Contained in this subject will be a a record of Clan fiction for Clan Naga Sadow. This record will begin in 37 ABY.
“So it falls to you again.” Bentre’s face evaporated in the swirl of holographic light, the projector dimming as he looked on. He turned briefly, black eyes falling upon the former Consul as he clasped his hands behind his back.
“Not entirely surprising, I suppose.”
Muz nodded, turning back to the device in front of them, a wounded bit of ancient technology, bleeding tiny nibs of crystals onto the workbench. He hadn’t really considered that Kojiro would retire so soon. Not that he blamed him. The scenario had changed so much, and the evacuation of their home system had taken a lot out of him. The counterstrike against Meridian station… Well, it was a good thing that Sadow had not gone alone. He picked up a non-conductive probe, gently prodding past the failing matrices, trying to nudge what seemed to be a poorly aligned power supply back onto the contacts as Locke stared on intently.
The warbling tone of waiting communication scraped across their ear. Then another. Then another. Locke smiled as the frequency changed, missives from the clan rerouting to the Lion’s datapad explaining and informing of the everchanging situation in the clan, the house. His house.
He set down the probe, turning to the datapad and keying in his access code. The datastream flew down the screen, his fingers stopping the feed suddenly. There were new names. He narrowed his eyes, reading the transcripts from the Shadow Academy. The man was a little old compared to some of those still studying at the academy, but the Brotherhood did not have the reach that the Republic, or even the Empire once had. Quentinshadows still had managed to make quick work of the lessons placed before him, and the reports showed an interest in some studies that would have flagged him for… inquisitorius attention under Pravus. Muz noted the dossier when the chirp came again. A new sensitive soldier, a Verpine with Force Affinity, already stacking up quite the kill count from the field reports. Hilgrif. Muz stared at the name, debating pronunciation options before the torrent of chirps came again. More names, familiar ones, unfamiliar ones. Finally, a live urgent. He thumbed the play key, the image flashing on the datapad rather than the holo.
Locke turned from the artifact, looking at the Lion, then at the datapad. “That code looks…” His eyes narrowed.
“It’s not fake, just very old.” Muz stared at it, his memory putting together the pieces. “The Mystics.” The words slipped from Muz’s mouth as realization hit him. The image shifted, the lines converting to a woman’s face, dark wavy hair and a half-smirk.
“Requesting Asylum, code Trill Aurek Resh three five nine.” The image broke up momentarily before reforming. Muz paused. Tarentum. It had been a while.
Muz tapped a command on his arm, the message sent to the bridge of the ship, telling them to prepare for a docking. “Situation?”
She paused, a hitch in her voice swallowed down before she continued. “My clan is gone. The castle is a ruin. The order has fallen. I am sorry, but the old alliance, we hoped that Sadow would honor it.”
Muz leaned forward. “Order?”
“Yridia was a waste, so we went to Antei. The Temple of Tiamat is a tomb. The Krath are gone.”
Muz stared directly back. “No, we are not.”
Baleen-class freighter Behemoth
The aging freighter’s command cabin was cramped and quiet, except for the quiet beeping of a console and the wave-like sound of the holo-projection in the center of the cabin. Locke Sonjie bowed to Muz’s surreal blue visage before making his report.
“The Journeymen you have placed in the 'Hawks service have performed well. Already, the Verpine’s - Hilgrif, was it? - mechanical skills have kept our transports flying when we thought we didn’t have the parts to keep them space-worthy. And the other, well, I walked into a cantina the other day and overheard a story of how Dakor saved a family from slavers and was rewarded by the regional government. Apparently, he’s quite the hero around this region of space.”
"It is not the preferred path," Muz said, "but it gets the job done."
“Indeed,” Locke agreed. “We will need allies and resources for the days ahead. I’ve let the Night Hawks serve in their own ways for now as you’ve instructed.”
Muz did not mince words. "We will need to focus the team as a sharpened blade in the future, but for now, keep it up."
Locke nodded and the holo-projection winked out, leaving the cabin dark. The Augur looked out at the stars, imagining that he could pick out Orian. They would return and take back what was their’s, sooner or later.
This was from Xolarin’s first HMR report on February 16, 2019.
District IV, Warehouse 89
Eden City, Yridia IX
The dingy warehouse was full of crates, many dusty. It wasn’t as if they couldn’t be moved, but there was a lull in the operation. The scouts were out, bounties were being made and found, and there were customers for the goods. But something was amiss.
Xolarin strode across the small office, mumbling to himself as he thought back on the neglect he had caused with the small syndicate he had formed long ago. He slammed his fist on the desk nearest him. “It’s got to be out there,” he said to himself. And then out loud to no one, “I’ll find it, then we can move on with things here.”
His partner and main investor had backed out. Initially Xolarin did not need the money, but after the events of Clan Tarentum in the Brotherhood, financial assistance was required. So without that backing, it was easy to see that his business would crumble. He didn’t need any farsight for that. But his focus on dark artifacts were blinding him to other eventualities. What he didn’t see is that he needed guidance along with that fervent focus, lest he waste away in an alley.
Starport outside District I
One more planet he told himself. This was the last effort before he would give up and try something else. Maybe another object, maybe sync back up with the Brotherhood, maybe back to looking for details about his father or Turel or Dael.
“Nonesense!” Xolarin said out loud. A few nearby gave him a funny look but he didn’t care. His current state dictated a carelessness in many situations. His perceptive mind was still finely acute, but he couldn’t care less for the plebes around him in this city.
The cloaked Xolarin moved towards the main gate area for transports off the planet. It was a fairly busy day, comparatively speaking. That made it easier for him to blend in and make his way out without distractions from probing eyes or even competitors’ spies.
As he strode by a passer-by they bumped shoulders. A cold chill ran down his arm and torso and Xolarin looked back. The other cloaked figure looked back at Xolarin and eventually faced him. Xolarin cocked his eyes and squinted. There was something strange and yet familiar about the man.
“Lost?,” came a voice under the hood.
Xolarin continued his odd glare. “No.” So hard to read the man, no matter how hard he probed. Something was… different, for sure.
Xolarin chortled at the notion. What did this guy know? He had his act together just fine. “I’m focused.”
The figure shook his head. “Let me help you. Focus your… focus.” He paused. “Xolarin.”
Xolarin suddenly felt a sort of calm within the chilled aura around the two of them. It almost felt like everything else went slow motion beyond their conversation. He spoke, slowly and now somber himself, the focus of his artifact waning just a tad. “How…” shaking his head but remaining hooked on the man. He knew there was truth to what the man offered. “What do…”
The other man grinned and interrupted. “Don’t be foolish. Follow me and get out of this pit.”
Xolarin was reticent at first, as he really didn’t feel Eden was a pit. Of course then he realized the man meant Xolarin’s work here or his constant searching. The fallen Jedi nodded eventually, intrigued about this far more than his other projects for sure. “Who are you?”
“Muz Ashen Keibatsu,” he said as he turned and began walking.
Xolarin’s eyes widened, knowing well the name, and eventually began to follow. This was NOT how he thought the day would go.
ASD Fallen Spear
en route to landing zone
The static interfered with the transmission only for a moment. The scarred eye seemed to pulse as he thought it over, his voice slowly creaking back. “I’ve been…busy. But…”
Muz nodded at the man. He understood the feeling all too well, and would not have bothered him, were it not for…well, for what he sensed was down there in the dust. Kojiro would know that of him, after the past several years of working so closely with him personally. The former soldier nodded back, the hologram fading from view as he terminated the connection. Nothing more needed to be said.
About that anyway.
Muz turned from his desk, staring at the ancient frieze that hung behind him. figures, long dead, immortalized in the metal, locked forever in the pattern that kep their names known for centuries before becoming a footnote somewhere. Neglected, forgotten. It was a reminder to him, one pressing heavily on him ever since…
Xolarin cleared his throat, flipping through the feed. “Beside the Verpine Knight…” The datapad flickered, the incoming message icon playing across the man’s eyes. “Well, apparently, Plagueis is down there, too.”
Muz’s eyebrow raised.
"Seems that they are equally interested in whatever there is to take from this backwater. And…" Muz turned, facing the aedile, bidding without words for the man to continue. "You should read what Tavisaen has said…"
Muz stepped past the man, pausing as the door slid open, then stepping out into the hallway, making his way to the turbolift. "Unimportant." He let the word slip past his lips as he tilted his head. There was enough to do, and not enough time to do it. And if what Macron had felt corresponded to the itch he was starting to feel at the edges of his awareness…
The datapad chirped again, and Xolarin’s eyes flitted across the screen. “Locke.”
From Tasha on 3/6
A cold chill permeated throughout the air as pairs of boots pattered heavily across marbled stone. It was dimly lit and one could feel a surge of dark energy surrounding the room. There were several marbled pillars that lined the walls and a few pedestals with Sith artifacts displayed. Angry humming could be heard from a nearby Sith Holocron and a statue with red crystal eyes seem to stare at two figures approaching the large marble doors with Sith symbols etched into them.
Both figures walked silently through the doors, one in full Sith armor decorated from head to toe and masked so none could see his face. The other dressed as a Mandalorian. As they passed through, they could feel an intimidating presence before them. Koji knew this feeling well, it was the Lion of Tarthos. Xuner also knew better than to disrespect the authority before him. Both were humbled in his presence and respectively bowed.
Muz however, was not the only one watching them, a human Corellian with a glowing-red Tukatan eye glared down towards the pair as he sat down on an antique chair, as though it were the finest throne. To his right, his auburn-haired Proconsul looked on silently. To the left of the seat, a hooded figure stood, her blue lekku hanging down freely. Meanwhile, across from the Lion of Tarthos stood another humanoid, this one clad in black stylized armor. The Clan Summit had been called, and the pair stood before the assembly.
Suddenly a commanding female voice split the silence as Tasha’Vel stood and walked towards Xuner and Kojiro.
“You have both performed admirably well and successfully completed your mission. Therefore as Captain of the Blackguards you are both hereby promoted to the status of blackguard. Kojiro, you have been a blackguard before and are familiar with combat, therefore I will be assigning you to guard Ashia Keibatsu.” She then turned towards Xuner.
“You have shown exceptional skill-” She was then interrupted by Bentre.
“You have shown,” Bentre interrupted, making a whimsical grasping motion in the air as he sought the words, “exceptional valor and spunk. As such, I am claiming you as my Black Guard. You can ask your fellows before you, I will likely abuse my authority over you over the course of this arrangement.” The Warlord pointed at Xuner expectantly. “You have shown proficiency. To those who show capability, more is expected. It’s a blessing, it’s a curse, it’s a pain in the arse. I will be taking time to help refine you into a tool, for the good of the Clan, for the good of our Empire, and to your own gain.”
Stahoes waved a hand dismissively as he flashed an aloof smile… "For now though, both of you will go with the nice blue lady with the head tentacles. I am sure she has some tasks before you get released to my tender care of myself and Ashia…"
The Twi’lek looked up at the Consul, her face twisting just slightly from the playful jab.
“Right, as Bentre stated you will become his Blackguard, Xuner. Congratulations on achieving this status. I look forward to how you will deal with those who oppose our Clan’s leaders. For now you are both dismissed.”
From Tasha on 3/11:
A hot sun sat high in the sky above the as of yet unnamed planet, beating down on the desert area below. On the surface of the planet, surrounded by sand as far as the eye could see, were a few broken pillars and pieces of stone that marked the entrance to an ancient temple of sorts that dove deep, deep underground. Tasha’Vel wiped some sweat off her brow as she walked along the surface, checking out some of the Sith symbols etched on one of the pillars. Throwing her lekku back, she examined the symbols a bit closer. Meanwhile, nearby a Kel Dor was leaned up partly against the door of their transport. He flipped his trusty blaster a few times in his hand before adjusting the brim of his hat. Both of them had been assigned to help the other teams with extraction from the planet. After reading the symbols for a few moments, Tasha’Vel turned around to her counterpart and smiled a bit.
“That’s a nice blaster you have. How good is your aim?” she asked as she picked up a nearby small boulder and tossed it up into the air.
The boulder exploded into a puff of grey dust and rubble as the Raider instinctively fired his blaster at the airborne target.
“Good enough,” he answered.
Just then, the ground began to shake violently, as both Rollmaster and Quaestor struggled to stay upright.
“What in the nine - ”
Tasha’Vel was cut short as several droids emerged from underground and began to shoot hot plasma at the pair. She leaped to the side towards a huge marble pillar as TuQ’uan tucked and rolled against a huge boulder opposite of her.
“I don’t know what exactly happened, but I think we somehow tripped the self defense systems of this temple!” Tasha’Vel yelled out as she pulled out her lightsaber and ignited it with a crackling snap-hiss.
“Let’s see if they like fresh hot lightsaber.”
She then threw her violet whirling lightsaber towards one of the droids approaching and sliced it in half.
“That’s one!” the Marauder exclaimed as the blade went into an arc, taking out the one next to it as it flew back to the Twi’lek’s hand.
There were still eight droids out there firing at both of them. The Infiltrator pulled out a small round electromagnetic pulse grenade and threw it into the midst of the droids. A blue electric field blasted through all of the droids as it detonated, rendering them useless. They all fell over in a heap.
“Eight,” replied the Reaver.
The Twi’lek grinned as she made her way from behind the marble pillar and inspected the pile of trashed droids. “Well now, I guess you win that round. I just hope we don’t trip any more defense systems unless you can do that trick a second time. So we still going to keep count then, winner buys the other a drink?”
TuQ’uan nodded. “Sure, sounds good to me.”
The mercenary surveyed the pile of antique droids that now littered the ground, they were rusted and falling apart but surprisingly quite functional for something so old and not maintained.
“First pirates, now droids. Honestly, this planet is much more interesting than I thought it would be.” He gave a quiet chuckle before remembering the mission at hand and activating his comlink. “All teams, report in. What’s going on in there?”
A flurry of noise filtered through their comms as the teams in the temple below attempted to report their situations simultaneously. Between the overlapping chatter and the blaster fire filtering through in the background the Kel Dor could make out only one thing repeated over and over. Droids. Lots of droids.
Tasha’Vel and TuQ’uan were shaken from the distraction as another quake rocked the ground beneath the unlikely duo followed. This time however it was followed by a steady rumble as another, larger wave of droids emerged from the temple entrance.
“We….ot…thing big. R…turning…ow,” an indecipherable voice called out through the comchannel.
“Repeat that, you’re breaking up,” TuQ’uan growled as the comms went dead.
The Marauder’s cheerful demeanor halted slightly at the disruption. Her thoughts turned towards the teams trying to get out. Hilgrif would be making his way out, as well as Scudi on Plagueis’s side not to mention many others. Shaking her head to clear her mind a bit, the Twi’lek readied herself.
“Well, it looks like you might be buying the drinks,” Tasha’Vel smirked, her reignited lightsaber swinging down in a powerful arc as she leapt into the fray.
“Oh, I don’t think so!” he cried out and fired off a volley of plasma, joining the fight side by side with a friend.
Originally posted in a HMR March report.
Planet of Investigation
Things were happening. And not just in a dingy office or mediocre apartment in Eden City. This was big, almost as big as the last great war in which Xolarin participated more actively. But of course this was far more positive - there was very little carnage going on during these days and weeks.
The fallen Jedi was at a console in a forward operating station on the surface. The reports were still coming in and things were looking good. There was no super weapon or galactic-ruling artifact glowing in power. But tips and hints and actual pieces were coming in for investigation. Mid-stream his holoprojector chimed. “Yes, my lord?” It was Muz.
”Report,” came the voice of the image of his master in the House. It wasn’t demanding or cold, just to the point.
”Looking good, master.” Xolarin tapped a few buttons on his console to send a brief summary so far. “I think we may have a few items, or at least some some prospects. I know if I can just–”
Muz interrupted. “But what do you feel?”
Xolarin paused a moment, perplexed. With all of Xolarin’s powers, he could sift through the findings in no time, but… a light bulb went off, though. He breathed in deeply and exhaled audibly. “We have something,” he responded, pausing again. Was it a real feeling or wishful thinking? Either way, something told him that last statement was right.
Before Xolarin could respond, Muz spoke again. “Any prospects for the Night Hawks?”
Xolarin chortled a bit to himself, having been thinking about it as well. “A couple.”
Tasha’Vel looked over the rising sun as she wiped some sweat from her brow. She turned to her Kel’dor friend in the wide brim hat and nodded as she closed the hatch to the transport.
“That’s the last of them. Let’s get out of here!”
The transport roared to life, as Hilgrif, Calenhad, Ciara, and a few others buckled in.
“Ladies and Gents, congratulations you have made it out alive and secured some goodies. Now take a breather. TuQ’uan and I have got your backs. We will be back to our respective fleets soon.”
The transport had left the planet and stars could be seen out of the transport windows. It had been a long haul, but the job was finished. Tasha’Vel smiled at the two clan groups. They had done well and together they accomplished their goals. She hoped to see more interactions with the fellow Plagueans in the future. Perhaps they would be great allies.
Only the future could tell. For now she leaned back against her seat and let out a relieved sigh. TuQ’uan chuckled to himself as gave his trusty blaster one more spin in his hand before holstering it.
“So about that bet.”
Tasha’Vel put a hand to her head.
“Right, I will be sure to take you out to your favorite bar when we get back.”
Mauder Class Corvette Daragon
Orbiting Planet Reliquary
The Quaestor ubruptly left the bridge after starring at the large main viewing screen for hours. DarkHawk had been studying the planet and monitoring the orbital scans to gauge his next move. After the joint endeavor of both Clan Naga Sadow and Plagueis, the newly discovered world is ripe for the taking of its resources as well as the secrets it holds. DarkHawk, convinced something of significant importance is hidden somewhere on its surface. After exploring the planet with fellow Sith brethren Wrathus of Clan Plagueis, encountering insurgents, the indigenous people and the militant forces that had been engaged, something was being protected, DarkHawk just knew it.
As DarkHawk left the bridge, he pondered the last twenty four hours. Earlier Master Sanguinius Entar had dispatched Knight Xuner Holst along with a squad of Shar Dakhan’s resident SPECOPS Rangers back to Reliquary for a bit of a more in-depth exploration mission. Xuner had radioed back to Daragon over an hour ago informing the command ship of the team’s return.
DarkHawk headed towards his Aedile’s office, the Sith wondered why the return was taking so long, no hailing frequencies were getting through. The Quaestor reached the Aedile’s office and a single solid knock broke the silence of the corridor.
“Enter…” a muffled voice stated.
DarkHawk entered the office to find his Master diligently shuffling through a stack of papers.
“Ahh DH, any progress as of yet?
“No Master, Xuner should have been back by now.”
A small smile broke across the Augur’s face, “I don’t know who is more excited, you or him…”
“Its both bitter sweet Master…”
Just then a COMM hail filled the Aedile’s office, “Augur Entar, we have exploration team on radar, we will be starting landing Sequence directly…”
“Very well, inform Knight Xuner to report to my office immediately the Quaestor and I will be waiting…” the Son of Sadow stated.
Shortly after the communications call, another solid knock came over the Aedile’s office door. The Augur permitted the visitor to enter, the door slid open, Xuner reluctantly entered the room.
“How was the mission…? asked the Augur.
“Sir, I am happy to report our findings, several different types of significant mineral deposits that are already in the process of being mined. We could not get close to the Citadel as opposing forces…”
“Do you think the mission was a failure…? Asked DarkHawk
“I don’t understand Sir…” Xuner replied.
“It’s a simple question Xuner, do you think the mission was a failure?
Xuner took a moment to ponder the question and still could not completely understand where his Quaestor was coming from.
“Well Sir, in the means of coming back with resources, then yes, the Decimator was not the correct choice of ship for a supply run, as far as the mission, I would say no. I do have more intel on the Citadel to aide in our infiltration mission , we can however claim those mineral resources for ourselves immediately…”
The Augur stood up from his desk, “Xuner you have come a long way, I will keep an eye on you as I step back from my duties here.” Sanguinius said.
“I don’t understand Sir…”
Sanguinius gestured to the adjoining door to the House’s main briefing room. As the door whisked open, Xuner saw most of his House member standing at attention. “Xuner if you please…” DarkHawk said gesturing his Knight to enter.
The three men entered the briefing room and stood in front of the stoic House members.
DarkHawk took control of the room and spoke, “As you all may know, my Master, our Aedile, has decided to step down and pass on his duties. Though it is a loss for the House and the Clan to lose such leadership, we are garnering another to help lead this House into our new horizons. Master Sang will continue to be present to counsel the House, his expertise and leadership will not be far any of the Clan Summits. That being said, I would like for all you to recognize and welcome House Shar Dakhan’s newest Aedile, Knight Xuner Holst…!"
You return home from [a mission, training, shopping, etc.] to find a datapad and a holoprojector laid out before you. The holoprojector appeared to be in a state of near death, seen by the many cracks along the frame and glass lens. On the other hand, the datapad is in pristine condition, a complete antithesis to the projector. You activate the datapad and the holoprojector slowly flickers to life. Revealed before you is a Sith Human Male. His pale face destroyed by scarring, his eyes burning as if his soul was lit aflame, faintly hiding a glance of suffering within. A smile, sickening like a plague, carved into his face staring deeply into space. His hulking frame dominates over you. With a quick twitch of his head, his voice cracking from his throat.
“Hello. I have yet to properly introduce myself. For that, I apologize. Let us rectify that, shall we? I am Xuner Holst. I am the new Aedile of House Shar Dakhan and Blackguard to the Overlord of Naga Sadow, Bentre Stahoes. I live to serve; to fight; to kill.” The final words were spoken by Xuner in a deep rumbling manner, emphasizing his favored role and purpose. His head jerked to the left, this time with more force as his neck uttered an audible crack.
“And now, you will too. More than before.” The holoprojector sputtered and short-circuited, dying out like an old source of light.
It had been far too long since Tasha’Vel had last been down into the deep dark depths of her Estate. She walked down the dark hallway towards the artifact’s room and opened the door. Inside were several rows of various Rylothian historical artifacts, several different trinkets, old heirlooms, and various other items on the shelves in front of her. As interesting as these items were, there was one artifact that she was looking for. She turned to the left of the room and walked forwards a couple steps towards a glass pedestal holding a dark brown box that was covered by a glass display casing.
She removed the glass casing and carefully lifted the dark brown box from its holding place. She blew off the dust as she opened the lid. Inside a purple velvet lining, lay a beautifully designed dagger.
The dagger had a dark grey blade with a golden hilt. The hilt itself had a crimson serpent wrapped around it that seemed to be glaring at whoever opened the box. As she looked to the side there was an haiku inscription written in beautiful calligraphy. It read:
“Darkness closes in
Insurmountable rage builds
Fear soon grips the heart”
This was no ordinary dagger. Tasha’Vel gently lifted the blade from the box and held it. Almost instantly she could feel a dark energy pulsating within the dagger as if it were alive.
“It has been awhile since I went searching for you Chyria. I never thought I would find you again after I finished that escapade with Morriban. Xolarin is going to love seeing you.”
She gently tucked the blade back into its protective case and closed the lid of the dark brown box. The Rollmaster carried the box back with her to The RavenBloodStar, her T70 starship.
Clan Naga Sadow Fleet
Soon she was flying back from her native home of Ryloth back towards the Naga Sadow Fleet. Turning on her communicator she called the Marka Ragnos Aedile.
“Greeting Xolarin, I have come with a nice surprise for you when I come aboard. If you could meet me in the hangar bay, I would love to show you what I found in my little collection of artifacts.”
“Sounds great, I will be waiting.”
After a few moments of catching up to the flagship, she landed in the hangar. She saw the tan-skinned, mostly bald human waiting for her in the docking bay. After jumping out of her ship, she greeted Xolarin and brought out the dark brown box.
‘It took me a long while to find this artifact, but it is an old Sith Dagger from Morriband that had a haiku inscription about the dark side within this box. I know you were wanting some artifacts, so I thought I would let you have the one I found a long time ago.”
The human smiled as he carefully took the dark brown box from the Twi’lek.
“Thank you Lady Tasha, I will be sure and add it to my own collection. So what are your plans now?”
The Marauder smiled back as she walked alongside him.
“To train up the new journeyman and prepare for the time when we will return to our home.”
Clan Naga Sadow Fleet
As a student of dark rituals and lately artifacts, Xolarin loved the gift his superior gave him. Or rather gave the House. Xolarin would be the new caretaker, but its purpose was for Marka Ragnos.
Xolarin sat in the middle of the floor of his office, which he had started to call his sanctum aboard the ship, the Remorseless he had sort of claimed. He was in an was an office, with a small meeting room, a meditation chamber like he was in now, and adjacent quarters. It had a quick route to a small hangar bay where he landed his Panther Delta shuttle. But the Mystic meditated, using tools from his old Jedi training to focus on the artifact Tasha had given him.
He was studying it, diving into it with his mind, following the tendrils of the Force as they flowed through the object and in and around it. The dagger was old, and had great value to those who created it, later to those who inscribed it, and especially to those who imbued it with dark energies. It was a powerful object.
This would not have been as great a find as what the two clans found during their major operation, but it was a great find for the House and for Xolarin. It would help fuel him as he served the great Muz, it would help fuel the troops, officers, agents, and heroes of House Marka Ragnos.
After probably hours of study and meditation on the dagger, the fallen Jedi muttered some words out loud, barely having a chance to echo off the walls. “Darkness closes in…” Xolarin’s eyes shot open and he grasped the dagger from its floating position in front of him. He looked at it, set it down in the box, and breathed in deeply to let out a sigh.
Moments later he was heading to The Panther and had opened a comm signal to the command deck. “Inform Grand Master Muz I will be joining him within the hour.”
The Dark Jedi went towards the shuttle, the brown box in hand to keep safely with him for now. The omen was clear to him now, and the House and Clan needed to act.
HSD Command Ship
The Quaestor sat at his desk, reviewing the current transfer requests that he had just received. Surprisingly to him, his Apprentice, Battle Team Leader Hector (Calenhad) Cal Ricmore has decided to leave CNS to discover his bounty hunter desires. Along with veteran Jurden Krennel is requesting the same. It was a cloudy review as the Battlelord blew smoke from his cigar, the essence filled the room as his two housemates entered his office.
The two Dakhanian’s approached DarkHawk and rendered formal courtesies.
“I have received your transfer requests, reluctantly I have concurred on them as well as letters of recommendations on you both to your new Proconsul. I hate losing you two, but you both know I would not stand in the way of your growth. You will both be sorely missed here in HSD, remember that you will always be welcomed here as well as have a home amongst us.”
Both Cal and Jurden bowed, Cal turned and headed towards the door, abruptly stopping and making his way back to his Master, he extended his hand, “Master, I can not thank you enough for what you have done for me, I hope that you will reach out to me whenever you need an extra gun on your missions.”
DarkHawk rose from his chair, returned the courtesy, “Cal, you know I will, your my weapons expert, always in need of those my friend. The same goes for you.”
Before Jurdan Krennel walked out of his Quaestor’s office, “Before the two of you escape us, I have been informed Summit may be on their way to see you off formally…”
Just then the EAM system sounded, “Quaestor Takagari, we have an incoming message from Clan Summit” the voice boomed.
“Copy send it…”
“Summit is requesting the ship to this location and requires your presence in the hangar bay for Summit arrival.”
“Copy that, what is our ETA to coordinates?” asked DarkHawk
“Twenty mic Sir…”
“Make it ten…” DarkHawk said sternly.
“Copy that Sir”
DarkHawk excused himself and left to gather his Aedile, Xuner had already heard the EAM and met the Quaestor at the turbolift.
“What do you think this is about Boss?” asked Xuner.
“I am sure we are about to get a new set of orders…” replied DarkHawk.
“Must be big time if the Summit is bringing them personally.”
“That could be worrisome XO.”
The two House leaders made it to the hangar, Xuner took it upon himself to snag the rest of the House when the EAM message hit. The rest of the House was waiting, within minutes the bay Chief was already making adjustments, coinciding his activities with bridge personnel who put into position.
“Sir, we have two ships on approach…” said the Hangar Chief.
“Two…?” DarkHawk said to himself.
The hangar doors opened, a Lambada Class shuttle approached first and made its way down the tarmac, followed by a blacked out VT-49 Decimator. The shuttle set itself down in one of the DV spots, and the Decimator held steady and parked its nose directly in front of the Quaestor.
The shuttle party disembarked first, consisting of the CNS Consul, Proconsul and the Rollmaster. The Summit approached the HSD Counsel, DarkHawk dropped to one knee to pay respect, the House members followed suit.
“We bring good news to you DH, and to the House of Shar Dakhan,” Bentre said enthusiastically.
“We are here to serve your bidding my Liege.”
“We have news and a mission for you all,” Ashia Keibatsu said.
The Keibatsu handed DarkHawk a mission packet, the heading of it read Rebels and Ruins. “for your reading pleasure good Sir…” the Keibatsu said.
“Thank you, Ma’am.”
Bentre moved in front of the House and began to speak. “Before we get into our new assignment, I have to address an important occasion within the Clan. Both HSD and HMR has been operating under extreme conditions. Your House has always succeeded, despite what has been thrown at you, HSD finds a way to be successful. We are well aware of this fact, your Proconsul and I are looking at ways to help alleviate some of those constraints. However, we have two significant members leaving us, which always comes with some cost to the Houses. It is both a somber and joyous feeling for us when members leave, somber because the loss of a member is always bitter. However, today, it is also joyous as we watch two of our members grow into more significant members of the Brotherhood. You will be grossly missed, unfortunately for you HSD, we have a new mission
and we need your undivided attention to garner our success.”
“Thank you, Sir, we are always able and willing to eradicate or enemies,” Xuner said.
Both DarkHawk and Xuner bowed once again to their Summit.
“Better yet DH, something else I think you will certainly enjoy…” said Battlelord Tasha Versea.
The cargo ramp of the Decimator opened, a dark clad figure walked down the ramp and on to the tarmac. The Lion himself, Grand Master Muz Keibatsu, made his way towards the Clan Summit. All members of Clan Naga Sadow bowed before the Grand Master. He motioned for all to rise, gesturing DarkHawk forward, the Equite without hesitation made his way towards the Lion of Tarthos.
“In the days of the past, it was customary and an honor to receive a Decimator. We want to continue to uphold that tradition. So it is with great pleasure that we present this brand new Decimator to DarkHawk…” Ashia Keibatsu said ecstatically.
The Grand Master’s black and purple sleeve billowed as he gestured towards the Decimator.
“What was once mine, is now yours…” the Lion said in a low daunting voice.
“It has been fitted with the modifications that you requested.” Ashia Keibatsu stated.
“Ma’am I just put that request recently…?"
“One does not ascend to Grand Master, without knowing how to bypass bureaucracy…” said the Lion.
DarkHawk knelt once again before his Grand Master, “This is so cool Sir! How can I ever repay you?”
The Lion of Tarthos walked past his still kneeling Equite, stopped momentarily and whispered, “By unleashing what is inside you…”
(Originally a CNS Clan Summit fiction as reported here)
YT-1300 Emerald Dragon
Ashia took a moment to listen to the birds and hear the sway of the trees in the breeze around them. She let out a sigh and returned her gaze to the datapad she held in her hands.
“All the crates have been unloaded, ma’am.” The Proconsul winced at the title. She hated ma’am. She hated all of the military formalities her position required. She was nobody’s ‘ma’am’.
“Thank you, Sergeant. Let’s get the rest of these drones in the air.” The man saluted her and moved off.
“So where do you want me to put these…ma’am? Hehehe!” Sully chuckled as he set a box down nearby.
The Lasat turned around to find Ashia glaring at him coldly which only made him chuckle again.
“I hope this works and works quickly.” The Keibatsu commented as she looked over her datapad. “We just received word that the Collective are starting to stir again. It won’t be long before they kick the hornets nest and we have to move again on Telaris’s orders.”
“Ma’am! We have a problem. The scanner droids are dropping off. Something is taking them out.” The Sergeant spoke hurriedly as he trotted quickly to her position.
“How many have we lost?” The Nightsister furrowed her brow in consternation.
“About a dozen so far, but more keep going off line. It seems to be centered deep in the temple somewhere.” He stopped and waited for further instructions.
“Ah, Frell! Bentre is not going to be happy about this. Where’s Muz?” Ashia punched some info into her datapad.
“No one has seen Grand Master Keibatsu in some time, ma’am. It’s possible he’s in the temple.”
“Possible? Why don’t you find out for sure. We’re going to need him to figure out what’s happening to those drones.”
“Yes, ma’am.” The Sergeant scurried away from her for the second time that afternoon.
She looked around then reached out with the Force. Her husband had disappeared.
Sully moved up to stand next to her.
“What do you think it is?” He looked at her nervously.
“I don’t know, but I don’t like it.” The Keibatsu let out an exasperated sigh.
The forest opened up to a wide field, overgrown with weeds and wild grasses in the decades since the expanse was used as a makeshift runway. Tasha’Vel parted the rushes slowly, peeking out as she tried to focus on the figures in the distance before reaching into her pack for the electrobinoculars stowed away there.
The hiss of some chemical or other escaped a vent on the Madman’s armor, expelling something that smelled halfway between death and wishing to be. She wrenched her nose up, looking up at the Sith’s helmeted face. “Did you really have to?”
“Better out there than in here.” He chuckled, stepping forward heavily, boots smashing delicate plants to the soil. “It was starting to remind me of that mission Raistlin had sent me on.”
The Twi’Lek sighed, pulling the optics to her eyes, fast fingers dialing in the focus. White. Muddy, used, but white. That lined up with the comms they had intercepted, but it still didn’t make sense. They moved erratically, like tangled marionnettes. Like those things on Moriband.
“Stormtroopers.” The word escaped her lips.
“More than that.” Macron made a sound, but the vocoder distorted it with electronic ghosts. “Reach out.”
“She closed her eyes momentarily, letting her senses swell, only to have the screaming hum of energized kyber burn through her ears. Eyes slamming open, she watched as the madman’s weapon scorched through the air at the Stormtroopers, the crimson blade arcing through the night sky, then down as Macron twitched his hands, stepping forward slowly.
“I thought you said reach out?” She jumped to her feet, an incredulous tone in her voice that got buried in the hum of her own blade’s ignition.
“And you thought I meant with your mind?” Macron laughed.
Second Level Audience Chamber
DarkHawk straightened up, stretching his back as he shrugged off the fatigue. He regarded his handiwork, a pair of souls that the Empire forgot all those years ago, but the Force did not. The Dark Side did not. They would twist no more. He looked to his companion as he raised the commlink back to base. “I think that covers the second floor. Send them in.”
“Roger that. Sending Cesh crate now.” The disembodied voice from base echoed in the chamber, making Ciara wince a touch. It wasn’t terribly difficult getting this far, which always begged the question as to why. There was something more, something deeper at play here, urging them forward, past all of the warning signs. Lesser folks turned into shells, corrupted by essences of dead lords. The markings, bloody and foul that told the tale. The abandoned datapads, batteries long since corroded, smeared with mud and coated in dust, wedged between crumbling stones. Everything told them to leave.
Ciara smiled, watching her charge carefully. He was more than a vessel, the proverbial bird in the gas mine. There was a reason she was asked to keep an eye on him, and to deny that mystery…well, she would have absolutely none of that.
The tinny hum of the scanning droids grew closer, their miniaturized repulsordrives buzzing as they breached the halls, separating as the fine green scanning optic lights measured and mapped every bit of the ancient room. It was quick work, the busy drones zooming about the chamber then onward toward the next hallway, stopping only momentarily at the dead at the far side of the room, before continuing on.
Darkhawk smiled at her, nodding toward that direction. “Well, Muz must have gone that way, soooo…”
Ciara nodded, pointing an arm toward the other hall. “May as well chart new territory, then.” She chuckled as two of the drones fell in line behind her, bobbing and humming like cheerful little pets.
Hades chuffed air through his teeth as his eyes darted across the treeline. “Tactical pause my…” The words froze in his throat as he heard movement, just past the clearing. A quick hand gesture shot up, his old friend snapping to attention as quickly as in the good old days. Back before they both got old, back before…
It wasn’t like the white buckets they had heard about on the secure comms. No, these were a bit different, more modern, advanced. Something seemed off here, and as Hades shot a quick look at Pel, he knew he could feel it, too.
They darted off to the side, using dusk and foliage for cover as quietly as they could muster as the sound grew louder, closer. Old habits died hard, their breathing slowing, growing more shallow to obscure themselves. The Jedi would have called it an art. Hades just called it practical.
By the time a black boot crossed into the clearing, Hades had found the flavor in his mouth. Cupric and raw, he restrained a sneer. They wore old Iron Throne special forces armor. More than that, they bore the insignia of one he despised.
He all but spat the name.
Pel reached up, his hand on the older man’s arm. “We don’t know why they are here.”
“Doesn’t matter.” Hades whispered back. “Lords and Kings will play their games.”
Pel nodded as Hades stepped into the clearing, his blade screaming out in rage more than he would allow himself to.
Revenge was no game.
Fifth Sublevel Vault
The drones had cost more than a fair bit, but when Bentre had told him the idea, he gladly made the purchase. The clan took his family off of the Wave when they were drowning, and he was glad to pay it back. He watched as the final scan of the stone figures completed, the drone buzzing past him as he stepped away, his warcoat tracing lines in the dust behind him. He felt the artifact move, the golden eyepiece pulling the Shaevelian further into himself. There was a few other artifacts, dusty tomes and half-demolished holocrons hardly worth much. What he was looking for wasn’t here.
Except that it was.
“I think we are done here.” Muz clicked off the commlink, his arm sliding back closed as the hologram faded from view. He turned toward the last frieze, the stone having gone untouched for eons. He knew the story well, the horned master, the greedy apprentice, the fearful rival. It had been reduced to legends over time and retellings, legends now firming up into truths as their drones seemed to ricochet around the temple, recording every corner, every speck of dust.
It was a bold plan, he had to admit, but these were times for bold people.
Muz smiled, the chamber closing behind him as he left the old Sith Empire for the New.
Yavin IV low orbit
Ashia leaned over the desk, watching the computer compile all of the data from the drones, assembling chunks of blue light that hovered in the air between them. The ancient temple slowly completed, the interiors fading behind the outside textures before their eyes.
“I don’t want to say it.” The Nightsister half smiled, half grimaced at the completed map.
“Then don’t.” Bentre knew exactly what she meant. Their pessimism had been accurate enough in the past that it only seemed prudent. He rested his hands on the desk before turning his attention to the datafeed. “Seems we may need to make another stop before we go.”
Ashia lowered her head a degree, shoulders slumping for a moment before looking up. “What now?”
He turned the datapad around, the symbol of the Iron Throne emblazoned across the communique.
(From October HMR Report)
Deep Space, Naga Sadow Flee, 37ABY
The hallway seemed cold as the hooded figure approached his destination. Or maybe it was in his head. But the one he was coming to see could be very imposing and affectual, as if Xolarin could feel the power, a palpable representation of the deep thought of the Grand Master.
Xolarin had shuttled over from the Remorseless to the Fallen Spear to visit his master and superior Muz. In light of the recent war and Xolarin’s findings, there was something to share between the two.
The Mystic came to a halt at the doors and they hissed open seconds later. His presence was welcome, most of the time, in Muz’s frontal chambers. He strode forward to greet his master, and took a knee with a bow. “Grand Master,” he said, rising quickly without waiting for a reply per se.
Muz turned and saw the genuflect and gave a grin at his Aedile. He said nothing at first, but relished in Xolarin’s apparent, almost obvious excitement. The master gave a nod and motioned with his hand for Xolarin to step forward.
”I found several items that might interest you,” started Xolarin. He stepped up to the table nearby and laid out a couple items: a stone tablet, an old malfunctioning spanner, and two rings that had corroded quite a bit. “I have more, but these specimens seemed quite… potent.”
Muz moved and ran his hand across the tablet, taking note of the symbology and runish markings. An audible “hmm” came from his chest before he nodded and then chortled. “I can show you potent.”
The Aedile cocked his head, looking over at Muz. “Oh?”
”You have no idea,” responded the grand master. He floated over to the console nearby and on top of the table a hologram appeared showing a massive structure, a temple or cathedral, with ‘layers’ below. He manipulated the controls and zoomed in on the top level, showing a magnificent display of paintings, tablets, statues, encased jewels, and more, all along the walls and adorning corners and doorways. The cathedral was full of them.
Xolarin’s eyes popped as he looked at the apparent trove of artifacts and such. “Wh- Where?” is all he could manage.
”You’ve not been to Orian yet.” Muz turned off the hologram and went back over to the tablet, tapping on it. “These are nothing. What I can show you will be… enthralling, to say the least.” The excitement in the room grew, and the ‘cold’ Xolarin felt fumed to a warmth. There was even more reason for the Mystic to want to hit Orian sooner than later.
DarkHawk intently watched the last of the HSD drop ships barrel towards the city of Seng Karash. The ground assault launched from the battered ships of the House’s fleet, as they limped in orbit above the city. Warlord Bloodfyre had already made contact just a few minutes earlier. Reporting boots were on the ground, Collective agents were already being engaged.
“Ground One, this is Command actual, how copy? DarkHawk spoke sternly into the commlink.
“Command actual this is Ground One, we copy loud and clear,” the familiar voice of the House Aedile, Major Xuner Holst, bellowed over the communications system.
“Ground One, what is your locale?” asked DarkHawk.
“Command actual, we are making our final approach into the city how copy?” replied Xuner.
“Affirmative, air support on your tail. Instruct the bombers to blow the top of the dome in Karash Park. We will stage the fleet from inside the dome. How copy?”.
“Copy, we are LnC on insertion…” replied Xuner.
Three YWings came into view of the Aedile’s viewport. The bombers flew in standard bombing run formation. The LAAT pilot veered his ship away from the bombers, the other LAAT’s in formation followed the lead ship allowing the bombers to lineup and strike their target.
The YWings yawed to the left, positioning themselves in front of the LAAT’s. The lead LAAT pilot and his co-pilot work in unison with one another. The pilot instinctively pulled back on the throttle quadrant and increased the flaps, slowing the gunship down. Simultaneously as the pilot put his years of training to practical use, the co-pilot was doing the same. Instructing the rest of the gunships to decrease airspeed, giving the bomber’s room for their run.
Augur Locke was in one of the three LAAT’s. The Sadow watched the surface of the planet race through his viewport. Beams of sunlight briefly rested across his face, highlighting the already deep jade color of his eyes. Locke gripped his rifle as he repositioned himself in his jumpseat. Scanning through the compartments of the gunship, the Augur could almost feel the anxiety across the many faces of the HSD troops. A look that is never easy to take in, but necessary for what must be done. The Sadow knew as well as the others beside him, a hefty price was about to be paid.
“BOMBS AWAY!” the pilot’s voice boomed over the ship’s intercom. Muffled explosions could be heard over the whining roar of the gunship’s engines. The Augur happened to look up towards the flight deck only to see the rapid flashes of explosions filling the flight deck with dancing luminosity.
The YWings veered off from the massive dome, clearing the way for the LAAT’s to make their final approach. Dark smoke filled the sky spewing from the top of the dome, climbing upward The LAAT’s moved in closer to assess the approach pattern. Dakhani fighters screamed by heading in the direction of Collective air patrols off to the west.
The newly created void in the top of the dome, allowed the gunship to contrive a textbook combat insertion. The lead LAAT pilot came in hot and swung the rear of the gunship around, completing a three-sixty maneuver. The engines strained under the load of the procedure, the captain finally stabilizing the gunship, began its vertical descent inside the dome. The other gunships came in as a pair and mimicked their lead’s flight path. Alarm bells boomed through the gunship, the crew chief hit the switch and the doors began to open.
“Lock and load Dakhani, weapons hot!” barked the young crew chief.
The gunship set down inside the dome, Dakhani troops disembarked at a rapid pace. The remaining gunships landed alongside their lead. Troops and equipment unloaded from the LAAT’s and began to push their assault into the city. The gunships engines spooled up once again and exited the dome to bring back more Dakhani forces.
From the north, the whine of an APC could be heard approaching. Xuner’s and Locke’s commlink squawked to life.
“Ground one, this is Sword actual how copy?”
Sword actual, this is Ground one. We have you loud and clear.” Xuner replied.
“I am inbound…with a welcome party in pursuit! I am going to lead them right to you…”
“Copy that Sword actual, we have you covered. Bring them to us,” replied Xuner.
Xuner pointed to the Sergeant Major to his left. Immediately the hardened soldier began barking orders at his troops.
“Alpha and Bravo teams flank the north quadrant. Push them into a choke point. Fighter support is en route. I want an elevated position for all you dirt merchants, take no prisoners…”
Immediately the two groups of troops hastily moved out of the dome and positioned themselves as instructed. The sound of the APC was getting louder, closer. Within moments the APC raced out of the congested streets of the city and into the open park grounds. Coming to an abrupt stop about thirty yards deep into the parkway. Whipping the APC around facing the street it just exited, Warlord Etah Bloodfyre disembarked the vehicle. His cloak billowing in the light breeze, the Warlord ignited his saber and brought it to the ready.
“As soon as they enter the parkway, light them up Hippolyta…” Etah’s voice growled behind his Sith helm.
“With pleasure…” the Kiffar responded.
Seng Karash Park
The Collective unit moved with a calculated and precise purpose through the street. The elite group of the Collective wanted the man standing in front of the APC dead. Before the main Dakhani landing, Etah and his team already had boots on the ground. The Warlord’s welcoming committee was a small unit of these Collective elites. The Warlord and his crew were able to cut down their adversary, only to encounter more enemy resistance to reinforce their brethren.
The Warlord could now see the approaching scout walker, with its minions scurrying behind its mechanical legs. A devilish grin formed behind the helm. Drawing from the Force, the Warlord steadied his heart rate. Effortlessly repositioning his right leg, Etah could sense the thick blades of grass under his boot. Finally planting his foot behind his mass, transitioning himself into a back stance. His saber hummed, arcing in the crisp morning air, slowly dropping the blade in front of his body.
The walker continued closing in and started firing a volley of blaster fire towards the former Quaestor. The shots fell short of both the Warlord and the APC, mounds of dirt and grass exploded just in front of its intended target. The walker pushed forward closing in on what its driver assuredly thought would be an easy kill.
Just as the Sergeant Major had instructed, Dakhani forces had perched themselves above the street. Covering both sides of the street leading into the park grounds, the Collective were nearly in perfect position to open fire. The Sergeant Major smiled as he gave the silent signal to open fire.
Two Blocks Over
HSD Aedile: Major Xuner Holst
The Aedile sat quietly before the solid wall as blaster fire roared around, his soldiers braving the risk of death to deliver the same unto the enemies of Sadow’s empire. Xuner casually rose up from cover, risking his life to scope the situation as his head peeked out. In response, the enemy’s attention almost snapped to him. Blaster bolts tore either into the cover in front of him, missing his throat and head by inches, or flew passively by his head. A series of head tilts by the Aedile angered his enemies, as they saw this simple gesture as an insult to their attempts to end his already prolonged life.
After assessing the area around him, he turned back into cover. He turned his towards the Sergeant Major, who had just loaded a fresh gas canister into his rifle. Before he could re-engage the enemies, the Sadowan gently tugged on the young soldier by his collar.
“Shift fire high right, gun team setting up in the balcony to your two o’clock.”
"Roger. Sir, would you kindly? Please keep your head down. Summit can’t afford to lose its Aedile,” despite soldiers from The Collective screaming as they charged mindlessly into blaster fire and death, the Sergeant Major spoke calmly to the Sadowan officer. More so to the men rather than to the Summit, the death of an Aedile would have severe demoralising effects.
"If they can’t afford to lose me, then why am I here on the line?" This wasn’t the first time such a heretical thought to enter the mind of this loyal subject. For it was not the first time he had been sent to fight instead of bringing his near brilliance of tactical skill to bear on a command bridge.
The risks were apparent, charging feet first into war. Yet to the Major, his service as another menial footslogger when he could use his skills as a tactician to lead the armies of Sadow made it apparent of how his Summit thought of him.The sounds of Chaos seemed dull to the Major’s ears as he pondered.
The deep reverberating sounds of ships carrying the assault team passing over head seemed to have snapped him out of his focus, for the moment. For now, he needed to focus on pushing forward into the city.
Discussing his future in the Empire would have to come later, should he survive. With a slight grunt and a bit more strain, the veteran slowly picked himself up. Bringing his rifle to bear, with his booming voice heard by all, he shouted his order.
“Into the city! For Sadow! For the Empire!”
Collective Strategic Command Outpost
60 km outside of Markosian City
Colonel Efrary Hinsrich was hunched over the intelligence map of the Orian system. Nothing about this fight seemed to make sense. The hold of the Collective had been in a solid position for months. Almost no word or sight of the damned Force Users had surfaced in the Orian system they had booted out. The Collective had taken measures to ensure the populace were sated, with varying degrees of success. It had taken a measure of care, a measure of force, and a measure of cunning. This whole situation had been a farce.
The Technocrats had taken a vested interest in the Orian system since the foothold had been secured. Still, the Colonel had had all measure of plans. The histories spoke of the Dlarit Corporation and its projects. Surely, there were more facilities to be unearthed, or rediscovered. The system had resources that could be tapped in to. With time, with work, the system could have made a notable outpost for the Collective. He had dared to hope that even Varryn Antillus would one day consider their work a worthy contribution to the Collective.
The ice ball that was Tarthos had served as his home for months. It might serve as his home yet, for Tarthos was not a complete loss… Some key points in the city had been seized. Several ships had been lost to the split fleet assets of the Sadowans. The strikes by the fleet at Tarthos had thrown the Collective into temporary chaos.
The bigger issue was that multiple points had been struck. Part of the fleet had been spotted approaching the planet Sepros, where the Sadowans had once held their seat of power. Facilities across the system had been operating with skeleton crews,so their status was still unknown. There had been a power loss on Aeotheran which had halted many facilities in the city, just before the Colonel lost.contact with it’s outpost.
He would be expected to rally the remaining forces on the surface. Those in command would doubtless prefer he eat a blaster bolt before the Collective gave up any ground. Hinsrich had heard about what had occurred in the Lyra system, even if he had been restricted to the Orian system. However, it did not matter if he fell in the line of duty. The Collective would persevere.
The comm system pinged twice, drawing the eyes of several officers in the outpost. “Sir, we have an incoming transmission. The encryption codes indicate Sector Command.”
Efrary stiffened in preparation for his orders. Bringing his hands together, he forced a smile full of false confidence. “Go ahead and patch it through.”
A distinctly feminine cough sounded through the comm. “Colonel. I assume that while others have failed, you stand prepared?”
The question felt like a trap. The officer gave a chuckle. “As is the way of the Collective, I serve the greater good. Against Force Users, against the corrupt, against the-”
“We received your reports. Are you prepared to move?”
Efrary’s face fell, but he kept the composure of his voice, injecting more false cheer. “Mam, I will have our huntresses, soldiers, zealots and whatever you will grant us. We will retake the system with the greatest haste.”
“You will need strength for the conflicts to come.”
“Just direct me, and I will serve.” Despite his insistence, his voice faltered.
“Withdraw from the cities. Minimize losses. Regroup.” The female commander became more demanding with each sentence. “Move operators to the ground. Inform loyalists and implant yourself into the populace.”
“If the cultists are back, they will bring with them more death. I thought we were supposed to protect our territories against the Sith and the Jedi and their flunkies. I was informed this position was supposed to be a permanent position!”
There was a long silence. “If that Clan has returned, and if they find you, do you think that your position will be any less permanent, Colonel Hinrich? Death is pretty permanent. Do not worry for the greater mission. We are pulling our remaining resources to more successful projects. You are not being unseated, we are just changing your mission parameters.”
“I did not think that retreat was an option.”
“This is not a retreat. This is a mere reallocation of resources.”
“Yes mam,” the Colonel spoke the words slowly. “I will give you updates as I am able.”
“Just be sure that you continue your mission. Use the populace, use your wits, and continue the mission. Operate under a cover of secrecy, with what we can leave you. Even without the fleet assets, you should have enough arms and explosives to impede the Naga Sadow cultists. Just remember, one day, we will be free of the tyranny of these Force Users. Your battlefield has just changed. We continue to fight with you, Until every cage is broken.”
“Until every cage is broken.”
As the frequency closed, the Colonel’s thoughts began to race. There were several smaller outposts across the system. If he worked quickly, they might be able to bury moles throughout Orian. This temporary setback could be recovered. It would just take time.
“Open a commlink to Inos Outpost Besh.” He pointed to the comm officer. “You heard the woman. Apparently, command isn’t done with us yet. And I am not about to let these Sadowans go without paying them back for what happened today. ”
Bentre Sadow walked through the trees of Sepros, flanked on either side by an honor guard of Warhost soldiers. Normally, he would have been guarded by Xuner Holst and Ashia would be flanked by Kojiro. Both Black Guard were committed to their respective operations, and Ashia would come along in her own time. As seemed normal, the Proconsul seemed to have a bit of her own machinations going on in the background.
The conflict with the Collective had been dirty. Things had been remarkably easier than the Overlord had expected. The Sadowans had been fortunate. Or perhaps, the members of the Clan were more skilled than he had given them credit. Or perhaps the Collective had grown particularly lax in their absence. Regardless of the cause, there were so many places that the retaking of the Orian system could have gone wrong.
The initial attacks had been fortunate. The Sadowan empire had been quite fortunate overall. For once, they might be able to operate as a proper empire again. In time, they would expand their territory, would strengthen their position, and make Orian at least a minor power in the sector.
There is much to prepare for. The gravity of the situation was starting to sink in as he was smothered by the humidity of the jungle planet’s surface. It was miserable compared to the bridge of the Perdition. He was alone almost, save for his thoughts. In spite of my own pride, in spite of my own foolishness, we were successful.
“Sir,” one of the soldiers, a Shistavean, raised her hand, seeking the Overlord’s attention. “We are approaching the location of the temple. Please hold here.”
The Corellian nodded briefly. He would make a tempting target. “Both of you, go ahead and scout out the old home. I will review the feed from the Houses.” The soldiers looked at each other in uncertainty for a moment before. The Shistavean shrugged at her Mirlian counterpart, and the pair stalked through the trees with their weapons at the ready.
Ashia would call you a fool, you realize? Do you really think it is worth all the trouble if you get struck down by some lucky idiot so close to your former throne?
The thought brought a bitter smile to the Sadowan’s lips as he lifted his data pad and started poking at its surface. Reports began streaming across the screen detailing how the fleet headed by Hades had struck at Tarthos. It continued to describe how they had joined briefly with the Dakhani Quaestor above Aeotheran. Rather than being satisfied with these victorious maneuvers alone, the Markosian fleet had even managed to slip away again. Rather than withdrawing or repositioning, Hades had moved to help soften up the forces poised over the jungle world. It had certainly been impressive.
It was as impressive as the Markosian attempts on the ground to seize the Cathedral. Though, Bentre mused he should have expected as much where Xolarin, Ciara and Kojiro had been concerned. He was sure that Muz had played his own part in things as well. He would have to make a point of consulting with the Grand Master later about the next stage in their plans.
Takagari KogaRyu, more commonly known as Darkhawk, had worked to ensure Dakhani success on the ground and in space as well. He had directed the House as Macron Goura softened up targets and rent flesh upon the surface. He had directed the House as Locke and Sanguinius deployed upon the surface, and as Malisane worked to bring the city under some tenuous control.
This crusade for their home had been more than merely remarkable. Ashura Isradia and Sith Bloodfyre had appeared and worked upon Tarthos, to great effect. The reports continued on, and Bentre had not made his way through a quarter of their contents before the Milirian soldier had returned.
“We have secured the location, sir. If you can please follow me.”
The Corellian Sith nodded, lowering his datapad. This was a moment he had been planning for several months, and had been dreaming of for months before that. He had been anticipating it since they had first left. He felt a waves of emotion wash over him as he walked through the jungle. When he finally stepped out of the trees, he looked up and locked eyes upon the familiar site of the Temple of Sorrow.
The name seemed more fitting than ever before. While he knew that each of the temples had served a purpose in their own time, the Sadowan Palace was the one temple that had been reinforced and used by the Clan regularly. The rest had been left in ruins. Now, as he looked across the main entrance of the temple, his heart sank.
The main entrance of the Temple of Sorrow had been left in greater ruin than he had remembered. The damage from the Collective’s explosives had left rubble everywhere. Columns had been toppled. The roof had collapsed in several areas. A few columns had remained in place, but not enough to matter. The interior of the hall was a mixture of wreckage, roof tile, floor tile and dust.
There were some passages that appeared to be somewhat intact, but they were littered with electronic scrap. The Overlord recognized portions of the remains of the Sadowan former holonet relay. Pieces of smashed Sith-inspired statuary and artwork littered what little had not been buried beneath the collapsed roof of the main hall.
When Muz Ashen and Takagari landed, they would bring supplies and the pair could help him to fully figure the extent of the damages. Although he had schemes, they would need a temporary headquarters to operate from, and the Perdition would need to serve a peace-keeping role in the case the Collective did come back.
Given the floorplan of the Temple, he was sure the office of the Overlord would be absolutely trashed, if not outright buried under rubble.It was true that it would never have been Bentre’s office, but it did add some melancholy to his return. The office had been a remnant of an older time. Astronicus had once kept office in the Temple of Sorrows. It had been left alone for some time before the Collective attack. While he did not concern himself with the location of the living “descendant” of Sadow, he did wish that the temple could have been saved.
Now, one day the Dlarit might return. One day, the Corellian Sith might have to pay for his choice. He had reclaimed the title for the good of Clan Naga Sadow. The title of Overlord was one that demanded to be defended. Though, he supposed, might made right, and tradition for tradition’s own sake was useless and sentimental. Besides, he figured that Ashia Kagan would appreciate having such a spacious office to herself in his former working area.
Eventually, the temple would need to be repaired. The Clan would put their roots down again in their homeworld. In spite of Bentre’s attitudes, in spite of his foolishness, the Clan had survived. The action in Lyra had served as proof of Naga Sadow’s might. Along with his Proconsul, with the cooperation of the Quaestors, with the Sons and Daughters as allies, the Overlord would work hard. Clan Naga Sadow was capable, but the Collective had proved that they were not invulnerable.
They would have to grow their economy, again. They would have to become a power in the system, again. The Clan absolutely could not operate in a bubble. If they did not build, if they did not improve, if they did not learn from the errors of the past, the Clan would fade into history. Bentre Sadow absolutely would not allow that to occur. They were a family of sorts. Even more, Clan Naga Sadow was not just any empire. They would build things bigger and stronger. They would be more efficient. They would be more powerful.
“Clan Naga Sadow will start acting like a proper Sith Empire.”
“Sir?” The Shistavean cocked his head sideways.
“The Clan. We are going to create something bigger than what Astronicus ever accomplished, despite his prattle about being a physical descendent of Sadow. We are not like the other Clans. We will be a real Sith empire.” The Son of Sadow spun the piece of chalk he had brought to mark points of weakness in the temple. The job of evaluating the damage was going to be significant. His mind was already whirring with the possibilities and obstacles. “Ring up the Quaestors, and tell them that I want progress reports as soon as possible.” He knelt down and began to write furiously on an area of floor that was roughly clear with the piece of chalk. “We have a lot of work to do.”
The cold air of Tarthos whipped around the Cathedral, pulling at the edges of the old warcoat. He had been watching the city from the top of the Cathedral. The fighting was not over, for just the Cathedral had been secured at this point. However, a demanding beep had drawn a momentary, piercing glance from the Lion of Tarthos.
Ah. The Consul would be expecting an answer. Of course. The beeps continued. Looking back, Muz Ashen considered the Cathedral of Ragnos. The Keibatsu Grand Master was commonly being sought for advice or insight from the one now calling himself Overlord. The Consul had great expectations. Besides Bentre, Xolarin had already been chomping at the bit to start delving into the secrets of the old Markosian structure.
There was work to be done, yet.
Without a word, the Lion of Tarthos descended into the Cathedral.
This fiction was originally written up in a Quaestor report written by Muz Ashen Keibatsu on March 1st, 2020. The fiction totals 964 words.
Kar Alabrek, Tarthos
He ran his hand over the top of his head, feeling the stubble as he drew his fingers to the back of his neck. It made sense, after a fashion. Pieces of the puzzle seemed to be missing though. Xolarin leaned forward, making notes in his datapad as he shifted his gaze back to the old tome. There was something about it, the rumors and conspiracy theories that missed the mark broadly, but left the truth somehow unobscured. The idea seemed to take root in his mind, twisting his perceptions in ways that itched him something terrible. It was an enigma, and the aedile couldn’t leave it be.
He paused, leaning back in his seat, then brought himself to his feet slowly. Eyes drifted off from the book, from the smell of old leather and parchment to the quiet hum of the seeker droid. “Dina?”
The black droid turned, optical sensor aimed at him in response. “I need to talk to him.”
**Construction Site 1138 **
The construction had begun almost as soon as the area had been cleared. The area was old growth forest at the edges, but substantially newer in the center, begging the question of all of them as they worked on the project. The droids laid in the start of the foundation, leaving the gaps for the more modern aspects of what would otherwise be a perfect reproduction. The scans they had taken from far-flung worlds all across the galaxy were finally bearing fruit. They had overthought their plans, their ideas, their needs for far too long. The alternate designs were made, compared, tweaked, before they finally settled on what in retrospect would be the obvious solution.
Ashia uncrossed her arms, feeling the breeze, the scent of jungle flowers dancing behind the metallic tinged dust of the site. She let a smile creep out at the corner of her lips. They had a plan, they had the will and the strength. And they had Orian once again. She turned, stepping away from the site, feeling the pull of the trees, beckoning her back into the wild. It never got easier, he had told her. But that was okay. The wheels were already in motion.
Even now, the place looked like what it was to become, an echo of Yavin, of Sadow’s temple. The heart of their Ancient Empire.
Kar Alabrek, Tarthos
“I am a Krath, Ashen, born and bred on Loki.” The hologram sneered at him, white whiskers twitching below purple eyes. “You know how we see betrayal, how we see abandonment.”
Xolarin moved through the door silently, keeping himself back and out of the range of the comm. Muz tilted his head a degree, considering his next words carefully. “Not all…”
“I know, I know.” The figure broke apart for a second, wisps of projected light reforming from a cloud of distortion. “We saw you. But you are not the clan.” He paused for a moment, leaning on his staff more than Muz remembered in the past. “I don’t know that they will accept this.”
“They will.” Muz leaned forward, resting his arms on the desk as he stared into the glow. “Or not.” He let the words hang in the air, watching the figure blink, then slowly nod before the connection evaporated, the light slurping back into the commlink.
He looked up, watching the Aedile step closer. “That seemed…tense.” He pulled a chair out from the desk, settling himself down into it. “Anything I need to be concerned about?”
Muz nodded, standing up and turning toward the display behind his desk. The old frieze had been recovered from Nfolgai, the figures encircling a person hunched over, arms raised. The words inscribed had been long lost to erosion, secrets buried in the sand of time. Muz let his eyes glide over the artifact, his mind running. They had returned to their home. Construction had begun on the new temple, and the clan was healthier than it had been in some time, no longer running and hiding. He half smiled at the thought.
“I have questions.” Xolarin cleared his throat. “About Stheno.”
Muz raised an eyebrow, looking back at his aedile.
“If I’m right, I want to help.” He leaned forward, eyes wide, heart threatening to leap into his throat. He had played this conversation out a thousand times in his head, but he still couldn’t be sure that the Lion wouldn’t just carve him to bits at the suggestion. “I want to be part of it, I just don’t know how.”
“Hold the Cathedral.”
“Of course.” He nodded, words sticking slightly in his throat. That was part of being aedile, and the facility was more than he had dreamed of in their time floating through the void. Muz shook his head slowly, reaching over and sliding the encrypted datapad over to him, the seal of the Quaestor’s office emblazoned on the top.
“Wait, does this…” Xolarin looked at it sideways, then back up at the Grand Master.
Muz nodded once, moving to the side of the frieze, fingers pulling aside a tapestry to expose a hidden door, turning to look at Xolarin before vanishing through it. He scrambled to his feet, stepping quickly to follow him. His eyes took a moment to adjust, the dark room lit by a miniaturized version of the hologram projector from the war room, the pale blue showing the orbits of the Orian system and fleet positions.
The chirp of Ashen’s arm bounced in the area, the voice of Blackwind filling their ears. “I just got a pickup request on Sepros. Are you ready?” Muz looked at Xolarin, then stepped forward and reached out, clasping him at the wrist, keeping eye contact.
Initially from Quaestor report on this day, 11 Mar 2020.
Kar Alabrek, Tarthos
Xolarin was in his new chambers, a hidden room behind the main office of the Quaestor’s seat, still reeling from the absence of Grand Master Muz. His mentor, master, and commander had helped him grow and focus so much over the last while that it was hard to imagine him gone. He knew how to get ahold of the legend, as he wasn’t disappearing into the nethers. But it was still a gap that would be palpable for some time.
The growth Xolarin saw was in his ever-present efforts to control his own destiny. The deep-seated need to see his father’s killers, the desires from his early days in the Brotherhood, had slowly waned in light of a general wanton for power and control. This desire was not a wild fervor to rule the galaxy as so many had failed to achieve in the past. But there was much more to life than that sort of crazy.
Xolarin eventually stood up from his meditation, a Jedi practice he still used to the day, and went out into the office proper. Soon enough, another thud could be barely heard and felt, a sign of reconstruction beginning on the surface above. This was likely one of the AAC turrets or ion canons being put back into place. And as if on cue, a few of his trusted officials entered the office, taking small bows of respect and politeness.
”Welcome.” Xolarin said simply, bowing his head slowly to return their gesture.
”Quaestor,” came Hades’ voice. “The House fleet is still giving chase to some Collective stragglers, and is making sweeps of the system. I hope to have a full report in the next day or two.”
Without a pause, their newly-promoted Verpine chimed in, his accent and way with words obvious. “Core system and commune networks are in place almost, master.”
Xolarin would listen to the others report in on various tasks going on, including troop morale, asset status, diplomatic talks with local officials, and more. He would need help, especially in these initial weeks. And the rest of the House still had to settle into their homes back here on Tarthos. It would not be an easy path.
Before they could get finished with all the business, their comm units all buzzed at once, including the main console in the office. Xolarin looked at them all with a squint, and then tapped a button to show the incoming message on the large screen. It would seem the Dark Council was reaching out to the entire Brotherhood - not through Clan channels but an ALCON. This was highly unusual, but would prove to be an intriguing opportunity for all.