Intrusive, deafening, and quite annoying - a loud, drawn out buzz rang through the room. Fading in and out, prompting warning for anyone in the docking chamber to clear out to safety, the warning alarm continued for another fifteen seconds before the hatches were locked; sealing the chamber and fate of those foolish enough to be trapped inside. Immediately upon the locks’ activation, water began spilling into the chamber; pouring with such ferocity that the chamber, large enough to house a full sized shuttle, was quickly filled within a minute. Only Castle Tarentum could have such efficiency - a testament to past times and the marvels they had inspired.
A single maintenance viewport caught the action inside, while usually occupied by the crew chief or a traffic controller instead, for today, they had been replaced by Tarentum’s Rollmaster. The bearded, pale skinned man waited patiently for the water to climb the viewport and within the last few feet witnessed the viewport’s cover climb to lock in place as well so the chamber could pressurize. No matter how many times Farrin Xies witnessed the procedure, he couldn’t help feel slightly in awe of the fact that only a few feet of durasteel separated him from the depths of the ocean world of Yridia II.
Built on the ocean floor of Yridia II, Castle Tarentum was a product of architectural genius designed when Tarentum was in infancy as a House - a time before it had risen to Clanhood and then fallen back to House status. With three towers, one of which just barely broke the ocean’s surface, and a central keep; any Tarenti could take in the variety of aquatic life around the Castle while strolling through the shielded walkways and also marvel at the inky blackness of the sea around them known as the Death’s Abyss. It was a fitting structure for the Clan of Life and Death, and it offered such unique wonders as the hangar Farrin waited patiently in for the arrival of one of the Castle’s converted crafts.
“Traffic control says they should be docking any moment.” A voice behind the Rollmaster creaked. When Farrin glanced over his shoulder at the newcomer, his eyes fell upon the grotesque being that was Samael Ozriel.
“They are already in the interlock.” Farrin confirmed while looking back to the display screen above the viewport, he had troubles keeping eye contact with the decayed Umbaran - especially with that damn red crystal mounted in Samael’s left eye. “Should be just a few moments and the chamber will begin emptying.”
“And we shall meet the new Consul.” Samael croaked, no doubt he had saliva dangling from his jaw - he always had saliva dangling from his jaw. It’s just the kind of thing that happened when you don’t have lips.
Much had changed at the conclusion of the war on Korriban; a new Grand Master, or rather new bodied Grand Master Pravus, had risen to take control of the Brotherhood and with that change Tarentum had been rocked to its core. Official decree from the Iron Throne removed Scion Altera and Hades from their posts, a likely consequence of their support for the rebels of the war - considering Odan-Urr and Taldryan had both changed summits as well. Neither had taken the order particularly well, but Scion seemed to be the most impacted by the turn of events; and before departing the Castle he could only been seen ranting and raving in the lower levels while he amassed a mechanical collection of toys he was preparing to take with him into self-imposed exile at the Sword’s Sheath.
The rest of the Tarenti had been enraged at the news, but no more so than the Tarentae - a fraternity of the unit’s most loyal and decorated members. Open challenges to the Iron Throne were made, some with particular detail of what was to be done to Pravus’ corpse upon conclusion and others being slightly more noble, while calmer minds worked to regroup and reorganized the unit in defense of further Iron Throne plots. The last thing the Tarenti needed right now was more disruptions or challenges to their power base, yet one Tarentae had been noticeably absent from the cause.
“It’s suppose to be Korras docking. “ Farrin turned to face the Umbaran, looking past the rotten hole that had been Samael’s nose and into the ghastly white eye. “And shouldn’t you mean Quaestor?”
“No, Priest.” The words left the Umbaran’s tongue with a cheerful tone. “Pravus has just sent word to expect the arrival of a new Consul. The Tarenti have gathered in the main hall.”
“A Consul appointment means a return to Clan status.” Dumbfoundedly stating the obvious, though suspicion brew from the thought. “That should at least make the Tarentae happier.”
“It did,” Samael chuckled, “Until I told them what the dead were saying an outsider was coming. They stand ready to cut down the ‘Darth’s agent’.”
Farrin’s jaw tightened, he hated that the Umbaran risked so much by openly announcing his practice of Sith Alchemy and Magic. Not since before the time of Ronovi Tavisaen had Necromancy been allowed to be performed within the Yridia System, and much of what the Archpriest dabbled in had crossed the line - his saving grace had been the blind eyes the recent Tarentum summit had turned upon him. Farrin wasn’t even sure he believed in what Samael could do, but who knew what the new Consul would do with the information.
“Mind your tongue, and keep your hokey practices to yourself for the time being. It’ll be no good to Tarentum to have you executed.”
“Hokey? You should have more respect for dealing with the dead, Priest.” Samael barked as the maintenance cover dropped beside them, allowing the pair to see the chamber had pressurized and was emptying. Both moved to the chamber’s entrance hatch and waited the final seconds before the seal disengaged before moving into the chamber to greet the new arrival.
Despite the chamber having been filled with the ocean just minutes ago, not a puddle could be seen inside the chamber due to the grated floor. Only the drops falling from the transport provide evidence that the sea had been in here, their echos cut out by the hum of the shuttle’s ramp descending. In mere moments, the ramp connected with the Castle’s deck and two hooded figures descended from the craft in quick strides. The head of the pair, choosing to acknowledge only Farrin; addressed him quickly before the pair moved forward.
“Join us in the throne room.” The familiar, yet cold, voice of Korras stated.
Egregious had seen this before; the fury and bloodlust. This was Tarentum after all, even in their weakened state they were defiant and would continue to be until the last Tarenti fell. Behind the masses, placed on a raised platform, stood the seat of their power; a throne entitled to the Sith King and his trusted servant - titled the Prince of Yridia. With the removal of Scion, it now sat unoccupied waiting for the new Consul of Tarentum and the title that came with it. Yet, never had it been sat upon by a non-Tarenti.
Tension filled the room and it grew silent, word had been delivered to them that the Consul that Pravus had appointed had arrived. Egregious wondered whom among the armed Tarenti would be the first to strike at the invader, though readied his grip on his hilt should the opportunity be presented to him. Why should the Tarentae have all the fun?
Seconds felt drawn out into years. Yet, Egregious’ heart pumped heavily at the sound of footsteps approaching. Multiple sets of footsteps, actually, which brought sweat to his brow. Beside him, the Sith known simply by “MERLANCE” between to growl and rock on his feet. Without a sign of warning, when the footsteps closed on the hall’s entrance, the Battlelord launched himself forward igniting his purple blade while in motion.
The bloodcurdling roar of the Battlelord ceased immediately after it began, failing to produce the chorus of support behind him that he likely imagined would happen. Instead, his lightsaber clang to the ground and rattled as it rolled away while the weapon’s owner scratched at his own throat. A hacking, panicked cough sounded from the Battlelord while his gaze settled on the hooded figure in the door - whom stood with an outstretched, clenched fist pointed at the Battlelord. Fruitlessly, the Battlelord kicked at the ground below him for support; yet failed as the hooded figure held him high in the air.
Before the masses could gain their senses, the Battlelord finally dropped to the ground. Attention switched from the battered Battlelord and back to the newcomer, just as the man threw back his hood and stared coldly at his fellow Tarenti. A single word left the Dark Jedi Master’s mouth.
One by one, the members of Tarentum withdrew to create a line from the entrance to the throne. Striding through the pack, as if not phased by the sequence of events, the Sith Lord and an unidentified figure moved side by side and in sync up to the head of the hall. Behind them Farrin and Samael, unsure of their stance, fell into the crowd as it filled in the line. When the pair made it to the top of the platform, it was the hooded figure who took seat in the throne while the Sith Lord stood at his side. Immediately, the new Prince’s hood was cast back and revealed a face familiar to all of the Tarenti.
“What is the meaning of this, Korras?!” Maxamillian von Oberst-Tarentea was the first to ask, his voice filled with anger; causing his words to be bellowed.
“Korras is no more. And you will listen, this will not be repeated.” Aeternus looked around the hall. Those with the strength to look in his eyes saw something had changed. A fire seemed to burn there, fueled by anger. It was clear that this indeed was not Korras anymore. “Tarentum has been broken by the war. The Dark Council is of a mind to use this opportunity to do what has been attempted before; end Tarentum’s existence. The new Grand Master did not agree with this, but he does not yet have a full grip on the council. He has delayed them, but we have to move now to rebuild, to be strong enough to resist them and dissuade the rest of the council.”
Ignoring him, Oberst seemed ready to attack what appeared to be the new Consul. In a flash the infamous batton of the Marshall was produced in Oberst’s hand, his grip held so tight the Dark Adept’s knuckles had whitened. “The Sith King will not stand for this. This is a mockery of his charge in us. Get out of that throne, heretic!”
Aeternus stepped between the Marshall and the seated Consul causing a chill to fill the room. Yet, Oberst did not press the advance.
“The Sith King has not been here for a very long time.” Aeternus stated firmly, directly to the Marshall, before addressing the crowd. “This decision has been made by the Grand Master. My new apprentice will be our Consul, and you can either accept this or leave this hall. On this there will not be a discussion…This goes for you all; you can work with us to save Tarentum, or leave now.
“We have been here before. We will resist.” Hades this time.
“No.” The finality of the word caused the Battlemaster to withdraw into the safety of the crowd. Not even the boldest of the Tarentae held eye contact with Aeternus as his glare passed over them. Finally, the Sith Lord continued with unwavering nerve. “We will not. I have seen the force arrayed against us - We would be like a mynock to the rancor if we do.”
“Now, who will stand with us to force this storm to an end?”