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

The Order Campaign


Order - Act 1: Operation Starfall

###Part 1

Sith-Faced Joe’s

Ulfsark shot up his hand, signalling to the bartender it was time for another round. A wave of murmured thanks went around the group. It was rather unusual to see the Mystic come to participate in such a celebration, and his willingness to pick up the tab for the next set of drinks didn’t go unrecognized. Everyone had to have their turn.

On the far side of the cluster of pushed together tables, Jorm tapped away on a small datapad, kept carefully out of sight of the others. Perks of his lifestyle, he had come across a very handy tracer bug, and was using it to ensure when time came for him to buy a round, it would be paid courtesy of Ulfsark’s account.

The bar was dimly, and with it being only a little past two in the afternoon, totally empty save for the members of Scholae Palatinae who sat clustered together. It was loud, and a dozen conversations were taking place between different members. Here sat members of Imperium and Excidium, forgetting the fighting they had been forced to do against each other by the will of the Empire. They were here on the buzz of success against the forces of Naga Sadow, and that was the one enemy that brought them together. The biting cold of Mygeeto had based, but their cocky and carefree attitude following their victory had not.

“So what do you think it will be next? War against Arcona? Be invaded by sentient nerfs? Quest to find the birthplace of the Force?” Landon asked.

“Don’t joke about that. The Emperor might think you are serious and have Elincia cook up some of those nerfs in her lab,” Archangel replied. The Shaevalian took a large single gulp of his drink, emptying half the tankard. He set it down with a surprisingly light touch and grinned.

“Oh come on, there is no way he is listening in on us here!” Landon exclaimed.

The Forgotten Temple

The Emperor and Grand Marshal eyed the screen, watching the group of clanmates enjoy the post-war high of victory, and attentively listening to the multiple conversations going on in the bar. The Empire’s eyes and ears were everywhere. There had been an exponential growth in the number of bugs and cameras going up around the system, all by order of the Emperor.

Elincia leaned back in her chair and looked up at the Emperor, whose cold and expressionless mask gave nothing away. His feelings on the joke were intangible even with the force. His arms were folded against his chest, and there he stood, motionless.

“They do have a good point, you know. They are going to want more, this high of victory won’t last long. Maybe if we had kept ahold of those artifacts, it might last longer but…” Elincia trailed off. The Emperor made no move or acknowledgement she had spoken, dark eyes still fixed on the screen.

“I’ve compiled some three-dozen methods to rapidly accelerate the sentience of nerfs,” G14-D05 interjected, synthesized voice dripping with the excitement of a child. Elincia sighed, but out of the corner of her eye, quickly ran down her terminal screen to see where the A.I had managed to come up with nine more methods than she had.

“Call everyone to the palace, all clan members immediately,” the Emperor finally broke his silence. He pressed a few buttons on the terminal below the screen they had been watching. Replacing the feed from Sith-Eyed Joe’s came a planet. Elincia’s eyes narrowed.

“Are you sure now is the time for this?” she asked. The Emperor nodded and turned on his heels, long strides carrying him back toward the palace.

Clan Meeting Hall
Beneath the Imperial Palace

All eyes were locked on the image projected before them. The holo-image of the planet rotated slowly. It was a planet unlike any they had experiences before, the surface a manifestation of chaos. Land gave way to water gave way to land. Neither form a mass bigger than a handful of kilometers across.


The Emperor’s voice filled the room, causing several to jump in their seats.

“This is the first step from which the Empire will grow. The time has come to stop playing the games of children, and forge the strength of an ironclad Empire. You have proved your skills against the curs of Nada Sadow. Now you will prove it to the galaxy,” There was a pause while the Emperor paced slowly back and forth behind the podium, letting the implications of his statement sink in.

“This ugly lump of rock and water may not look appealing, but it is exactly what we need. It is rich in resources: metals, gems, kybar crystals. If we control this planet, we will have enough resources at our disposal to no longer rely on the fragile trade agreements with the other clans of this brotherhood,” The Emperor didn’t bother to mask his tone of disdain for the word. He held up a hand and Elincia Rei walked up to the podium.

“This planet is currently under the control of the SoroSuub Corporation. They have already deployed a workforce of 10,000 miners to the planet, and have begun operations to drain the planet dry as fast as possible.” Several images flashed, replacing the image of the planet, all detailing the surface and SoroSuub facilities.

“To this end, we will not be deploying a normal military strike force. All non-member forces will be withheld, and kept in dark space beyond the borders of the system until the time comes for them be used to ensure compliance from the local workforce. We cannot risk damaging the equipment, or losing the experienced workers already on the surface. Only those of you sitting in this room can be trusted to ensure this operation succeeds. Summit command of this operation will be handled by Moff Mune Cinteroph,” Elincia quickly looked down and entered a command on her datapad. There was a buzz from everyone in the room.

“I just forwarded you the operation plan. Operation: Starfall is now active.”


###Part 2
Planet Manager’s Office

“-An uncalled for action of our rights on this planet -” C-7RZ translated.

Eyar Nep hadn’t stopped talking for at least five minutes now, not even so much as a pause to breathe. Eetherbiail had stopped paying attention and was raptly focused on the Sullustan’s mouth flopping open and close. Surely he had to pause at some point. C-7RZ’s eyes flashed as he continued to translated without pause. At least the droid didn’t need to inhale to continue making sound. Blade Ta’var shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

The two Zeltrons had been volunteered for the meeting with Manager Eyar Nep from the get go. They had tried to argue their way out of it, insisting that Sullustans do not react to Zeltron pheromones but it had fallen on deaf ears. Since their clanmates weren’t quite sure what Eyar Nep’s preferences would be, both had to be present for the meeting. It was the first time Eetherbiail had been so directly used in a deception. Blade was more comfortable with the notion, and while she didn’t agree with it, she appreciated they were doing something beyond blowing up the entire complex.

“-also a violation of section seven-besh paragraph forty-eight where it clearly states -,” C-7RZ continued to translate. Blade held up her hand to interrupt with a sigh.

“Yes we appreciate this, but we were hired by SoroSuub as outside consultants. It’s not a matter of not trusting you. We couldn’t send warning, because how would we know how things are truly being run here?” She asked. Eetherbiail took a deep breath, realizing he had been holding it as he was focused on Eyar Nep’s long winded rant. Both Palatinaeans sat a little more upright as there was a soft beep in their hidden ear comms. The injection codes to the SoroSuub’s computer network was complete.

“I know it isn’t ideal but we will just be having a look around the facility and then be on our way. You won’t even notice we were here,” Blade quickly finished as she stood up. The pair were out the door before Eyar Nep could even fully process what she had been saying.

Cave System
Beneath SoroSuub Facility

“Why are we wiring every single tunnel down here? We can’t possibly be blowing them all up, we still need to be able to move around down here,” Kylex complained. He and several other Journeymen had been tasked with the less than glamorous job of setting up explosives beneath the complex. It had only taken a few days for them to find a unsecured path through the maze of tunnels that ran everywhere beneath the planet’s surface.

“No but we want them to shake in their boots when they go running. This will get the job done,” Sparky said kicking some wires out of the way. The Chiss was unhappy about being this far from his ship, from space. Nothing was right about trapping workers down here in this dangerous nightmare. He had been chosen to oversee the Journeymen’s work in the wiring of explosives, his military background giving him enough experience to smack the quickly distracted and unproven journeymen back into line.

“You’ve got 10 minutes before we need to move out again. Tide is coming up quick,” the major added. Last thing any of them wanted was to drown down here in the dark and wet earth.

The Forgotten Temple
Cocytus System

“I have finished analysing the planet to properly simulate believable sensor data in the SoroSuub systems,” G14-D05 said. Elincia nodded content the plan they had laid forth would work. Aesirus was a dangerous planet. Fake some sensor data, send the population either to their ships to flee disaster, or to take refuge in the well fortified cave system and wait it out. They would have more than enough workers left on planet to handle the mining operation. Some explosions beneath the complex to really sell the incoming disaster and they could have the entire planet with a minimal loss of life.

“Send word to the palace. The Emperor said he wanted to approve the final placement of those charges personally,” Elincia said turning her eyes back to a feed from the place. It was a busy day, it had been a long time since she had seen so many people going to and from the palace. There was a time she would have known the faces of everyone seen in the feed, but her days of pure intel work was behind her. Too many variables to keep track of alone these days.

Forward Base

Lexiconus paced back and forth staring at the holo-projection of the tunnel systems they had managed to map out since arriving at this planet. This was far from what he had imagined the first step of expansion for the Empire looking like. The tracking dots of the teams in the cave system blinked in and out, it was impossible to keep a constant connection with them.

“I feel like all we’ve done is sit here, nothing to show for our efforts!” The Quarren finally said, unable to hold in his frustration any longer.

“The Empire wasn’t built in a day. Nor shall it grow in a day. The summit must have been planning this operation for months,” Delak responded. He too was eyeing the holo-map with a look of befuddlement. It had been going smoothly, too smoothly for any operation he had ever been a part of. He strummed his metallic fingers against the table, each making a nice loud click as it made contact. He hadn’t even had to kill anyone yet.

“How could they? SoroSuub only has months worth of digging completed here. Did they start planning the day the miners first set foot here?” Lexic questioned. Before Delak could respond however, Sparky’s voice came through the comms.

“We are out, final charges placed. Ran into some issues with the native life down there, No worse for wear though.”

Delak quickly started typing away sending word to the rest of the Palatinaeans. They were finally ready to make their move.

The Imperial Palace
Cocytus System

The Emperor smiled behind his mask, his eyes greedily taking in the placement of the explosive charges. He pressed a button on his datapad, and a secondary map of the cave system pulled up, including the other charges that had been placed months ago, in preparation for this. The time was finally here for his final plans to come to life.

For so long had he waited. For so long he had planned. And now it was time for the Emperor to play his winning hand.


###Part 3
Forward Base

“We have successfully ran the simulation numbers here. Numerical algorithms are stable to within a small margin of error. Just make sure to trigger the charges in the correct order or we cannot rely on the accuracy of the simulation,” Elincia’s voice crackled with static as she gave the go orders to the clan.

“Assuming Blade and Eether actually broken into the correct computer system,” Jorm joked. Blade threw the mostly eaten piece of fruit she had at the Kiffar. Mune cleared his throat and addressed the floating head of the Proconsul.

“We are just waiting for our clanmates to take their positions in the crystal cave. I don’t expect much of a fight from the miners, I think having that many of us down there is a bit overkill to contain them.”

The floating hologram of Elincia’s head nodded to her master.

“Better safe than sorry. That many miners could still pose a threat,” she stated. “The rest of you should get into position to take the compound. The Emperor is voicing his annoyance at the delays.”

The Palatinaeans in the tent sighed. It was as the Emperor’s insistence they took the long path to this point. Several of them had frequently vocalized that dropping the Warspite above the planet would have settled this issue in a matter of minutes. Hours at most. Instead here they sat weeks later, caked in mud and dirt, ready to finally take action.

Mune stood straight and stiff.

“For the Empire.”

The Forgotten Temple

“G14. Send word to the palace. The Emperor will have his price in the next few hours,” Elincia said sinking into her chair. She started to read over the simulation data again, checking it for the dozenth time.

“I… I am encountering some new security firewalls,” G14 voiced.

“Must have pushed another update out. That makes five this week,” Elincia said.

“Protocols updated. The Emperor is requesting your presence,” G14 responded after a moment. Elincia finished reading the data before standing up. She was a bit annoyed that he was requesting her be there in person. She had work to do.

“Tell him I’m on my way.”

SoroSuub Compound

Eyar Nep hummed as he went over the current numbers. They were ahead of schedule. Aesirus wasn’t a glorious post, but SoroSuub always properly rewarded its employees. The sooner the mining operation here was established, and the sooner the money started flowing, the sooner Eyar would be promoted to something more befitting his skill set.

The Sullustan reached for his cup of tea. Before his hand made it, there was tremor. The glass of the cup rattled as it vibrated on its saucer and the Sullustan’s hand froze in the air. The tremor stopped for a moment. Eyar Nep got half a sigh of relief out before the ground shook for real. The entire compound shook and heaved. Within 10 seconds the flashing red lights alerting dangerous began, accompanied by a screeching siren. Line after line of analysis on the quake began scrolling on every screen in the entire compound.

The already large black eyes of the planetary manager went even wider. The warning that flashed on the screens didn’t seem possible. The entire compound had shifted, and a large pocket of water now rested beneath them. The compound was going to sink. They had one option. Retreat into the darkness of the mine system to get away.

Eyar Nep slammed his hand onto his communication pad.

“To the mines, evacuate immediately!”

Kyber Crystal Cave

The dust from the tunnels leading to the cave still filled the air. Lexiconus held some spare cloth to his tentacled face to prevent inhaling any. As planned, the charges that had been placed did their job well. The earthquake certainly felt genuine enough, and the cave which he and so many of his clanmates stood waiting remained perfectly intact.

With the charges detonated, the cave now stood in silence. The large void of space was big enough to fit thousands. Much of it was still shrouded in darkness, the portable lights Scholae Palatinae had placed within not enough to fully penetrate the vastness of the cave.

Then came the noise of panic. The miners were racing along the only route available in the cave system. That route ended in the open arms of the Empire. At the forefront of the pack was the one known as Eyar Nep. Lexiconus dropped the cloth and stepped in front of the mass of miners and workers flooding into the cave. Before Eyar Nep could speak, Lexiconus raised a hand.

“Welcome my friends. The Empire thanks you for deciding to turn to us for safety.” The Quarren said. Eyar Nep looked at Lexiconus confused, breathing hard. The miners continued to run into the cave. The members of Scholae Palatinae herded them into the center of the cave, weapons drawn.

“Don’t worry, we will make sure this operation continues without any delays,” Lucyeth said, stepping up behind the Planetary Manager. He squeezed the trigger on his DL-22 and Eyar Nep fell dead. Lexiconus jumped slightly.

“That wasn’t necessary,” The Imperium Quaestor said. Lucyeth poked at the Sullustan’s body with his foot.

“Yes it was.”

SoroSuub Compound

“Sending an all okay message to SoroSuub headquarters now. They shouldn’t provide any issues for us,” Alara Deathbane said, tapping away at a computer terminal. Her sister Shadow tapped away at another computer next her.

“I’ve opened all access points in the facility. I think my first stop will be the showers,” Shadow said. Behind the pair, Blade paced back and forth.

It had gone exactly as planned, and without the loss of life. For that she was grateful. But now she eyed the terminals, mind racing for ways to sabotage the mining efforts.

The Quaestor didn’t get a chance to evaluate her options though. The ground again began to shake.

“What is this?” Blade yelled as she fought to stay on her feet.

“All of our charges went off!” Alara yelled, knuckles white, gripping the edges of the computer terminal. Once again all the screens in the compound issued the warning. The red lights and loud scream of the klaxon rang through the compound. Mune came running into the room.

“We must have triggered something. We need to move. Now.” He yelled, helping Blade to her feet.

Kyber Crystal Cave

The remaining members of Scholae Palatinae came racing into the cavern. Mune and Blade quickly spotted Lexiconus and ran to greet him.

“What was that?” The Quarren questioned as they got within talking distance.

“Systems in the compound indicate our little ruse triggered something real. The compound is going to be lost to us. We need to send word home, now. Before we get trapped down here,” Mune said in between deep breaths.

“Oh we are more than aware,” The Emperor’s voice ran out crystal clear from everywhere, yet nowhere.

Miners and Palatinaeans alike jumped as his calm and soothing voice echoed in the cave. There was a flicker of light, and dozens of holoprojectors, hidden in the cave walls flickered to life. The masked personage of the Emperor loomed large above them all. He clapped and then rubbed his hands together.

“Thank you. Truly, remarkable work here. I had worried those charges wouldn’t be enough to send the rats scurrying to their hole, but here you are. Each and everyone of you… Palatinaeans here in one place.” The Emperor’s tone at the mention of the clan sent a shiver up the spines of everyone in the cave. It wasn’t just hate, it was disgust.

“This has been a long road. A very long road, and today we reach the journey’s end,” The Emperor continued. He pulled the mask from his face. There were several audible gasps in the cave system. His face was pale, dark lines etching every inch of once regal looking features, cracked and corrupted. His eyes burned red and yellow. He closed his eyes for a moment in focus.

“You must have so many questions,” The Emperor said after a moment. His jaw quivered slightly as if he was under an intense strain.

“I am Darth Fallax, and for years my disciples in the Order of the New Dawn have been working to find me a host worthy of controlling. For centuries I have waited, and now I have full control of the one you knew as your Emperor, Xen’Mordin. It has taken months but now he can control this body no more.” The face of Xen’Mordin smiled.

“Oh he is fighting it. With all of his heart and soul he is trying to stop what is going to happen to you. But the more he fights, the more it hurts, and that pain… It gives me strength.” Fallax continued. His whirling flaming eyes focused out into the darkness of the cave.

“Today, the stain known as Scholae Palatinae comes to an end. Today is the day you die.” Fallax paused, face straining again. The corruption lining his face faded slightly, natural tones coming back through. His eyes snapped open, emerald green and alive.

Everyone in the cave gasped as they watched Xen’Mordin snap into control. He quickly activated several other detonators and the ground again shook. There were several he skipped over however. With a strained pleading expression he spoke.

“Stop… Him…”

With a scream, Xen’Mordin unleashed a fury of force lightning frying the unused charge detonators, rendering them useless. His head slammed down onto something hard, a terminal that was out of sight of the holocamera. When his head appeared back in frame, it once again showed the cracking lines of corruption, nose bleeding profusely. Fallax laughed.

“He does have spirit. I’ll give him that.” Fallax scanned the ruined charges before him before returning his focus to the holocamera.

“He has trapped you in that cave. I was going to give you the mercy of a quick death, but this will do. You are dead all the same. The Empire is mine.”

The hologram snapped off, along with all the lights, leaving everyone in darkness.

The Imperial Palace

“My lord, she is here,” One of the disciples said taking a knee. Darth Fallax smiled. There was only one Palatinaean left to deal with, but she was of use to him still.

“Doctor so nice of you to join us,” He said. Elincia strained and fought against the restraints that had been so suddenly thrown on her.

“Xen… What did you do?” She screamed at Fallax.

“I’m afraid Xen is gone. And anyone who would have been of aid to you is going to be dying slowly in a cave on the far side of the Galaxy. You are the last of your clan, but I have need of you still. To study and understand this,” Fallax said, gesturing to his corrupted face.

“I do plan on having this body for a long, long time. And you are going to help with that, Doctor.”


Order - Act 2: Midnight

###Part 1

Market District

The New Dawn’s master of intelligence, one of the twelve great disciples of Darth Fallax stood awkwardly outside the cafe sipping her drink. She pulled her coat tighter with her free hand, hoping to fend off the cold end of year winds that had been growing the last few days. A winter storm was incoming. Luckily her cup of coffee was still steaming hot. She took another long sip and tried her best to ignore the sideways glances from the civilians walking by.

Rylla Varga was a Falleen, one species that wasn’t frequently seen in the Cocytus system. They were no strangers to Duros or Rodians, but the rigidity of Rylla stuck out like a sore thumb. What the civilians didn’t realize with their sideways glances and quiet whispers about the out of place Falleen, was just how much Rylla had played a hand in the events of the last few years. Fias Zhan would never have unleashed his wave of terror if she hadn’t provided him the information he needed. And that was just from hacking her way in. Now with full access to the Empire’s intelligence networks, there was little she didn’t see or know about the Cocytus system and its inhabitants.

Yet, for everything she saw and heard, she had missed something, something big. At least one of those damned Palatinaeans had not only survived the events on Aesirus but had also managed to find their way back into the Cocytus system, right under her nose. And if one had made it, others were sure to be following. And despite the days of interrogation that their new guest had endured at the hand of fellow disciple Watop Retwin, and the entirety of the ISI resources, they were none the closer to finding their guest’s friends.

It was now a personal issue for Rylla. She knew their guest had come with others, but she couldn’t find them. Her honor demanded that she find them. And if she wanted to remain breathing, she needed to accomplish the mission established by her master, Darth Fallax. And since the fiasco with the scientist, she was on a short leash. She had no idea the Togruta scientist was actually a Twi’lek Dark Jedi, nothing in the dossiers or histories had indicated that was a possibility.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” a passerby said, bumping into her.

“It’s fine,” Rylla responded, her free hand shooting to her pocket. It tightly gripped around the datastick the passerby had just slipped into it. Rylla reached out with the Force, probing the mind of the agent walking away from her. She wanted to know what kind information they had recovered for her. More Palatinaeans had been spotted, but the agent’s efforts to follow them had failed. They had disappeared back into whatever rat holes they were now calling home.

Rylla smiled. A spotting and photos were a start, something tangible she could work with. Once she identified the Palatinaeans, she would be able to run some of her analysis software to get a list of possible locations. She tossed her now empty cup of coffee in the trash, hand still tightly gripping the datastick, and walked casually down the street, disappearing into the throng of people.

Interrogation Chamber
The Imperial Palace

“Remarkable. Watop spent half a lifetime perfecting his craft. Not once has he been unsuccessful in breaking a man,” The modulated voice of the Emperor said. His boots stuck and squelched in the drying blood on the floor. The man suspended from the ceiling moaned, unable to raise his head.

Darth Fallax laughed and poked at several of the exposed wounds on his guest’s body. The man twitched and groaned, throat too coarse to scream anymore.

“And then, you manage to stay silent under my own efforts. In my original reign, I tortured thousands. My power comes from pain, and I had to understand it. You must be a true-blooded Imperial, through and through,” Fallax continued. The normally pristine robes of the Emperor tugged at his body as he continued to circle around the man, sweat and blood clinging to his cracking and corrupted flesh.

The man stirred again and struggled against his restraints. His right hand tightly gripped the chain that shackled him to the ceiling. His robotic left arm lay discarded in the corner. The New Dawn had crafted a special chain, connecting it directly to the man’s left shoulder, helping to support his weight and to provide electric shocks to resuscitate him when his body failed under questioning, as it had half a dozen times since he had been captured. The man was kept several inches from the ground, his tiptoes slipping in his own blood.

The man’s vision was blurred, but he was able to make out the dark robes of his captor move before him. Behind Fallax, the man was able to make out the table where the wide array of interrogation instruments lay haphazardly. There was a thud that jolted the man back into awareness. Fallax had placed the ornate mask that Xen’Mordin so frequently used for all Brotherhood dealings on the table.

Delak Krennel locked eyes with Fallax. For a moment he thought he saw a pained and apologetic expression in the fiery red eyes of Fallax. The handsome face of Xen’Mordin was now pale and sickly. The skin cracked and festered with corruption. There were slight involuntary twitches in his face, but Delak couldn’t tell if it was from the corruption affecting the muscles, or Xen fighting to take control of his body once more. In his gut, Delak suspected it was a bit of both, but the last several days had made it evidently clear that his Consul was too far gone to put an end to what was to come.

“Nothing you’ve done to me is as bad as having to look at that face. Seriously, you are one ugly motherfw-,” Delak spat. A strong swift punch to his abdomen by Fallax stopped him short of finishing his insult.

“The games have ended Krennel,” Fallax said slowly and deliberately. He tightly gripped Delak’s face with his right hand, forcing the captive Palatinaean to stare him in the face. At the door to the room, the guard shuffled his feet, clearly uncomfortable with what he had witnessed the last several hours. Fallax continued.

“You should have stayed and died on Aesirus. Then you would have been spared all of this. But you are just as dead here, as you were in that cave, Krennel. Just tell me what your… loyal compatriots are planning, and this can all end.” Fallax released Delak’s face and stepped back. Delaks head dropped again to his chest. Fallax crossed his arms impatiently, evident this was the last time he was willing to ask.

“The plan is simple,” Delak finally said, quivering slightly. He raised his head and looked at Fallax. “Kill you and every last New Dawn bastard in this system.”

Fallax let out an exasperated sigh. He had had enough of this.

“Fine,” Fallax said flatly. In a single fluid movement reached out and grabbed Delaks bloody and mangled shirt, pulling the Palatinaean towards him. His other hand unclipped his lightsaber from his belt and ignited it. The unstable purple blade pierced Delak’s stomach and exited his body through his upper back. Impaled on the blade, Delak let out an involuntary gasp as Fallax pulled him even closer. The Sith Lord peered intensely into his eyes. The guard at the door let out his own noticeable grunt of shock.

“For the Empi…” Delak managed to softly whisper with his dying breath. Darth Fallax smiled as he watched the life in Delak’s eyes extinguish. The dedicated Battlemaster was no more. Fallax let go of Delak’s shirt and deactivated his lightsaber. He snapped his fingers and motioned the guard at the door to come forward.

“I sense anger. Good. That anger will sustain you in the battles to come,” Fallax told the guard. He tilted his head, taking in the guard before him.

“This was your half-brother, wasn’t it Jurdan? Blood always feels for blood, no matter how close or distant they are. This may be a bitter pill to swallow Jurdan but I won’t lie to you. Your brother was a weak idiot, one who died for nothing. Each day must end, and the New Dawn always rises. It is inevitable.”

Jurdan swallowed hard as Fallax spoke. His eyes darted back forth between the Sith Lord and the still suspended body of his half-brother, Delak.

“I’ll let you take some time to think that over, Fallax continued. He pointed at Delak’s body. “Take his body out into the streets of Ohmen. Deliver him to those damn Palatinaeans. Let them know this is the fate that awaits them all if they continue down this path. Don’t worry about trying to find them, I am sure they will find you first.”

Back Alley

Elincia Rei kept to the shadows. She was no stranger to these alleyways. This was her city and the New Dawn could never know it like she did. It was in her blood. She leaned up against the wall to catch her breath. She was shaken. She had seen the look in Xen’s eyes for that one brief moment he was able to hold Fallax back. And to find her father of all people. She was grateful for that, she would have been killed had it not been for his aid, but the surge of memories that came with him were unwanted.

It would take time to fully process it, time she had precious little of at the moment. It had been several days since her escape. While her father stuck around for some time, they parted ways two days prior. She had since then been in constant movement, one step ahead of the New Dawn that pursued her relentlessly. She knew her clan mates were out there, but the last three safe houses she had checked had been empty. She could sense them, feel them, but she just needed to find them.

Her mind raced through possible ways to contact them. With the New Dawn holding the palace they had access to all of the clan’s communicative systems. Even G14 wouldn’t be of help here.

Then came a sound from further down the alleyway. Elincia jumped as her mind snapped back into the present situation. She snapped the grenade launcher given to her by her father up pointing it down toward the end of the alley. She knew it would probably do just as much damage to herself as whoever was coming toward her. Out of the shadows, a woman appeared, approaching slowly with her hands up.

“Elincia put that down, you need to come with me,” the woman stated as she cautiously stepped closer.

“Who are you?” Elincia questioned, keeping the grenade launcher pointed toward the woman.

“My name is Stana. We really don’t have time for this. You don’t know me, but I know who you are Impetus. They are coming, we need to go,” the woman responded with force. Elincia gritted her teeth. There were precious few who knew who she actually was. Still, she didn’t lower the grenade launcher.

“I don’t know where you heard that name but,” Elincia started. Stana dropped her hands to her sides and she swore several times in quick succession.

“Look, Xen trusts me. I know where your clanmates are. We can talk on the way, but I am not joking, we have to go now. The New Dawn will be here literally any minute. If we are both caught, any hope for rescuing Xen dies,” Stana responded. Elincia noticed a slightly manic look in the woman’s violet eyes. Stana was desperate, and certainly not lying.

Elincia lowered the grenade launcher and nodded. It was a gamble, but she was out of options. She would trust this woman, for now at least.

Emperor’s Quarters
Imperial Palace

Xen’Mordin was no stranger to pain. Be it physical, mental, spiritual. He had experienced more than his fair share of it for one lifetime. But what he had been experiencing here was so much more than he thought imaginable. For months he had been fading, stuck between lucidity and nothingness. Then he became aware, the walls of Fallax had fallen, and he was left a prisoner in his body. Now the nightmares and agony were all there was for him.

“This would all stop if you just surrender you know,” Fallax said softly.

Xen’Mordin rolled slightly on the ground looking around. It was his room, at least it was his at one point. Even then, here in his mind it was warped, twisted around by the will of Fallax. He could perceive the real world, and what was happening, what Fallax did and saw with Xen’s physical body. It was all reflected in here for Xen to experience. He writhed on the ground, movement of any kind was an impossible battle, pain radiating through his very soul.

“I… will… never,” Xen managed to get out, with long pauses between words as he fought to force them out. He spasmed again on the ground, pain rolling over him.

“Sooner or later you won’t have a choice. You might fight it tooth and nail, but eventually, you will end, it’s just a matter of time. And it won’t be to the warm embrace of becoming one with the Force either. You will literally cease to be,” Fallax said, voice still soft and calm. He strolled with ease around the room, a simple demonstration of the solid grip he had over their shared mind and body. Xen managed to crawl slightly closer to Fallax.

“I… hold… long… enough,” he said through the stream of tears of pain coming down his face.

“Ah… that is why you are fighting so hard. You still think your clan will come to save you. Even if they could get through my loyal followers, and my twelve disciples, they will kill this body before even attempting to free you. You have lost them, forever,” Fallax said, looking down over Xen’s writhing body. Xen managed to spit at the Sith Lord.


“You still think they would try to save you? That is unusually optimistic for you.”

Xen managed to shake his head. Fallax frowned, contemplating.

“You mean to hold out for the corruption to kill this body, and take us both out,” Fallax said finally understanding Xen’s reasoning. “That is a noble sacrifice to make. But it is a useless one I am afraid. We will have a solution before that happens.”

Xen rolled his eyes before spasming again in agony.

“You don’t believe me? Why would I bother to lie to you? I’ve already won,” Fallax smiled. He pulled the ancient lightsaber hilt that Xen’Mordin had used ever since he found it so many years ago.

“Did you know this lightsaber and I have a history? The maker and original owner of this was one of my apprentices. He was the one who went on to kill me. And now ages later, I have taken control of the man who claimed this lightsaber as his own. It is poetic really. I think you were destined to bring me back from the very beginning,” Fallax laughed. It was like nails on a chalkboard to Xen, who writhed all the harder as the Sith Lord laughed.

Fallax raised a hand and held it over Xen. The room around them bubbled and warped even more. A surge of new pain coursed through Xen. Moments from his past raced by, the worst moments of his life, all known by Fallax as the ones that would cause Xen the most pain. Xen’s screams echoed around him. He rolled onto his back and locked eyes with Fallax.

“You… will… lose…” Xen managed to get out between his screams. He threw himself to his feet and lunged at Fallax. Fallax jumped, surprised that Xen once again found the strength to act.

“My lord?” Sadon Teraah asked. Fallax looked up at his top disciple. He was back into awareness, sitting at a desk in his quarters.

“I am fine. I was just conversing with the prisoner,” Fallax replied. “Has Rylla found them yet?”

Sadon shook his head.

“No, but she has some leads. The rats have many holes. She will find them sooner or later.”

“Make it a priority. Anyone not working on finding a cure for this,” Fallax gestured to the corruption eating away at his face. Sadon nodded.

“By your command, I will handle it personally, my lord,” Sadon bowed deeply and backed out of the room.

Undisclosed Location

It certainly wasn’t the Imperial Palace, or their own homes, or even the nice field tents they used on the battlefield. But it was Imperial soil, and that was home. It had been an unpleasant experience, escaping the cave system on Aesirus, smuggling themselves slowly back to the Cocytus system. Some even questioned why they should bother, yet still made the journey anyway.

Every member of Scholae Palatinae knew the dangers of returning, and Darth Fallax had made it personal. Some had made the journey back for revenge against Fallax and the New Dawn. Others came back due to a sense of honor, a lifetime of service to the Empire stirring their need to preserver. Some just wanted the personal glory, a story to tell at bars, name to be sung about for the ages. Others came back because they had no other place to go. And some came just because they liked a good fight.

While normally rambunctious and loud, especially all together in a room, the Palatinaeans were silent. A somber stillness hung in the air, each member forced to uncomfortably sit in it. The body of Delak Krennel lay on the table in the center of the room. The blueprints and planning documents they had managed to put together thus far had been hastily swept off the table to the floor. Jurdan stood out of place next to the body of his half-brother, having finally decided what he needed to do. He would see his brother avenged.

The silence was abruptly broken as each member realized at the same instance what they were thinking. The ruckus turned into a roar, each member validating each others need to strike against the New Dawn. No one noticed the door to the room slide open with a hiss. Elincia Rei’s first several calls for people to listen fell on deaf ears. Slowly a wave of attention spread across the room.

“Elincia? You escaped?” Lexiconus asked from across the room. The quarren’s wide eyes scanning the Proconsul in disbelief. Elincia nodded and motioned behind her for her companions to enter as well. Polis Jones and Stana Watsertha stepped cautiously into the room.

“I’ve brought some friends. We need to talk,” Elincia said. “I know most of you are looking for blood. There will be more than enough to go around by the time this is over with. But the New Dawn is more than just one man. There are major threats beyond Fallax. And there is still the matter of Xen.”

“Xen put us in this situation in the first place!” Blade exclaimed. Several other members nodded in agreement behind her.

“That actually might have been partially my fault,” Polis spoke up. “After the assault against the Evanescent and Pacre Datship on Antenora, I found a holocron. It was new, too new to be an original from Fallax. When I dated it, it had to have been crafted sometime in the last fifty years. Who else in the last fifty years could have made such a holocron but…”

“Palpatine,” Elincia interrupted. “He thought he had a holocron straight from Palpatine himself. Of course, he would keep it to study himself to learn to advance the Cocytus Empire.”

Polis nodded in confirmation. “Yes. Palpatine. And more than that, I think I have some ideas on how to get Fallax out of Xen’s body.”

“We have no army, no supplies, and the might of our own Empire against us, and you expect us to go out of our way to save Xen? This is our home we are talking about, the Empire is more than just Xen’s will despite his belief that it is,” Archangel protested.

“Either way, you will still have to deal with the Twelve, not everyone can just assault the palace at once,” Stana spoke up. All the eyes in the room snapped to her.

“The Twelve? And who the hell are you?” Cruise yelled from the other side of the room.

“The Twelve are Fallax’s most loyal and dangerous disciples. All are powerful and capable Sith who oversee all of the New Dawn’s operations. No one is going to be able to face Fallax until the Twelve have been dealt with,” Stana responded. She brushed her hair from her eyes and took a deep breath.

“I’ve put dossiers together on all of them,” she said throwing the files on top of Delak’s corpse. “Look, you don’t know me, but I know you all, perhaps better than you know each other. Xen trusted me more than he trusted himself, so Cruise, I suggest shutting your mouth and listening to me.”

Stana paused and locked eyes with several of the members who looked ready to interrupt her further.

“The New Dawn is more dangerous than anything you’ve faced before. Take them seriously. Beyond that, know that Xen is still fighting. You are all only alive because he is. Elincia would have been skewered and fried to a crisp in the Palace’s courtyard if not for Xen continuing to fight. You shouldn’t give up on him yet.”

Several members of the clan nodded in agreement, others rolled their eyes dismissing the notion. Stana took another deep breath.

“I can’t order you guys to go either way. Each of you will have to decide for themselves. The New Dawn has to be stopped one way or another. Any of you willing to help Xen can come with Polis. The rest of you I wish you luck. The Empire’s survival depends on it.”


Part 2

Prisoner Processing

Watop Retwin eyed his captive while gently stroking one of his montrals. The first moments were always his favorite. The first moments and then everything that followed really. This was his calling, the art of interrogation and here, he made the rules. He took in the captive’s features. He was just a boy really, a foolish one at that. He had been captured as he rushed one of the New Dawn’s outposts near the palace. A brave foolish boy. Watop liked that, he knew it would make what was coming more fun than those who were already broken.

Watop reached up and tugged on the boy’s messy white hair. Kylex tried to pull away, but couldn’t. With no other actions before him, Kylex spat directly in Watop’s face. Watop released Kylex’s hair and stepped back to wipe the saliva from his face.

“Bold and defiant. Good. I also see you are no stranger to pain,” Watop said, gesturing to Kylex’s scars and cybernetic arm. “But I promise you, what you endured at the hands of your Mandalorians brethren will be a pleasant memory by the time I have finished with you.”

Kylex strained again against his restraints. “Look are you just going to talk me to death, or are we going to get this party started?” he quipped. Watop smiled and took a satisfied deep breath. He knew this would be a fun one to play with. And by the time he was done, he would know everything about the Palatinaeans’ plan to stop his lord. And when this conflict was resolved, Lord Fallax was sure to reward him with many new playthings.

“Party,” Watop repeated the word contemplating it. “Yes, I like that. We shall party,” he continued menacingly. He pulled a blood stained tool from his belt, one of dozens. “Party, party, party,” he whispered with a smile. He paused, tool a mere inch away from Kylex’s face. Both been turned their heads toward the door. There was a muffled sound of yelling from outside.

Then came the earth shaking explosion, which was quickly followed by the alarm system. Before Kylex could process what exactly was going on, the door to the room shot open. Dek Ironius lept into the room Westar-34 held tightly as he pivoted to check his corners. Watop Retwin had already vanished through the back wall of the room, tool from his belt dropped without a care to the ground.

“Kylex?” Dek asked in surprise. “We thought you were dead!” The Commander holstered his weapon and began to fiddle with Kylex’s restraints.

“Nope, was just here to party, which you interrupted thankfully,” Kylex said as he stepped away from his restraints.

“Look, just because you are a Knight now, doesn’t mean you should charge in alone like that. We aren’t going to stop the New Dawn if everyone is looking for some thrilling heroics,” Dek chastised as he motioned for Kylex to follow him out of the room. There were still others here who needed to be freed. Then they had some New Dawn to kill.

Throne Room
Imperial Palace

The vast openness of the throne room was filled by a large holo-projection of the entire city of Ohmen. Darth Fallax sat lounging casually on the throne, left leg kicked up over an armrest. While his posture indicated a bored and relaxed demeanor, his body was still tight and coiled ready to strike. His eyes were fixed on the map projection. Pulsing blue dots illuminated where his own people were. They had a widespread, controlling the whole city. But those weren’t the dots that held his attention.

Red dots flashed at locations where his own people were now in active engagement against the Palatinaeans. Green dots flashed at the last known locations of other Palatinaeans who had eluded the New Dawn. These were the markers that Fallax’s eyes darted between.

Once, millennia ago, this system was one of the dozens Fallax had controlled. He had methodically pressed the expansion of his Empire with a careful eye. Every victory he had was a major one, overwhelming his opponents. He was a master of tactics and combat, and it was his ability to judge and read an enemy was what had helped forge his rule.

Yet here he sat, unable to remotely understand what the Palatinaeans were hoping to accomplish in their movements. There was no order, no rhyme, no reason, no plan as to how they struck. Fallax was left wondering what were the distractions and what were the real targets.

“My lord,” Sadon said as he knelt before the throne. Fallax snapped his eyes away from the map and to his most trusted disciple. Fallax gave a slight wave of his hand, and Sadon stood, then continued.

“Watop has sent word. Prisoner processing was just hit. He ran as it happened, and we lost the Palatinaeans that had been captured for interrogation.”

Fallax slammed a fist down on the armrest of the throne.

“The coward. When he arrives make sure he knows his is not to flee before the Palatinaeans again. He will stay and do his job, or he will learn the secrets I have withheld from his training.”

Sadon bowed, unphased by the threat. Each of the Disciples needed reminders as this now and again. It also wasn’t the first time Watop had disappeared from a fight. The Togruta liked his enemies restrained and helpless. Straightening up again, Sadon stayed where he stood. Fallax cocked his head.


“A team of Palatinaeans managed to break in and obtain copies of our encryption keys and security protocols. Zidane is working on changing them all, but it will take some time for it to be pushed to all our of systems. Until then, the damage they might be able to cause could be catastrophic.

Fallax stood, rage flowing out of his body, cracking the marble floor beneath his feet.

“Merkak is already in pursuit with his best special forces team. They are cornering them,” Sadon continued pointing to one of the flashing red dots on the holomap.

Unregistered Safe House

“We are fweced,” Mune said uncharacteristically blunt. He peered cautiously out the window, still breathing deeply. They had been pursued for over six city blocks, New Dawn nipping at their heels. The alley way they found themselves was a dead end, but luckily it was a alley well known to Lexiconus, who had created his own safe house here incase the members of Imperium came looking for his blood someday. But it was just a matter of time before the New Dawn reached this building.

“There is an escape tunnel back here,” Lexiconus said as he pushed a bookcase out of the way. Several of the others in the group looked up briefly and went back to rearming themselves with the supplies that had been stashed in the house.

“They will just follow it. We can’t keep running like this. We need to get these protocols out and used to break the New Dawn’s systems before they can change them. This game of cat and mouse needs to end,” Mune retorted. He stepped slowly back from the window, voice dropping to a whisper. The New Dawn had just come into view, and were preparing to breach the door of the building across the street.

“I will hold them here,” Sparky spoke up still attempting to catch his breath. The Chiss made eye contact with both Mune and Lexiconus. They all knew what was unsaid in that statement.

“Help me activate these charges and give me the detonator. I will hold them off as long as I can, then blow this place to hell. It will give you the time you need to get away,” Sparky continued. Mune gritted his teeth.

“No. We can’t,” the Rollmaster began to protest. Sparky held up a hand cutting him short.

“You can and you will. There is no time to debate this. We have to move quickly,” The Chiss said firmly. “This is war, and the Empire’s survival depends on our victory. Make this count.”

Outside, Merkak swore to himself before barking orders to his men. They came racing out of the building, Palatinaeans still illusive. There were only three buildings left in the alley way, one of them would have the Palatinaeans. But every minute they wasted on the wrong buildings, was another minute the Palatinaeans had to regroup and prepare.

His strike team formed up and prepared to kick down the door of the next building. The Sullustan gave the command, and they breached the building. Instantly, the sound of blaster fire rang out, followed by several grenade detonations. This was the one, the Palatinaeans were found.

Merkak nodded happily as his men filed into the building. The frantic sound of blaster fire continued. He knew it wouldn’t take long for his men to kill the Palatinaeans and began to approach the building. Within minutes he would be on his way back to the palace with the datadisks. The blaster fire slowed, then stopped. Merkak smiled and picked up his pace.

The smile didn’t last long, as the building then blew. Merkak was sent flying back, smacking into the wall of the building opposite. He fell limply to the ground, dazed. Blood began to pour down from his forehead, and smoked filled his lungs. Ears ringing, he coughed and attempted to get to his feet. His men were gone, killed in the blast of the building.

The Palatinaeans emerged from the tunnel several blocks away. The blast from the explosion had shaken them, echoing down the tunnel. Mune paused for a moment as they cautiously ventured out into the open once again. He looked back up toward where they had come from. Black smoke now billowed toward the sky. The deadman’s trigger they had wired had done its job, just as Sparky had done his. He had held off the New Dawn.

Major Sparky von Wagglehorn the Third had held his ground. Major Sparky von Wagglehorn the Third had saved their lives. Major Sparky von Wagglehorn the Third would be remembered as a hero of the Empire, yet another casualty in this war against the New Dawn.


Midnight Part Three

Throne Room
Imperial Palace

The pair of soldiers silently and carefully lay the bodies of the two disciples before their lord. Darth Fallax’s face was stone, unmoving as he took in the mangled corpses of Desric and Kadryn Teroler. The husband and wife had always been an odd pair, Duros and Human. But they had also ushered in one of the largest influxes of loyal followers Fallax had ever seen. Their efforts were why after hundreds of years he had finally been able to confidently move forward on his plans. The two soldiers who had brought the bodies in bowed deeply and swiftly attempted to back away from their lord.

Without removing his eyes from his fallen disciples, Fallax shot his open hand forward, sending the two men flying across the length of the throne room. Their bodies made a sickening crunch as they impacted against the far wall. Several servants quickly made their way over to clean up, glad the soldiers’ armor and bodysuits had contained most of resulting mess.

Forced to take in what Fallax was doing and witnessing, Xen’Mordin was barely able to make out exactly what it was Fallax was looking at. His ability to recognize the two disciples only came from guesswork, due to the waves of hate and rage that was racing through Fallax at that moment. The physical world was all but a distant memory for him. Xen’s world was the one Fallax shaped for him within his mind. Even then, that too was beginning to blur.

“I almost hope you find the strength to last to the end,” Fallax said, once again mentally projecting himself as standing over Xen’s writhing body. Xen’Mordin couldn’t even roll onto his back to look up at the Sith Lord. He continued to twitch and spasm in agony, but even without looking at Fallax he knew the meaning of the Sith Lord’s statement.

“I would very much enjoy forcing you to see me torture and kill all those you led. The people you actually cared about, even as you used them to falsely inflate your own feelings of worth. When this is done, everything you built, everything you’ve spent your whole life working towards will be tormented and twisted into what I wish.”

Fallax paused and gave Xen’Mordin a light kick, rolling the Consul onto his back.

“But I don’t think you have much longer. Too weak to even witness what is to come.”

Xen’Mordin managed to raise his head slightly and locked his eyes on Fallax. “Fwec you. Those two were just the start. I might not stop you, but they will,” he said defiantly. For a brief moment the pain lessened, and Xen’Mordin felt some strength return to him. Then he was falling into the black void.


“Stay close!” Jen Menade chided her two children. They giggled, but slowed allowing their mother to catch up. It was a beautiful and quiet day. Even the cold winter winds had lessened, taunting the population to venture from their homes and enjoy the day without rushing from building to building.

Jen caught up with her kids who promptly took speeding off again. Jen sighed and began to call them back again, but they stopped, distracted by sweets in a shop window. Jen debated about possibly buying them a small treat, despite them not having eaten lunch yet. Had Jen known about the forces that were at war this very moment, she would have taken her children in her arms and ran. But Jen, and all the other civilians of Teyr were blissfully unaware.

They were about to learn however.

It was the confused shouting that alerted Jen that something was wrong. She turned to look back down the street. A mass of people were slowly coming up it, directed toward the central plaza of the city. Behind them a wall of helmeted faceless soldiers, decked out in riot gear, were ushering the people forward. Jen grabbed her childrens’ hands.

“Don’t let go,” she said urgently. She tried to pull them down a side alley, away from the people and soldiers. As they left the alley onto the neighboring street, they walked straight into another group of people being forced toward the plaza. Unable to get away, Jen and her two children, were also forced to the central plaza.

By the time they reached the plaza, it was already packed full of people, with more being jammed inside. High above them, a platform floated calmly, reflecting the brilliant light of Imperius down upon the crowd. Around the plaza giant screens and speakers had been set up.

As the minutes ticked by, Jen and her children were forced further and further into the plaza. It was as if the soldiers were forcing the entire city there. The noise in the plaza was incredible, every citizen yelling, crying out at the lack of space and the forced assembly. At long last there was a crackle as the speakers came to life, and a live feed of the floating platform appeared on the screens. The broadcast was being forced upon every available screen in the entire system. An important announcement.

Jen didn’t recognize the man on the screen, but thought he looked important and official. His clean and pressed white clothing gave him an air of superiority to the mass of people he floated above. She tightened her grip on her children’s hands.

“People of the Cocytus Empire. I come to you today here in the beautiful city of Teyr to issue a warning. There are those who would call this system, this empire as theirs. They run about your streets, thinking they are untouchable. They hid in the masses of your cities hoping to be left undiscovered as they work to dismantle everything the Empire is.” Sadon Teraah said. He paused. Jen jumped as the soldiers fired a few warning shots into the air, silencing the entire plaza.

“To them I would say, they fight a losing battle. They are an embarrassment to this great Empire. But this message isn’t for them. It is for you,” Sadon continued, pointing his finger directly into the holocam. Jen felt a chill go up her spine. There was something very wrong about this.

“People of the Empire. The fate of the Empire rests on you. Help us find these terrorists, these monsters. They walk among you. Help us stop them so the Empire can once again prosper. Fail… And well this will be the fate that awaits you.” Sadon flourish dramatically raising his arms into the air, gesturing to the crowd. The holocam shot further into the air, panning to the packed plaza.

Then the blaster fire started, followed quickly by the screaming of a city being exterminated. The people pushed and shoved against each other to get get away, but there was no place to go. The soldiers had the entire plaza surrounded. Jen tried to pull her children to her, sweaty hands losing grip on Franc, her youngest. She tried to retake his hand, but he was already lost among the crowd frantically trying to get away.

She picked up Raquel and held her, trying to push her way through the crowd. But it was no use. She looked at the screen, the bodies already piling across the entire plaza. The soldiers weren’t stopping. And they didn’t, not until every last man, woman and child there was lying dead on the plaza floor.

Emperor’s Quarters
Imperial Palace

Fallax shot straight up from his bed. His head was ringing, body shaking. Haera quickly came running to his side, offering a gentle hand to lower him back into a laying down position.

“Slowly, we are running some diagnostics.” She said softly. Fallax let out a groan and closed his eyes, hoping to shut out the spinning world around him.

“You collapsed,” she continued. Fallax nodded his head. The corruption was taking its toll.

“Where are we on treating it?” he asked. Haera gave him a reassuring smile.

“We have something new actually. It won’t cure it or stop it, but it will help. There are… side effects however,” Haera said. She paused, letting Fallax gather his thoughts.

“Is it worse than this body dying?” He probed, opening his eyes and locking them on the medic.

“Well, it will be painful.” Haera explained. Fallax laughed.

“This is pain. As long as it keeps this body alive until a permanent solution can be found.”

“It will be a different pain,” she continued gently. She then slammed a four inch long syringe into Fallax’s chest, and injected its contents directly into his heart.

Fallax screamed, screamed like Xen’Mordin had been screaming in his head. The medical equipment shook, screens shattering. Haera pulled the needle out and stepped back, while Fallax screamed and spasmed before her. Finally he was still, limp and calm. Haera remained motionless as well, eyes fixed on her master.

When Fallax finally did move again, the whole palace shook. Shook so violently that Haera wouldn’t have been surprised if it was the entirety of Judecca that was shaking, violently heaving to and fro. The shaking ended, and Fallax stood, body once again strong, blackness visibly pumping through all his veins. He stormed over to Haera and grabbed her by the neck pinning her against the wall. She let out pained gurgle as he choked her.

After a moment his grip slackened, and she took as big of a breath as she could, lungs starving for air. Fallax’s body was trembling still, almost as if it was pulsing with energy.

“Get back to work,” He finally spat out, letting her go. She fell to her knees and massaged her throat.

“Yes, my lord,” she finally said after several seconds of uncontrollable coughing.


Midnight Conclusion

Outside Ohmen

They all sat up at once. The ritual had ended suddenly. It was a reflex almost as they shot up from the jungle floor. They sat in silence, breathing deeply, the humid air oddly soothing as they processed what they had just gone through. The trials were over, the nightmare they had faced inside Xen’s mind was at an end. Each knew it would probably be weeks before they had fully recovered from the mental exhaustion that was setting in on them. None stood, bodies surprisingly too sore to move. Several fell back from their sitting position, heads too heavy to keep up.

“Is that it? Is he free?” Mune asked, finally breaking the silence. Polis Jones shook his head.

“No. Not free,” Polis said slowly, hand holding his head. While the others had the Force to draw on, the experience for the archeologist was far outside his normal scope of abilities.

“So we went through all that for nothing? We could have been fighting and stopping the New Dawn!” Dek Ironius exclaimed, calm exterior shaken from the ritual. Even Polis could pick up on the dark tension sitting on everyone’s shoulders.

“Not for nothing.” Polis responded. He pointed half heartedly at the floating crystal still sitting in the center of the group. “Just not finished.”

The crystals ornate carved surface had gone from dull to vibrant. Its darkness had given way to an intense pulsing light. Just looking directly at it would make one’s skin tingle. Stana was the first to stand, her willpower overcoming the ache in her muscles.

“Polis. Just how does this thing work?” She questioned. She reached a hand up to touch it, but stopped several inches short, apprehensive of it.

“We just need to get it near Fallax. It is more or less, full of Xen’s remaining life force. It should handle the rest if we can get it to the palace,” Polis explained.

“So it is protecting Xen… Will it pull Fallax out and put Xen back in? Is it really just a prison for a spirit?” Elincia asked, slowly approaching the crystal as well.

“Ahh. Err. No. Not exactly…” Polis responded.

Imperial Palace

The pain was unimaginable. Every beating of his heart coursed it further through his veins. It was beyond anything he had ever experienced before. Beyond anything he had brought upon others before. The weak, false Cocytus Emperor was also experiencing it, a point Fallax took some enjoyment from.

Haera had left, her little invention had done its job. Fallax stared at his naked body in the mirror. It was truly his now. Xen’Mordin had not the strength to ever claim it as his own again. The pulsing black lines of corruption had lessened, but not disappeared. The cracks in his skin had healed over. The aging effect had gone as well. He was fit, strong. For the first time in millennia, Fallax felt the strength and power he had when alive in his original body. He dressed slowly, feeling the life pulsing in his body. The pain was something he could handle. The pain gave him rage, which gave him power. It wouldn’t be long until Haera and her team found a way to permanently stopped the corruption.

But first he had Palatinaeans to kill.

Fallax left his chambers and made his way to the throne room. He could sense every single person moving within the palace. Beyond the palace walls he could feel the chaos that was the battlefield in Teyr. Sadon was busy at work drawing the Palatinaeans out. Fallax smiled.

He entered the throne room to find several more bodies had joined Desric and Kadryn. Zidane and Erin lay lifeless on the ground. Fallax exploded with rage. The nearest several servants collapsed, all the veins in their body rupturing at once. Fallax reached out through the force to find his other disciples.

Danni and Groznik were captured, chained together in a damp ruin in the jungle. He would have to send men to retrieve them. Rylla was dead, but her body was nowhere to be found. Watop had fled. Fallax would find him once this was over, and ensure the torturer experienced worse than he had ever given. Fallax paused, sensing that Aeshi, his best assassin had also fled. She was already out of the system. He had misjudged her loyalty, had been convinced she would be one to stay to the bitter end.

Several more servants entered the throne room only to thrown across it by Fallax in his rage. He would not rest until every Palatinaean was dead.


Blade stepped lightly over another corpse, one charred from the flames beyond recognition. She had stayed out of the battle, but as it waned, she knew should would need to more closely survey the damage. With so many dead, the city was nearly silent.

“Nice of you to finally join us,” Lexiconus yelled out from further down the street. Up ahead there was still the occasional sound of blaster fire, but that too was petering out.

“I was… busy,” Blade said as she approached, having to step over another dozen bodies to reach the group of her clanmates. The weary look in their eyes was enough of a sign that they wouldn’t press. They just didn’t care.

“Is it done?” She asked. Lexic shook his head and pointed ahead. The entrance to the top tier’s plaza was barely visible through the smoke.

“Archangel is leading the final charge. It should be over by the time we get there.” The Quarren added.

The group of Palatinaeans walked in silence toward the plaza. The soldiers around them kept close enough of an eye out for any New Dawn who might attempt to attack. But for the Palatinaeans, they knew the New Dawn had all fallen back towards Ohmen and the Palace. This city was dead and it was time to make the final push.

They entered the plaza, and were speechless at the amount of bodies that had piled up in there. Bodies of civilians, New Dawn, and Palatinaeans alike made it nearly impossible to venture further in. Beyond the bodies, they were able to make out the hulking mass of Archangel, who was carrying a person over his shoulder. He waved and began to step up and over the sea of bodies toward them.

He threw Sadon Teraah at their feet. The right hand man of Darth Fallax let out a grunt of pain. His legs were bent awkwardly, in locations that were very clearly not his knees. Sadon screamed in pain as he landed. The disciple clamped his mouth shut, biting his tongue, hoping to remove the satisfaction of seeing him in pain from his captors. After several moments of attempting to stifle his screams he spoke.

“This changes nothing. Fallax will kill you all.” he managed to spit out.

“Well, let’s not keep him waiting,” Archangel responded. He slammed his large foot down on Sadon’s head, crushing it. While none of them could actually hear it, they all imagined they had heard a scream of rage in the wind.


The New Dawn were falling back. So many of the disciples had fallen. As the Palatinaeans advanced, more of the military fell in line with them, recognizing the long standing authority that they held in the system, and the bonds from years on the battlefield. The New Dawn, Darth Fallax himself, had failed to account for the long history of the Clan, and the Military.

Jurdan Krennel let out a bloodlust roar as he ran up the street towards the palace. He had committed to the Palatinaean cause completely, Wielding the lightsaber of his fallen half-brother he carved his way through dozens of New Dawn soldiers, those who still foolishly remained to defend their leader.

Kell Dante put a calming hand on the Jurdan’s shoulder, slowing the man.

“You will want to save some for for the palace,” Kell said calmly. He had never been in doubt that his men would return to him, and that Scholae Palatinae would win the day. Several shots of blaster fire flew past the Adept’s helmeted head. He sighed as return fire was sent past him, striking the New Dawn men beyond. The palace loomed ahead, rising high into the air, it was the ultimate permanent reminder of Imperial power in the city.

The men’s comms crackled to life, and the Grand Admiral spoke clearing in their ears.

“They are going to hold up in the palace. We need to breach the walls, and quickly if we are to make it inside. We’ve got a urgent package to see delivered,” Mune said. Jurdan and Dante turned to look at each other and then nodded, racing up the street to gather with their clanmates.

They met up with them a street away from the palace. In the shade of the building between them and their final goal, the senior members of Scholae Palatinae were huddled around a holoprojection of the palace, debating how best to breach its walls.

“I still think knocking on the front door is the best approach,” Jorm contested, bored from the continued debate. Over the years, the palace had been attacked many times, each time leading to even more defensive building. “Or we can just blow the whole thing,” he added.

There came a roar, as a bulky freighter came barreling overhead. Alara came running into view.

“I had an idea! Zhan did the same thing to us!” She said excitedly. Seconds later there was a crunch of steel impacting steel, and the doors of the palace were laid open.

Imperial Palace

A wall of New Dawn Soldiers formed up to defend the entrance to the palace. The Palatinaeans charged forward, before the two forces met, blaster fire from the city flew out, punching a hole in the New Dawn’s line. Zehsaa called out on the comms to her clanmates.

“It was awfully nice for them to line up like that.”

The jest just bolstered the Palatinaeans’ eager attack of the palace. Without even stopping their running pace, the bulk of the Palatinaeans found themselves within the throne room, and began the battle against the remaining New Dawn. Polis, flanked by Stana and Elincia followed the Palatinaean forces closely, and withdrew the crystal from his satchel. It shot high into the air and exploded, sending a blast of light and energy toward Fallax on the far side of the room.

By the time everyone was able to see clearly again, There were two men standing in Fallax’s place. One was clearly Xen’Mordin, at least his body, hunched over still in pain. The other was a strange face to all in the room. Darth Fallax reborn, body as it was in his youth, so many eons ago. The sound of maniacal laughter filled the throne room.

“Thank you, this is even better than that decaying mess of a body you called an Emperor! I am renewed!” Fallax jeered. Xen’Mordin stood up straight and pulled his ancient lightsaber hilt from his belt. Fallax pulled his own crafted lightsaber to his hand, and the two faced each
other ready to duel.

“I died once by that blade, I will not be stopped a second time,” Fallax sneered. In a series of quick flashes the battle was done. Xen was in no state for combat, and Fallax cut Xen’s hilt clean in half. Xen pulled away from Fallax as fast as he could, desperate to put space between himself and his former possessor. The remains of his lightsaber hilt flickered and sparked in his hand.

“Pathetic.” Fallax laughed. The New Dawn and Palatinaeans had come to a standstill, eyes locked on the two men.

“Yes. Yes you are.” Xen mocked softly. His body ached, and his head pounded. There was so little time for him to act. His hand shot forward, mind reaching out with the force to send the sharp and deadly bottom half of his lightsaber blaster bolt fast as the ancient Sith Lord. As Xen’s hand moved up to launch it, so did Fallax’s primal raw dark side energy erupting from his fingertips.

The lightsaber hilt and force lightning collided dead center between the two. Energy from Fallax’s lightning arched through the hilt, overloading its remaining crystal and power sources. The explosion was tremendous.

Xen’Mordin was launched back, hitting his head hard on the ground as he landed. He remained still and unmoving. Fallax lay on the ground screaming. Metal shards from the lightsaber hilt had kept its momentum, impacting hard on his body. Even now the blood began to pool. The remaining New Dawn loyalists turned and attempted to run, only to be mowed down by the Imperial Military awaiting them. The members of Scholae Palatinae gathered around the dying body of Fallax.

Lexiconus grimaced, and reached out with the force to hold the shrapnel in place, preventing it from working its way further into the Sith Lord’s body. Elincia placed a hand on the Quarren’s shoulder.

“This isn’t some patient to save Lexic,” she said. Lexiconus nodded.

“Oh I know. This is just keeping him here a little longer,” he replied. The other Palatinaeans shot each other sideways glances knowing what was being said in the statement. Lexiconus wouldn’t commit the act, but he would let his clanmates have their revenge.

Eventually Fallax’s screams stopped, and his body lay still. The abuse inflicted on him by the Palatinaeans he so completely under estimated had finally taken its toll. The Palatinaeans turned to bring their attention to Xen’Mordin, only to find a trail of blood from where he had fallen, leading out toward the entrance to the throne room. The Emperor had vanished.

Emperor’s Respite
Frozen Plains

“So Xen put a secret medical facility in the middle of this frozen wasteland, and told no one but you?” Elincia questioned, a tinge of annoyance on every word. She pulled her long white heavy winter coat tighter around her trying to protect herself from the frigid wind, a more appropriate alternate to her ever present white lab coat given the conditions.

“Technically it’s a secret medical ship, and all the Emperors have had one,” Stana explained, purposefully ignoring the second half of inquiry as she removed her right glove to key in the access code. “An emergency place to recover should his own people turn against him, or attempt to attack while in a weakened state. Ood kept his in the jungle. Thran kept his parked behind Big Daddy’s.”

“And Xen keeps his where we’d all freeze to death,” Evant joked under his breath through clenched teeth. He shuffled awkwardly in place also eager to get inside out of the cold.

“That still doesn’t explain how you knew about it and I didn’t,” Elincia pressed, her annoyance growing as the door finally slid open.

“Finally,” Evant sighed as he rushed inside past the others inside the small ship. “What was the passcode the egomaniac’s life story?”

Stana gestured to Elincia to enter next, who hesitated before following Evant inside. The lights of the repurposed assault ship flickered on one by one as the door sealed behind the trio replacing the howl of the tundra with the hum of a electronics aboard the ship. Xen’s medical droid, Bones, came zooming into view to greet them.

“Much to discuss!” His synthesized voice rushed.

Stana held up her hand, a gesture to the medical droid to be silent as both Evant and Elincia stood at the foot of an elevated medical table in their own contemplative silence. “I managed to get Xen away while everyone was preoccupied with Fallax,” Stana explained, breaking the silence to join the two looking up at Xen’s immobile state front and center.

A series of tubes and wires connected to the body and head of the leader of the Clan. Around him a myriad of sensors and medical equipment beeped and hummed with life. A brilliant blue glow cast a sickly yet sterile light on everything from three massive bacta tanks on the back wall. Multiple medical assistant droids manned several medical stations performing diagnostics and administering drugs.

“Physically the separation from Fallax was flawless. All of his bodily systems are at one-hundred-percent, there are no sign of corruption or even the slightest wear. Absolutely physically fit.” Bones explained eagerly, interrupting Stana before she could continue.

“And?” Evant questioned after a brief pause, his eyes fixated on the unmoving body of his friend and mentor. His connection to his former Master was so effortless it required no concentration at all. He could sense it the instance he set foot on the planet, but now, so close, he could still sense only a cold faceless signature in the Force, a deep void absent any emotions or feelings, one that offered him no reassurances.

“Like I said, physically his body is immaculate. It’s just his brain isn’t.” The droid hovered a little higher pointing to a screen. The single line on its display remained flat and unmoving. Elincia rushed to the display and pressed several buttons. All charts showing the same thing.

Zero brain activity.

“This… This cannot be.” Elincia said softly, her annoyance replaced with disbelief. Stana shifted on her feet, looking sympathetically at the Proconsul.

“He trusted you two. Is there anything we can do?” Stana pleaded hopefully. Elincia’s mind raced thinking of possible results, none good. Evant stood silently.

“He is gone,” Bones spoke up before Elincia could decide how to state it. “However, my programming prohibits me from turning off the life support systems.” Bones pointed toward a series of switches then floated off to the far corner of the room, dimming to allow the trio to discuss the matter further. Evant tensed, his body feeling countless at emotions at once, too many to control.

“He deserved better than this…the damn fool… we turn it off and let the Force decide,” The Regent said after a moment, his tone suggesting that even he wasn’t so certain, his entire mind consumed by the void in front of him. Stana shook her head and stepped between him and the life support controls, a determination in her glare.

“I called you here to help. You can’t really be giving up on him that easily,” She said angry and frustrated looking Evant in the eyes as he turned to look at her, continuing only after a brief pause with no response, “He wouldn’t give up on you.”

“No, Evant is right. We either let him die with dignity, or hope he can find his way back through the Force,” Elincia said. Bones lit up in the corner.

“We can keep him alive here indefinitely,” The droid interjected into the conversation before returning to low power mode.

“Then we let him live. He can find his way back. I know he can,” Stana said decisively. Evant shook his head slightly and looked at Xen’Mordin. He pursed his lips and concentrated. The room remained silent, aside from the machines keeping Xen alive. Evant’s eyes darted back and forth across Xen’s body. He finally stepped back from Stana and the controls.

Elincia cocked her head to the side and addressed Stana.

“No more games, who are you? And just how long have you been sleeping with him? I ran background and medical checks on all of Xen’s mistresses, you were not one of them.”

“And I was the one who put together the background checks for you to review. He has his secrets, me included,” Stana said, emphasizing the statement in way that suggested there was nothing more she would say on the matter, locking eyes with Elincia unable to hide her deep sense of concern for the man connected in a hundred ways to the ship they now stood on. Elincia nodded in understanding.

“Fine. I have seen less likely things occur. He might find his way back,” Elincia said, returning her focus on the biodata being pulled from Xen’s body.

“If he does he will have a lot of explaining to do. This puts a damper on some of our… plans,” Evant said shooting a sideways glance at Elincia.

“Egomoon, Dark Talon, White Star… They all can wait,” Stana said impatiently. Elincia and Evant turned and stared at her.

“How did-?” Elincia managed to get out. Stana gritted her teeth in response.

“We keep Xen alive, and your little projects can keep on going. As far as the Clan knows, Xen’Mordin is dead. Eli, that will cause some contention for you, and Evant, I imagine the Council will have… things that need to be taken care of with that vacuum.” Stana said. She rested a hand on Xen’s shoulder. The other two nodded. The matter was settled.

They left Xen’Mordin where he lay, droids and instruments still taking vitals and administering drugs, systems still ensuring his body stayed alive. Brain wave scanner still absolutely still. They gave a final nod to Bones, who whirled back to life to ensure the body would stay alive, and then turned to venture back through the small door out into the freezing Cainian plains to their own ship

The secret medical ship locked down, returning to low power and keeping things just functional enough to power the machines keeping Xen alive.

And then the brainwave scanner began to quiver.