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[GJW XI] Scholae Palatinae Team Silver Snakes


Team Silver Snakes:
SWL Xen’Mordin Vismorsus - #3783
SBL Archangel - #7589
SBM Evant Taelyan - #9118
DJK Zagro Fenn - #13927

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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.


“Everything of significance is the result of conquest.” - Darth Sidious

Approaching the Valley of the Dark Lords
Horuset system
Esstran Sector
38 ABY

The air reeked of fetid blood and eons of misuse. The stones themselves seemed to emit some heinous filth into the air, cloying and unpleasant. Each breath was a burden, the dust from the dunes scratching the backs of throats, and causing coughing fits, making stealth nearly impossible.

“You know, Xen. You take me to the most wonderful vacation spots,” Archangel said, wiping an armored fist across his parched lips, trying in vain to scour some of the dust from them. The filth had become mixed with his sweat and saliva, and had formed a sickening paste on his lips and tongue. It even tasted like death.

“What will it be next year?” he continued, his brow scowling at the dry cakiness assaulting his taste buds, “The undercity of Coruscant? The slums of Malastare?”

“This is not a time for joviality, Battlelord,” Xen’Mordin Vismorsus replied. As the Quaestor of House Scholae Palatinae, and one of its most powerful Dark Jedi, he had taken it upon himself to assault the Valley of the Dark Lords, to hopefully come out ahead of the politicking and ridiculousness which had befallen the Dark Brotherhood. Had the Grand Master truly gone insane, or was there a real possibility of an immortal being created?

“There’s always time for joviality,” Archangel replied, taking a swig from his canteen, and swishing it around in his mouth. He spat, with perhaps more emphasis than was necessary, and turned a wolfish grin on his Quaestor and one of his oldest friends.

“Never you mind my jokes, Xen. I’d be more worried if Evant started trying to make jokes. Poor boy was born without a humorous bone in his body. Well, except for this humerus”

Evant glowered at Archangel, and turned back to one of the troopers who had accompanied them. It was a game they had played time and time again. Teasing and cajoling back and forth before battle was a time-honored tradition throughout the militaries of the galaxy, and the Dark Jedi of Scholae Palatinae were no different.

The fourth Dark Jedi in their team, Zagro, was far less impressed with the banter. A life of slicing and books had not quite prepared him for the rigors of battle, nor had he expected to be charging headlong into one. His knowledge and skills were almost certainly vital to the success of the mission, though, so he would just have to bear it. This did not help him keep the smile off his face as the pair jibed back and forth.

Xen, however, had far more on his mind than making fun of Evant. It was perhaps the first time in his career where his choices and actions could shape the entire Dark Brotherhood, if not a healthy portion of the galaxy. This thought alone sobered him, and left a dead cold weight in his stomach.

“Let’s move,” he said coldly, his hands flexing around the grip of his lightsaber, “We don’t have much time.”


“We never have much time,” Evant grumbled to himself, exhaustion letting the complaint slip out when he normally held them in the company of the troops. His eyes scanned the group sheepishly to see if anyone had overheard him.

Zagro, quiet until now, interjected over the sounds of coughs and the pattering feet marching in step. “What would a victory look like anyways?”

“Me, standing in the heart of the Tomb of Marka Ragnos, having successfully stopped the Final Way from coming,” Archangel responded very matter of factly, the objective of the mission quick to the soldiers parched tongue.

Evant raised an eyebrow, content with the distraction from his earlier comment. “How about, the Brotherhood remaining in control of the Star Chamber?”

“Same difference,” Archangel responded offhandedly.

“I’m not so sure either of you are right. Knowledge is the key to power in this war, and none of us seem to be in the know on what’s going on. While we shoot each other from the skies and crawl through dusty ruins and fight our Brothers, we still haven’t even seen a glimpse of the truth. Without knowledge there is no chance of power, and without power, no chance at victory,” Zagro responded as if giving a lecture, a frown on his face now. He had spent the better part of his life in the know, being in the dark was uncomfortable for the former Agent of Hapes and Krath.

“Who invited this guy again?” Archangel questioned looking over at Evant. “You?”

“You know damn well-- ”

“I did,” Xen interrupted with a tone of authority, stopping in his tracks and turning to face the rest of his team. “Now all of you cut the chatter and get your minds back in the here and now. I’m quite sure being dead isn’t a very big part of whatever victory looks like. Now let’s move.”

Evant could feel the Dark Side energy of the planet of Korriban fueling his emotion more than usual, it put him on edge, the Sith Battlemaster hesitated for a moment to collect his emotions. Closing his eyes briefly he took a deep breath, and immediately regretted it. Dust from the troops around him back in motion at the command rushed into his lungs, coating his entire throat and mouth on the way in.

Gagging on the palpable air Evant attempted to spit, only to find no moisture left in his mouth to do so. He quickly entered a coughing fit, doubling over in agony struggling to breath. A massive whack came from behind hitting him square between the shoulder blades and sending a sharp pain shooting through his body, followed by a small amount of vomit that spilled from his mouth onto the dune floor. Relief followed. If anything the bitter acidic taste of the bile was an unexpected relief from the particulate that had assaulted his sinuses on the hike.

Looking up behind him his eyes met the familiar grin of Archangel, Evant couldn’t help but smile back, appreciatively as the coughing fit had subsided. The Battlelord held out his canteen for Evant offering him a drink which he gladly accepted, replacing the liquid left on the dusty floor of Korriban.

Their decision to traverse the uncharted edge of the valley had been a questionable one from the beginning, but at least they hadn’t encountered any resistance. As they reached the end of the ravine, and the whole of the valley came into view before them, the hike they had just endured was quickly put into perspective of what lie ahead.

The ground at their feet disappeared over the edge of a twisting path of sharp rocks that wound down towards the valley floor. To their right, towering high above them still blocking out the morning sun were the massive familiar pyramids atop the Sith Academy. To the left was the Tomb of Ajunta Pall, emerald bolts flashed from the weapons emplacements of Sith Lord Esoteric’s New Order still entrenched in the structure.

Beyond the position fortified by their enemy, was their destination, the Tomb of Marka Ragnos beyond a cliff that dropped casting a shadows that still lingered from another night of Civl War. It was where Grand Master Ashen and his Loyalists were headed, if they weren’t there already. Where they too were headed in the name of the Star Chamber.

As the skies above them erupted in brilliant colors from the fighting still going on in space above the planet, and a waft of death met them carried by the wind, the quartet of Dark Jedi and their troops felt like they were about to descend into Hell itself.

They all knew that the actions they would take that day would be significant. They felt it.


Chapter 1

“The power of the dark side is an illness no true Sith would wish to be cured of.” - Darth Plagueis

Near the Sith Academy
Valley of the Dark Lords

The small team of Dark Jedi and supporting soldiers stood in the shade of the great pyramids of the ancient Sith Academy. While coming into the atmosphere of Korriban they could feel the power of the Dark side radiating from the planet, here in the valley, each step brought it shuttering through their bodies like a wave. Even the troopers were talking in much more hushed tones, as the Dark side rushed over them.

“The pass near the tomb of Ajunta Pall is packed, my lord. Corpses and fighters both,” the scout said as he ran up and saluted the Dark Jedi. The young but capable scout had been handed pick from the 506th Special forces, along with all the other soldiers to accompany the Dark Jedi in their race against the Loyalists.

“Should have air dropped right on top of the tomb entrance,” Archangel muttered while rubbing his short cropped hair.

“We would have been blasted into dust before we hit the ground. It wasn’t feasible. Mutually assured death is what has stopped our enemies from doing the same,” Xen replied. He pulled out an old hand drawn map of the Valley and unfolded it.

“Did you check these paths?” Xen asked to scout. The scout nodded affirmative, with a look of disappointment on his face.

“Can we use one of the other tombs and blast our way through its walls to reach Marka Ragnos?” Zagro pipped up while looking at the map. He pointed to several of the other tombs on the map.

“Too much rock. And I wouldn’t want to disturb any more Sith Lords than we have to. Being dead won’t hinder them here,” Xen said slowly as he looked the map up and down.

“Movement,” one of soldiers called out as he raised his rifle, securing it in the crook of his shoulder. The other soldiers snapped into position, as the Dark Jedi pulled their sabers out, blades humming with energy.

Each person stood there, weapons at the ready, counting the seconds. The sound of shifting dust and rocks was clear, even over the din of the battle occurring just outside the Tomb of Ajunta Pall. Then a man with shockingly blonde hair stepped into view, lighter in hand, cigarette hanging from his lips. He froze as he saw the troopers and Dark Jedi before him, eyebrows raised high in surprise.

“Shouldn’t you guys be busy killing each other?” He muffly said after a few seconds of silence. He clicked his lighter, flame igniting the end of his cig. He pocketed the lighter and took a heavy drag, sighing. Xen lowered his lightsaber and gestured for the others to do the same.

“Connor Grey. I guess it isn’t all the unsurprising to see you here,” Xen said coldly. The voice modulator in his mask amplifying the distaste the Quaestor felt for the Rogue. Connor took another drag, then blew a smoke ring towards the Dark Jedi.

“I’m not the only person who fluttered in and out of the units. You are really going to hold that against me?” He asked with grin.

“No I’m holding the fact that you are a con man against you. I seem to having to calm down more than one angry Duchess when you left with their money and their hearts broken,” Xen said. The thought of giving the command to rid the galaxy of one of it’s pieces of filth seemed very appealing. But Xen held the command, thinking.

“Of course I’m not much better. I con an entire system worth of people on a daily basis. Why are you here?” Xen continued after a moment. Evant gave Xen a confused expression, obviously feeling the security threat should be dealt with. Every second mattered here, and Xen had pushed that fact hard on them as they descended into the valley.

“Why are any of us here?” Archangel said before Connor could reply. The hulking mass of a man nodded with his head in the direction of the tomb of Marka Ragnos. Connor shrugged, the closest thing to an affirmative he was going to give.

“Can I get back to doing my thing now?” Connor asked. He dropped his finished cigarette butt to the ground, stomped on it and then pulled out another.

“And what thing is it you feel such a need to get back to?” Evant inquired, tone more than suggesting he was ready to drop the rogue where he stood. Connor grinned and took a long drag from his cig.

“You know, stuff.”

“Well if you aren’t going to tell me, then I should save those soldiers out there the trouble. Turn your body into paste here. Would probably be a mercy compared to what they would do to you,” Evant sneered, his contempt overflowing from his expression.

“Well, you haven’t shot me yet,” The rogue replied. The soldiers refocused the barrels of their rifles on the man. Connor shrugged, took another drag and turned to walk away.

“You know a way there don’t you?” Zagro pried. He had been staying quiet, letting the others do the talking, but watching with a careful eye. Connor gave a noncommittal shrug. Zagro glanced around at his Equite allies. One by one they nodded. This was how is was going to have to be.

“Lets make a deal. Scratch our back, we scratch yours,” Xen said turning back to the rogue who was wearing a grin way too happy to trust.


The blonde rogue scoffed, yet never averted his eyes from Xen. “Sure thing, Emperor. I know the way to Ragnos’ temple like the back of my hand.” Contempt and amusement dripped eloquently from the man’s tongue.

Connor began to trek forward, confident that the assembled Dark Jedi and their support forces would follow. “Connor, you forgot to mention there is no path to the Temple of Ragnos without forcing our way around the Tomb of Pall. Whomever are slaughtering each other down there will have to be dealt with as well. Odd you failed to mention that…” Zagro trailed off.

Like clockwork, the short range transmission buzzed in from the hills. “Sir, snipers are in position. We have firing solution on most of the hostiles near the Tomb of Pall. There are several dozen around the perimeter engaging smaller bands of unknown assailants. Not ours though. Orders?” The situation report was a welcome diversion from the lead sniper to Xen.

The group let the news dawn on them as the infantry forces maintained tactical dispersion to the flank of the Dark Jedi and the medics and combat engineers held the rear. “Perfect. Now we are trusting this man to lead us directly into a firefight against both sides? Because that makes sense…” Archangel’s quip was cut short as Connor hit the deck and signaled all to take cover. Imperial snipers began their esoteric task of silencing enemy laser fire and holding down a concerted effort to assail the allies.

“Snipers hold position and cover us. We don’t even know who we are engaging. Commando squads, echelon left now! Medics and engineers disperse with the squads to give direct support.” Ordered Evant.

Xen nodded in approval as his second-in-command rallied the troops. “I do not endorse this unnecessary risk or damage to ancient artifacts in that tomb. Barbaric. However…as a former officer I approve. We need to overwhelm whoever it is holding the high ground,” stated Fenn.

“Esoteric’s people. None other than Dantella Novae. Connor, if you have led us directly into a trap I will personally allow my soldiers to decimate you,” Xen calmly spoke.

“Me? Work with her? She has been stealing my artifacts for some time now,” replied Connor.

Archangel stepped forward and ignited his blade. “Good, then you won’t mind if I cleave her head off and mount it on the Imperial Winter Palace…once it is rebuilt that is.”

Suddenly, an explosion rocked the western side of the tomb. “Damn sappers! Engage now!” Screamed Evant. The commandos rushed forward as from the ephemeral landscape while the snipers continued to rain finishing blows to the enemy. At once the remaining Dark Jedi’s blades burned to life as the charge began.


Chips of stone plinked off his armor plating as Archangel strode forward. It sounded like hail might on a tin roof, but he ignored it. A splinter cut across his cheek, leaving a sizeable gash and dampening his cheek with crimson blood, but he ignored it. All he knew, and would know, was the rage.

His footsteps thundered as they landed, leaving clouds of archaic dust bellowing his wake. His arms began to pump ferociously, as he picked up speed, charging up the hill. A roar rolled out of his belly and past his lips, spurred by the anger and rage of years of war and torment, of all he had lost in his long life. His lightsaber burnt veridian bright against the pale red orange sands.

A man of Archangel’s size did not lean towards the more delicate martial arts. Nor does he fashion himself into a blademaster with finesse as his finest attribute. His sheer bulk and muscle provided him with more than enough of an advantage in battle, allowing him to tower over his opponents, to have a longer reach, and the heft to use it. And when his blood was pumping, his rage flowing through his veins with it, he was unstoppable, inevitable; A juggernaut.

The first trio didn’t even have a chance to react. He launched himself over their barricade, little more than a prepared foxhole, and landed on the spotter. His heavy boot crushed the man’s rib cage, his eyes bulging as he started to suffocate. Archangel swept his lightsaber to the side, scything through the rifle barrel of the sniper to his right, as well as the man’s hand. The third man, starring with near pupilless eyes, scrambled over the edge.

He pushed forward, his lightsaber swinging up into a guard pose. A hail of blaster fire descended the hill towards him, and his blade moved to protect him as best as he could. He reached down with his left hand, and grabbed the sniper’s leg, wrenching him from the ground and throwing him bodily before him. The man’s flailing body drew the incoming fire for a few moments.

“Onward!” he roared, his lightsaber leading his charge, “Take it to the vermin!”


Without missing a beat Archangel pressed forward, his bulky figure at the front of their advance on the enemy. Above them, entrenched in the jagged hillside along their path the One Sith pressed their own attack. The element of surprise in their ambush matched by the surprise at how quickly the Rebel forces went on the offensive.

Even more surprising was the brilliantly bright flash of light from the path catching everyone’s attention. It was disorienting for many of the enemy snipers with their weapons still aimed down at the path. Now falling back momentarily to allow their sight to recover.

Evant jumped. His hands reaching out for grips in the stone ledge nearby. His feet finding their footing as he rapidly climbed. Finally pulling his body over the top and rolling through the dusty sands of Korriban to his feet. Behind his enemy.

Distracted by the sight of Archangel barreling down their left flank. A brilliant flash of light. Rebel soldiers firing up in their direction. None of them noticed the Sith.

The Force erupted from the Battlemaster, a wave that rapidly smashed into the backs of the four soldiers in cover. From their prone positions the attack did little to expose them, but it was enough. Igniting his azure blade, Evant stepped forward with several wide down sweeping attacks that tore into all of their bodies. Stepping into the mixture of blood and ancient sands, he shifted into a defensive position and began to deflect blaster bolts from enemies in all directions.

“White Squad, take them!” Elsewhere down the hillside, Xen was leading and inspiring his troops from cover. Carefully monitoring their movements, ready to call out orders at just the right time.

The Warlord could sense the danger in the Force before it happened. A glimpse caught out of the corner of his mind. An explosion. Pain and suffering that hadn’t quite come to pass.

His attention was drawn to the right flank. The One Sith enemy had his troops pinned down in cover preventing their forward progress. The juggernaut was pushing further up the hill in an attempt to flank them, but unable to make progress on his rampage towards the well fortified position. A soldier he couldn’t even see was about to toss a live grenade directly into the cover in use by the squad he just sent to assault.

I should probably hold onto this grenade a bit longer.

An expected blast went off behind the enemy cover. A simple but well placed mind trick. An explosion that tore through the armor of the dozen soldiers in cover. Those closest to the blast were killed almost immediately as the energy tore apart their flesh. Further away agonizing injuries were sustained.

Archangel continued his push to the top, his veridian blade burning brightly and guiding the way. Behind him, rolling to avoid another explosion cast his direction and only a few steps behind in the wake of the carnage, Evant found his footing and rushed to catch up. In front of them, a quintet of soldiers made their last stand. Blaster bolts came pouring from the cover. Evant and Archangel dropping into defensive stances and desperately deflected the bolts halting their progress.

Zagro surveyed the situation, the sorcerer firing a few blaster bolts from cover behind a rock at the recent explosion keeping the soldiers pinned down for the Rebel troops own finishing push. As he watched their troops close on the position, he didn’t even need the Force to notice the commotion at the top.

Behind you.

One of the soldiers at the top turned around, panic as he began to fire backwards up the hill into the air. “Behind us!”

More of the enemy turned around. It was all the opportunity they needed as Evant ran full speed towards the final position. The Force reaching out and smashing one of the enemies in the face breaking their nose. As Archangel reached the position a violent eruption of electricity stopped the last of the enemy attacks.

The final enemy stopped firing at the hillside behind him when he realized there was no enemy. It was an illusion. He turned around to meet the eyes of the rage filled juggernaut. Archangel threw a massive spear the short distance burying it deep in the soldier’s left lung. As it collapsed he struggled to bring up his weapon to defend himself.

Archangel’s rage began to wear off. Evant simply prevented the soldier from raising his weapon with the Force, his own blade held casually to the side as he watched the soldier die. He spit, trying to get the taste of Korriban out of his mouth as the victory sank in.

“Shoot him,” Xen ordered. A smoldering hole immediately burned into the dying soldiers left eye socket.

As their soldiers remained in cover and cleaned up the hillside, all the Rebel forces slowly made their way to the top. Limited blaster fire came from below them, where the One Sith were busy engaged with other enemies unable to focus their attention.

“Where is Dantella?” Archangel said angrily. Already his labored breathing under control despite the rage fatigue.

“I saw her earlier. She must have fled,” Xen answered.

“Coward,” Archangel turned to face his fellow Dark Jedi, blood running from his face and covering his armor. He made no attempts to deal with any of it.

“Connor is gone too, he disappeared in a flash,” Zagro added, finally reaching the group.

“Literally,” Evant added.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” Xen added. “He got what he wanted. Passage. That’s all he ever cares about, getting what he wants. He’s nothing if predictable.”

“Also a coward,” Archangel added, his demeanor slowly shifting from beast mode.

The sounds of distant explosions caught their attention in the distance. Off to the right was the Tomb of Ajunta Pall, where the One Sith still held their position and made strikes at the whole valley. To the left, far below them, was a massive cliff that lead down, still shadowed from the rising sun. Somewhere beyond it the Tomb of Marka Ragnos, their destination.

“The dark side is powerful here. It aids us greatly. I’ve never been in such a place in my life. To imagine the power that could be derived from the knowledge of the Dark Lords in this place,” Zagro commented, taking in for a moment where he was.

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Archangel added, reaching out and pulling his spear from the dead soldier nearby he had killed just moments earlier, holding the body down with his boot as he pulled.

“We can sight see later. At least Connor got us to where we needed to be and held up his end of the bargain. Let’s keep moving,” Xen said, ready to keep moving, somewhere in his mind hoping they would arrive at the Tomb of Marka Ragnos first and avoid further battle.

“I thought this was supposed to be a vacation?” Archangel replied, having obviously returned to himself.

“Well who packed the jetpacks for our decent into the Valley of the Dark Lords? I thought one of you was in charge of that?” Evant asked sarcastically, his mind on the pending descent.

“I figured I’d just toss you off the edge and you’d find something soft to land on when you got down there?” Archangel suggested.

“Right, why don’t you go charge on ahead like you do, and we’ll be right behind,” Evant replied, shaking his head.

“How about, if all you have is stupid ideas, you shut up. We need a serious plan, and we need it quick,” Xen spat out through his frustration.

“I didn’t think your plan was completely stupid, I mean, maybe if I had a glider or something,” Evant said defensively under his breath to Archangel.

“Your idea was just stupid. No redeeming qualities,” Archangel replied quietly with a grin towards Evant, just loudly enough so everyone could hear, not wanting to push Xen too much.

Xen glared at both of them.

Zagro stepped forward with a overly complicated drawing and walked towards Xen while still writing a few things down in the margins. “Well I actually might have a good idea on how we can get down.”


Chapter 2

"The dark side is about survival. It’s about unleashing your inner power. It glorifies the strength of the individual.” - Darth Zannah

Tomb of Marka Ragnos
Valley of the Dark Lords

Xen stood tall and brushed as much of the orange sand as he could from his robes. Several of the soldiers behind him were grumbling and checking their armor for cracks.

“That was undignified,” Archangel complained adjusting his chest piece.

“It got us down here didn’t it?” Zagro replied, looking a bit disheveled but no worse for the wear.

“That is the last time we let the new kid contribute any ideas,” Evant said shaking his head.

His face was red, and had the distinct impression of a boot print still imprinted deep on his skin.

“I didn’t hear you bring up any alternatives. We don’t have time for bickering. We are down here, alive, and mostly in one piece. There is no way any of the Loyalists could have gotten here ahead of us. We need to be gone by the time they show up,” Xen said turning back to his compatriots.

Sweat beaded up behind his mask, they had one window to ensure Ashen couldn’t complete the Rite. If they failed, they were all as good as dead.

Even for Korriban, the radiating power of the dark side from the Tomb was overwhelming. They sent two scouts forward, hoping to get some light in the darkness. The planet had plenty of time for its deadly creatures to evolve into something from a nightmare. With every stone and speck of dust tainted with the power of the Force it was nearly impossible for the Dark Jedi to sense anything. Everything was dark, every step a possible fatal mistake.

The light coming from their flashlights were swallowed by shadow. They stuck near the entrance while the two scouts looked for better lighting.

“Look at this relief work, they don’t even look worn down by the wind and sands,” Zagro said with a wide eyed enthusiasm.

There was a series of loud clicking noises from deeper in the tomb. Then some dull lights turned on, giving a slight illumination to the first chamber of the tomb. Several statues sat along the walls. On the ground was an intricate geometric pattern formed with ancient Sith letters. Each of the Dark Jedi craned their heads in an attempt to read the words.

“Wonoksh Qyâsik nun,” Xen said pointing to a spot on the ground. The others nodded in understanding of one of the few bits of Sith they all knew. Zagro dropped to his hands and knees to get a better look.

“Some of these words don’t make sense. Improper letter placements,” He said fingers running softly over the engraved letters.

“Marka Ragnos died some five-thousand years ago. I would imagine some of his work has been lost to time,” Evant said, eyes still moving along a trail of words.

The two scouts came sprinting back, breathing hard.


The soldiers dropped instantly into position. The four Dark Jedi brought their sabers up, bracing for incoming enemy forces. There was a howl, and then they came into sight, four Tuk’ata.

The soldiers opened fired as the small pack rushed. One lucky shot caught one of the smaller ones in the eye, disintegrating the eye and frying the brain in a single instant. It dropped to the ground. The Dark Jedi stepped forward as the Tuk’ata were about to hit the front soldiers. Guns wouldn’t do much good with the beast’s mouth around your neck.

Archangel was the first to lash out, strong and brazen, his blow still was only a minor one against the back of the nearest Tuk’ata. Evant swung at the one nearest him but the beast swung to the side and the blade missed by millimeters.

Zagro planted his right foot forward, using the oncoming Tuk’ata’s momentum against it. His blade snapped up at the last second, driving deep through the hound’s open mouth. He snapped his blade off and pulled it up and out before the now dead sithspawn’s teeth could take his hand.

Two of the beasts rounded on Archangel, eyeing his size as the biggest threat. He lashed at one and brought his boot up delivering a strong kick to the other. There was a crunch as some of the Tuk’ata’s ribs cracked. It yelped in pain and tried to recover its footing. Xen brought his red blade down severing its head from its body before it was able to return to the fray.

The last Tuk’ata, injured from a blow by Archangel, went into a battle frenzy. It tried to lunge at Arch but was caught short by Evant half stabbing, half tackling it. Evant’s blue blade sliced through the body of the hound, eviscerating it in a single blow. Free flowing guts covered his robes.They stood a moment in silence.

“Can I go back and take a shower?” Evant asked staring down at his robes.

“If you think you could get past those One Sith and Muz lackies, be my guest,” Xen replied, smirk hidden behind his mask.

“That was a good sign though,” Zagro said staring down the the beast he had killed. The others turned to face him with questioning looks on their faces.

“If anyone had beaten us here, they would have found these first,” he explained. Xen pondered the thought for a moment.

“Well maybe luck is on our side today afterall,” Xen said. He shot his hand up pointing with his thumb over his shoulder. They needed to get a move on.


The lights indeed sprang to life. Slowly, as in the dying gasp of a great beast the flames began to flicker and the ominous other worldly glow illuminated the stones and send shadows dancing down the halls. “Odd…as old as this monument is and as infused with the Darkness, it still has a technological base. Binary,” proudly stated Fenn.

Xen immediately nodded and Evant took the cue. “Snipers take up holding positions along with the infantry. Inside we may need the engineers and commandos most. Forward.”

The Imperial forces deployed as commanded. Zagro led the group, as few alive could read the scripts painted on the walls or knew the layout of the temples and tombs of Korriban. Archangel kept his blade ignited and covered the rear, bristling with frustration and attempting to calm his bloodlust.

“Sir, the way is blocked. It appears one corridor has collapsed and another is blocked by a heavy steel door. We can place some charges or blast through in an instant.” Came the report from the lead scouts.

Evant passed the word to the Emperor who nodded approvingly. “That door is too convenient. Sappers to the front, remove the rubble at once.” Xen ordered to the awaiting engineers.The scouts took up defensive positions to await the demolition work.

“STOP!” Cried Zagro. “Sir, in the future we may need to add Sith studies and linguistics to our infantry and support staff officer courses. The blocked tunnel is called Nightmare’s Reach. If the Sith destroyed the entrance we better heed their advice.”

Archangel approached the vanguard. “What is the hold up? Are we going to blast that door down now?”

“No. Arc, that door is not going to budge by any blast. Its a blood ritual. An ounce of blood spilt on the doorway will allow true believers to pass. A simple riddle is inscribed on the crossbeams of the archway.” Stepping forward, the Hapan reached for his venerable throwing knife and slit his hand open and placed it to the cobblestones.

Evant, looking perplexed but unshaken pressed forward. “Good, troops forward. No breaching or threshold crossing without my order.”

Slowly patrolling through the temple was long and painstaking work. It took what seemed as days to reach the inner bowels of the resting place of Marka Ragnos. But they were not alone. Loyalist forces ringed the inner audience chamber, and a few heavily robed and masked Krath were conducting an arcane ritual that none could make out.

Imperials hit the deck, and took up positions with as much concealment and cover as possible for a preemptive enfilade attack.

Archangel had heard enough as he charged from the rear, saber at the ready. Commandos instantly picked off the perimeter guard and surged forward. The sappers intuitively blasted a few retaining walls to create a diversion and defensible fighting positions for the troops to follow. “Stand down, if we pull our troops in we will be trapped. That is what Muz wants. Have them hold and be ready for an exfiltration,” ordered Xen to the sapper officer.

The Loyalists wasted little time launching suppressive fire to pin down the attacking forces. The numbers were roughly equal, but the Loyalist positions were well defended and laid out. “They have been waiting for us?” asked Evant.

“The Tuk’ata were a rouse. We did not trigger this tomb’s defense mechanisms by our approach, it was targeted against us. They have been waiting all along.” Zagro frowned.

Archangel was amidst the commandos, frantically trying to disturb the Krath Pontifex but none of them budged. They continued their ancient rites. The room began to shrink.

The stones inside began to glow and radiate heat. The chanting of the Krath got louder until it reached a feverish pitch. The Loyalist forces seemed as perplexed as their assailants. Archangel fell back with the commandos giving their ground dearly.

“Sappers, we do not have time to pull back these walls better come down without taking us with them.” Xen yelled. “Medics be ready to move and snipers pick your targets well we are coming out one way or another.”

At that, the Pontifex stopped. The room began to spin and dark apparitions sprang from the walls themselves. The burial chamber’s heavy stone door moved slowly and with a thunderous creaking sound.

“Emperor, Loyalist forces are approaching from the north. In great number. We cannot hold them.” Came the voice over the comm-link from outside the tomb. The Imperial officers guarding the perimeter frantically tried to calm their soldiers and instill order and discipline that only protecting the Emperor could provide.

With that a chain reaction erupted from the rear, and stones crumbled in sequence. The Imperial sappers had dutifully readied an escape route. Off in the distance, light seeped into the tomb from the exterior as fetid air began to expunge the eons of decay. The group ran as fast as they could, the commandos covering the retreat. None would emerge again.


“You know how much I hate this,” Archangel grumbled through ragged breaths, his legs pumping under him as they pushed down the stone-lined corridor. The others around him were straining as well, their equipment and armor weighing them down. Their flight from the Tomb of Marka Ragnos was not one for the history books.

“Fleeing?” Evant wheezed, his mouth once again dry with the effort of breathing and running. Archangel glanced in his direction, and grinned.

“My skills are lost on cross country. I’m a natural born sprinter,” he replied, and slapped a hand on Evant’s shoulder, sending the man’s already suspect gait into a wobbling half-tumble. Evant let out a few obscenities, but picked up pace, maintaining his position in the group. Up ahead, the lead scout lifted a hand, a signal to slow the pace, and quiet down.

“What is it?” Xen asked, coming up beside the scout, who was staring through the infrared scope on his blaster carbine. The scout rotated the scope lens a few clicks, moving through the various spectrums, before nodding to the Emperor.

“One individual has preceded us into the Tomb, my lord,” he reported, lowering his carbine. He was an older man, in his late thirties, with a crust of grey stubble on his chin. His face made him look a decade older, lines and scars creating a topographical map across his features. But his voice was calm, clear and warm.

“Sergeant, have the men fan out. My team will take the lead on this one”

The Tomb of Vader was little more than an empty hall, lined with unadorned masonry, and unfinished columns. Years of neglect and disuse had spread a fine film of dust and detritus across the unpolished floor. It was a sad monument to a Sith Lord who deserved much more recognition for his deeds, despite his offspring’s leanings.

The only feature in the room was a plinth in the center, an obelisk of obsidian, etched with runes and script. Atop the obelisk sat a helmet, an iconic helmet of black ceramic. Everyone in the galaxy knew who it belonged to, and were right to fear it along side the face of Ragnos and Kressh. The dark panes of Darth Vader’s helmet stared at the entrance of his tomb, with an air of vigilance and power. It was another stark example of the utter power that infused the planet.

Archangel moved ahead, his lightsaber drawn but unlit. He showed fatigue in his movements, a slight misstep, or a poorly judged dip of a shoulder. He was a beat of war, an unstoppable force which only needed to be aimed and sent on his way to do as much damage as he could manage.

His only real limiting factor was time. He simply could not keep going for long periods of time, and every time he allowed his rage to take over, his energy levels were drained once more. One time, perhaps soon, he might draw on himself too much, and collapse mid-fight. And in the realm of Dark Jedi, such a fall would almost certainly lead to an inglorious death to a blade.

Leaning against the plinth, her hand caressing the helmet languidly, was Dantella Novae. Dressed in flowing green and purple robes and sporting a head completely shaved, she was skeletal thin, a mere stick of a woman. She had no real imposing features, very little in physical attributes to give an opponent any indicator that she was as powerful as she was. And that’s the way she liked it.

“Gentlemen!” she exclaimed, a broad smile appearing on her lips. She gave the helmet on last pat, a possessive gesture which grated at the nerves of the Palatines. Though he was not their patron, Darth Vader was looked upon as a kind of mentor, an example to follow, as Palpatine would have wanted the House bearing his name to exemplify. To treat him with such dismissiveness did not put her in good stead with the team.

Archangel strode forward, his lightsaber igniting with furious green. It moved slightly as he adjusted his grip, the leather on the handle squeaking slightly under his armoured fist. Evant moved to the juggernaut’s left, Xen to his right, putting distance between them and giving their much more powerful opponent three avenues to defend against. Zagro, peaking past the red armored behemoth, looked inquisitive.

“You were expecting us,” he said. It wasn’t a question, just a simple statement. Dantella smiled directly at Zagro, bypassing Archangel with her gaze, and nodded slowly.

“The young one has a brain, it would seem,” she replied, bowing her head in a mock salute to Zagro. The Knight glowered at her, and turned to the commandos, ordering them to block the tomb’s entrance and to stay back away from the Dark Jedi. It could get messy very quickly, and the fewer liabilities in the way the better.

“How?” Xen said simply. He held his lightsaber in one hand, but it was unlit. He wanted the whole focus of Dantella’s defences to be aimed at Archangel, who was built and trained to take punishment and return it in full. If she attacked the juggernaut, he could quickly flank her with Evant. Dantella gestured towards Archangel with a negligent hand.

“With this huge bull charging everywhere, destroying every tea set he can find, it’s a wonder the entire sector doesn’t know where you are.”

The huge man simply glared at her. He would not rise to the statement, nor would he be cowed by it. The irony of the woman’s tactic was not lost on him. He’d employed such gestures and taunt in his combat style for decades. It was one of the easiest ways to get the upper hand in a battle. To tempt an opponent to make a mistake, to cloud their judgement with anger or grief, is to defeat them in their mind. Their body tended to follow soon after.

“I propose an alliance,” she said simply, spreading her hands wide and away from her body. Away from her weapons, Xen noted. He lowered his lightsaber to his side, but did not relinquish it.

“An alliance?” Evant said, his lightsaber still ready. He did not trust the One Sith mistress, and hoped his allies had a similar leaning. Dantella turned to him, and smiles, which did not reach her eyes.

“We are at a crossroads, gentlemen,” she continued, her head moving to look at each of them in turn, “We both need to stop the so-called Loyalists. We can work together”

“What do you offer in return?” Xen said, taking a step towards the woman. Archangel stirred as if to follow his Emperor’s lead, but stopped short. Xen’s masked face turned to him for a moment, and gave him a nearly imperceptibly nod.

“I offer you my power, and my promise that until our alliance is complete, I will conduct myself with the utmost of decorum and grace, the best traditions of the Sith Lords who now inhabit these halls”

Her words were flowery, her tone light and airy, but even Archangel could see the thorns amongst the lilies. He started to say something, but Xen spoke up first.

“Deal. By your honor, and ours, we are allied until the Loyalists have been routed.”

Dantella clapped her hands together in a playful gesture, completely opposite to her usual demeanor. A future filled with death and combat seemed to excite the woman. Xen nodded to the Dark Jedi in his group, and waved them to him. Archangel kept his eyes on the woman as he moved to Xen.

“This is not a good idea,” he whispered as quietly as possible, “She will stab us in the back,”
“The devil you know, Battlelord, is better than the devil you don’t,” the Emperor replied simply. Dantella drew a datapad from the depths of her robes, and brandished it.

“Shall we discuss our options, gentlemen?” she said warmly. The Dark Jedi of Scholae Palatinae moved towards her as one, and nodded in agreement. Hopefully, Archangel thought, the thorns won’t be poisoned.


Chapter 3

“The chains of the grave cannot hold a Dark Lord of the Sith…” - Marka Ragnos

Tomb of Marka Ragnos
Valley of the Dark Lords

Directly overhead Horuset baked the entire surface of the planet, as if the sun had chosen to add unbearable heat to the miserable filth and dark side corruption of the sole planet within her grasp. Slowly working their way along a ridge along the edge of the Valley of the Dark Lords, the Rebels and their One Sith allies took advantage of the only good part about it, nobody was sitting around in the open if they could help it.

“Remind me again why we took the scenic route?” Evant asked, attempting to spit but having no luck before grabbing for his canteen.

“This is supposed to be a vacation Evant. How’s your tan?” Archangel answered jovially, a smile on his face despite the obvious discomforts.

“I believe I’ve moved beyond tan, and I am some level of cooked, the remnants of entrails on my robes included,” Evant responded, a look of disgust as he examined his own robes.

“Oh, that’s what that smell is,” Archangel responded, an equal look of disgust on his face as he took a few steps away from Evant.

“I am starting to believe that Darth Pravus has the right idea with his choice of white robes. Ingenious really when you think about it. At least. Given the circumstances,” Zagro responded in a rare moment of personal opinion.

“We’re Dark Jedi. Dark,” Evant replied, in slight agreement that something that didn’t absorb the full energy of the raging sun above them would be preferred.

“Everyone down, now, and the three of you shut up,” Xen spoke up, holding up a hand signal for everyone to hold and get down. He gestured to a pair of nearby Palatinaean scouts who started to climb over some large jagged rocks and disappeared out of sight. Dantella Novae held her own troops, putting the burden or risk on Xen’s men.

Moments later one of them returned. “My lord, we are directly above the entrance to the Tomb of Marka Ragnos.”

“Perfect, snipers in positions awaiting my signal. Into the twilight storm,” Xen responded, gesturing to all the remaining soldiers in his command. A nod to Dantella and she did the same.

Archangel and Evant Taelyan followed the scout back over the rocks towards the entrance. The two Sith keeping a low profile and moving between the jagged stones together. To either side snipers found nooks and holds on the stone to position their weapons and aim them towards the entrance below. They reached the edge and stopped near the first scout still in position. Archangel held his open hand in the air, a sign for everyone to hold. Loose dust and small particles of sand continued to roll, settling into the cracks in the stone below them as the last bits of sound were swallowed by the silence.

As he closed his hand, the time had come. At once both the Sith leapt off the hillside and came to a roll to their feet on the ground below. A cloud of dust in their wake as their azure and emerald blades snapped to life. They stood for a few actionless moments while the enemy noticed their approach.

One by one, crimson bolts from small arms fire lit up the entrance to the Tomb of Marka Ragnos. The echo from within giving a deceptive audible sign that there was an entire company of troops defending it.

Evant stood sideways to lower his profile, his blade a constant whirl of circular motion as he deflected the blaster bolts back towards the entrance. The deflected crimson bolts joining the coming sniper fire as it suppressed the enemy attacks.

Archangel next to him, the juggernaut with a much more rigid and erratic movement to his swings. His blade swinging back and forth, pausing for a brief moment at each position before heading for the next, yet always ending up exactly where it needs to be.

As the two Dark Jedi held the Loyalists soldier’s attention, above them the combined armies of the Rebels and One Sith descended the hillside on either side of the entrance. Both Dark Jedi fully consumed in the conflict awaiting relief. It would come as Xen reached the bottom with the bulk of the Scholae Palatinae forces, the One Sith close behind.

Gesturing with his hand in the air, Xen would lead two squads of special forces units from the 506th and rush the entrance. Coming from opposite sides their weapons would immediately suppress fire on the cowering troops.

Flash grenades following, the piercing bright light overexposing the entire entrance to the Tomb before casting it in a daze. Not expecting such an overwhelming rush the One Sith were quickly overwhelmed. Close range battles emerged at every piece of cover.

Five dead Loyalists for every Palatinaean soldier.

It would be over in a short few minutes, the One Sith obviously stretched thin inside the Tomb of Marka Ragnos. None of the One Sith soldiers will killed in the assault. Following in the rear as the contingent backup. The Palatinaeans knew that Dantella was posturing. She intended to maintain as much an advantage as possible once the terms of their alliance was fulfilled.

What little light was produced inside the Tomb seemed to be absorbed into the dark stone walls just inside the entrance. The familiar stench of death from their earlier visit brought back memories of their retreat. Yet their goal was so important it drug them all back. They would sacrifice so much to ensure they were victorious.

“I am impressed with your soldiers willingness to die for the cause,” Dantella spoke to Xen in a sincere tone. “It’s a shame our alliance was not solidified earlier. The outcome of this war may be so much different.”

“Nothing is ever so absolute,” Xen responded. “Your troops have done little to impress me, but they will have their chance yet.”


“You still doubt us and our dedication?” Dantella teased.

“Dedication? No not at all. The One Sith have shown their dedication as they ran from planet to planet,” Xen responded.

“There is no need to be so hostile.”

Xen took a long step over another fallen body before responding. It was one of the men who covered their retreat earlier

“We are in a nest of vipers. Hostile is what is going to keep us alive.”
The tomb stank of death. It burned the lungs with its putrid stench. What remained of the Palatinaeans and One Sith knew it wasn’t over yet. While the bulk of the loyalists were amassed at the entrance. The ones deep inside didn’t want to be disturbed while they found their treasures.

When they reached the final doorway to the burial room. It was wide open. The Pontifices had obviously succeeded on getting inside. The group came to a halt. Xen looked back and gave a slight nod to Archangel. The Battlelord’s fist shot up and gave some quick gestures. The Dark Jedi snapped their lightsabers on. The soldiers lobbed in some flash bangs.

The three pontifices were standing around the sarcophagus.There were several other Loyalist Dark Jedi in the tomb. Obviously they didn’t want the common soldiers interfering. One of the pontifices dropped instantly by a well placed shot from one the Palatinaean snipers. The One Sith took to the right of the room, Palatinaeans the left.

Archangel took the lead carving his way forward. Followed closely by Evant and Zagro, the trio cut through each Loyalist that came near. Across the room, Dantella let her forces do the work as they moved forward. Xen’Mordin cut into the middle of the room, running directly toward the two remaining pontifices. He was upon them before anyone noticed what he was doing.

Jumping high he landed directly on top of the sarcophagus. The two pontifices raised their blades in defense, now fully aware of the danger around them.

“Oh Frak,” Archangel said, seeing Xen leap through the air out of the corner of his eye.

Evant and Zagro were already turning toward the sarcophagus. They were up right behind the pontifices within seconds. One turned to face the oncoming Palatinaeans, while the other focused on Xen.

Xen was forced to jump backwards off the sarcophagus. The Krath’s lightsaber cut deep into the sarcophagus. As it made content there was unnatural hiss, sending everyone in the room a deep chill.

The five men around the sarcophagus paused for the slightest second and glanced at where the lightsaber had made contact.

Zagro and Evant snapped back to attention, driving their purple and blue blades simultaneously into the Pontifex’s torso. On the other side of the sarcophagus Xen was locked in combat. Red and purple blades met again and again. For each blow the Krath pushed forward, Xen matched with a parry and a blow of his own. It had been a long time since Xen had felt so alive.

Then, a red blade shot through the back of the Krath’s head. It snapped off giving the briefest moment where Xen was able to look into the eyes of Dantella though the charred flesh and bone.

“See? It is good to have friends,” Dantella said with a grin.

A lull of silence fell into the tomb. The Loyalists were dead. Whatever treasures remained hidden in the tomb, would not make it into Lord Ashen’s hands.

Zagro didn’t waste any time in diving into reading the runes that embossed the sarcophagus.

“Now that is some enthusiasm. Pity more of you aren’t so personable,” Dantella continued, craning her head to read some of the same runes Zagro was looking at.

“This would have been easier if you hadn’t let that Pontifex damage it,” Zagro said, the slightest tone of frustration in his voice.

While Zagro read, the other Palatinaeans stood giving idle glances around the room. They were all mentally counting down to the inevitable betrayal between the themselves and the One Sith. All it was going to take was finding what they all were so eager to discover.


The One Sith took the Hapan’s comment badly. Zagro did not need to take his eye off of the runes to perceive that the erstwhile allies had trained their blasters on the Palatinaens. Xen and the other Dark Jedi kept their soldiers steady. The faintest twitch could set every trigger happy warrior in the room off.

“So this is how it ends. Xen, will you please order your Krath here to give me the artifacts inside that sarcophagus? No one else has to die. We have been fair in our objective.” Dantella’s blade was inches above Zagro’s neck.

Archangel’s rage was nearly visible, one could feel his blood boiling. Evant felt it too and grasped his saber arm. “Drop your weapons. Now. Fenn, give this bitch what she wants.”

Palatinaeans tossed their weapons to the ground as the One Sith rounded them up, keeping a watchful eye on their errant allies.

“No one else has to die?” Asked Xen pointedly to Dantella.

The female laughed to herself. “I never lied to you Xen, I have indeed been fair. Sadly, your medics and wounded outside have to die. Some show has to be given for the Loyalists once they retake this pile of rubble. You get a fighting chance however. Perhaps your own kind will find you first.”

The remaining Palatinaeans were ushered to the west wall of the chamber as their weapons were retrieved and the One Sith assembled near the exit. Fenn handed over two scrolls and a holocron, begrudgingly.

“Good dog. Now, we must be going. I hope you don’t object to my men placing a shield generator outside this room so you can’t try to follow us. We don’t trust you much after seeing your soldiers dropping charges across the room. With any luck you can deactivate them before they go boom.” Dantella laughed once more as she slipped into the hallway and the energy field was triggered, trapping the Palatinaeans inside.

Xen walked as close as he could to the doorway. “Dantella…cut us loose now and I promise your men will be taken care of. I cannot make any promises for you. Lord Cotelin may have other plans.”

One Sith forces came running from the far end of the hallway. “Ma’am, we are blockaded in. The enemy has slain all of our rear guard. It was an ambush.” Dantella was incredulous.

“What trickery is this Xen? The tables have turned have they? Fine, call of your dogs and we can share these artifacts. Refuse, and I will crush them and fight to the last man.” Dantella turned back to face the Emperor.

Zagro stepped forward from the sarcophagus. “Sith, those artifacts you posses are worthless. Pageantry pieces nothing more. You should have paid more attention to your surroundings. The real knowledge was all around you. Literally.”

The Palatinaean soldiers fanned out and took positions against the walls, retrieving the charges. One by one, they flickered on generating energy.

It was Evant’s turn to explain the obvious. “Those arent charges, they are to protect the chamber. The glyphs on the walls themselves are the artifacts we need to preserve. Within five minutes we will have catalogued all of them. And we have no medics. We leave no wounded on Korriban. Those are the remainder of our commandos. They were not looking after the injured, they were a holding force to check your rear guard.”

The One Sith now took defensive positions. Dantella got on the commlink and sent out an urgent request for assistance as she cursed Xen.

“That won’t do Sith. You crossed us and refused my offer. As we speak our exfiltration team is three minutes out. Gunships are coming to level this cursed place to ensure no one else learns its secrets once we have it documented. My commandos have pulled back from danger close. Try to leave the temple and you will be cut down. Stay inside and you will be crushed or trapped. The choice is yours.” Xen slowly spoke. In the distance the sound of incoming aircraft could be heard.

“Received word from Fleet Command. Diagnostics show the chamber will hold once bombardment commences. Zagro, how much time do you need to finish up?” reported Evant.

The Krath perked up as he turned from the nearest wall. “Done.”

Xen smiled to himself. “Commence bombardment. Have one gunship standing by to cover us as these walls crumble down. Dantella, I truly wish this could have been different.”

The walls began to rumble as ion blasts rocketed nearby.



“Without strife, the victory has no meaning. Without strife, one does not advance. Without strife, there is only stagnation.” - Yuthura Ban

Tomb of Marka Ragnos
Valley of the Dark Lords

Ancient dust stirred in the air, disturbed from the series of bombardements going on above the chamber in the heart of the Tomb. There was an eerie calm about the booms, from the heart of the war, with all attention now focused in on the small team of Palatineans who held the secrets of Marka Ragnos.

Dantella had chosen to run, the entrance so far off that the sounds of her battling against time to escape before her team was crushed were too distant. Everyone sat quietly, wearing off the exhaustion and adrenaline of the day. Absently double checking equipment or nursing minor injuries. All except the Krath.

Zagro still curiously traced runes in a book making elaborate drawings. Taking in all he could in the chamber as it collapsed around him. Archangel stood and stared, his own blood dried to his face and armor, holding himself against his pike buried into the ground.

“Well, I can’t say I didn’t have fun on this vacation Xen, but the location still sucked,” Archangel commented, finally breaking the silence.

“Still not a vacation Archangel, but you’ll get one soon enough, I think we all deserve one,” Xen responded, having removed his mask and set it on the ground next to where he sat. He rubbed his tired eyes with his hands, splashing them with water trying to flush out the dust.

“It’s futile Xen. Plus the taste it leaves in your mouth as the water runs across your lips makes you gag,” Evant said, shaking his head and looking around squinting through the dust still falling from the chamber walls and ceiling.

“Is that why you vomited earlier?” Xen asked, finally feeling the tension lifted from his shoulders and conversing with the team.

“Yeah, and I’d do it again if I could, half my diet for the day has been tomb dust,” Evant responded with a sigh, taking a bite out of an unidentified ration he pulled from his robes.

“Well if the smell of your robes hasn’t made me vomit yet, I think I’ll take my chances with the foul tomb water,” Xen replied, taking a sip from his canteen and swishing it in his mouth before struggling to swallow it.

“Oh hey, look who finally came around for the jabs at Evant,” Archangel said, a big smile on his face.

“I do, seriously need a shower, maybe burn these robes,” Evant responded begrudgingly.

“Well, now is the time for joviality,” Xen responded. “Or at least what we can muster given those we’ve lost today.”

“I got it!” exclaimed Zagro, catching everyone’s attention.

“Got what?” Xen asked inquisitively.

“What a victory looks like,” Zagro responded, a smile on his face.

“Have you honestly been thinking about that all day long?” Evant responded, realizing that the morning felt like it happened weeks ago.

“Xen had asked at the time that we stop the discussion. It seems now is an acceptable time to continue. Or in this case, finally finish the discussion,” Zagro responded. "This war broke out because Grand Master Ashen chose to enact the Final Way. So all of us ended up here, on Korriban, in the Tomb of Marka Ragnos, for knowledge on piece of the Rite of Immortality, in hopes that controlling that knowledge meant controlling the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. We now control that knowledge, and as such, we are the victors. This is our victory.”