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There was a time when Malachi only ever came here in his dreams. Foreboding dreams, full of fear and an impenetrable darkness. It would always begin with him in the empty castle, searching for family. The ravens were gone from the rookery; the stables were full of old bones, whether human or animal he could never quite tell. Silence met his every frantic cry as he called out their names time and again. Their names would freeze on his lips as he remembered the bones. As always, in strange dreams, he found himself pulled towards the crypts with a compulsion, impossible to resist. He could see only the top few steps spiraling into the blackness of the tombs where the Anzati Kings slept forever more. Stone wyverns rendered mid-snarl, bared their granite teeth and their massive wings as he passed them by fighting the urge to scream. He always awoke, heart fiercely beating and gasping for air, in the safety of his own bed. 

But that animal fear had left him now. The people knew him as Exodus, a cold-blooded assassin and a conqueror of worlds. The boy that had worked his tiresome due in the slums, had carved himself into a King of the fearsome Sith. Fear was an ideology that worked for him now, an emotion synonymously enslaved to his name. The periods between conciousness and sleep were no more than blinking, turning the page to another chapter. And so, the Dark King rose from the folds of his bed, sleep quite obviously an awkward luxury in his schedule. In the moments he took to compose himself, and wash the idle from his face, the whispers of the blackened force crawled into his ear. They were the soft reminders that weighed heavily on his mind.

 

"After all you've done, they have abandoned you."

 

Glorified men and women that had called themselves Sith, creatures that mantled the title and whored the name, vanishing by the day. Exodus had burned the remnants of Old back on Korriban, burying the bones of them and those loyal to them far beneath the sands. Blatant heresy ran rampant within the brotherhood, and the lawlessness had proven to be one of the main ingredients to their constant failures as a powerhouse in the wars past. Now, with halves of the old empire in tow, the Sith Empire prospered more than ever. Yet and still,

 

"..Even the Hutt has left you."

 

Exodus leaned towards the porcelain basin and spit into the centerpiece of the cold vanity. Looking up, the large mirror reflected the unblemished face of the young King, long fiery hair rebelliously falling in folds over his skin. His face was unmeasured this time, there was no neutrality in his features, simply hate. The facecloth whipped to his hand on demand, and he dried the dew from his skin, pearly emeralds still stared directly back at him, burning with strangled concentration. He held onto these emotions for weeks now, dishing out unprecedented force in each of his combat exercises, removing the restraints of his lethality. The Anzati Blood inside of him burned differently, brighter and more true. Just outside of his quarters, the rest of his Anzanti covenant already lined the Glass Spire, waiting amidst royal visitors native to Onderon. The arrival of his family must've spurred a deeper nature inside of him, one that reminded him that the chess-pieces were nothing more than just that. He wished to have no further part to play in the ceremonies, or the pleasantries of customs, the others would fill those roles. He would continue the legacy, with his own two hands.

 

"You risk your life, skulking about in my shadows," Exodus spoke loosely.  

 

Lady Gethwine's hands were cupped around a candle that had long extinguished. Only a stub remained, with the blackened wick protruding from the molten pool. Nothing of her appearance revealed itself, but Exodus knew who she was. "You have quite the nose, my Lord." her voice honey-combed with curiosity and small laughter. She kept close to the walls, sunken and wrapped in the blackest of cloth. He remembered her from his home; a draught of air would sigh through the rib-vaulted ceiling or a chill would rise from the flagstones whenever she approached. "The reek of your enemies is unmistakable by now, yet they still tread carefully.." She was prying, but traveling such a distance for something she knew was unlikely for the Consul of Secrets. 

 

"They are little more than children, Gethwine. The one who calls herself Empress is an example of this, I will not entertain child's play. 

 

Not one of them had made contact with the Sith, and those that moved to Kuat on the heels of the Hutt had not returned. The betrayal from the White Wolf, and the incompetence from the rest was enough to scorn him deeply, for he had invested in the future of the Sith by those that sworn themselves. From inside his pocket, he withdrew an artifact. Black enameled, with a three headed dragon studded into the front with cloud-colored crystals, and the sprawling legs of a spider. He nudged open the filigree clasp to reveal a small inscription, carvings in High Sith that would be unrecognizable to most. Still, something was to be done.  

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"Dathomir as it was is a shambles of a once great community, its denizens subjugated and starving, and now with the aide of the Sith and the rule of a blessed patriarch such as the Spider we will see them return to greatness."

The Sith shuttle hurtled through hyperspace, Tel having quite consciously kidnapped the clueless Melodie and had decided to whisk her off into service of the Dark lord. A gift much as it was, alongside the news of the subjugation of the Nightsisters.  Telperien stood in front of the Melodie, her hands clasping hard the bow of yew that she held, destrung so that the bow did not follow the cord and thus become the weaker for it. A precurved bow being the weaker bow beside a bow as straight as its first forming. And Telperien was proud of that black yew bow and so carried it with her wherever she went. A powerful weapon besides being a talisman of sorts to focus through. She looked at the young girl, her smile carrying no joy. 

"We go to see the ruler of this galaxy, the Spider, the King Beyond the stars. You have potential within you, and I will exploit that to form you into a weapon as powerful as I am. But you must still choose." She withdrew a bodkin with its wicked point ground to a molecular edge and pointed it to the younger girl, the tip a mere inch from her nose. 

"You can choose the life of a weapon, or die. That is your choice, and you have no other.  Take the arrow or be taken by it. Embrace your destiny and or I will not let such a powerful tool find its way into the hands of the Jedi."

And as that horrible choice was presented, the sith shuttle arrived over Onderon. 

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A roiling hunger. Bitter in its chaos, a tempest of untampered madness. Lighting and smoke of crimson. Greed and Gluttony tore at the veil of the Force, allowing their master to enter physical form once again. A mountain of filth, never broken. Insane, but never disloyal.

<<Do you think I would ever… Truly… Leave you, Shadow Spinner?>>

The deep laughter of the Hutt, flecked and filled as it was with phlegm, held true joy. Mirth carried by insanity. A silver tiara landed at the feet of the Spider, tossed by the Master of the Krath. A gift for the Dark Lord.

<<Kuat and the Empress are yours. As promised.>>

The Hutt breathed in a deep, blubbering sigh. For a moment he gave himself pause. Had he come too far into the Spider’s web, to his very bedchambers? No matter, Such an entrance would have given even Ar-Pharazon enough time to disguise his whores. The Hutt snorted, clearing his nostrils and leaving such cares behind. The Force subsided, his entrance made. He had no need to impress the leader of the Sith, the Hutt knew grandiose entrances were mundane and cliché.

<<Did you think I would leave the Krath to Draken?>>

His staff dragged upon the flagstones as the Hutt bowed his form, what little resemblance he could muster to kneeling.

<<I am not Furion...>>

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"Did you say Spider?" Eve question as the flames within her gaze blazed with anger, the Melodie's fear becoming tempered by her lust with vengeance. Even Lucif, who had remained calmly upon his ward's form hissed at the mere mention of the emblem. "Does his ships bear his marking upon their hulls?"

What luck. If this was the being behind her clan's destruction, Eve had fallen right into where she had wished to be, no matter how much this girl before he spoke of potential. Feeling Lucif's reel, Eve placed her hand up to calm the large snake and stroked his coiled form as it tightened around her. This was perfect beyond measure. She was heading straight to him, straight to her revenge for the lives one of his ships had claimed. And she was being escorted directly. She may have been born upon a backwater moon, but she was not as dumb as some would believe. There was only one path to follow now. Reaching forward, Eve grasped the arrow's form.

"Make me this weapon you speak of." Eve spoke as the first smile of many crept upon her face, deception in her eyes as she realized the opportunity before her. "I choose to embrace this potential you see."

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M A D N E S S

 

Furion, Quietus, and Draken, it made no difference in the who. There were other names, other identities that absconded their burdens and turned their backs. Keenava had downshifted, falling from grace and regressing into a mere hound of the Korriban sands. Now she lay dead, spirit just as lost as her fragmented mind was. Even the promise of pledging apprentices, rallying their weight towards the efforts of Kuat, and coming up short against their adversaries. Glory, and victory, escaped them all. Root and stem of the brotherhood was perforated with rot, but the Sith Empire remained supreme.; a balance barely held together by the strength and name of the Spider, and the hundreds of thousands he now commanded.

 

“My mind is, unclear as of late.”

 

Except that it was not, his lie was spun from  a retch of emotion that was born of anger, his mind was sharper than it had ever been. Allegiance was a shrewd notion among the evils of the galaxy, and the madness of suspicion was a thing unavoidable by all that swam within the dark side of the force. Ordinarily, the merriment of the Hutt would ease the fire inside of Exodus, but this fuel burned a different mettle inside his black soul. Exodus watched as the silver headdress clattered across his floor, staring from afar with no intention to move to recover it. A treasure from the child that presided over the remnants of the old empire, a worthless jewel borne of treasonous turncoats.

 

Exodus stood, his disinterest in the Empress was unmistakable. He focused instead on the readiness of his battle raiment, the aesthetics of which were shadowed from the swallowing darkness. Lastly was the form of a soot-covered half-skull helmet cradled inside the tuck of his right arm, while his infamous blade remained clutched inside of his left hand. The Spider was yearning the adrenaline of battle, for reasons that longingly churned his blood, and he would leave Onderon to enact death as he saw fit. However, the Hutt had come home at last, and the inkling of why was a curiosity he would have answered. Moreover, whispers ascertained that his apprentice had returned. Before all, he would measure the true intent of the Lord of Madness.

 

"Lord Sheog, what do you think of what the Sith have become?"
 

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The Hutt breathed in a blubbery breath of the stale air of the Dark Lord’s personal chambers. It was claustrophobic, the air tasted of latent fear and broken souls. It could also have been because Sheog’s massive mountain of a greasy body was not meant for the humanoid living quarters. His heavy-lidded eyes, horrifying crimson flecked with sulfuric yellow, scanned the room, passing over the Empress with little interest.

…Lord Sheog…

The Hutt’s deformed nostrils wrinkled, a momentary disdain for the title. He was a Master of the Sith and killed more Jedi then the rest of the active order combined to get there. Somehow, he had even killed several of the Jedi several times.

…What do you think the Sith have become?

The Hutt pondered the question. He never knew, when talking to his Sith brethren, if such questions were traps, or bait, or reason for some idiot to attack him. He didn’t care to be cautious with Exodus, diplomacy and guile were not the Hutt’s style, and would stink of dishonesty even worse then the noxious grease that stained his flesh. Sheog set the stage with a recounting of Kuat, the last battle at which the Sith had been tested. He was blunter then normal.

<<Our Sith got kriffing rickrolled by Stormtroopers without lightsabers.>>

The Hutt snorted derisively, pausing to deal with the phlegm that came from his action. He almost coughed the slimy bolus onto the Dark Lord, but caught himself, swallowing it like Lallu would have. He continued, his disgust bridling on anger.

<<Well Lucifer died, which is par for the course... Have you ever played Acceron mini-Golf? Like one shotting every hole at a family fun center. Yeppp... Lucifer got bloody roasted. His apprentice too. Wasted by an unmounted TIE pilot no less.>>

The Hutt produced a small, desiccated wormlike lizard. Its dead flesh was cradled in his palm. The chubby fingers slowly curled around it, crushing it into bloodless chunks. Wordless disgust. Ysalimiri

<<Oni died like a bitch against what they called a... Sexorcist I think. Probably was a fun death by the sounds of it. Got burned alive by flames, must have been one hell of a night. You ever had a night like that? Burning the bedsheets…>>

The Hutt glanced sideways at the Empress and gave her what he thought was a coy smile but it came across as a grotesque interest.

<<They don't call you Sexodus for nothin I'm sure.>>

The Insane Hutt calmed his absurdity, halting his prattling monologue before it became more indecent. He glowered at the tiara, pondering the Imperial’s efficiency. They had used some form of Meta, had won everything, but had still lost.

<<What have the Sith become?>>

The Force was rocked by the Hutt’s concentrated madness. Gluttony and greed entwined, wrapping themselves about the Hutt like a cloak. The staff cracked against the flagstones, sending sparks into the shadows.

<<They do as most creatures do. Shirk from responsibility when it is foisted upon them. We have a galaxy to conquer, let us not allow the weak to feed upon our strength, like a babe sups upon the breast…>>

His eyes fell to the Spider’s, and they shone with power

<<Let us forge it in our strength. If the rest of the Sith are to follow, they will need to grow up from the children they are. To leave their sandcastles. Their toys. Their whores...>>

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“He is master of this universe and his ships carry his visage to the ends of the Galactic Rim.”

With speed that came from coild muscles and the force, Telperien grabbed the wrist of the Melodie and brought the Bodkin down until its razor sharp tip caressed the soft white skin of the girl’s palm. Then it lowered a centimeter to bite in with a horrid mix of pain and blood. A slash, then the daughter of Ar-Pharazon did the same to her own palm and grasped the girls hand in hers. Their blood mixing as it bubbled between their fingers.

“Then I will make you such a weapon, and you will become a scourge on this galaxy.”

The Ship settled down on its landing struts and she smiled at the girl as she pulled her towards the boarding ramp.

“But first you must meet my Master. The Spider in all his glory. “ And she pulled hte girl down the ramp towards the palace of the Dark Lord.

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It was an unusual dialect that the Hutt spoke with; some words passed with odd diction, others were dressed with expected satire. Subliminals, conceit, and truth. The creature said more than the words were meant too, and perhaps some of which were intended for the the Anzati King. He was numb to the impressions however, and dangerously so. Exodus spun the hilt of his blade in his palm indifferently, almost a force of habit with the nature of dark thoughts churning inside of his uneasy mind. The Hutt spoke true when it came to the inadequacies of those that had fumbled on Kuat, a shameful representation, but one that did very little to stunt progression. What none of them understood was what it took to build an empire from the inside, the composure and diligence that was required, otherwise they themselves would be heralded as more than just simple vassals of anger. Soon, he would show them the face that every one of them truly feared. As the thought crossed his mind, he sat the skeletal face-helm on his head.


"Let us, but I wait for no one."


The darkness that covered the warlike metropolis moved in palpable waves. Magnifying with each passing day, festering in and around all living creatures, and filling their minds with anger, vanity, greed, and all emotions of the Dark Side of the Force. On the other hand, Imperial discipline hardened each of them, manacling the citizens of Iziz and the rest of the Sith Empire to do the work of one. On a segregated plateau that overlooked the city of Iziz—the sovereign city built by the living, was now the breathing heart of both the Empire and the Dark Side stood. The locus of the Glass Spire marveled where it stood, built as a black nexus that exuded raw power and attracted additional kogs to the machine of the Sith. The Oracle of the King-Emperor, Vhar Leon strode into the heart of the darkened Spire, flanked by a squad of faceless Imperial Guardsmen, who marched in mute silence behind him. A turbolift brought he and his Guardsmen up to the pinnacle of the Spire, the Emperor's private quarters. A pair of Guardsmen stood guard outside the Emperor's quarters, and they crossed their force pikes as Vhar and his Guardsmen approached. "The Emperor has a visitor," one of them said, though Vhar couldn't tell which with their helmets on.
 

"I'm afraid that I have no choice," Vhar spoke with the accent of the Voss. "I will pass." The Guardsmen hesitated, before uncrossing their pikes. "Be it upon your head, Grand Seer," they warned. The unit of Guardsmen that had accompanied him refused to go further and waited silently as he stepped through the doorway. He could not readily see his Emperor, but the darkness and hatred that filled the room showed that he was still here, Lord Sheog to his surprise as well. Vhar fell to his knees, his head low as a show of subservience. "My Lords," he said, his monotonous voice as flat as it had always been.The Spider seemed to appear out of the shadows, the dark somehow receding slightly, revealing the King before him. "What is it?" Exodus knew that his apprentice had returned, and he understood what it meant now that the Hutt had returned, but Vhar seemed eager.

 

"I believe.. we have found the Jedi."

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Eve's eyes flared with a golden flame as the girl before her confirmed her suspicions, the coiled Lucif's own tail wagging in a rattled imitation as he loosened his protective grip from upon the Melodie as her hand slid down his form and signaling him to relax. She had finally arrived, and this girl before her had offered a gift of a lifetime, one she would not pass up. Not only had she identified the being behind her kin's destruction, she offered a means to destroy him whether she knew it or not. Her skill was undeniable, and Eve lacked harshly in that department. But of she could only...

Just as Lucif slithered away, Eve found her wrist gripped tightly, the arrow's tip pressing against her skin as her golden glare reflected the fire building within her eyes stared attentively toward her opposition's own. Before she could even react, she winced in pain as it was driven through as her blood boiled forth in a mixture of pain and euphoria, almost as if Eve was willing to do anything to possess what she held to offer. As the girl repeated the process with her own, Eve's gaze shot toward the feeling Lucif with command and then turned back toward their new companion as he words echoed deep in Eve's darkening heart.

"I am at your's to command then." Eve bolstered as the ship settled, her balance firm, even as the girl before her dragged her to and down the boarding ramp, a near devilish smile gracing her lips as the two left the Reel behind. "Yes. Let's go meet the Spider in all his glory."

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The seer was not able to finish his sentence before the wash of power that was the King of the Sith, moved within the speed of thought, interrupting his delivery of the message. The taut dark-charred leather of Exodus' boots pounded the metal beneath him as he stormed from his chambers, brushing passed the Voss creature, and leaving the Krathen Hutt to his thoughts. The smooth black doors to his chambers opened and immediately reset the alertness of the men that were stationed before them.

Iziz hailed with rain once more, and the Spire stood out-cropped like a glistening dark blade against the clouded skies. Exodus reached the end of the hallway and rounded the corner, moving to prepare for another conquest. He caught the panoramic downpour that stretched passed the city, and into the profilic jungles, yawning across the world of Onderon. Nourishment for the creatures that were twisting in the dark, feeding on a power loaned to this world by the Sith. The buried Nexus was alive and spreading, pushing the shoreline of its influence deeper and deeper to feed an army that the enemies of the Sith had not seen in decades.

There were several messages from the headquarters of the armada, and it seemed the Rebellion had gotten its breath back, and with that, came Jedi. This was evidenced by reports of violent incidents in several systems that were historically known to house them—and, most disturbingly, full-fledged attacks upon these worlds that seem to operate with no resistence. Sith-Imperial Intelligence would undoubtedly keep tabs on the continued conflict, while the Sith Empire fanned the flames of their expansion. Meanwhile, his apprentice drew near with words. Exodus would hear them before the onset of a new chapter.


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The roar of the ship's frame groaned as it settled within its confines, alerting Neo from his meditations that they had arrived. Peering from behind one opened eye, Neo's brown gaze fell upon Skoll and Hati whom had taken up residence around their Master. With a brush of his gloved hand against their fur, they rose and allowed Neo to rise himself as they drew toward the chamber's door. Onderon awaited his return and those in which he had brought with him. Much seemed to have changed since he was last here, the darkness of his kinsmen seeping into the planet's very core as he made his way toward the ship's center and ramp, its power flowing upon the very breeze that slipped in as the ramp was lowered, revealing the rain that poured down upon Iziz's surface. Pulling the cloak over his head, Neo departed, the Forja Sitmyr following.

Where the being once known as the Demon of the Sith once strolled, now a different kind of beast now walked amongst the streets of Iziz with three rows of two Massassi at his back, their Tuk'ata held back only by chain and strength as the hounds snarled and gaped at onlookers as Skoll and Hati walked beside their Master in obedient silence. Past the Palace where he and Camik once trained, past the gardens where he recieved Darkfire's Holocron, Neo walked, distant memories of a dead disease now washing away with the rain. Neo only stopped briefly to gaze toward the Dragon's Gate where he felt his old friend perish before a familiar presence crept down his spine and drew his attention toward the large dark spire looming in the distance. He smirked as he turned toward it, uttering only a handful of words to himself. "The Dark King certainly retains his own sense of style."

With each step that was taken, the puddled darkness splashing beneath his own presence, Neo watched as the Spire grew in its enormous size, a beacon of the Spider's reach toward the heavens an ever reminder. As he made his final approach toward it's darkened doors, the sentries station outside stopped Neo in his tracks. The red skinned Massassi behind Neo grew uneased at such an insult, but Neo simply raised his hands and removed the hood of his cloak to reveal the braided silver locks and stern brown gaze before placing his hands upon Skoll and Hati whom sat at his command. A smirk still gracing his face, Neo shifted his gaze toward the Spire's top before returning it to the Sentries before him. "Inform the Dark King that the Demon of the Sith is dead, and that the true Sith Master has returned."

And with that, Neo awaited his King's call.

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The great doors opened before Telperien, the hinges whining against the strain of the heavy doors as the wto women walked through the high arch of the dark doorway. Telperien’s eyes were wide and amethyst as she brought the woman before her King, and when she felt his presence before her she fell to one knee, dragging the girl down beside her. Her voice was thick with accent and gravel like. The last vestige of the disease that had claimed so many of her previous bodies.

“My lord, all Dathomir bows before you. My people, once lost, now have begun their journey into your shadow.” She upturned her face and opened her eyes. “I bring you one I would wish as my apprentice should you allow it.” She turned her head to Eve. “Speak child.”

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Even as the girl before her dragged her form into the room, Eve's darted about, the insignia that laid imprinted upon the ship. Deep within her, her anger boiled upon its sight, aching to be released from its frame and be launched forth with the release of the power that contained it. But Eve simply stayed silent and contained, even as the girl forced her to kneel before the being responsible for the deaths of her kin, the death of all the Melodies whom had yet to undertake their transformation, her the sole survivor.

Well, her, and the cowards who refused to leave the refuge of the mountains underground lakes. The simple thought only glazed across her eyes as she stare forth, the emotions within written across her reflective eyes.

"So you're the Spider?" Her voice was forced, her tone deceptive, as she followed his being with her gaze. As the darkened room lit to her night eye, the girl dressed in primitive robes stayed upon her knee as the flames around them reflected in her eyes, her gaze having yet to falter despite her clenched fist and urge to spear him with the remnants of the ship that laid strapped across her back. "It's a pleasure."

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"So you're the Spider?"

 

"I am, as they say."

 

An armored raiment of bleached bone and spell-bounded metal sheathed the herculean Sith-King. Imperial embroideries knotted the mantled cloak chained around his neck, while hand-crafted heraldic runes colored his open breastplate. The repose that was normally found in the face of this man, was now masked by a helmet carved in the vein of the creature they hailed him as.  The skeins of his web-work found themselves in places none would ever reach, the utterance of his name inspired an unconquerable fear in the hearts of those that knew him by his labors, so the insecta-cognomen was one of the many ways these people likened him to his many faces of death. It was an aesthetic that he cared little for, but wore those faces without prejudice, daringly fixated on the two creatures that had now arrived. "What do you know of pleasure?" His voice carried a baleful inflection, a crisp echo that felt sinister as the words crawled from his helm. This was no question. He did not wish to understand what this creature meant; for the pleasures of a butcher fell in dark contrast to the pleasures of readied cattle, and this creature was not worth her weight in the world of livestock. She would be tantamount to an infantile rat, on the highfalutin platter of a Hutt. Sheog would belch and she would fly. It was her strange tone that precipitated his curiosity, and his rhetorical response served only for her to hold her tongue, for she would bow nonetheless. Beneath five feet, weighing one-hundred pounds at best, physically she was unremarkable. Exodus turned his attention to his own apprentice, and smiled beneath the bone of his mask, "You may," The Dark King looked back towards the small humanoid, with the same smile unseen by the two of them. 

 

"If this creature is underwhelming in any way, put a blade to her throat, and have her sing to you these pleasures. Bleed her dry, then dispose of her and find a new one. We no longer have the luxury of time for the meek, you will be held personally responsible." 

 

Exodus moved from the two bowed, unconcerned with cuing them to rise. His slow and measured steps carried him closer to the enormous windscreen, looking down the length of the Spire, noticing another that remained in wait. The flock had truly come home; lighter, weaker and less prepared for what was to come. There were some that continued to labor toward a more determined path within the Sith Empire, and his apprentice had been one of the few, so what of the one in wait? Perhaps the Golden child was prepared for the next step in her pursuit of power, or perhaps she had a lot more to learn like her father before. We would see.  "Telperiën. Dathomir bows before you. You are my shadow, and you will lead them." The Dark King raised his left hand, tightening his fist into a firm clench. All, if not most of the creatures that followed his command, held no direction or ambition of their own. The expansion of the Sith Empire would require more intelligent minds, and more capable warriors in the fights to come, time would tell where these two would rank. "Little Ar-Pharazon. You will hereby be recognized as a Lord and Lady within the totality of the Sith Empire, the dominion of your home world and your provisions in the defense of Onderon have resounded throughout my armies. Rise anew, and be prepared for the battles to come, for you still have much to learn." The quality of his articulation remained matter-of-fact, bold and sinister from beneath the chiseled mask. Although he existed here and in this moment, his mind and his ambitions navigated higher than any of these two could fathom. It was as if he could see the battles to come as he stood staring outside of the Spire, the triumphs and the exaggerated bloodshed that would come to past. 

 

"We move to continue the campaign. Gather what you'll need."

 

 

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Amethyst eyes narrowed in anticipation The Apprentice listened to her master’s words. The pale pink eyes flickered from his dark ominous form to that of the girl that knelt beside her. She was underwhelming and wholly untested. With a firm nod, she drew her knife from its slim leather sheath and flicked it across the other girl’s neck, letting the blood mist across her fingers. It did not cut vital arteries but slashed through throat and vocal cords with ease. She put a pale hand on the girls head and shoved her to the ground. Speaking without a voice.

 

Your first lesson is this young Melodie. Do not die. Fix yourself up and learn to speak without words. If you have questions you will ask them of me telepathically or not at all.

 

She enunciated these words with a savage kick, before tossing a strip of medical gauze and the cauterizer from the kit on her belt which landed in the pooling blood.

 

Follow us then. Or don’t.

 

“Thank you My Lord.” She spoke for the first time, acknowledging the promotion before striding after the Spider. She had what she needed, her wits, her bow, and her sabre.

 

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His words, vile at best were but bile upon her ears as Eve choked down her urges, her temptations to act. No, not yet. It wasn't time. First she needed this girl to forge the weapon within that she promised. Then, and only then, would its taste bare sweet fruition from its labor. So she swallowed her craving for vengeance, even as this being before her turned his back to her. The best dishes were always best served cold.

 

But a warm sensation would be what she tasted and felt next as the blade slid so cleanly across her throat, the gurgling of warm iron rising upon her taste buds as her face felt the cold steel of the floor below. It was in that moment that Eve felt a flood of emotions flow forth as the warm blood poured from her flesh and encased her pressured flesh. First was that of shock, of fear, that these beings could have possibly knew her intent. But no, that wasn't it. They viewed her too weakly, underestimating the truth within her as this Spider suggested to the girl that had just silenced her without thought. So what was it?

 

Then the voice came, words left unspoken echoing through her head as her form recieved yet another blow, the pain only numbed by the thoughts of her imminent death lingering on the horizon as she grasped at an attempt to make sense of what was transpiring. These two were more than she anticipated, their actions and words saying one thing while they did another. And this girl, the one who promised to forge her into a weapon, unknowingly a weapon forged to kill the vile creature before them, slicing her throat, and yet expecting her to live? Her mind was manic, unsure and confused, even as her body laid silently in a pooling of her own blood, her gaze silent and still as if death had already taken her before her mind and soul caught up to it.

 

Her gaze finally shifted, first toward the two as they walked away before settling upon what the girl had tossed to her side, the gauze filling with the red of her blood and the small pin like instrument that laid beside it. Once again her eyes flickered in the flames of the darkened room and she went to voice herself even as the blood gargled in the place of her voice. "Noooooo!" No. She would not die here. Her purpose was and will always be clear. She would end this being known as the Spider. She would have her vengeance, and now, it would only be that much more sweeter. Her face now covered in her own blood, Eve grasped at the floor and managed to grip it, her gaze staring intently at the two as she pushed her chest from upon the floor.  Grabbing the instrument and the gauze, she acted.

 

Even as her flesh stung with the burning of it to close the wound, her gaze remained upon them. Even if she could not speak, they would hear her. Her determination was strong, just as her will, and will would be done. And as she went to stand, her form swaying to the loss of her blood that now covered her and dripped from her, she laid the gauze across her neck and stumbled after them. The girl had a promise to keep, and the Spider had a fate to meet, both intertwined with her own web of deceit. Now that the chips had been placed, it was time to shuffle the deck and begin. Let the melody of the Melodie whisper its sweet song.

 

"I will not die so easily."

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