A read-only archive of discourse.darkjedibrotherhood.com as of Sunday May 01, 2022.

[Naga Sadow] Awakened from the Dream - Open Clan RO


With the events of Awakenings brought to a close, how is it that the rift may be mended? When members of the Clan have been pitted against each other in outright treason, how can they reintegrate into the whole once more?

It is within this RO that you may explore these concepts and more whilst we await the next Clan event, coming early October. Have fun and if you need help getting in on this, feel free to ask any of us.

Main Hall
Temple of Sorrow, Sepros
Orian System

An audible groan escaped Atra’s lips as the Umbaran appraised the datapad firmly grasped in his right hand. His dark hair fell like a curtain over his gaze as he dropped his forward to the ground, closing his eyes as he rubbed his left temple with the clawed fingers of his prosthetic left hand. If he didn’t know any better he would blame the incessant pounding within his skull on the recent events on Dentavii.

Why couldn’t things ever be easy?

Sure, the actual fighting he was able to partake in had been a high all its own, and normally provide its own reward. Such was not the case when it was followed up by mountains of paperwork. Ventus hadn’t so much as seen the surface of his desk back on Aeotheran in days. What colour was it again? Mahogany of some sort? He supposed such things didn’t matter so much in the grand scheme of things, but his job as Quaestor had become more or less the short end of the stick since his return to the clan proper.

Come back to the clan, Methyas had said. It would be an easy enough job for Atra to reintegrate with his old comrades, even as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. However, to truly place him in a position to act as Methyas’ personal “enemy of the clan” required that the Umbaran hold a position of power, one of import.

But why did it always have to be him?

Again, Atra groaned before throwing his head back and cracking his skull solidly against the stone of the wall at his back. His teeth rattled in his jaw, even as the pain mingled with the pre-existing migraine that sought to distract him so.

“Someone shoot me…”


Main Hall
Temple of Sorrow, Sepros
Orian System

““Someone shoot me…”

“Don’t tempt me.” retorted Sanguinius, standing in front of the distracted Savant.

The Jedi’s quip surprised Atra, an unexpected comment from the normally staid Entar.

“Blood, didn’t expect to see you here. Escaped from the paperwork too?”

The Anaxsi’s voice rumbled, “Paperwork? Haven’t even started it. Passed it straight down to Maelous as punishment for his behaviour.”

The Umbaran could’ve sworn that he saw a momentary amused twinkle in his compatriot’s eye. Sanguinius continued, “Besides, I’m here to discuss what happened on Dentavii with Locke.”

Despite the pain, Atra was his trademarked self, “You mean your little tea party?”

A quizzically raised eyebrow was all the response the Battlemaster would ever get. An embarassed cough ended the awkward silence as a Warhost officer approached the pair.

“My lords,” the Major bowed in deference, “Your presence here is unexpected.”

“Just looking for the nearest toilet, captain. I have the sudden urge to throw up.” Atra’s deadpan voice almost tricked Sanguinius for a minute, though the Jedi was sure he was starting to know when the Umbaran was joking, which was all the time.

“Yes, well…” the Major trailed off, “The nearest refreshers are of course that way.”

Sang interjected, “Thank you, Major…”

“Lutz, my Lord.”

“Thank you, Major Lutz.” the Vanguard nodded, “But please, don’t call me my Lord. I’m just plain old…”

“Joe.” finished Atra, rolling his eyes at the display of humility before him. “For frak’s sake, Blood. The suit doesn’t care about how nice you are.”

“Suit?” Sang questioned.

“Military, G.I. Joe. Be all you can be. That claptrap.” Atra carried on.

“Riiiiiight.” Sang looked perplexed.

“I’ll just be going my Lords…I mean my Lord and…Joe?” Major Lutz hurried off, eager to escape the bickering pair of equites.


Cargo compartment
Shuttle Chimera
On final approach to the Temple of Sorrow

As the shuttle passed through the atmosphere of Sepros, a slight shudder passed through the ship. Marcus Kiriyu shifted in his seat uncomfortably, a sign that was picked up by the commanding officer of the troops, Major Haelburn, who were accompanying him.

“Are you alright Rollmaster?”

“Hm? Yeah, I’m fine Haelburn,” came the distracted reply, “just worried about what’s to come.”

“How so, sir?”

“Well, I haven’t faced anyone but the Consul and Proconsul since the events of Dentavii. I’m not sure what to expect,” Marcus replied.

His mind ran through the recent events on Dentavii again. His own quest for power, given purpose by his vision, had driven him to betray his fellows and take up arms against those who trusted him, guided him, and had given him a chance. After the meeting with Locke aboard the Turmoil everything had become a blur. He’d been talking with Locke for what seems like forever until they finally put him on a shuttle to the Absolution, which had been tasked to take him home to Sepros.

The shuttle’s engine quieting down shook him from his reverie and told him that they had arrived. Marcus stood up and nodded at the assembled troops, who opened the cargo-ramp and escorted him out into the open. Up ahead from where they touched down, the Temple of Sorrow loomed over them. Marcus closed his eyes and stretched out into the Force hesitantly, trying to determine who were in the temple. He only had time to recognize two entities in the Force before Haelburn nudged him forward.

Atra Ventus and Sanguinius Entar. Great, both Quaestor’s at the same time. Just my luck.


Main Hall
Temple of Sorrow, Sepros
Orian System

Voices echoed ahead as the madman stomped towards his destination. He had a score to settle. The Sith could feel Marcus approaching, and wanted to even this debt before he came near. Sanguinius and Atra came into view as the Adept approached. Macron made no effort to hide his ominous appearance- this was not his style. A man bearing the rank of major walked quickly past, eyes averted to the two Force users behind him. He nearly ran into the armored Sith headlong.

“Er, my apologies, my Lord!” The major looked nervous.

“Major… Lutz. No harm done, no offense taken. I am not a Lord. I am, however, an Adept and a Sadow.” The Alchemist sized him up, eyes up and down. “If I remember correctly, you served in the disturbances on Aeotheran, did you not?”

“Indeed, my… Adept Sadow. I did. We fought the Gomorag heretics and our engineers helped rebuild the destroyed infrastructure. I lost a lot of good men and women in those weeks.” Major Lutz looked off into the distance, eyes seeing old times that were not then. “We stopped them.”

“I see. Thank you for your service, officer. This system and everyone in it is better off for having people like you to keep them safe.” The Sith smiled genuinely.

“I don’t understand, sir.” The major shifted uncomfortably. “I mean, aren’t you a…”

“A what? A…… Sith?” The word was left to hang in the air for uncomfortable moments. “Indeed. Sith are not what the old wives tales paint us as. We are not night-terror boogeymen, or anathemic destroyers. We believe in loyalty, service, and making things… better. By force and ruthlessness, if need be. Again, thank you sincerely. Your comrades that were lost shall always be remembered and honored. Dismissed.” Macron nodded and walked into the main hall.

Atra and Sanguinis were having a discussion as the madman entered. Both looked up as Macron’s voice spoke.

“Gentlemen. I have a debt to settle….” The madman reached for his belt. the moment was pregnant with disturbing possibilities.

“Uh oh!” Sanguinius stepped back, his own hand reaching for his lightsaber hilt as Atra found a better footing himself. There was literally no telling what the madman would, or could do.

Macron’s hand returned from his belt not with a lightsaber hilt, but with a glittering verdant gem. “I apologize for ruining your generator crystal, Jedi. This is an Adegan from old Ilum stock. I traded some Corusca for it.” The Alchemist chuckled as the tensions relaxed. “It has not been tainted. I also apologize for my deception, but infiltrating the loose-cannon’s cadre was a necessary thing. You were, of course, right. I have served this Clan with my every breath since joining.”


Unknown Co-ordinates,
Onboard the VAC Turmoil,
Orian System,
39 ABY

The darkened void of the cell embraced the eyes of the Quarren as his consciousness came to in his new home, unaware of what his body had transpired during the slumber. A string of silver light harpooned across the nothingness as a symbol that something sentient was watching, although the Sith’s eyes could not find the energy to scout it. A heated stinging sensation burned and cut at his wrists, locking his movement high above what was left of his imprisoned body. As if the chords of speech inside him were cut, his whispering started painful and then spat blood from his lips. The Quarren reached out with the Force, to aid him and rejuvenate his body once more into the strong warrior he used to be.

A slither of hope fulfilled his spirit if only for a millisecond, before he was interrupted by a locking mechanism unbecoming from the source of light. In a quick flash, a phantom esque entered the room and yanked at a chain on the icy floor. He didn’t realise it until now, but that chain was led to a strapping around his ankles that teared at his flesh and cloth. The Sith gritted his teeth as he let out an instinctive yet powerless hiss, his dry tongue now only useful for warmth rather than speech. The unknown figure loomed over his body as the Quarren’s links to this containment were fiddled with and then broken. Before the living corpse hit the frosty plate under his feet, the fiddler saved him and began to escort him into the flares from outside. This stranger gave no sympathy to the prisoner as the fullest radiance penetrated his sight, the fiddler heaving the Sith deeper inside. As quickly as he were unstrapped the Quarren became a captive once more, this time in a sturdy bar of links attached to his wrists. As his malnourished neck became lynched and angled his head forwards, the fizzing from speaker intruded his ears.

“Warrior Lexiconus Nosolar Qor, Order of the Sith.”

It wasn’t a voice the Sith was familiar with, however it did perk him up. Few ever used his full title so professionally. No one has ever said his Quarrenese name.

“Murderer.” His vision was thrown back in time, to the moment his body was ensnared by the powers of the ritual. His Force abilities flared in a rage of ultimate freedom and mastery, and his confidence bolstered by it. He envisioned the moments he ordered the strike-down on the ill-equipped shuttles below, as part of a crazed frenzy and massacre.

“Pirate.” Another flashing appeared in the Quarren’s subconscious of the scenario with Jade in that rusting chamber used by Cethgus. Their attempts at freedom were underestimated by the servants managing that duty. When confronted with the opportunity to kill, Jade did it without a second thought, and she enjoyed it. The possibility of commandeering this ship became more likely, and the duo unconditionally grasped it.

“Heretic.” Cast aside by another memory, his mind went further back to the point where he boarded a covert shuttle headed out into the fragments of Dentavii. Alone, unprepared and on a bold mission for pure power and Force mastery, the Quarren promised himself on that day he’d find improvements of himself. To secure a powerful grasp on the dark Sith secrets became bewildering. But it was at the cost of his loyalties, and that much he didn’t care for.

“Today you are set free, but even freedom,” the door ahead hisses into life and slowly opens as a familiar Human enters. “At a price.” Devil’s Shroud’s finest smirked with a cold glare at his subjected pet. The Sith gulped the dust in his throat as he heard the revving from Bentre’s circular saw.

This is going to hurt.


Sparring Chamber
KSD Damnation
Orbiting Sepros

“The fleet is holding steady, Sir,” the officer said. “The Harbinger and Abyss maintain our blockade, and are having resounding success.”

Locke listened as he held his lightsaber, arcing it toward a nearby training droid. It sliced down the droid’s front, causing it to stagger, but not enough to split it in two.

“But somehow, beings still escape,” he replied.

“Indeed,” the officer replied.

Locke spun, attacking another droid that approached from behind. As he did so, pain shot up his back, causing him to grunt and falter, nearly missing the droid. He haphazardly stabbed it, then stopped, sighing, lightsaber held to the side. He drew on the Force, calming his pain, frustration growing in his mind.

He had not been the same since that duel with the Herald on Mustafar. Locke still wasn’t sure why he had been personally sent on that mission, but the Grand Master wanted him there. Perhaps it was more to learn about the Jedi than to recover some useless relic.

Turning to the officer, Locke replied. “Relay my orders to the Quaestors. We must send our agents beyond the Orian System. We must infiltrate the communities in our area of space, and place our agents strategically so that we can track down and eliminate or bring back any who escape. We cannot allow word of what we do here to reach the Republic.”

The officer nodded, typing in his datapad. He didn’t question, or object. Locke detected no hint that his loyalty had faltered as a result of the recent conflict. “Anything else?” the officer asked.

Locke thought for a moment. “See if they can gain access to local government computer systems, like the Corporate Sector Authority. I want to know if we are in their system. Also, have their agents look out for resource caches controlled by pirates or smugglers, these may be of use for us. That is all.”

The officer nodded and saluted. Locke returned it, barely formal at all. He disliked formality, but he did not mind the customs of military. It was nice to have some structure.

When the officer left, Locke returned to his sparring. He tried to minimize the rapid, dance-like maneuvers he had learned to utilize in the Crusade, returning to his roots of minimalistic movement he had used as a Makashi practitioner. He had suffered severe injury in that encounter with the Herald, and would not be able to duel as he once had, but Locke would endure. He would not let the clan see weakness. He told himself that this was merely another tool to sharpen his skills and abilities.

Smiling, Locke fell into the forms of Makashi, his thoughts drifting to the Jedi and the clan as he fell into the familiar motions of the form he had learned when he first became a Knight. What were the Jedi planning? How would the clan reintegrate after the conflict at Dentavii? What would come next?


KSD Damnation
Orbiting Sepros

Footsteps could be heard coming down the corridor towards the sparing chamber, the Zabrak had not forgotten the choices the Consul had made after the treason that was formed by recent actions. Allowing his hand to wave the door open he allowed his eyes to focus on Locke for a few minutes, seeing the swings of his blades as he practiced, each movement precise and accurate as was expected.

“You want something Cethgus?” Locke payed little attention to the Proconsul.

“We need to talk, Lord Consul” his voice echoing around the sparing room as he admired the interior of the Kyron.

“Always with the formalities, you know there is no need for this” Locke always the non formal communicator of the two.

“As per your command the Harbinger is sitting in space and continuing the blockade. Those that should be dead are now walking around like nothing happened, sir” his voice showed a hint of anger at the judgement set on those members by the Consul.

“You prefer more barbaric methods I take it?” Locke paused his saber practise to meet eye contact with Cethgus.

“I would prefer to have our ranks purged, that much would have been the correct choice of action my lord” Cethgus snapped back, his tone showing his feelings on the issue all too well.

“We would stand worse than we started Cethgus, sometimes forgiveness is better than punishment, I understand the need to punish but we look inwards build up our forces. We made the right call on this decision and I know that we need to build I understand your frustration but we must show patience no-one died, and everyone got what they wanted in the end look forward and never backwards. ” Locke spoke calmly enlightening the Iridonian in his ways of thinking.

“Your orders were followed, as per your command, is there anything else or shall I return to the Harbinger?” Cethgus allowed a small bow towards Locke before spinning on his heels and walking away.

“Cethgus, at this time we need stability around, wait on the Harbringer for further orders” Locke returned to focusing his mind on the practice of Makashi leaving the Proconsul to his own thoughts.


Hanger Bay
KSD Damnation
Orbiting Sepros

Cethgus walked into the hangar bay. The normal hustle and bustle of the room seemed to keep people distracted. Marching with the small group he took with him he headed to the shuttle that awaited him as he allowed the men with him to take a seat as he walked up to the pilots.

“Sir, your orders?” the Pilot’s eyes meet with the Augur as he waited patiently.

“Get me back to the Harbinger. We have work to do” His voice trailed to the others as the shuttle began its departure from the Damnation, leaving the hangar and heading towards the Harbinger that was currently following orders.

“Change of plans, sir?” the man nearest the door spoke to the Proconsul drawing his attention to him almost instantly.

“No we follow the orders of the Consul as we are duty bound to do” grinding his teeth he looked at the shape coming into view of the cockpit and instantly recognised it as the Harbinger. The shuttle began to make its approach slowly heading into the hanger.

“Meet me on the bridge, we will continue this blockade until we are instructed otherwise” Cethgus echoed the voice to those sat in the shuttle.


Sparring Chamber
KSD Damnation
Orbiting Sepros

Locke went back to his forms, thinking of his meeting with Cethgus. His Proconsul obviously harbored a lot of anger toward those who had rebelled against the clan in the recent conflict. Locke could not honestly say that he was happy about it, either, but in the end, he had to look at things realistically. He could not afford the destructive civil war that would be required to remove those who had been disloyal from the ranks. Additionally, the clan needed them; their death would only weaken it, and allow another group to destroy what was left.

No, Locke would not be executing anyone. In the end, they had all learned something. He would have to figure out what to do if Xanos wanted to try another insane ritual, or how to quickly deal with another uprising if someone saw a shot at power before it was their time.

At least they are ambitious, he thought. Ambition could be very useful, or it could be deadly.

His thoughts were paused as he heard the beeping sound of the door chime for his sparring chamber sounding. He turned off his lightsaber and approached the door, pressing the button for the speaker to the other side. “Yes officer?”

"Someone here to see you, " the voice returned. “Foxtrot Uniform. Knight Darkblade.”

Ah, the Seeker. Locke figured he could trust Darkblade to some degree, since he had served as the Consul’s Black Guard and been loyal through the Dentavii conflict.

“Send him in,” Locke said.

The man who entered the room could be described as small, but he induced an uneasy feeling in Locke, despite their difference in height. Upon learning about the Anzati and what they were known for, Locke had found that his skin crawled in their presence, even if he was unlikely to find himself a victim of one.

“Consul,” Darkblade said, nodding.

"Darkblade, " Locke answered, “I hope you didn’t scare the guard. I think you’re climbing the ladder for creep factor right behind Macron, at this point.”

Darkblade just laughed. “He didn’t say anything.”

“Ah, so you got my message?”

“Yes, something about a mission? Is it one of those ‘things too secretive to send over the holonet’ type ones? Those wookiees on Sepros were coming around last I knew.”

“Yes,” Locke said. “Not them. I know that you are looking for someone, and you mentioned a bounty hunter you wanted to meet, so this mission may be of personal interest to you.”

Darkblade’s sharp, piercing eyes seemed to change somehow as Locke said the words ‘bounty hunter’. He noticed a twinge of the man’s mouth, as well.

“Go on,” he said, quickly.

Locke continued. "as you know, the Orian Assembly is not happy with our rulership of the system. Reports indicate that some of their element are planning to hire bounty hunters to go after key members of the clan. This is something we would like to stop before it begins. The last thing we need is a full-blown conflict over this.

“I want you to find their meeting place, or places, and…persuade them to stop. It would be best if you could do this without much killing. I would prefer they come around to see the value in supporting us, rather than us have to bring their replacements into line. The communities of this system support them, and we do not want a riot.”

"I see, " Darkblade said, quieter than before. “Is there anything else?”

“You may find assistance to be useful on this mission, so if you want to do so, take another member of the clan or two. I’ll leave it up to you to decide. That’s all, though. Keep me informed.”

“Right,” Darkblade answered, before excusing himself.

Locke thought for a moment on the other man’s reaction to the mention of the bounty hunter. He knew Darkblade was looking for someone by that description, but not why, and the reaction was troubling. He decided not to think on it too much, and soon went back to his sparring, alone with the buzzing sound of his lightsaber and the whirring of the joints of his training droids.


Antei System
Ruins of the Temple Tiamat

The stench of decay and rot was in the air. Dead eyes stared up into the sky which was darkened by swarms of flies.
Corpses paved the way for an odd couple that approached the temple; it was neither just a few nor dozens but hundreds.

Sildrin took ahold of the rim from her voluminous robe and raised it to cover her nose. She dared not to open her mouth; even the idea of the touch of rotten air on her tongue made her feel like vomiting.

What happened?!

Even her telepathic voice gave away the turmoil deep within the usual calm woman.

Next to her Xanos Sadow used his staff to roll over one of the bodies. Its arms flopped onto the stone with a sickening sound. Despite all the decay and stank, the Prophet remained untouched.

“There was a system behind the killing.” He exclaimed. And a bit more quietly he added “What a waste.”

The redheaded woman frowned; not being able to draw her sight from the dead. She was able to identify most of the species. Exotic eyes and shapes of ears, blindfolded eyeless sockets or even fur covered skin. There were even humans; but yet those either bore the markings of Krath or Obelisk.

I … see.

An ironic answer from the blind woman.

“Hatred. Hatred for Krath, Obelisk … and these.” The Prophet nudged the body of a Miraluka with his staff and pointed it at bodies of other species. For a fraction of a moment a faint emotion was heard in his voice.

Regret? Sildrin wondered herself.

Before her Master would comment, because she knew through their mind link he must have sensed her thoughts, they heard a faint whimpering sound.

Immediately Sildrin reached out with the Force; her senses spread in a circular way. She turned her head into the direction of a single pulse that had flared up. She rushed over to the spot and her eyes widened.

A child, weak and barely alive, clung to its mother. Its cheeks were stained from dirt and tears; long hair cascaded down the little girl’s back. The girl appeared to be like two or three years old. She didn’t even lift her head as Sildrin approached her.

Xanos slowly followed, his staff making a clicking sound with each step.

Sildrin leaned over the dead woman, finding the tag around her neck on a chain. Quickly she snatched it and stored it away in a pocket. Finally the eyes of the girl fluttered open. Fear flickered up, but yet she stayed, tightly huddling her mother.
For Sildrin this moment appeared to last for an eternity. Then she reached out for the child, picking it up. For a moment the girl struggled, trying to reach out for her mother.

“Hush”, Sildrin whispered, gently brushing a hand over the girl’s forehead and down the cheek. Hastily she reached for the small utility bag that she carried with her. But Xanos was quicker, having already read her thoughts. He held out the bottle of water to her. Sildrin took it with a nod.
She held the bottle carefully to the lips of the girl which began to drink hastily. After she was done, Sildrin closed her eyes, drawing upon the Force. Brushing her hand over the girl’s eyes, she gently put the girl into a hibernation sleep. Her slender fingers pulled away the girl’s hair, revealing pointy ears.

“She is a Sephi…”

Finally she stood up with the girl in her arms, letting the little head rest on her shoulder.

Do we want this?

The Prophet’s voice within her head was calm. And Sildrin knew that her Master didn’t refer to the child, but rather to the path that lay ahead of them.

Slowly Sildrin nodded.

Xanos Sadow turned away from the scenery - towards their shuttle.

“Then let us head to Sepros. We have to inform Consul Locke Sonjie of Naga Sadow of what has happened here on Antei.” He stated.


Somewhere in hyperspace
Aka’jor-class shuttle

Sildrin had retired to the small cargo room in the back with the rescued child, leaving the Fallen to his thoughts. The last twelve hours had changed everything. Like planned, they had originally left Dentavii to head to Sepros, where Xanos had planned to talk to the young consul of Clan Naga Sadow about the recent events.

However, the two elders had never reached Sepros…

Finally free from the whispers that had dominated his mind ever since Lehon a decade ago, as soon as they had made they had left the asteroid’s orbit the Prophet had been struck by a deafening tremor in the Force, as if hundreds of voices had suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Xanos and Sildrin had had no choice but to adjust their heading to the source of the deafening echo he had felt through the Force:


The pair had always intended to head back there anyway- they had unfinished business in the remains of the Dark Hall, which had been devastated during Lord Ashen’s failed Rite of Immortality- and upon first arriving on what remained of the former throneworld of the Dark Brotherhood, they had both been struck by the total… nothingness that they felt when they first stepped foot on the dead sands of the Shadowlands. It had been as if even the Force herself had been sucked out of the world, leaving only a lonely emptiness behind.

It was hardly a surprise the Krath High Priest had returned there.

But none of that was what had called Xanos and Sildrin back there. There would be a time to dig through the remains of the Dark Hall some day in the future. What had instead summoned them- and forced them to leave the Orian System in a hurry- had been the massacre that they had encountered in the remains of the Krath Temple.

Xanos’s mind rushed back to the image of the dead Miraluka priestess, and the baby still clinging to its mother.

“Master?” came Sildrin’s voice behind him, and his mind was pulled back to the cockpit of the small ship.

The Prophet glanced back, the redhead was on her own and so must have managed to get the girl to sleep.

“This is wrong,” Xanos said.

“I’m sure she won’t cause any problems,” the sorceress replied softly, keeping her voice quiet so as not to wake the baby Sephi.

“Not the girl,” the Prophet replied. “Twenty years ago we left the Hammer behind to bring order, not chaos.” The Falleen closed his eyes, and his mind rushed back to the images he had seen when he had touched the bodies back at the temple: flashes of their last moments, the snaps and hisses of lightsabers, the muffled screams. He opened his eyes again. “The Dark Brotherhood was never intended just for the Sith alone,” Xanos continued, “it was built on the Tripartite Path.”

He heard her thoughts whispering in the back of his mind even before she answered.

“I am no Sith,” Sildrin said, this time more firmly. “My way is the path of the Force.”

The Prophet looked back at her, gazing into the pools of her eyes for the truth of the words. Sildrin’s path forward may have been clear, but he needed longer to reflect on what had happened, and where to go now. He turned back to the controls and keyed the navicomputer back to Sepros. They still had to explain the events on Dentavii…

And now to inform the Consul of what had taken place on Antei.

There would be consequences. The girl asleep in the back of the shuttle was only the beginning…


Main Hall
Temple of Sorrow, Sepros
Orian System

The gift was a welcome surprise to the Quaestor, the lightsaber Sanguinius had lost on Dentavii had been with him since he had found the Light and meant a lot to him. Its destruction had wounded him more than any betrayal during the recent civil war. That Macron had traded away valuable crystals of his own to replace the one he had destroyed meant a lot.

Sanguinius relaxed his stance and reached out to take the Adegan. There was a faint warmth within the crystal as it sat in the Jedi’s hand. A rare smile crossed the Anaxsi’s face as he thanked Macron. “Thank you, Macron. I appreciate the gesture.” Sang bowed his head slightly to the side in acknowledgement of the Adept’s gift.

The lightsaber currently clipped to his belt had been one he quickly put together with the materials he had at hand. This new crystal would make it more than a tool to the Vanguard, it would once again make it part of him. Despite all of the distasteful death, fighting, lying and distrust that had happened, Sanguinius hoped that there would be a better future for these Sadowans. That they would see there was another way. So far, his presence here had served to act as an example that even the most corrupted could be set free from their painful existence. He harboured no such hope for the ‘Mad Alchemist’, but he could at least be gracious.

However, the Ragnosian was aware that there was more to be said between Atra and Macron. He was unaware of their history, but he could sense the spark of animosity between them. Glancing around, Sang spotted the betrayer, Marcus, out of the corner of his eye. The ritual had not been kind to the Epicanthix and had aged him prematurely. His grand student had suffered and the Jedi had found it in his heart to forgive the Knight. He had made a mistake, they all had. But they needed to move on, to forgive and to rekindle the trust between them or the Clan would fragment and the vultures surrounding them would feast on the remains.

Making his excuses to remove himself from the conversation, Sanguinius strode towards the Rollmaster, who watched his approach like a cornered dog. Fearful, but also ready to strike back. The Anaxsi hoped his example would encourage others to set aside past prejudices and move on, but he knew what these Sith were like. Cowardly, easily insulted and full of pride. You were more likely to get blood out of a stone than get these argumentative children to apologise to one another.

“Marcus,” Sang called out, “a pleasant surprise to see you here.” The Professor stopped before the Sith and held out a hand in greeting. “I do hope you’ll forgive an old man his idiosyncrasies, but I’ve recommended you to the Headmaster.

The Arcanist was taken aback at the cheerful greeting, “What do you mean, recommended?” he demanded.

“There was an opening, I recommended you for the post of Professor.” Sang smiled, warmth in his eyes.

“Uh, thank you?” came the response, Marcus was surprised at the direction the conversation was taking. He had expected retribution, insults, even a fight. But to be given nothing but respect and recognition was shocking.


ISD Harbinger

Cethgus glanced out of the view screen as he allowed himself a few seconds to take in the sight of the ships floating in space. Feeling the frustration inside of him, he allowed a small sigh to escape his lips before hearing footsteps approaching him.

“Lord General, you have an incoming message from the Lord Consul.” the voice was standard of a line captain. Remus was nothing special, but had served Cethgus through the rebellion that had taken place.

“Thank you, Captain. Please follow me.” As always the Iridonian’s voice shot through the Bridge as a nod was shown to acknowledge the order. The two men walked towards the Tactical Room of the Star Destroyer.

“Tell me Captain, you have served the Clan for how long now?” Cethgus’ tone always put the Captain on edge, unsure if he was challenging him or just trying to make small talk.

“Six years, sir, I have a few military campaigns under my belt, most of the time spent with the men of the now reorganized First Company” His voice speaking volumes about him, showing the air of authority he had gained.

As the two reached the command deck Cethgus turned to face the Captain. He was a tall man, though muscular in build his hair blond, short and spiked up in a stylish mess. His cheek bones coming out slightly and the uniform he wore immaculate as it fitted his form perfectly. Seeing the Iridonian glance he meet it with his cold blue eyes.

“Something wrong, sir?” Directing his voice to Cethgus.

“Nothing Captain, let’s get this over with.” Thumbing the button on the door the two men walked into the room, the hologram of the Consul lingered in the middle of the table.

“Lord Consul, what are your orders?” Cethgus spoke inclining his head slightly in respect as he looked at the hologram.

“We found an old member, bring him back to us. He is located in a prison facility not far from our edge of space. I want you to take a small team and make sure that you come back with this member.” Locke’s voice as always showed the casual attitude he carried about him.

“As you wish. Any further orders, Lord?” the cold voice of the Iridonian translated via the hologram, despite the distance between the two men.

“None, pick your team and head off as soon as you are ready.” the communication ended abruptly, leaving the pair of them standing in the dimly light room.

“Captain Remus, message Sanguinius and Marcus. Tell them to come to the Harbinger, we have work to do.” Cethgus turned on his heels leaving the captain to carry out his orders as he headed back to the bridge.


Main Hall
Temple of Sorrow, Sepros
Orian System

Sanguinius found he was being fast approached by a member bearing the stripes of the first chapter, the helmet covering his features as he darted through the troops towards the Quaestor before stopping in front of him.

“Sorry, Sirs. Urgent message for your eyes only, Quaestor.” his words punctuated with heavy breathing from running around trying to find the Vanguard.

Sighing slightly at the inconvenience of having his conversation broken up by the rude interruption only focused the light sider’s mind onto the datapad he had been given. Scrolling through it his facial expression moved slightly from curiosity to amusement at the situation.

“Everything ok there, Sang?” Marcus spoke directly as he observed the interaction between the two men.

“Apparently we have been summoned to the Harbinger, orders of the Consul and Proconsul it would seem.” Sang pocketed the datapad before glancing up to the Rollmaster.

“Oh, I guess the we is me as well?” his voice showed a slight concern at the thought of having to see the two of them again so soon.

“It would appear we are wanted for a mission, grab your stuff I guess we have to leave immediately.” Sang finished speaking before dismissing the soldier as he left towards the hanger with Marcus. Time spent in close proximity to his former Master would be dangerous for him, the Jedi was under no illusion as to what the Iridonian thought about his new found conscience.

As the two summit members entered the hangar they found one of the troop transports marked for the Harbinger had been waiting for them. The thought of having to sit in awkward conversation with Marcus almost worried the Jedi for a parsec before he allowed it to disperse and boarded the shuttle followed by Marcus.

Once the two boarded the pilot began his work, pushing the door button locking the shuttle as the engines ignited taking the two of them towards the Imperial Star Destroyer, Sang glanced to the canopy watching as the ship closed on the blockade of ships.

“So…I take it you’ve already dealt with the whole…”I’m big, bad and going to kill you now thing?” Sang enquired.

“Cethgus?” Marcus replied.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” the Quaestor sat back in his seat as the shuttle prepared docking procedures with the Star Destroyer. “I do hope you brought fresh underwear.”


“Because he’s going to bring a shitstorm down on you.” Sang grinned, “You see me as a Jedi, but I know my former Master. He’s not one for happy reunions and hugging. I spent two years under his tutelage, I would have been safer punching an acklay in the face.”

Silence met the last comment as Marcus realised just how much trouble he was in.

The pilot began hitting the sequence of buttons to land the shuttle, as it approached the hangar it was clear that there was a retinue of people beside the Proconsul. Cethgus waited patiently for the shuttle to land, his narrowed eyes seemed to be burning a hole in the shuttle. Marcus flinched at the groan of hydraulics as the landing pads came down, the shuttle gently settled on the floor of the hangar, a testament to the skill of the pilot. It seemed Marcus’s fate was now sealed.


ISD Harbinger

Cethgus glanced over to Captain Remus before summoning him to the his side, as he brought his attention back to the shuttle as he heard the boots approaching him before they stopped a few feet away.

“Go tell the Captain to set a course for this destination, break blockade protocol we have our orders and we must get underway” his voice cold and showed aggression already.

“Understood sir” Remus turned on his heels and headed out as the shuttle door hissed open on the platform revealing the two members.

Sanguinius and Marcus strode down the ramp, one confidently, the other less so. The Jedi raised a hand in greeting as they stopped in front of the Augur. “Always a pleasure to be in your presence. Spoken to our brothers recently, old man?” Sang joked, always happy to annoy his brother and former Master.

A flicker of annoyance momentarily showed on the Iridonian’s face at the comment by his student, but he ignored it, letting Sang get away with his actions as always. He had bigger fish to fry.

“Reporting as…………” Marcus’ sentence wasn’t finished as the Iridonian’s fist slammed into the man’s jaw, snapping his head back. All of Cethgus’ fury and aggression was unleashed upon the Knight. A few soldiers shifted on their feet at the unprovoked attack in their eyes.

Before being able to recover, the Iridonian had rained a critical amount of punches on the Human, breaking ribs and causing blood to spill freely from the Rollmaster’s lips as he dropped Marcus in a split second, unable to hold back his anger with the upstart. Absorbing the hits the best he could, Marcus found himself on the cold floor reaching for his blade. He was halted by the agonising pain that ripped through his body as Cethgus slammed his boot down onto Marcus’ knee cap, dislocating it and severing the cartilage in a split second.

Instinct kicked in as Marcus’s hands went to the knee, hearing the hiss of a saber activating and the white glow illuminate over his body, he saw the tip of a saber spearing out towards his skull. What seemed like an eternity passed in the blink of an eye as a green blade deflected the strike that would have seen the Rollmaster’s life ended on the cold metal surface of the hangar. Marcus moved his head back as he felt the searing pain of the tip slash across his right cheek and over his eyebrow leaving the smell of burning flesh permeating the air.

“I think he has had enough, Cethgus.” Sanguinius’ voice echoed through the hangar as he held the lock in place, stopping the Iridonian from moving his blade.

Cethgus glanced at Sang, for a split second he contemplated striking out as his student. His baleful gaze fell back onto Marcus as he pondered his actions, knowing that Locke would hear of things if he did kill the Rollmaster. Stepping backwards he looked at the two of them and deactivated his blade, the anger seeming to drain away with it.

“Take him to the medical bay and get him fit for duty again. Just remember Marcus, if you betray Locke or myself ever again, Sang won’t be able to stand in the way from the pain I will set upon your body. This mission is your redemption, use it to earn back my trust.” His cold voice sent shivers down the Sadowan’s spines as he spun on his heels and headed towards the corridors of the Star Destroyer.

“Make sure that blood is cleaned off this hangar floor, when those two are sorted bring them to the Bridge.” The Augur ordered to the nearest soldier as he headed to the Bridge, the telltale rattling of the ship entering hyperspace pleased him, it would allow him more opportunities to show his displeasure with his new plaything.


Main Hall
Temple of Sorrow, Sepros
Orian System

Macron turned and left the room with a glare at Atra as Sanguinius excused himself. The madman frowned characteristically. Doing something nice had given him a headache. As he left the chamber, he spotted a familiar bearded face. “Maelous Ascarend…. I should say, Battlemaster Ascarend,” chuckled the Sith. “Hard work does indeed pay off in increased power. How goes it?”

“Fine, Adept Sadow. Tell me, did you happen to see Quaestor Sanguinius here recently?” The former Jensaari looked about suspiciously. “I was just working on some, ah, reports.”

“I bet. Yes, I did. He just left with Marcus in tow, in fact. They seemed in a gods-awful hurry too.” The Alchemist checked an incoming textual transmission on his comlink. He looked up with a weird smile. “My old friend, it appears you are here at the perfect time. Our mutual interest in Force Alchemy and mayhem has been tapped by our Consul.”

Maelous joined Macron as the two began to walk towards the hangar bay purposefully. His normally taciturn demeanor was replaced by vigorous interest at the mention of Alchemy. “I see. And what, praytell, is our mission? I can only imagine.” He interlaced his fingers and cracked his knuckles menacingly. “I hope it involves inflicting pain.”

“It appears one of the system patrol craft intercepted a small ship leaving Inos Moon 36, on it’s way to try and run the blockade. Onboard was a load of raw metal ores. Their… primitive preliminary analyses indicate the strong presence of heavier elements of the tritanium series among other things.” Macron looked at Maelous pointedly.

The Marauder was quick on the uptake. “Duranium, Quadanium, that sort of thing? I see. Those are quite valuable, and useful in armor and munitions.”

“Exactly. Not found anywhere else in our system except in minute amounts as byproducts of other ores. Invaluable military and industrial applications. We are to gather one other Sith and then secure the site as quickly as possible for the Clan so mining can begin.” They had reached the hangar bay and the Nachzerer was waiting. Macron gestured and the gangplank lowered.

“And who are we to collect exactly?” queried the Battlemaster as the two walked up the gangplank into Macron’s ugly but heavily armed and armored transport. “I sincerely hope it’s not one of our Lightsider babysitters.”

“Hardly. This mission calls for a certain heavy-handed combative mentality. Our comrade is Sith Warrior Lexiconus Qor, the Quarren. Locke feels he owes the Clan for his disloyalty.”

“This mission to the armpit of the system with the two of us is surely punishment enough then. Hahaha!” Maelous laughed as the two settled into the control chairs of the ship and lit the holo-controls. “Poor bastard.”

“Inos is not an armpit," the madman scowled. "Haha. He has some scientific skill as well, which will be useful besides being a strong combatant. He is currently onboard the Vibre-class Turmoil. We will rendezvous with the Turmoil on the way to Inos, from there to stop for supplies on Moon 42, and from there to Moon 36.” The Adept clicked the comlink channel switch. “Nachzerer here. We are ready to debark.”

“Aren’t you supposed to ask for clearance?” quipped Maelous. “What do we know of Moon 36?”

“I don’t ask anymore. I command.” Macron giggled. “Almost nothing other than preliminary scans. Not quite as cold as the others, more of a rocky terrain.” The reply came speedily.

You are clear for launch, Marshal Commander Sadow. Happy Hunting.”


Aboard the VAC Turmoil
Orian System
39 ABY

“Welcome to my little art studio,” Bentre made a dramatic sweeping gesture. Lexiconus’s eyes scanned over the equipment in the room. His stomach dropped a bit. “I would like to introduce you to my assistant, Tim.”

“Actually, as I have repeatedly tried to tell you at least a hundred times, my name is Trata.” The man bore the uniform of a Warhost medic. Somehow this did little to assuage the Quarren’s fears though. The moment that they had stepped foot into the room, it was a like a switch had been flipped in Bentre’s brain. The Human was not acting himself, which did not bode well.

“You will have to forgive him,” Stahoes’s eyes flashed as he spoke, “sometimes Tim can be a little cranky. He has been arms deep in blood and gore for the better part of the day. We acquired a few humanoids for some tests. As I am sure you can imagine, it has been an eventful day. Hopefully he mopped the floors while I was gone. I am quickly learning how slick blood can be.”

“We wouldn’t want that,” the medic rolled his eyes before glancing back down at the floor. His face was slightly pale. He obviously took much less glee in this macabre hobby that the Sith Knight called an art.

“Now, fellow my fellow, if you will be so kind as to lay down on the table over there.” Bentre gestured toward a metal table. It appeared as though someone has just welded shackles to the surface. It was far from a sterile work environment. “Once Tim straps you in, we can start. I have this little prototype I have nicknamed Mister Peppy. Don’t worry, it isn’t as sinister as the name implies.” The Corellian’s mood was oddly bubbly considering the grim task ahead.

The Quarren walked over to the side of the table haltingly. With a knot in his stomach, he sat on the table for a moment before turning to lay down. As Trata closed and locked each of the restraints, the sound of a tool whirling nearly caused Lexiconus to jump off the table. The medic pushed on his chest, and shook his head. He silently mouthed something to the prisoner, but the Equite couldn’t figure out what it was. The tool whirred to life for a brief moment.

“Very good,” the voice of the Shadow echoed in the small room. “So Tim will go ahead and put a nice little needle in your arm that will make sure you feel as little pain as possible. It is the very least I can do for such a good friend. Don’t worry though, it burns through the system pretty quickly. A few minutes after we pull the nasty needle out of your arm you should hopefully be able to walk out of here.”

On cue, the medic leaned over the Quarren’s restrained form . Lexiconus felt a sharp pinch and a warming sensation began to spread up his arm. After what seemed like only a few seconds, the world as he knew it began to fade to black. The last moment before he lost consciousness, he finally figured out what the medic had mouthed to him.

“I am so sorry.”


Onboard the VAC Turmoil,
Orian System,
39 ABY

Tasha sat down in the chair beside a makeshift bed and pulled out Vishra’Reyal. Turning the ornate blade in her hands, she could feel hot tears streaming from her eyes. For the first time in her life, she felt alone. The presence she once felt of her grandfather was now gone. She had now become the sole heir to Vishra which meant it was now her duty to protect the blade from anyone that dared to steal the precious blade. Somehow Darkblade had destroyed her grandfather’s spirit and broke the connection she once had. Her eyes flashed with hatred as she recalled the events from her dangerous encounter with the Anzat.

“I swear on Vishra that I will find a way to make you suffer the same pain and torture you have inflicted upon me, Darkblade. I will not rest until my vengeance has been completed, however in order to exact revenge I must gather information, but even so I also must get better in combat. Losing to that Anzat is a terrible display of my weakness.” Rising from her chair, She clipped the blade back to her left side and looked down at the flashing communicator on her right arm. “That’s strange, I usually am not expecting calls unless…” Turning it on, Tasha heard a familiar growling voice. It was Maelous Ascarend.

“Tasha’Vel my dear, I hope that recent events have strengthened you into a better Sith than you were before. I have to admit I was disappointed with your decision. I am willing, however, to forgive you this one time only. Now, what I need is for you to get Lexic and meet me in the docking bay. Hurry along now.”

As the communicator shut off, Tasha thought for a moment. “So he needs Lexic and I for something, this is interesting. But last I knew, Lexic was in a holding cell on this place. Well, I may be able to get him out.” Making her way down the corridor, Tasha began walking towards the holding cells to search for Lexic. As she arrived, Tasha searched the area, but the Quarren seemed to have vanished. Turning to one of the guards nearby, she began questioning him.

“There was a Quarren held up in here, where was he taken?”

“He was taken to the medical bay Miss Versea as requested by Mr. Stahoes.”

Tasha’ Vel smiled wryly. “Oh lovely. I just hope he’s still in one piece before I get there.” Quickly, she began sprinting towards the medical bay.

Meanwhile on a cold slab of metal in the medic bay, an unconscious Lexic was held down by shackles to his arms and legs as the sickening whir of a circular saw cut through the air and began descending upon the Quarren’s legs. Suddenly, Bentre heard a loud familiar voice in his head.

“Bentre, stop! I need him.” Just then, the doors burst open as Tasha’Vel came racing in. Slightly horrified at seeing Lexic shackled with an IV stuck in his arm, Tasha still maintained her composure and held up her left hand to gesture towards the knocked out Quarren.

“He is needed for something important. As much as I hate to break up your rather frightening hobbies, he must come with me, Bentre. I apologize for such an inconvenience.”

Bentre scowled as he turned off the saw and set it aside. “Gods, Tasha you always ruin my fun. I already had him on the table, so I was just about to see what the inside of a Quarren’s leg looks like. Don’t let my intellectual pursuits stop you though. Take him if you must.”

Bentre clicked one of the many buttons on his wrist, causing the shackles to open and then ripped the IV from Lexic’s arm. Slowly, the Quarren began to blink and open his eyes. Groggily, he sat up and began to rub his sore wrists.

“Where am I?” He asked as he looked around the room.

“Right now you are in the medical bay, but I need you to follow me Lexic, I will know more about what is all going on once we get to the docking bay. And Bentre don’t worry I can always bring him back later if you want.”

Bentre waved a hand at her dismissively. “Tim and I can always check up on one of my other patients. Hopefully they didn’t bleed out while we were playing here.”

Tasha blinked a bit at the Corellian’s words. This was certainly not the man she used to know. Something had changed, but unfortunately she couldn’t stay to chat. Carefully, she helped Lexic off the cold steel table and began walking towards the exit as the Quarren leaned on her. Once past the medical doors, the pair continued down the long set of corridors toward the docking bay. “This has turned into one heck of a day.”


Medical bay
ISD Harbinger
Hyperspace transit

Pain assaulted Marcus’ senses as he tried to move his arms, or raise his head. He couldn’t move, and something on his face was burning with the heat of a sun. He tried to speak, but no sound came except for a small groan. He could hear people nearby but he couldn’t make out what they were saying, his ears were ringing. What had happened to him? Had he been in an accident? He remembered getting off the shuttle, reporting in, and then nothing. Something hit him, and then pain.

Suddenly his entire body seemed as if aflame. Pain seared from his face through his neck, into his chest. What felt like liquid fire spread from his torso into his arms and extremities, both paralyzing him and causing him unspeakable agony. He couldn’t breathe, and gasping for air he saw a figure looming over him, through the haze that clouded his mind.

"He’s awake, " someone called. There were noises of people rushing over, nearly drowned out by an agonizing scream.

A sharp twinge on his right arm broke through the flaming pain. Instinctively he tried to look but was unable to because of both the pain and what seemed like restraints that were holding the young Sith down. A cool sensation started to spread from his right arm, providing relief the further it spread. As the pain cleared, the voices became more distinguishable.

“Dislocated knee cap with severed cartilage, severe facial burns, broken nose, and a broken collar bone. He needs bacta treatment.”

Who were they talking about? His mind scoured the recesses of his fragmented memories again, looking for clues about what had happened to him. Suddenly feeling oddly weightless, he could see the ceiling floating by. As the cool and hazy feeling reached his neck he could feel himself drifting away as the sound of a bubbling liquid reached his ears. Just before he passed out, he could hear one last thing from what he presumed to be one of the doctors.

“I hope the Lord General doesn’t lose control again…”


Limping and dragging his feet across the blood-stained and tiled floors, the Quarren’s body was slowly giving up on him. He felt the warmth of his blood to dissipate and slither from his arms and feet first, as his vision began to fade blurry and blood-shot. Lexic slouched more and collapsed against the strength of the Twi’lek, which was faltering itself as she wasn’t an icon of core strength. The pair dragged themselves out of the surgery theatre and into the local corridor, while Tasha propped Lexic against a nearby wall with a device attached to it and sat herself down. She couldn’t take anymore of the weight that the Quarren was holding, he felt like a burden to her and yet there was something more. She learnt about the experiments and research this specific Sith has done, most of them successful to the point of myth and they were profitable for the Battleteam he belonged to. The Twi’lek craved to serve justice on that Anzat she saw on Dentavii, and what better way than to get the most twisted Sith available for this. Gasping for air and wiping the sweat from her lekku, Tasha finally caught her breath as she watched Lexic who seemed to crumble against the sick bay walls.

“C’mon we need to get up and go. Macron ordered for your presence and i’m not going to deny him his orders. Whether it’s by your own feet or over my damned back you’re going there!” She roared at him, who seemed to have taken in her harsh words with clarity. As he forced himself onto his feet, Lexic’s composition went milky and his breath began to deepen into gasps. His knees shook violently into each other for a good solid minute and he collapsed back onto the floor again, his head smacking the tiles hard.

“I can’t go any further, I don’t have the energy. We need to find stimulants, needles with adrenaline in or some sort of cocaine, caffeine, nicotine just anything!” The Quarren splattered out, as sweat poured from his face and hands. She could tell something was wrong with him as a normal human wouldn’t be this drained from a single IV. Tasha forced herself up from the wall and darted into the nearby clinic marked with a red cross on the wall. Inside seemed the same as the next room, blood coating the floor, tables welded with shackles and…body parts in buckets? Whatever cryogenic fluid Bentre used, it didn’t work. The putrid stench of rotting flesh hit her nostril hard and flooded the back of her throat, causing her to keel over and baulk onto the bloodied floor. Gaining some resistance to the putrescent aura in the room, the Twi’lek fought her way inside and raided the cupboards for any sign of what Lexic was talking about.

“I need caffeine, nicotine. What are they? Drugs of some illegal kind? I thought you smoked nicotine…Oh.” She stopped halfway through a cupboard to find a very large jar that held a sky blue tint. There were large crystals inside and a breathing device next to it with a built in cauldron tank. A type she has seen before, which works as a heating device to melt or boil the contents. It was something her Sith Alchemy training taught her to use, and she grabbed the jaw and the device then limped back to the doors. She burst through and rushed over to the Quarren was was now leaning against the wall and forcing himself to slide upwards. She kneeled close to him and unscrewed the jaw of crystals, then opened the cauldron tank. She heard a grumble disappointment from Lexic which she wasn’t pleased with, and glared at him with cold eyes.

“What now!? You asked me to get you a stimulant and I got you…these?” She held up one of the crystals which seemed bigger than her eye. Lexic groaned and grabbed the jar, then impatiently started shoving the crystals inside the cauldron.

“You got me crystal Meth, which can be very addictive and destroy your body. But I guess a few inhalations cannot hurt.” Tasha nodded in agreement as she wanted to stop sitting around in this dark corridor, with two macabre rooms behind them and an old friend who was now on the verge of being a maddening doctor. She took the tank from Lexic and yanked it into the fixture for the mask, screwing it back into place and activated the heating sequence. The Quarren took the mask himself and started inhaling deeply the minisculely toxic fumes whisping from the pipes, the effect hit the back of his throat hard and burnt against his lips. This gas aided him the strength to get back on his feet momentarily, while Tasha urged him along to hurry.

“Geez, what’s your hurry? You’re very impatient for a loyalist of Locke.” Lexic gave a quick chuckle once he was feeling better and threw the mask down, he felt it was much simpler to heal himself through the Force than through synthetic needs. His comment was a jab at her being pardoned for her efforts in aiding Marcus and his mystical mission from the Force, the fact that Lexic was punished for failing and the Twi’lek was excused for succeeding is what started the quip. Tasha just gave the Quarren a hard punch in the chest and growled at him coldly, then forced him ahead as she couldn’t be bothered to retort.

“Where are we going anyway? You never said.” Lexic looked back at her and was interrupted by “Docking bay, for Maelous.” The Quarren nodded slowly and sighed. He wasn’t quite fond of the Human, as they didn’t get along well last time during the ritual of Dentavii. The Sith Warrior also feared the stern words he’d get for putting Jade in danger from the newly appointed Battlemaster. Lexic grumbled and struck a hard fist into a glass cabinet nearby on their travels, the fragment collapsing and shattering on the tiles.

“Why him? What makes that pathetic jarhead suitable for ascension? Countless times i’ve put my own life on the line, and he sits back with a great warrior doing all the work for him. Better just feeding him to a rancor, than giving him more useless information to sponge up.”

“Because it’s the Jedi’s choice, not yours. Just hurry up!” She pushed Lexic again, and he started to go into a strong job down the corridor labelled Docking Bay.

Inside the Docking Bay,
Onboard the VAC Turmoil.

The emptiness of the bay was influenced by the calm background of space behind the vehicles, as only one shuttle was active in the room with Maelous pacing by the ramp slowly. When he saw the flash of orange and blue coming from a corner entrance, he crossed his arms and waited impatiently. Then Lexic and Tasha came jogging around a small maintenance vehicle, and towards Maelous’ shuttle. The Aedile greeted them both with a nod and then motioned for them to enter the ramp. Tasha marched up the ramp and wasted no time in settling into a seat, but as the Quarren went to walk inside he was prodded by the Aedile, who gave him a questionable look about his choice, or lack, of clothing.

“Lexic I’m gonna need an honest and clean answer here, why in this galaxy are you nude?” His eyebrows frowned as the Battlemaster began to look up and down the unclothed body of Lexic, who seemed to be oblvious about this. It seems that when Lexic was under the general anaesthetic, his clothing was removed for better clarity on what surgical procedures to use by the maddened Bentre. Maelous began to back away as the inner darkness of his mind started to question the nude Quarren’s motives. Lexic grumbled as he began to cover his genital area from the two witnesses infront of him, as Tasha rolled her eyes and marched inside the shuttle.

“I was trapped on a table in shackles, my freedom taken away from me by this shell that used to be Bentre. He’s changed, and i’m unsure if it’s for the better. Perhaps he’s trying to be more like myself or Macron, who is no doubt waiting for us so let’s not waste time!.” Lexic lectured the duo and he walked inside the shuttle, then started raiding the lockers and trunks for clothing. The only thing he found was the tight fitting suits for pilots when in combat, a black armour and cloth with silver shoulderguards and leather gloves. The helm was useless as it would never fit his tentacles inside, however the flying visor was perfect, with only a reflective glass at his eyes and a gray colour across the skull. Tasha giggled to herself.

“You look incredibly stupid. Almost like a girl.”

“I believe these were meant for a female, I could do without the helmet for now anyway.” He unstrapped the headgear then tossed it at the Battlemaster who was doing pre-flight checks with the assigned pilot. He only grumbled and threw the helmet back down the shuttle.

“Commander Ascarend you are cleared for take-off.” The intercom crackled, as the ramp shut and the anti-vacuum shields dropped from the ship’s hangar.


Ancient Jedi Ship Crash Site
Inos Moon 36
Inos Orbit
Orian System

“Hurry up with that,” commanded Zeos Fthag’n. The Arkanian was impatient. Time was wasting, and one of their jobbers who had been sent to their contacts within the Orian Assembly with rare metals had not reported back. “Damn stupid transport jockeys. Probably got caught with their pants down. Good help is hard to find.”

“Yeah, that could be.” His comrade leaned casually against the bulkhead wall of the ship they had discovered. Both wore rebreathers, as the atmosphere was thin and cold. Cold-suits encased their bodies. The Talz Force Warrior Seer did his best with basic and his translator. “The payoff from this should be really substantial. We already got quite a bit of creds from the first quadanium metal shipment. We should cut and run, right?”

“You idiot.” Zeos threw his hands up in mock despair. “These artifacts are worth so very, very much more than some dumb elements! Why the hell else do you think the rest of us came here? For metals? Nuh uh.” His fingers rapped the carved walls of the bulkhead. “No, for this lore right here! For those old data-tapes! Screw the Jedi temple. I left them, and now I’m going to be rich from what they taught me!” His hands touched the bulkhead, and the Arcanist felt the impressions. “So old! And those douchebags that run this system missed it! The creds we spent with the Organization paid off before they got screwed.”

“Don’t you worry about the System controllers? They are powerful.” The furry tall white being repositioned himself and checked his own twin-bladed lightsaber into a nearby fusion droid for a recharge. “We wouldn’t stand a chance if they directed their attention this way. They are pretty harsh from what I hear. I’ve heard some awful things. We should have a plan.”

“I’m not. They have been at war, in other systems for years. We’ve been pilfering their stuff way out here unseen for some time, and I am not about to stop the flow of credits. Our buyers have plenty of creds, and we have plenty of need- or greed.” Zeos smiled as he fingered his own dual-phase saber. “Once the Organization was routed, we have free reign. Nobody cares about these old moons. I see very, very few ships ever coming out here. None care about this moon.”

The hulking white-furred beast spoke as he unclipped his saber. “What about Moon 42? There’s activity there, from what I hear. A base. Small, about a squadron. But others come there.”

“Yeah, that’s a bad place.” The Arcanist Augur mused quietly. “They are most interested in that old tomb site and missed this one. Dipsticks. Their loss, our gain.” His hands worked across the miniscule cache of Dantoooine green-colored Pontite adegans that they had stolen from thousands of years old Jedi corpses. “This right here is my retirement fund from some long dead schmuck,” the tomb-robber chuckled. “Two of them. meditated themselves to death when they realized no help was coming. Our contacts will pay mad jack for them. We will live like kings!”


Main Hall, Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

Atra’s lip had curled almost the instant Sang’s back had turned, his corrupted eye firmly fixed upon Macron who held a glare of his own. It wasn’t so much hate that the two shared, it was history. Ventus, the supposed failure of an experiment that just wouldn’t fade into obscurity, and the Mad Alchemist who had designed the experiment and plied his hand at implementing it. Animosity, and nothing more. A distaste for what could have been and what wasn’t.

Besides, he had more important issues to attend to than the matters of walking corpses. His nose curled in disgust as the offending scents of so many… people assaulted him. His migraine still lingered at the fringe of his mind, threatening what little sanity he possessed. The Quaestor marched deeper into the Temple proper, glancing over the datapad he now held in his hand.

The Consul had been less than pleased with Atra’s reports, though he figured Locke had his suspicions as to the source of the information. He wasn’t wrong, though. Methyas had come through and served up a suitably more confusing report in regards to the missing scouts. As the eyes on the ground claimed, pirate activity was up in the nearby regions, and yet when their actual contacts were queried they painted a differing picture.

So what was it? Was activity up, or down? What in the annals of the Force was going on?

Whatever it was, Atra was certain that it was going to give him another headache.


Transport Shuttle
Orian System

The shuttle pulled pulled away from the Turmoil and banked slightly to the port side bringing the Nachzerer into the view. The newly raised Battlemaster tapped at the holopad on mounted in the armor of his left forearm. Some data scrolled across the HUD of his helmet, there was a click as the communication channel opened.

“Have you acquired the package,” the Alchemist asked with a chuckle.”I know you love flesh. You have to know, I will kill all of you if this mission fails.”

Maelous, uncharacteristically, almost laughed, “You have no idea how appropriate that statement is at the moment. Yes, Tasha and Lexic are both onboard. We will be docking with you shortly.”

“Good. Meet me at the cockpit,” Macron chuckled with excitement, “We have little time, and more than enough to do.”

The Exile nodded to himself sharing in the excitement of one of his few passions. He almost closed the channel then stopped himself, “Also, I believe Lexic is currently wearing a female officer’s battle uniform, can you see if you have something more appropriate for our mission for him.”

The Elder cackled “That is irrelevant.” and said nothing as the communication cut out.

The Aedile looked over his shoulder as the two additions to his team sat in the hold. The voice in his mind began to whispers, What makes you think they won’t kill you?

“Nothing, it’s the way we are,” Maelous said aloud without a thought.

The Quarren looked over at him, “What,” he asked, a hint of, what Maelous could only call, petulance in his voice.

The shuttle began its docking procedures and the Battlemaster stood without missing a beat, “Welcome to the Nachzerer, we are meeting with Elder Sadow on the bridge.”

Tasha stood, “Let’s go, I’d like to know what this is all about.”

Bridge of the Nachzerer
Orian System

The Quarren and the Twi’lek walked through the doors of the bridge a few steps ahead of Maelous. The two almost paused as they noticed the insectoid forms of the Verpine crew as they made their way to the raised section that Macron stood at as he looked over a holoprojection.

Without looking at the three newcomers he waved them over, “Sit, we have much to discuss,” he said as he waved at the seats around the projector absently.

He called out to the crew, “Set a course for Inos 42, we need to collect my supplies.”

The three Sith took their places as he looked them over one at a time, “This is a fine team for this. Let us begin.”

He grinned then chuckled with excitement and began to explain what lay ahead.


CRV Hyperion
Near Ombus
Orian System

Private Ciri Telsh was nervous. She checked her blaster again for the third time in the last five minutes. Then she glanced over at Sergeant Abano Spero but he seemed to be as uncomfortable with their situation as she was. She turned her gaze back to the cloaked figure who was standing with his back to them in the middle of the room they were guarding trying to hide her unease. The Hyperion didn’t have a brig so they had repurposed the stateroom for the prisoner with Telsh and Spero guarding him and more troopers standing by in the hallway outside just in case. So far he had made no attempts at escaping or fighting them though, he had even surrendered his lightsabers to Sergeant Spero when he had boarded the Corvette. For some reason this had just made Private Telsh even more uncomfortable with the situation, she was still new to the Warhost and this was her first encounter with one of the force users she knew to be ruling the system so she still wasn’t sure what to expect. She had heard stories during training though and not all of them had been reassuring, she started to fidget with her blaster again.

“You do not need to fear me Private Telsh, I have no desire to harm any of our soldiers.”

She froze for a second, the voice had clearly been coming from their prisoner but how could he have known? He hadn’t moved since they entered the room and he was still standing with his back to them gazing out the viewport.

The cloaked figure moved towards the Holonet terminal and Telsh and Spero raised their blasters slightly, the tall figure held up a bark-covered hand towards them.

“You can lower your weapons, I am merely going to contact Consul Sonjie to inform him that I will be arriving on Sepros soon to await his judgement.”

The two troopers glanced at each other but then relaxed. The Neti pressed some buttons on the terminal and a few seconds later a holographic image of Locke Sonjie appeared before them. The two troopers snapped to attention and Malik bowed his head slightly.

“Lord Consul, I shall report to Sepros to await whatever punishment you deem necessary.”

The holographic Locke seemed to think on this for a second before replying.

“I just have one question. Why?”

Malik lowered the hood of his cloak but didn’t otherwise seem phased by the question, in fact it seemed like he had expected it.

“The strength of your leadership needed to be tested. The Clan needed to see if you’re worthy to lead us into the unknown that awaits us. And the Force showed me that I could potentially save more of our soldiers by following Kiriyu instead of you.”

The holographic projection nodded its head and disappeared. Malik turned to his guards and pulled the hood back up.

“Sergeant Spero, would you inform the captain that we’re headed for Sepros? We just need to make one quick pick up in this area first.”

Temple of Sorrow
Orian System

Telsh and Spero exited the shuttle that had picked them up from the Hyperion followed by Malik and behind him came the remaining eight members of the squad that had been assigned to guard him. Between them they transported a sizable chunk of Ombus that had broken off the crystal planet after the failed ritual. All the readings had seemed normal when the Hyperion had scanned it but the Neti knew different, the planet and the chunk felt empty or dead in the force, now that he was back on Sepros he did feel something else though, something more familiar. He reached his right hand out and a wooden staff flew to his hand startling some of the troopers, the staff looked so similar to his own bark-like skin that you could mistake it for being an actual part of his anatomy now that he had it in his grip again.


KSD Damnation
Sepros Orbit

“He did what?” Locke asked, voice a hoarse whisper. The bridge was quiet, and he didn’t want to alarm anyone.

Admiral Simonetti stood nearby, arms folded. He showed no sign of emotion except that standard Imperial Professional Calm that he seemed to have perfected over the years. Locke wished he’d at least raise an eyebrow or something. It was unnerving.

The Admiral did sigh, at least. “He took the Harbinger out of the blockade. Apparently he is taking it to rescue the clan member you sent him after.”

“Really?” Locke said, eyes a little wide as he whispered. “Did you order the ship back into place?”

“I attempted to, but he claims he is acting on your authority.”

"Oh, " Locke said. “Conference room. One level down. Now.”

A few minutes later, Locke, Admiral Simonetti, and a few military advisors all stood in the conference room directly below the bridge.

Locke used the ship’s comlink to page Cethgus over their personal frequency. Used only by clan summit, Cethgus would know it was Locke, or should have. He had doubts of his Proconsul’ intelligence after this.

After a few moments, the grinning image of the Proconsul popped up over the holo-projector. It annoyed Locke even more.

“Yes, Lord Consul?”

“Where are you going with that star destroyer?” Locke asked, barely containing his anger.

“To rescue Roxas, as you said.”

“With an entire freaking star destroyer?”

Cethgus didn’t look phased at Locke’s emphasis. “Well, there might be resistance.”

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Locke muttered. “Return the ship, take a transport instead, and we will have words when you return.”

"Too late, " Cethgus said. “Hyperspace jump in 3, 2-” the line went dead as he began to mouth the word “one.”

For a long moment, everyone was silent. Locke knew the others were watching him. He would have liked to have punched something, or Force-fried a console, but that would not accomplish anything, nor be a good example to those in the room.

Finally, he spoke quietly. “So there is a hole in our blockade?”

One of the advisors spoke up. “Yes, sir. Currently, the Interdictor Cruiser Abyss and the gunship Kestrel are holding it. Erm, as you probably know, they are not that strong alone.”

“Best recommendation?” Locke asked.

“Sir?” the man replied.

“I’m not a bloody strategist, man. What’s our best option, assuming the Harbinger is not returning to it’s position soon?”

There was a pause, then a reply. “The Final Way is in deep space, running starfighter training drills for our new pilots. Though it’s design would be alarming to any who drop out of hyperspace in front of the blockade, I doubt that they would escape to tell anyone. It’s fighters should see to that.”

Simonetti spoke up. “Agreed, it is our best option, with the other large capital ships of the fleet deployed to maintain order in the system…or indisposed.”

Locke nodded. “Do it then.”

A few minutes passed as the group dispersed. Locke seethed, slowly calming himself and thinking through how he would deal with his Proconsul when the man returned.

The fool, Locke thought.

Suddenly, a light blinked on the console, indicating he had a new message. He flipped the channel on, wondering if it was Cethgus.

“What?” Locke said.

It was a voice Locke didn’t recognize. “Sir, Malik Sadow has arrived on the surface. He brought you a…gift.”

Oh, Malik. There was another person who did things Locke couldn’t predict. He had explained them well enough, true. Was Cethgus going to try the same? Locke decided he wouldn’t accept it if the Zabrak did."

“What sort of gift?”

There was a long pause. “Umm, a rock, Sir?”

Locke sighed. He wasn’t likely to get any more than that. “Inform him that I will be down within the hour,” he said.


Cockpit of the Nachzerer
Approaching Inos
Orian System

“You know… this time of mooning about is useless.” Macron smiled as the heavily armored transport moved out. The Verpine crew worked hard. Although there were only four of them, they managed the ship nicely. The Alchemist gestured to a Verpine. “Engineer Zzzclk’ik,Transmit to Consul Sonjie we are stopping for supplies, and then on to secure the Moon 36 site as ordered. As well, tell him…” the Sith’s eyes closed, one yellow and one reptilian. His breath shuddered briefly. “Tell him I sense a disgusting minor Light Side Force Nexus there. My skills are not adequate to tell more at this distance.”

“Welcome aboard.” Macron chuckled. “As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, she is a bit cramped for space. Unfortunately I can carry less than a fourth of what a normal transport of this size can haul. I apologize for your crowded bunks. I don’t live extravagantly like some Dark Jedi.”

“That seems a problem,” Lexiconus quipped. “I saw an awful lot of electronics back there.” The Quarren peered about carefully, his keen technological senses taking stock of the vessel and surroundings. “And these controls look a mess, no offense. Lots of raw power though. Very unusual harmonics.”

“None taken. They are a hot mess honestly.” Macron frowned. “The Verpine did their best to clean up the systems after my, ah, modifications. It takes an awfully big powerplant to run this gig. Ugly and crowded she is, but she’s one of the most heavily armed and armored transports in the entire Brotherhood. Shields are in the 300 SBD range, almost as much as a small corvette. Quadanium triple-plate on the hull. And we have actual single turbolasers. Relatively fast too, military grade but not as fast as a hopped-up fighter.”

The madman chuckled as sparks flew from one of the hanging wires and a Verpine rushed to re-route it. “There are, ah, some unresolved issues though.” He shrugged. “She’s survived several conflicts including the Vong War and the Crusades. Maelous here has become proficient with the controls. I’ll be honest, I’m a very mediocre pilot myself. Sai, or Shi Long as he has become was the best pilot of her I have seen.”

Maelous chuckled evilly as his hands waved across the holocontrols. “Ugly, cramped, but by Darth she will get us there safely and kick some tail if we have trouble.”

Tasha nodded. “That’s sensible, given we are so far out with no backup. Rumor had it there are pirates operating out here still.” She looked out the viewport at the immense gas giant that loomed in the distance and what seemed like tiny moons orbiting it. It was hard to believe some of them were as big as the inner planets in the system.

“I heard that too,” Lexiconus said as he settled into one of the chairs at the rear of the cockpit. “When I first came here, one of the duty rosters we pulled was outward system patrol on a corvette. Boring as all get-out for that week. I think the pirates around one of these moons had been recently routed and things were quiet.”

“It’s true,” Maelous chimed in. “Moon 27 was a pirate hotbed. Moon Seven, or “Rockpile” had a major Organization compound on it. We only recently destroyed it last year. The Verpine moved in, and it’s now their main hive in the system. Where we are going, however, is a special place.”

“I heard there is a compound, and a Dark Side site on Necropolis?” Tasha’Vel asked. “I overheard some of the other students back on Sepros mention it before I became a Knight. I don’t think any of those sleemos had the guts to come out here to Moon 42 though. The place had a bad reputation among them as a real Sith site. I heard several Acolytes never came back.”

“You heard correctly, Knght Ver’sea,” giggled Macron as the icy ball of rock hove into view. “It is a real Sith site, as you say. The Tombs of Orian are not for the faint-hearted. If you follow the Dark Side of the Force, it will inevitably change you. Deepen your connection." The word in ancient Sith came to his twisted mind and the madman voiced it. "Qotsisajak. Through passion, I gain strength. When I’m not on Gamuslag, this is where I live and meditate. The Tombs are strong with the Dark Side, and the lower levels are even stronger. Maelous has been here more than once. I’m curious to see how you and Lexiconus will react. We will land in five minutes.”


ISD Harbinger
Hyperspace transit

“Was that really necessary?”

The question was asked quietly, barely audible over the background noise of the Bridge. The query was of course ignored, deemed rhetorical by the recipient.

“Alright, did you really have to beat him in front of the men? You’ve destroyed any authority the man had and shown them that you’re a vicious madman.” the Jedi hissed under his breath, pushing the boundary of his relationship with his old master.

“Precisely,” rumbled the cold voice of Cethgus, the small Iridonian’s aura was a mix of amusement and barely repressed rage. “They fear me and the traitor learned a small lesson.”

Sanguinius inwardly sighed as he shut his eyes in frustration. His master had always been like this, brutish and undiplomatic when irked. “I can see that you refuse to take advantage of the lessons I taught you in diplomacy, brother.”

The Obelisk Adherent snorted in disgust, “You taught me nothing but disappointment in you.”

The Anaxsi turned away from the Augur and walked towards the turbolift. “I will always be here to save you from yourself, master.” Sang whispered as he left the Proconsul to his thoughts.

Corridor 3S
ISD Harbinger
Hyperspace transit

The hustle and bustle of the corridors was welcome to the young Neophyte, their first time on such a large ship had been an interesting one. She was new to Naga Sadow, yet her small stature made her the perfect spy. Her presence on the Star Destroyer was neither requested or wanted, yet she had made her way on board the ship while it was blockading the Orian System upon the request of her master, who wished to test her skills.

He had selected the young Miralian due to her unnatural talent of going unnoticed, even to the standards of a trained Shadow. Her task, to infiltrate, collect data and bring it back to him, unnoticed. The unforeseen issue of the ship going into hyperspace complicated things. Confusion had momentarily ruled her, fear blossoming before being consumed by her growing anger at things going wrong. She was better than this, Allistaire had been trained as a youth to know that she was better than everyone else.

Knowledge was power, the knowledge of why the Star Destroyer had gone into hyperspace was paramount. Von Drake made her way through the corridor to a small room housing a computer. Accessing the computer network, Allistaire queried what was happening, using a command code given to her by her master, Methyas. It allowed her to access high level information, a useful tool from a former Consul. Information scrolled across the screen, alerting her to the fact that the Proconsul had taken command of the vessel and sent it across the system.

The question of what to do next filled her mind.

Medical Bay
ISD Harbinger
Hyperspace transit

The Rollmaster floated, submerged in a bacta tank within the medical bay. A medical droid studied the display, making sure Marcus was continuing to heal. The beds and bacta tanks in the medical bay were mostly empty, a couple of beds filled with ratings who were suffering from a minor sickness and were there mostly for monitoring.

A figure in grey clothing, tailored to their form strode into the room, drawn there by the burning need to see Cethgus’ handiwork. Teu stood before the tank, her eyes running over the Knight’s body, studying the bruises and red raw flesh where the medical droids had covered serious wounds with synthflesh. The daughter of Sadow’s presence on the Harbinger was a surprise to the medical staff. But then, they were used to surprises by now.

“The patient is showing signs of recovery.” the tinny voice of the medical droid informed Teu.

She glanced over at the automaton, “I didn’t ask.”

“My apologies, madam. I believed you were here to check up on the patient.” the droid burbled.

“That’ll be all.” Teu dismissed the droid. The Augur was on the Harbinger to find some isolation from the rest of the Clan. The Warhost was kept separate from the Clan, manned mostly by mundanes. Her old student, Locke, was obsessed with his beloved Warhost and jealously guarded its assets. Rumours had flown around the ship after the display from the former Arconan and had reached her ears. Despite having supported Locke in the recent civil war, Teu was rather pragmatic. She saw no need to punish those who were no longer a threat.

Her reverie was broken by a presence behind her. She reached out with a part of her mind, trying to gain a reading of who was behind her. The presence was vaguely familiar, but not of importance to her.

“Teu, what a pleasant surprise.” the sibilant voice of the Quaestor reached her ears.


Ancient Jedi Ship Crash Site
Inos Moon 36
Inos Orbit
Orian System

Zeos Fthag’n counted the anticipated credits. A lot of this old site was a useless kark-hole, and decayed beyond redemption. Even so, some of the more permanent items remained. His buyers knew of the site but kept it hush-hush, as such things were blatantly illegal. And in any case, they did not want to let their competitors know. It was all a very quiet little trade, with very quiet and specific clients. Hush hush. Most of the buyers were on Nar Shadaa, a very few beings that courted prestige by the artifacts that they had in their possession. They kept their connection to him secret for obvious reasons, and they paid well. Very, very well indeed.

His Talz comrade worked his furred talon-hands furtively. “Zeos… I think… We need to wrap this up.” The furred alien being looked as pensive as someone with seven or eight eyes could. “I have a bad feeling.”

“For frell’s sake Cheoktos,” came the reply. “To be two meters tall, you are surely a wimp. I mean, what the hell? Look at all this….” The Arkanian gestured. “Look at THIS! His hands swept across a small chest. They had kept this to themselves, hoping to bargain with other dealers. The raw crystals within tinkled as they rolled back and forth. Every single one was an ancient Adegan, and in almost every color imaginable. Each one flickered in the Force with the Light Side, unimprinted. There must have been ten or twenty in the box. Yellow, Green, Blue, they were all there. “It’s a hoard man! The credits right here are unreal!”

“Yeah. Yeah, the money looks nice.” Cheoktos the Talz mused. “I’m down with that. But don’t you feel the change?” The furred alien ran a taloned hand across the bulkhead wall. “Something is different. It feels… off. Something is coming.”

“Oh for frell’s sake,” Zeos growled. “You and your superstitions. The only thing that is coming is credits!” The Arkanian collector laid out a piece of plas-cloth and began to count the crystals. “Damn. We are going to be so rich! I bet the clothes and accoutrements on those mummified bodies will be even better.”

Cheoktos scowled. “You intend to rob the actual dead. Those mummies back there…”

“I do,” smirked Zeos. “And all for money.”


Corridor 3S
ISD Harbinger

“Keep me informed on their activities,” Methyas had said. His habit of staring at Allistaire as if he weren’t blind still unnerved her, but she didn’t show it, merely cocking her head slightly to one side. He wouldn’t ever tell her, but the way he knew she stared at him, her gaze unblinking, unnerved him as well.

“Yes, Master,” she said.

“Secrecy is of utmost importance,” he continued, “I trust that you realize what is required of you.”

Allistaire von Drake knew she was in trouble as her Master’s last words to her played through her mind like a holo-recording. She had been in the computer room for far too long; what had begun initially as a brief snooping session down the hallway might soon turn into a meeting with the two people she didn’t want to know about her presence.

Sneaking onto the Harbinger had not been on Allistaire’s radar when she had received her instructions. Having a knack for following people and going unnoticed, she had followed Cethgus Tiberius Entar and Sanguinius Entar in hopes of listening in on their conversation…a bold move, considering they were more than likely aware of her presence from the beginning.

At the risk of sounding arrogant even to herself, she seriously doubted they’d sensed her, as she’d been reading up on how to mask her presence in the Force and (she hoped) they would be too busy discussing the rescue of someone named Roxas to be aware of her. If they knew she was following them, then her being on this ship was certainly not a coincidence; if not, then she was in danger of being tossed out of her Clan at the least, if not chased out of Brotherhood space.

At the time, when she had been considering her next course of action, she hadn’t through that sneaking aboard the Harbinger would even have been an option. How was she supposed to know that her own Proconsul and the Quaestor of Marka Ragnos would steal an entire Star Destroyer?

It occurred to Allstaire that the trouble with knowing things is figuring out what to do with the things you know…especially whenever you’re in the middle of hyperspace, on a ship full of people who are far stronger than yourself (none of whom want you there), without a way to communicate the things you know that couldn’t be traced.

No use dwelling on that now, she thought regretfully. Voices and footsteps were approaching her corridor and she had to think of a plan. Her thoughts raced.

“…really think this is necessary?” Her heart sank. That voice certainly belonged to Sanguinius.

“It isn’t a matter of necessity any longer. With our Rollmaster in his current shape we need all of our members.”

If it was possible her heart sank lower, having recognizing the second voice as that of Cethgus Entar. She’d known they were on the ship, obviously, but hadn’t expected two people as important as them to be anywhere but the bridge.

“I think that stealing a Star Destroyer is only slightly extreme,” Sanguinius’s voice warned.

“I remind you that I do what is needed, nothing more…”

The conversation continued as the pair moved down the hallway, and Allistaire’s heart pounded in her chest as her blood roared through her veins. She had two choices in front of her: she could go back to her hiding place in the vents, or she she could follow them…or she could combine the two plans and follow them in the ventilation system.

Boldness took over, and so did the beginning of a plan. Grinning, she slid comfortably into the shadows and vanished.


Bridge of the Nachzerer,
Orian System.

Lexiconus was hesitant and quietly curious about the ancient Tombs of Orian underneath the stations on Inos Moon 42. Last time they were around here was when the Red Fury pirates had decided to attack their own assets, and this was the discerning moment the Quarren had realised something. Confrontation was not a time to dwindle on your actions, the people of this Clan needed to focus on their choices rather than the consequences as that train of thought got them into trouble many times over. In retrospect, it too had forced the Warrior into some nasty places. It was exactly the first time the Ex-Krath was thrown into the dog end of arena, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Pulled from his reflections, Lexic’s thoughts were interrupted by Macron who stood infront of him and coughed. The two Sith met eyes once and Lexic quickly rose to his feet in respect; as a medical genius and a legendary leader, he deserved it. The Adept handed the Quarren a datapad that held a hologram of some blueprints, moreso directions to certain quarters.

“I’m afraid we needed to slip you into the same room as Tasha, we need both of you together in order for our plans to work. With her fight and your brains, it’s quite literally a,” Macron chuckled softly. “A no-brainer, just follow the directions.”

The Quarren scoffed coldly, as bubbles formed in his mouth. He wasn’t overly fond of the Twi’lek but it was the idea of socialising in the first place, it was something Lexic disliked to a high degree. As the Adept turned and walked towards the controls on his bridge, the Quarren quickly tapped his shoulder.

“Sir, couldn’t I find a place somewhere with the Verpine instead? It’s not that dislike the Knight, but i’m more comfortable with the insects.” Lexic said, ignorant to the scornful face of Tasha behind him. Macron only turned his head and chuckled coldly to himself.

“Oh, you don’t want to do that, my youthful squid. Just stay where i’ve put you, and you’ll be fine.” Macron continued to stride over to the bridge controls as Lexic felt quite unstable, his anger building in disgust. As he was oblivious to the indoctrination of the hive, something told him his should trust, and therefore respect, the Adept’s advice regardless. He needed a chance to blow off some steam, or to at least think this long-term plan through. So, Lexic looked through the blueprint of the ship and followed the directions for the power plant.

Couple of hours later,

As Lexiconus wandered through the cramped areas that represent the energy generators for the bulk of the ship, he felt a calming yet intriguing pulse of energy emanating from the immediate area. It wasn’t an exact place known to him, but more so as a tall aura that glided across the misty air above, and nestled inside the warmth of the blocky generators that were pressed together. The Quarren came close to a tall and imposing machine that appeared to direct most of the electricity rather than generate or store it, and he was intrigued greatly by it. As if a tingling embraced his ears warmly, the machinery began an irregular amount of activity in front of Lexic, arcing bolts of energy into the air and across every cable it was linked to. Lexic couldn’t quite figure what the matter was with this aging and rusty computer, but it seemed to respond to his movements and, well Lexic guessed, his existence.

The Quarren reached and placed his suction fingers against the console of the machine, and as if by intelligent choice, flashes of memories shot into his mind. Moments of being with millions of computing intelligence, collectively discussing the factors of their life. The periods of their slumber were filled with the prospects of the wonders they imagined from outside the ship, and what limitless possibilities they wished. But a strong and quite painful memory lingered in his sight as a red blur, filled with excruciating hatred and pain. The face of the familiar Adept and Captain of this ship pulsated from the memories, cackling and prodding towards Lexic with various mechanical tools. While a collection of Insectoid creatures, possibly the Verpine, crawled over his view and invaded his personal space. The Quarren quickly pulled back from the machine which seemed to be in overloading measurements, and then fell slowly back to normality as Lexic began to calm. The Quarren turned to find the smirking face of Macron who leaned against a nearby wall with his arms folded, as if he enjoyed the facade of Lexic’s interface.

“Back here again?” Macron gave off an unnerving smile, Lexic had to force a smile out before he turned back to the control generator.

“It’s a wonderful thing to witness isn’t it? To truly feel that even life can prosper synthetically as well as biologically, botanically and aerosolistically.” Lexic swore the Adept made that last word up, but he continued to listen.

“If we could one day tap into this existence within these machines, we may be able to siphon it and transfer it into more portable devices to possibly consult or maybe aid our combat. Now isn’t that worrying?” The madman chuckled as he tapped the elbow of Lexic, who in instinct twisted his arm around jabbed his fist into Macron’s wrist lightly. With his hand knocked away, the Adept frowned and cocked his head.

“That wasn’t any normal hit, was it squid?”

“I have been taught Echani by holograms. It’s kept me alive.” Lexic retorted as he watched Macron’s smile turn cold. The Quarren immediately dropped his weight into a lower stance and awaited any attack.

“Interesting, we may have to converse one day when we’re not busy with our mission. Let’s head up top, we’re landing onto Inos 42 now. I hope you listened to Maelous’ briefing well, I will not repeat it.”

On the Surface of Inos Moon 42.

Desolate, barren and rugged is what came to mind when Lexic first stepped off the ramp of the Nachzerer, his eyes slowly darting around to find any trace of civilisation whilst the engines of the ship cooled and shut down. Macron and Maelous, both clad in their honourary Sith armour and holding their backpacks, marched forward into the crunching snow and signalled for the newcomers to follow. Tasha who was shivering and rubbing her teal shoulders, grumbled some unintelligent as her teeth chattered, and jogged forward from Lexic. The place seemed devoid of live and untouched for thousands of years, which Lexic presumed was the ideal setting for a Sith Lord’s tomb and research centre. As the quartet made their way through the icy terrain, they saw a spire rise on the horizon followed by the dome that represented the main station for the Warhost soldiers. With a short smirk, Macron his hand to the base proudly.

“42 station everyone, we’ll base ourselves here and gather supplies and then onwards to 36 for a fantastic picnic.” He chuckled with an unremorseful tone, he didn’t regret the proximity of the soldiers to the tomb, it just meant more experiments.

Once close to the base Maelous marched forward and opened the base himself with the authorisation codes and was greeted by the commanding officer with a salute, who then marched along with Macron as they discussed the current situation and supply requisitions. While the Elder and his Apprentice were busy speaking with the military, Tasha and the Quarren were pulled to the side by a younger officer who saluted them both.

“Sir and Madam, the Marshal requested you followed me to the Garrison, this is a very busy and important station, so we advise all non-essential personnel to move forward to designated stations.” The officer spoke like a script which only angered Lexic more as he snarled with anger, as Tasha interrupted him.

“Just show us to the Garrison and stop talking. Unless you really do want to lose control of your limbs and your bladder in one quick second, the squid here can do that quite happily.” The Twi’lek cocked her head at Lexic who continued to stare down at the soldier as he sweated and marched with haste into the corridor. Tasha chuckled happily as she felt the officer, no, the man needed to be put in his place. However it was an exciting thought to see what Lexic could actually do to such a trained professional killer.

As the trio walk down the cold and dull corridor towards the location for soldier’s abode, Lexic wondered whether this was the right place for a Sith to truly be. The modern outlook on the base seemed to be devoid of any Sith or Force-usage entirely, as if there were no commanding Dark Jedi in control. This may be down to the fact they were in hiding the majority of their reign until recently, or due to the fact this particular station was under the control of expertly covert Sith scientist. But one thing was true about this station, as they walked past the sickbay which was full with oddly wounded and maimed soldiers, there was segregation of a sorts. Lexic slowly stopped at the door of the screaming and wailing soldiers, which bled through their bandages, while the echoes of another screeched through the surgery curtains at the end. Tasha also noticed and punched the leading officer in the arm.

“Oi, what’s going on here?” She ordered, while the officer stuttered and gestured at the wounded.

“Well, um, we have an understanding with Macron Sadow who likes to, um, upgrade our soldiers. Some soldiers fail and lie here,” The officer began to nervously fiddle with his fingers as he looked into the Quarren’s angered eyes. “The rest don’t come back.”

“I see. Carry on.” Tasha flickered her hand at the officer and they marched through the hallways, into the sleeping quarters of the garrison. Inside they met with the typical warhost soldiers that were combat ready and supplied to their teeth with weaponry and explosives of all kinds. Lexic caught the eye of six soldiers playing Sabaac while sharing a bottle of whiskey, who stared in confusion at the alien species’ and waved them off. Once further inside and past a set of double blast doors, they came to the general cantina that was empty apart from a counter with heated food and a drinks machine. Once inside, the officer waited at the door while Tasha found herself at the drinks machine and scrolling through the various options. Lexic, who had a rumbling stomach, headed to the kitchen in search of something sweet and biscuit-based.

“You two will remain here until further ordered by your superiors. Which should be joining you soon, I suspect your arrival is to take stock and move onwards?” Tasha nodded in response as she selected some drinks for herself, whilst Lexic was already tentacles-deep inside what used to be a cake. The white icing tossed across the glass container while he made some content sounds and gargles. Then Macron immediately stormed past the officer which knocked staggered him against the steel walls, while Maelous kept up. Appearing to be quite impatient and conflicted by something on their minds, the two strong Sith motioned for the younger’s attention. Tasha who concocted her own Tatooine Sunrise and sipped on the glass as she met with Lexic, who had his orange tentacles lapping up the cake. Macron could only chuckle as Mael gave the most dramatic and heavy facepalm, unbelievable at the mess Lexic made to his shadow academy robes.

“Listen up folk this is important. Maelous and I need to go deeper in the moon to the tombs deep below, we will practicing for the oncoming mission. I expect some confrontation on moon 36, so we’re preparing for that. In the meantime, I need you too to take this list and gather up weaponry supplies and lightsaber pieces, incase ours are lost or damaged. Any questions?” Macron asked the duo while Maelous handed Tasha the datapad, she scanned through the list and tool note of the harder items to gather from the armoury here. Lexic chuckled and threw his cake away.

“We seem to be packing for broken lightsabers, are we expecting other Jedi or the like there?” Macron and Maelous both looked to each other before turning back to the duo. “We don’t know, although it would be a tremendous event.” The Adept gave a discerning smile, which turned the Quarren green-faced and pale.

“Alright get to the Armoury and get us the things on that list, and we’ll meet back at the ship for departure. Oh, and Lexic gather us some medical supplies. You’ll know what they look like, uh, hopefully.” The Sith Adept was unsure about the Quarren’s medical skills, as he’s never seen them in action, but felt assured about Mael’s recommendation.

Later in the night,
Moon 42’s Armoury.

“Okay so we got a Synergy BFF-8 “Locust”, a BlasTech DL-18, four Synergy S-5 “Oathbreakers” and two BlasTech E-11’s. Lexic what did you.” Tasha walked over with her bag of arms to find Lexic on top of the shelving unit for medical supplies, wearing a surgical suit and holding two test tubes.

“What the heck are you doing, squid!?” She gave him a cold and confused gleer as Lexic poured a clear fluid into a conical flask. “I’m making my own custom stims for when we’re out in the field. You can never have too much stims.” Tasha nodded in understanding and frowned.

“You just stab yourself with the pointy end and you’re healed?” Lexic only chuckled as he slowly spun the fluid around until it turned a darker colour. “No little one, this’ll kill you will constant diarrhea and dehydration, then high temperature. Do not smell it either, it’s also airborne.” The Quarren said through his gas mask, as he stocked his own white bag with the toxins and stims. Happy with his supplies and the general fact he got to participate in at least a small amount of biological chemistry, Lexic carefully descended the shelf in his nurse outfit and noticed that Tasha was deep in thought.

“Geez Tasha, don’t think too hard or you’ll explode.” The Twi’lek gave him a cold glare before jabbing his shoulder as he laughed. “Screw you, I was thinking about a new tactic.” Curiosity got the better of the Quarren, who never knew Tasha as a strategist, and prodded her for more answers.

“What’s on your mind then? Did you find a prototype bomb here we could use against the Jedi scum on this moon?” Lexic amused himself with the thought of raining body parts belonging to various Jedi Knights and younglings, and dancing in their showers of offal. The Warrior was then brought back to reality when he heard Tasha speak a strong word to him.

“So I was thinking, maybe you could teach me how to fight in Echani style.” Lexic just looked at Tasha with an emotionless response, and rubbed his cheek slowly.

“Twi’lek you do not fight Echani, you speak Echani. Your body demonstrates who you are, what you do and how you feel, your actions portray these actions and how you react towards others demonstrates your personality. We too in Echani do just that, by conversing through actions and reactions, we can tell who you truly are.” Lexic have an example of this by spreading his legs to just past shoulder length and lowered himself with his elbows at his hips, he punched from the hips at the air and looked at the Twi’lek, who sort of understood.

“It’s also about speed too yes? I don’t have the patience for the opponent to squat there and perform a jab for ten minutes.” Tasha said, who imitated the stance Lexic did and performed her own hip-punches.

“Precisely, alacrity is the core of this art. But you must always monitor your opponent’s reaction to your attack as they will almost immediately react to it. You never block, as blocking is a sign of weakness, but to counter that attack with your own. To hit somewhere weak, the elbow, the knee or neck, is a way of conversing yourself. Each to their own, of course because not everyone’s personality is the same, but it takes time.” Lexic proved this as Tasha made a cross-punch and Lexic slowly proceeded to grip her wrist, then send a slow punch into the outside of her teal elbow. On this basic level, even Tasha understood what Lexic was saying in combat; to always have an intelligent reply and think outside the box. The Twi’lek felt slightly confused about the slow and soft patterns, as she imitated the Quarren more.

“I don’t understand how this is deadly, I mean it’s just attacking joints and sensitive areas to cause more pain, right?”

“Wrong, there are dozens of places on your body, and hit in the correct pattern can immobilise or cause a seizure in you, certain strikes can knock you out for days. There are also deadly techniques but I believe only Macron knows those, hidden in his own scrolls.” Lexic began to demonstrate one paralysis pattern onto Tasha, by first tapping the outside of her knee, then pressing his weaker fist into her thigh as she knelt on the knee and finally tapped his fist into her hip, just where the bone of her pelvis stuck out.

“Echani is and always has been about displaying your strongest emotions, and developing them into your combat. An Echani master can understand your depression with several minutes of fighting, instead of wasting hours talking about your day. Even right down to where your loyalties lie, and who can put fear in your heart. It’s all about the striking, the counter moves and where you place them.” Lexic lectured on, then picked up his bag and threw it over his shoulder.

“We should get back to the ship and wait for Macron, maybe we could spar some in our spare time.” Tasha replied as she grabbed the weapons bag, enjoying this new knowledge and strategy of communication.

“Good idea, the Echani make a Squall as their sparring arena. We’ll make our own while waiting.” Lexic said to the curious Twi’lek, as they exited the armoury and back into garrison corridor.


Orian System
Temple of Sorrow

Tap. Tap.

Their own footsteps was the only sound to disturb the cold, dark, lonely halls of the Sadow Palace. Now and again, a lone apprentice or student may have passed them, but more often, Xanos and Sildrin had found themselves alone. Almost as if the events of two weeks earlier had never happened…

They had, of course, as the sparkling, fragmented debris now circling the crystalline star of Ombus confirmed, but none of the novitiates or journeymen whom they had passed had stopped to question their return. Even when there remained much to explain- but as so often happened, it seemed a new threat had drawn away the Clan’s attention.

Still asleep, Ysabet purred in Sildrin’s arms.

New concerns had drawn away the Prophet and the Sorceress’s focus too. The events, rather, the massacre on Antei had gone largely unnoticed; almost as if the Dark Council’s shadowy agents had coordinated it with the Prophet’s own actions on Dentavii, so as to best conceal their crimes. Unlikely, certainly, but Orian was the closest world to Antei, and with Lord Ashen suitably distracted by the Prophet’s ritual, it would have not have been unlike Pravus to take advantage of his predecessor’s… distraction in order to carry out his massacre of the Krath High Priest and her students, as well as the Obelisk High Commander and his own acolytes…

“Master,” Sildrin said quietly, so as not to wake the child they had rescued, “this cannot go unchallenged.”

The Falleen glanced back down the corridor, noting it was empty and that they were still alone. “No,” Xanos replied, keeping his voice quiet, though projecting his words more firmly into her mind, “we cannot.”

Even though Xanos himself may not have been Krath or Obelisk, he had never subscribed to the supremacy of the Sith alone. Like his Master had always taught him about their needing to study all the aspects of the Force, so too did that same sense of impartiality and neutrality apply to the Tripartite Paths; neither Krath, Sith or Obelisk was stronger than the two others, all three paths stood equal, in harmony with each other… that is what the students of Okemi and the ancient Star Chamber had always taught.

But now two of the three pillars had been broken… and that would only serve to weaken all three.

“Trevarus would not stand for this,” Xanos added. “It violates everything we have built.”

“We should speak with the Consul,” Sildrin replied, “and let him know what has taken place on Antei.”

The Prophet shut his eyes for a moment. “I do not believe he is currently in the palace.” It was unusual for Xanos not to be in a position to be absolutely certain of what his senses told him, but the echoes left by both Ombus and now Antei made it more difficult to ascertain exactly where the Consul was at that moment.

He felt the Sorceress reach out with her own Force awareness. She turned back to the Falleen, setting her blind red and green eyes on his own. “It does not matter,” Sildrin said, “I am sure we won’t be the only two who know the truth.” She looked back down at the baby in her arms. “The Shadow Academy instructors for one, and…”

There was a faint glimmer of violet briefly flash across the surface of her eyes.

“And the Herald,” Sildrin added, slightly distantly. “We should speak with the Herald.”

The Falleen studied her closely for a moment, but did not peer any deeper into her thoughts. Whatever the reason she had just thought of the Odanite Jedi who sat on the Dark Council, Sildrin’s preternatural flash of insight would reveal itself in due time- but for now, they needed to make contact with the Consul of Clan Naga Sadow, firstly to reassure him that they meant the Clan no harm and that their actions on Dentavii had been in all their interests, but now, more pressingly, to warn Consul Sonjie that events were now in motion that would change everything…


Moon 42’s Garrison Corridor

“The Echani way is to display all feeling through combat. To them it is an art that binds them together as one. It is the way of a true warrior.” The statements echoed in Tasha’s mind. She had heard them many times when she was much younger and just learning combat. They were the same words spoken to her by her grandfather. He was a true warrior who was respected by many of the Echani people, because he chose to learn their ways. In doing so, he also taught Tasha some of their culture and what their combat style was like.

Snapping back to the present, she glanced up at the Quarren, who was walking along the corridor towards the garrison. It still puzzled her at how he learned their style and made her think a bit. As they walked, she began to analyze Lexic in her mind. “He may know some moves of the Echani, but even so he still does not know much about me and what I truly know, yet.” She thought to herself. “Sparring with him will prove interesting and insightful, though I must be on guard. He may look easy enough to take on, but i’m sure he is full of surprises.”

Turning to the left, they entered into a large hall that opened into the garrison barracks. The room itself had a large space in the middle to practice fighting with a few benches lined along the opposite sides of the wall. Near the back of the large room was even a couple of makeshift beds where one could rest.

“A typical Echani fight is done without weapons or force powers, only bare fists.” The Quarren chimed in as he set his weapons on one of the nearby benches. Tasha, pulled out Vishra’Reyal very carefully and laid the ornate vibroblade on a different bench. Remembering her Grandfather’s instructions, she ran her left hand across the hilt and gripped it tightly before gently releasing it. To the Quarren, it probably seemed like some strange display, but to Tasha it was honoring her grandfather and deactivating the destruct sequence that was built into the blade. After releasing the blade, she then went to one knee and bowed before the blade before standing up to face the Quarren.

“I always honor that precious blade, Lexic. It was a special gift that was given to me by my grandfather. That blade is an Echani made vibroblade that normally I never lay aside, however this is a different circumstance and my grandfather would understand this situation. So Lexic, how do we begin?”

“First we will meet here in the middle of this hall where there is a lot of space and freedom to move. Then we will begin to spar.” replied the Quarren as he moved to the center where there was a large space. Tasha followed and readied herself. She had one foot back and one foot slightly forward in a stance as she placed her fists up ready to fight.

“Let us begin!”

Just then Macron appeared from out of nowhere. The crazed scientist had a bemused smile about his lips as he then spoke

“Now this is interesting, but hardly the place for a good Echani spar. I can show you both a much better place. Come with me.” As Macron turned to walk out of the corridor, he spied Tasha’s blade on the bench. His sith eye began to light up as his grin got bigger.

“Tasha, what a very magnificent piece of work you have! It has been a long time since I have seen an Echani vibroblade, especially one crafted as beautifully as that one. May chance perhaps I can examine it closer? Such a fine blade as that deserves a good appraisal.”

Tasha was slightly taken aback, she never once had someone so keen on just wanting to view her blade close up before. The way Macron was looking at it, made him appear as a child who was quite fascinated with a toy. His look reminded her of her younger days when her grandfather let her touch and gaze upon the blade.

“I suppose Macron, it is a family heirloom and very precious to me. It has been in my family for quite some time. Normally it is not a blade I let people touch, however as long as I am present and promised to get it back. I will allow you to have a look at it. It is not a sword I just let people mess around with.”

Macron gently picked up the blade as if it were a little baby. “Quite right Tasha, this is a delightful relic and one I would certainly NOT just play around with. I take all relics, ancient textbooks, and all of my findings with great care. Trust me, this blade will be returned to you and you can rest assured I will take great care not to disturb anything on the blade. Now as I was saying, there is a much better place for you both to spar and that is near the Tombs. So follow me.”

“We are going to spar around dead people?” The Quarren piped up.

“I think this will be worth watching.” Came a familiar low voice. While Macron had been speaking, Maelous Ascarend happened to just walk up to the trio. “I shall also follow you.”

“Don’t worry about that Lexic, it’s just around the entrance. Perfect place for the both of you.” Macron answered as he began walking down the corridor.

“If you say so, still a bit strange.” Lexic sighed as he then began following Macron and Maelous to the Tomb’s entrance. Tasha also followed behind Lexic as the four made their way past a few corridors, corners, and hallways. Snaking their way around one room full of ancient relics, they soon found themselves at the entrance of what seemed like a rather large catacomb. As they got closer, Tasha felt what seemed like a dark presence.

“Feels slightly strange here.” Tasha commented.

“I have a creepy feeling in my tentacles.” Lexic stated as he began looking around.

“Oh pish posh, what you may be feeling is some slight residual dark side energy. It’s common around Tombs like this one, pay it no mind. A little of this energy won’t hurt you.” Macron calmly spoke.

“Actually, it feels rather nice.” Maelous grinned.

Macron leaned himself against the side of the door as he admired Tasha’s blade.

“Now then, you two begin while I take a look at this beauty.”


Temple of Sorrow
Orian System

Ciri Telsh still wasn’t entirely sure if her and her squad was actually guarding the Neti or if he was just letting them believe that they were. She had a sneaking suspicion that if he had wanted to fight them onboard the Hyperion then they wouldn’t have been able to stop him. And now they seemed to closer to his subordinates than his prison guards with how he had told them to carry the chunk of Ombus back to Sepros, he hadn’t told them why they had had to make neither the stop to pick it up nor why it was now here in front of them. She turned towards the Neti again.

“If you don’t mind me asking sir, why did you make us bring this piece of Ombus here? Is it to be studied?”

“I suppose someone might want to study it Telsh, but in truth I had you bring it here because I thought it would make a nice chair.”

The Private opened her mouth and closed it again, slightly shocked, of all the answers she could have thought of, that wasn’t one of them.

“A chair?”

“Yes, a chair, Ciri. In case you hadn’t noticed I am quite old, and when I used to be the Consul around here I always felt that the place needed a nice chair or a throne if you will, for the Consul to sit in.”

Private Telsh had a hard time believing that, in all the time they had kept him under guard he had been standing up and it didn’t seem to bother him the least. Although when she looked at him now as he leaned on that staff of his he did suddenly seem older and less of a danger than he had before, perhaps that was his intent. All of a sudden it occurred to her that the Adept had used her first name, but she wasn’t sure how he could have known it.

“A good leader makes an effort to know the soldiers around him, even if they happen to serve as his prison guards, Private. Now get ready, I sense Consul Sonjie is arriving soon."


Orian System
Temple of Sorrow

The Clan seneschal’s daily business that required contact to the members of Clan Naga Sadow had hardened him, but this single gaze from the red haired woman with red and green eyes nearly caused him to drop the datapad he held. As he eyed the Falleen Prophet behind Sildrin a vein close to his eye began to twitch.

Quietly Sildrin walked with the child down the corridor. The Sephi girl did not look scared, yet her little hand sneaked up to hold Sildrin’s.

Her Master Xanos had retreated into his own suite within the temple. It had been empty for years, abandoned by Xanos’s Master Trevarus Caerick and himself - yet droids - on behalf of the Clan’s senechal - hurried to clean and prepare the once assigned rooms to the Daughter and Son of Sadow. Despite being apostates to the Clan, the seneschal did not want to draw any anger from the two Elders.

Sildrin approached the door of her suite and for a moment Sildrin closed her eyes, sensing a familiar being approaching. Familiar - but yet different. Like a young wine having matured to its full potential. One that she hadn’t talked to for years.

The girl moved behind Sildrin as she heard the footsteps. Usually the Lightsaber was not the choice of weapon for Sildrin, but still she placed a hand on it.

As Atra stepped from the shadows of a dim-lit section corridor into the light, she quietly said:
“Finally you have become aware of your destiny, … Dragon Brother.”

Xue Long froze. His eyes met the mismatched blind eyes of his Matriarch. But the red and green orbs stared through him. Yet she still appeared to peer into his soul in a judging way.

Fragments of words drifted to the surface of his memories. Words once used by him - accusing her of arrogance and manipulation.

Neither spoke a word for what seemed an eternity. The sorceress watched Atra carefully - for any subtle hints of his intentions. Then Atra’s face turned into a scowl as for a moment the child peeked from behind Sildrin to look at him. Quickly the girl hid again, burying her face into the robe of the sorceress.

Emotions stirred within Atra, though quickly his usual cold demeanor showed up again. It was a brief moment, but even this slight exposure was enough for Sildrin’s empathy to read Atra.

“For now I have no other place for her. And she is not for you - you who are the end of everything. Not now.”

Finally Atra shook his head: “Not now. There are many years for her yet. But death is inevitable.”

She nodded then turned to the door of her suite, allowing the girl to slip into the room. Sildrin moved away from a dialogue that would leave other people outside the Long family puzzled: “There are more pressing matters. Something has happened within the Brotherhood. And I fear there are people involved… “ She stopped in the middle of her sentence, continuing in a whisper: “Even the shadows may have ears.” For once on her face a scowl appeared; which was a stark contrast to the usual lack of emotions on her face. She quickly regained her composure. “Lives were taken. Without sense. Before their time. And for the wrong reason.”

The Equite allowed a slight growl to escape his throat. “I heard… rumours.”, was his gnarly answer.

Sildrin nodded slowly. “I guess we have to wait for the next moves to happen. My Master Xanos… “, she stopped, then shrugged. “A lot has happened. And a lot has changed.”

Atra shifted his balance, his voice low: “Yes. I have also changed since the last time we met. And … ”, he hesitated. “And I regret… those words.“

Sildrin turned her head to him.

Again those eyes. He thought; he felt uncomfortable.

But to his surprise she nodded slowly. “And now excuse me, I need to take care of Ysabet. We should continue later on.”

Atra nodded his head.

She entered her suite, halting for a moment. Her voice was barely audible: “Your words from back then…. about me being manipulative and arrogant… you are maybe not so far from the truth as you may think.”

The sorceress shut the door behind her.


Personal Suites, Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System

Conflicting emotions swirled just behind his mismatched eyes, the Seer making no attempt to sustain his trademark facade. He stared at the shut door and became as motionless as the lifeless material that surrounded him in the empty halls. His breathing was the only sign of life, a notable betrayal to the utter stillness he had become. Yet despite its even tempo, the rush of air was ragged and forced.

The end came for all; a finality that could not be questioned, only delayed. As such, why hasten to such ends? Why rush to meet that final plunge into the darkness of the void that consumes all, the great nothing that those who lived could only guess at?

The Umbaran suddenly moved, focus and purpose permeating his muscles as they worked his arm towards the door. His outstretched palm played lightly against the durasteel of the door, jumping back as if stung as the cold sensation registered upon his senses before pressing fully against it. Atra’s fingers spread wide, cold turning to warmth as the thermal energy travelled up his arm. He let out a long breath and broke free of the confines of his flesh, his mind tearing free reluctantly at first but soaring free as his sense of awareness expanded outward.

His ethereal self strode through the room, taking in the contents. Even through his mind’s eye he could tell how sparse the room had begun in the Matriarch’s absence. It would seem looters existed even within the Temple’s halls. Within his sense he did not see, as one would normally understand the concept. All was darkness, vague shapes painted in cold, blue tones. Projecting his senses was not, obviously, one of the duelist’s strong suits… but it was enough. He found the child first — Ysabel — alone upon the large bed. The shape was a shade within his awareness, nothing more, nothing substantial.

A single bead of sweat dripped down Atra’s furrowed brow, falling to the floor almost reluctantly only to splatter upon his boot. If the Temple of Sorrow had been but a little more active, he would not have been afforded the solace needed to concentrate to such an extent.

He pressed his awareness onward, following the vague trail of his fellow Long, as if a beast following the scent of its prey. He began to hum, entirely unaware of the fact otherwise he most certainly would have stopped himself, and yet hum he did, adding to his focus.

He passed beyond the room into the refresher chamber beyond, getting an immediate sense of warmth. Ventus focused on that room, drawing the picture within his mind with muted tones. Within a heartbeat the picture was as fully formed as his abilities could manage, unfocused and muddy but enough to gain the vague sense of what he sought. He stretched out an ethereal hand and reached out.

Within the refresher chamber, seated comfortably within the warm waters of her bath, Xia felt a sudden chill press against her consciousness. Her two-toned eyes snapped open but she saw nothing, and yet saw everything. A small smile of recognition tugged at the corners of her lips before she closed her eyes once more and leaned her head back, releasing a long breath before latching her awareness to that of Atra’s.

The connection was formed with such suddenness that Atra almost pulled back from his stance against the door, letting out a quick gasp of air as he shook his head side to side. “Such impatience…” Sildrin’s smooth tone filled Atra’s ears as if a whisper, the hairs at the back of his neck raising in response.

He pursed his lips tightly, keeping his eyes closed. “Later doesn’t work for me,” he intoned the words through the Force.

I bow to your whims now?” she responded, mock curiosity clear as day through their connection.

The child… she needs to leave,” Atra conveyed, “no good will come of keeping her around Force-users.

Sildrin didn’t so much as pause before sending her response. “You can control your urges, in this at least.

Atra’s prosthetic fist suddenly slammed against the door, no doubt causing the child within to jump. “It is not Xue of which I speak,” his thoughts growled, “the Force is a poison…” He spread out his clawed fingers, the screech of metal grating upon metal filling the hallway and sending another chill up his spine. Ventus growled audibly before pushing off the door and slamming down a wall between himself and Xia mentally.

He could already feel the emotions stirring within his core, clawing up through his thoughts and threatening to free him of his grip on reason, on sanity. This was far from the place to lose control, and Atra had suppressed that part of himself for far too long, causing the urge to be all but impossible to resist.

It would be so easy to just give in. Hand over the controls and let someone else run the ship for a while.

The Umbaran bit down on his own lip with another growl. His sharp teeth cut the skin easily, sending a jolt of pain firing through his nerves and cutting through his consciousness. Focus returned, the red haze no longer filling his vision. Only the pain remained, and the unmistakeable iron-tinged taste of blood seeping into his mouth. Atra spat a mixture of crimson strands and saliva onto the ground as he walked before wiping his thumb against the fresh wound. It came away stained red, eliciting a sigh from him before he sucked it clean.

Such a curious thing, the passage of time. Even as so much changes, so much still remains the same.


Inos Moon 42
Tombs of Urias Orian
Entry Chamber

Lexic and Tasha wasted no time. Lexic first showed her the ritual Echani salute. “This is very important in formal combat,” quipped the Quarren. “Not needed in life or death combat against normal foes, but in a formal Echani setting it is considered respectful.” He showed a quick gesture, hands flowing one way and then the other with one foot slightly forward.

Macron looked up from the antique Echani vibroblade he was admiring with Maelous. He nodded. “It is very important, and can tell you a lot about the conversation you are about to have. Within the Art, the greeting shows you where a person’s lineage comes from. Lexiconus here, shows aspects of the Thrysian version.” Macron grinned as Lexiconus looked as puzzled as squid could. The Adept set the vibroblade down gingerly, and executed a quick set of moves that ended with a fist with two protruding fingers facing outwards slapped into the other open spear-palm. “And that is the older and more… pure version descended from the Raskta style, named after Raskta Fenni.” The Sith returned to Maelous and the vibroblade, each of them noting details and arguing about function.

Lexiconus smiled. Here were aliens he might not totally be uncomfortable with, given time. “Cool. I’ve not seen that one. The holographic records I studied only had one person’s take on it.” He turned back to Tasha. “Stance is everything. If you cannot stand, you cannot fight. Echani is a fluid art. Though in some ways it is considered a ‘hard’ art, the essence is more than that.”

Tasha took her stance, and Lexiconus regarded it. “Move your foot about two inches to the right, and angle that back foot ever so slightly more. That’s it. It might seem trivial, but it does make a difference.” He proceeded to show her different hand shapes, and the damage and purpose that each served. “This spear hand is great for stabbing into someone’s guts or vitals. It channels your life-energy into their vitals. The closed fist is good for hard targets, like the face or head…”

As the two of them worked and got sweaty, the air in the chamber seemed to thicken. Macron looked at Maelous, who had been here before also. Both shared a knowing glance. This place changed people, and it loved combat. Tasha and Lexiconus’ shadows danced on the walls in the dim light from the modern glow-lamps, but other shadows that seemed unconnected danced in mockery of their movements also.

“Care for a spar?” Maelous asked eagerly. There was no greater joy than relishing in the Sith emanations that permeated this lair. The Battlemaster could hardly contain himself and longed to test the growth of his skills. “Let’s grow together, test our mettle, and feel this power down here. Feel the raw Dark Side. It sings to me…”

“Indeed,” replied Macron just as eagerly. “I hear the whispers too. Lightsabers?” The Alchemist gently set the Echani vibroblade in a niche in the wall for respectful safekeeping until Tasha was done. “My Sith Master taught me little of his lightsaber skills, but my Knighthood Master Nekura Manji beat me down well and showed me the Way. Without his tutelage I would not have survived. I owe him everything. I can take a beating because of his training. He taught me not to fear Death, but to relish it as a honorable blessing. He taught me to be a Warrior. Prophet Kaine, Darth Ashen, and Master Spears finished the fine tuning. But I owe everything to Manji.”

“Of course,” the former Jensaari agreed. “What else?”

Both of them discarded their outer coats and grasped a single lightsaber each. Maelous held his forward with a wide sweep of his arms. The ancient claw-tipped style blade ignited it’s hungry scarlet beam with a growling hum. His eyes blazed with intensity as he relished the impending combat against a real challenge.

Macron swept his up and down with a Makashi flourish, the high-pitched orange blade casting more shadows that lit his twisted face from below ghoulishly. The Adept took a deep breath, let it out slow, and moved in with alacrity.

The precise twisting strikes by the madman were deftly dodged or swept aside with unanticipated but perfect moves by the Battlemaster. The Alchemist growled as a riposte and passe movement was spun to the side by Maelous, who answered with a surprise ripping swing that came way too close for comfort.

“Vaapad,” chuckled Macron as he stepped back from the first series of passes. “You almost cost me my head. And you know it better than I, it seems. Congratulations.”

“I’ve been studying,” stated Maelous as he raised his guard. “Stop wasting time.”

“Well then… you leave me no choice.” A raw scream of channeled anger ripped from Macron’s throat as he tapped the Dark Side and moved in again with incredible speed. This time, the Duelist’s form was peppered with Force-anticipated strikes here and there borrowed from the Vaapad.

As the two of them moved back and forth across the back of the chamber, Tasha and Lexiconus stopped their own training to watch. “Damn,” muttered Lexiconus.

“Yeah,” agreed Tasha’Vel Versea. “That’s something to see.” She recovered her blade from the niche as the two Sith battered each other with their blades of fire on the other side of the chamber.

“I expected Maelous to go down quick, but he’s holding his own,” replied Lexiconus. “He must be tapping the Force, shatterpoints… that’s what those Vaapad folks do.”

“Macron is holding back,” acknowledged the Knight. “He has to be.” The flashes of the clashing blades lit the walls around them with orange and red.

“I expect so,” the Quarren agreed. “No sense in killing an ally. Maelous is almost a friend to him, or at least someone he is known to associate with.” Just then the Sith Warrior noticed the creeping shadows and that the cold, eerie feeling in the place had more than doubled. “Do you feel that?”

“I do,” Tasha agreed. “I’ve not been to a place like this before. It feels…. like the Dark Side is close. Don’t the Sith look for power from within?”

“We do,” Lexiconus said as he watched Macron knee Maelous in the guts hard enough to lift him off his feet while tying up his saber with a two-handed lock. The Battlemaster hit the wall behind him hard, cracking open some thin modern duracrete patches that had concealed a cavity within. “Ouch. That had to hurt. Yeah, we seek power from internal passion.”

The Battlemaster and Adept shut down their blades as each panted, coming down from the high that the Dark side and this place brought on to those who followed the Dark Path. Macron gave Maelous a hand up, feinting a surprise attack as Maelous took his hand. Both of them had a good laugh, one groaning a bit more than the other.

Macron was not all roses, he limped a bit. Maelous had stomped the inside of his shin hard and really mangled that leg with bruising. “That’s my bad leg,” giggled the madman. “You dirty bastard.”

“Yeah,” gulped Maelous. “Well, I won’t be eating any rare nerf steaks for a while. Fortunately, the Force will see to our wounds quickly.” He clutched his stomach and clipped his blade to his belt. “Blow for blow, as it should be in real Sith training.”

“Along with some bacta my friend,” laughed Macron. “I have something for you.” The madman’s hand dipped into the now-open cavity that he had so rudely slammed Malous into. In his grip was the remains of an ancient primitive protosaber. “I killed this shambling undead deep below two years ago… er, made dead again… anyway, I already harvested the red generator to make my main blade into a dual-phase, but the red adegan focussing lens is still intact along with all the hardware. Those focussing times are encrusted with red adegan powder, and I’m sure both of them came from this site." The mad Sith chuckled. “Let’s make something better. Knight Tasha, this secondary red Adegan from that very protosaber and the Tomb’s guts will serve you well. It should easily replace the one you lost to that… Anzat jerk. I hope you fuel it with all your hate and passsion.”

The two of them rejoined Tasha and Lexiconus on the other side of the chamber. “I think it’s time to leave and be on our way.” Macron nodded. “Our mission is important to the Clan’s financial well being and security. Lexiconus, you and I will have a conversation soon. Perhaps while we break the bodies of our enemies and humiliate them, we can compare notes. I imagine the ship is fueled and ready, so let’s get moving to Moon 36.”


Orian System
Kar Alabrek Spaceport

Engines revved, exhausts fumed, and the indeterminate chatter of untold ordinary citizens loading their transports or nattering to friends and family members as they went through customs and had their baggage checked all filled the spaceport. To the naked eye, the catwoman currently stepping up the ramp of a small, ageing Lambda-class shuttle, which had had the old Imperial white livery resprayed black, would have not stood out as anything untoward.

However, the grey-green Falleen lurking in the shadows nearby continued to look on with interest, as a human male- probably mid twenties, early thirties at best, but definitely too young to have remembered the days of the Galactic Civil War- shepherded the feline Cathar female onboard the waiting shuttle. Most people would not have noticed what was wrong, but to the eyes of the Force, the catwoman’s overriding sense of reluctance was unmistakable.

The Cathar quickly shot a glance back over her shoulder at the man- who was not outwardly holding any weapon, but the Falleen of all people knew that that was no proof that the man was ‘unarmed’. The human male’s expression remained hard and did not change. He simply gestured back up inside the shuttle, and- without words- silently made it clearer still who was in control.

The woman’s response was simply a sigh of resignation, and she turned her head back to the ramp and proceeded to climb onboard. It was so apparent that she had no interest in doing so.

But she did not try to resist.

The Falleen’s own attention now moved to her human ‘escort’ who remained at the foot of the ramp, presumably while his associates onboard the Lambda shuttle took charge of the Cathar, to do… well, most likely, the same as they did back on Antei. Xanos had followed them all the way from Alabrek Citadel in the heart of the city, from which the Cathar woman had been led out of, and stewarded through the crowds all the way to the spaceport. It had not taken much to draw conclusions after the evidence of the crimes he and Sildrin had discovered back there.

The human male stiffened a fraction and turned his head in the Falleen’s direction.

The human caught Xanos’s own eyes briefly, but only for a fleeting moment, before the human continued to take in the surrounding area, not looking directly at the Prophet, but probably just feeling for something that the man felt he had sensed in the back of his mind. After taking in the crowd gathered around the Falleen, the human’s posture relaxed again, his shoulders loosening, before he looked down at his left wrist and keyed into the comm unit built into a metal bracelet.

Not prepared to let this one escape, the Falleen started making his way toward the shuttle.

He had already passed through security- which had not been hard, and had only taken a wave of his hand to deflect the attention of the spaceport’s guards, the weak minded were so easily led- and it was a simple task to gently manoeuvre his way through the crowds of passengers waiting their turns to board their own transports. Long ago, he could have simply used his clearance as one of the orchestrators of the Dlarit Corporation that had formerly ruled the Orian System, but those days were long since passed, and he had cut his own ties with both Dlarit and Clan Naga Sadow even farther back than that. As the Prophet drew nearer, the male at the Lambda shuttle continued to quietly tap away on his wrist commlink, seemingly deep in thought at his task.

Only a dozen metres separated them now, and the Falleen took a moment to inspect the black shuttle. It bore no markings or identifiers. Inside, he could feel the faint spark of two lifeforms, one was definitely the Cathar, the other… to him was alien, but he had been around enough humans to recognise their distinctive stink without any difficulty. In addition, the lone human onboard carried the same recognisable spark of the Force that the one outside did, which even though they may both have been trying their hardest to suppress it, their fledgling strengths in the Force was unable to shield their Force signatures from the Prophet’s unrivalled senses.

Xanos closed the final gap and approached the human still typing away on his wrist.

The general humdrum and noise of the spaceport masked his own footsteps, although the Falleen’s pheromones would be no use with the all pervading smell of engine oil and exhaust fumes coming from the various models of Sienar, Corellian or Hoersch-Kessel freighters, along with the occasional antique Rebellion or Imperial-era starfighter- all of them officially with their weapons deactivated for civilian use, of course- or not, as the case undoubtedly was with many.

The inability of Xanos to make use of his pheromones was not an issue, however, because even before the human finally acknowledged the slightly uncommon lizard-looking alien in front of him, the Falleen had already closed his own eyes and latched his thoughts onto the surface of the human’s, and had already begun probing the annals of the human’s subconscious for an entrance.

The human forgot about his wrist comm and his hand instead moved quickly to a holster on his hip, which on the surface had the conventional look of a blaster holster, but the second the cover popped open, the polished cap of a lightsaber hilt was unmistakable.

Not that the lightsaber did the human any good, however.

The Prophet had by then already penetrated the man’s mind, and it only took the slightest of commands to be driven straight into the human’s thoughts for the man to refasten the cover over his blaster-cum-lightsaber holster, and be left standing there, unarmed, and immobile.

“Step aside,” the Elder commanded, and the human proceeded to do just that.

Indifferent to the rest of the rest of the spaceport- who themselves were indifferent to the events unfolding at the foot of the ramp up the black shuttle- the Falleen approached the shuttle ramp.

Xanos’s eyes continued to bore into the depths of the man’s subconscious, never breaking eye contact. Beads of sweat pooled on the human’s forehead, one tear falling from the corner of his left eyelid as the muscles beneath the man’s skin tightened, trying to resist and fight back- but it was useless. The Prophet’s hypnotic claws had pierced deep into the man’s inner psyche, and they were continuing to clasp the weak minded man’s thoughts in a grip like a vice.

Even though the human’s stunted command of the Force was sorely lacking in comparison to the Prophet’s, the man continued to shield his thoughts, however, having evidently received training specifically to resist such mental intrusions. Through gritted teeth, the man tried to talk:

“I… will tell you… nothing.”

There was an audible crack, and the muscles in the human’s face tightened into a cringe. A thin red line of warm blood ran down his bottom lip. Even though the man still could not move, being held in the Falleen’s psychic grip, a shudder still swept through his body, originating somewhere from inside him. His throat visibly convulsed, and even the Prophet’s mental control could not hold back the man’s involuntary cough, which spat blood up into the Faleen’s grey-green face.

The human’s eyes rolled back in their sockets, and Xanos felt the spark of life fade out of him.

More blood dribbled from the dead man’s mouth while he continued to be held upright by the Elder’s invisible hands. The Falleen released him and the human’s body collapsed face down onto the foot of the loading ramp of the Lambda-class shuttle. Unfortunate.

A couple of nearby civilians had caught sight of what had just happened, but simply turned their heads away to look in the other direction. Like usual, nobody wanted to get involved in someone else’s problems, and even the lone Twi’lek nearby, who continued observing the Falleen, simply put her head down and kept her hands in her pockets, clearly nosy, but trying not to be obvious. Xanos nevertheless reached out and nudging the woman softly in the Force to allay her interest.

The Elder knelt down over the body of the human and rolled it back over.

The man had clearly broken open a poison capsule fixed to one of his teeth. That explained the sharp crack before. Xanos reached under the man’s wrist and unclasped the bracelet the man had been using earlier. The comm device had automatically turned off when the man had stopped using it. It was fairly standard issue and had no noticeably remarkable features to identify it.

He keyed the activation switch but nothing happened. He pressed it again. Still nothing.

A moment later, though, there was a small spark flash over the keypad, which was accompanied by a problematic crackle. Smoke. It had shorted itself out. A deliberate failsafe, no doubt.

No matter. He could reach into the object’s past later. But for now…

The Elder glanced back up the ramp into the shuttle. The life signatures inside had grown more polarised. The second human felt much the same as the one who had killed himself rather than betray whatever information he believed his death could hide, but the Cathar woman, her presence in the Force had weakened, and felt much more frail than before.

The comm bracelet could be examined later. The catwoman was the more immediate concern.

The Falleen headed up into the small shuttle.

Even though the holding bay was on the surface no different to any other Lambda shuttle, where most would have had seating for half a dozen passengers, this vessel had been refitted with a wide array of comm units and sensor suites. In the middle, there was then a large, two metre wide projection of the planet Tarthos, its geography and settlements all marked, and- more significantly- a number of brightly illuminated red sigils that glowed and pulsed.

To the side of the hologram of Tarthos, a separate projection identified the sigils meaning:


Beyond the holographic map of the planet, the catwoman was on her knees, her face bloodied and bruised. The human he had sensed was standing behind the Cathar, a pair of heavy, cold, metal gauntlets completely covering both of his hands. There were specks of blood over the gauntlets’ knuckles. The Cathar woman retreated a little when the man stepped straight over the top of her so he could address the Falleen intruder on his shuttle face-to-face directly.

“You’ve some nerve, Sith,” the man said, and rapped both his armoured fists together.

The Prophet was not there to exchange idle threats and reached out to touch the man’s mind.

The human sneered in response. “Fool,” he began, and took another step forward. “Your mind tricks won’t work on me. The steel curtain around my mind is impregnable to your tricks.”

“I do not,” Xanos replied evenly, his voice neither angry nor serene as the lighting in the room dimmed a little, as if a veil of mist had begun to rise up around the Falleen, “require tricks.” In fact, his skin had flushed a little stronger shade of green, and the filtered air onboard the shuttle was now growing… thicker, headier, as his pheromones began to secrete into the much cleaner air on the ship compared to the heavy smell of exhaust fumes and ozone that had been outside.

The human rolled his eyes and snorted a laugh. He reached down and wrapped his armoured hand around the butt of a large heavy blaster pistol that was strapped to his left waist.

Hmmpf,” he grunted. “Maybe we should put your kind down with all the other undesirables.”

The man lifted his blaster out of its holster and raised it toward the Falleen. Xanos, however, continued to remain silent, his mind elsewhere, working unseen, almost like he was not there.

“And they call you a Sith?” the man mocked. “The Sith should be strong. We are warriors.”

The man fired, but just as he did so, something dropped from the roof of the shuttle’s roof, and caught the blaster bolt. A painful screech growled from whatever it had been, and- automatically- the human’s eyes darted from his original target, following where the… creature? had gone.

There was something hidden in the shadows underneath where the holo-projector stood in the middle of the room. He aimed and fired again. Whatever it was darted away and he missed.

The man looked back up at the Falleen- only to discover the Elder was no longer there.

“Face me!” snarled the human. “Or are you too afraid??!”

There was another growl nearby and instinctively the man’s head looked back in the sound’s direction- only to immediately spot an unrecognisable hissing, snarling creature that he could only mentally interpret as some kind of thing had already launched itself into the air and was springing straight in his direction. The thing shot toward him. He fired.

And again.

And then again.

The creature snarled with each bolt from his blaster pistol, but it did nothing to stop its approach. Its leap had taken all of a couple of seconds, but in that time, he had been able to get a better look at it, realising it was little more than a couple of feet high, with two arms and two legs, almost like a small child, but one covered in scales and spines down its back and arms and thighs, with two daemonic-looking horns jutting out either side of its forehead, and a set of ghastly, haunting red, fiery eyes sneering straight back in his direction, hungry, its teeth sharp, pointed.

“What in the name of fu-”

Before he could finish the word, the unholy… thing was on him, and biting and clawing at his chest with its deep talons. Its snarl went right to the depths of his soul, an ear piercing screech, like a mix of some sort of banshee’s wail and the death rattle of the dead and dying. He felt the claws slice through his skin, as the thing ripped flesh away, tearing chunks out with its feral teeth and digging whole lumps out of his abdomen with its clawed hands.

He… could not even hear his own voice when he screamed.

The human didn’t even know what was going on. He didn’t even bother to try and fight it off. It was unnatural. This… thing should not exist. What was it? His mind was in circles, almost like he had already died and his spirit was now just looking down and watching his body’s last moments as this infernal demon ripped apart his mortal vessel and shredded it like he had never been at all.

Only when he felt- or watched? he could no longer tell for sure what was true and what wasn’t- when the thing crawled higher up his chest, and clung onto his head, so that it could stare straight back into his face- did he inally feel the bolt fired from his own blaster pistol when it penetrated the middle of his chest and ripped through his lung, exiting straight out the other side.

In that final moment, the creature in front of him smiled its sickening, hungry daemonic smile, and dissolved into a cloud of smoke, and when the smoke finally cleared and he looked down, he found that the hole in his chest was all there was, his clothes still fresh and new, his fabric not smeared in his own blood from where the thing had clawed out his insides.

He felt his legs give out and he collapsed onto his knees.

When he looked back up, he found the Falleen standing over him, his blaster in the alien’s hand.

Xanos gave no sign that he took any pleasure out of the man’s dying words, nor any annoyance. It simply had had to be done. That was all there was. Whoever the man had been, and whatever his purpose, the Elder would discover that back at the palace when he had time to peer into the records imprinted on the other man’s comm unit.

“Wh… what are you…” The man coughed blood. “M… more K…Krath than Sith…”

The last remark finally warranted a response from the Falleen.

“Of course,” Xanos replied. “My Master was a Krath war mage. Arguably the greatest sorcerer the Brotherhood has ever known.” The Falleen looked down at the man- a Sith equite, it seemed- in disappointment when he finally collapsed dead onto the shuttle’s otherwise unblemished deck.

Back on the other side of the room, a sob came, and Xanos turned his attention to the Cathar.

“D… don’t hurt me,” the catwoman muttered, afraid. “I… I will do anything.”

The Falleen turned, but even before his eyes had settled on her, his mind had already begun probing her own, seeking answers to her identity, to her reason for having been brought here, for the explanation for what it was these Sith had marshalled her to the shuttle only to torture her.

“T… they told me,” she began, seemingly aware of what the Elder wanted, “they said… that we were undesirable… that Krath… and Obelisk… and… and my people… were… were all…”

The catwoman looked up at him, her big eyes wide, tearing.

“They threatened my cubs!” she cried. “They said they would…” She could not bring herself to complete the sentence, but the rest was blindingly clear. “I said I’d go with them… do whatever they wanted… tell them everything I knew.”

“And what is it,” Xanos asked, “that you know?”

“I… I can’t tell you,” the Cathar woman replied, “if they find out… my cubs… they will be…”

“I am sure you know I could prise the information from your mind,” the Elder replied. There was no air of confrontation in his voice; the Falleen was plainly stating the facts. Even if the Cathar woman refused to cooperate, there would be nothing to prevent him extracting the information.

But… something held him back.

Unlike the two Sith who had abducted her, or the agents who had carried out the massacres that he had discovered on Antei just a few days earlier, the Falleen had never been one to take a life for no reason. Trevarus had always taught him Control, and why not to surrender to Chaos.

Xanos had already made that mistake ten years ago on Lehon back when he was younger…

“I can’t let you do that,” the woman responded at last, and frantically bent down and pulled out a hidden blade that she had secreted underneath her clothes, but presumably never bothered to use after she had come to the conclusion that her own resistance would only get her children killed.

The Cathar raised the blade, but not at Xanos, but rather against her own fur-covered throat.

“I would sooner choose death,” she said, and with one motion, slashed her own neck open. She dropped the blade, and could not stop her hand from reaching up to clutch the wound, even as her life blood rapidly spilled out of her, down her neck, down her chest, down along her thighs and legs. Her eyes at first remained locked on Xanos’s, but then drifted up, rolling back like the two Sith interrogators’ eyes had, before she finally dropped slowly, gently onto the floor, falling over sideways onto her left side, as the spark of life ebbed away, fast waning, until… nothing.

Ordinarily, Xanos would have foreseen this, and taken steps to have prevented it. His sight, however, like the sight of all those in Orian, was still reeling from the aftershocks of what had transpired on Ombus, the same aftershocks that had enabled the murders on Antei to go largely unnoticed. The Force was out of balance, and the future… currently unknown.

He reached down and tore off a seam of the Cathar woman’s clothes.

Like the Sith outside’s wrist comm, the Elder could peer into the history of the catwoman’s past to find out more of what had happened, but he would have to return to Sepros and do that later.

What was crystal clear, however, was that events were in motion, and a darkness was spreading across not just the Brotherhood, but the galaxy itself. His actions on Ombus had shielded Orian from the worst of it, having cut them off from the shockwaves permeating the Force, but… the barriers he had erected, the walls he had wrapped around the star system to insulate it from the outside would only hold back so much. He had to get to the bottom of what had taken place on Antei. The oncoming darkness may not have been able to be stopped, but they could be prepared.

As Xanos made his way back out into the spaceport to head back to his ship and return to Sepros, the second of the two Sith’s last words echoed in his head again. M… More K… Krath than Sith.

Perhaps so, he thought to himself, perhaps so.

Increasingly, what it meant to be a Sith was being rewritten, and the more he reflected on it, the more the Prophet was starting to question exactly where he belonged…


Inos Moon 36
Orian System

The four disembarked the ship as soon as the ramp was lowered. Initial scans of the moon’s surface and surrounding space had shown recent traffic and they did not want to give anyone a chance to get the upper hand.

Maelous and Macron both scanned the frozen horizon using their HUD systems to bring in more data, thankfully the atmosphere was breathable.

Macron turned to Lexiconus and Tasha as Maelous stared off into the distance. “It looks like there is an operation of some kind just ahead.” The Alchemist lifted the faceplate of his helmet and gave a dark grin, “This moon is ours, they have no right to be here. We will have to deal with them accordingly.” He chuckled slightly as he lowered the faceplate back into position.

Lexic nodded, “Understood, we’ll wipe their miserable lives off the face of this rock.”

Tasha smirked slightly, “Sounds like fun.”

Macron turned to the Battlemaster who was now clutching the front of his helmet, with a single hand, as if he was in great pain. The madman had become used to the former Jensaarai madness. In Maelous’ mind the voice raged. The lightside presence of the moon seemed to cause the voice pain, or maybe it was fear. Either way the man fought it back.

“Maelous,” the Adept’s voice carrying a dark edge of seriousness, “It’s time we move.”

The Aedile looked over his shoulder, his eyes narrow behind the dark glass of his helmet, and nodded, turning to face the group. His hand reached across his body and drew his saber hilt but left it dormant as the rocks under their feet trembled slightly.

“We don’t have time for exploring just yet,” Maelous said, his voice like crumbling leather, “We must locate and destroy those that have trespassed on 36.”
He nodded to Macron, who turned toward the looming gas giant, “They are this way it would seem.”

Tasha readied her weapon. “You should shift your weight, just slightly, into the other foot,” Lexic offered in advice, “It will allow for a more powerful attack with that weapon.”

Tasha moved and nodded, “I see what you mean,” the Twi’lek said with a grin as she tested the new position, “Seems like it would also extend the range of motion.”

The team began to walk with Macron taking the lead. Tasha and Lexic quietly discussing Echani technique, while Maelous allowed himself to fall a little behind.

The voice continued to scream in his head, No! We must leave this place! No good can come from here, Maelous shook his head violently trying to push down the maddening scream, We cannot be here! We are not meant to be! Go! Now! Run!

“Shut up,” Maelous screamed. It was a low guttural sound fueled by Dark Side energy.

The Twi’lek and Quarren both stopped their conversation and stared at Maelous incredulously. The Aedile lifted his arm in an attempt to dismiss the event.

“Maelous,” the mad alchemist’s voice was low, dark, and serious, “Control it. I do not wish to deal with your frayed ends as well.”

There was a pause and then Macron cackled manically as he spoke with an almost elated tone, “We will discuss this later, I have experience in this area I think.”

Without another word Macron turned and continued toward the large broken stones ahead of them. They continued on their path in silence. Maelous trying to suppress the raving lunatic in his head. Eventually, they reached the hill like stones and slowly, deliberately made their way to just below their peak. The Elder gave a signal to the Krath. Lexic nodded and climbed on his belly to the ridge and peaked over quickly. He observed for just a moment before he returned and to report his finds.

“It looks like an excavation site, and there is a pretty large force,” he explained, “But it seems that most of them are just workers, though, many of them had side arms or other small weapons. There is a contingent of guards as well with blaster rifles.”

The Knight looked to each of them in turn, “I also feel a presence.”

Macron nodded, “Yes,” he said with a slight hiss, “There are Force users among them and they are probably aware of us.”

The Alchemist looked at the exiled Jensaarai, “What do you propose my crazed comrade?”

Maelous grinned darkly inside his helmet as he stood, “If they know we are here, why wait?”

Maelous opened himself to the Dark Side, the energy flowed through him, filled him, enveloped him. He couldn’t wait, the voice was now subdued, he turned and sprinted to the top of the ridge. He stood there long enough for the gathered enemy to notice him, he wanted there to be no surprise. When the calls of alarm started The Battlemaster ignited his saber and leapt down into the excavation site.

The Aedile landed next to a Rodian workers. The being turned and drew a virboshiv waving it at him threateningly. Maelous paused and cocked his head to one side. He almost wanted to commend the bravery, but he couldn’t award such foolery. The human extended his left hand, palm forward, sending a wave of Force energy that knocked the Rodian into the air.

Maelous spun to see the blue skinned Twi’lek deflecting a blaster bolt with her newly repaired saber. Tasha then reached out through the Force and lifted a durasteel container and hurled it at the Zabrak male that had fired on her. The container struck the being directly in the chest causing him stagger backward. Before he could regain his footing she had crossed the distance to him. She brought the humming blade of her saber up removing the Zabraks right arm, and with lightening speed brought the blade back down across the side of his head before he could even scream in pain. The body crumpled lifeless to the ground, as her lekku twitched slightly.

The sounds of chaos had erupted behind him and he knew Macron and Lexic had joined the fray. Maelous drew on the energy around him. Letting out a roar he charged toward the nearest foe.


Personal Suites, Temple of Sorrow
Sepros, Orian System
Hot steam clouds rose from the bath, gently caressing the skin of the Long family’s Matriarch. Slowly she ran her fingers through her long red hair. She knew that Atra was still outside of her room - just on the edge of the decision to leave. Her thoughts rose with the pillars of air, and she allowed them to drift high above.

A familiar touch with the Force pulled her down again.

Quite persistent, aren’t you.

Her mental voice being a lilting song within his mind. She arched an eyebrow. She rose from her bath, addressing the servant droid: “Open the door.”

A bit stiff Atra entered the room, the taste of blood still on his tongue. The furniture within the room was sparse yet of a delicate design. His eyes followed the curves of the uncovered nude form laying sideways on the couch; her back was turned to him. A servant droid was braiding her long hair.

He approached her slowly; for now having tamed the beast within. But he wouldn’t know for how much longer. Beauty existed to be admired, but in his state it may be fatal.

He walked around the table with the bowl of fruits. “Are you willing to burden yourself with such long hair in combat?”

Fixing her eyes over her shoulder at him, she replied simply: “I am often more ally to the Force than to my saber. And in a dire situation, it can be quickly cut off with a stroke of my saber.”

A little bird hopped inside; a bit startled at the presence of people in this usually deserted room, but its hunger override any sense of fear. It carefully hopped onto the table, nipping from the fruits.

A red haze entered Atra’s mind again. This was no good. Her presence was temptation itself. A dangerous temptation. Sildrin stood, taking the offered translucent robe from the droid. Silk slithered over her pale skin as she slipped into it. The mere sight finally let Atra shed his skin of control, leaving a turmoil of emotions bathed in instinct.

His right arm shot forward, grabbing her by her throat and pushing her against a wall. His nostrils widened as he inhaled her scent. A part of her robe had slipped down to reveal her bare skin. The bird shrieked, rising from the bowl with fluttering wings from the sudden movement. But its wings failed it, letting it drop onto the ground. The bird began to twitch, its eyes swirling in red panic and pain.

Despite Atra’s tight grip on her, the Matriarch’s eyes remained untouched - fearless. He slammed the fist of his cybernetic arm into the wall next to her head. “Why don’t you fight me? You should… fend me off! For I am the End of all Things…,” his breath was ragged - a tiny fraction within him was still clinging onto the last piece of sanity.

The flapping wings of the bird drew in his eyes. He watched foam collecting on the beak of the bird. His eyes moved from the bird to the bowl of fruits and his mind jumped to the conclusion: Poisoned.

His metal grip on her throat not releasing, he leaned in close. His hot breath ran over her skin; yet she still remained emotionless. And it made him curious: Why isn’t she showing emotions?
He growled: “Is your heart that cold? Does it even care for a poor little bird that took the poison meant for you?”

Not replying, Sildrin raised a hand, gently placing her fingers on his cheek. He sucked in the air at her cool touch. With a movement quicker than his eyes could follow, she let her fingers slip up towards his eyes and stabbed them.
Atra let out a howl, more of surprise than pain. He staggered back, suddenly feeling the weight of his saber from his hip missing.

He forced his aching eyes open, seeing a silver light springing to life from his saber. Sildrin twirled around and with a swift swing from his saber in her hands, she granted the flailing bird finally release from its pain.

She quietly growled: “Do not mistake my emotionless mask for a mirror of my soul.” With a flick of her thumb she deignited the saber, offering the hilt back to him. He took it and he raised a hand and ran a finger over her cheek.

“You… are not cold at all.”

Her blind eyes fixed back on the dead bird, her voice was a mere whisper: “Poison - I know why. I am… Undesirable.”

The red haze finally had lifted from Atra, only a dull ache in the back of his head was a reminder of what wanted to break through still. “What are you talking about?”

Her mismatched eyes fixed him. “I had been on Antei. And I have seen the bodies of many.”


Inos Moon 36,
Orian System.

The quartet became a symbol of chaos, violence and the purity of power as they unleashed their combat on the almost-defenseless foes before them. Tasha sprung from the ground like a wild cat and clawed her way into the corpse of the Zabrak, then snarled as she lunged her body at a shooting Human who quickly became another body on the pile. Fury and passion enveloped her aura while her lightsaber attacks became merciless and swift, as she lead the pack towards the crash site. Acting like an unstoppable force on a collision course with the galaxy, the newly-promoted Battlemaster rammed his own attacks into the wall of Mercenaries. The Dark Side of the Force cleared his mind for the first time in a long while, and really boosted his morale making him the true symbol of Sith power. His lightsaber became an extension of his arm, as the attacks were near-perfection with swift cross draws and powerful slashes down into the corpses in front. A loud roar bellowed from him while he charged in his martyrdom across the battlefield, like a lion defending his pride.

The clunk and tap from the red-steel armour echoed across the immediate area into the ambient noise, as the mad alchemist’s Dark Side energy radiated from him and down his arched lightsaber. He cackled out into the air eerily, which caused the paid-hands around him with blasters and vibro-swords to shake in their boots a little. Closing the gaps, the Adept effortlessly disarmed the men and cut away their body parts in the most clean and professional manner. With very little time to react, the ranged men aimed their blasters to shoot only to have them yanked from their hands and thrown into unknown distance. Macron who perfected the art of the Dark Side so elegantly could slip their firearms away with ease, and lifted his hand to unleash a deadly arc of electrical energy into the unarmed men. He roared with gleeful laughter as the sapphire fingers whipped at the collection of aliens, lighting the place in a beautiful colour. Sitting close to the back of the fight in his own cover, the Quarren collected himself for this moment and concentrated on the presence of his allies. His strength cusped onto their own confidence and feed into their energies, mustering what he can from them and chanted positive words like whispers on the wind. Within some short minutes, the men who defended the crash site behind them were nothing but pieces or charred remains.

“Lexic you can join us now, it looks like only the cowards are left with their primitive catapults.” Macron let out another chuckle one he finished speaking, and motioned his hand for the Quarren to re-group. In front of them were a semi-circular band of heavily-armoured Humans, all painted with the same grey-white unit pattern and holding indigo-tinted rifles aimed directly at the Sith. As Lexic joined, he gave a quick smirk while his tentacles curled some question marks, he became quite interested in the outfit of these hardened Humans.

“Soldiers from the symbol on their shoulder. All veterans from the looks of it, but are they veteran in the ways of the lightsaber? From the poker face I’d guess so.” Maelous added to the discussion, as the Quarren jogged in front of the gang to gain a closer inspection.

“Nothing i’ve seen on Sepros or Tarthos before.” The Twi’lek snarled as she crouched slowly, licking her lips in eagerness to begin another brawl.

“Not any of Chelidon’s men either. They’re too,” Lexic paused to analyse the well-dressed soldiers in their expensive plating. “Civilised for that brutish woman.”

“They don’t appear to be from outside the shroud, which is odd because you’d think invasion from within would be rare.” Macron noted once more, but he interrupted himself as he detected something arriving from within. Maelous strongly gripped his lightsaber with both hands and leaned back slightly.

“I sense it too, Elder Sadow.” The Battlemaster said as two shrouds began to step from behind the men. Appearing to be quite youthful and vigorous, a Human marched forward in a tan cloak and tunic, bearing only a darker brown cloth shirt and boots as he eyed the furious Maelous intensely. Then towering over everyone in the near vicinity, a giant emerged with a thick white fur and a short wrinkly snout for a mouth. His quartet of eyes beaded towards the Sith Adept with a strong concentration. The four Dark Siders slowly backed into the nearby area to give some room for assessment of this company, whilst Tasha began to hiss viciously.

“I’ll carve my way into the bantha fodder with rifles, you guys have fun with the lighties until i’m ready to join you.” She growled with excitement. Lexic and Mael looked to one another as the soldiers made way for the two unusually dressed beings to step forward.

“You’ve come to the wrong neighbourhood, Sith. Stand down now, or we will be forced to strike you down.” The Human calmly said as he slowly pulled out his own dual lightsabers, shoto in comparison to their own. The Quarren and Human shared a smile.

“I’m sure we can do this, we probably won’t be in the same condition after this.” Maelous said to his Sith partner, who only nodded and marched forward in unison with the Battlemaster. Tasha wasted no time and sprung from her crouched lair onto the nearest soldier with her lightsaber ignited, scratching out his eyes and deflecting the blaster shots with ease, all the while enjoying the screams. The shimmer of silver rushed from the dual shoto as the Human stepped forward to meet his foes, his expression always remained calm and consistent with his pose. Maelous, always the beserker of the pack stood with his crimson blade held to the side for a moment, his scornful eyes glaring into the pure soul of his opponent, he felt a common ground of experience with themselves. However Lexic ignited his own blade and rose the weapon above his head slowly, opening his chest in a dare to the Light Sider, who according to Lexic’s sense was not concealing his affiliations. Without hesitation the Human Jedi sprung into the air and collided with Mael’s own blade in a cross defense, the pair dancing graciously through the air and somersaulted across the dust. Lexic could only watch and chase the duo, slashing as often as he could at the Jedi’s own attacks, yet he felt his own form was too firm in their athleticism for this duel. He instead decided against it and looked towards the Talz and Macron who continued to stare each into a locking of tension.

“Stay back, boy, this is between him and I. Go play with Tasha for now.” Macron dismissed the young adult and arced his own saber down by his hip. The Talz who stood with his chest open, flicked out a long hilt and dual sapphire blades sprung from the metal, highlighting the snow fur of the Jedi. Both in tandem on the Force, they leapt into the air and collided strongly with their blades, a showering of bright cinders collided with the Talz’ fur and Macron’s red armour. Their duel a symbol of their passion in the art of combat, the Adept shared excitement from his face as the Jedi remained as calm as ever, with only a soft crinkle in his forehead coming. The Quarren could only watch in awe as the two masters of their patterns dueled, riposting, countering and flurrying against each other in a perfect line.

“Lexi! Get over here!” From the distance, Lexic diverted his eyes to see Tasha sprinting over towards the duel between Maelous and his equally strong Jedi opponent. He decided to turn on his heels and charge head on into that battle, forgoing the usual sturdy footwork he was used to and deactivating his own lightsaber.

“This calls for a reckoning of a distance!” The Quarren snarled out, his fists clenched tightly as he summoned his inner strength for confidence. As Tasha finally caught up with Maelous and dove blade first into the duel, she caught the weak opening of the Human and tossed his blade smoothly aside, then clawed at his ribs with a venom. Her fingers drew blood from the Jedi for the first time, but his concentration was taken by the sheer might restraining down from the Battlemaster. Then Lexic sprung and glided through the air towards the locked combat, roaring out with a fiery passion, and hammered his igniting blade into the middle of the lock. The Human was taken by surprise of this and collapsed onto the dusty crater floor, coughing and wheezing in exhaustion. The Quarren and Twi’lek wasted no time, Tasha pounced onto his chest and sent a fist into his armed wrist which flung one lightsaber away. She then gripped the second wrist and dug her nails deep into his skin, blood trickling from the wounds as he shrieked out in shock, more than pain. Lexic saw his chance and sent a barrage of his renowned phantom fists against the Human’s face repeatedly, the first several caused paralysis in the mouth and then dislocated his jaw. Maelous stormed above the battered Jedi to take one last look at his worried face before he lifted his hand and gripped his neck using the Dark Side. In a quick twist of his hand, the Jedi’s neck broke and his body fell limp.

“I’m sure Macron doesn’t need help, but let’s go watch regardless.” Maelous ordered as he let out a sigh of satisfaction. Killing was like a drug, and a Jedi was the perfect fix.


Ancient Jedi Ship Crash Site
Inos Moon 36
Inos Orbit
Orian System

“Your companion is dead,” snarled Macron as he pressed the attack. His single tangerine blade moved double-time, whipping back and forth to stop the swirling strikes his Talz opponent directed. “And you will soon be joining him and the rest of your looter friends in death. Do you feel the Fear? You cannot win.”

“There will be no such happening Sith,” said Cheoktos with a grunt as he pushed back against the madman’s orange weapon.”You will fail.” Even so, the tall alien Equite was slowly being pushed back by the Alchemist’s fury. “Your dark side powers are not as strong here.”

The Elder knew it to be true, to some extent. The disgusting Light Side aura of the place was indeed mildly dampening his own ability to tap the Dark Side for flashy effects. Still, there was more than one way to skin a nerf. Instead of flashy effects, the madman channeled his ability into pure physical power and alacrity. Back in the days of the Vong War, self-enhancement was the only way to go against the evil aliens who resisted outright Force attacks. The madman screamed in rage as he moved like a jackhammer blur. Orange against blue, sparks flashed and spat as the two battled faster and faster. The precision of the duelist’s form was matched against the defense of Soresu, and the Jedi was beginning to give way.

Cheoktos began to feel concerned. he knew Zeos was dead, all of their crew was defeated, and he could feel the other Sith finishing them off one by one. No mercy had been given. One of the crew screamed a pitiful cry for mercy, and his response was the sizzling sound of a lightsaber rending flesh. It actually was beginning to stink like burnt meat inside the open hull of the ship. “No!” yelled the Talz as he felt the last of Zeo’s life slip from his fallen body away in the Force.

This was the chink Macron had been looking for. He feigned stumbling slightly over a piece of rubble. The Talz moved in with an opportunity strike, sensing weakness as his own focus wavered slightly from intense emotion and grief. The first side of his lightsaber was deflected by a typical Makashi turn-block, with the madman pirouetting three hundred and sixty degrees and his blade held in his right hand only as it swept behind his back to block the first strike.

Cheoktos brought the other side of his weapon to bear, knowing full well that there was no way the Sith could block with that side of his body and not lose an arm. He would have been right in most cases. Unfortunately, he was not this time. His opponent’s off-hand whipped up and to the side in a spear-hand block, and incredulously the heavy-armored gauntlet he wore slipped the end of the azure lightsaber to the side, sparks shooting from the Mandalorian iron plates in the glove.

The spinning turn was almost instantly completed as the blue twin-bladed lightsaber was deflected and the madman triggered a switch on his blade, causing it to lengthen considerably. It caught the Jedi right in his crotch. The orange blade went completely through Cheoktos’ groin and exited out the small of his furry back with stinging smoke and the smell of seared flesh and burning fur. The Talz screamed a bestial scream of agony and dropped to the floor like a puppet with it’s strings cut, grasping what remained of it’s ruined crotch and abdomen.

Macron giggled and kicked the alien as hard as he could with an armored boot in the head, twice. The beast was hammered into unconsciousness and shock. Macron closed his saber blade, knelt down, and took a hypospray from his belt. It sank into the fur of Cheoktos’ neck and delivered it’s payload. The body of the alien twitched and moaned.

“Is he dead? The rest are terminated,” asked Maelous, the first to speak. Lexiconus and Tasha watched quietly, wincing ever so slightly at the brutality.

“No, not yet. I’ve never had one of these in my lab to, ah, play with before. Hehe. Too bad about his generative organs though.” The Adept stood up and keyed his comlink. “Consul Sonjie, the site is secure. You may send the dig team and the engineers. One of the enemy remains alive, and I will be transporting him to Gamuslag for intensive interrogation and vivisection shortly. Alchemist Out.”