons that presently roamed the surface of Korriban. Something about this area wasn’t quite right. His skill in sensing was usually excellent. It was for that same reason that the area ahead of them felt so strange. His usual keen sense through the Force was…blocked somehow. They could circumvent the strangeness, but if it was what he thought it to be then it would only follow them, extending an arduous trip beyond reason and destroying their time-sensitive battleplans. Activating his commlink, he informed the rest of the group of the oddity and had the Darkfire soldiers begin scouting ahead of them.

Some of the group even chuckled at the notion of having their troops go before them. Zoron, Dru, and Shaz’air didn’t hesitate to advance and take point before their groups, their hands a blink away from weapons. Whatever Aeson had sensed, they all felt confident enough in their abilities to take down any enemy head on. Aeson followed his own plan, intending to let his troops take any fall or travesty that might befall them. Kyber was still inexperienced, so he followed the order, sending his troops ahead while he in turn advanced at a delayed pace, concentrating and extending his consciousness through the Force. Raistline also took the advice, a bit more concerned with the last few drops in his hip flask than wading into battle once more. As the soldiers began their investigations a sense of dread filled them, as the slightest of tremors shook the ground, and jarred their souls.

The first victim of the surprise attack was a soldier from Aeson’s group. A cloud of dust erupted from the dunes, hulking and snarling. The soldier’s scream was silenced as bestial claws tore his head from his neck. Blasters were raised and began their salvo against the bestial cloud.

Without another thought, the three leading Dark Jedi spring into action. Aiden was the first to attack, practically grinning at the prospect of challenge. Strafing along to the beast’s right, he drew his throwing disks and sent them flying towards the target. A hulking limb raised itself to smack the miniscule weapons aside and with that he went in for the kill. Spinning and leaping beneath the beast’s overextended arm, he tried to cut out the beasts tree-trunk legs from under it. He was mildly surprised as the beast almost seemed to leap and cartwheel to one side, avoiding his strike entirely. He might have been struck by the beast’s counterattack had his strength in precognition not been so great. His Ataru form easily allowed him to backflip over the the blow and leap back to a safer distance.

Both Zoron and Shaz’air tried ranged attacks. Shaz’air threw his lightsaber, allowing the weapon to spin through the air like a deadly buzz-saw, guided by the Force. As it neared the creature’s range, the beast did the unthinkable. As the lightsaber was rotating horizontally, the monster swung an uppercut into the handle. Since the lightsaber spun around the hilt, that portion of it was always in the center of a thrown blade. Remarkably, the beast took advantage of that, sending the blade out of Shaz’air’s telekinetic control and flying through the air, with its claw bearing only a minor burn from complex technique.

Zoron was far more patient than his fellows, waiting for just the right moment to strike. Taking aim with his blaster, he allowed the Force to flow through him, providing clarity inaccessible to any non-Force wielder. Exhaling, he placed his shot. The beast seemed to belt briefly in pain as bloody ichor pooled from one of its eye sockets. Unfortunately, it still had one good eye, and it was pissed.

As Kyber caught up with the other groups, his video-display picked up the creature. It was a beast he had studied many times during his studies of ancient Sith Alchemy and its mutagenic effect on living creatures. Standing before them was one of the most feared beasts on Korriban. It was massive in size after centuries of feeding, mutated by both its tainted diet and exposure to dark side energies. This was a rare but highly dangerous sub-species of the Terentatek dubbed “The Terentatek Mauler.”

It was stronger and smarter than most normal Terentateks, and it was practically a walking tank that had a taste for Force-users and plenty of practice killing them. Standing on its hind legs and raising its mauling arms it roared, making itself look much larger, before smashing the quartz-ridden ground, sending out a shockwave of stinging sand, forcing many of the group to avert their eyes as it charged. Singling out the target that had caused it the most damage, it sought to barrel into Zoron before he could even raise his saber in his defense.


After the beast erupted in the midst of his men, Aeson quickly retreated while his companions and their subordinates continued to assault the Mauler directly. He had experience with terantateks before, most notably on a Star Destroyer that Taldryan expected to capture for the Dark Council. Fighting the normal beasts was a pain; they had a chitinous exoskeleton that resisted both puncture and energy weapon. They were determined; this monster was tougher, meaner, and would not stop its attack until either it or its opponents were dead. Aeson had no intention of engaging the beast at close range. He had used thermal detonators to destroy three animals on that aforementioned Star Destroyer and had destroyed half of the bridge in the process. Now he was banned from using his favorite ranged weapon on Brotherhood missions.

Aeson watched as Zoron allowed the beast to close on him and braced himself for the incoming blow. The slash was not a direct hit because the juggernaut was partially in the creature’s new blind spot created by the loss of its eye. However, Aeson saw Zoron’s Sith Battle Armor fracture and a small trail of blood trickle from the corner of the Aedile’s mouth. The Zeltron watched as, despite his injuries, Zoron shoved his DL-44 into the creature’s maw and fired a shot. Energy erupted through the back of the creature’s head.

Yet the shot seemed to have missed the Mauler’s tiny brain and whatever nervous system it had, because the beast clamped down on Zoron’s arm while it closed its outer mandibles around the juggernaut. Zoron’s blaster fired several more times, blasting apart the back plating of the beast’ skull. The Sith Warrior did his best to endure as he was shaken back and forth, until the beast, in agony, threw its head back and released both sets of jaws. Zoron landed about ten meters away, sprawling across the red rock and sand, his blood staining them a deeper crimson.

Shaz’air in the meanwhile, forsaking his lightsaber for the moment, drew his sapphire blade. The red environment and light transformed the bright blue blade into a shard of translucent purple crystal. The primarch channeled Force energy into his muscles and, driven by his hard determination, leapt onto the Mauler’s back and drove the alchemical blade through the chitin armor, deep into the creature’s thorax.

As the Mauler reared back at the pain of the wound caused by Shaz’air’s attack, it exposed its vulnerable underside, letting several of the Darkfire troops, led by Kyber, close on the animal, firing as they went.

"Aren’t you going to help them out?” Connor asked Aeson.

The Zeltron had been watching the melee while seated on the ground where he had landed after the initial assault. Even though the Priest had a flechette pistol holstered on each thigh and a lightsaber on his sash, he made no move to join his comrades in combatting the beast.

“Not at all,” the Zeltron replied. “That thing is already dead. It just does not want to admit it and that makes it all the more dangerous.”

As if those words were prophecy, the Mauler lunged forward, letting its body slam into the ground, crushing four Darkfire members beneath it. Shaz’air was thrown back up over the creature’s head. The sapphire blade had tore a deep gouge in the back of the terantatek and streams of purple ichor now flowed from many burns and the long gouge down its back.

Because he lacked the physical agility to manipulate the inertia, Shaz’air used his Force training to change position to land with a roll rather than landing flat on his back.

“Besides, someone had to stay back here and watch over you,” Aeson continued.

“To protect me or to keep me from taking the wise man’s path?” the fallen Jedi asked.

“Maybe both,” the Krath Priest replied.

The shaggy blond Epis, Raistline, charged the fallen beast and, using two hands, drove the blade of his lightsaber through the top of the terantatek’s head, twisting and pivoting as he went, so as to char everything inside.

The Mauler tried to rise once more but collapsed, life finally expunged from its husk.

"About three and a half minutes, six dead, five more wounded including Zoron. An entertaining little bout, don’t you think?” Aeson quipped to the smuggler.

"I’m sure that they don’t share your callousness,” Connor replied.

"Their problem. I’m here as liaison to you as well as to see that we reach Jac and the Old Folks so we can guide them out to our ship after they’ve squashed a bug named Muz. I will fight if I have to, but honestly, I will leave it to those better suited unless pushed. Once we reach the tomb, then you will see what I can do. If you can even see me, that is,” Aeson replied. “Jac knew that he would most likely not be able to return to his shuttle after his confrontation with Muz. We have too many forces aligned against us and they would home in on his shuttle like mynocks to a power coupling. Him getting shot down only complicates matters.”

“How is it that you know all these details? You are not very high on the Brotherhood’s power ladder from my understanding,” Connor asked of the Zeltron.

“Words are my best weapons,” Aeson responded. “You know that. How many times did you pick up our tabs for me? Very few people have the strength of will or personality not to answer my questions or to resist doing whatever I ask. Most of the time, I do not even have to resort to using the Force. Now shall we get this group moving before somebody or something comes to investigate the commotion. I assume we’ll be using the dry river bed?”


The team would be slightly crippled by their recent loses but would still need to press on. Six Dark Jedi, Connor Grey and roughly 17 dark-fire soldiers remained. Regrouping once more Kyber and Zoron’s squads merged, trailing behind the rest of the groups accompanied by some of the more wounded soldiers who could press on. Kybers tireless mechanical body helping to support Zorons own broken form and twisted limbs. Even if he had been given a double-shot of bacta and had the force to help recuperate wounds, he was still in less than sound shape.

“Master” Kyber began “I wanted to know…why is it that the brotherhood exists in the first place? I studied much about ancient with and famous users of the dark side and…everything I have seen and learned in the brotherhood seems to go against that.”

“Probably not the time for this kid gnh need to focus. But go on keep talking, it’ll keep my mind off this damn arm of mine”

“Well…in the teachings of Darth Bane, the Sith’ari, the force wasn’t a flame that could be handed off to many and burn ever brighter with each individual that used it as the jedi taught…he stated that it was as venom, and that pouring it into the cups of too many would dilute it, and weaken it. This is why when he remade the si-”

“Let me stop you right there kid” still clutching his arm and biting his cloak. With a quick twist and a push, the Dark Jedi’s arm was back in its rightful socket.

“Whew. Ok, now let me set this straight. We’re not the Rule of Two, nor are we the One Sith. We are the Brotherhood of Dark Jedi. That means to an extent yes, we are Jedi. We believe the effort of a hundred normal people can easily surpass the raw talent of the lone genius.”

He would wince again as a particularly sharp pain ran through his arm “And I’ll admit, we aren’t the fastest or easiest path to power…but unlike the jedi we don’t hold our students backs when they have potential, nor do we let them fling themselves into an abyss of existential darkness. We’re not poison, and we’re not a fire, we are stone. And stones are needed to build other stones up to greater heights. If they break, then we move on. If they don’t fit, we reshape them. And if they are great, then we let them shine. We are DARK Jedi, not Sith. Does that make sense?”

“I…I think that does. Yes.” Nodding in agreement they would continue their trek which would soon be all the more hazardous.

As they marched ever closer to the crash site, their final obstacle would emerge. Enemy camp-sites. They would either need to find a way to sneak past, or destroy them. Sneaking would be easier with their smaller numbers, but it would also mean that they would need to fight their whole way back.

They were supposed to have the Massassi warriors as reinforcements then, but it would still be a (quite literal) uphill battle from the crash site.


The group continued their travel across the dangerous terrain of Korriban. Through Conner Grey’s guidance their trek led them through passages in the mountain side. Explosions grew louder as they went on. Now everyone stood upon a plateau looking down upon the entrance of the Tomb. No words were spoken, for no one could find any to describe the sight before them.

War had engulfed the Valley of the Jedi. At first glance all that could be seen was the smoke. As their senses enhanced their sight they could see blaster fire coming from all directions. Like a violent rainbow, multiple colors of lightsabers swung through the air at their victims. Death and destruction was a visible path leading to the Tomb of Marka Ragnos. Near the entrance of the Tomb a part of the aft of a star destroyer lay burning, filling the valley with smoke.

The sky above was just as violent. Shuttles and troop transports fought there way to the planet’s surface, most never reaching the ground in one piece. Starfighters screamed above them to the horizon, their shadows reflecting the deadly dance on the rocks below.

The Force flooded their senses, not only the power the valley gave off, but from the carnage below. Death and pain came to them overwhelmingly from those dying below. Hatred, power, strength. These thoughts filled each member, each feeling the same violent urge within him to join in battle with Taldryan. Their hands went unconsciously to their weapons as an urgency filled them to action.

“I guess I’ll be taking my payment now,” Connor spoke humorously, nodding his head to the battle as he lit a cigarette. Zoron looked at him confused, as if coming out of a trance.

“Yeah,” he replied, regaining his focus. “This isnt your battle.” He pulled a data card from his belt and handed it to Connor. “It’s not like you’re gonna meet any resistance if you wait for us to all kill each other. Theres everything Taldryan has on the tomb.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll wait it out,” Connor replied dryly. He saddled himself up on a flat rock and continued to watch the spectacle below him. “You’ll want to take that path,” he spoke with looking away from his, flicking his cigarette towards a trail behind a fire scarred lonely tree.

Moving silently, but urgently down the trail the dark jedi concealed themselves and the Darkfire soldiers through the Force. They did not worry about giving their location away for the battle was deafening. Explosions, screams and blaster fire covered their tracks. No one spoke, each preparing for battle in their own way, though each having the urge to break away and join in battle.

As the pass turned around the valley their vision was dilluded. Smoke from the star destroyer wreckage assaulted their lungs and stung their eyes. They sat, hidden behind a rock outcropping, now level with the valley and the battle. No Taldryan forces could be seen from their position. All wore emblems of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood.

“Any ideas?” Zoron asked, keeping his head low and looking ahead.

Aeson, squatted next to him, making sure the rocks did not dirty his knees. “Head for the star destroyer wreckage. We can defend the tomb from there.”

“We’d get picked off before we reached it,” Kyber spoke, noting the Arconan defense to their left.
Everyone ducked down as an explosion blew rocks from behind them.

“Theres so much going on i doubt we’d be noticed. I can’t even feel the others in tomb if they are even there!” Shaz’air’s voice bit in anger.

“I bet they are all in there: Jac, Muz, and Esoteric’s forces.” Raistline voice trailed off. “We might be too late.”

Zoron eyed up the scene. Ahead of them the burning remnants of a star destroyer. Chemicals, paints, plastic and metal burning to kill them off before they could accomplish their goal. To their left an Arconan assault team, which have established a defense. To their right a mountainous rock wall to the Valley of the Jedi.

“Darkfire, adjust weapons to sniper.” Zoron’s voice was low but powerful. “Everyone is going to take refuge in that wreckage, but don’t fire unless we are over overdrawn. Our job is to kill or protect those coming out of the tomb, depending on who the may be.”


The Darkfire team did as they were commanded. The sounds of quick, hustled maneuvers clanked mutely against the loud barrage of war that lay before them in the Valley of the Jedi. The company of Ektrosis watched in silence, each Jedi weighing their options in the secrecy of their minds.

Shaz’air and Aiden Dru were huddled beside one of the sniper teams, both Dark Jedi wishing that they could be where the snipers were training their sights on, fighting. Disdain encompassed Raistline as he watched the bloodshed of war ensue before his eyes; but he could not look away, envying the carelessness that Connor and Aeson portrayed at the mayhem which lay before the company. History was being written for the Brotherhood, and Raistline had no choice but to witness as this dark tale unfolded. His very being demanded it.

The Arconan encampment was relatively silent until now. Large explosions and bright elastic colors filled their quadrant of the valley as laser cannons began to pelt their targets at a distance near the entrance to the tomb.

“We need to focus our fire on the Arconans. We must not sit idly by and watch as our enemy reaks havoc upon our allies, Zoron.” Shaz’air spoke aloud so as to be heard over the cannon fire erupting from Arconan camp. “Every minute that passes we lose more ground.”

Kyber knelt behind his master, darting from one army to the next as they waged war within the valley as he eagerly awaited a response to what the Taldrya had said.

Zoron remained motionless, his calm and collected demeanor shining through the dust-filled air. Moments passed. Shaz’air’s words hung in the balance of the Ektrosis Dark Jedi, each man waiting upon the response of their Aedile. Zoron finally took his gaze off of it’s target and turned to face the large Obelisk Primarch to his right. His eyes narrowed upon Shaz’air’s face as he measured the Taldrya’s emotionless expression.

They all watched their young leader for any amount of response, the wheels of anticipation spinning at a rapid rate amongst the Taldryan Jedi. The standoff between Taldryan’s previous Quaestor and Ektrosis’s current Aedile continued for what seemed like an eternity before Shaz’air nodded in silent agreement, his head bowing slightly towards his Aedile.

“As you wish,” said Shaz’air finally before returning his gaze toward the battlefield, his right hand falling at his hip to lay rest beside his prized lightsaber. “Forgive my questioning you, my brother.”

Understanding that they had one mission, one purpose filled the group of Sith, Krath and Obelisk as the Darkfire sniper teams called out that they were set and trained on their targets. There was no room for a hasty response to the carnage that engulfed their vision. They needed to respect their orders and remain true to their chain of command. This is what made Taldryan different from the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. Their motto stood true, even among the strain of insurmountable death and desire.

A Brotherhood within a Brotherhood.

Kyber shot up from his bent down position, his hand pointing towards the entrance of the tomb. “I see a Taldryan crest! An Elder of Taldryan!”

All of the Ektrosian company turned to where the Guardian’s outstretched hand was pointing towards. A sense of re-purpose filled them as they saw a figure at the entrance of the tomb of Marka Ragnos batting away oncoming foes with a lightsaber in each hand. His strokes were calculated, but strained. The figure did not stand upright and with every blow seemed to cause more and more of a struggle for the entity.

“I can feel a change in the force,” Said Raistline, his prowess in the force issuing far beyond most of his companions. “Kyber is right. That feels like the man I once knew, Master Aidan Kincaid…” As the words escaped the Krath’s lips, the figure retreated back into the mouth of the tomb and out of sight. “But that is not the same man I know. That is a changed man. Something is wrong.”

“Alas, the horrors that are transpiring inside the gaping maws of Mark Ragnos’ tomb are taking the toll on Taldryan’s strongest… There is no room for us in there.” Aeson spoke in a prophetic tone. Silence engulfed the company as they considered the image they had just seen, their minds wandering as to what was transpiring within the dark tunnels of the tomb.

Was the famed Dark Jedi Master Aidan Kincaid attempting to make an escape, or trying to give a sign for his friends to come save him and the rest of the Taldryan Elders? This question, along with countless others filled the minds of the Ektrosis team. Zoron broke the silence.

“Darkfire, I say again, don’t fire unless we are overdrawn. Ektrosis,” continued the Aedile. “We make our march onto the wreckage of that ship. We will not stop until we have secured our position and ensured a safe exit from our Elders. Muz will be brought down. This is his trial, and he has been found guilty. Jac will put down this monster, and end this massacre with the head of Ashen and Esoteric in his grasp!”


Aeson looked down on the travesty taking place before him. He felt an odd sense of dismay and humor. In many ways, the Dark Brotherhood reminded him of his home world of Zeltros. The so-called brethren and their constant quest for personal power was much like his own people and their pursuit of pleasure. However, where Zeltrons for the most part avoided hurting another person, The Brotherhood tore at itself like swarming piranha beetles. Winnowing the weak and harvesting the strong for its own mutated existence. Taldryan for the most part was above this; the Sons and Daughters of Taldrya really, for the most part, did look out for one another. There were internal rivalries and feuds but when the clarion sounded, all Taldrya answered united.

This is why all the other clans and houses feared and resented Taldryan. Though it had always been one of the smaller houses, it was by far the most influential and had won in the past more victories in struggles from within and without the Dark Brotherhood. They had been named First clan more times than all the other clans and houses put together. They had earned the right to be called the defenders of the Iron Throne. Many of their best had sacrificed heavily to make it so.

Now the Iron Throne had betrayed them.

Moreover, as usual the other clans and houses turned on them calling them rogues. Only the small house of Odann-Ur and its cadre of light Jedi and Scholae Palatinae had chosen to stand against the madness of Muz Ashen.

Moreover, of course Clan Arcona stood with Muz. Whether they truly agreed with the Grandmaster’s plans or they were taking advantage of the chaos to rid themselves of the thorn called Taldryan was yet unknown.

Aeson knew that this division would not go unnoticed. From his own travels throughout the galaxy, the Zeltron knew that the Alliance intelligence and the small force of Jedi under Skywalker kept a wary eye on both Korriban and Antei. There had always been too much disorder after the fall of the Empire and the subsequent skirmishes with the Imperial Remnant , its own political chaos and then the Yuuzhan Vong, to ever move against the Brotherhood or even reoccupy the Darkest planet in the known galaxy. Nevertheless, this. This travesty the all out assault against the so called One Sith , and with the destruction of Antei and now the Battle raging across the surface of Korriban, the eyes of the galaxy would surely turn on the Brotherhood.

Normally, Aeson would stand off in the shadows, wait for the anarchy to end and then step in and pick up any fallen treasures left behind. In fact, during the assaults on the One Sith, Aeson had pocketed many small treasures and a few scrolls for his own use. However, for all his blasé appearance, the Priest knew that Taldryan was fighting for its life in many ways.