[GJWXIII] Naga Sadow Run On

(Bentre Kairn'tel Sadow) #1


Lyra Colony


Explore the ancient temple ruins, and secure its secrets and artifacts.


The Brotherhood had been granted access to the ruins beneath Lyra Colony prior to the diplomatic mission to Lyra, but only a handful of Imperial Reclamation Service personnel had made planetfall before the Collective attack framing the Brotherhood as aggressors. Their communications have been completely cut-off, and their fate remains unknown. Meanwhile, the Collective has ‘come to the aid’ of the Principate, and now have a heavy presence in the area of Lyra Colony having deployed companies of Jedi Hunters, Mercenaries, and Fanatics at the only known entrance to the ruins. They are likely to employ the same suicide tactics used elsewhere to frame the Brotherhood. Early transmissions from the IRS unit before comms went down mentioned an artifact, quite similar to the Technocratic Artifact recovered from Meridian station, had been discovered in the Ordu Aspectu temple deep inside the ruins and moved off-world by the Principate. Nonetheless, IRS believes the temple ruins contain impressive knowledge. With the Collective now moving into the ruins themselves, that knowledge will be pillaged and lost should they reach it. Moreover, the Collective has been galvanizing residents of Lyra Colony on the surface against Force users and the Brotherhood, making for a volatile situation on the streets.

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Links and Resources

Lyra System
GJWXIII Fiction 1
Clan Run On Competition
Theater Combatants

(Bentre Kairn'tel Sadow) #2

ISD-II Star Destroyer, Perdition
Lyra-3K-a system
In Orbit of the Eorilia’s Moon, aka. Lyra’s Colony
37 ABY

The room was silent, but for the soft hum of machinery. The blue crystalline form of topographical maps stood alongside active datafeeds, projected several feet above the air by one of the many holoprojectors imbedded in the floor. Several more were alight, displaying a variety of data. Further maps of the theaters of combat were arrayed around the room in a ghostly blue form.

In particular, the map of the Lyra colony was to his left. To the right, was an active battle map of the Sadowan fleet. The information had been coming in for hours, and so the Overlord of Naga Sadow had stood vigilant. He had studied every piece of information that had been furnished by the Advanced Inquisitorius Network.

Grasping the lectern before him, the Sith considered the situation. He had thought he had a good grasp on the situation. He was sending Simonetti to meet with this Principate. He had assumed by the day’s end, the question of the Severian status as threat or asset would be answered. The Corellian had initially been hesitantly optimistic.

That optimism did not last long. The Collective had come to meet with the locals alongside the Brotherhood’s own representatives. The Lyra System had erupted into chaos. They had been rewarded with betrayal.

Pressing down a button set into the pulpit before him, the Overlord drew himself up. Grasping the datapad in his left hand, the human cleared his throat and jabbed at a button. The holograms dissolved almost instantly.

As though answering a trumpet’s call, ghostly forms began to pop up where maps and data had once been. Each of the forms would crack into life with an audible buzz. These shapes quickly resolved from a blurry army of the damned into forms far more familiar to the Corellian Consul.

Although he was staring at a holographic projection upon his own ship, the Dakhani Quaestor Takagari stood in rapt attention. Muz Ashen, his Ragnosian counterpart, seemed practically aloof by comparison. The ghoulish visage of Macron, the unreadable expression of Kojiro and the age-creased face of Etah watched him. There were more. He could feel the eyes of his wife, of the bark-skinned Neti, of his mentor and of his former apprentice staring into him. He knew the eyes of the Sons and Daughters of Sadow were upon him. From the Consul Sonjie of his earliest days, to Ciara Tarantae and her comrades, to the Neophytes of their Clan, many eyes were upon him.

But the day was not about him or his feelings. This day was about Sadow, and the legacy of their namesake. This was about their Empire.

“My friends.” He felt his voice crack slightly as the gravitas of the situation set in. “Today is a dark day for the people of the Lyra system. The Collective has struck once again. Today this same thrice-damned Collective crashed into another system, intending to take that which is not theirs. Instead of fighting for it tooth and nail, they chose the tactics of cowards. Instead of putting their own glory on the line, they chose deception.”

“Today will be a day that will live in infamy. Today will be a day that the Collective will look back upon and shudder. They will remember this as the day that the Clan from the Orian System came back with a vengeance. This will be remembered as the day that we demonstrated our refusal to fade away into the background.”

Bentre took a breath, steadying himself. “It is this day, this conflict, which will serve as a cruel reminder to that filthy chi’kan heading their three pillars and the rest of his wretched his ilk from this day forward. They will be reminded that the Brotherhood is not to be trifled with. We will remind them that Naga Sadow is a threat to be feared… This day will be a message to Rath Oligard himself: We are the legacy of Sadow himself. We are not so easily killed.” He slammed a hand on the lectern before him in emphasis.”Look at our creed. It speaks for itself.”

He let the words hang for a moment, his voice dropping slightly. “Remember. ‘Conquest is our destiny; we shall not fail.’ We will not fail in this system. We will not fall here. Just like we will not fail at Orian.”

Tapping the datapad sitting upon the pulpit, Bentre watched as the holographic forms began to wink out in succession. The message had been transmitted at once across the various vessels of the Clan. The Consul and Overlord’s own shuttle was already on standby. Breathing deeply, Bentre Kairn’tel meditated upon the war that was about to come. He thought upon the words he had heard so often as a Journeyman, and beyond. They were the very words that he swore by as Son and a Consul.

Conquest is our destiny; we shall not fail.” He spoke the words softly as he began to walk toward the exit, and toward his awaiting shuttle.

It was not just a creed, he realized. It was more.

It is a promise.

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(Kojiro Keibatsu ) #3

"Fallen Spear” - Kojiro’s Quarters
Lyra-3K-a system
In Orbit of the Eorilia’s Moon, aka. Lyra’s Colony
37 ABY

The clone raised his hands to brush back the strands of hair that dangled in his mismatched eyes. He lowered them to scratch the muzzle of the great Tuk’ata that lounged lazily at her master’s side. The beast raised its head before tilting it to the side, exposing her neck and allowing the Keibatsu to provide the proper amount of scritches. Silence reigned in the room apart from the murmuring of the creature and the odd hacking cough that escaped the corrupted lungs of the man.

“At least the speech had some gusto to it, eh girl?” Kojiro removed his hand from the creature and used it to push himself to his feet. “All this talk of vengeance, how we’ll take the fight back to the Collective. Pah, It never ends.”

He moved with a certain grace around the room and towards the door that would lead almost directly out into the savage quarters of the Fallen Spear. The Tuk’ata rose and followed her master from his room into the microcosm that made up the savage quarters. It was as if whoever built the ship had uprooted a small forest and replanted it directly into the bowels of the ship. It was a paradise, at least to the beastmaster, and it often reminded him of what he left behind each time he had to depart the Arx Menagerie to undertake duties for the clan.

Kojiro watched the Tuk’ata plod over to the pond and lower herself to her haunches, lapping up the water, quenching her thirst alongside various other creatures that made the quarters their home. The Keibatsu let out a small smile as he took in the sight, before making his way across the room and through one of the other doors. He wound himself down corridors, making his presence known to no one, in particular, each time he let out a hacking painful cough.

“Bloody thing,” he muttered out loud as he entered into his lab room. Glass vials contained substances only Kojiro knew the purposes off, or at least he thought he did. Test specimens peered at him from their cages and glass boxes whilst other strange oddities, plants, fungi and what appeared to be animal parts hung near and above various workbenches.

“Now where is it? Ahh there,” Kojiro flipped open a contained and withdrew a vial containing a sapphire liquid, flipped open the lid and downed it one. A few more hacking coughs escaped him as the liquid wove its way down into his body bringing a brief but much-appreciated respite to the coughing fits.

Once he had recovered enough the Keibatsu moved over to one of his workbenches and took several of the vials, placing them carefully within a sealed case. The vials would come in handy for the conflict to come, enclosed spaces gave him more opportunities to utilise his products and observe their effects upon any possible subjects. Though enclosed spaces also led to a potential risk to his pets…and other members of the clan, though his pets always took priority.

“We’ll see what occurs, and what variables I am faced with,” he once more muttered to himself. Kojiro hefted the case and began to leave the lab, only stopping to heft a canister filled with Dioxis Gas “After all, if they want so badly to end the Collective, then let’s end it. Casualties on both sides are always to be expected. After all, this is war".

(Muz Ashen Keibatsu) #4

Private Quarters
ADS Fallen Spear
Lyra-3K-a system

There was blood in his eyes.

Behind the black, the scars left so many years ago from the first time that he had touched the Dark Side, blood boiled. He let out his breath slowly, watching as the briefing faded from the screen. It was always another distraction, another errand to complete, another piece of the puzzle pushed ever so slightly out of reach. The temerity of it all rankled at him, the idea that anything would stand against the Will of Sadow…against him and his.

They have some ancient artifacts down there. He looked in her direction, eyebrow raising before a half shake of his head. They didn’t do words, not out loud anyway. None of his family did, a quirk that added to the mistrust all too many had of them. He looked back at her, letting her mind, her thoughts seep into his again. Who knows, maybe it is down there. Bogan knows you’ve checked everywhere else.

He tilted his head at her as she stepped away from the desk, the doors sliding open to expose the lush meditation gardens that lay between his ‘office’ and their proper quarters. The chirping of insects reached their ears, the pale simulated moonlight filtering past broad leaves. She paused, looking back over her shoulder, through her long auburn tresses.

You’re not about to let me have all the fun, are you?

He let a smile creep up the corner of his face. Ashia may be the clan’s Proconsul, but she was his queen. He straightened his back, stepping toward her as she moved into the shade of the artificial night. The cycle was important for the gardens, defined cycles of light and dark helping to keep the ecosystem healthy. It wasn’t just a meditation garden, he supposed. It was a sanctuary, a callback to simpler times and needs, and a way to keep their heads together. It was a barrier, a mental disconnect that allowed them to delineate who and what they were on the outside from the people they were on the inside. That, and a place for the Nightsister to grow all manner of unseemly herbs and poisons.

They moved down the path, over the bubbling stream, the sounds as calming as the crunch of gravel beneath their boots. It would only take a few moments to cross the garden into their actual chambers, and he would always pause at the door, letting out that last breath and drinking deeply of the air before leaving. It was as much of a ritual as sliding his lightsabers into their holsters and slipping on his warcoat.

Muz smiled as he turned through the door, seeing his bride at her arming cabinet, fast fingers slipping across the kits she had assembled over time and conflicts. He still felt it, the warm pressure behind his eyes, the call toward violence, the rage at the distraction, at the weakness of the clans, at the half-hearted enemies that somehow kept avoiding the death they so certainly were due. She looked back at him, seeing him stare at her, her eyes widening for half an instant and he knew. Of course he knew.

There was blood in her eyes, too.

It was time for War.

(Malisane Sadow) #5

Approaching the Lyra Ruins

Lyra Colony

The LAAT was skimming over the surface of the moon, keeping low to avoid detection. In the distance the houses and other buildings were visible as glowing lights in the darkness. Back in the passenger cabin Macron and Xolarin were watching the display.

“We should be there in about ten minutes,” the Ragnos Aedile commented, “we’re making good time.”

Macron gave a grim smile. “We will hit them hard,” he replied, “they will pay for their treachery.”

Shirai Dupar joined them. “I still do not believe their raw nerve,” he added, “they must know the Brotherhood will not stand by while they use us.”

“Well so far the Severians seem to be buying their deception,” Xolarin said grimly, “we have to change that.”

Macron chuckled, “We will do,” he declared, “they both underestimate us. We will have revenge against the Collective for this and for Orian. Once the four of us have scouted the area the rest of the Clan arrive.”

He turned as if remembering to regard the fourth member of their party who was silently sat on a chair still wearing his helmet. “Are you with us?”

Malisane turned to face him. “I will be ready when needed Macron.”

The Adept frowned. “You still did not say where you have been all this time.”

There was a pause then, “I spent a year searching for something I lost, then I retired to a cave by the sea on the island of Lor Zatean.”

Xolarin joined them, “You spent all this time, the entire Crusade and Collective war in a cave by the sea?”


“You must like fish?” Shirai asked.

“I cannot bear fish,” the battelord replied, “there are creatures that scurry amongst the rocks. Enough of them mixed with roots made a stew.” He paused. “Eventually two of their hunters found me. Once I was satisfied they had told me all they knew I came to find the Clan.””

“I see,” Xolarin replied. He gestured to the other two who joined him in a corner. “Are you sure he’s up to this?” he asked Macron.

The Adept looked puzzled, “Yes, why?”

“He’s spent most of the last decade in a cave living on casserole of rodent.”

Macron shrugged. “I have been into battle alongside him many times. He is good, believe me.”

An alarm went off in the cabin.

“Nearly there,” the Adept said with a hint of satisfaction in his voice. “Check your equipment people. We want to be down and heading off before anyone notices we’re here.”

A few minutes later they felt the craft slow and land. It was still dark outside but the display showed their location. “We’re here,” Shirai commented.

The side opened and they quickly left the craft. Macron banged on the side and it rose, turned and began to speed off into the darkness. He lifted his communicator. “This is Forlorn Hope we have landed at the target location and are proceeding as planned.”

(Xolarin) #6

Nearby Lyra Ruins
Lyra Colony

The war was upon them. The great master Muz Ashen Keibatsu had been plotting and preparing and fueling the troops, so to say. Xolarin had felt it, even in a different cruiser, even when he had moved to one of the front vessels to take on a specific role. He was sure the clan, the house, would be ready. There was much riding in these efforts, even if just to make the name of Naga Sadow shine brighter in the galaxy, burning a hole in those who would oppose them back on Orian.

Xolarin snapped out of it and tuned into the conversation on the LAAT as it approached and landed. He was unsure of some of his cohorts, but they trusted each other and had been with the clan far longer than he. And thus he trusted his superiors’ judgment.

The group of four had been assigned a frontal assault, of sorts. They needed to get in quick before anyone was detected, get a lay of the land, and possibly begin to strike into the ruins at Lyra. If there were a hundred Collective warriors waiting for them, they might need the next batch of Sadowans and soldiers. But until then, these four were forging in quickly.

Xolarin was decent in combat, and would hold his own. But he would rely on the team here, as well as his own sensory abilities. He was finely tuned to feel the vibrations of the Force, to sense tremors in the ground, to see what is unseen and even yet to happen.

“My scanner is useless - things are jammed again,” the Aedile said, putting it away. “But I can sense life ahead.” It was an obvious statement, but he wanted to be clear.

As the team got closer, Macron kept running forward with Malisane and Shirai close behind. It was a sight to behold, even from behind. Xolarin had his lightsaber out, but not ignited, running with the group, trying to keep his mind focused on the entrance of the ruins.

There was an unusual feeling that came over his mind and almost effected his stomach. There wasn’t just life up ahead, but something else that could get in their way. Xolarin closed his eyes for a few running paces and honed in on this nudge of danger.

“M’Lord,” the Mystic said, eventually catching up to the front of the group. “Up ahead, something’s not right.” The team slowed to a walking pace, starting to see the glow of lights from the excavations.

“What is it, Xol?” asked Malisane, his eyes and those of Shirai both on him.

Xolarin furled his brow, cocked his head, and squinted his eyes. “Mines. Trip wires. I can’t tell, but they’ve booby-trapped most of this slope leading up to the entrance.” He got out his holoprojector and sent a quick message back to the rest of the forces, but he wasn’t sure they’d receive the warning if things were being jammed still.

“I believe ‘proceed with caution’ is an appropriate phrase right now?”

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(Xuner Holst) #7

Pelta-class frigate, Light of Orion
House Shar Dahkan flagship
Aedile’s office

Xuner sat deeply in his chair, casually nodded as his Consul spoke. The command staff from Canis Battalion stood before him on the other side of the Aedile’s desk. As the Consul spoke, his words echoing off the announcement system, they all slightly nodded their heads in agreement. When the Overlord finished, however, the Aedile’s face contorted as he reached over and turned off his holoprojector. With a heavy sigh, the Human male stood from his chair and began to pace around his desk. Now facing the line of officers, he let out another sigh. Finally, one of them spoke up.

His head tilted upwards a bit as he tensed the muscles in his neck. The battered man’s voice modulator tried to interpret the words from his heavily accented voice as they strained out from his disfigured throat.

“Commander, this is unacceptable.”

“I know.” The Sith uttered in response. “But the Overlord’s word is above all.”

“Agreed, my lord.” Chimed in another officer. While his voice wasn’t as strained as his comrades, instead his fair voice flowed freely, yet with the same disdain.

“Instead of fighting The Collective and taking back the shipyards, we’re going to be mucking about some caves looking for things that may or may not be there.”

The Aedile couldn’t bear to respond to the statement. He could only sigh again, drawing this one out as if to respond without words.

“My apologies Commander. It was – I overstepped, sir.”

“No. You hit the mark. I share your sentiments and will bring it to his attention as soon as I can. Until then, we will continue as ordered.”

He looked to one of the officers that stood in the center.

“Captain Arctica, you will lead the Battalion in the stead of Colonel Yulgo. He has been called back home.”

Captain Arctica slightly bowed her head, holding it down for a brief moment before lifting again.

“And you sir? Where will you be?”

Her words flowed with an Imperial accent, hinting slightly with concern.

“I will be mucking about in some cave. Looking for things that may or may not be there. Dismissed.”

The line of officers snapped to attention. As their Commander stood before them, he snapped his arm upwards with his hand stopping to hover over his brow and a crisp salute. The seasoned veterans returned the gesture with their own. They all soon departed shortly after. As he couldn’t wait, Xuner motioned over to a large display case. Before he could admire his prize, the holo-communicator buzzed to life. He walked over to answer the call.

“Aedile speaking.”

“XO. CO. Waiting on you at the port hangars.”

The words of his superior, the Quaestor, shot out from the small console with crisp clarity and intent.

“Understood. Aedile is moving. Out.”

The veteran began to process of equipping his armour as he spoke a small prayer to himself.

"I am the point of his spear. I am the bane of my foes and the savior of my allies. I am the sword that cuts through the dark and the shield that safeguards all behind. I – …”

His softly muttered words soon droned out into a shuddering sigh of discontent. His time as Aedile kept him away from the front lines, away from his men and his physical faculties started to show. Nothing seemed fulfilling anymore. His prayer felt empty, without meaning and out of place.

Frustrated, he started to scream internally, only to spill out in mere moments as his anger began to overtake him. With a violent yell, Xuner lashed his arms through the ornaments that laid upon his desk. Papers and the like were tossed into the air in a whirlwind of hatred. The Sith brought his arms up high only to crash them into his desk. With this thunderous assault, the Human bellowed his fury into the Ether. The desk’s metallic frame buckled. The once straight top now bore a clear indentation of the Aedile’s arms.

He paced around his room, seething as he panting heavily like a trapped animal. After a few minutes, the wild man seemed to regain his composure as he ran his fingers to readjust his snow white hair.

The Human snarled as he rapidly approached his armour, having doned the rest of it, and finally storming out of his office with his panoply of war fully equipped as he clasped his cloak to his collar.

When the Aedile reached his destination, he could see the rest of the strike team had assembled near the transport as menial workers loaded the needed supplies.

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(Hades) #8

Acclimator-class Assault Ship Sanctuary
In Orbit of the Eorilia’s Moon, aka. Lyra’s Colony
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

As the holographic image of the Consul faded, Hades began to hear cheering from the bridge crew of the Acclimator Assault Ship, Sanctuary. He smiled at the rising morale of the crew. The newly minted Admiral of the small fleet of House Marka Ragnos took a deep breath before speaking into the ship’s PA system.

“The Quaestor and the Clan will be counting on each one of you to perform at your best from now until the end of the war. Let us drive the Collective back to the cold embrace of their mothers before we cut them down and smite their ashes. For Sadow!” With that last bit of morale/propaganda, Hades shut off the PA and the comm system for the rest of the ship and the fleet. He could feel the shift in the hearts and minds of the gathered men and women. Their desire for vengeance. For payback. This Clan had lost a lot to the Collective, not nearly as much as his scattered fellow Tarenti, but certainly enough to warrant their anger.

As the crew continued their duties with renewed enthusiasm, Hades nodded to the ship’s Captain. The Sith left the bridge and made his way to his new multi-purpose office and quarters. As soon as he could get behind his desk, he checked his comm unit for messages. Still nothing. A soft rage began to boil inside of his chest. Ciara had still not checked in. The former Tarentum Consul had returned to the Brotherhood after many years in absentia, and he did not like the idea of trying to explain her loss to the dozens of Tarenti with whom he still had regular contact. With Pel away from the Clan for the moment, the only other close associate he had was Etah. He sent a quick message requesting the man’s presence before switching gears.

Hades checked his watch. Muz had requested all Clan members be ready to depart very soon. The role of House Marka Ragnos’ leader would fall to the Sanctuary’s Captain during his absence, so Hades would be free to participate with the rest of the clan and their… not exactly normal activities. Just as he had finished changing and securing the last of his kit to his person, the chime on his door rang.


Battlelord Etah Deimos Kilij-Bloodfyre walked in. The normally dark and intimidating Sith stood just inside the doorway, making eye contact.

“Nice digs.”

Hades shrugged. “Oh, how I miss the Sovereign.” When Etah failed to react, Hades pressed on. “Ciara has not checked in. It’s been several days. Once we get to the colony, the two of us need to find her. I’m not explaining to BF how and why we lost Ciara just after she returned to us.”

“That’s … a good point. Where do we start?” Etah inquired.

“I, quite frankly, have no idea. But I know who might.” After ten minutes, the two had their answer. The Proconsul had informed them that they feared Ciara and Sang were being held captive within the ruins on the moon below. Now the former Tarenti had their marching orders.

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(Macron Goura Sadow) #9

Lyra Ruins
Lyra Colony

“Proceed with caution.” Macron frowned. “A prudent course of action, I would agree.” The Sith stopped moving. “Xolarin, you seem to be gifted with the perceptive arts. You go first.” The Adept grinned evilly, displaying his metal-clad teeth. “Heh heh.”

Xolarin nodded and stepped forward. The Mystic raised his hands and closed his eyes, sensing with the Force and enhanced perception for threats. “There’s something about twenty meters ahead. On the floor. I’m not sure exactly what though. I can feel that people were here working on something.”

“Great,” replied Malisane in his typically dry-humored fashion. “We know people were working on something. That narrows it down.” The Sith looked down the corridor. “Level three, bombs, tripwires, and appliances. Come on down!”

“Uh huh.” Shirai stood by the other three as they all crossed their arms. “We’re at a halt. I seriously doubt that transmission got through either.” He looked around the corridor and walked over to an abandoned equipment cart. “Not much here,” he said as he rummaged about in the container. “Little bit of wire, old hydrospanner… aha!” The Battlemaster pulled out a canister of industrial spray marker. “Simple enough.” He proceeded to spray “Traps Here” in large, dripping yellow letters on the wall several times.

“Well, that’s crude but effective,” chuckled Macron. “It still leaves us in a quandary. None of us have trap removal skills. Sure, between us we could use the Force to protect ourselves, but it will deplete us. Not what you want before a fight.”

“Did you hear that?” asked Malisane quietly. “Behind us.” The four turned, each readying their own weapon of choice. An attack from the rear would place them between a rock and the proverbial hard place.

“Not exactly being quiet,” remarked Xolarin with a whisper. “Force user. I can feel it.”

Four lightsabers ignited to light the area with different shades as the shadowed figure walked directly into the room. The tension ran high, and then a collective sigh of relief was heard.

“You must be DarkHawk,” commented Malisane. “I’ve only been back a short while, but I heard you are the Shar Dakhan Aedile.”

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(Malisane Sadow) #10

DarkHawk looked back at the other Battlelord. “Quaestor,” he corrected.

Malisane’s left hand emerged from his cloak holding his datapad. He raised it and clicked it a few times with his right forefinger. “I see,” he said finally.

“Good of you to join us,” Macron said with a slight inclination of his head.

“I bring you news from the Clan Summit,” DarkHawk told him, “we have received intelligence that two of our Clan were already down here when the Collective arrived, with several other Brotherhood members. We have not heard from them and we suspect they may have been captured.”

“Which two members?” Xolarin asked quickly.

“Sanguinius and Ciara,” Darkhawk replied.

There was a pause, then they all turned to Macron, apart from Malisane who sighed and consulted his datapad again.

Macron waited until Malisane looked up and the two Sadows shared a meaningful glance. “We proceed with our mission,” the Adept announced.

“We’re not going to rescue them?” Shirai asked in surprise.

Malisane turned to him. “If they have been captured by those fanatics then they may either be dead, or they probably wish they were. We serve Sadow, and do what strengthens the Clan and it’s future. Their deaths, my death, your death, we are all dispensable but the Clan is not.”

“If we have the opportunity to rescue them then we will try,” Macron added, “if not we may be able to make things easier for them.” There was little doubt to his meaning.

“I suppose you’re right,” DarkHawk said finally.

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(Shirai Dupar) #11

Lyra Ruins
Lyra Colony

The troubling news that there were other members of Sadow trapped within the colony became a high priority. Though not the main priority. The Dark Adept Macron and the newcomer Quaestor DarkHawk decided if there was an opportunity to save them, then they would. Otherwise they were to focus on the mission. Shirai’s initial shock was dissipated by that announcement.

They would figure it out later. For now they had to deal with the impending pressure of the Collective’s trickery. Shirai began to pace as they tried to figure out their current quandary getting past the landmines Xolarin was able to sense. With their small group it was important to keep them well conditioned for a fight. As the mines were clear indication they would be in for a battle if they weren’t careful

“Perhaps our only option is to use the Force to guide our way through.” Shirai suggested to the group. “I suppose Xolarin can help identify where the initial threats are at. Then we can avoid them.”

“But, as Macron pointed out. That could siphon a lot of strength from the group. We have no means of disarming such bombs.” Malisane answered.

“It seems the Collective has prepared for us properly. We will need to come to a decision quickly. Either way we need to push forward.” DarkHawk added.

“We’ll figure it out.” Macron dropped in with a wondering expression.

Shirai would walk in front. Putting the Juggernauts in front, who were able bodied soldiers for these types of sticky situations. The Battlemaster had seen his fare share of battles. He was fairly certain that his stamina would be able to run for the course of the bobby trapped pathway.

Their lightsabers were still out as the progressed through the tunnel. Now assuming they would be running into a trail of traps any time soon. Shirai also reached out into the Force. Attempting to reach out as Xolarin did, but the distance was to intricate for him to navigate. Xolarin would have to be their eyes for the moment. While the Juggernauts found a way in.

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(Xolarin) #12

Xolarin was glad that the rest of the forces had joined them. The two groups had managed to find their way into the cavern of the ruins without issue. They bypassed the traps and then they were in. As was indicated, it was too easy.

The Mystic turned off his lightsaber and clipped on his belt, one less orange glow in the tunnel. There were dim lights, but Xolarin put his goggles on to assist. Of course those and his scanner were nothing compared to his command of the Force. And with these thoughts in mind, he walked further along.

“Some of these turn-offs are dead ends. Cave-ins, perhaps.” Darkhawk chimed in.

Macron nodded. “It sure goes deep though.” He could sense what Xolarin was feeling as well, to a degree. “Our target could be anywhere.”

“Targets,” Darkhawk replied with an emphasis on the plural s, making clear their possible dual purpose now.

Xolarin kept going and they finally reached a point at which they may need to split. Xolarin lifted up the goggles and turned back to the elders in the group. “I feel the presence of the Force down these hallways.” He pointed. “These three. The artifact and our comrades must be down these.”

Before anyone could point out some obviousness to Xolarin’s statements, Shirai chimed in. “I’ve a feeling we’re not alone either…” Several of the others looked around - those with better perception shuffled about the junction in the ruins and everyone was being a bit extra quiet. Truth be told they could not cover their noise levels at this point.

Xolarin cocked his head and squinted as he felt the same thing. He didn’t need to bother with his scanner - there were lifesigns down here, and more than their two missing comrades. “Krik, you’re right.”

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(Etah Deimos Kilij-Bloodfyre) #13

Far Side of the Lyra Ruins
Lyra Colony

A rather ordinary looking YT-1300 Light Freighter touched down onto the surface of Lyra. Its ramp hit the floor and out walked a man in occult looking robes. The robes had an interesting pattern of dark and darker splotches, forming something similar to a military camouflage pattern. Following the occultist looking fellow was a person that resembled the grim reaper.

Sith Battlelord Hades led the way down the ramp, a man dressed in aggressive looking battle armor styled to resemble the grim reaper followed him. Behind the reaper followed three women of various species, who all appeared to be dressed in occultists robes, though one was unmistakably bearing a heavy repeating blaster.

The reaper spoke into his helmet “Lee, take the Sword high into the atmosphere and circle until you hear from us. Put Kix and Dagger on alert for rapid deployment in case we need it.”

Hades looked at his old friend. Etah had always been a mix of soldier and sorcerer. But since coming to Clan Naga Sadow he had built his own strike force. The Tarenti almost felt sorry for anyone who pissed off that big ball of murder.

I don’t think Sang and Ciara will be held in the same area as the relics. That would be putting too many eggs in one basket. I think they’ll be apart from the main group with few guards, but maybe some mines or other traps. I don’t have any idea how to determine where that would be though. Can you figure out which way we head, Etah?” Hades asked, as he knew both men lacked powerful sense powers.

Eris senses a small group away from the main group, that is in roughly the same area as Phobia detected electronic communication signals from within the ruins, originating from,” Etah said frankly, reminding himself of his old Clone War days and for just a brief moment that hung in the air and disappeared, the old fighter felt nostalgic for the old days.

Lead on, then,” Hades remarked in a slight joking tone.

The fierce looking Kiffar woman Etah called Enyo took to the front of the group with her heavy repeating blaster at her side. She would make sure no one ambushed them and, failing that, that anything that did attempt to flank the group would die quickly. Etah was joined on either side of him by a fair-skinned and sharp-eared young lady holding several different devices whom he called Phobia, and an Aqua-hued woman, who looked to be in deep concentration, whom he called Eris.

The small team, having moved into their positions and toward the mouth of the ruins, was intimidating and impressive, but something unexpected occurred. Etah noticed a beat up Lambda just outside the entrance to the ruins. It was too low to be seen from a distance and its power was off. Then Etah noticed two armored and cloaked individuals. The Sith Battlelord recognized them immediately. With but a cock of his head, his entire entourage sans Hades came to a halt, allowing Etah to move forward.

Always cognizant of customs and courtesies, Etah walked toward the cloaked figures and dropped to a single knee. “My lord Consul, to what do we owe this pleasure?

The larger of the two figures wearing what the trained eye would notice to be Grand Inquisitor armor stopped in front of the former Quaestor.

I have ordered Clan Naga Sadow against a rescue mission to keep from dividing our resources….” the Consul began but was cut off mid-sentence.

The look on Hades’ face immediately registered disagreement and he began to speak concurrently with the Consul. “With all due respect, I know I’m new to this Clan, but I cannot follow that Order. I owe it Ciara to free her or die trying,” the former Tarenti Admiral stated with noticeable resolve.

The Roll Master who had been quiet until now spoke, “We have a similar debt to Sanguinius.”

The Consul remarked with a nod, “We’re here to accompany you, lead the way.

The assembled group gathered their wits for a moment and then began to move into the mouth of the ruins.

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(Takagari "DarkHawk" KogaRyu) #14

Lyra Ruins
Lyra Colony

Before the heavy silence could grow any larger, DarkHawk broke the thickness of its veil. “So are we splitting up or what?”

Macron moved up and out of the shadows, his head tilted as he studied the passages before them. Everyone watched as the Elder continued his observation, the Sadow abruptly interrupted himself by snapping out of his own trance.

“Yes, we must split up and separate” Macron said.

“We don’t know yet what we are dealing with…” Xolarin said immediately.

“True, if we stay together and take the wrong passage, we risk everything and this mission is a scrub, quick like and in a hurry… If we split up, we cover our ground faster. We stay in constant contact, and when one of us find what we are here for, we group and attack as a whole…”

“Agreed” Macron barked.

Shirai carried a puzzled look over him as he began to speak, “And what of the disturbance we all feel…?”

“We deal with it plain and simple. We can easily split into groups to engage whatever we find in these passages. Those that find artifacts, mark your location and take what you can, those that find our brethren, we dispose of our hosts and then we rendezvous with the rest of the group for extraction.”

“Rest assure there will be aggressors no matter which passage we take, they know were here, so wherever they are being held, security will be tight. Not to mention, whatever treasure is down here will be guarded…” Malisane said.

“True…” Xolarin replied quickly.

“I can take one of the tunnels myself, I can ghost in and give it a quick sneak and peek. If I happen to not find anything, I will meet back up with the lot of you.”

“How do we stay in contact with each other?” asked Shirai.

“Easy…our transponders are no good to the surface scans above, but we should be able to get a general location of one another down here, if we set them to the same frequency.” Macron said.

“Good enough for me,” Malisane bolstered.

Macron nodded in agreement. “Xolarin and Malisane take the one on the left, Shirai and I will take the middle, DH you take the right.”

DarkHawk bowed to his Elder, then raced into the passage disappearing in the darkness.
Macron and Shirai made an about face and headed into their designated tunnel. Xolarin and Malisane followed suit and began to dive deeper down their passage.

At the first turn, about five meters in, had a hard ninety degree right turn to it. Immediately Xolarin felt it. The feeling hit him like a ton of bricks. Coming to a sudden stop, holding up a fist, Xolarin pointed to the corner. Malisane tapped his comrade on the shoulder as he stealthily moved past him. Pushing his back tight up against the cave wall, the Battlelord carefully slid down the rock. The faint sound of sand being kicked about could be heard coming towards them. A quick flash of a laser sight bounced off the rock wall, the unknown entity was nearly to the corner when the Son of Sadow struck. As the Sadow confronted his target, two quick fist strikes to the head, followed by a front kick that depleted the man’s oxygen from his lungs. The Battlelord’ s target collapsed to the ground, Malisane gave the thumbs up to his partner. Xolarin activated his radio, “We got one…”

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(Malisane Sadow) #15

Xolarin crouched by the unconscious figure, pulling off his helmet. Their captive was a human male with closely clipped black hair. He also had blood trickling from his nose. Xolarin noted the familiar armour. “He’s Iron Legion.”

“Not anymore,” Malisane replied.

“He might still think he is,” the Aedile replied. “We need to be careful; even if he does believe that, we have no idea what they’ve put in his mind.”

“He may be useful,” Malisane concluded, “with careful handling.”

“We need to wake him up, first,” Xolarin replied, “you hit him hard.”

“Allow me.” Malisane reached down and removed one of his armoured gloves, then pointed his free hand at the trooper, a controlled burst of force lightning arcing between the two. Immediately the man began to convulse violently, and, after a few moments, he coughed, his eyes opening weakly. He looked up in horror at the black armoured figure who was replacing his glove.

“Where am I?” he asked hoarsely.

Malisane leaned down slightly. “On your feet, trooper.” His tone was strict and harsh.

The man reacted as quickly as he was able, his face confused but obedient. He painfully stood to attention, facing the Battelord. “Sir!”

“Name and rank.”

Blind obedience took over. “Trooper First Class Korvin, Bravo Company, 41st Infantry,” he paused. “May I ask, sir…”

“No, you may not. What are you doing here?”

“We were sent to secure the ruins, sir. We were ambushed by the Severians. We managed to withdraw.”

“The elite boys and girls of the Iron Throne Army,” Malisane said harshly, “defeated by a local militia. Is that it, trooper?”

“No, sir, that is, they had help, sir. And we were outnumbered, sir.”

“Where are the rest of your company?”

“We got split up, sir, trying to find the way out to regroup with our own forces.”

“Well, you’re with us, now. Pick up your weapon.”

“Yes, sir.” The trooper crouched, picked up his dropped blaster rifle and replaced his helmet.

Malisane nodded in satisfaction. “We’ll see if we can find any more of you brave troopers who fancy another crack at the enemy. Move.”

The three of them made their way carefully along the ruins, the trooper leading the way. Xolarin moved closer to the Battlelord. “Are you sure about this?”

Malisane shrugged, “We need reinforcements. If we play this carefully, the Collective will supply them for us.”

Xolarin nodded. “Makes sense. But you do realise that we have literally no authority whatsoever over the Iron Throne army, even reprogrammed ones.”

“I know that,” Malisane replied, “the question is, in their current state, can we convince them otherwise?”

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(Tasha'Vel Versea) #16

Mouth of the Ruins
Lyra Colony

Tasha’Vel followed alongside the group as they entered into the ruin’s huge cavern maw. As they passed inside, there were some broken down pillars littering the ground. Inside was a bit dark, and one could feel a cold chill run down their spine. Etah shed some light into the darkness as the group delved deeper into the cavern. It was so quiet you could hear everyone’s footsteps as they moved.

“I never liked a lot of quiet, makes me think anything could attack.” Tasha’Vel remarked, breaking the silence.

“Well, if you need any support, I will be right here,” Xuner replied as he walked beside the Rollmaster. “I kind of have to be here, anyway, to follow the Consul. We can’t have him die, can we?”

A small choked laugh came from the Consul as he shook his head slightly. “It appears I am in good company.” He then looked towards Etah.

“Do we have any lifesigns picking up?”

Etah shook his head. “Nothing yet, I’m afraid.”

Tasha’Vel frowned a bit. She still hoped to find Ciara and Sanguinius. Both of them were important and needed to be rescued. “My only hope is that we can find them both alive.” She thought to herself.

She thought of the times Sanguinius had mentored her when she was his Aedile and smiled at some of the pleasant memories she had with him. “Hang in there, we are coming for you.”

Suddenly, the scanner Etah had began to beep. “Hey, it has picked up something that is about fifty meters away.”

“Well, it’s a start.” Hades replied.

“Indeed, it is. Let’s just hope whatever it is will be friendly.”

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(Hilgrif) #17

Favus one came into orbit hilgrif thought to himself why he had to come here he would have preferred going over more records proving the iron army innocent but no his master had to find out he was missing all the so called fun and order him to the planet Hilgrif gave a quick shake of his hed to get back on track and order his droid pilot to land Favus one his personal GX1 Civilian Short Hauler to land while it landed he did a quick scan of the objective list that shroud of the hive sent of what the other ground teams where doing one group was looking to find an artifact

And the rest was searching to find 2 missing agents Sang and Ciara. After a quick glance at the list hilgrif looked at the list of active specialists he did a quick calculation in his head and decided it was too much of a hazard for his green Carapace to go in there then after a quick thought hilgrif click a few buttons on his hole pad to summon ID10 “Special Forces” Seeker Droid from the droid dock inside the ship. Hilgrif connected its video feed into his holopad then sent it out to mark all exits and any traps it could find and any good spots to bring ships to land as he had a feeling they would be coming out fast when they were done with the mission. Hilgrif then turned to his console on the ship as he attempted to access his enemy’s comms. Knowing where they are and what they’re doing would make his work easier.

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(Bentre Kairn'tel Sadow) #18

Fifty meters is not that far to go, is it?

The Corellian chewed over the thought as he walked right behind Etah. The man had a notable bit of height on him, so he could only look into the man’s back if he looked forward. This was more than just a small annoyance to the Sadowan Consul, who liked to look over people as much as possible. It was not just a thing of ego though. He could not look past the man easily, which made him feel uneasy. He wanted to get a better look at his surroundings.

“Do you ever think that things get a little too quiet?” Bentre tried to look past Etah and Hades in a vain attempt to get a better look into the depths of the cavern. Both of the other men were taller than the Consul, so it made the task a little harder. He tried to crane his head sideways a bit to look between the two in a vain attempt to peer through the inky darkness. It was a pointless exercise, but he was starting to get a bit antsy. “I mean, isn’t that the way it always happens in the holovids? There is a brief calm before the storm?” His tone was surprisingly carefree. “There is that small moment where the hero or heroine catches their breath? And then everything just goes to-”

Hades looked back sideways for a moment, his eyes narrowing at the Consul as he walked. “We do not have time for this sort of philosophizing.” He spoke the last word with a note of disgust.

The commlink buzzed, prompting a deep groan from Stahoes. “And there it is. Right on time.” Shaking his head, Bentre clicked a button on the face of the device.

“This is Hilgrif and the Hive.” The voice of the Consul’s former student piping through the device was a welcome surprise. “The Hive is picking up a number of communications from sources outside of the Clan. Local civilian channels seem to be hinting of a large movement of personnel and equipment in the direction of the caverns and the ruins.”

“Kriff.” The single curse came from Etah, who was glaring back at the commlink clutched in the Consul’s hand. This single word seemed to act to energize both of the taller Sith as they darted down a passageway and picked up their pace. Bentre attempted to bolt after the two while bringing the commlink up to his face. This proved to be distracting, and Tasha’Vel was already gaining more ground than he was. Xuner still followed behind his Consul, ever the loyal Black Guard.

“Do we have any sort of an expected time of arrival on those new guests?” The Corellian tried to add a note of levity to his words he did not feel. There was a silence that followed, punctuated by the echoing of boots and shoes upon the cavern floor.

“Running some numbers, the best guess of the Hive is that you will have potential hostiles penetrating the caves within five minutes. Local authorities are clearing the way for personnel, so it may be even sooner.”

A strangled cry pulled Bentre’s attention away from the commlink. He dropped his arm to his side and began sprinting into the direction where Tasha’Vel had disappeared down into the further depths of the caverns. The Corellian did not have very far to run. Within moments, he was turning around a twist in the cavern and his eyes rested on his companions.

Tasha’Vel was glaring at several humans adorned in military equipment. The group was standing over a number of civilians. The Rollmaster’s lekku were twitching in irritation. Hades and Etah both had hands on weapons, ready to draw. The humans in military uniforms and armor were standing over a trio of humanoids in distinctly non-military uniforms. One soldier, a man with closely-cropped blonde hair, had an old E-11 blaster pointed at the unarmed captives.

One of the armed humans, tall enough to stand equal to Hades, had already hefted own her blaster rifle in expectation of a fight. “Identify yourselves now! This is a protected area, restricted to Indigo-Bantha-Midnight level and higher.”

Etah’s lightsaber was now in hand. His stance made his intentions quite clear, but the weapon was not yet ignited. Hades stood more stiffly, with his lightsaber hilt being held in a clenched fist at his side. “By whose orders are you currently operating?” His voice was remarkably flat, with a mixture of irritation and authority in his words.

“We serve the Iron Throne!” The woman’s cry echoed in the cavern. “That is the only authority we need. The orders of the Brotherhood are all we require.”

This declaration seemed to create a ripple of fear among the civilians. One of them drew themselves up, standing nearly nose to nose with the soldier who was covering the prisoners. “What have we done?”

“You have been found guilty of standing against the Brotherhood.” The tall female turned, her brown eyes flashing dangerously as she glared at the prisoners. “ As such, we will be executing your sentence! For the Brotherhood!”

“You are not Brotherhood!” The words exploded from Etah as his lightsaber ignited with a crack-hiss of crimson light. It was as though a dam had been broken. Within a heartbeat, Hades had darted forward, his own red saber activated and in motion. Tasha’Vel was a flash of sapphire lekku as she stepped forward. With his lightsabers still clipped to the side of his own armor, Bentre focused on the man who still held his position against the captives, drawing on his own rage to launch a blue-white fork of energy into the soldier’s back. Xuner had thrown up a barrier to protect his Overlord. He now stood ready.

Within a fleeting moment, the fake-Brotherhood members lay dead. Stahoes sighed, looking up at the prisoners. “Just give me a moment to explain. This isn’t what it looks like, I swear.”

(Muz Ashen Keibatsu) #19

ADS Fallen Spear
Lyra-3K-a system

The hologram flickered, breaking apart as it struggled to escape the miles of stone and earth beneath them. “…Cut off…” The image flickered between Bentre and Hades, as both of them tried to get the message up to them. “…Temple…” Muz leaned forward, eyes scanning the entry to the cave system through the distortion of the airlock. True enough, he could see a number of transports landing, vomiting enemies into the facility.

Leena?” He swung his head, scanning the rocks, beyond the prefabricated bases and used up mineshafts. The Twi’lek looked up from her datapad.

“Scan is done.” She murmured, glancing back down for a moment. “Not as clean as I would like, but the sonar sensors aren’t terribly accurate from where we are.” She cleared her throat, one of her lekku twitching nervously as the other trembled. “I think I can get a lock on their transmissions though, if they can keep broadcasting…”

Muz nodded, stepping closer to the edge of the bay. Ashia blinked twice, stepping right behind her husband. “It would probably be easier without the cloaks engaged, I imagine?” She looked to the techweaver for confirmation.

“Considerably.” Muz nodded once, and she opened up her own comm. “Blackwind, let them know we are here.”

They had all gotten used to the sound by now, the deep bass throb of the stygians acting almost in chorus with the ship’s power plant. As the power cut, the sound shifted, a faint glimmer in the air shifting hard once.

“Sxch repeat, extraction or reinforcement requested. Expecting heavy casualties, coordinates sending via wave.” Hades’ voice cleared up almost instantly, the words not matching up with the facial movements of Bentre’s conflicting transmission. Muz turned back to his apprentice, the techweaver nodding.

“I can’t see another exit. But the coords sync up with the scans…” She tilted her head. “It looks like the ruins on Stheno…”

“The Ordu Aspectu?” Ashia turned back to look out of the bay, the ship drifting over the planet. She could feel Kojiro’s discomfort at the memory of that place. He grumbled under his breath, snapping his fingers to call his Tuk’ata to his side.

“We have a vector.” Blackwind’s voice chirped through Leena’s comm. “Are we going for a dynamic?”

Ashia smiled. “I do love making an entrance. Blackwind, go for it.”

“They’re playing our song.” Muz let the words slip from his tongue. A moment later, the vibration of launching concussion missiles shook their bones and rattled their teeth.

Ordu Aspectu Ruins
Lyra Colony

“Do we even know where he is?” Etah snarled. “Or if he’ll even show up?” He had a point. While they were down in the caves, spilling sweat and blood, they hadn’t seen or heard anything of what the Grand Master’s plans were. They were intentionally inscrutable, and it annoyed him to no end.

“I’d say have a little faith, but…” Hades chuckled at him, hearing the echoes filter up through the caverns ahead of them, portents of more battle reaching their ears.

“He’s already on his way.” Bentre let the smile curl the corner of his mouth. He raised his saber, pointing at the entrance, the sound of chaos getting closer and louder. “But until then…”

They erupted from the opening, saber blades flashing as they dove into the clearing, the fusillade of blaster fire chasing them into the temple ruins. Bentre, Hades, Etah and Tasha reacted as by rote, their blades catching the bolts and sending them back, the bolts tearing into the walls or the soldiers that fired them, eyes recognizing the symbols on their kits.

“Macron?” Bentre shouted over the din, eyes widening at the unmistakable armor as it stood up. “Where are the rest of…”

Macron chortled through the vocoder as he spun, his blade tearing through another soldier. “Divide and conquer…” He watched the soldier die briefly before moving on to the next target. “Looks like we’ll get to die together after all.”

And then the world shook.

Dust flew from centuries old stones, the sound of cracking rock snaring behind the heavy sound that shook their chests. It was only a moment, but it was enough. They rolled to their feet, beginning to draw a line of corpses to the entrance of the chamber.

“What the frell was that?”

The thunk of falling stone turned them on their heels as an opening exposed itself, tiny fragments of kyber shining as the Lion stepped forward. “The cavalry, that’s who.” Ashia smiled as her sabers spilled into the ruins, Kojiro behind her. “Need a little help, I hear?”

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(Ciara Tearnan Rothwell Tarentae) #20

Temple Altar
Ordu Aspectu Ruins
Lyra Colony

Ciara watched meditatively as a drop of blood dripped from her lip and splattered against the pure, white stone to join the rivulet that already coursed over the altar’s lip to collect in the basin at the feet of some towering, age-cracked statue.

“It is ironic, Sanguinius, that the two of us should end up here – our blood mingled on an ancient Jedi altar.” In truth, the Tarentae could not begin to fathom how she had found herself bound back-to-back with a Sentinel who counted himself among the Clan of Sadow, but she was enjoying philosophizing with her fellow academic, nonetheless. “I’m certain you know the history of the Ordu Aspectu?”

“I do, actually,” the Augur sighed. He knew where the Krath was going. “They were pacifist Jedi who sought to find a way to prolong life – for all. Their intentions were pure, but it isn’t our place to interfere with the natural order.”

“That’s amazing!”

“Every word of what you just said was wrong,” Sanguinius finished the thought for her in a mocking tone, though he couldn’t help but chuckle. “I’m sure you think so.”

Ciara smiled. At least the Sentinel had a sense of humor, misguided as it was.

“I do think so, and, if you were honest, you would agree,” the Warlord continued. “Do you honestly believe these people were so selfless that they wanted this gift for the greater good alone? That their intentions were wholly pure? And don’t even get me started on our ‘place’ in the natural order.”

“Then what is it that you believe?”

“I believe the rest of the story proves the truth of things.” Emerald eyes traced the various wires and fuses around her body before glancing out at the growing rumblings from the rest of the temple ruins. “Sensing their corruption, your Jedi Order tried to stop them, but they were too close. They couldn’t just let that kind of power slip through their fingers, and they knew what we all know. Sacrifices must be made. Life comes at the cost of life.”

Sanguinius could feel his ire growing. There it was again, that ridiculous idea that death and darkness were the only gateways to life and power.

“That is a rumor! It never happened.”

“Ah, so you do know the story.” A cruel chuckle proceeded from crimson-slicked lips. “Of course it happened. Your so-called altruists sacrificed Jedi padawans on an altar not unlike this one - whether for their own good, or the greater good, they knew it was their only chance at immortality, and they took it in blood. Why do you think everyone is after these artifacts?”

Sanguinius started to respond, but was cut short by an explosion in the distance that was now raining dust on their heads.

“…I think our friends are close,” Ciara glanced again at the entrance to the altar room, already littered with bodies from the evening’s earlier festivities.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Sanguinius acknowledged. “If they get too close without defusing the explosives, none of us get the shinies, and we’re all buried under here with the ghosts of the Aspectu.”

“I’m sure that’s exactly what the Collective had in mind.” A slow, knowing smirk returned to play across Ciara’s lips. “Fortunately … we got here first, didn’t we?”

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