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

[Old Guard] Present Arms


This is a Run On for The Old Guard. Members of The Old Guard are from Taldryan and are self-identified.

The Clan and the shreds of its fleet limped into the hiding hole they’d found in some barren stretch of the Outer Rim. There they sat, licking their wounds, and crying for the days of their lost glory. Vodo fumed at the display of infantile emotion and the pathetic course the new Consul had set. His commands were succinct and very clear: There were would be no moves made against Jac, against the Iron Throne, or the Dark Council. It was that, more than the fact he detested taking orders from mere surgeon (a man with no connection to The Force), that really raised his ire. Taldryan was rolling over and whimpering like a wounded beast when it should be out there taking the fight back to the Shevs who had gored it. Taldryan was not some Nerf that went meekly to its slaughter but a Nek that savagely lashed out with every shred of its strength until it bled out.

He’d found little support from the rest of the Summit either. They were either shocked into inaction or too cowardly to act so Vodo decided it was time to makes moves of his own. Clan Taldryan was his home, his family, and while he bore its name he would not let it fade quietly into the night. Days ago he’d open his personal data terminal and activated a secret sub-routine that had lain dormant since his years on the Dark Council as the Voice of the Brotherhood. A simple signal raced from there to transmitters that bounced it around the Galactic Holonet. Anyone who had ever entered the Twi’lek’s circle of confidence (but never his trust) had been given the codes that would allow them to receive this transmission. It went out to his Apprentices.

“Meet me on Ambria” was all it said.


Inner Rim
35 ABY

The Battlemaster stared at the encrypted message that lay on the screen of the datapad in front of him, through the midnight black faceplate of his armour. Sitting the thin technological device down on the bar in front of him, he pondered. Something had happened. He had not heard from his master in what seemed like years, and had little reason to believe that the Twi’lek was reaching out to him to enjoy stout conversation.The two did not have such a relationship.

Meet me on Ambria.

The words ringed in Annedu’s head over and over as his mind tried to decipher the reasoning behind the call. Anubis had fallen out of Brotherhood and Taldryan affairs a long time ago, having spent his time working as a mercenary in the Inner Rim to make a living and keep his skills honed.

He needed to discover why.

Dropping a couple credits on the bar to pay for earlier refreshments, the Sith scooped up his datapad and made his way towards the door. After making his way to his assigned landing pad, the former Praetor keyed the security code to his Class B Escort Shuttle and watched as the loading ramp slid and clunked on the hard metal surface of the pad. Stepping inside and closing the door behind him, the Lorrdian walked to the cockpit and grabbed a seat in the pilot’s chair and removed his helmet; sitting it down on the seat beside him.

A standard systems check was performed to ensure all systems green, before Annedu fired the shuttle’s repulsors and the craft slowly levitated off of the landing pad. Once several meters above, he disengaged the shuttle’s landing gear and slowly pushed the throttle forward. The force of the soft acceleration pushed him back in his seat slightly, as a course was set for Ambria.

Inner Rim, The Slice

As he set his escort shuttle set down in the desolate desert next to an Upsilon-class shuttle bearing Taldryan logos, Annedu felt his presence. The Taldya was here. A single, cloaked figure stood outside the viewport. Grabbing his helmet and locking it into place on his head, the Sith moved to the shuttle exit. BT-117, his personal droid, began beeping at him in caution.

“Stay here, Beetee. Your skills are not required for this interaction.”

After exiting the shuttle, the Sith paced around it’s hull until he was face to face with the figure before the viewport. Removing his lightsaber from his belt, it’s radiant orange blade jumped to life with an audible snap-hiss as the chain lightly tinged against the dark chrome gauntlet of his armor.


Gravel underfoot crunched beneath the armored toe of the Lorridian. He stood there, masked, facing the one man who could possibly summon him without mention of credits. The Twi’lek stood there, unmoving, shrouded in a jet-black cloak with the hood pulled up and over his face. The amber light of Anubis’s saber illuminated the ground before him in the slightly dim, overcast light of Ambria’s day while Vodo’s weapon remained hanging from his belt. Anubis spied the sharp tips of the Warlord’s prostheses’s taloned feet peeking out from beneath the cloak and was reminded his Master’s physical inhumanity.

The silence stretched on for long seconds growing into an uncomfortable silence for the usually mouthy merc, “Here I am, Maste—“

Anubis sailed backward and landed against the hull of his shuttle with a crack and a thud. Winded and dazed he fell upon years of combat training to react. He dropped into a roll and dived sideways, catching his feet and launching himself at the Sith who still remained standing motionlessly before him. Anubis roared defiantly in sudden anger and wrath.

“You called me here”, Anubis slashed down cleaving the Twi’lek asunder, “You barv!”
He stood there transfixed for a moment staring at the empty space that had so recently been occupied by the Master he’d left those years ago. The Force tried to warn him but it was little too late. The tingle in his spine, his Danger Sense, was almost immediately replaced by the crushing blow of a metal foot upon his spine which sent him sprawling. He landed and rolled several times, losing grasp on his weapon. Vodo paced forward deliberately and slowly on the fallen warrior.

A foot crunched into Anubis’s stomach causing him to roll once more, stopping on his back. He coughed harshly within his visored helm and stared up through the transparasteel plate at the visage of Vodo Biask Taldrya. The man’s deep glower, the piercing glare that never left his eyes bore down on him.

“I had believed it would be Shaz’air who would respond but instead I find you, Annedu”, Vodo looked up and around at the landscape around them, “All that time chasing credits and spirits and you still cannot make out an illusion from a reality.”

Vodo gave the man another kick, this time aiming for a rib, but was pleasantly surprised when Anubis managed to jump to his feet and out of the way in time. With hand outstretched the fallen lightsaber hilt shot towards his hand only to be intercepted by Vodo’s own, lazily presented as if taking something being offered.
A small smirk crept up one side of Vodo’s mouth, “Your anger serves you well but without control you are still weak. I did not teach you well enough.

You will learn—You must or you and I will die”.

From above them the shuddering roar of a descending spacecraft could be heard. Its repulsors made a gentle whining noise as it came to a gentle rest upon the firm ground. Vodo’s brow furrowed and he tossed the saber hilt carelessly into the air knowing its owner would grab for it. He knew this feeling, the sense of the person inside, but he could not properly place it; it was like a scent that recalled a lover’s perfume or a melody that recalled one’s earliest memories.
“Were you expecting someone besides Shaz’air?”, Anubis had removed his helmet and was wiping a trickle of blood from his mouth on his sleeve.

Vodo’s head turned under the cowl of his cloak toward his Apprentice but stopped short, “I wasn’t expecting her.”


In Transit - Open Space
The Slice
35 ABY

The cargo bay of the Sullustanian freighter stank of weeks old foodstuff and the foulest body odor Zasati could have ever imagined. It seemed to cling to the air in a hazy fog. She pulled her cloak up tightly around her nose, almost regretting her abandonment of her old veil. Behind the heavy durasteel crates she could hear two of her crew mates yowling about deadlines. When did her life get so dull?

Their ship was passing through The Slice when her crew-issued datapad lit up, nearly blinding her in the darkness of the hold. She stared down at the pad, reading and then rereading the message that seemed to mock her. Surely, it was some twisted joke.

Meet me on Ambria.

But the more she stared, the more she thought. The more she thought, the more it seemed less likely that her former Master, who had not contacted her in nearly eight years, suddenly acquired a sense of humor. She quickly deleted the message, tossing the outdated, bulky datapad onto a crate. If there was one thing she hated more than cryptic messages, it was quitting a new job.

Inner Rim, The Slice

As Zasati set the tiny shuttle down alongside the others, she could feel the familiar pulsing of the force and the anticipation of the twi’lek. The shuttle doors creaked open slowly as the dust cleared the air, revealing her, a dark figure, in the threshold.

Vodo watched, as the shadow of a woman he once knew descended. A woman grown. A woman whose jaw looked as sharp as a vibroblade and whose piercing eyes, the color of icy blue kyberite, were just as hard and impenetrable. Eight years ago, she had been delicate and willowy, but by the Force, clad in the endless fall of her black cloak, she was a leviathan now.

Smokey words roll across to them, “Miss me?”


Anubis had secured his helmet to his head after wiping the blood from his lips, not in the least surprised at the conflict between he and the Twi’lek. Such was their nature, constantly testing each other. As the newly arrived shuttle’s doors smoothly slid open, the two Sith remained quiet. Vodo’s gaze was locked onto the dark figure before them, watching the soft curves of the woman he once knew descending down the loading ramp towards them.

“Miss me?”

Anubis recognized the voice before the woman had removed her cowl to reveal her identity. Her voice had stunned the Rollmaster slightly; soft as it ever was. It had been many years since the three were in the company of each other, and tensions were high.Two of the Warlord’s students had been reunited with their master, for a reason unknown to either. A third, his most promising, had still not arrived, and the Son of Taldryan was beginning to think his brother in name would not.

“I did not expect you to receive my message,” quipped Biask as he gently lifted a hand and motioned towards his command shuttle, the Karufr Knight. Anubis simply nodded to acknowledge the half-breed Hapan before them, having been slightly lost for words.

“Come, my apprentices. We’ve much to discuss about ongoing events; a lot of change has transpired recently and you have much to learn.”

The three forms proceeded to the Upsilon-class shuttle, strutting up it’s loading ramp and into the main hold. Vodo closed the door behind them to darken the interior, before activating a holo-projector. A faint blue image crackled to life, a planet surrounded by a group of starships. It took a moment for Annedu to recognize the planet, as it’s surface had been incredibly damaged.

“This, is the current state of Karufr.”


To fill the two in took relatively little time. What was there to explain? Jac Cotelin, the Justicar of the Brotherhood and a Son of Taldryan, had arrived unexpectedly with a flotilla of Star Destroyers and had laid waste to Karufr. Clan Taldryan was in shambles; the former Consul dead on the surface of the planet, his Proconsul missing, and a nobody taking their place. Many familiar faces were missing as well. Master Keirdagh was unaccounted for and though many presumed him dead in either the bombardment of the planet or the invasion that followed shortly, Vodo had received word from Master Howlader that he was very much alive though likely a captive of that vile traitor Jac.

Vodo stood before the projection observing his two apprentices, studying them as much as they studied it. Unusual for the both of them, they were remarkably quiet and without something they thought clever to say. He walk to the bar set into the wall and opened a cabinet. He removed three glasses and filled them with an amber liquor and gently floated one to Anubis and Zasati respectively, keeping one for himself.

“Taldryan’s current Consul is an Army doctor by the name of Rhylance. He has no aptitude for the Force and its ways are a mystery to him”, Vodo took a small pull from his crystal glass, “He is also a fool. He has hidden our remaining assets and ordered that all Clan Members do the same.”

Anubis lounged comfortably on the plush couch in the rather spacious lounge accommodation of the shuttle, “Master, I’m appalled at what has happened but I’m having trouble seeing how this is my—our problem”

Vodo eyed the Battlemaster carefully and then the Hapan woman, “I called, you came. Your fate is linked to Taldryan’s now.”

Zasati threw the liquor to the back of her throat in contrast to the two men who were slowly attacking their own glasses. She stared back at the towering Twi’lek, a man who’d only ever shown her disdain and cruelty and smacked her lips, “I’m in. If only because it pleases me to see you beg—in your own way of course.”

A tremor of cold fury began to rise within Vodo as he began to recall his attempts to teach the woman to keep her mouth in check be he restrained himself. Anubis had deserved his lesson for abandoning him, Shaz’air would have had worse if he’d dare shown his face, but he would need a more poignant way to educate her than physical brutality.
He finished his own glass and set it down, “I will warn you once Tryezsh: Do not confuse me for some docile farm animal. I was too lenient with you before, perhaps because of our familiarity, but I promise you… I’m a monster.”

Her skin prickled, it felt as though the temperature in the shuttle had dropped considerably. It lights returned to their normal brightness and the warmth flooded back into the confines of the lounge and her mouth was motionless. Vodo smiled almost imperceptibly, “I have need of you two. If the Consul and the Summits cannot bring themselves to counter-attack then I will. I will be assigning you two missions to be conducted in the utmost of secrecy; to be discovered means certain death from either side. Anubis: you will be my right hand, my saber and my tool. Zasati: You will be my left.”

Vodo lightly traced the hoop adorning the bottom of his Saber’s hilt where it hung at his belt with his right hand’s thumb. The Taldrya loved his weapon, he took very good care of his saber and proudly displayed it. It was elegant and deadly, finely honed and well used. Both pairs of eyes fell there and he could tell they understood. Anubis would carry his favor; Zasati… Well time would tell.


A sharp prickling crept up her neck as she turned away, quick to hide her holoink tattoo as a wave of yellow rolled across it: Vexation. Fist clenched, Zasati forced the emotion away. She knew she hadn’t been the model Apprentice, but she was no longer a child in need of reprimand. The half-Hapan’s gaze met the Warlord’s; his once hazel eyes now an unnerving yellow-red. All his power seemed to rage there and despite her desire to push back, she nodded in compliance, lowering her gaze respectfully. Vodo was absolutely a monster, yes. A monster she preferred to be allied with.

Even with the crushing news of Karufr, in the dimness of the space, she couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic. The crystal glass warm in her hand, the bite of the liquor still lingering. Even Vodo’s frigid demeanor was pleasantly familiar to her. Across the lounge, Anubis was draped across the couch, almost as if he owned it. She always thought him to be arrogant, but she knew now that he was undeniably capable and the perfect rival. A smirk tilted at the corner of her lips and, this time, she did nothing to hide the pulse of blue that illuminated on her cheek. If she was to return to the Brotherhood- to the Darkness- she would no longer be able to suppress her emotions. For what was a Sith without her passions?

Vodo’s interest was almost piqued by the change in his formal pupil. Almost. He watched as she traipsed to the bar, setting down the crystal glass. The woman produced a flask from her side and poured herself another drink. “I suppose anything is preferable to smuggling Drutash grubs for the rest of my life,” she mused. “What, pray tell, would being your Left Hand require of me?”


The Twi’lek smiled as the Hunter pressed the glass to her lips, as he pondered the uses he would have for the Hunter.

“There is a… special assignment, that I have in mind for you; it will determine what role you will play. First, we must return to what remains of the fleet.”

The Taldrya took to his feet, proceeding to the cockpit. Once he entered, he gave the autopilot droid instructions on returning to Taldryan’s remaining forces. No doubt they would still be trying to outrun the enraged Grand Master Cotelin, jumping from system to system to avoid his onslaught. Within moments, the ship’s main systems started and the dull whine of the repulsorlift generators began.

Annedu had remained almost deathly quiet since the revelation of what they were going to be doing sunk in, but had since retreived BT-117 from his shuttle and brought him aboard. These next few months would be his hardest, but he had no reservations about the things that were going to transpire. Taldryan needed to be returned to it’s former glory; that was his mission. A couple moments after Vodo had taken a seat in his original chair, the couch potato that was the Lorrdian slowly craned his neck to the side so he could stare his former teacher in the face.

Vodo returned his fellow Sith’s gaze through the midnight black face plate, and the two remained locked for several moments before the party felt the craft slowly lift from the barren surface of Ambria. Within minutes, the craft had entered hyperspace and headed for whatever Taldryan forces remained.


Location Redacted
Somewhere in the Outer Rim
Aboard Dark Prophet II

The Karufr Knight had settled onto the deck of the Assault Cruiser gently. The Autopilot droid had performed exactly as advertised; efficiently, professionally, and with complete grace. It suited Vodo’s style. The Shuttle had been custom ordered from the plush and luxurious interior to the highly capable shielding system. He’d enjoyed watching his two errant Apprentices eye the crystal (made from pieces of the shattered Cathedral of the Winds), the rich bantha-hide couches and chaises, and of course the speed at which the ship could travel.

The Upsilon Shuttle had landed alone, the two slaved ships Zasati and Anubis had arrived in had been stashed separately, and was greeted by a small cadre of Marines upon the flight deck as the ramp lowered. Vodo swept down it, his black cloak billowing behind him, flanked behind and two the left by the Jedi Hunter and to the right by the Battlemaster. As they reached the bottom of the ramp the four Marines saluted crisply in unison to the Son of Taldryan and parted to reveal Major Rhylance: Consul of Taldryan.

“Lord Consul, what a pleasant surprise to be greeted by you”, Vodo offered a full bow from a waist, a graceful feat made all that more impressive that everything from his navel down clanked heavily upon the decking with each step.

Rhylance studied the Twi’lek, and his two companions with a deft eye, “Yes, well it had been a couple days since we’d heard from you Master Biask. I was curious if your unannounced mission had produced fruit.”

Vodo could feel Anubis probing the Chiss, sizing him up and taking his measure. Zasati seemed disinterested however. Her eyes flitted along the lines of the hangar, inspected the parked fighters, and one of the Marines in the Consul’s honor guard in particular. Rather unexpectedly she broke rank and approached the man, moving up into his face though she was nearly half a head shorter than he was.

“I like this one”, she said looked at Vodo over her shoulder, “He has a certain softness”

The men were left standing there in a shocked silence as she walked off towards the distant entry door, brushing her hand lightly across his chest. Vodo could have sworn she’d accentuated the sway of her hips as she did, ensuring all eyes were on her.

Rhylance regained his composure and spoke to the Warlord, “Ah yes, anyhow. Perhaps you could join me tonight for dinner in my state room. Your companions are welcome, of course.”

With another deep bow Vodo replied, “I would be honored, my Consul.”


Later in the evening, Annedu was sent to fetch the half-Hapan for dinner. It didn’t take long to find her. She was in the mess hall, arms draped around two off duty Marines. Zasati felt the Battlemaster’s disapproving gaze even through the polished gleam of his face plate. As he approached her, she pushed a loose wave of obsidian hair over her shoulder, “You’re early.”

“No. You’re late,” he quipped.

“Fashionably,” she grinned, adjusting her dress. Without another word he headed out, the woman following in step just behind.

The state room was as plain and militant as Zasati had expected it to be- they were aboard an Assault Cruiser after all. Yet still, compared to the battle worn condition of the rest of the vessel, it was inviting enough. Four place settings were arranged neatly at the round table; high backed chairs stood like perfect soldiers around it. A soft light seemed to flow into the adjacent living area, giving the entire cabin a blue coolness. Their host guided them to the dining area, gesturing to the Twi’lek to take the seat to his right. Respectful to the etiquette of such things, Anubis assumed the seat to Rhylance’s left and Zasati the chair directly across from the Consul.

As Rhylance sat, the half-Hapan watched the Warlord to her left, curious to see if he would even fit into his seat. To her surprise, the behemoth was quite elegant, albeit slightly loud with his metallic appendages. Zasati waited impatiently, eyeing the last superior who had yet to sit. She raised a slender brow expectantly. With much reluctance, the Lorrdian removed his helm and sank into the uncomfortable chair.

“Master Biask,” the Chiss began, seeming to calculate his words. “I am eager to hear of your recent… endeavors.” As Rhylance spoke, Zasati was finally slipping into her own seat, a sudden wave of apprehension washing over her. A faint violet flooded the holoink on her cheek, two burning ember eyes watched from across the table.

Vodo’s sharp voice cut through the room, “Of course, my Consul.”


The metal cutlery dinged lightly against the stark white plates situated in front of the group around the table.

“Once the traitorous Cotelin had glassed Karufr and many of our own dead or wounded, our fleet wiped out,” began the Warlord, “I realized that we would require aid in our endeavors to rebuild and bolster our forces. I requested the presence of my apprentices at Ambria; and once I had informed them of Jac’s actions they sought fit to return to us.”

Rhylance proceeded to give no emotion on his face, red eyes studying the Warlord for any sign of deception. He would not be so easily swayed by the Warlords words; after all, he himself had assumed power by subterfuge and wit. Zasati and Anubis had remained silent, preferring to let the Taldrya handle the situation with the Consul while they indulged in the meal provided for them. Due to the recent events, the Dark Prophet II, named after the missing or dead Keirdagh, was now the last surviving vessel of the Taldryan fleet. Piled full of refugees, nowhere else on the vessel would there be such a dinner.

The Chiss had not met either member of Vodo’s party during his time with the Clan. He had many questions, who they were and what their real intentions where. He would comb Taldryan records later to find his answers, but he was not the only one with questions. The mechanical legged Sith was equally curious as to how Rhylance had managed to secure the highest position within the Clan. The man had yet to give him any indication he was anything out of the ordinary, but everyone had their secrets; their quirks. Biask would need to learn them - and then exploit them.

As Vodo had neared the end of his meal alongside the Major, the tension broke. It was time for the Consul to solidify his hold. “I will be remaining Consul until such a time as Taldryan is returned to it’s former glory. I will be the driving force of our return to power, and will ensure that any… transgressions, are dealt with accordingly. Cotelin’s betrayal was more than enough for our now fractured might. For arguments sake; if you were to go against my orders, if you roped others into your schemes, and did these things… it is advisable if word does not reach me.”

As Vodo stabbed the last bite of his meal, one the Equite enjoyed quite frequently aboard his Upsilon-class shuttle, he couldn’t help but smirk at the man before him. As his gaze raised from his plate and locked with that of the doctor, the smirk faded.

"Of course, my Consul. For arguments sake however, if I were to disobey your orders, get others to do so as well, and do these things… You’d never be able to stop me,"the Twi’lek boldly stated as he took his last bite and set the smooth cutlery down. Rhylance’s face was unwavering as the tentacle-headed alien finished the final piece of his meal. Who did Biask think he was, speaking to him like that? As a spoonbender, there was no way the good doctor could ever directly compete with his skills.

“Thank you for hosting us this evening, my Consul,” sliding from the table and noisily taking a stand with his menacing legs, the former Voice of the Brotherhood looked to the those truly below him.

“Come, my apprentices; it is time for us to take our leave and leave the Consul to his duties. There is much work to be done.” The Jedi Hunter had almost completed her meal, but Annedu hadn’t gotten through half. As he was in the middle of shoving the food laden fork into his mouth, the Sith’s gaze turned to stare at the Son of Taldryan. The armoured Lorrdian almost said it, but Vodo had heard his echo anyways. Rhylance’s gaze shifted to the accompanying party as they too stood from the table, with the Battlemaster placing his helmet upon his head and locking it into place once more.

The three bowed deeply before their new Consul, the blue-skinned officer nodding in acceptance. Perhaps these new comrades of Vodo’s might be of some use to him. “Very well. We will be in contact, Master Biask.”

As the party filed out of the room, with Annedu going first and the Hapan last, she swayed her hips with the Consul’s eyes upon her with the remaining plate of food in tow. She, for one, was not going to leave it behind. It wasn’t the greatest meal, but there was no telling where the next was going to take place now that they were aboard a damaged capital ship constantly being hunted by the Iron Throne.

Lounge Area
Upsilon-class Command Shuttle Karufr Knight
Aboard Dark Prophet II

Vodo sipped at the crystal glass in his hands, studying the liquid as he gently swirled it using telekinesis. Annedu and Tyresh were also present as before, the three devising their next course of action. Zasati had finished the plate from their stately dinner with the Consul, the plate tossed into a trash can aboard the shuttle once they had arrived. There had to be a million other plates aboard the vessel, at least in her mind.

“What is our next course of action?” she inquired to the Equites in the room. Annedu stood from the couch he had previously taken over, moving to the stand by the holo-projector. “BeeTee, plug in. System diagram, Kr’Tal.”

BT-117 rolled across the floor from one of the universal terminals, beeping loudly about being ordered about on a whim as he was plugging into the table. A moment later, it came to life with a system wide image of the star Kr’Tal and it’s orbital bodies. Anubis pointed to the asteroid belt that separated the final orbit Kaltace from the rest of the system. “If we come up behind Kaltace, we can use the Teagon belt as a means of protecting us from anything that might be lurking by Karufr while determine if any unfriendly forces are about. Hyperpsace in on low-power mode with minimal life support, quick sensor ping of the system, and go from there.”

“I figure if the Suffering is still about, we’ll high tail it out of there and do a couple quick jumps to lose them. Otherwise, proceed to Karufr and determine if there is anyone useful to us left alive or any relics that are preservable. Even if no ships are about, we should assume there may still be enemy forces somewhere on the surface,” the Battlemaster concluded. Vodo was in agreement, a little bit of reconnaissance on the former Taldryan home may provide some useful intelligence.

“Very well. Have the droid in the cockpit get our clearance to leave, and we will investigate.” Vodo was never one for giving his droid servants any love. This would be the first time returning to Karufr for either the Hunter or Battlemaster.


Karufr Knight
Teagon Asteroid Belt
Kr’Tal System

The shuttle emerged from hyperspace dangerously close to the Teagon Asteroid Belt. With Anubis Annedu at the helm the shuttle emerged behind Kaltace and the star of Kr’Tel relative to Karufr just as they’d discussed. The Droid Brain was adequate for simple navigational tasks but to decant from Hyperspace without colliding with a planetoid at this range required The Force.

“Wings locked in position”, Anubis announced from the cockpit.

“My turret seems to be functioning, I guess”, Zasati sat in the rear facing laser turret position protecting their flank.
Vodo sat in the co-pilot’s seat beside his Right Hand observing the sensor readouts in the darkened cockpit. In order to avoid detection from recon fighters, if there were any, the Karufr Knight had been reduced to its minimal possible power settings to reduce EM emissions. The cabin lights were off throughout the ship, life support set to only cycle and scrub (no heat), and they used only passive sensors. That meant Battlemaster Annedu was essentially piloting a tall, ungainly luxury vessel through an asteroid belt on instinct alone.

“No readings yet, keep your senses open. Zasati… Quiet your mind, I can feel your angst from here”, Vodo released the comlink button on his command console.

He could feel her urge to say something back but nothing came over the com. The view through the forward viewplate was constantly shifting as the Lorridian deftly piloted the shuttle around and through the belt. It took nearly an hour to do so as he kept their thrust output to a minimum, relying entirely on repulsor bursts and maneuvering thrusters. Once they’d cleared it though they made for the orbit of the planet Muraght where they’d perform an orbital slingshot to fire them at Karufr. A microjump through Hyperspace would have been nearly instantaneous but this method meant they’d remain unseen by anyone monitoring the system for that sort of activity. The trade-off was that it would take them nearly two days to drift there without thrust.

“Anubis, you and Zasati may enter your trances. I will take the first watch”, Anubis stared him for a moment through his black faceplate and then shrugged.

“You’re the boss, Boss”, he closed his control console down and excused himself from the cabin.

Vodo settled in for a long wait and entered a sort of meditation. He expanded his awareness and stretched his consciousness through the Force. The space around them was empty and lifeless, devoid of any reconnaissance patrols or waiting ambushes. After what seemed like and instant and an eternity a hand rested upon his shoulder abruptly bringing him out of the meditation. He looked over his left shoulder to see Zasati there.

“You weren’t dozing off on the job were you, Vodo?”, she had a coy smile, “It’s only been 12 hours…”

Her hand dropped over his chest, tracing the line of his robes as she dipped forward and brought her head close to his, the warmth of her skin radiating upon his lekku in the chill of the unheated cabin, “I could help you with that. Like old times, huh?”

Vodo moved his shoulder, nudging her away, and stood from his plush seat, “Annedu will relieve you at the end of your watch. I suggest you keep your mind on the space around us and the sensors before you. That’s how you can help.”
He pushed past her and stalked to the main crew lounge leaving her standing there, bashful and stilted. He could feel her frustration; she didn’t really want him, only to rise in his esteem. That was well. Vodo wanted to keep her seeking his regard, even if that came at the cost of Anubis’s good health. The Jedi Hunter needed to learn what it was to embrace the Dark Side of the Force. Breaking laws and smuggling did not create a powerful warrior, only turmoil and strife did that; It took pain and sacrifice to achieve as he had. Vodo entered his private suite and lay upon the bed and entered a hibernation trance after performing once last check of the local space.

Karufr Knight
On Orbital Approach
Karufr Local Space

“It’s as bad as we had predicted. The Suffering is parked in orbit over the pole and regular flights of TIEs patrol the area. There’s no way we’ll make it in without letting someone know we’re here”, Anubis kicked his leg, crossed over the other one where he sat, idly.

Vodo stood, pacing around the projected blue-green ball the size of his torso. Karufr, the only home he’d ever chosen; it meant everything to him and was synonymous with Taldryan in his mind. It represented the freedom his life as a Sith had given him, the liberation from slavery and servitude that entering the Brotherhood had meant. A small wedge, the holo projector’s depiction of the Super Star Destroyer Suffering, sat perched over the planet’s northern pole waiting.
“What’s worse, I started picking up distress signals from lifepods in orbit and around the planet’s surface. Probably the survivors of our fleet”, Anubis continued.

“Or a trap set to ensnare anyone coming to take a peek”, Zasati offered between bites of a red fruit.

Vodo inspected the projected globe and knew one thing, a certainty the Force assured him, “There are survivors out there, some anyhow”.

The three looked at each other but it was Zasati that spoke after a moment, “Well, like this guy said, there’s no way we won’t be seen. Let’s call it a day and hightail it out of here”.

“You’re no better than Rhylance if that’s how you feel”, Anubis sneered and stood to glare down at her where she lounged on a chaise.

“Both of you ran with your tails between your legs when my trials became too difficult”, Vodo interjected even as Zasati’s mouth opened in retort, “We cannot rescue everyone but we must pick up at least a few if for no other reason than to find out what has happened since we left.”

Recovering Anubis returned his couch, “We can’t bring them back with us. They’ll talk.”


The woman looked up from her spot, eyes glinting in the dimly lit cabin. “I’d like to take care of that bit,” she spoke heavily with a seriousness that was so unlike her. The Jedi Hunter stood, her hair swinging forward. “Just get them here already.” She was growing listless and tired of being overshadowed by Annedu’s prowess. She had it in her mind to chuck a crystal glass at his head, but knew that would be a death sentence.

For a short moment, she didn’t care about her Master’s approval. She simply wanted to do something. Politics, starships, battle plans: none of these things interested her. Zasati wanted to play with the most basic desires of sentient beings: that was her passion.

The Battlemaster interrupted her thoughts, “It’s not that simple. If we lose our cover there’s a good chance we’ll get blown to pieces.”

Vodo stood silent for a moment, perhaps a bit pleased with himself. He enjoyed the blossoming competition between his two lesser. “Do it,” he ordered, still examining the projection of Karufr. “Don’t disappoint me Annedu.”

Anubis rose swiftly, nodding slightly to the towering Twi’lek before him. He disappeared to the control room as Vodo and Zasati went to the airlock. Meanwhile, the Lorrdian was able to maneuver within range of a few pods. They were able to retrieve the survivors from two pods before Anubis made the call to leave before they alerted the enemy.

A Mirialan pilot and a human Captain stood at attention despite the weariness that lay across their faces. After the given speeches of gratitude and introductions, the questions began. The planet, as all knew, was utterly decimated.

“What happened after our fleet left?” Anubis pressed.

The Human swallowed hard, “After we watched the Justice fall, sir.”

“T-the Resurgent,” stuttered the Mirialan. “And t-the rest of the fleet abandoned us. If… if it weren’t for Clan Odan-Urr…” he trailed off. It was evident that the brutality of war had scarred the man deeply.

Vodo scowled, the pilot was weak willed and useless to him. He pushed harder, “What happened? I demand an answer.” The metal talons of his mechanical legs ground against the polished floors.

The Captain stepped forward, “Forgive him, it was his first time in the thick of anything.”

Before her master had a chance to say anything else, Zasati moved forward, brushing gently beside the Warlord. “Of course,” she nodded to the Captain. “I’ll see that he is made comfortable,” she exchanged a polite nod with the armored Lorrdian and Twi’lek.

A bewitching smile suddenly lit the Hapan’s face. “Come,” she whispered, taking yellow-green hands into her own. Without protest, the young Mirialan was led back towards the front of the ship by Zasati.

His face was sullen, but she knew, with enough persuasion, she could get a little more out of him. Once alone, she quietly began to touch the Force, weaving an Illusion of beguilement around him. He was weak, exhausted, and responding well to it, which pleased her deeply. “Why don’t you tell me a story,” she whispered into his ear. “What happened after Clan Odan-Urr came to our aid?”

He grinned, almost drunk with the sweet smells and gentle touches of her Illusion. “They…hmmm” His head lolled against her shoulder and she drew back.

“Yes?” She purred.

“They fought the Wrath… helped the Resurgent.”

“What else?”

“I… I don’t remember.” As the pilot was lost in her reverie, Zasati was concentrating furiously, slowly drawing her KYD-21 Blaster Pistol from her hip.

At the back of the ship, her two companions felt the move in the Force: a light snuffed out.


The Battlemaster and Warlord stood firmly near the Captain, eyeing him as they stood in the air lock. With the pilot out of the way, the only issue remained the Human that stood before them. Although he and his refugee companion had served Taldryan and her fleet valiantly no doubt, there was no way to ensure that Biask’s presence would not be reported should they be rescued.

As the officer’s eyes fell on the dark chrome Sith armour he garbed himself in, Anubis quietly raised his left hand to his chin; cracking his head in either direction. Deploying sinister use of the Force in conjunction, the Taldryan wreaked havoc on the esteemed man in front of them.

His eyes began to play tricks on him, shadows dancing out from the two Dark Jedi as his mind was terrorized with the Dark Side. His heart beat increased, beads of sweat forming between his rustled military uniform and skin as his subconscious focused on a terrible scene of death. His greatest fear had always been these Dark Jedi that had lurked about.

The dark door from the lounge area to the airlock slid open, revealing the smirking half-breed Hapan that had once accompanied his companion. Clutched in her right hand was the head of the pilot, eyes wide open with a cauterized slice where the rest of the body had once been.

“Soon, it will be my time,” declared the sharp voice of the Twi’lek.

The Captain’s eyes jumped to the Warlord, as the flash of his silver blade removed both of his arms. The pain was more than he could bear, but he couldn’t speak. A wretched pain had formed in his chest as the sharp orange lightsaber blade of the Battlemaster penetrated his chest from behind for a moment; pulled from his body gently, his legs giving out and collapsing as his life essence faded softly to the netherlands of the Force.


The officer shook his head vigorously, tears rolling down his face. He was sweating profusely, “I… I don’t know what came over me. I apologize dearly.” The bearded face of the Lorrdian grinned evilly in the secrecy of his armour as he relented on his terrorizing onslaught of the Human’s mind. “My lords,” began the former commanding officer of a now destroyed Taldryan vessel, his elevated heart rate beginning to subside, “I am eternally grateful for your rescue of me and my one of my men. When do we return to the fleet?”

The armoured silhouette proceeded in his direction, standing a meter almost directly to the left of the sweaty man, “I’m sorry Captain, but we?” the dark voice sharply boomed in his ear drums, unable to move as he froze in place. In one swift action, the Sith had un-holstered his weathered, black WESTAR-35 pistol and levelled it at the man’s skull in a firm side-grip. Eyes wide, a moment later they had closed as red plasma erupted from the end of the pistol and burned a hole in the side of the man’s skull.

As the body of the commissioned officer crashed into the airlock floor, the metallic door leading to the rest of the ship opened wide. Zasati entered, dragging the thin frame of the pilot into the room and leaving him atop his former captain. The smell of burnt flesh had begun to fill the room, and the Hapan picked up on scorching hole in the Human’s head.

That was all he was able to come up with?

The mechanical legged Twi’lek stared down at the two bodies that littered the floor of his elegant command shuttle, throwing a look towards the Battlemaster. “Clean this up,” he muttered, adjusting his cloak as he swung round and clanked his way out of the airlock to the rest of the craft. As Anubis motioned for the Hunter to leave, he smiled to himself as he slipped down and shoved a transponder into the Captain’s vest.

Checkmate, Master Biask…

Closing the airlock door behind them, the Sith pressed a couple quick buttons on the control panel and jettisoned the two bodies into space. He proceeded towards the sofa, calling BT-117 to his side as he began to speak the binary language with the droid and plant a pre-programmed sequence should certain events occur.


Karufr Knight
Karufr Orbit
Kr’Tal System

With the unpleasant business of their interrogations behind them the three Sith disposed of the bodies out the airlock. Vodo contemplated what his Apprentice had just done and oscillated between righteous anger and contemplative satisfaction. He would address this with the Lorridian once they were in hyperspace. He would need an appropriate response; it was well and good the man would buck against his authority but he had to be taught his place. Zasati’s could be useful in demeaning him. That was the strength in having two apprentices: you could play them off one another.

Anubis was returning to the command cabin when the ship’s com came alive, “Unidentified Shuttle: heave to. Power down and prepared to receive a boarding party. I repeat, Unidentified Shuttle: heave to.”

The Lorridian froze in place and shot a look back at his Master, “I don’t know what that was, but I doubt we can out gun it.”

Vodo nodded, “Get to cockpit and prepare to activate the Electronic Warfare Suite. I’ll greet our visitors. Zasati, join Anubis up front.”

The both of them jumped to it but Anubis was stopped by Vodo’s voice, “Annedu, one more thing.”

The Warlord held out his right hand easily and the lightsaber hanging at the Battlemaster’s side jiggled and then flew to him. The corner of Vodo’s mouth curled into a sneering smile as he stared into the man’s faceless black helmet, “I’ll return this to you in a moment.”

The weapon felt foreign and odd in his hand as it had been crafted and designed to suit its owner perfectly. It had been over a decade since Vodo had utilized a saber of such conventional form but he felt he could handle the challenge. Metallic thuds signaled something was attaching itself to the hull of his ship. He paced towards the rear starboard airlock and stood there. With a deep breath he inhaled the Force and pushed it out through his skin. He was no longer a towering Twi’lek standing atop raptor-like cybernetic legs but a human male, much like the one Anubis had just killed. He wove the illusion around him and projected anticipation and calm into the Force, directed at the men lining up opposite his side of the Airlock.

“Boss, it’s a Delta 9 class Escort Shuttle. We definitely can’t outgun them. Good news is that I’ve detected no outbound com-signals yet—the Suffering is behind the planet relative to us”, Anubis’s voice filled the shuttle over the PA, “I’m ready to jam their communications.”

With a hiss the airlock of the Karufr Knight slid open revealing a squad of armored troopers with blaster rifles aimed squarely at him. Their sergeant, identified with an orange pauldron, strode forward, holding a pistol in hand, “I’m Sergeant Kal Irwin and your ship is being impounded by order of the Justicar. How many beings are aboard this vessel?”

Vodo smiled harmlessly at the man, “Presently, there are ten but I intend to leave with only three.”

To his credit the Sergeant reacted immediately and began to raise his blaster to fire. He never had a chance however: Anubis’s amber saber leapt to life with a snap-hiss, severing the man’s arm as it did so and separated his torso with the flick of Vodo’s wrist. The troopers wasted no time in swinging their weapons his direction, from where they’d fanned out, but two found themselves flying backwards into bulkheads with lethal cracks, two more slammed into each other with dull thuds, and a fifth lost his head to a backswing of the lightsaber in Vodo’s hand. The Battlemaster batted away the flurry of blaster bolts that flew his way, redirecting them deftly into the bodies of the struggling to their feet on the deck to avoid damaging his new ship. He flicked his wrist, keeping the golden saber blade swinging, intercepting the red bolts of coherent light.

Corpses lay strewn everywhere after only moments leaving only one trooper standing. The man’s face was indiscernible under his Krayt Skin Armor but his body language was clear enough. The man was terrified. He backed up, loosing another shot with every step until the rifle ran dry and would not fire again. Vodo advanced on him, a malevolent look upon his grim face. Piercing yellow and red eyes filled the troopers head, it was all he could think about, as the Sith’s borrowed saber flitted back and forth with a thrum. Vodo lunged forward, his right leg coming up and crashing into the trooper’s chestplate. The sharpened talons dug into the armor, burying themselves into furrows until they pierced the plate and began to sink into the man’s flesh as well. Having collapsed him to the ground, Vodo applied the full weight of his body to the act, pressing the man, writhing and screaming, into the polished deck. When the man’s screams began to fade into heaving gurgles he dragged the golden blade across the poor man’s throat, ending his suffering.

He could hear crashing and struggling noises from beyond the airlock, probably the Pilots and any support personnel reacting to the catastrophic loss of their boarding team. As he skulked back to the hatch and into it he could hear their frenzied voices, “What do you mean you can’t raise the Suffering! Try it again! And why are we still clamped to that kriffing ship!”

“Lieutenant, we can’t disengage!”, cried another voice

“Try it again! Frek… This damn com… You two, grab your sidearms”, the Lieutenant shouted from within the Delta-9.
Vodo strode slowly, the clank of his metal talons echoing with every step. The shouting stopped when the crew heard the noise. The voice of the Lieutenant, hushed, carried in echoes, “Oh sithspawn. I think there’s one coming. Garren, go check it out.”

Garren peaked around the corner from the cockpit moments later. The part of his face and skull that wasn’t immediately incinerated by the lightsaber plopped to the floor wetly followed by his body. Vodo came around the corner, the saber’s blade up, and batted several bolts from the Lieutenant’s pistol into the co-pilot leaving the officer standing alone at the door to the cockpit. The Battlemaster raised his arm and commanded the Force to lance out at the man’s throat. It was not a Force Choke, more like a Teras Kasi chop at the larynx crushing the soft flesh. The man’s eye opened wide in pain and then in terror as he clawed at the soft of his neck and fought for air. Vodo’s yellow eyes devoured the Lieutenant’s agony. His chest and shoulders heaved as he drank in the torment and pain of the man’s dying gasps.

Zasati was standing amidst the carnage aboard the Karufr Knight when Vodo returned through the airlock’s hatch. Her eyes were wide but not in horror, more in fascination, but he heard the sharp intake of her breath when she saw the head clasped in his left hand by the hair. The Lieutenant’s face was permanently contorted in pair and terror even though the head had been severed from its body by some physical means (no sign of cauterizing). She locked eyes with her Master and smiled devilishly.

“You’ll dispose of this someplace conspicuous when we return. I want people to see it. They can infer the rest”, with that he tossed her the head and preceded to the nearest com panel, “Anubis, get us out of here.”


Karufr Knight
Hanger Bay, BAC Dark Prophet II
Location Redacted

Anubis studied the hilt of his lightsaber, the loose chain dangling gently. He looked back to Vodo’s intense use of the weapon, and how he had so easily let it be pulled from his hand. Never again. Now that he thought about it, the Battlemaster had held this lightsaber for the better part of a decade now. Soon it would actually be time for him to craft another.

Vodo had been summoned off to some meeting with the summit, while Zasati was off exploring the rest of the Dark Prophet II. This left Anubis and his droid alone in his master’s shuttle, leaving him ample opportunity to scour the ship for any information on Vodo or the craft that may be of use to him, using the Force to blacken the area and obscure any signs of his meddling should there be security cameras installed in the craft…

Some time passed before Vodo and Zasati’s arrival, which occurred at roughly the same time. The metal-legged Twi’lek was the first to arrive, almost instantaneously getting the feeling that his apprentice might have done more than just sit around. “If I find any signs of tampering Lorrdian, I’ll take your last fleshy little limb from your body,” he stared directly at the couch laden Battlemaster, when the half-breed woman had also returned from her ventures.

BT-117 began to beep furiously, and Anubis chucked lightly. “So what is our next course of action?”

Vodo’s gaze shifted from Annedu to the bar, pouring himself a glass and floating it gently over to himself. “First, a situation report… Hunter, disposal mission report?”

As Zasati took a seat nearby, a wide grin formed across her face. “Complete success. I’m sure we’ll hear about it shortly.”


The Kismet
Karufr Orbit
Kr’Tal System

Inquisitor Ezrith Atsu stood in the bridge of the Kom’rk-class Fighter, the Kismet. He had been assigned the task of sniffing out the remaining Taldryan fleet and clan members. It was a honor to serve his Justicar, but his irritation was mounting. Before them, across the view screen, one of their Delta-9 was drifting. Dead coms and no signs of life aboard.

Beside him, a young Lieutenant yammered on endlessly, “Inquisitor Atsu, forgive me, but if we stop to check this we’ll lose the signature we have on-” As he turned, she knew her mistake at once.

The taller man’s lower lip quivered. His skin a sickly blue, his eyes festering with yellow darkness that pierced through her. The Sergeant tensed as her gaze locked with the Elder’s. The Pantoran’s face was half-covered with a hood, a stray strand of hair hung down: long and white. She could feel him seething.

“Forive m-,” the young woman stopped short.

He looked up, eyes glinting in the dim light of the chamber. He smiled, his hair swinging forward. The man spared a glance at the three stationed Equites. She would be made an example of. Ezrith approached her, reached out with twitching fingers. He grabbed the girl’s head and effortlessly smashed it into the corner of the metal station she stood beside.

She felt her forehead split. As she staggered to her feet, blood obscured her vision, dyeing the Inquisitor’s white hair and pale blue skin all a violent crimson. Not giving the Sergeant a chance to recover, the Elder’s hand shot forward, gripping her by the neck and lifting her into the air with a bestial roar. She felt her throat being crushed under his powerful hand.

His mouth twisted into an evil grin, violent yellow eyes narrowing into dark slits. The Pantoran tightened his grip, bursting vessels in young woman’s neck. In response, she gagged, coughing blood onto his robes as her windpipe was slowly crushed. The stains sank in deeply, and she couldn’t help herself but think that they would never be wiped clean.
Atsu’s eyes widened maddeningly, struggling to hold back vicious laughter, “I do not forgive.” Her lips moved wordlessly as pressure pinpointed on her. He raised his other hand to the Sergeant’s neck, snapping it.
He left the Bridge, her bloody body sprawled across its worn floors.

The Elder stepped through the airlock of the Kismet boarded the Delta 9 class Escort Shuttle. As soon as he entered, the putrid stench of cauterized flesh filled his lungs. Smiling, he kicked over the severed torso of a Sergeant. The cuts where, beautiful. The Pantoran moved on, kneeling down to the crushed body of a trooper whose armor was pierced clean through in three places. Pleased, he stroked chin.

“This artist,” he mused with a yellowed grin. “I must meet him.”

“Lord Inquisitor?” He turned to the three Sith who waited behind him. With curiosity, they watched his every move. The one who spoke, tapping rapidly on a datapad without glancing downward, “The Suffering is requesting an update.”

The Elder sighed, irritated at the need to spell everything out, “So, update them.”


News travels quickly in small confines. With the fleet, essentially the entirety of the Clan, in hiding there wasn’t much room to avoid hearing the gossip. There wasn’t anyone who hadn’t heard about the head after a day or two. It had been found, sitting atop a galley table aboard the Dark Prophet II’s enlisted mess. Security footage showed nothing, no one had seen anything, but everyone had their suspicions how it had found its way there and who had put it there but no one had any proof. One thing was very clear however: what the head represented.

How could it not. A neatly folded, nearly immaculate officer’s cap (save for the globs and spackling of dried crimson blood) bearing the Iron Throne Navy’s insignia had sat irreverently atop the severed head. Someone had violated the Consul’s first directive. Someone, or someones, had struck out at the Justicar and the Grand Master in revenge and were not content to fade quietly into the vacuum of space like discarded refuse.

Vodo sat in the cabin of his shuttle at the work desk. He was still Rollmaster of Taldryan and had duties that required occasional attention. He’d seen after the records of several journeyman that morning and while they were too new to understand the gravity of the rumors it was no secret the Warlord was one of the few people who had left the fleet since it had gone into hiding. Their eyes cast silent questions his direction but he silenced them with a fearsome glare of his own. His business was his own, not that of some witless mercenary without a shred of talent in the Force.

It was the eyes of the Bridge Officers, their wondering glances and quiet respect that mattered. It was the knowing looks Equites gave him in the halls as they silently chaffed under the Consul’s orders to remain unseen, not to act, and to let this injustice go unanswered that held meaning. Few of the Elders were around and that was well because he was unsure if he could maintain his façade in the face of their accusatory stares. Most of all however it was Rhylance, the so called Consul, whose eyes bore into him. They seemed to have an understanding.

“Don’t let me catch you”, he’d said and so it would be.

The Consul could not allow an open display of insubordination from anyone under his command and to be caught would mean he would be forced to act. Vodo was unsure of his position as of yet—Many of the Fleet’s surviving officers knew him and had worked with and under him for years but he wasn’t sure yet if that would translate into loyalty if it came to a coup. The Equites, and many of the Journeymen, might also follow him as no self-respecting Dark Jedi would take orders from a man entirely devoid of the ability to call upon the Force but many of those people were balanced by an ever growing number of Jedi and non-Jedi alike. This Clan was coming apart at the seams and Jac Cotelin had done nothing to help that. He needed time to build support, time to influence and to sway, and when the time was right: then they would act. Rhylance would be jettisoned into space and forgotten, Taldryan would find its courage, and Jac Cotelin would be made to answer for his crimes.

A chime sounded, announcing a new visitor. Vodo raised an eyebrow; he wasn’t expecting any more Journeymen until this afternoon. He reached out with the Force and felt an unfamiliar presence there. He called up an exterior view on his monitor and saw the man standing there beneath a draping black cloak. How ominous. Sensing no intention of violence Vodo decided he’d see the man and itch his curiosity.

The boarding ramp lowered and admitted the figure who stalked in, gliding atop a pair of fearsome cybernetic legs. Vodo’s face went still as he observed the man approach him through the lounge. Those legs, they matched his in every way; reverse articulated below the knee, tipped in three forward facing talons and one to the rear, dull metallic grey, and sharp in all the same places. How… Vodo had killed the man who’d installed his damned prosthetics to ensure they could never be traced back to him.

The man stopped two meters from where the Rollmaster sat and stood there, still all but completely enveloped by his cloak. Vodo could not see his face but could make out small points of tension atop the man’s crown under the cloak, horns maybe?

“Is there something I can help you with—Who are you?”, Vodo leaned back pensively in his plush seat.

The man bowed only slightly at the waist, “Mortetior. You do not know me, most here do not.”

Vodo still could not sense ill intent from the man but he took no chances and ensured he was ready to react at a moment’s notice, “And how can I be of assistance, Mortetior.”

Mortetior looked about the cabin, his face still shrouded, “I think rather, how can I be of assistance to you, Lord Taldrya. I had only just arrived on Karufr before the Justicar’s betrayal but it seems I have more of a fire in my chest than anyone around here, save for you.”

Vodo’s face remained motionless and he suppressed the flutter in his chest that would have given away his alarm at the man’s brashness, “Are you accusing me of something?”

“Accuse is a harsh term. I know what you’re up to”, the man chuckled under his breath, “and I’m offering my services in your endeavors.”

Incredible. It was happening already, far more quickly than Vodo could have anticipated. It was always difficult to anticipate the ambitious though. He could not just take this man into his confidence however, by his own admission he was new to Taldryan and no one knew him. Vodo could not be sure if this was a ruse, some ploy to draw him out and neutralize the threat he represented. Rhylance maybe? Could that insect be so adept at intrigue?

“I must admit you have me at a loss. I’m unsure what endeavors you speak of”, the Battlemaster stated plainly.

The man squared his shoulders and his voice grew firm, “I’m no Mynock sent here to bite at you, Master. The Justicar must be brought low for what he did, and I want to help.”

“I appreciate your desire for revenge, it becomes a Sith such as yourself, but our Consul has ordered that there will be no such actions taken individually. If I were to be so inclined however I am well equipped to do so on my own and with my existing Apprentices”, Vodo turned in his chair back to the monitor, waving dismissively as he did, “You’ll excuse me, I have business to attend to.”

Once Mortetior had seen himself out after another slight bow Vodo pressed the com on his desk, “Zasati. I have a mission for you.”


The woman stood relaxed in her master’s office, watching the Warlord pour himself a drink. She had been summoned to his office for some task, at least that is what Vodo had said. As he took a sip of the golden liquid, she eyed him eagerly.

“Well?” she asked, Biask could feel her impatience starting to grow. He enjoyed making her wait; bending her to his will like a pawn. Without taking a sip, the Warlord set the glass gently on the table, staring at it for a moment as he pondered their next moves. With a snap, his eyes locked to hers and he pursed his lips.

“I’ve had a visitor, today. He claims to be a recent recruit to Taldryan, but with a fiery passion for some justice. I am… unsure, of his motives,” Vodo waved his hand towards a datapad that lay on his desk. Reaching for it, she activated it’s screen and let her eyes bore into the imagery provided. It was the security footage from the Rollmaster’s office, showing the mechanical legged figure Vodo had been talking to earlier.

What is with it with people and those legs?

The Hunter’s eyes darted back to her master, who had been observing her reaction. He reached for his glass, finally taking in the sweet taste of the liquor. “He has offered his aid, but I am reluctant. Follow this “Mortetior” being, and report back to me your findings.”

She was wild with excitement, having just received her most daring assignment yet. If she failed, Vodo would kill her. If she succeeded, Mortetior might kill her.

“As you wish,” she stated plainly as the Twi’lek took another drag from his crystal glass. Her excitement was almost boiling over at this point. The young Hunter smiled widely as she turned and left her Master’s chambers.

As the woman careened through the over-packed Bothan cruiser looking for her mark, her mind danced at the thought of ending her rival. While he had been absent from her mind for many years, the sting of his success in her absence had made her skin crawl. He had stayed at their master’s side consistently, proving his worth while she was out exploring the galaxy; and oh how she regretted it. Had the half breed stayed with Taldryan, there was a strong probability she would be as strong - if not stronger - than the Battlemaster she was pitted against.

The Journeyman would have to be careful. To outright challenge the Equite she was set in her mind to remove from play, would be suicide. She would have to use stealth and subterfuge or she’d perish before she got her first strike in. Retiring to her assigned bunk for a short time, she weaved together her plan to take the spotlight before setting off on the ship-wide search for Mortetior.

Vodo smiled, as he felt the subtle shifts in the Force. His plan was forming together nicely. Soon Anubis Annedu would be dead, with Mortetior filling the void and keeping Zasati in her place. The Sith would ensure it.


Sliding from her assigned bunk, the chill of the metal floor against her bare feet was an unwelcomed reminder of everything. The battered hunk of metal they all called a ship, was already starting to bore her. She could smell everything. The stench of the crew. The stench of war-torn metal. The stench of cowardice. She hadn’t noticed when she’d first arrive; the allure of adventure was too stifling. Now, Zasati could see it all playing out before her.

Every soldier that rushed by her was a wounded animal. The moral was in even worse shape than the fleet. Even so, there were now a steady fluttering of whispers going around. Thoughts of vengeance and questions rising against the new Consul were stirring.

As she slunk through a crowded passageway, she noted that some of the men seemed to stand taller in her presence. This pleased her deeply and she allowed intimacy to color her voice: every ‘hello’ rang ‘come here’. She needed to release a little stress before she continued her search. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before one of the men, a refugee by the looks, had decided to make his move.

Without skipping a beat, his hands were on her waist and her back to the icy wall. Zasati looked up slowly, purposefully. She wore a smile like a loaded slugthrower. His grin faded and, instantly, he regretted his actions. Zasati slithered her hands up his coat, gripped the collar, and stepped away from the wall, turning to stand beside him. He began to apologize, but he was ready to be made an example of. In one fluid movement, she had pushed his balance forward, pulled him over his toes, and laid him out flat on the floor behind her. She smoothed out the creases of her dress, tucking a loose wisp of black behind her ear. “Stiffen your resolve and you might win what you want next time,” she purred, feeling satisfied.

As she turned to walk away, she stopped short, transfixed on the mechanical-legged figure that turned at the end of the corridor. Zasati followed after him, reaching out with the Force to try and sense him. The Hunter arrived at the intersection he had turned down and was greeted by a locked bulkhead.


Exhausted from the mental exertion of searching for hours both physically and through the Force, Zasati returned to the Karufr Knight’s lounge. She wanted a tall drink, a hot bath, and a smoke. How she had ever convinced herself this would be more entertaining than moving illegal spice with those Sullustans, she’d never guess. Vodo was returning a drinking glass to the bar when the Hunter saddled up beside him.

She reached over, almost touching him as she went. The faintest scent of sugared fruit passed him by as she gently lifted the glass from his hand poured herself a drink. The half-Hapan could feel his gaze burning into her. He was irritated most likely, but for once she didn’t really care.

“What? Ready to kill me finally?” She threw back the shot of liquor, softly setting down the expensive crystal glass. “Before you interrogate me, if either Anubis or Mortetior are on this ship, they are in places I can’t gain access to presently.”


In that moment, she remembered why she left her Master’s tutelage in the first place. Like every person before him, he sought to rule over her. She wasn’t a woman in control, she was just another pawn, as usual. Zasati cut her eyes away from him. The thrill of it all had already worn away. “That being said, if Rhylance doesn’t know yet, he will soon,” she shrugged. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where your pet is off to right about now.”

The Warlord watched as her cheek illuminated bright blue. He knew her well enough to know it meant anger was boiling inside her. However, she didn’t react quite the same as she did all those years ago and it surprised him, ever so slightly. “Perhaps if you were doing what I asked of you,” he glowered down at her. “Instead of drowning in self-pity.”

It took all of her strength not to snap back at him. Her lip twitch upwards, giving her away long before her tattoo. Zasati pushed herself away from the bar without another word, grabbed her cloak, and left the shuttle.

The ship had not quieted since her last roundabout and she found herself resentfully wandering its length. She was not some passive container filled with rage. No, she likened herself to a star, burning endlessly with it. The half-Hapan fastened the clasp of her cloak, the soft velvety fabric soothing her a little. Restraint, she reminded herself, would be needed more than ever now. Even if that meant dimming the star a touch.

Zasati mingled with the crew, weaving between the various congregations and stations of the ship. It didn’t take her long to find a dimwitted guard who was eager to please. A few sweet words about an Equite’s missing datapad and she was meandering the restricted areas of the Prophet.

She reached out all around, trying to sense her mark. He was significantly easier to feel out in the less crowded corridors. The Hunter moved effortlessly between the passing personnel, remaining unseen. He was very close now. As Zasati peered around the corner she could see him, his long dark cloak doing little to hide his articulated mechanical legs. As if Anubis wasn’t already a problem, now Vodo would have a ridiculous leg buddy to revel with. She couldn’t help but roll her eyes.

Mortetior stood off to the side of the passage, speaking in hushed words to a young Corporal who was listening intently.


Vodo skulked the corridors on his way to the Consul. He’d been summoned and therefore he came. Naval Officers and personnel stepped aside for him, placing their backs flush against the passageway’s bulkheads, while Clan Members nodded their respectful acknowledgement to him as he went. It was all as it should be. Respect must be earned, and once earned, it was owed. He’d earned the trust of his Elders and the respect of his peers and the members of the Clan’s Armed Forces through blood, sacrifice, and combat and now he expected that it be shown to him. He wasn’t without a certain knowledge of his place in the world; he showed the proper deference to his seniors. Men like Howlader, Rokir, and Katarn he’d all called Master and Vodo stood silently and attentively in their presences. Likewise, he’d once called the Grandmaster Cotelin Master, he’d knelt and kissed the man’s ring, and swore his dedication and fealty too—it made the sting all that more painful that the relationship of respect had not been reciprocated. Jac Cotelin, that vile snake, had not only betrayed the Clan whose name he bore but had personally insulted Vodo’s very sense of honor and duty. Few could understand the white hot fury that constantly boiled in his veins, even if they too were incensed.

Anubis Annedu appeared at the Warlord’s side, moving silently and gracefully clad in his mirrored black Nephilim armor, “I have good news.”

Vodo didn’t look at this apprentice as they walked but the Lorridian correctly interpreted the Twi’lek’s silence for permission to continue, “Apparently we’ve started a movement. Reports are starting to trickle in of open talk of disgruntlement around the Fleet and at least one instance of an ambush against an Iron Throne convoy. Its beginning.”

A smile crept upon the corner of Vodo’s mouth. They walked in silence for a few moments, “You’ve done well, my Apprentice. I believe that I can begin to entrust more responsibility to you.”

“What do you have in mind”, Vodo could sense the spark of pride in the man’s Force Aura, “Something fun I hope?”

“Fun?”, the Warlord’s words trailed off as they passed a corridor intersection and a black-cloaked figure could be seen walking away from them to the right, “If hunting is what you consider fun, then I suppose.”

The cloaked figure walked around a corner, leaving Vodo’s line of sight, “I feel malevolence headed our way. It’s not so great to be that of Lord Cotelin but it is hateful and focused. I feel it clearly headed this way. I wish for you to cause a scene on a nearby Iron Legion forward base in the Ortego System and draw this—presence to you. Kill or destroy it, whatever it may be, if you can and report back to me.”

The armored man’s head bobbed up and down playfully, mulling it over, “And Zasati? She won’t be tagging along with me, will she?”

Vodo’s smile faded slowly, “No. The Jedi Hunter has her own mission at the moment, one that I expect progress on imminently.”

The Consul was wearing a smock and the sleeves of his grey military-cut jacket were rolled up officiously under it. He was washing his hands in the surgical sink as the Taldrya entered the med-bay’s prep room and the smell of iron hung in the air. Ahead of the sink, behind plexiglass, lay a darkened surgical room with a single dim light poorly illuminating the body of someone under a medical sheet. Rhylance scrubbed his hands with practiced ease, using the abrasive sponge to reach every wrinkle and crevice of his hand, building up a healthy screen of soapy slime and bubbles.

“You summoned me, Lord Consul?”, Vodo bowed lightly at the waist, showing his usual deference.

Rhylance continued to scrub and rather than looking up at his Rollmaster, he looked through the glass into the surgery, “I did Master Biask. Thank you for coming.”

The sink activated and rinsed the Major’s hands clean and moments later an embedded blow drier activated scouring the hands and arms of moisture leaving the Consul clean and dry, “I wanted to commend you on your work with the Journeyman of late. We’re in a difficult spot and your attention has kept that cadre too occupied to dwell on, well, disparaging thoughts.”

Vodo’s eyebrow rose quizzically, “I do what I can for our Clan, my Consul. Our newest members are the foundation of the glory we will claim back for ourselves.”

“We’re in agreement there. Its unfortunate though that some of the more experienced members of our Clan have less to do, less to occupy them. It seems that the more enterprising of them are finding ways to occupy themselves that run contrary to my orders”, Rhylance untied his smock and tossed it into a bin for discarded equipment and rolled his sleeves down.

“I too have heard the rumors circulating. Most disturbing that disobedience of your orders would be so brazen”, Vodo clasped his hands in the small of his back.

The Consul locked eyes, knowingly, with Vodo, “Yes, it is disturbing. I was really hoping to not have to deal with it so soon into my reign.”

The Consul looked over his shoulder into the surgery again, “I was hoping that the sacrifice of one such itinerant would save me the trouble of having to enact a more thorough investigation. My—questioning—failed to turn up anything of substance however and the man succumb to his own weakness. A curious thing though: While he could not tell me who had aided and abetted his ambush he did tell me rather confidently that Taldryan’s old guard would not lay down like a weak Nek dog. What do you suppose he meant by that?”

Vodo never glanced into the surgery at the covered body. It really didn’t matter who it was in there because they had not had any direct connection to him. The words played around in his head though: Old Guard. He liked it. It had a powerful din to it; it spoke of past glory and its reclamation.

“You’ve been with us a short time, Lord Consul, so I’m sure you’ll learn this in time but Taldryan is a proud Clan. Its not surprising that the brash are eager to act”, Vodo shrugged dismissively, “But really it doesn’t matter what he meant because your word is law and its clear to me that you intend to enforce it.”


Zasati had followed her mark for a painfully long time. He moved swiftly for one with his condition, mechanical legs moving effortlessly. It irritated her deeply. It was hard enough to stalk the restricted areas of a ship- let alone do it unnoticed. The half-Hapan watched as he turned down the next corridor. The corners of her lips pulled up into a devious smirk. He would soon be returning to the main passageways of the lower decks. It would be much easier to spy on him in the crowded areas there.

She brushed past a pair Jedi, her scowl deepening as their jovial voice rang out against the cold steel of the ship. Zasati bit down hard on her tongue to suppress the urge to weave an Illusion of terror around them. The taste of copper filled her mouth and the pain felt good. She was lost in thought now; her mission pushed aside as she questioned her purpose there.

Perhaps Grandmaster Cotelin was not wrong. No honorable, self-respecting Sith should have allowed Jedi filth to stain the clan. Yet, there they were. Her Master spoke of revenge against Cotelin and against the cowards who fled. But was there anything to avenge? Had Taldryan become a disgrace to the Darkness after all?

Her thoughts were immediately disrupted when she turned the corner too quickly. A towering pillar of darkness, less than a hand’s length away, stood before her. Zasati drew back, struggling to regain her composure. Without allowing her a moment to protest, Mortetior had gripped her firmly by the upper arm and shoved her into a quite compartment off the passageway. As the door hissed closed behind him, he turned her loose. An orange glow rolled across her tattoo; bright pink blossomed across her entire face.

“You’ve been following me,” his voice burned like acid.

Her heart raced, “Forgive me.” The Hunter swept into a deep, elegant bow. Mortetior shifted his weight from one metallic talon to the other, watching as milky hands ran over curves draped in a deep blue. “I sensed your power this morning,” She moved closer to him, her subterfuge in full force. “It’s alluring.”


The Dathomirian pushed forward, metallic legs clanging against the durasteel floor of the cruiser as he grabbed the Hunter with the Force and lifted her into the wall behind her with his left hand, pinning her against it’s smooth surface. The Hapan’s heartbeat began beating harder and harder, eyes slightly wide as she was taken aback by Mortetior’s actions. With his other hand, the Sith focused quickly on his disdain for being followed, placing a sparking hand near her face.

“Do not attempt to your manipulations on me woman,” sneered the Zabrak, “Tell me.”

Zasati knew what he meant, but she could not betray her master; for doing so meant certain death. Her mind worked overtime to decide which words should part her lips next. If she chose unwise, she risked terrible pain. The Hunter lowered her head in submission, the Battlemaster lowering her to the floor a moment later but ensuring she remained pinned against the wall.

“I am simply here to invite you to a party,” Tryezsh stated, hoping he would take the bait. But the tattooed Zabrak had foreseen this many moons ago, and would not be so easily swayed. Lowering his hold on the woman completely, he took a step back and looked her up and down momentarily as he moved the pieces on his mental dejarrik board.

“A party?” he queried, playing the part. the fair woman before him nodded slowly, stepping out from between the wall and directly to his side. She placed a soft hand on his black robed chest, nodding once more. “Yes, a party. My master wanted me to extend an invitation to you to join us for dinner later on tonight.”

Mortetior’s gloved hand grabbed the wrist of the Hunter gently, removing it as his orange and yellow eyes locked on to hers. He held it up momentarily, studying the slender appendage before releasing his grip and allowing it to drop to Zasati’s side. To him, she was weak; but could perhaps be of some use.

“You may inform your master that I accept their invitation, and await a message for an arrival time,” the Battlemaster mused, swinging around as he moved to left the enclosed room. The Taldryan female waited several moments to ensure that the grey-skinned beast had truly departed, before reaching for her comlink.

“Master, we must clear your schedule for this evening. We have a party to host.”


Ortega System
The Slice
Iron Legion SOF Depot

Flames danced across the mirrored black surface of Anubis’s helm-visor. He stood there, in his matte black armor, soaking in the magnificence of his creation. It had been a long time since he could just let go like this; it was hard in the greater galaxy to attack military installations, explode munitions, and slaughter dozens without drawing undue attention. That worked to his advantage now. Biask had asked him to make a scene and Anubis was glad to oblige, in this at least. To be honest, he was starting to remember why he’d left and faked his death to begin with. The Tail-headed Warlord was overbearing, manipulative, and utterly remorseless. Those were good character traits in a Sith, Anubis conceded, but it hardly made for pleasant company. He’d ride this Taldryan thing out a bit further, see if there was some opportunity to be had and if not, he’d vanish again and this time for good.

He was standing in the center of a paved clearing, perhaps several meters to a side, on a planet he’d learned the hard was renowned for its rock-hard Stone Trees and the dense, unyielding underbrush that carpeted the ground between them. The Iron Legion maintained uncountable numbers of these desolate depots for the use of their Special Operations Groups so that no matter where in the galaxy they were required to operate, there was a secure site for staging and arming up. It had been relatively simple to figure out where the sentry systems had been on the perimeter, they were the only things emitting EM in the dead of the surrounding woods, and he’d bypassed them. He’d reprogramed several deactivated Security Droids by slicing them and giving them instructions to fire on anyone who wasn’t him. Lastly he’d procured some explosives and had placed them beside barracks, fuel cells, and the command suite. When the party kicked off it was to the sound and sight of eight enormous fireballs and the screams of men.

He stood amidst the carnage, the small number of base personnel reduced to zero, and examined his work. Vodo wanted to draw attention? Well this would certainly do it. He pulled a small flag from behind his belt and examined it. It was one of those small trinkets that would be planted on a desk or handed out en masse and he’d pilfered it somewhere aboard the Dark Prophet II for this purpose. It brandished the emblem of Clan Taldryan and would make sure to draw attention to the proper place when it was found by whoever was dispatched to investigate here. He dropped it atop the headless body at his feet and strode off, eyeing a pair of speeder bikes about 50 meters away; they might come in useful. There was only one thing left to do and it was wait. Biask had said he’d felt a presence of pure malice and determination following them, pursuing them, and it stood to reason that it would come here given the time.

As chance would have it he did not have to wait long. As the sun broke over the distant mountains and bathed the smoldering ruins in its white-blue light his auditory sensors picked up the distant crack of a sonic boom. The Lorridian craned his neck and swept the sky until he saw a small dot growing larger as it approached him. It resolved into a Kom’rk Heavy Fighter as it swept in hard and landed with surprising grace. Anubis stood his ground, orange lightsaber already activated in hand. Nearly a minute passed before the landing ramp lowered with the hiss of venting gases and down strode a Pantoran male. He wore a simple set of close fitting robes tied at the waist and bore the long hilt of a saber staff in his right hand. Anubis smiled under his mask at the approaching man reading supreme confidence in his body language and reveled in the challenge he hoped it would be.

“By order of the Justicar, you will surrender your weapon and submit to my questions” the Pantoran said as he came to a stop, three meters from the all black clad Anubis.

The Battlemaster looked left and right lazily, “I don’t see a Justicar here.”

“I am Chief Inquisitor Ezrith Atsu and I speak with his authority. Last chance: surrender your weapons to me”, the blue-skinned man’s face was emotionless and his body posture suggested he was not intimidated by the Equite.

Anubis probed the man in the Force, uncaring if his attempts to do so were felt, but found little to note. The man barely registered in the Force at all. It was more likely he was concealing his presence in the Force, he was aware some people had that ability, but Anubis was no lazy fighter. He would kill this man, bring his head back to his Master, and lord it over that harlot Biask seemed to let hang around for no reason.

“And if I were to refuse?”, Anubis queried.

There was no warning. The man’s presence exploded into the Force at the same moment his weapon leapt to life. The Pantoran lunged across the distance separating them in the blink of an eye and it was all the Battlemaster could do to get his guard up in time. He parried the fast blows of the saberstaff, working overtime to do so; every time he blocked one blade, the weapon reversed direction and the other would attack him from the opposite side. Orange struck crimson with a crack and a hiss repeatedly and Anubis found himself losing ground. The yellow eyes of the blue-skinned Inquisitor bore into him, so like his Master’s, but the man’s ferocity was unlike anything he’d ever experienced.

Anubis reached out and flung an unexploded metal drum at his attacker. Ezrith reached out as well and redirected it into Anubis. The drum collided with him and sent him sprawling to the ground. He was quick to regain his feet, rolling over his shoulders with the momentum of the crash and managed to prevent his head leaving his body by blocking the Inquisitor’s follow up attack. He rammed his armored fist into the man’s solar plexus and Force Pushed with everything he had. The Inquisitor’s grunt of surprise was barely audible as he sailed backward. Ezrith landed on his feet, though he cupped his off-hand over his abdomen.

Sensing an opportunity Anubis followed up by dropping his off hand to his hip and drew the Wester-35 there and fired three shots in quick succession, walking them up his adversary’s mass to make them hard to block. The Inquisitor was quick though and not only did he bat the first two shots off into the distance but he deftly redirected the final shot back at the Battlemaster. Anubis felt the red bolt impact his chestplate with a thud, knocking the wind from him. For a moment he mistook the ache in his breastbone to mean the armor had failed him but the rush of recycled air into his lungs broke that notion. He had no time to feel relief as the Inquisitor renewed his assault. The Pantoran’s off hand splayed out before him as he dashed towards the Lorridian and forks of blue-white lightning arced for the armor-clad Battlemaster.

The orange lightsaber caught the lightning and redirected it into the air at the leaping Inquisitor. Anubis hoped to blast the man with his own power but became dismayed when the Pantoran caught the lightning in his open palm and it fizzled into nothing. Anubis brought his saber up high and caught what would have been a bisecting downward blow and grunted with the effort of remaining on his feet. The Pantoran pressed into their saber lock, bringing his face close to the mirrored visor.

“I sense great fear in you”, yellow eyes filled Anubis’s mind, “and I will sup on it as I take you apart piece by piece until you tell me all that I need to know.”

He needed to get out of here. He wasn’t going to win this fight and at this point he’d be fortunate to escape with his life. Anubis’s mind raced for options and settled on the speeder bikes across the clearing from them. He broke the saber lock and placed everything at his disposal into his mad dash. His legs flew with preternatural speed, propelling him faster than any normal man, but he was forced to juke and dodge debris thrown his way by the pursuing Inquisitor. Detritus and rubble impacted at his heels followed by forks of lightning but thankfully the Pantoran couldn’t keep up. Anubis leapt the final three meters and landed astride the waiting speeder bike. He’d cleaved the aerofoils of the other bike as he’d sailed through the air and hit the control cluster’s activator with as much speed as he could manage.
Within seconds the speederbike had roared to life and rocketed away leaving the Pantoran behind him in the ruined depot. Anubis took no detours and made directly for his stolen shuttle. He had to make it back, he wouldn’t die here for Biask. He would make it back and he would tell his compatriots what he’d uncovered.

Inquisitor Ezrith Atsu watched the speederbike fade into the morning sky to the east with a dull smirk. The armored man would live to see another day but not by any skill or luck of his own. The Inquisitor had allowed it, given him a convincing chase, and now he would wait for his seed to bear fruit. A datapad secured at his hip beeped lightly, letting him know the miniscule tracking device he’d planted during their last face to face was firmly rooting itself in the man’s armor. The poor fool would lead him straight to Clan Taldryan’s hiding spot and the Justicar to his justice.


Zasati took extra care to prepare the lounge area for the evening. It would be an important meeting, and the Hunter wanted to succeed.

As she readied a table, setting it for three, the woman couldn’t help but smile. Earlier in the evening, she had managed to procure a very expensive bottle of liquor from one of the officer’s cabins. Although, she’d never admit to the theft. The Hunter set out her Master’s finest glasses; the soft clink of crystal soothed her.

She quite enjoyed parties, especially ones of great intrigue and mystery. Where Anubis and Vodo excelled in the battlefield, Zasati excelled in the art of soirée. When entertaining, she was a skillful listener and hostess. Many political secrets had been laid bare before her this way. The half-Hapan gently touched her comlink. “Master, everything is prepared. Our guest should be here shortly,” she paused, surveying the tidy space.


Mortetior stalked his way through the Bothan cruiser on his way to Biask’s shuttle, garbed in only the black tunic of the Brotherhood-issue Eradicator robes and a simple utility belt from which the dark grey hilt of his lightsaber was secured. His grey, tattooed chest lay bare underneth; this was his dressing up. In the wilds of Dathomir, too much restriction would get you killed. This dinner would be no different, he surmised.

As he reached the closed boarding ramp to the Upsilon-class shuttle, the Zabrak allowed his presence to be detected within the Force so that they may know he arrived. He felt their pings in the Force almost immediately, as the boarding ramp lowered to the hanger deck with a quiet vhruum, clicking softly as the two surfaces metal surfaces mated.

He proceeded up the boarding ramp of the Karufr Knight and entered the vessel, treated to a luxurious lounge area that had been converted into a dining room.


Mortetior’s glided into the lounge like a ghost. Vodo sat already at the head of the prepared table while Zasati stood to his left behind a chair with a place setting for herself. The Warlord inclined his head and gestured to the place setting to his right, “Please.”

Mortetior took the seat proffered and looked at the Jedi Hunter and nodded to her so that they took their seats at the same time. Vodo took a bottle of Wine beside him and held it up, “This is from the Emperor’s private stock, grown on his throne world of Byss before the collapse of the Empire. I managed to procure two of them and this is the last.”

He poured about half a glass worth into each of his guest’s glasses and then his own and put the bottle down. Picking up the glass he raised it in both of their directions, “A toast: To Taldryan!”


The blue-eyed woman glanced across the table at Mortetior, sure to hide any mistrust behind a pleasant smile. As she tilted her head, raven hair spilled over her shoulders, all but accentuate the plunging neckline of her formal dress. “Thank you for joining us this evening,” she purred sweetly. The half-Hapan took another pull from her glass, noting their guest’s attire and the glow of confidence that surrounded him. She leaned back; the Warlord beside her nodded, red-yellow eyes studying the Zabrak.


Mortetior nodded to the Hapan woman, acknowledging her thank you. “Yes, it was… generous of you to invite me here. Thank you for the invitation,” he raised his glass a little, before taking a deep swig of the dark red wine and setting the glass back down on the smooth surface of the table. Zasati seemed a bit out of place, being the only one without mechanical legs, but she did not allow that to spoil her mood.

The Dathomirian could feel the eyes of his clanmates on him, but paid no attention to it. It was time to begin…

“Tell me… Why did you invite me here tonight?”


Truth sense was only so useful in a room full of conniving, manipulating, sociopaths and Vodo’s read on Mortetior was inconclusive. Between this meeting and their previous he could not sense Mortetior’s true intentions and motivations. Things were moving too quickly and Zasati’s cover story had forced him into a corner. That was an unfortunate reversal of their relationship, one that he was ruefully reminding himself that he’d promised to correct before. She was showing the same signs he’d seen those years ago indicating she was a less than deserving pupil.

“I’ve thought some on your offer and I’ve decided to let you into my circle of trust”, Vodo swirled the deep red spirit in the glass by the stem before taking a sip, “Zasati was sent to observe and evaluate you, that you might become one of my instruments.”

Mortetior said nothing but looked at him imploringly so Vodo continued, “You were right: I am angered, I am sitting here wishing I could be out there taking the fight back to Cotelin, but I’m in a prominent position and I cannot be seen supporting subversion.”


Mortetior swished the liquid around a bit as he pondered, watching physics take its course inside the glass. Setting it down on the table, he looked back to the Warlord, his orange-yellow eyes meeting that of the red-yellow from the Twi’lek… The offer had been accepted. As a small grin formed at the edge of the Zabrak’s dark lips, Vodo knew; he did not have an instrument, he had a weapon - one that just might as easily turn on him unless some form of bond was forged - he would need to be wary of this Zabrak.

“Very well, your Excellency. If you cannot strike from the light, then I shall do it for you, and together we shall restore Taldryan to what it once was,” he stated firmly, paying almost nill attention to the fact Zasati was still with them. As he raised his glass to toast, the door to the lounge area opened. It revealed the armoured Lorrdian in the doorway, staring down the group from beneath his helm as he noted their seating arrangement.

“Am I interrupting?”


The two men at the table turned their attention to the silhouetted figure in the threshold. Zasati seethed. Her back to the door, she refused to spare her adversary a glance. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.

Vodo swiped a linen across his mouth and leaned back, silent as he studied his student. He was eager to hear of the Lorrdian’s mission. “What do you have to report?”

Annedu moved closer to the table, stopping just a few meters behind the half-Hapan who still refused to acknowledge him. “The mission was a success, Master. The Iron Legion base has been destroyed,” his voice almost seemed to smile. “I also encountered one of Cotelin’s Inquisitors.” His Master raised a brow, as if to demand more information. “Ezrith Atsu,” Anubis continued. “He’s fairly strong. I’m willing to guess that he’s high ranking- one of the Inquisitors hunting the Clan.” Anubis stood, clearly proud of himself, awaiting the praise of his Master.

Brows furrowed, Mortetior suddenly rose from his chair. “You’ve lead that Inquisitor right back to the fleet,” he snapped, his voice filled with bitter allegation. He stared down the Battlemaster; his red-yellow eyes burned fiercely.

Fist clenched, Anubis turned to the newcomer. “Frak you! I’m not an idiot. I checked my gear thoroughly,” he spat. His gloved hand fell to rest on the hilt of his lightsaber. “That’s a big accusation coming from some nobody!”

The Zabrak produced a small datapad from his side. It only took him a few short moments with a cipher program to track the frequency from the small tracker embedded in the Lorrdian’s armor. Mortetior couldn’t help but smirk. “I beg to differ.” He passed the datapad to the Warlord who sat beside him.

Vodo studied the screen before him. The usually stoic Twi’lek couldn’t keep rage from his visage completely. He rose from his seat, mechanical legs clanking. The air throughout the room became thick with his anger. “Annedu,” his voice was laced with venom. “You may have doomed all of us, Taldryan included. You disgrace me.”

“Well at least I’m not like frakking Zasati. I just fought a Grand Inquisitor! She made you dinner like some consort.” He motioned to the woman at the table.

The Warlord didn’t have time to reprimand his ward. The fleet, and more importantly his plans, were in danger. He shoved past Anubis, hurrying to the command bridge to give warning of the coming onslaught.

The three left within the lounge of the shuttle were quiet for a moment, the heavy air weighing down on them. Zasati, who had been quietly nursing her wine, finally threw back the last swig of her drink. The crystal glass clinked softly against the table.

“Hey, whore, get out of my chair,” Anubis barked.

Her heart pounded, nearly choking her. She typically didn’t let Annedu’s words phase her. A brilliant blue rolled across the enigmatic tattoo on her cheek. Fury. In one fluid motion, Zasati had thrown back her chair and lunged towards the Lorrdian. As a tidal wave advancing upon the shore, she threw her full weight at him, tackling him to the cold, metal floor.


Seething with anger Vodo’s heavy footfalls reverberated off the metal passageways of the Bothan Assault Cruiser. He slammed a passing Ensign, who did not flatten themselves swiftly enough against the bulkhead, telekinetically into it. The young man sank to his knees as the Rollmaster strode past without a glance, clutching a hand to the back of his head where blood was seeping out. The air around him cackled with his fury and an Equite who felt his tumultuous feelings wisely decided to turn back down their path and walk away. The Command Bridge was several hundred meters away and took several minutes to reach but he swept in commandingly.

“Navigation: Begin plotting course to next rendezvous point. Coms: Notify the fleet we will be making the jump to Hyperspace momentarily. Engineering: I want all drive systems online and ready to go on my command. Flight Control: Place combat air patrol on full alert”, the bridge crew hesitated, looking to their Captain for instruction.
Captain Arundell, a bearded human man with grey streaks at his temples, nodded to the Warlod officiously, “As you command, My Lord”.

He began to bark off the orders to his subordinates who leapt to their tasks without a second thought. That was good, Vodo thought. This would be a powerful test of the Defense Force’s loyalty to him and at the very least, Arundell could be depended upon. Vodo would remember that.

“Fleet acknowledging new orders”, an Ensign at the com-station reported, “But Captain Odbris is requesting to know under whose authority it is given.”

Odbris, a Bith raised on Karufr was the commanding officer of the Vindicator heavy cruiser Valor. Vodo sneered and was about to say his authority when a voice from behind him said, “Mine.”

The Warlord spun to find the Consul standing there, “Ask the Captain to acknowledge.”

The Ensign turned to their console and moments later reported, “Acknowledged, Lord Consul.”

Rhylance smiled, never breaking eye contact with the Twi’lek Sith standing imperiously in the center of the bridge, “Good. You all have your orders, if you need me, or Master Biask, we will be in the Ready Room.”

The Consul gestured and Vodo, with chagrin, followed. Once inside the room Rhylance took a seat and offered none to his Rollmaster, “I hope that wasn’t your coup d’état, Vodo. It lacked a certain—finality to it.”

Vodo put on his most obsequious smile, “Lord Consul, I am merely doing what is best for our Clan. Moments ago I was struck with a powerful premonition, a foretelling of a coming disaster.”

The Consul’s flat look said much but Vodo powered on, “A task force, led by a Grand Inquisitor, will soon emerge from Hyperspace and attack us. I sought only to remove us to the safety of a new location.”

A long moment passed between them without any words when finally the Chiss stood up and said, “The best lies come wrapped in the truth. How long before they are here?”

“I cannot say, Lord Consul, but prudence suggests sooner than later”, Vodo inclined his head respectfully.

The few surviving warships escorted by the few remaining starfighter squadrons moved from their hiding places amongst the asteroids and planetoids and made for open space. As the fleet positioned itself for a jump to Hyperspace, streaks of light materialized to their portside. The Vengeance had arrived and a cloud of TIE Fighters poured from its cavernous hangar bays. It was too late however and Clan Taldryan slipped to light speed, disappearing as specks of light against a blanket of stars.


The two Sith crashed into the metallic loading ramp, the hit having knocked the wind out of the Battlemaster. His blood boiled, and with a swift bout of concentration threw the Hapan from atop him out onto the hanger floor using Telekinesis. She slammed into it with a thud, and a moment later both of them had made it to their feet, staring each other down.

“I never imagined that’s how you’d end up on top of me, girl, but that is the final straw - prepare to die” the bright orange blade dancing to life from his lightsaber and WESTAR-35 in the other hand. He fired off a quick shot to the woman as he charged at her, forcing her to leap to the side and avoid the blast.

After hitting the floor she was quickly back on her feet, activating the sapphire blue blade of her armoury saber. She very rarely used the weapon due to her almost nil training with it, much preferring her blaster, but without it would last seconds against her adversary. By this point the metal-legged Mortetior had made his way down the ramp, watching subtly as the fight ensued. He would wait until the time was right, and seize the moment. The noise had gathered attention of several others in the hanger, but kept their distance lest they become part of the crossfire.

The armoured Lorrdian lanced out with his saber, bringing it down on his foe completely vertical in an intent to cut her in half. The Hunter raised her blade horizontally, blocking the oncoming strike. The two locked, before Annedu backed off and went for a sweep at her legs. An athletic jump had spared her severance of her legs, but put her square in Anubis’ range, defenseless. With his left hand, the Sith brought his pistol down on her as she landed, hitting her in the head with the bottom of the metal WESTAR-35’s grip.

Disoriented, the Hapan fell backwards to her behind, a concussion having taken root. Blood slowly ebbed from her forehead, which angered her more. No one had made Tryezsh bleed for years, at least not unless she wanted them to. The athletic form of her rival stood above her, the barrel of his black, weathered blaster staring down at her.

Fear took hold of her, eyes wide as she believed this to be her final moment. She had lived a wonderful life thus far, and had just returned to the fold recently - yet this seemed to be her end. Her lightsaber still activated in her hand, the low hum the weapon emitted became almost hypnotizing in the moment. As the Battlemaster began to pull the trigger, a lightsaber with a blood red blade flew towards him, thrust with Telekinesis. His focus shifted, instead maneuvering his own blade to slice the hilt of the weapon in half and render it unusable.

Mortetior stood, hand extended, to the side of the two in confrontation with a grin edging his lips. Anubis snarled, before turning his attention back to the half-breed to finish what he had started. He was a moment too late, turning to face the woman before him as she thrust her sapphire blade into his throat. The Lorrdian’s eyes were wide, as his lifeless armoured body crashed into the hangar floor with a clang. Deactivating her lightsaber, the Hunter looked over to the half-mechanical man that had distracted her enemy and simply nodded.

Reaching down and removing his black chrome helmet, Zasati unleashed a kick at the man’s face, “Try and come back from that, fool.” As her anger started to subside from rather quick encounter that had taken place, she reached to her head and wiped the blood from it.

That had better not leave a scar, she thought to herself, or I’ll find him in the afterlife and do it again.

She felt a tug from her hand, and moments later the dark chrome helmet was ripped from it. As she looked over, Mortetior stood a several meters away with it in his right hand.

“I rather like this armour,” he began, tilting and examining the high-quality headpiece, “I think I shall take it for my own. Of course some modifications will need to be made to accommodate my legs, but I believe this to be a fine trophy.” Zasati shrugged; she cared not what happened with the man’s armour, her only concern was that he was dead now. As Annedu was telekinetically stripped of the suit he’d worn for the better part of a decade, his lifeless body hung motionless before it was dropped to the cold, hard floor.

Mortetior disappeared into his own vessel, a stark black Delta-class T-3c shuttle, black chrome armour from the dead Sith in tow - he would make the necessary modifications later. He emerged a moment later, Zasati still standing around the body of the Battlemaster. A crowd of flight crews and hanger staff, and even one or two Dark Jedi had formed in a circle surrounding them, whispering to each other about what they believe had transpired in the hangar bay of the Bothan cruiser.


“This is taking ‘losing your head’ in a fight a bit literally isn’t it” Alexander Anderson said dryly as he approached from the crowd. He was dressed in a simple dark button up shirt with matching jacket and pants, no insignia or rank marked the clothes. However, his pants were sharply creased and lead to a pair of boots which appeared to have been meticulously shined. Essentially a military uniform that would cause the most pedantic drill sergeant to blush at it’s tidiness. He spoke with a clipped educated, slightly posh accent.

Xander leaned over and studied it clinically. “You know, I personally I prefer slashing the throat over stabbing. I know it doesn’t have the same dramatic effect, but still…” He looked up at the half-hapan.

“Your work I assume?” he said reaching into his coat pocket and producing a white handkerchief from a for Zasati to clean the blood.

“Who the frak are you the woman” Zasati growled appearing to reach for a weapon

“Oh dear” Xander said appearing politely as he continued to proffer “You are absolutely right my dear lady. I must apologize for failing to introduce myself. My name is Alexander Anderson…”

“Never heard of you” the blood smeared woman interjected

“Absolutely understandable, as I have not been active in recent years. I can fill you in on who I am in due course.” He said pressing the white cloth into her hand “However, I suggest we clean this up first, as it is … a trip hazard, and I would hate for someone to be… mistakenly injured.”


Zasati sized up the man before her. In any other moment, she would’ve been flattered, even grateful for the offer of the kerchief. But anger lingered inside her and adrenaline coursed through her heart like venom. A sharp pain burrowed just behind her temple; she struggled to ignore it.

The Hunter knew the battle wasn’t over. She had her Master to answer to. She spared a glance at the lifeless body at her feet. The familiar sound of metal talons clanked across the hanger.

Her Master parted the amassed crowd that had gathered, stopping short, thin lips pulled to a scowl. Then, completely ignoring Mortetior and the newcomer, the Twi’lek marched past the crumpled body of Anubis Annedu. She never should have dignified the Lorrdian’s Neophyte taunts with a response.

“Tryezsh,” he snapped, his voice like acid which ate away at everything around her.

He had no choice but to instruct his pupil now. Moving forward, he grabbed her in the Force and hurled her at the shuttle’s ramp. He picked her up by her hair as he advanced on her and dragged her up the rest, as she struggled to gain her hands and knees. The ramp raised behind them preventing Mortetior from joining them as he moved to follow.


He was surrounded by incompetents. Everyone around him was useless, inept, or weak. Vodo’s anger was now uncontrolled and he needed an outlet. The diminutive woman cowered on the floor were he’d thrown her. The Sith reached out before him, his ever present sardonic sneer replaced with a malicious, malevolent grimace, and raised the whore from the ground with his command of the force. With a contemptuous flick of his hand she sailed into the bulkhead and crashed into a priceless Alderaanean Moss Painting. She, and the painting, crumpled to the floor. Zasati scrambled to free herself of the debris but found a fist flying up from underchin which snapped her head back and into the bulkhead.

Vodo stood over the woman with murder in his eyes, his shoulders heaving with heavy breathing and violent intent, “Do you know what you’ve done!?”

His roar filled the spacious lounge, “Did you learn nothing in the last ten years or are you some feral animal that can’t control her emotions!?”
He emphasized his question with a jabbing kick at her thigh. His metal talon collided with her femur with a dull thud but it did not break anything. Vodo’s face was contorted in a snarl as he turned from her, his hand gesturing so that she rose into the air supernaturally again behind him, and she hung there for a moment grasping at her throat as Vodo paced a few steps and paused. He could hear her gurgling and struggled writhing. Her feet kicked back and forth, occasionally catching the remnants of the painting below her with a rustle. He dropped her when the kicks started losing their vigor and his anger was pleasantly inflamed by her deep, sighing inhales.

“You’re worthless to me; Nothing but a frelling failure. You couldn’t follow Mortetior without inviting him to dinner, you couldn’t keep your mouth shut in sensitive company, and you couldn’t hold off on eliminating your rival until a less terrible time”, He stood with his back still to her, “What good are you to anyone as anything but an hour’s comfort. You can’t even do that for me…”

Her scream was primal. Zasati launched herself at the Warlord’s back grabbing for the lightsaber at his belt. Vodo sensed her intent and stepped aside so that she crashed fruitlessly to the ground beside him, prone. He stomped a foot down on the spine between her shoulder blades and heard her squeak as the air was pressed from her lungs. He bore down on her slowly, increasing the pressure by small measures, and Zasati struggled. Her arms flailed as she made unintelligible noises with her dwindling lung capacity. Vodo relished in the terror and pain that she emanated in the Force and he drank it in.

“If we weren’t currently a Clan in shambles I’d kill you and be done with it, like I should have done years ago”, he lifted his foot and used it to roughly roll her over, “But as it stands I still have use for you, useless as you are.”

He pulled his lightsaber from his hip, gripping it close to the emitter, and activated the weapon, “I’ve been meaning to teach you a lesson, one you would not easily forget.”

The white-red blade thrummed in her ears as its tip dropped towards her face. She tried to squirm away but found herself firmly rooted to her spot on the floor by his power. The brilliance of the weapon, its subtle heat, filled her vision. Zasati fearfully turned her face away from it, clenching her eyes closed tightly. Vodo played the tip over the line of her cheek bone, never actually touching it to her skin or the queer tattoo there. After a few moments, the Twi’lek Sith pulled the weapon away and took a few steps away from her. Zasati found the Warlord’s power no longer held her down and she opened her eyes. Vodo stood there, facing away from her again but the blade in his hand was still activated. She eyed it warily but slowly stood.

“I—I’m sorry Master, I won’t fail you again”, she said sheepishly, cradling the heat-bothered skin of her face with her palm.

“Its kind of you to say so before your lesson has been taught”, with blinding speed Vodo whipped around and his saber tip slid through the connective tissue and bone below her left wrist, emerging just under her chin and narrowly missing the soft of her larynx.

The hand and a portion of her arm dropped to the floor with a soft thud. The Hapan woman’s eyes followed it there and remained watching it, stapled wide open, for a long moment before her shriek of pain filled the ship’s confines. She sank to her knees, cradling her stump of a forearm with a whimper. Through sobbing gurgles and gritted teeth Zasati growled something that Vodo could not make out. His anger flared again and he pushed her against the bulkhead with the Force once more.

“What did you say to me!?”, his voice was acid.

Zasati’s eyes were full of defiance and fire even if her voice was as even as she could manage through the pain, “I have learned, Master”.

Later, sitting alone in the shambles of the cabin Vodo lightly grasped a crystal rock glass. Brown liquor slowly melted the few clear cubes of ice within. He studied the precious nector but it wasn’t the whiskey his eyes saw, only the future. He probed probabilities, possible futures. He followed the fleeting images down what-if avenues and maybe streets to their logical conclusions. In many of them he saw Clan Taldryan in flames, the Justicar triumphant, and he himself lying dead among his clanmates. In some a shadowed figure hunted him, in others a creature of the night. In only one or two however did he see Taldryan victorious and the paths to those futures were unclear and always shifting. He commanded the Force to show him what he needed, attempted to wrench it to his will, but as usual his command was only so powerful: He was no Lord of the Darkside, yet. Zasati’s murder of Annedu was not unexpected, only surprising in its timing and he did not need this additional headache just now. Rhylance was watching and discontent from within his own camp only boded ill.


The Ravager
Dark Prophet II Hangar Bay

It had been unexpected, but allowed him to craft a much finer instrument… Mortetior stood over a workbench, an array of parts arranged before him. Stashed off to the right hand side of the bench lay a re-built lightsaber hilt he had previously requisitioned from the Herald prior to this whole debacle, a crisp Jian-Dao hilt with a bright white kyber crystal. He had enforced his will upon the blade, binding it to his will so that it would obey his commands.

Spread out over the remainder of the two meter bench were obsidian casings, red and dark chrome switches and sharp obsidian furnishings, an emitter matrix, cycling matrixes, and the other necessary components for for lightsaber construction. He had located these parts and components long ago, but had for the longest time relied on the Herald’s masterwork. In conjunction with his learning in Jar’Kai, he required another blade to work with.

As the Dathomirian set-out to work, he concentrated deeply and employed his telekinetic abilities in the construction of his new blade, even going so far as to use a slight Mecha-Deru effect to forge an unbreakable link between the two. As the obsidian and chrome came together to become one hilt, a translucent Kyber crystal with a faint white glow had been inserted inside. As the crystal became perfectly aligned, the casing completed, he brought his new blade to life for the first time. A shimmering white blade roared to life from the emitter, it’s glow complementing and lighting the dark red chrome and black obsidian hilt from which it erupted.

Grabbing the hilt, he deactivated the weapon and placed both of his new hilts on his belt, nodding promptly. He was satisfied. Pulling a dark cloak around his body to obscure his form, he closed the room to his so called “workshop” and left the obsidian black Delta-class T-3 shuttle, locking the vessel behind him. It was time to get started.

Personal Quarters of Chief Inquisitor Ezrith Atsu
The Vengeance
Location Redacted

Part of the mostly luxurious room had been converted to a menacing torture chamber. Full of all sorts of gadgets, gizmos, and blades, a dark chair lie in the center and in it, a Taldryan. His hair obscured his face, and the Pantoran stood before him.

“You have been quite reluctant thus far,” he mused, staring down the shackled man, “No longer. You will reveal to me what you know.”

Atsu raised one hand gingerly, blue bolts of electricity dancing from his finger tips and assaulting the Taldryan in the chair. Screams filled the room as the tortured soul cried - having never been the subject of such pain. As the onslaught of Force Lightning subsided Ezrith grabbed the smoking traitor by his scruffy hair and pulled him back up.

“ALRIGHT! I’ll tell you!” he squealed, and the Inquisitor smiled. Although devastating, lightning had a dramatic effect on a persons will. As he divulged all of the information he knew, pain having throbbed constantly over his smouldering flesh, the Pantoran took in the information being fed to him.

“So Vodo Taldrya, you say?” he mummed, releasing the Taldryan from the shackles of the torture chair. As he fell forward and onto the floor, he gingerly raised his head to the Inquisitor towering above him, nodding. That was who he had identified, to be the leader of this movement. The one that had led to the recent assault on Iron Legion assets. The Chief Inquisitor had always known that Taldryan had been connected somehow, and soon he would be able to prove to the Justicar just how traitorous they were.

Sneering greatly, the Inquisitor reached for his belt and activated his crimson blade, bringing it down on the Taldryan’s neck and severing his head from it’s body.


Location Redacted
Somewhere in the Outer Rim
Aboard Dark Prophet II

The rhythmic sounds of heart monitors pulsing in sync with their attached bodies filled the sterile room. The lone Taldryan Consul stood in the middle of the room inspecting the charts of the patients around him. In a rare moment of solitude the Chiss let out a sigh of exasperation. He needed solace from the command bridge, so he turned to his medical profession to help calm his mind.

Having ordered the rest of the medical staff away, Rhylance inspected their work on the injured Taldryan clansmen. He had to hold a mocking laugh as he noticed several errors on their parts, though he also knew that these mistakes may simply be the result of nonstop labor. Out of the corner of his eye Rhylance saw the door that led to his personal medical ward, where the comatose body of Kenath Zoron lay. A smirk threatened to crack his face as he remembered his cruelty towards the Proconsul.

“Everything is running as smoothly as I have predicted. It was all possible because of you.”

“Talking to yourself?”

Rhylance jerked around at the sound of a woman’s voice. His molten red eyes burned into the lapis blue orbs belonging to Zasati Tryezsh. Upon initial examination, she was in rough shape. From the apparent bruising the he could see along her arms and the bloody gash that adorned her head, the Chiss had seen the half-Hapan in better shape not too long ago. This told him that her wounds were recently given. As he continued admiring the work someone had done on her, the Chiss’s gaze met with the stump that once connected to a forearm.

“Well, well, what happened to you? It would appear someone used you as a training droid.”

Zasati was clearly in pain as she sauntered forward, special care being taken when putting weight on her right leg. Upon Closer examination, Rhylance found himself feeling some small amount of pity for the woman. Her elegant dress was nearly in tatters.

“You’re not wrong, Lord Rhylance. I am in need of medical care. And if it’s you who will be my doctor, special care could be earned yourself.”

Rhylance merely smirked at the lewd request. He respected Zasati’s ability to keep up her persona even when he could clearly see that she was in debilitating pain. The question he asked himself, who was responsible for this?

“Come with me Zasati. I can patch you up in my personal ward.” The Chiss told her holding out his hand.

Taking his hand the Hunter followed her Consul to a sealed door. She watched as he typed in an access code, and the door slid open with a loud hiss. On the other side of the door was a pristine clean med bay with only one inhabitant. She could tell that the comatose man was of some importance based on the state of the equipment around him. Rhylance led Zasati to a metal table, and after setting a warm blanket over-top, he had her lay down.

“I will leave for a moment, I need you to remove the dress and put these on,” The Chiss ordered handing her a set of med bay attire. “It will make my job here much easier.”

With that Rhylance walked back to the door before turning back to face Zasati.

“I have an idea as to who did this too you. If I’m correct, I’ll have some questions that need answering. Were i you, i would answer them truthfully. After all I am going to be operating on you. We wouldn’t want any…misfortune to befall someone as beautiful as you are, would we?”

“So long as your hands are working on me, I’ll tell you whatever you want.” Zasati said weakly as she grabbed the new attire.

“I assume this was Vodo’s doing?”

“What gave it away, Consul?” Anger, Rage, Hatred; they all flashed through her eyes at the sound of her old Master’s name.

“I have eyes all across this vessel. I may not have the Force on my side, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that leaves me powerless. Knowledge is what wins wars, my pet.” Rhylance responded with a feral grin.

“And what knowledge do you seek?”

“Who is responsible for the Inquisitors finding our location, and how did this come to pass?”


Zasati welcomed the table. Despite her best efforts to keep up airs, she was utterly exhausted. Every inch of her screamed. She had yet to come to terms with the recent events; hot white anger burned inside her. Nevertheless, she let herself smile wantonly at the Chiss as she gently touched the folded attire beside her. He understood and left without another word.

Despite her condition, she still managed to don the medical gown with relative grace. Others could say what they would about her profession; it had its advantages. After all, not many could dress one-handed and sore beyond reason. Thoughts interrupted, Zasati felt the Consul’s approach before he entered the chamber. The door hissed closed.

“Welcome back, Blue," she spoke softly. Her eyes fixed on the articulated lights above her.
If the endearment had phased him, he hid it exceptionally well. The Chiss adjusted his glasses and made his way to the nearby washing station. He was rather pleased with the events. His recent endeavors in the investigation of the Old Guard had proven futile. Vodo was as elusive as ever. In her current state, Tryezsh could be exceptionally useful to him.

Unmoving beneath the bright lights, she spoke suddenly, “To answer your question: Anubis Annedu, the glorious prince.” Her sarcasm was sour. She’d sing like an Ivuur songbird if it meant revenge. She watched as Rhylance returned to her side and set down a tray of various medical instruments. “I defied my Master,” she paused- a wince escaped her as he slipped a needle into a vein. Rhylance glanced up, a simple request that she carry on. “I killed Annedu- for betraying the Clan.” It was a half-truth, but she couldn’t bring herself to admit the real reason she’d attacked the Lorrdian.

“And this,” he made a sweeping gesture. “Is this how your Master reprimands you?” The half-Hapan was easier to read than she had been in the past. She was completely unguarded, and he would use that to his advantage. The Consul smirked. What a fool Vodo was to leave her unattended in the Med Bay. Rhylance took her chin and gingerly turned her head to better marvel at the gash across her temple.

She closed her eyes, struggling to keep composure. “Will it scar?” A faint orange rolled across her tattoo, hesitation in her voice.

“It is likely,” he lied, watching as her lips tightened with suppressed anger. Much to his chagrin, however, she didn’t speak.

The two existed for a long while in the quietness. Zasati watched his cold blue hands as they effortlessly moved a bandage over her thigh. Zasati wondered if he could take on the Old Guard.

The movement was growing quickly, discord setting in like infection. Soon, she would have to decide which side she stood on.

He began on her arm, preparing it for a cybernetic replacement. As he worked, he noticed the woman struggled to concentrate. “Zasati?” His summons drew her back to the room.


Rhylance stopped for a moment, tools poised above her severed arm. “You’re an intelligent woman, Zasati,” he praised. “I believe we have an understanding.” He looked down at her, molten ruby eyes burning.

The half-Hapan knew exactly what information he wanted from her. There was no need for games. She raised a slender brow quizzically. “I know you’re skilled… with your hands,” she purred, skirting around his statement. “But think of the position you’d put me in.”

He grinned and returned to his work. “Better in my hands than his, yes?”

She leaned back, closing her eyes. “Yes, we have an understanding, Blue,” she smiled weakly, finally giving into rest.


The man’s blue head wove through the air before the battered prisoner. He ensured his body never blocked the view of the prisoner for his audience. Azrith Etsu dragged a hand carelessly across the woman’s broken face as he passed behind her. She was still alive, judging by her involuntary kick of a restrained foot a snorting-grunt of pain. The resolution of the holoimage was too little to display in detail all that had been brutalized upon her but it was still good enough that all could see she only had the one foot and while one arm was restrained to an armrest in the Inquisitor’s reclining couch the other ended above the elbow and was allowed waggle as she fought and struggled.

The Summit, such as it was, was gathered around the command projector on the Cruiser’s bridge and they watched silently. The Inquisitor turned to the recording device and gestured to his prisoner, “This Knight was captured attempting to enter Antei’s local space with a large load of explosives found aboard her vessel. She was handed over at my request, that I might extract a location from her—your location.

“She did that easily enough but she continues to serve a valuable purpose. You see, she, and ten others like her that I hold aboard this Destroyer”, Azrith made mention of the Vengeance which pursued Clan Taldryan still, “Everytime you evade my task force and escape to Hyperspace I relieve a bit of my frustration on her. I’m afraid your last escape left me wroth.”

The Panadarain leaned down and patted the woman’s leg with the missing foot which provoked a squeal of pain from her as he continued, “So I propose this: Run if you will and I will slowly kill your clanmates in my custody and ensure that the holonet is filled with the recording or present yourself to my justice and I promise their end, and yours, will be swift and painless.”

With that the projection ended leaving Rhylance and Vodo and the few others in darkness. Someone cut the bridge lights back in and they rose slowly to normal illumination from their dimmed state. Vodo stared at the blank projector and weighed the woman’s life in his mind. She was a necessary sacrifice on his road to rule but that didn’t mean he didn’t lament her loss. They’d suffered so many losses as it was since the attack. It had only been days, shorts weeks, since then and the pain was still so raw.

“We must rescue them”, Vodo heard the words but it took him a moment to recognize them as his own.
Commander Rhylance looked at him quixotically, “I already told you we were not going to fight the Iron Throne Navy.”
Vodo looked the Chiss man square in his red eyes, “Then give me leave to attempt the rescue. If I fail you’ll be rid of me.”

If the Consul worked out the implied, unheard, threat of returning victorious he revealed nothing on his face or through the Force, “Who would you take? We cannot spare any Marines.”

“I’ll take Mortetior. I understand he’s a capable Battlemaster”, The Twi’lek folded his arms across his chest, burying them in the spacious sleeve folds of his over robe.

Rhylance’s eyes studied Vodo, flitting to and fro, “So be it. But you’ll take your own ship. We’re jumping to Point Resh within the hour and we’ll hold position there for 10hrs unless we hear from you or the Vengeance comes upon us.”

The Warlord bowed his head and turned on his heel and stalked away from the bridge. He dug the comlink at his waist out and thumbed the newest code he’d programmed into it, “Mortetior, meet me at my shuttle.”


As Vodo left the the bridge Xander gently slipped out of the chair he had been occupying. He had disguised himself as a communications officers and had surreptitiously listened into the conversation while slicing through the system to find other information he had been looking for. He followed the Tw’i’lek down the hall making no real attempt at stealth.

“What you want” the Twi’lek said tersely without looking over his shoulder.

Xander smirked as he intently watched the Warlord. Anger seemed to constantly emit from him, like the blaze of a blazing flame. “I heard that you planned on a rescue mission and I wished to offer my services to aid you in your quest”.

Biask turned and eyed Xander. Xander was wearing the typical uniform of a communications officer aboard the ship. However, a glimmer of recognition seemed to enter the mans eye.

Xander waited patiently for the man’s reply. He had watched the man previously when he had collected his errant pupil. Xander also had a familiarity with the man from his time as the Praetor to the previous Grand Master. He had never really spoken to the man at any specific length, but he knew the man was not one to be trifled with. However, at Xander was really not a fan of a non-force user being in charge of his clan and was eager to do anything to thumb his nose at that mans supposed authority.


Mortetior left The Ravager, locking the access door to the old, yet obsidian-black and pristine Delta-class T-3c shuttle behind him. His metal feet clanged against the boarding ramp as he departed, a constant reminder of his debilitating injury from the past. Momentarily, he boarded Biask’s command shuttle, looking about the lounge area as he entered. It had been converted back from the luxurious dinner setting he had seen during his previous visit, to its norm.

Inside, both Vodo and Anderson waited patiently; Vodo having taken a seat in in his swiveling chair behind his dark wooden desk, while the Savant sat upright on the sofa several meters away. The former Praetor to Ashen had changed out of the comm officer uniform, instead wearing his traditional garb; standard issue Fog robes with black boots and striped pants, a functional white dress shirt with a purple tie and grey vest worn overtop.

Nodding to the two individuals, the Battlemaster stood idly for a moment as he took in what they were about to do. He didn’t fear death; he loathed the idea of it.

“Are we ready then, gentlemen?” Vodo quipped, folding his arms. Both accompanying individuals in the lounge area nodded, Vodo motioning the Zabrak to the cockpit. “Instruct the pilot droid to bring us back to Karufr, and we’ll prep a broadcast. Atsu will come for us.”

Mortetior’s mechanical legs carried him to the cockpit where he provided the necessary instructions to the piloting droid, who secured the clearance from hangar bay staff to disembark from the Dark Prophet II. The repulsorlift engines whined to life momentarily, the craft pushing off of the floor and drifting from the hangar. It wasn’t long before the wings deployed and the hyperdrive fired, the craft hitting hyperspace a few seconds later.

In Orbit
Kr’Tal System

As soon as the vessel left hyperspace, the predetermined communication fired off immediately as an open broadcast.

“This is Vodo Biask Taldrya, currently stationed in orbit over the Taldryan homeland. Your move, Atsu.” The words were strong, defiant. The Twi’lek knew as his own voice rang through even the Karufr Knight that the call would not go unanswered; after all, Taldryan was being hunted across the galaxy and the Taldrya were the clan’s blood.

Moments later, the hulking Star Destroyer boomed from hyperspace and the command shuttle’s klaxons perforated the ears of the three Equites on board. Mortetior stood inside the shuttle’s cockpit, barking back to the lounge area where the remaining two Taldryan had moved to their feet. “They’re locking onto us!”

Vodo sneered, placing a hand on his desk to steady himself and prepare for impact while Alexander stood by the bar with a drink in hand. Seconds passed before the ship was rocked with cannon fire, shaking violently. All three men were thrown about the vessel, Alexander hitting his head against the desk and falling to a knee. Biask and Mortetior fared slightly better, their metal legs helping to stabilize them.


Karufr Knight
Kr’Tal System

The Upsilon Shuttle shuddered with each successive hit by the approaching warship’s turbolasers. Ornaments fell from their shelves as Alexander tried to climb to his feet, the crystal glass that had been in his hand forgotten (Vodo compulsively noted that it had not shattered), but the cabin was shaking too violently for him to do so. The ship’s improved shielding proved resilient, though the lights flickered each time they were struck and with worrying intensity. As suddenly as it began the assault ended.

“I believe they’ve decided to take us alive”, Anderson climbed at last to his feet and dusted his trousers off, smoothing their wrinkles.

Their shuttle shuddered, less violently this time, and there was a momentary feeling of lateral moment before the inertial compensators kicked in. Vodo looked at his two accomplices, “Tractor beam.”

The Vengeance was practically atop the Karufr Knight within a minute and began to tuck the small painted shuttle into its lateral hangar bay. The invisible tractor beams pulled it into the ship’s atmospheric containment shield and set it down among a cleared, tiled, deck as a gathering number of Iron Legionnaires gathered. The three slipped from the shuttle’s rear airlock as soon as they passed through the AirCon shielding, unseen, hidden by Vodo’s illusive magics. Swiftly the three Sith quit the Hangar and found themselves in an empty control room. They watched as the Stormtroopers surrounded the Karufr Knight, their weapons drawn at the ready, and made to breach it. Vodo watched with hard eyes, prepared to mark the first one to damage his ship for a fate worse than death.

“What’s our plan?” Mortetior’s voice was a forced whisper.

He stood beside Vodo at the deck-level one-way view window overlooking the operation, “I can sense our Clanmaters in the Detention Block forward of here. You and Anderson will make your way there and rescue as many as you can manage.”

Alexander moved up beside them, “And you?”

Vodo pursed his lips tightly for a moment, “I will draw the Inquisitor’s attention away from you.”

No one said a thing. Mortetior broke the silence by dropping a hand on the Warlord’s shoulder, “We’ll come for you if we can manage. Taldryan needs you.”

RSD Vengeance
Level 27 Passage 2A
Kr’Tal System

Alexander moved, light upon his feet, an unignited lightsaber in his hand. Mortetior strolled a few minutes back from him, his talons making him slightly less stealthy than the oddly casually dressed Alderaanean man. The ship was oddly quiet and empty which had the two Equites on edge.

“Where’s the welcoming party? They have to know we’re aboard since we weren’t on the shuttle”, Alexander remarked more to himself than the imposing Zabrak following him.

Mortetior came even with the Dark Jedi and stood at the juncture of Passage 2A with Access Corridor 1-12b, “You can’t feel it?”

“Feet what?”, the question was hardly out of Alexander’s mouth when he felt it.

A premonition of extreme danger.

From the next juncture up their passage came two tall, blocky humanoid shapes. Their glowing red photoreceptors, even at 20 meters, clearly identified them as YVH-2 Battle Droids. Both men dove into the crossing corridor for covered, narrowly avoiding the scarlet torrent of blaster energy that cascaded their way shortly after.

“Frell! Where’d they come fom?”, Mortetior growled through gritted teeth. He took his second lightsaber into hand, “You ready?”

“For what? A frontal assault?”, the man’s disbelieving smile peeved the Nightbrother but Alexander continued, “Nothing says we have to go up that way? Come.”

Alexander scrambled to his feet and started jogging down Corridor 1-12b.

RSD Vengeance
Level 32 Passage 94
Kr’Tal System

Vodo skulked the ship like a phantom, claiming lives of the poor unfortunates that wandered across his hauntings. He left a trail of body parts behind him, dispatching the crewmen and women by piercing vital organs with his saber, by removing their heads or crushing their ribcages with his talons, or by telekinetically hurling them into bulkheads and each other. Occassionally he’d allow one to live to report back to his superiors. Vodo wanted all eyes on him. He was here to draw all of their attention but it ran deeper than giving Anderson and Mortetior time: it was about making a stand for Taldryan. It was about firmly affixing his name to the fight against Jac Cotelin, about drawing a line in the sand and daring anyone to step across it.

Vodo could feel him astern. He burned with a brilliance that astounded the Warlord. The Inquisitor was truly powerful and he knew Vodo was here. He beckoned, lead him onward with a crooked finger as though he would find some tempting treat at the end of this path. Azrith Etsu was cocky, he was sure of his abilities and confident in his ability to take any one Taldryan threw at him, Vodo was sure of it. The man’s mirth, his eagerness attested to it and the taunt of it inflamed the Twi’lek. He would make his name on that man’s back.


RSD Vengeance
Corridor 1-12b

The diminutive man glided down the corridor silently. His mind raced through the possibilities as they put distance between themselves and the droids. Usually he avoided doing things this way. He preferred a more stealthy way to go about things. However, this was probably the best way to go about things in this case. He stopped at a control panel and looked over his shoulder quickly.

“Keep an eye out please” he said as he quickly linked into the device and started looking up the quickest way to get to the prisoners. His finger drifted over the screen as he murmured to himself, then quickly punched up a fake signal in another corridor for the droids to be sent towards.

“What are you doing?” the Zabrak said tersely

“I am just creating a bit of a distraction, and finding the path of least resistance” Xander replied as they continued down the corridor and made a sharp turn and were greeted by a squad of soldiers who were running towards something in another direction. The two groups halted in front of each other , the soldiers frozen, eyes wide for a startled moment. Xander reached out to the universe and the force flowed in and around him like the embrace of a lover. The power made the hairs on his neck stand up as reached through his mind sending a message to his companion. A warning for the warrior to avert his eyes as Xander threw up his hand and a blinding flash of light emitted from his fist. He threw himself to the side as energy beams narrowly missed him.

The soldiers had been briefly disoriented but as the re-oriented themselves they were set upon by Mortetior. The man moved like a predator animal taking down it’s prey.


The well-dressed Savant focused his mind, placing a hand to his temple as he calmed his energies and allowed them to extend behind his body. The Alderaanian concentrated on the corridor and bodies within it, demoralizing the foes of the two Taldryans. The two pearly white blades of Mortetior’s Devorantem and Jian-Dao lightsaber hilts sprung to life with an appropriate snap-hiss as the dark metallic cybernetic legs carried him forward and into the path of the legionnaires.

Blaster bolts began to fly and vibroswords were drawn as the Battlemaster confronted the men, lightsaber swinging viciously. He deflected the first volley of fire as he entered the center of the group, bringing his obsidian lightsaber down vertically through a soldier’s head as his most right companion had the Jian-Dao’s blade inserted directly into her sternum. Both the man and woman fell promptly to the metal floor of the destroyer as three of their companions lashed out with their vibroswords.

Xander had continued to focus intently on his meditation, attempting to ensure that the Battlemaster’s will overcame those of the remaining five troopers in the squad that was upon them. As the Zabrak was re-engaged, two blades came down on opposite sides while one of the troopers had taken the place of the two that had fallen directly in front. The Sith deftly severed the two side-incoming blades from their hilts using his advanced proficiency in Jar’Kai, while his left leg reached out and latched onto the uniform of the man directly in front of him, taking the legionnaire by surprise.

Extending the mechanical appendage as quickly as possible and releasing once at his maximum reach, the force of the throw sent the soldier tumbling to his back and provided Mortetior with a bit of breathing room to decimate the two at his side. As his hatred for what the Iron Throne had done flared to life and seethed, the Sith extended his reach to the two men and twisted both hands sideways, simultaneously snapping both of their necks using Telekinesis

The three remaining troopers looked in dismay as their comrades fell, their life flashing before their eyes and their morality dwindling hopelessly. The other female in the squad, placed behind Mortetior, shifted her attention to Anderson who for the most part had been forgotten about while the half-machine tore through the squadron almost effortlessly.

Taking quick aim with the rifle on her hands, she fired a shot of superheated plasma towards the human crouching down further in the corridor. Whether it was pure luck or a misaligned barrel, who knows, the blast from the rifle narrowly missed Xander’s head; singing the metal plating of the wall beside him. Mortetior looked back, snarling at his accompanying Taldryan with disdain of the man’s rigidity.

“Anderson, move you fool!”

The former Praetor’s concentration broke simultaneously, and he lunged forth thumbing the activation switch of his own lightsaber. The male solider that the Nightbrother had previously thrown had risen to his feet, the legionnaire’s last ditch effort to take down the Sith; charging him with the intent of tackling him to the ground. Mortetior paid little attention to the other troopers behind him, believing that Xander would sufficiently take care of them.

As the Iron Throne follower came within a few meters of Mortetior, the Zabrak brandished his blades and lunged. Bringing Devorantem up horizontally, the the two bodies passed by each other and the armoured head of the trooper rolled from it’s neck and dropped to the floor with a clang. When he turned his back once more, he witnessed his clan mate finish his charge. He shoved his lightsaber blade into the bulbous chestplate of the female soldier, pressing the activation button and launching his amethyst blade into her chest while shifting his weight and dragging it across her body and into her comrade.

The trooper had been in the process of firing on the Sith, scoring a hit and sending pain into the Zabrak’s left shoulder blade. He felt the plasma singe and burn through his skin, turning to face them. Their feet sustained them momentarily, before both dropped lifelessly after the Savant’s purple blade rippled through their chests and deactivated promptly.

The two Taldryans continued onward, encountering little resistance until they reached the detention level.


RSD Vengeance
Level 40 Passage 92
Kr’Tal System

The blast doors before him remained closed. It didn’t matter how many times he swatted at the control panel the thick, heavyset doors wouldn’t budge. This was the outer perimeter of the ship’s Citadel. Every warship had but the bigger ships had bigger, more impressive ones. The Citadel was an up-armored part of the Vengeance, separated from the rest of the ship by thick bulkheads, blast doors, independent life support and medical facilities. In the event of a catastrophic accident the Citadel could house the majority of the crew while in boarding actions the crew could fall back to here and use the Citadel has a hold out. In Imperial and Imperial style ships the Citadel often began at the roots of the command superstructure, inside the hull, and encompassed engineering, command, and the communications sections to make sure that even in the worst of breaches, the ship could still shoot and scoot.

Vodo felt the burning presence of the Inquisitor he hunted above him. At this point he was almost directly beneath the ship’s command structure and Azrith Etsu sat up there waiting for him. Up till now he’d done little to impede his progress but for some reason the Inquisitor kept these damned blast doors sealed against him.

“Open the doors you Hutt!”, Vodo snarled, leveled his concentration on the seam between the two durasteel plate doors.
The reply stunned Vodo for a second, “I was merely waiting for you to ask, Biask. I’ve eagerly awaited you.”

The doors began to part slowly, too slowly for Vodo’s taste, so he made a wrench motion with both of his hands and the doors groaned on their tracks as they began to open that much more quickly. With a jarring, jamming noise both doors seized at the same time and refused to open any further leaving Vodo more than enough room to stroll between them. There was no squad of Legionnaires awaiting on the other side, only a silver protocol droid.

“I am VeeDee 21-Oh. I will take you to my Master, Chief Inquisitor Estu”, the droid gestured in the stiff, wooden way the all did before leading him a short ways away to a bank of turbolifts, “My Master awaits you on Level 87 in his Meditation Room.”

Vodo sized the droid up before entering the lift, “You aren’t coming?”

“Oh no, Master Biask. I have much more important duties to attend to right now”, VeeDee turned on its heel and hobbled away.

The Warlord would never understand droids or most of the Galaxy’s infatuation with them. The lift doors closed before him when he pressed the panel for Level 87 and waited patiently. When the doors opened it was upon a polished black deck, chrome and bronze gilt wall hangings, and potted plants of all things. It was like stepping off a warship’s turbolift into a high end Coruscanti office building. The lift doors sealed with a hushed whisper behind him as he stepped out onto the deck and waited. From behind two columns appeared two different armored men. One was tall and broadshouldered, wearing a faded deep blue set of Mandolorian Death Watch armor while the other was shorter by a hand but just as wide in the shoulders. He wore the latest model KraytSkin Level III armor but no helmet.

It was the short one that spoke, “The Inquisitor will see you.”

He gestured down the corridor with his gauntleted hand, his other clutching a heavy blaster pistol before him where it had been concealed by hand the other hand. Vodo studied the two men momentarily before proceeding. Neither armored man made a move on him as passed by they closed rank behind him and escorted him to the ornate doors at the end of the hall. The doors opened without hesitation revealing a rather spacious chamber beyond.

The Inquisitor was sitting in a chair before a 10m wide decagonal view plate. The high, vaulted roof and the wide, column lined, floor lent this room a more voluminous feel than Vodo had ever experienced aboard a warship. Everything was bathed in blacks and reds, lit by the flicker of torches mounted in sconces upon the columns. Etsu had a flare for the dramatic, Vodo sneered inwardly. The chair swiveled around slowly revealing a blue skinned man lounging carelessly.

Vodo could feel the Panadarian’s strength in full now and that gave him pause. Azrith rose from his chair and descended the two steps of the raised dais to approach Vodo, “I’ve been thinking about you much these last days Vodo Biask Taldrya.”

Vodo made to take a step forward but the man in the blue armor rested a gauntleted hand on his shoulder, “You’ll stay here.”

Looking over his shoulder at the man’s T-visor he could sense nothing, “You’ll remove your hand before I do.”

When the man made no reply but instead tightened his grip Vodo reacted. His saber ignited, spurring the shorter man to action. Vodo turned to him and planted his taloned foot in the center of the KraytSkin cuirass while he swept his saber hilt up and around the back his head. The white-red saber swept across where the other man’s gauntlet had been. The man with the Blue Armor was fast and had leapt backward, raising his heavy blaster. He leveled the weapon and fired but the bolt caught on the sweeping saber and redirected into the center of the Mandalorian helm’s forehead. The shorter man had flown backward 2 meters with the force of Vodo’s kick and had struck a vertical column there with a thud. He was in the process of raising his own weapon when Vodo lunged forward and brought his saber down from behind his head in an overhead cleave. The Warlord’s weapon buried itself in the column as it descended, slowing just enough that the short man was able to dive out of the way.

Blue shook his head several times, the distinct blister of a recent blaster strike stood out upon his weathered armor but he did not appear to be harmed. Vodo stomped out at the short man with his right foot and grasped at his legs as he attempted to scurry away. His talons closed on an ankle and anchored it there. Vodo swept his blade through the limb effortlessly reducing the man’s combat effectiveness enough that he might concentrate on the taller on. That proved beneficial. With a roar Blue charged the Twi’lek and crashed into him. They dropped to the floor with the armored man atop him, his legs to either side of Vodo’s hips. From this position the man rained armored fists down on the Sith. Vodo growled with the effort of lending his hands and arms the strength of the Dark Side. He absorbed the blows on his forearms and hands, weathering the assault as he attempted to strike the man with his legs.

A lucky strike sailed past his defense. A blue gauntlet slammed into Vodo’s nose, its momentum driving his skull back into the hard deck. His head rang but a primal voice yelled for him to react. Vodo roared. The man in the blue armor flew off him, striking the ceiling with a crack, and fell back to the floor beside him. He scrambled to his feet, calling his saber to his hand. Blue, to his credit, wasted no time himself in trying to get to his feet. It wasn’t swift enough. A metal foot chopped him in the ribs, flipping him over onto his back. The man stared up through his T-Visor at the tip of the white-red saber blade’s point descending towards him. A yelp of surprise was cut off as Vodo used his body weight to press his saber into the man’s helm, killing him. He reached out, felt the panicked and bleeding shorter armored man, and grasped at his throat through the Force. The man’s panting and moaning through gritted teeth turned to gurgles of strangled breathing. The man flailed, his hands attempting to loosen the gorget at this throat but it was in vain and he soon passed from consciousness.

Panting heavily, his ears still ringing, Vodo stood erect and presented his hard eyes to the Inquisitor. Azrith stood, seemingly unthreatened, with a smile of enjoyment upon his blue face. Azrith unfolded his crossed arms and a silver light saber hilt slid into it.


RSD Vengeance
Detention Center
Kr’tal system

The two force users arrived at the door of the detention center. The door was a standard secure door. Xander panted lightly as they eyes the door. He hadn’t really run anywhere in a long time and while he wasn’t completely out of shape, Moterior was in a little better shape than he was. Actually, a part of the Alderaanian was surprised that his lightsaber even still worked. He often avoided using it. Xander hit the button to open the door and it chirped requiring an access code

The door was made of thick durasteel material to prevent people from breaking out, and was positioned to allowed forces to take it over if something were to happen. The Zabrak ignited his saber and started walking towards the door as if he were going to cut through it.

“Wait!” Xander said to the man. “What are you doing?”

“Breaking the prisoners free! This is a rescue mission!” Mortetior responded.

Xander pulled up two security access cards he had taken off the guards they had just killed “You know, normally I would have suggested we steal those previous guards clothes and pretended to be guards. But in the least lets try these”. He pulled up the first access card on the door, it chirped and opened. He fiddled around with the control panel, finding the controls for the lights as he went.

“Lovely” Xander murmured to himself, and peaked around the corner. The detention center was the normal detention center of a ship of the size. A center command area sat in a rectangular shape. The the walls of the door were lined by different cells which held people in them with force fields in place to imprison the people within. A cluster of computers sat in the middle where guards monitored the prisoners and worked on computers. The walls and floor were simple and free of any decoration of adornment. It was obvious that the purpose of the room was to hold prisoners, and provide the guards with what they needed to efficiently if boringly do their jobs.

Inside a number of guards sat monitoring the prisoners, eating, and talking about the disturbance the computer had said. They appeared to be quiet interested in something that was going on at another level, Xander heard the word intruder mentioned. Motioning over to his companion Xander signaled that seven guards were inside. He waited before the lights in the room flickered off to enter the room lightsabers ignited.


The Dathomirian and Alderaanian lunged into the room, going to work on the soldiers and officers within. Mortetior had promptly ignited both of his white blades, lancing out with vicious intent against the Iron Legionnaires and naval officers. He employed an increasingly improved form with Jar’Kai, while the Shadow stalked his prey.

With the lights having been sliced by Anderson, a near total darkness had eclipsed the area save for the glow of terminal screens, the cell fields, the Zabrak’s pearly white blades and occasional flash and deactivation of Xander’s purple blade; the man preferring to work in the shadows and cover of darkness. The detention personnel were quickly dispatched by the two Taldryans, some of the prisoners taking watch at the flashes of the blades in the inner chamber. When the battle concluded, Xander reached for one of the terminals and began tapping away, bringing the lights back online in short order.

He acquired the cell records, locating which in this detention area were their clanmates. Thankfully, all ten were in this single detention area. The Zabrak and Human spoke little words to each other as Xander tapped away at the terminal controls, looking to override the authorization code to unlock the cells. A couple of the Taldryans had began calling out, though a few were weary.

“Eye-el-tee-five-five-four, report.”

The external comlink attached to one of the fallen troopers, presumably the Iron Legionnaire ILT-554, resonated in the detention area. The room - and the cells, went completely silent. Mortetior moved, proceeding over to the fallen trooper and removing the comlink. Returning back to the center area, he tossed the comlink to his comrade who caught it deftly. Again, the modulated voice resonated in the room, “Eye-el-tee-five-five-four, report! This is detention command, the Taldryan shuttle was empty, have any prisoners been brought to your area?”

Xander smiled, clearing his throat and holding the comlink to his mouth, “Detention command, this is eye-el-tee-five-five-four. Nothing to report, no incoming prisoners.”

One of the captured Taldryans called out, “Who are you? Let us outta here,” and approached their force field. Nothing came back over the comm, and Xander lowered the ten fields he needed in good time. Some of the prisoners left their cells, while a few stayed behind. The fallen followers of the Iron Throne were looted for their weapons, some for their armours, as the battered and obviously tortured Taldryans geared up to leave.

“Vodo Biask Taldrya sends his regards,” boomed the dark-skinned Zabrak, having deactivated his lightsabers and taken a place in the center of the room. “He requires aid, but you are in no condition to give it… Make your way to the hanger bays, his shuttle lies there and we will be along shortly to help you get off this vessel.”

A few of the Taldryans, members of the clan for some time, murmured amongst themselves. Mortetior and Anderson were not well known within the brotherhood within a Brotherhood, with the former having just joined recently within the last few months and the latter having preferred to remain in the shadows.

“And why should we trust you?” quipped one, as the remainder of the ten captured left their cells.

“Yeah! We’ll be fine,” muttered another of the battered Dark Jedi, taking his leave with another at his side. Mortetior sneered for a moment, but shook his head. He too left the room, heading for the nearest turbolift nexus. Xander followed after his fellow operative for the rescue operation, determined to stick with him and gather as much intelligence on the skulky Zabrak as he could. Mortetior wouldn’t justify his motives to anyone.

The remainder of the eight Taldryans went the opposite direction of their two rescuers, heading for the hanger bays. The Nightbrother Techweaver and the Alderaanian Shadow however, made their way for their other comrade; Biask. The Taldrya by now should have confronted their Inquisitorius foe.


A double snap-hiss filled the room as Azrith Etsu ignited his saberstaff’s dual blades simultaneously. He held the weapon out before him, level and perpendicular to himself, in the form of a salute. Vodo flicked his lightsaber up, vertically before him, in a duelist’s salute in response. The Warlord began forward, gaining momentum and speed with each step. His cybernetic feet clanged loudly with every footfall. Azrith watched him approach and waited until Vodo was reaching striking range before spinning laterally out of the Warlord’s way. The Inquisitor’s crimson blade swept around to cleave the Twi’lek in half but the blade was met by Vodo’s own white blade. They didn’t lock sabers and instead flowed into a series of fast paced jabs and barbs, light chops and probing attacks.

The thrill of this fight filled Vodo. Fire pumped through his veins with the excitement of a worthy opponent. There was no room for thought: everything moved too quickly. All he could do was allow the Force to forewarn him of his adversary’s next blow, counter it, and try to turn it against him. The Saberstaff batted at the long hilted lightsaber in Vodo’s hands, the two unorthodox weapons wielded by masters of their respective forms. A gleeful smile crawled across his face as he found himself swept up in the tempo of the fight. For his part, Azrith too was smiling but his lacked Vodo’s mirth.

The Panarian and the Twi’lek broke apart and placed several meters distance between them. The first round had lasted less than thirty seconds but both men stood there, shoulders heaving with the effort of breathing. Etsu chuckled lightly as he began to pace back and forth several steps. His yellow eyes, flecked with red, nearly glowed in the dim chamber. Vodo’s own eyes shone brightly, more reflecting the ambient light than of any preternatural quality of their own, but he felt an electricity between them. It refused to allow him to break the Inquisitor’s gaze.

Roaring Vodo lunged in once more. He wielded his long saber before him like a pike driving its point here and there, this way and then that. He probed, tested, and forced the staff-wielder into a defense to which he was poorly suited. The Warlord was a tall man atop his cybernetic legs with a long reach and a long hilt. His blade jabbed and prodded at the Panarian who was forced to swat at the testing white blade impotently. Etsu gave ground as Vodo inexorably pressed his attack, flitting his white saber blade back and forth. He never let himself fall into a rhythm, never allowed Azrith to anticipate or plan to counter. Sometimes the tip came close to where it had jabbed before, other times it attacked as far away as he could manage. Sometimes he aimed for the Inquistor’s face, or his body, other times for limbs. Vodo even jabbed at empty air; it denied Azrith room to move and forced him to parry lest Vodo flicked the blade laterally to sweep it across his body lethally.

The primary disadvantage to wielding a two handed lightsaber was the constant need to keep both hands upon the weapon to control it. This limited the outward manifestations of the Force a fighter could wield. Vodo had trained for years to overcome this disadvantage by hitting his opponents hard and fast, giving them no time to extend a hand and force push him. Every time the blue skinned Panarian tried to put some distance between them to the Equite would press in to keep the space between them optimal for his form. Frustration and anger began to play across the Inquisitor visage as Vodo’s grin remained fixed and determined.

Sensing his time had come Vodo shifted strategies. His attacks began to change; where they had been light and probing, they now became pointed and direct. His speed increased and the Inquisitor worked harder to intercept each jab. When he connected he found Vodo’s white blade did not budge as easily and sometimes pirouetted around his crimson one unexpectedly coming dangerously close to finding purchase on flesh. Vodo kept this up continuing to press his opponent backward until Etsu’s back was mere meters from the wall at the rear of the chamber. With few options for movement available to his opponent Vodo sprung his trap. All at once the Warlord exploded with power and strength. His attacks became savage, imbued with the fury of the Dark Side. The abrupt change caught the Inquisitor unawares—the first blow, a downward stroke, knocked the Elder’s saberstaff nearly out of one hand.

The Rollmaster of Taldryan rained his blows, born of his study of Dun Moch, down upon the failing Inquisitor. Vodo would have his revenge upon Jac Cotelin and it would begin with this worm, this puppet of the Iron Throne and the Chamber of Justice. Vodo would return to Taldryan with this man’s head in his hand and he would toss it at the feet of the Consul. He was certain the hidden significance of the blue skinned face staring up at him would not be lost upon Rhylance. Azrith bared his teeth in a primal display of his struggle. Vodo’s attacks hammered into his lightsaber, beating him to one knee, preparing him for the Warlord’s coup de grace. He beat down on one side of the saberstaff, forcing it down and the other up. He quickly drew his own white saber, which glowed eerily red, over his shoulder and brought it down diagonally, aiming for the now exposed neck and shoulder of the Inquisitor.

A blast of blue-white lightning blasted into Vodo’s chest sending him sailing backward. He landed hard on his back, crushing a sensitive lekku beneath his mass as he landed in a crumple. His skull struck the ground not far from where the Mandalorian armored man lay growing cold. Etsu struggled to his feet, his chest heaving, and one hand still outstretched from under his defense where he held the saberstaff by the other. A dangerous sneer crawled across his face as he lanced another arc of Force Lightning at Vodo before he could recover. The attack danced across Vodo’s body, paralyzing his muscles and stringing at his nerves. Vodo cried in anguish, his scream filling the chamber. Azrith Etsu slowly shuffled forward, sending pulses of Lightning into his foe every couple steps though it clearly taxed his remaining stamina to do so.

“I’ve looked forward to your interrogation Biask”, Etsu gasped through deep breaths, “You and I will become well acquainted I think. And your two friends? If they survive I’ll allow them to watch before I begin to work on them!”


“I’ve looked forward to your interrogation Biask”, Etsu gasped through deep breaths, “You and I will become well acquainted I think. And your two friends? If they survive I’ll allow them to watch before I begin to work on them!”

Shadows cast a menacing palor over the Inquisitors face as Etsu slowly advanced upon the twi’’lek. Blue-white lightening crackled around the Panarian filling the air with a sulfurous smell. Suddenly the energy moved in an unanticipated direction and lanced out from a dark corner striking Azrith. The man was pushed back and brought to his knees. Out of the shadows stepped Mortetior guiding the lightning bolts from his lands.

A figure darted out from another dark corner and hauled Biask back to safety. “This is a shocking twist isn’t it?” commented Xander wryly. Vodo groaned either in pain, or as a reaction from the bad word play.

Etsu stood up and faced his three oponents. “So you’ve all come to one place. That’s good, it saves me the trouble of having to track you down.

Xander eyed the man warily estimating the mans power. It was obvious to him that he would not be abl to take the man on himself. However, by his estimation the man would not be a match to both himself and the Zabrak, let alone the three of them.

The inquisitor ignited his lightsabers and advanced upon the sith Battlemaster. With a shrug Xander made sure the injured Twi’lek was able to support his own weight before he let go of him and advanced upon the enemy. Xander reached as if going for his lightsaber. Then pulled out a blaster he had stolen from a guard and fired it, clipping the Inquisitor in the leg with an energy bolt.


Mortetiors’ two pearly white blades met the red produced from the saberstaff of the Inquisitor, sparks flying as the Zabrak’s might forced Etsu to throw one foot back - from his good leg - to prevent tumbling backwards. As the blades separated, Azrith pushed forward, twin blades dancing and meeting the Sith’s. He numbed the pain from Anderson’s blaster bolt using the Force, allowing zero expression to form - even though he had clearly felt the superheated plasma nearly eat through his leg.

After centering himself, Vodo too joined the fray with his fellow cybernetic-legged Taldryan, red blade jabbing and swinging from his own long-handle hilt. The three Dark Jedi performed what looked like a well choreographed dance, moving swiftly and elegantly as their devastating weapons swept through the air. Although the Nightbrothers range of motion in one arm had been temporarily reduced due to the blaster bolt he had taken to the shoulder, he performed adequately enough and managed to stay alive.

Xander looked for an opportunity to enter the fight, lightsaber hilt in his spare hand and thumb on the activation switch as he studied the group’s movements. The blaster had been slightly lowered, but he was still prepared to use it should the opportunity arise again. He just didn’t feel comfortable jumping in just yet against such a strong opponent, having had little fighting to do for years.

The Inquisitor roared, unleashing a blast of telekinetic energy outward from his position and knocking both mechanical legged men backwards - as they attempted to shift their weight to keep prime footing against Azrith. Attention focused strictly on the Warlord as he knew the Twi’lek to not be operating at mass efficiency following their previous duel, Etsu unleashed a lightsaber onslaught. He jabbed and twirled his blade side to side, bringing his saber staff to bear down on the single blade of his opponent.

The fighting closed on Muz Ashen’s former Praetor quickly, who quickly looked for a better vantage point to jump in on. As Vodo’s backswing came around, the blade narrowly missed Xander’s face, likely decapitating him should the blade have connected with flesh. Taking it as his queue to move, the Human rolled out of the way and took aim at the Elder. Unfortunately Mortetior had taken his place at Etsu’s backside with his own blades swinging, blocking any possibility of a clean shot. He grumbled.

Although both Equites jabbed and sliced with their advanced might against the Panarian, the Inquisitor’s exceptional prowess in athletic ability and lightsaber combat proved to be a match for the two. As he slipped out from between his two foes he twirled his saberstaff, striking at both of them. Mortetior managed to shimmy out of the way, although the red plasma blade clipped Vodo in the arm - leaving a diagonal scar directly across his bicep.

The Warlord roared as the blade burned and disintegrated the flesh in his arm, the cauterized wound and robes smoking slightly. At that moment, the room filled with the Inquisitor’s hatred as he unleashed everything he had on his foes, pure rage filling the air as his two blades deftly blocked and parried the three against him. It was at this point that Xander launched himself into the fight, joining with his fellow Taldryans.

With all three Equites upon him, the Elder was starting to lose the battle. The four-man duel continued for almost another full minute, before he became increasingly overwhelmed and suffered a few glancing blows - one of which had been caused by the mostly absent Anderson. The Panarian’s anger only increased, unleashing another telekinetic blast to push back his foes. Mortetior was the first to regain his footing and charged, bringing both blades down to bear on his opponent. The Zabrak had slipped up with his movement, and had inadvertently allowed the Chief Inquisitor to slip a hand inside his bubble and directly on his head.

“ENOUGH!” boomed Etsu, sending a horrifying, supercharged blast of lightning directly into the Dathomirian’s body. Superconducting electricity overloaded the half-machine’s nervous system, dropping him to the floor unconscious with a thud. As Azrith turned his attention back to the two remaining Dark Jedi, it was clear that they had already formed a plan.

Vodo unleashed his own telekinetic might, grabbing the Inquisitor by the legs and pulling swiftly towards him. As both feet were pulled out from underneath him, the Inquisitor fell - back of his head slamming into the metal floor of the room. Disorientated and confused, the Elder tried to push himself up, head throbbing intensely. A flash of light filled the room, disorientating him more and causing pain to flash throughout his skull.

By the time he was able to center his senses and numb the pain, the room was empty.


Azrith Etsu remained on the floor, panting with the exertion of the fight and his numerous injuries, seething with rage but also a sick sense of accomplishment. He hadn’t killed them, true, but he wouldn’t return to the Justicar empty handed. He’d flicked a small tracing beacon at the fleeing Taldryans, much like he’d done with the armored warrior he’d fought on Ortega, and would track them back to the Taldryan fleet once again. He reached for the com on his belt and issued orders for the Taldryans to be allowed to escape, but only just.

Vodo loped along behind Mortetior and Alexander. They retraced the trail of bodies and parts that led back to the hangar, occasionally fighting off small patrols of Legionnaires as they came across them. When they reached the access to the hangar they were surprised to see the crumpled forms of ship personnel and Iron Throne Legionnaires littering the deck around the Karufr Knight.

“The people we rescued sure did a number here, eh”, Xander’s voice was full of wonder and strangely chipper.

Vodo glanced over at the former Praetor and then Mortetior, “We need to get moving. Etsu won’t let us merely leave.”

The three sprinted across the hangar floor to the ramp of the Knight which lowered at Vodo’s approach. He flew up the ramp, encountering two muzzles pointing his way at the top. The Warlord gently nudged the blaster barrels aside with the Force, his eyes boring into the two, and was grateful they did not fire on him. The two Taldryans moved aside and helped usher Mortetior and Alexander aboard, keeping one eye out the hatch for anyone else coming or attacking. The ramp closed up behind them and the sound of repulsors began to whine as the drives cut in. Vodo cut a b-line for the cockpit and seated himself in one of the plush G-couches.

Vodo stared at the control panel before him for a moment; he knew how to fly the shuttle, of course, but his knowledge was rudimentary. It was why he’d paid the cost for the capable droid pilot brain but that droid wouldn’t be sufficient to fly them to safety whilst perused by the Vengeance and its fighter wings. Alexander poked his head into the cockpit and saw Vodo’s hesitation.

“You’re kidding me-- You can’t fly your own ship?”, He plopped into the other G-couch without invitation.

Anderson’s hands flew over control panels and switches and in moments the shuttle was rising from the deck plating. The shuttle jolted to a stop in the air, apparently tethered by a tractor beam that had engaged to grab the escaping Taldryans. Vodo called up the weapons controls and started working blaster fire around the hangar bay. Cargo boxes exploded, wall paneling warped and disintegrated, and smoke began to fill the expanse of the bay. Within seconds Vodo had nailed the tractor emitter and the Alexander had the throttles rammed to their stops.

As soon as the shuttle left the atmospheric containment shielding the acceleration began to gently push Vodo into his seat until the inertial dampers could adjust. His screens came alive with alert messages soon after. He counted four TIE Fighters, Defender models, launching in pursuit of the Karufr Knight as the massive bulk of the Vengeance shifted to pursue as well. Flicking a switch Vodo activated the shipboard com.

“Mortetior, jump on the rear turret. We’ll have company soon”, Vodo looked over his shoulder at Alexander, “How long until you can get us into Hyperspace?”

Alexander’s lips pursed, “Not before they’re on top of us.”

“Activate the Electronic Warfare Suite; we can at least keep them from talking to each other.” Vodo’s hand played across his own controls preparing to activate his one other trump card.

The Defenders screamed in at the Shuttle, breaking off into pairs so they could attack from either side. Mortetior fired at the pair approaching the starboard side from his place in the turret. The few shots that struck home fizzled against the superiority fighters’ shields. As they returned fire Vodo activated his trump card; a special generator began to hum loudly and the shield output strength tripled. The impacting laser bolts hardly rattled the Karufr Knight at all. Vodo could feel the surprise of the pilots outside and was pleased when he felt one of them wink out of existence.

“Got one”, Mortetior’s raspy voice announced over the com.

“Don’t get cocky, we need 30 more seconds to get to hyperspace”, Alexander said through gritted teeth.

Vodo deactivated the special shields, returning power to the drive thrusters and hyperdrive, as the Defenders overshot them and came about for another run. One crossed before his field of fire, to that pilot’s misfortune, and exploded in a ball of flame as the shuttle’s four primary canons opened on him. Mortetior claimed one more before the shuttle jumped to Hyperspace with a hoot of celebration. Vodo relaxed into his G-couch and took a deep breath.

“Alexander”, his voice was low.

The man looked over at him expectantly, “Yeah?”
Vodo stood and made to leave the cockpit, “Thank you”.

Vodo joined Mortetior and the rescued Taldryans in the lounge. There were only five of them there, not counting the body of one more laid respectfully in the corner. Each of the men and women thanked him profusely, clasping hands with Mortetior and Alexander as well. They told their story, how they’d left the detention block with their weapons and had made for the hangar as they’d been told. No one had heard from the two who had gone off on their own and they’d lost a few more during the firefight to get into the Shuttle itself. Dresson, the dead Miraluka on the floor with his face covered by a dinner cloth, had suffered a shot between the shoulder blades as he’d run up the ramp and had died shortly after they’d sealed the ship again. Vodo listened solemnly and made sure each of his Clanmates felt his sympathy.

“How did you know to find us, Master Biask?”, one asked him.

The Rollmaster put on a serious face, not that anyone could tell the difference, and told them of the Inquisitor’s holonet threat, “Rhylance was resolute that Taldryan would do nothing. He committed himself, and the Clan, to watching each of you tortured to death. I argued with him at great length and, I suspect more to be rid of me than any great wish to see you all return alive, gave me leave to lead a mission to rescue you.”

The survivors, Mortetior, and Alexander stood there in stunned silence. None of them would know that Rhylance had given him permission at once, that there had been no debate, but it would play into Vodo’s hands nicely if every person here returned with a chip on their shoulder, “I’m proud of each of you for your valiant attempts to strike out at the Justicar and to avenge Taldryan, don’t let anyone take that fire in your heart from you. As an officer of the Clan Summit I cannot condone your activities publically but know that you act with my support and well wishes. You are Taldryan’s Old Guard: you are the defenders of its flame, its glory, and its honor. Of your friends that still live, feel them out, and bring them into your trust. Act with secrecy and keep your actions secret from even each other, lest we be used again against one-another.”

Vodo was now pacing pensively before his small, ad-hoc audience, “I will pardon your actions, the ones that got you caught, and plead before the Consul on your behalf. I promise you all: I will not leave you behind. Ever.”

The survivors cheered, clapping each other on the back, shaking hands, and generally celebrating their good fortune. Vodo stood stoically before them, ignoring the rather amused looks on Alexander and Mortetior’s faces. Mortetior had pledged himself to Vodo’s cause and had done well in proving himself in their short acquaintance but it would be a long time before he could bring himself to trust the man. Alexander was more of a mystery to him and he would need to keep an eye on the man. There was something strange about him that Vodo couldn’t quite put a finger on but he was grateful for his own rescue.

“Everyone get some rest. We’re going to take the long way home to make sure we don’t endanger the Fleet”, Vodo gave each of the Taldryans one last look before he walked to the aft of the lounge toward his personal cabin.

As he strode he accidentally tread across the sleeve of Mortetior’s over-robe, he’d taken it off moments earlier to stretch, and didn’t hear the small crunch of an electronic bug breaking.

END PRESENT ARMS - An Old Guard Run On