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[GJW XI] Scholae Palatinae: Team Green Monkeys


Team Green Monkeys:
KAP Koryn Thraagus - #9761
SW Eetherbiail Zarih’Taen - #11484
GRD Arthadonis Kalderis - #13833
PRT Acrturus Moore - #14080

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.


39 ABY
Valley of the Dark Lords

The cold winds swirled through the valley, lashing sands and rubble from the great Sith statues lining the canyon. Twisted cadavers lay half-decomposed, the terrain around them stained darker where blood had mixed with silt and stone. Beside them, craters in the land told tales of artillery bombardments and bombing runs. A lone woman stood amongst the fallen, clad in black and grey robes, a hood pulled low over her face protecting against both weather and identification even as gusts threatened to tear it from her head. A single strand of crimson hair fell over a violet eye, which she absently brushed back as she focused on the currents of the Force and - more specifically - the details of recent events in the Valley.

“It is far worse than I feared,” she muttered to herself. She held a hand up to protect against the harsh sunlight as she cast her gaze over the Tomb of Marka Ragnos. It was but the merest shadow of its former magnificence. The majestic statue that had held reverence over the tomb lay now as if huddled over in agony. What had once been the entrance now lay indistinguishable to all who did not know where to look for it, the ceiling having collapsed in and rubble strewn about the area. The Dark Side was strong on Korriban, within the Sith Lords’ resting places especially, yet now the Tomb of Marka Ragnos stood as a void in the Force as though ripped from existence.

Her rage thundered through her at the lack of respect to sacred ground shown by this fractured Brotherhood. Her abilities magnified tenfold, a nearby fallen black stone obelisk fractured and split, the target of her ire.

“My Masters must be informed at once,” she hissed, bottling her anger for use however her Masters commanded.

38 ABY
Scholae Palatinae Forward Operations Base Camp

Koryn awoke with a start, instinctively grabbing for his blaster and aiming at the entrance to his tent. The man standing there - one of his honour guard - didn’t even flinch; the Rodian made a mental note of his fortitude, he could be useful later. Koryn lowered his weapon as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

“My Lord,” spoke the man, knocking his fist against the armour over his heart as he bowed slightly before standing to attention. “Commander Zarih’Taen wishes to speak with you."

“Very good, captain,” replied the Rollmaster as he rose and began to gather his equipment. “Inform him I will be with him shortly.” The guard gave another small bow before turning to leave the tent. As he pulled on his boots, Koryn took a moment to gather his thoughts. The vision had been so clear to him just moments ago, but as with all dreams there existed only an ink blot of vagueness now he was awake. Closing his eyes, he focused the Force, willing it to offer him another glimpse. The briefest image was all he received: cracked black stone and a woman standing beside it. Thraagus shook his head in dismissal of the thoughts before pushing open the fabric door to his tent. The two honour guards posted outside stood to attention as he exited and moved towards the Zeltron standing a short distance away.

“The soldiers have taken up defensive positions a short distance into the Valley,” informed Eetherbiail as the pair walked through the camp. Around them, soldiers were preparing for deployment as others took up patrol routes around the base. “Recon reports indicate Ashen’s troops are dug in deep and Esoteric is still engaging in guerrilla warfare out of Ajunta Pall’s Tomb.” Koryn nodded sagely as the pair approached the other half of their team. An astromech sat between Arcturus and Arthadonis projecting a map of the Valley.

“Our men are ready to move out when we are,” said Arcturus, not looking up from the map as an overlay wiped across the hologram to display known troop movements. “We should rendezvous with the main defensive forces before deciding our course of action. We can’t effectively strategise until we’ve seen firsthand exactly what we’re dealing with.”

“A sound plan,” remarked Eetherbiail approvingly. “I suggest we deploy before we burn too much daylight; we have a war to win gentlemen.”


38 ABY, 3 Months Ago
Korriban - Valley of the Dark Lords
Three Forces Clash, A Shadow on the Horizon

The sky churned with clouds and dust on Korriban, the Valley of the Dark Lords was completely still. The Valley of the Dark Lords was cracked, skewed, and the world was out of balance. Two Twi’lek females, with an unusual teal pigment to their skin, wearing light clothing due to Korriban’s temperature stood in front of the Tomb of Ajunta Pall.

The fortified location giving access to many areas around the Valley, lay deserted, and not a single sound stirred as the twin Twi’leks walked through. The Ust’essi sisters walked through the area, dust and sand swirled behind them as they strode. The wind made no noise as it picked up debris and gathered it together. The further they entered, the larger the swirling sands rose. Their forms darkened through the storm; they moved along unseen.

As the dust and sand settled, the land morphed and distorted. A lone man in a dark cloak stood in front of a sealed rock face, “It must be mine…here in Marka Ragnos’ tomb…all of this trouble will not be for nothing.” The Grand Master muttered to himself, completely unaware of the twin Jedi next to him. He was either absorbed in his obsession, or they were in reality not really there. They slowly walked up to the face of the rock and put their hands on it as their vision dissipated. They trailed their fingers down the side, curious and awe inspired smiles broke their passive oval-shaped faces. Their giddiness flowed off of them in waves, together in unison; they turned from the tomb and walked away. Their head-tails swayed in the soundless wind as they vanished without a trace.

The Valley cracked and shattered, once the shards of the world cleared, they revealed a lone man in a form fitting suit. The lone man standing above the Valley was Jac Cotelin. The wind tousled his brown hair as his brown eyes took in all that stood before him, the forces of the One Sith and Grand Master Muz Ashen below. Silence surrounded him; he emanated calm grace, and determination.

38 ABY, Current
Scholae Palatinae Forward Operations Base Camp

“Start packing up,” Eether said aloud. “We’ll meet the main defensive force and split off again.”

The Zeltron pointed to a position on the holo-map north-west of the camp. “This is where another one of our teams are going to be, we should make sure we don’t fire there. It would be a waste to kill our own troops, even at the cost of the enemies.” The Sith paced back and forth, deep in thought as he contemplated a plan. “Before we can even think about getting to the tomb and help Jac obtain whatever it is that Muz is after, we need to deal with Esoteric’s forces around the Tomb of Ajunta Pall. They’re able to harass two different sides, and are holding a strategic point in the Valley.”

Eether rubbed his eyes in frustration. There were too many factions involved, too many hold points. It would take a miracle to succeed.

“Get ready everyone, Arcturus with me.”

The group started to gather gear and equipment as they busied themselves; Eether and Arcturus entered the command tent and started to gather what they needed. “Don’t forget the maps over there. This will be your first war; you’ll need to be ready and prepared. Either you prove yourself, or perish…I’d hate for my first apprentice to die on me.”

Arcturus chuckled, “It’ll take a lot more than this to get rid of me Sir.”

Koryn opened a flap to the tent, “Commander, we’re ready.”

“Alright men, let’s head into the Valley.”


As Leth company passed into the valley, the passage they took opened up to a huge chasm that stretched out in every direction. On either side massive cliffs marked the borders of the valley of the dark lords and huge statues and pillars dotted the landscape acting as markers for navigation and troop deployments. Looming over it all was the ancient Sith academy accessible only through cave networks and opposite that the valley very suddenly and dangerously dropped kilometers into the landscape below. All of these factors made the valley the perfect place for a war and Arthadonis half believed that the valley was designed that way for that precise reason as if the ancient Sith held wars in the valley and watched the results from atop the Academy. Howling wind, endless sandstorms and blinding sunlight made it difficult to see or hear effectively for most save for force users. This was both a blessing and a curse for all 3 factions in this battle as ultimately it meant the war would be won not by the troops but by their Sith masters.

“Our main forces are positioned about 14 kilometers northwest of here behind those ruins. They’re too large to circumvent so we’ll need to navigate through them if we want to make the rendezvous. The last reports we received were a bit sketchy but they seemed to indicate a small New Order garrison, probably a scout troop stationed within.” Eether said reciting from memory. “It shouldn’t be a problem though and even if they get a message off to Esoteric’s HQ we’ll be long gone before any reinforcements arrive.”

“Even so we should avoid letting them notify Esoteric of our position and movement, correct intel is the most valuable resource we have and making sure our enemies don’t get any themselves is a top priority.” Koryn replied taking a moment to ensure everyone was clear on this.

“True enough, we’ll just have to be a bit more careful.” Eether admitted.

“You sound almost disappointed master.” Arc joked eliciting a chuckle from the Zeltron warrior.

“I suppose I am, I was hoping we’d make a clear announcement of our arrival to those traitors and let them cower for a while knowing we’re out here.” He said grinning wickedly.

“There’ll be plenty of time for glory and battle. Koryn’s right, knowledge is the currency of this war and we need to spend it wisely.” Arth interjected. “Besides there’s nothing wrong with a little subterfuge.” He added smirking at the others.
"In any case we need to prepare for the ruins, Arc, Arth, fall back and notify the troops of our plan, make sure they are clear on not letting the enemy forces get a message off.

“Yes sir.” The young apprentices replied and slowed their pace to relay the information to the troop convoy following the Sith.

A few hours later the platoon had closed the distance and were now at the edge of the ruins. The layout pointed at the rubble once being a tremendous tomb of some sort however what remained was little more than broken pillars and cross-connected pathways almost like a maze.

“Ready yourselves, until we make it to the other side we are on high alert.” Koryn shouted making sure everyone heard him. The troops took a few moments to make final inspections of their weapons and armor before they all entered the ruins.


The entrance of the ruined tomb loomed before the approaching Sith like the mouth of a gargoyle. The shattered pillars and crumbling walls were only a shadow of what once must have been a magnificent structure, but the ancient architecture was still sturdy enough to cast deep shadows across the dead sands. The muffled march of boots on sand was the only sound to accompany the whistling wind, and the depths of darkness within the tomb seemed to whisper. A chilling breeze drifted across Arcturus’s neck and he shuddered.

“I have a bad feeling about-“

“Shut it,” Eether snapped. “We don’t need to hear every thought that crosses your mind, apprentice.”

Arcturus nodded silently, feeling the heat rise in his cheeks. The Sith stopped just inside the entrance of the tomb, letting their senses expand to probe the interior of the monument as their soldiers activated glow rods and rifle lights.

“There’s something here,” Arth muttered. Koryn nodded beside him.

“I feel it too. It’s faint, but not distant. It’s almost like it’s…”

“Being hidden.” The three older Dark Jedi turned to face Arcturus, who stood with a furrowed brow and a calculating scowl.

“There’s no main enemy force for clicks in any direction. We would’ve heard about it from the forward forces if there were. There’s no kind of wildlife left in these caverns that should project that kind of energy, and if it were a scouting force then we would’ve seen their lights in the ruins long ago.

There’s only a couple of reasons a cloaked force would be this far behind enemy lines: they’re intending to interrupt auxiliary advances, or to assassinate valuable targets.”

The group of Sith stood in silence for a contemplative moment, but it was the Rollmaster who broke it.

“Why should we trust your opinion, protector?” he inquired, emphasizing Arcturus’s lesser rank. The Chiss took note of the subtlety and dipped his head in a shallow bow.

“Forgive me, Lord Thraagus. It was the only approach that made sense; it’s how I would choose to kill you.”

The young Sith choked back a cry as he felt a crushing weight upon his shoulders. He dropped to one knee and groaned, straining against the pressure. His muscles vibrated with exertion but finally gave out, his hands falling into the dirt before him and his chest heaving. His master stood over him, his hand extended just above his shoulders.

“Mind your tongue, youngling,” Eether growled. Koryn watched the exchange and suppressed the urge to chuckle.

“I’m surprised at you, Eether. You didn’t seem the type to encourage such… personality.”

The piercing glare from beneath the Zeltron’s hood was the only reaction that Koryn needed. He turned back to the tomb with his narrow snout turned up in a slight grin. He stared into the darkness, trying to come up with a plan.

“He is correct, unfortunately. There’s likely a cloaked force in these ruins, either waiting for us or actively pursuing us. I don’t like the idea of losing foot soldiers to an unknown threat, so I think it best that they wait behind us.”

He spun around with a whirl of his cloak and addressed a captain standing at ready, telling him to set a delay timer. The soldier nodded, clicked his heels, and set the clock. He ordered his men into defensive positions and saluted the Dark jedi once they were in place. Koryn turned back to the tomb and strode forward, his brothers in darkness following behind him.

The crypt air was thicker than fermented milk. The whorls of dust in the air brushed against the skin and robes of the Lords, giving the darkness an almost living quality. They wove their way around outcroppings and fallen pillars, probing with their senses and stepping carefully around anything that could create noise. Once the entrance had been well and truly swallowed by the shadows of the dead, they came to a collapsed passage.

The wall had fallen in such a way as to divide the path in two, branching into different sections of the ruins. The Dark Jedi stopped at the pass, and Arthadonis grunted under his breath. He rubbed at his brow and muttered to himself.

“This place is full to the brim of death and decay. I can hear… I can feel the power waiting to be brought back to life.”

Koryn sighed.

“If only we had the time to stay and study it. Hopefully it will remain after we’ve won this idiotic war.”

The Rollmaster let his senses probe further, but there was no sign of the mysterious presence drawing any closer. He made the decision to split the group, the impending count of their soldiers weighing heavily on his mind.

“Arth, come with me. Eether, take your apprentice and search the eastern hall. The quicker we take care of this nonsense, the quicker we can move on.”

Arth nodded and stepped over to his Rollmaster, still holding his forehead. Eether began to stride down the left hallway, sparing no time. Arcturus followed behind him, casting an inquisitive glance at the Krath behind him. Koryn smiled to himself.

Today would be a trial for all.

Koryn and Arthadonis made their way down the hall, tracing their hands on the walls and across the faint imprints of runic carvings that lay there. Koryn let his thoughts drift to the possibilities that lay within, the secrets that could be uncovered. If he could harness the power that remained here, he could unlock so much. Perhaps he could even be Grand-

Hands of shadow, boots of wind. Weapons like whispers of smoke in the night sky.

Koryn recoiled from the premonition but suppressed the cry that came to his throat. He glanced over to Arthadonis, who nodded at him, and the two Dark jedi faded into the shadows. The hall grew silent, and the trap was ready to be sprung.

“Master, do you think the Rodian sent us here to be killed? His senses are far more honed than ours, it is entirely possible that he saw the threat coming our way and thought it a convenient way to remove competition.”

Eether sighed to himself and fought back the urge to snap his apprentice’s neck. The boy would learn eventually, but for now he had to entertain the questions.

“Not everyone plots as frequently as you do, Arcturus. It serves no purpose when this kind of war is upon us. I suggest you focus on the matter at hand, lest you find yourself joining the spirits here.”

Arcturus frowned.

“I don’t see how-“

Footsteps in the dark.

“Sithspit,” Arcturus spat. The Lords drew their sabers and brought them to life, painting the halls in a blue-red haze.


38 ABY

Eetherbiail sighed aloud and muttered, “You just had to say something Arcturus. I’m not sure if you will make it to knighthood with your luck.”

An extremely thin humanoid entered the room on the opposite side with two other people, one on each side of them. They were illuminated by the red and blue sabers, Eether made sure not to look directly at the blade and avoid night blindness. The middle figure’s face was obscure behind the shadows of a hood, but a glowering killing intent radiated from them.

The two figures on the side had no discernable physical features that portrayed their allegiances. The middle figure pulled their hood back, revealing a hypnotizing beauty. She had no hair, and her head shimmered and danced in the light of the blades. She squinted at the two Dark Jedi with a hint of blue color. Eetherbiail raised an eyebrow, unsure if her skin was see through with a blue tint or she reflected more of his lightsabers color.

Eether recognized her instantly, she was Dantella Novae, the commander of Esoteric’s forces in the Valley. Eether lowered his eyes at her in a scowl, if we take her out, we can secure Marka Ragnos’ tomb with incredible ease.

Arcturus stood frozen, unsure of whether to attack or defend. He looked at his master without taking his eyes off the enemy completely. Eether attempted to send calm reassurances to his apprentice, if we ran into Esoteric’s forces here, perhaps Koryn has evaded detection Eether thought to himself.

“So you were skulking around here underground as well Dantella? Not trying to go behind your master’s back and take the secrets of the tomb for yourself were you?”

Dantella scoffed at his remark, her face tightened and anger flowed off of her in waves. She looked at the Sith Warrior in the eyes, “I still work for my master, but it does not hurt to…benefit myself.”

Eether took a step forward so he was ahead of Arcturus in a protective maneuver.

Dantella pulled her lightsaber from within her baggy robe and ignited her lightsaber, a crimson blade flared to life. She held it at an angle, her thumb pointed towards Eether, “Too bad you will never find out what was beneficial for me. You will not make it out of here alive. The three of us can easily take you and your follower. After that, we will take Jac and your Grand Master out.”

Eetherbiail looked at Arcturus and muttered, “She’s a duelist. I will handle her. It might take everything I have, watch out for her daggers, they’re poison. You take out the grunts. Either we kill them and meet up with Koryn, or they double back and reinforce us. Either way we have to handle our own.”

He nodded towards Eether just as Dantella yelled, “Stop speaking and die!”
She lunged forward and struck fast and true at Eether’s shoulder. He blocked it and pushed back with force. Before she could pull away, Eether grabbed the grunt on the left and used the Force to slam him into the other grunt, hoping to give Arcturus an advantage as Dantella attempted to strike at Eether again.

I hate to admit this Koryn, Eether thought as he grunted as the lightsaber hit his with great force, but I could use your help!


Koryn’s fingers wrapped around the hilt of his litch blade: a vicious, jagged weapon for vicious work. His eyes pierced the gloom with natural ease as he weaved between the assassins hunting for both himself and Arthadonis. The Rodian’s form became visible as his hand gripped tightly over an assassin’s mouth, preventing him from crying out and alerting his companions. The blade was brought swiftly across the man’s throat as Koryn faded to a shimmer.

Suddenly, the Force whispered through the ruins. It spoke of danger; it spoke of assistance. Koryn knew their comrades were in danger and he reached out to touch the Guardian’s mind, imprinting two distinct thoughts: trouble, retreat. He felt Arthadonis’ movement through the chamber as he fell in step behind, heading back to where they had come from.

“I felt it too,” announced the Kaleesh once they were a sufficient distance from the ambush site. “Could it be Esoteric showing himself?” The Rollmaster shook his head.

“No, I doubt he would concern himself with this place,” he speculated as the pair wound through the corridors. “Although I fear their attacker may be almost as powerful. May the Force keep them safe until we get there.”

The blows rained down thick and fast against Eetherbiail’s cyan blade. He was forced to draw on every second of his years of training to merely survive. Arcturus had dispatched his assailants, although not entirely unscathed. There was a cut along his arm, running from his elbow almost to his wrist. His deep blue flesh knitted itself together as he focused his mind, keeping out of Novae’s reach at the bidding of his Master.

Their weapons were a blur in the gloom as the two combatants danced around each other when a swift kick brought the Zeltron low. The Adept’s knee slammed into him, leaving a trail of blood leaking from his nose as he was thrown backwards. The Sorceress stood over him, her crimson blade raised to end him. With unnatural speed, Koryn burst into the chamber with Arthadonis close behind, threwing himself in front of the killing blow parrying the blade with his own.

“You deny me my kill?” shrieked Dantella, her lightsaber locked with the Rodian’s. “His life is mine!”

“Stand down,” Koryn ordered through gritted teeth, breaking the lock and pushing the Umbaran back. With a flourish, his Westar was in his off hand, aimed directly at Eetherbiail as he pulled himself to his feet. “Both of you stand down. Dantella, this wasn’t part of our deal. I need him alive.”

“What deal? You would betray us all to her and her Master?” asked the Sith incredulously.

“I’m no traitor Eether,” urged Koryn. “Everything I’ve done has been calculated to ensure the continued survival of Scholae Palatinae.” Slowly realisation spread across the Zeltron’s face.

“You’ve made arrangements with all of the factions in this war. You sell the House to every corner of the galaxy and insist you’re its saviour?” Eetherbiail paused for a moment as he pondered the situation. The Zeltron knew of the shadow wars the Krath played throughout the Brotherhood’s political system, despising it even as it benefitted the House.

“Think for a moment,” insisted the Rollmaster. “If Jac loses this war, what becomes of us? At best we are given an opportunity to bend the knee to the victor and assimilated into their Brotherhood. Most likely we will be killed as traitors to the Iron Throne. I am the saviour we need and no one will be any the wiser as to how close to destruction we came or what I did for them.”

“The Emperor doesn’t know, does he?”

“The Emperor knows all he needs to know lest he be politically compromised. I trust it will remain so,” replied Koryn strategically as he lowered his blaster and turned his attention back to the Umbaran. “Let us leave with no further bloodshed. The knowledge and secrets of these ruins are still yours to uncover as we agreed.” After what felt like an age had passed, the Adept deactivated her lightsaber.

“So be it,” she reluctantly agreed. “But if you would change the terms of our agreement by trespassing here, then so would I. No longer will my forces be ordered to let you freely pass through the Valley. Neither will they be ordered to attack you on sight, however. Now go, leave this place.” Koryn replaced his weapons on his belt, and bowed to Dantella, offering a word of thanks in Rodese. The team turned to leave, none of them deigning to look at what they considered the traitor in their midst. A smile simply played on Koryn’s mouth as he pondered his next moves in the game he played across the galaxy.


Arcturus marched on as the footsteps of soldiers drew closer behind them, wincing at the pain wracking his body. The wound in his arm had sealed, but he could still feel the jagged pain lancing through the muscles beneath his skin. Proper treatment was unlikely, meaning that the scar would last.

He followed several steps behind his master and the other Dark Jedi, watching their gaits. Lord Thraagus led the march with an air of arrogance. He was satisfied with his machinations, and he knew that his inferiors wouldn’t try to meddle in the affairs of a Krath.

Arcturus felt a snarl begin to form on his lips. He had been shunted aside like a broken tool, cast away with little regard. The heat rising in his chest would not let this happen.

He let his senses envelope his Zeltron master, probing the penumbra of his emotions. Eether’s anger at the Rollmaster returned to him in jagged spikes, only barely dulled by years of careful control.

Arcturus cast his gaze upon Arthadonis but found him much harder to read. His aura of hatred was more foreign to the Chiss than Eether’s was, and Arcturus wasn’t prepared to probe deeper. What information he did receive revealed that Arth was enraged at being a tool in the plot of another.

Perhaps this could work after all.

“Perhaps you are not as talented at this game as you think, Thraagus.”

The Rodian halted in his tracks and the other two stopped with him. Koryn turned around slowly, his antennae quivering with anger and anticipation.

“Whatever do you mean, Protector?”

Arcturus fought back the urge to smile. As he expected, the Rollmaster’s resolve had rarely been tested so openly. This could only be too easy.

He kept a stern mask of concern painted upon his blue face, choosing his words carefully.

“You believe yourself a sly master of manipulation, but all you have done is let the enemy slip through your fingers. Rather than end her when she had turned her back, you have let her continue on her way to the Tomb of Marka Ragnos. Whatever she seeks, it is now hers with little effort. You’ve played the game so well that you’ve let the pieces drop from your fingers.”

A low drone came from the Rodian’s snout and Arcturus felt the air around his shoulders begin to condense. He braced himself for what would come next.

Rollmaster Thraagus flung his arms out at Arcturus, slamming him into a stone pillar with a thud. The pillar rumbled and swayed, striking Arcturus’s heart with a flash of panic, but it held still.

“How dare you? I hold the very lives of our order in the palm of my hand, you sniveling whelp! If it weren’t for my genius, you would lie dead at the feet of Dantella.”

He took three quick steps forward and raised his hands as arcs of electricity began to jump across his fingers.

Arcturus’s crimson eyes flashed between Arthadonis and Eether as he prayed for their assistance. If he had misjudged them, this could be his final misstep.

Koryn put his hands together as if he would grasp Arcturus’s skull between them and lightning began to leap between his palms.

“The great House Scholae Palatinae has no need for such a trifling, insolent, disgusting heap of Hutt filth. You shall die for your-“

With a whisper of dark robes, Eether interposed himself between his Rollmaster and his apprentice, holding his sheathed lightsaber out to his side in a passive warning. Koryn stopped in his tracks, but the energy never left his fingertips. They regarded each other for a bare moment, waiting for the other to make a move, but finally it was Eether who spoke in a low, icy tone.

“He belongs to me. If you kill him, you will regret it.”

The lightning faded from Koryn’s fingers, but his shoulders remained in a threatening hunch.

“You would stand against me alone, Sith? Do you think that wise?”

The Rodian jumped as a firm hand clasped his shoulder from behind. He turned his head to see Arthadonis standing beside him with his own saber held in much the same way as Eether’s.

“I think it would be unwise of you to strike one of our own down when there is so much at stake. You have allowed yourself to be angered by a boy who was only just given his first real saber, and you have indeed an enemy of great importance to carry on her mission at potential risk to the entire army while simultaneously admitting to playing a very lethal game with the livelihood of our House.”

Koryn glanced back and forth between the Obelisk and the Sith, trying to gauge their emotions. Arth waited a moment before continuing.

“Such lapses in judgment coupled with an untimely and largely unprovoked murder would leave us no choice but to restrain you at the least, and kill you at the worst.”

The word kill hung in the air like poisonous gas, and Arcturus let a small smirk creep into the corner of his mouth.

Koryn watched Arthadonis with shock in his wide eyes, but the Kaleesh gave no sign of relenting. The Rodian finally broke his threatening stance and knocked Arth’s hand away, marching off down the hall.

“We have wasted enough time already. There is much work to be done.”

Arth nodded to Eether and buckled his saber to his belt before following the Rollmaster. Arcturus chuckled to himself and climbed to his feet, brushing grave soil off of his breeches as he did so.

“Krath will always think themselves sup- hurk!”

Arcturus’s neck clenched as if it were being held in a vice and his airways snapped shut. Eether considered his apprentice with a seething rage, watching the color drain from his skin.

“I have had enough of your games, boy. There is too much at stake here, too much which could go wrong. We may have seen a misstep in the Rollmaster’s agenda, or this may just be another piece in the puzzle that our army has wrought. It is not our place to judge, only to give battle to those that would see our House fall.”

He stepped closer to his suffocating apprentice, who was focusing all of his efforts on resisting the urge to claw his throat open.

“I will not be forced to step in front of a Krath for you again. I suggest that you carry a lightning rod with you if you want to play their little mind games.”

He released Arcturus with a thought and turned on his heels, marching after the two Dark Jedi. The Chiss lay hacking in the dirt for longer than his dignity felt was right, and he only just gathered himself as the others were beginning to fade into the darkness.


38 ABY

Eether was disgusted with his apprentice. Of course Eether was furious with Koryn as well; the Rollmaster had gone behind their backs and attempted to forgo an attack by Esoteric’s forces with a sleezy deal. Ugh…subterfuge. It is the bane of my existence. I utterly detest it thought Eether.

“If he had included us in his blasphemous plan, things would be much different. But as I said, it is not our place to question one of the leaders of our House. Do I make myself clear Arcturus?”

Eetherbiail spoke quietly to his apprentice, “Yes sir. It will not happen again.”
“Good, now let us continue through these ruins and get out, I am starting to detest the small open space as much as I hate subterfuge.”

38 ABY

After a long stretch, Leth Company saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The ruins opened up to the surface and fresh air reached the team; sounds of war reached their ears just as fast as the air to their nostrils. The sounds were faint, but it was near enough that it piqued their interest.

Eetherbiail looked at his Rollmaster, “Is that where we are headed, do you think? Or could that be another faction fighting? I do not recall how far the ruins went, and how close they were to the tomb.”

“The path that we took was supposed to lead directly to the tomb, our destination and area where we will succeed or fail in our mission” replied the Rollmaster.”

The group gathered low and crept out of the tunnel and peeked over the crest of a hill. Below them, the Valley encompassed more ruins and opened up into a small, circular area. There, two groups of Jedi were in the midst of combat. Eetherbiail recognized one instantly, it was Dantella, and she was in the predicament of fighting Tusken.

Koryn smirked and chuckled, “She assumed it was hers for the taken. How wrong she was.”


The golden sunburst flashes illuminated the battle below as Novae and Skybender embroiled themselves in combat. Scarlet bolts crisscrossed the battlefield as the soldiers engaged each other. Dantella’s forces were supplemented with Dark Jedi, but intelligence suggested “Tusken’s” superior numbers had been specially trained to dispatch Jedi. It was unfortunate Leth Company were short on time; the battle could have made for an entertaining distraction.

“Do you see now why my schemes must remain a secret?” spat Koryn, more than a hint of venom lacing his voice. His deep blue eyes scanned over his companions one at a time, lingering a while longer on Arcturus. “With but a whisper I can make entire battalions follow blindly where they would ignore a direct order from a superior. With Skybender’s platoon so engaged, Ragnos’ tomb shall be much easier to infiltrate.” The Krath glanced back to the battle, seeing Dantella’s crimson blade swirling through the air and cleaving through a squad.

“Then let us be on our way,” said Eether, stepping passed the Rodian. “There’s no telling how long Novae will keep him occupied, and we’re burning daylight as it is.” Arthadonis scrambled up a nearby rock formation, scanning the horizon.

“We’re close,” he called down. “Two, maybe three klicks to the west.” The procession moved out save for Koryn who stayed crouched by the cliff edge watching the combat. Arcturus made to follow his Master, but the Rodian held him in place with the Force.

“Remember well what I’ve said,” his words were barely more than a whisper but the threat behind them was unmistakable. “One word can dispatch soldiers, another will let the Emperor see the folly of keeping you among our number. I hold power and influence you can only dream of. Now go.” He released the Guardian, who defiantly stood in place, pure contempt for the Rodian washing over him. “I don’t have to be your enemy, there are-”

“You betray us all and say you’re not our enemy,” argued the Kaleesh. “Is there anyone in the galaxy you haven’t deceived?” Koryn rose, looking Arcturus in the eye.

“Foolish boy, I see the strings connecting the galaxy. To cut one and tug another can prevent untold disaster to us, to our House. You cannot comprehend the magnitude of decisions I’ve made and will make.” The rollmaster sighed deeply, his tone softening. “Perhaps one day you will come to know my burden, perhaps then you will understand, but I hope that day never comes for you.” He turned away, following the soldiers as they headed towards the Tomb of Marka Ragnos, Eetherbiail and Arthadonis already beginning to fade into the sands, their silhouettes barely visible. Arcturus stood a moment considering what the rollmaster had said. Yet he felt something was still being kept from him.