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Kesh

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Kesh

 

Astrographical Information

Region: Wild Space

Sector: --

System: Kesh System

Orbital Position: 5

Moons: at least 2

Grid Coordinates: Q-1

 

Physical Information

Class: Terrestrial

Atmosphere: Type 1

Primary Terrain: jungles, mountains, large ocean, plains

Points of Interest: Baron Kern’s estate; a strange planetary magnetic field limits hyperspace travel and offworld communication signals

 

Societal Information

Indigenous Species: Keshiri

Immigrated Species: humans, Wookiees, Ithorians, Rodians, Twi’lek, Weequay

Primary Language(s): Galactic Basic, Keshiri

Faction Affiliation: neutral

 

Defense Rating: Level 3

 

JediRP Canon History: Kesh is the dominion of Baron Kern, a Sith Lord. The Keshiri worship him as a dark vengeful and wrathful god, and he has a estate deep in the mountains. They are as yet unaware of Kern’s defeat and death at the hands of his former Jedi Master, Skye Organa.

 

((Summary compiled by Amidala Skywalker. Thank you!))

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A burst of light appeared in the night sky as a small ship exited hyperspace over the planet Kesh, settling into an equatorial orbit as the ship began to scan the planets surface, light scans at first so as not to arouse suspicion. Next he increased the intensity as he searched the planet for traces of something that had departed many years ago. It took him many hours but finally what he was looking for and set a course for the Takara mountain ranges skimming under any form of sensor screen so that he arrived on the mountain range without a single screen lighting up with word of his arrival. Upon landing Draken strode from his ship and stepped onto the solid granite of one of the Takaran mountains inhaling the crisp cold air. He looked around letting his gaze trace over the summit of the mountain till his eyes found something that interested him greatly. There was a massive outcropping of granite that was hiding a valley that would do nicely for hiding an entrance to a workshop hidden deep within the mountain. He studied the valley for an hour mapping it out in his mind before he started to descend into the valley. When he reached the valley floor, he moved towards the rock face and placed his hand against the rock so he could sense what was within the rock. After several hours of searching the rock face he located what he was looking for. Within the mountain was a massive crystal growth of force sensitive crystals that was almost perfectly attuned for the working of sorcery.

 

Now that he had found it, he removed his lightsabre and marked the part of the rock face where the tunneling would start. Then tucking his sabre away, he began his climb up the mountain to where his ship was waiting. His next move would be to procure mining equipment and begin work followed by the defenses.

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The order had been placed weeks ago, but with the exchanging of funds, time to put the order together, and deliver, only now was it arriving. An acolyte had been charged with traveling to the distributors, managing the funds, examining the equipment and ensuring its timely arrival. He acted as a representative of a fake corporation with only enough digital credentials to avoid second glances, and the money would come from a dummy account. No one should be able to trace the transaction, or make any connections as to its intent. As instructed, the young man escorted the equipment to the base of a mountain further down the range. Once the other party had left them, more acolytes would pour from nowhere to complete the journey. It took an additional two days for them to get the mining gear the rest of the way by their single transport, but none would be the wiser.

 

"Master, everything you have requested is here. We are ready for your next instructions."

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The "Vanguard" exited hyperspace above the world of Kesh, its far flung location had kept the planet isolated for what must have been thousands of years. Kern could feel the powerful current's of the force converging here. It reminded him of Ilum, or Nar Shadda, ancient yet brimming with power. He saw no intial communications coming from the world, but eventually, he picked up a faint signal more then likely a small city on the same band that Furion had sent him his orders. He lowered the craft into the atmosphere, as the mountainous vista below gave way to vast oceans, and then finally to the project coordinates.

 

A small landing port near the mines entrance was a buzz of activity. Miners and slaves moved about thier various duties, and few stopped to watch as Kern's ship descended to the waiting platform. He exited the shuttle and marched down the ramp with determination, only to be greeted by to sith acolytes. The first gaunt and tall with a long narrow neck. His grayish skin marked him as a non-human species, or possibly a hybrid. He had an odd odor, and his eyes were a sickly pail green. The second was a female with ritual tatoo's and dathomir like markings. She, despite the mutilations to her face and teeth, was not unattractive in appearence. Both had a connection with the darkside, but neither were very powerful. They were flanked by several private guards, mercenaries most like.

 

"Who are you, we received no word from-" the man's hissing words were choked as he spoke. He grasped at his throat for air. As his companion looked on in suspicion.

 

Kern stood his hand slightly out stretched, using the force to freeze the fluid in his lungs. The man expelled fog instead of air as he fell to his knees. The guards looked on startled, but none dared raise thier weapons. They recognized Kern for what he was, a

 

"You will address me as Baron Kern, or you will die in agony. I trust we are now clear on that point?" Kern said as he knelt slightly to stare the man in the face.

 

He nodded as the freezing cold abated as Kern let the process cease.

 

"His name Yozal, and I am called Morrigal of Dathomir. We serve Lord Furion in all things. Is his Lordship displeased with us?" The woman asked calmly. Her twisted locks were stained black and red, and her carved flesh formed intricate patterns of various sith spells. The sun began to set behind the mountains in the distance, and the surface temperatures began to quickly abate.

 

"Lord Furion sent me to make sure the project proceeds with all haste, by whatever means necessary." Kern said as he proceeded towards the gaping maw of the caves entrance. He stretched out with the force and felt dozens of force signatures, most were empty slaves, nearly mindless vessels carrying out orders. He spent time inspecting the crystals that had been brought to the surface. They were of varying quality, and all had been brought to the surface through efforts of the suffering workers. He plucked several red light-saber crystals from a large dispense bin before they proceeded into the makeshift refinery area.

 

Yozal who had recovered somewhat finally spoke up.

 

"Baron Kern, the mountains here are rich with crystals both great and small. There is also spice within some pockets. The planet is ripe for development... if only-" he turned away his hissing voice growing quiet over his concern.

 

"Yes, several miners and droids have gone missing in the last week. There are some sort of creatures deep below that are hampering construction. That and various other problems have hindered the project. The locals too have given us problems, they are savages, little more then primitives, their civilization is no more then brutes scratching on rocks. They have attacked us on occasion. I assure you though, the delays aren't-"

 

"I am not here for excuses Morrigal. Lord Furion will tolerate no delays, and neither will I. I shall deal with these... 'creatures' continue you operations."

 

"As you wish... Baron Kern." Yozal said respectfully, as he bowed his head.

 

Morrigal nodded, and left him at the caves entrance. As the workers milled past, Kern grabbed a nearby lantern and prepared to descend towards the dangerous levels.

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The caverns exposed by the mining project were vast. In one particular cavity, one that Kern had nicknamed 'The Devil's Den' was at least the size of the senate chamber, and seemed to drop for miles into a natural lava tube. Here there were glittering minerals of all types, and the crystals that shimmered in the near darkness shone like stars on a desolate night. Here the force was strong, pure, unchanged by the passage of time. He could feel that more resided in these depths then the occasional worm or deep dwelling bat. The caves were lit only by the artificial lights of the workers helmets and equipment, but there was luminescence here as well. The glittering gold spice veins Cris-crossed the path below, and various small creatures that despised the light scurried out of view as he continued downwards. There were signs here of recent attacks, damaged equipment, the occasional remains, but the largest and most impressive evidence was a large claw mark on a nearby mining machine. The claw mark was the width of a man, and appeared to be one paw. Whatever infested the depths was no small nuisance.

 

The workers here hurried to their tasks and barely took notice of him. Like worker bees in a hive without a queen they busied themselves in seemingly endless painful toil. It impressed Kern, to see the efficiency of the dark-side at work. His mind was no longer stuck on painful memories, useless memories. The influence of Furion had cleared his mind of such fixations. He felt clear, whole, at peace with his own desires. As he turned down another descending tunnel, he took a deep breath of the confined air and breathed it out, stretching it with the force to feel the vitality of the life around him. Workers toiling at an important unifying goal, those with power overseeing the work and ensuring it's success, yes, this is was how it should be, the chaotic and unsurpassed powers of the sith, combined with the military precision of the dark jedi were the way forward. How many jedi had come this way before him? The path to power was not one of simplicity, it was far simpler to remain as one was, to remain stagnant and grow old in complacency. He had no desire to become a mold covered statue, some forgotten virtuous fool who had spent his time toiling on meaningless tasks for an order of pious do-nothings.

 

Suddenly a sound pierced his force perceptions. Normal listening would have missed the sub-sonic vibrations. But through the force it was very clear. It originated from over head, in a nearby area full of gray stalagmites. Kern approached silently moving his hands to the lightsaber's hidden under his gray tabbard. Something here was alive, and held malice towards...towards something. Then came a large screech, and the furious growling of creatures about the size of a human with scales and forked tongues. Above him several large krayt beasts screamed at him, and then leaped from their perches, diving at him forcefully. Their long razor sharp teeth racing downwards with deadly speed. He dove forwards to aviod the first, and it clattered off the ground as it missed. He stood and raised his lightsaber to meet the second beast. But...

 

The lightsaber failed to ignite. Instead its sputtered and sparked but remained unlit. Kern looked up just as the beast collided with him, driving it's powerful jaws into his shoulder, piercing cloth and flesh alike. The beast's weight pulled him down, and the two crashed into a nearby stalagmite cracking it from it's foundation. The jarring collision knocked the beast lose, and gave Kern a moment to gather himself. He felt the hot blood pulsing from the bite, and the surge of his own adrenaline. There was something else to...he wasn't sure at first what it was. The second beast came charging at him, angry that it had missed it's initial mark. Kern turned, to face it and using the force with his aggressive feelings, used the force to stop it in it's tracks. The beast howled at him, angry that it had been halted in it's tracks. Kern lifted the beast with a flick of his hand, and slammed it downwards with crushing force, it cried in pain, blood flowing from it's nostrils. He did again, and a third time, and the beast finally stopped moving. It was joy he felt, rampant, unbridled joy. He enjoyed the thrill of combat, the pitting of his own strength against a willing and capable opponent.

 

He had no time to plan his next move however, as the second beast growled for blood and charge him once more. Ker readied himself, and as the creature came with a yard Kern reached out and grabbed it's jaws, preventing it from taking a chunk out of his side. He wrestled with the creature, and his own rampant fear of impending death. It's finger sized teeth clawed at his hand, cutting gashes and threatening to make him loose his grip. He then discovered what he had felt at the beginning of the confrontation. He poured his hate and malice for seemingly impossible odds into his connection with the force, and felt a surge of strength a pool of power he'd previously left untapped. The anger was deep, broad, and insatiable, and simply scrapping at the surface of what lay below. It allowed to battle on, through the pain, through his mis-fortune, and let him focus on the destruction of his enemy. Finally at near the end of it's strength the beast relented for a moment, and Kern took advantage, using the force to propel himself into the air, and twist the creatures neck as he did so. There was a tremendous crunch, and the beast dropped with a thump, it's neck segmented into multiple shards of bone poking through it's scaled skin.

 

It made sense now why the peon's were disappearing. Still these creatures were small. Where was the gargantuan beast that had left the marks above? He began to cover his wounds, and found them limited but painful. Stripping of pieces of his tabbard, Kern wrapped his hands, and did his best to stem the bleeding. Then he retrieved his sabers.. he stared at them. Could his connection with the dark side affected the blades? It was true, he was no longer some vapid seeker of the light, no centurion of false pretense. It made sense that weapons created by the hands of a weak jedi could not be wielded by what he was becoming. The question was, could he reforge a lightsaber before whatever lurked below found him? He decided to begin, focusing his darker emotions to disassemble the blades and use the dark orange and red crystals to create sabers worthy of a Dark Acolyte. That was why he left Furion, to purge these remnants of his former life, to truly become a worthy servant of the dark one, and he meant to make it so.

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The bite on his shoulder still emanated waves of pain. The bite itself didn't concern Kern particularly, he knew pain, he knew suffering, but if it was infected... He knelt prostrate, in the bowels of the large underground cavern. His dark gray tabbard now stained with his own blood and that of the creatures that had dared challenge him. His hair was short, and for a moment he missed his flowing tangled hair as it had been on Hoth, missed the warmth it provided, but here, it was vain luxury. Still he missed it. His old viridian colored blade still remained hidden under his robes, but the new blade was constructed from one Darla had given him in his training. He had kept the blade, but never used it. The old jedi blade was poetic he felt, what better weapon could express the repressed rage and torment that order had inflicted upon him. What better blade to see sticking out of the torso's that had previously stood in his way.

 

In his hands the de-constructed light-saber was slowly being re-assembled. It took the better part of and hour to deconstruct the device. It was strange how the memories from his former life had begun to fade, like a series of dark stains only now being removed. The saber he had made had lasted him through conflict after conflict, but now that blood would have meaning. It would be a weapon of vengeance, of undaunted power in the hands of a true warrior. He adjusted the power output, and then paused, considering that the blade would need significant reinforcement. It was then he had inspiration. Using the force he removed a heavy scale from one of the felled Krayt beasts. Using one of the less useful crystals he focused upon fusing the scale with a heavier carbon count. Slowly, but surely, atom by atom, the reinforced sheath was completed. The mixture of the biological and the technological was so simple once completed, the dense structures of both creating a symbiotic whole, but not by choice, by Kern's own forceful will. This hinted at yet more amazing feats that could be accomplished.

 

Sith magic, practiced at a higher level could potentially solve so many conundrums. Finally all of the pieces were reassembled. The new crystal in place, Kern stood and activated the blade with the special force activated switch that only he was aware of. A loud hiss emanated as the lighted blade shot to life. The powerful crackling red blade was the color of boiling blood, a fitting symbol of the embroiled rage in Kern's innermost soul. He let the blade dance in the air, using the force in a way that most jedi teacher's would forbid. It was a technique he had practiced in secret before, and it helped him to focus on the dismemberment of a hapless victim. He imagined that each strike created a symphony of pain and agony, and when he was satisfied he brought it to his hand. There was an odd burning sensation, and Kern realized that the blades grip was hot to the touch.

 

He would call this blade 'Krayt' evermore.

 

Satisfied with his creation Kern began the slow climb upwards towards the mining facility. Minutes passed, and soon he found himself in front of Furion's low-level acolytes once more.

 

----

"Baron Kern..." said Morrigal as she bowed to his return. Kern turned to see the blackened body of Yozal being carted away by servants.

 

Morrigal nodded and smiled at the corpse as it passed. She turned and came to Kern's side, her long blackened fingernails open with her fingers in explanation. For a moment Kern was unsure if she meant him harm or just respect. He decided on the first and kept in mind for anything she might try. He walked beside her steadily back towards the small command post in the rugged terrain. Her long flowing dress and elaborate garments reminded him of one of the noble ladies from Corellia, however her face reminded otherwise. The long strange tatoo's marked her birth from on of the worlds that followed Sith teaching as a religion. Kern wondered how such a world would treat a former jedi turned Sith Acolyte. Drawn and quartered came to mind.

 

"Krayt beasts?" She said said aloud as she studied his injuries.

 

"Krayt Beasts... at least a small nest. Could be a larger male or female to deal with. I require rest, then I shall deal with the creature." His eyes wandered to the mess that was Overseer Yozal.

 

"I am sorry to inform you that Yozal chose death over servitude. Such is the case with the weaker castes, their minds cannot conceive true power when it confronts them." She said calmly. He wondered if she spoke of him or her own magics such as they were. The killing of Yozal came as no great surprise.

 

"That figures, he was a man of small ambitions, and low intelligence. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did. Tell me was his back turned to you when you killed him?" Kern asked sternly in a matter-of-fact manner that nearly caught her by surprise.

 

"Does it matter? Or are you worried I will end you in the same way?" She asked taken aback.

 

"Come now, let us not speak falsely. I know enough about Sith to know that your followers are expendable. As they should be, but I wonder if your ambitions will take you to my head next."

 

"You are injured Baron, let us see that healed at once." Morrigal said with some small disdain.

 

"They were just beasts, I have faced fare more dangerous pray before." Kern said as he followed in a agreement with her assessment.

 

"Brave words coming from a former jedi knight, and what of you, will you be able to continue your service to Lord Furion? Or is this just an elaborate plan to reveal Sith plans."

 

"You've done your research I see." Kern said as they neared the medical facility. She entered and removed a healing jel-pack from a waiting black and silver droid.

 

"The Relmis line was said to be extinct on Corellia, that you maybe a member crossed my mind. Then I remembered the name of a rather infamous failure, a prideful jedi knight named-" Kern snatched the gel patch from her hands and cut her words off.

 

"I SERVE..." Kern nearly became enraged at his loyalty being questioned so soon. He settled the rage to finish his thought. "-Lord Furion. That name has no more meaning to anyone anymore. Let's make that clear." Kern said stiffening at the possible mention of his former title. He applied the gel and turned to find a sleeping quarter to recover his strength.

 

"You may serve him, but are you truly his?... his Pupil Lallu-"

 

"I am his slave, until his or my dying day, I owe him everything, my life if need be. And...If I were a spy I would be trying to determine what these crystals will be used for. As it is, my only concern is that My Lord's will is done, my own concerns aren't important. His will is what matters... now." Kern spoke confidently, his voice sounding more and more like the menacing master he had toyed with on Merkava to fool other peons.

 

"And what of you, what would a dathomir witch receive in return for her service? Or have you lost all ambition in mindless servitude?"

"I see the Galaxy for it's truth. The powerful dominate. I was found by the Sith soldiers in a slum ona backwater planet in wild space. I left as their slave, and soon found a mentor in a witch working with the with the soldiers. She allowed herself to be used for her abilities with healing and magic. She taught me many things, but chief among them was how to survive. When she taught me all I needed I killed her to increase my strength. Serving Lord Furion allows me to draw closer to real power and my own survival."

 

"I see that skill stayed with you. And you are correct, the powerful overcoming the weak is how the universe works. It is inescapable." He agreed, as they neared a room.

 

I sense you have many you want to kill, so many to take vengeance upon. Do you risk falling pray to one of these wanton desires? I have been told that Jedi feel tremendous shame and guilt, and that these things cripple them." She asked this as the door to the chamber slid open.

 

"My past is not your concern. Only my present," Kern said as he studied the chamber, found a simple but comfortable bed, and monitor.

 

"-but there are names I wish revenge upon, yes... Trevalian, Onderin, Colos, Skywalker, Kirolocca. All of them... I will see them pay, I will inflict the vagaries of the truth of this universe upon on their hides, turn them or kill them, them and their kin. Then my Lord Furion will know that I am worthy of the power he possesses. When that happens, I will know power, and take my rightful place in this galaxy." Kern said as he left her in the corridor and entered one of the small cabins. Outside, the woman paused her haunting yet alluring visage holding silent for just a second. He regarded her, his mind saying in vivid clarity what he desired. He wasn't sure where he had learned to communicate such carnal desires, but then he remembered Alora, and it all became clear.

 

"Baron. You must embrace the teachings of the Sith. You cannot be two half's of a whole and hope to be superior to both." she said as if seeing what he pictured vividly too.

 

"Was that advice?" Kern asked, surprised by the words.

 

"An observation ... from a lowly servant of the darkside." She said this, stepped forward into his small cabin, dropped her flowing garb and commenced to share with Baron Kern some of her other 'abilities'.

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The morning was not a bright one. The weather on Kesh could change rapidly, and on this particular day it had turned to dark storm clouds and gusty conditions. Kern had awoken, the woman that had shared his bed had left it quietly to his thoughts and preparations for another day in the mines of Kesh. There were mornings that the man named 'Fynn' spent in quiet meditation, trying 'center' his mind. Now however, Kern realized how foolish such efforts were. He was at his best when the wild emotions of wanton desire were at it's strongest. He dressed in dark gray tabbard, and black boots. Underneath the tabbard he added the dark black armor of the Sith soldiers who patrolled the small outpost. The run in with the Krayt beasts the day before reminded him that his defense was far from complete.

 

The armor was extremely effective against blaster fire, explosive shrapnel, and direct blows form knives and vibroblades. Against a common lightsaber it would give him some small protection against glancing blows, however a determined opponent would still pierce the protection. If a war was truly coming he would need something better. For now it would simply have to do.

 

Using the force, he procured himself breakfast, a wild rabbit-like creature that could not outrun his influence. He enjoyed the short hunt, but the pray, the pray was disappointing. The small 'innocent' creature squirmed, as Kern held it in the air and stared at it. It had failed to run like others of it's kind, garnering it's place in his stomach.

"Squirm all you like..." He said as snapped it's neck with a small application of pressure. The squirming stopped.

 

The meal was short, but adequate.

 

Afterwords he practiced saber and hand to hand combat training. His weapons had failed him before, but he had found himself particularly unprepared for and unarmed assault. He had become lazy, slow. The light had done this to him. The desire for peace had dulled his concentration, his veiled emotions stifling at a code which no longer made any sense. As he began doing one handed pushups with the aid of the force, his mind recalled words he had heard from Lord Kakuto Ryu's mouth all those years before.

 

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

 

It was so clear to him. The words resonated as focused on his aggressive feelings. The were there, boiling at the surface, as the thunder aboved rolled and lighting flashed. Kern could feel the strength of the darkside crackling with energy at his beckon call. He reached out, and with less effort the he believed possible lifted a boulder about the size of a shuttle craft from it's rocky perch on a cliff above. This was no dusty old rock, it was granite, hard and weathered, and as strong as iron.

 

Through passion, I gain strength.

 

Kern reached forward and pulverized the rock. Concentrating his hatred for the jedi, his former friends, his dead students, for all those that sought to keep him low. The granite boulder split in two then in four, and then into a thousand smaller pieces of dust and small pebbles. Finally Kern discarded the refuse with wave of a palm. His rage had done that. A simple application of his desire to dominate posses and crush the obstacles before him. Ryu had been right all along. He was just to blind to see it.

 

He stood there looking skywards. He had power, to be sure. There were untapped pools of it still lying within his grasp. The question was how to unlock it all. Simple rage and fury was not enough. Anger at his old life only gave him so much power. He wanted more.

 

Through strength, I gain power.

 

He found Morrigal standing in the corridor upon his return. She wore a different outfit from the previous night. Her presence in the force was different somehow, but he could not tell how.

"Baron Kern." She addressed him with a slight smile, and a nod.

 

"You have words for me?" Kern said as he halted with folded arms and a raised chin.

 

"The darkside beckons you Kern. I have felt it. But you will not find it alone, and you will not find it here."

 

"Do not speak in riddles witch, I have had too many pester my mind before this. If not here then where? You will tell me." He said leaning forward as to intimidate her.

 

"I do not know, perhaps in the blood of your former enemies." She said remaining where she stood. Kern glowered at her, but he had no desire to end her life such as it was.

 

"...Furion's plans must not be interrupted. Continue your work." He said as he dismissed her and prepared to leave. The question his mind conjured was where.

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Kern prepared his armor for another trip into the mines, but was halted by a perimeter alarm. Leaving his quarters he found the Sith sentries and personnel moving around to battle positions.

 

He halted one of the guards by forcefully grabbing his arm.

 

“What happened?”

 

“The Keshiri have gathered an army. They’re surrounding the facility.” The man said quickly, leaving to man his post as Kern was left standing in the hallway wondering what the next move should be. He marched to the operations room where he found Morrigal and the head of security barking order into the comm system.

 

“Baron Kern, I’d thought you’d left.”

 

“Was this world not conquered before operations began?”

 

“The analysis of the indigenous people did not seem to indicate-“

 

“No. It was determined of minor importance. Their weapons are primitive. They are savages.”

“Even a primitive weapon in the hand of a determined warrior can be effective Morrigal.”

 

“Spare me your ex-jedi sensibilities.” She said dismissively, she turned to the watch commander and continued to monitor the gathering forces.

 

“Computer show me relevant data…subject ‘Keshiri.’

 

The computer screen began to display several pages of data that had been stored but ignored by the peon’s present. This was a common occurrence Kern noted, it seemed that pawns always overlooked the minute and the possibly important details. Furion would be most angered if he knew the level of incompetence that now imperiled the mission.

 

The computer relayed through a nearby matte black Protocol Droid. The screen identified it as C7-YL as it spoke up.

 

Subject Keshiri:

 

Carbon based life forms. Evolutionary development approximately 1.1 million years old. Medium Intelligence detected. Basic Hierarchal Society Structure, Population Estimate: 43 Million Individuals. Four Main Racial Groups. Bronze-Iron Age Level of Scientific development. 2 Civilizations detected. Limited Worldwide communications, limited to primitive verbal communications, basic pictographs. Lifespan: 35-45 Years

 

Appearance: Bipedal Humanoids roughly 3 meters in height, Primary Race: Greenish Hue, Secondary Race: Pale white, Marble like Skin prominent veins.

 

Weapon Technology: Basic Metallurgy, Iron based weapons and armor.

 

The screen depicted several Keshiri warriors facing off near one of there smaller cities. The weapons were reminiscent of a sword, though the shape was slightly less effective then other examples of primitive swords that Kern remembered. One soldier hoisted a large shield the was completely attached to his arm. The other a slight in frame female held a large double sided spear with a jagged cutting edge on one side and a blade on the other. The two fought, as the readout continued.

 

Ideology: Varies by racial group. Basic belief in a family of God’s and minor god’s. Xenophobic trends suggest violent reaction to confrontation. Avoidance is suggested.

As it relayed this point the female killed the large male, severing his head and screaming loudly as she held it up to others who watched.

 

“Kill them all.” Morrigal said casually.

 

“As you-“

 

“Ignore that order Commander.”

 

“You dare-“

 

“I am sent by Lord Furion to assure this missions success, and that is what I shall do. Wiping out the indigenous population is a short sighted plan."

 

“Let me guess, you wish to spare their miserable pathetic lives?"

 

“You have neither the man power, nor the planet scale weaponry to accomplish the task. They know the ground, and your men are green.”

 

“You have a better suggestion?”

 

“I do… I will meet these… savages.”

 

“You’re not serious. Sensors indicate at least 30,000 of these creatures are approaching. You cannot hope to-”

 

“Do not doubt the power of the darkside Morrigal. Prepare an escort. Four soldiers Commander and a translation droid.”

 

“What shall I do?”

 

“Contact the Sith, ask for reinforcements. If I fail, this world will need a strong hand to make it suitable for further development. My preference would be Raxus Prime, or Cardia. There most like to have spare troops and Sith warriors available.”

 

-----------

 

The gathered warriors had begun to chant as Kern left the safety of the security grid. The four soldiers with him held their weapons at the ready, all of them on edge as Kern marched forward confidently, followed dutifully by the protocol droid.

 

He wore the black armor of the Sith soldiers present, overlaid by the dark charcoal gray tabard and heavy black boots that he had liberated from bodies of sith assassins he found in the bowels of Coruscant. His hair was shaved short, and the bloody wound over his left eye was a long partially healed scar.

 

They stayed in relatively tight formations. Various clans and tribes huddles together, with dozens crude banners and emblems emblazoned on their armors and flying on standards. These were most likely citizen soldiers, not seasoned warriors. They had come out of being called, not on their own accord. Just a simple glance upon their intentions told him all he needed.

 

The main body spotted him and began yelling louder. However, the stayed back, keeping at least 10 meters away from the strange visitor. The eyed him and Kern could feel the broiling anger and fear in their hearts. One warrior stood out to him above all the rest, he was a Keshiri with a long beard, pale white marble like skin and a long series of scars. He wore a helm with various precious stones in it’s crown. In his right hand he held a silver colored sword, and elaborate suit of armor marked him as different, possibly a chieftain or king.

 

“Can you translate droid?” Kern asked with a deadpan glare as he considered the soldiers before him.

“I am versed in Keshiri. It is a crude and imprecise language-“

“Good. Begin now.”

“I am called Baron Kern. I have come as an emissary of your new god.”

 

“The translation… now.”

 

The words crude and rugged, were bellowed out into the crowd. There was disbelief at first, then anger from a few.

 

The greybearded Keshiri approached, his wide black eyes searching for some sign of weakness. He paced once and then stopped. After a moment he spoke.

 

The simultaneous translation took a few moments.

 

“I am Unar Konar, King of the Shallow Water, Killer of Thinor. I speak for my gods. They have told me that your people are few, and they are weak. What is this new god you speak of ‘Baron Kern’?"

 

“His name is not to be spoken by you, for you are not worthy of it. He will suffer no rivalry. If you serve him, power and glory will be yours, oppose him and die.”

 

“Prove your words emissary. Show us this… power.”

“Are you the greatest warrior of your people?”

“I am, many have fallen to my sword, and all know and fear my word as law.”

 

“Truly? You…?”

 

It was then Kern felt it… a rift. A surge in doubt and jealousy. There were those who were seeking to supplant this one. There minds torrid with anger and rage at the one who stood before him.

 

“Is there no one else who feels they are stronger?”

“I have had enough. You will not-

 

A flick of Kern’s hand, brought the warrior to his knees. The male and female Keshiri all marveled in amazement and fear as the mighty Unar was silenced. The man struggled, but try as he might he could not stand.

 

“You have angered me. You have doubted my Master, and have incurred his wrath. He was to bring you blessings. But now-”

 

The man continued to struggle for breath. Finally, Kern released the man. He stared wild eyed in both anger and amazement. Rising he came at Kern furiously growling a guttural curse as he did so. The crowds of Keshiri watched eagerly, curious to see what would happen. Kern reached out and grabbed a blade from one of the Keshiri with a quick application of a force pull.

 

He met the charging warriors blade with a composed rage, and blocked the first few powerful thrusts with a simple turning of the blade and basic defensive skills. These retorts only angered the Keshiri warrior further, his rage only serving to throw him more into Kern’s hands. A simple force push shoved the man into the mud. Another brought him to his feet, and then Kern held him above the ground, taking his time to suspend him.

 

“Hear me. Serve my god faithfully and be rewarded. Oppose him-“

 

With a sickening crunch, the Kings’ left arm was broken at it’s joint. He cried out for help. However none of his once loyal subjects now dared move from their places. Kern could feel their fear, their utter helplessness. It seemed to empower him, each breathless feeling of horror at seeing their once proud king reduced to a pathetic sniveling mess.

 

He dropped the man to ground. The Keshiri thrashed about for a moment, then rose again in absolute rage.

 

“God’s curse you Baron Kern!” He said and came again.

 

This time, Kern dodged each errant strike easily, waiting until the man had expended himself. A minute passed of sword swing after sword swing. Finally, the man stopped breathless with exhaustion. Kern pulled the blade from him, flinging into the crowd. Kern approached sword at the ready.

 

“Who do you serve?” Kern said as he raised a sword to the man’s eye.

 

“I will never-“ the King began, thought he never finished the translation stopped as Kern shoved the sword slowly through his eye socket. Blood poured out as the man screamed, but Kern continued and the blade cut through bone and then brain matter. The blade pierced through the back of the man’s head and blood poured from both exit and entrance wounds. The man fell to the ground flinching. Kern withdrew the blade and turned around drinking in the man’s final moments of life.

 

“Who do you serve!?” Kern turned to amassed crowd still stunned by what had occurred. Silence rang out, as the fear of the assembled warriors spread. What if they were next, what of their tribes, their clans, their families?

 

Finally one of his chiefs stepped forward. He lacked a beard, and the elaborate armor, but he dropped to his knees just the same.

 

“We will serve you and your god Baron Kern!”

 

One by one various warriors did the same. Praising their new god, and the one who had shown them his power. Baron Kern.

 

“My god demands a sacrifice. You’re assembling against him has angered him greatly. You will bring half of your most able bodied men and women to serve him each day. If deemed worthy, they will serve him as he deems fit. Disobey, or rise against him, and he will bring suffering to your lives and that of your families… from this day to the last day.”

 

“We will obey. All glory to the unknown god!”

 

Kern turned and walked back towards the small Sith encampment, the sounds of praying and submitting Keshiri in his ears.

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The fires burned late into the night. Kern stood far above on a rocky out-cropping at the scene of debauchery and depravity below. In the days that followed his confrontation with the ill-fated King of the Keshiri in the area, much had happened. Thousands of new workers were at the task of carving out raw materials from the rich mountain. The new slaves were willing and even eager to please their new god-king. With Kern as his living emissary, it was easy to keep at least the local tribes in line. The few sith soldiers and their officers were all demi-gods to the primitive Keshiri people.

 

Through power, I gain victory.

 

Kern had to admit, being a god had its advantages. Using the strength of the darkside and his own cunning he had increased the output considerably. He was also enjoying the bevy of his own personal slaves that now attended to his needs. He trusted them little however, and after beheading one for insolence, he allowed the others to serve Morrigal in whatever way she saw fit. The primal screams emitted from the victims as she experimented blended with the wailing the sacrifices to create a lamentable din that filled the surrounding areas . Below the surface the ever growing mines were full of Keshiri hewing force crystals, under the lash of watchful guards.

 

Then the others began to arrive. A neighboring province had heard about the new god, and desiring to forgo his vengeance sent slaves and their fellow Keshiri to sacrifice. They bleed themselves, and killed each other in tribute to the new god, and Kern had watched for hours, as the various brutal rituals had played out. The best warriors were rewarded with life, and second place? Was death at the hands of the mob. The victors had a chance at life and honor if they survived ritual combat at least twice. They were traditionally given women, land, and gifts, and Kern was expected to approve of each one.

 

Through victory, my chains are broken.

 

He changed this tradition however, and allowed several victors to serve as his personal protectors. During which he practiced clouding their simple minds with a simple thought… absolute obedience. The new guards were effective enough at keeping the locals at bay, and while he knew that they were at best cannon fodder for any decently equipped soldiers equipped with blasters, the additional bodies for practice was appreciated. The Keshiri were all to easy to manipulate, and his powers with the force gave him near complete control of many of the weak minded.

 

Kern discovered that the force was not as simple as his old mind had conjured. It had moods, breaking points, complex patterns. The application of the force at the right time, could create empires, enslave and utilize the efforts of billions. He could understand why the old dark jedi had changed the moment they arrived on Korriban. In that case the natives had worshiped them as gods, the potential was limitless. With willing slaves, and the powers of the force, nothing was out of reach. In the here and now a display of power to the natives had earned him victory… at least for the moment. He was sure it was to be challenged, for even now he could sense that in the vast crowd below, the stirring of a simple rebellion in the minds of a few. He would soon have to fend off a challenge to his supremacy, and while he relished the thought of renewed combat, he hoped that this time, the challenge would be more… formidable. Still any threat could hamper the task at hand, and this concerned him greatly. He needed time, time to grow stronger, time to ready himself for Furion's return, whenever it would come.

 

As the night deepened he practiced a new form of combat, using the force to manipulate an active blade in mid-air with the aid of the force, and the application of rage. The red blade danced behind him, as he used the force to fend off an unseen opponent. With repetition, he found it as natural as holding the blade itself. He could use the force as an effective third arm one not bound to his physical body. He could even imagine using it to fend off blaster bolts, however it would take more time to master. Still when complete, it would be a formidable weapon technique.

 

There was another technique however that still eluded him. One that he knew would project his power in ways never before conceivable. He practiced as he thought of the wasted years in his time with the jedi. He conjured the anger that had kept him warm on Hoth, the rage he felt that animated his mind. Stretching out he tried to tear into the fabric of the force, to pull at it, creating small vortexes of darkside energy. When he concentrated his will into one spot, he could feel the hair rise on his arm, and finally several sparks of force lightning arced from his finger tips, into the rocky ground. It needed work, more focus, more anger… more life. No, more power..

 

The Force shall free me.

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'You will not stop me...'

 

He stood upon a small metal pedestal, overlooking a vast valley below him. He was not alone however, There were faces, hundreds of them, thousands in the darkness. They were faces of people he had known, people he hated, people who hated him.

 

They were all there, but none of them could see what was above them in the approaching darkness. The void, the approaching quiet stillness, came silently, and they all took no note. Something lived within, something poweful, something unknowable. It seemed to be beyond the comprehension of those present. Yet it was here, it's tendrils reaching into every corner of the valley. Hands reached out for him, threatening to pull him from the small raised area he stood upon. He pushed one form away, and then another, and another. They were jedi, soldiers, bounty hunters, sith, pirates, even normal peasants. All of them challenged his position, and it was all Kern could do to keep his place. It didn't matter however, with muted screams and silenced howls the crowd began to disappear into the approaching void. He couldn't tell what there ultimate fate was at first, until Ryu was pulled in, the flesh removed from his face, inch by inch, as he screamed in Kern's direction. Ara cried out as well, as her arm and then her legs were consumed. They were gone moments later, only blackened figures in oblivion's wake. The few left around the pedastal took their stances, for a brief moment they tried to fend off the darkness, each with the summit of their powers, and still they could do nothing. Then there was only Kern, the darkness came to his feet, but he felt nothing, not pain, no pleasure, just a stillness within his mind. It approached his legs, and then his waste, and finally it came to his shoulders... and then to his chin...

 

---------

 

His eyes snapped open, and Kern heard several Keshiri arguing. From the limited amount of their language he had learned told him this was no friendly chat. It seemed that two factions had formed, the first loyal to the old god's vowing to restore the old order, The second angrily defending their new emissary and the unnamed god. Kern found it all amusing, he had ripped their society asunder with the killing of one leader, and the use of the force. There was no telling just how far the rift would go.

 

Morrigal was standing with several guards around her, all of them ready to open fire as they listened to the arguing. Kern stood and in his sith armor and standard black tabbard, and realized his hands had been restrained, his sabers at the side of one of the Keshiri who had gaurded his sleep. The traitor argued for his death, and said something about owing a blood debt to the previous king. He was a tall young Keshiri named Yuzak, with broad shoulders and scars covering his neck and arms. Kern had seen him fight and win several contests, and had felt he would be a good bodyguard. Somehow he had missed his ulterior motives, a mistake Kern felt burning into his skull.

 

"So the new god does not have as much influence as previously thought. You were a fool to allow them to come this far." Morrigal said this from her compromised position.

 

"On the contrary I felt this was coming, killing one king does not make me a conqueror of worlds. I'll admit to not knowing who the betrayal would come from."

 

The Keshiri who were loyal to Kern were surrounded by several guards of the old order. They promised death to the ones who opposed the new god, among them were several older priests who had switched allegiances, when the old King had been ended. With them were a cadre of younger warriors and all of whom saw Kern as a way to throw of the old shackles.

 

"Now will you follow my advice?" Morrigal said as she hissed at a Keshiri who held a spear to her and her few sith guards.

 

"They will be punished. That I can assure you." Kern said as he looked to the floor and gritted his teeth. Then back into Morrigal's black eyes.

 

"I am a slave of Lord Furion, and now I will be his executor." Kern scornfully said as he felt someone approach him from behind. It was a Keshiri woman, the wife of the old king. He tried to turned his face, only to feel a strong slap that nearly knocked him from his feet. He felt blood in his mouth, and he spit it out at another former guard who had betrayed him. The woman called for his execution. And several guards approached with a large shimmering metal blade to carry out the sentence.

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Kern felt the knife coming, but was at a loss as to how to avoid it. The blade struck his chest, piercing a weak spot in the armor and plunging deeply into his right side. The pain was like a fire searing flesh, and as it plunged deeper, He felt the blade scrape along his ribs and stop as it pierced his lung. Kern looked up to see confusion in the eyes of the Keshiri gathered around. A moment passed, and he expected a second death blow. Instead he opened his eyes to the site of Keshiri with their mouth agape. Even Yuzak looked on in astonishment.

 

They didn't know his anatomy, and in their folly had only wounded him. A keshiri struck in the same place would fall instantly dead, their life ended, but Kern still stood, defiantly seemingly only angered by the wound.

 

"He lives, his god has protected him!" said a loyal Keshiri priest, to the amazement of his followers.

 

There were words of consternation, shock, and surprise, and the largest Keshiri holding his arms was startled as well lessoning his grip. Kern didn't need a larger opening, his hands free, he reached out with the force and pulled the blades from the grasp of the one who had betrayed him. The blades ignited once in his palms with a flick of their toggles, and in a wide sweeping motion, Kern ended the closest guards lives, cleaving their heads from bodies in one fowl swoop. The rest of the disloyal Keshiri seemed to back of a few paces as the heads rolled down towards them.

 

"Fools!... all of you. You have chosen slavery and death, instead of life." Kern said with a frustrated growl. He held both blades at his side, ready to pounce on the traitors. Blood had begun to stain his tabbard, but Kern felt the anger keep his rhythms in place. A combination of hatred and resentment fueled his every breath now, and he ached to cause suffering on a scale that even the jedi would feel halfway across the galaxy.

 

"You ask too much Baron Kern, does your god know no mercy? We are a free people, and you would end that freedom. I fight for all Keshiri!" Yuzak said proudly as the other disloyal Keshiri came to his side. He rose the traditional sword of the Keshiri above his head and heard several cheers from his own people. The crowds below continued watching, their eyes transfixed on the spectacle above them.

 

"Before my arrival you were a bunch of backward savages, primitives who were lower then insects on a galactic scale. I brought you a chance for glory, for service to a greater whole. To become more then grunting warriors fighting in the dirt. In return you betray me, and seek to end me? I have seen my place, the battle that is coming, the galaxy in flames and the seat of power open to the one who would take it. A chaos through which you would have been at my side, gods in your own right!" Kern said his mind bent on a singular desire, to show why the dark side was not to be opposed, and to teach all those watching who truly ruled Kesh. He placed one of the sabers back on his belt, and held the other one at an angle of attack.

 

"Your powers are not godlike Kern... I escaped your notice. As long as we can fight, you will fail, you will always-" His breath stopped. He was pulled upwards towards Kerns' position his toes dragging in the mud as he struggled to draw breath but couldn't.

 

"No matter, if you will not serve in life, then let your death be a lesson to all who would join you. Pay attention mighty Keshiri, I don't think I've ever done this before..." Kern said as he tapped into the pent up rage and aggression. He picture all the faces of all those he wished harmed to, imagined them all in one form, and poured out his malice, and his will for destruction in one place. Blueish white lighting erupted from his outstretched hand, and followed the tendrils of the force upwards until it reached it's target. Once it started, it became easier, and easier, as the hate flowed from his mind, into physical being, and then into the body of his intended victim. As it continued, he could feel the life being drained from the man in a furious torrent. He screamed, louder then Kern believed possible, a wail that caused seasoned warriors to cover their ears, and children to huddle close to their mothers.

 

Morrigal laughed hysterically as the man flailed about in mid-air as lighting shot through his body and arched in all directions. She stabbed a Keshiri warrior in the back of his skull with a hidden knife she brought out at just the right moment, and with her action, several of the sith guards regain their weapons. With their blasters regained, they began picking targets, and firing with abandon. Kern said a curse aloud in the tongue of the Keshiri as a crowd of disloyal warriors came at him with spears and sharpened swords. With his free hand He shoved several Keshiri warriors to their knees, and finished them with the swift breaking of several necks. Others were picked off by Morrigal's Sith guards, and the rest fled.

 

He took one last look into the eyes of Yuzak. Who began to beg with his last few breaths for mercy, as the lighting continued to pour forth and roast him in midair amongst the Keshiri host. But their was no reaching Kern, he felt the power surging in his very bones, and he wanted more, to feel the untapped depths of the dark side's fury.

 

"Mercy? No… not for you. Or anyone, not anymore." Kern said aloud. "There is only death." He released the last forceful shock, burning the man in midair, and causing his eyes, like the rest of his flesh, to grow blackened like a twig midst a wreath of flame. His final primal scream silenced in his last breath.

 

-------

 

 

Three days... three bloody, long days had passed with excruciating screams and unending torment. He had gone from village to village with loyal Keshiri in tow, removing all signs of rebellion, and ending those whose spoke out against the new god. Those who wouldn't recant were ended, and special cases were taken back to the main Keshiri city. Kern had renamed it Abaddon, in honor of some ancient tome he had read. There an enormous wooden scaffolding shaped like a enormous tree, held aloft dozens of figures hanging suspended from it's highest branch's. It was a sacrificial platform, created to punish the those who would challenge the new god. The idea came from Morrigal, she had insisted on it. Kern wasn't sure at first, but he had to admit, the locals respected the structure, and had taken to worshiping at it's base. Slowly quarried stone was being brought from deep within the mine to replace the wooden supports, and Kern felt that in time it would have the making of a real monument. Standing at it's base looking up at the imposing form, he felt closer to the dark side then ever, and it brought a smile to his face that was difficult remove.

 

Still the taint of his former allegiances followed him. Occasionally rearing it's head in the memories of a past that he'd rather remain silent. The occasional pang of wistful remorse. But he convinced himself that it was only weakness that still hampered his rise. Try as he might, he could not project force lighting at will. Only times of intense personal anguish could he produce a few tendrils of angry lighting, and even then he could sustain it just for a few moments. Still he felt himself growing in strength, each passing day. The Keshiri too were falling under his influence, and that of the dark side. They rebelled less often, and worked doubly hard.

 

A small shipment of additional supplies had come from Furion's sources, and they now had the makings of a proper base, and construction on a series of several small landing platforms and larger facilities was well underway. The first shipment of crystals and raw materials had left, and the new source of power to the Sith cause was bound to make an impact on war preparations. Still without the full understanding of Furion's plan's Kern had to be content to bide his time, master his techniques and train. Nights were filled with Morrigal's depravity which was beyond imagining at times. The remaining Keshiri resistance was slowly being eradicated. Yuzak's sacrifice was greeted as a hollow death. Without meaning, martyrdom escaped his grasp, and other Keshiri refused to follow him. The few holdouts had run to the far reaches of Kesh's southern continent. Kern determined to hunt the rest of his enemies down, and finish the monument. The time would come, his visions would be proven true, it was only the when that concerned him. He dreamed of placing Darex, Armenia, Skye, Darla, and Darkfyre, on the highest rungs, swinging for all the galaxy to see. It was a thought that filled his mind with the only true pleasure he'd known in weeks.

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It was all to simple. Kern had been staring at the gathering of workers as they began another shift. From his elevated platform, he studied the progress that Morrigal had made with the facility. There were multiple drilling sites now, and the amount of raw material and valuable minerals had increased dramatically. She stood off to his left, black headress and tightly fitted red dress clashing with the black armor of the sith guards. Below the facility sprawled like a cancer slowly gaining ground. It was surrounded now by turbo laser towers, and protected by a hidden shield generator, a second had been installed by Kern's order. Backups, he had learned through hard won experience, were a necessary expense. In corner of the grounds dozens of future Keshiri soldiers trained with fire arms and hand to hand weaponry. The first group had already completed their initial training under Kern's watchful gaze. They weren't much at first, their primitive ways interfered with traditional methods. He had to personally guide them and show them how to defeat an opponent using a lightsaber. He doubted they would have much success against an experienced jedi, but against the weaker ones, the untrained and the new initiates, they would be formidable. For now they were just cannon fodder, more fuel for the fire of war that burned within the galaxy's heart.

 

New supplies to the base began to arrive regularly, with the established contact with Relm Transports, a regular route was established that was off the record. Every third ship would veer of course, delete their navigational records and reestablish it once the trade was finish. Raw materials could be exchanged for finished goods, in short order. The slave labor was free of course, a nice bonus to conquering a corner of a world off the beaten path. Kern marveled at what a little use of the force backed by the darkside, and the right influence could bring.

 

The Keshiri continued paying tribute to their new god. With Morrigal as his high priestess, and with himself as emissary, there was little in the way of resistance. Yet there was something missing. For all his new training, there remained some skills that he could not learn on his own. He still could not reproduce the once instance of force lighting, and Furion's plans remained above him. Morrigal sensed it in him before he spoke.

 

"You're leaving..." Morrigal said darkly as if it were a prediction and not an actuality.

 

"Soon. Lord Furion is out there somewhere. With or without him, I must continue to grow and increase my powers. That means I must find a knowledgeable teacher, or find the secrets myself." He didn't relish the idea of going it alone. But the jedi of old found the darkside and it's secrets on thier own. If he was indeed destined as his visions foresaw, he would find a way.

 

"Do you still have your visions? Of the planet of fire, and the cold icy throne that awaits you?" Morrigal asked, her pitched black eyes focused on him for a moment then looked away.

 

"Indeed, I've seen it every night. There is more, screams I think. Word's too, but I can't understand them." Kern said as he remembered the dream. He desired to know what it meant, but somehow he felt the answer would elude him until the time was right.

 

"The darkside is sending these visions to you, I am sure of it. You must follow it. The end of the jedi is surely what it means." she said assuredly, as if she had the riddle solved.

 

"Ending the jedi? Now why would I want to do that? I like the jedi, they can be useful. They have only to be guided with the right hand." Kern said with a sly smile as he folded his arms.

 

"But... the jedi are the enemy, they would stop at nothing-" Morrigal said strongly contradicting him.

 

"Perhaps, but Jedi were not always so. There was an age when the jedi were not so different from Sith. Legions of them roamed the stars..., they may again, but not yet I think. I must grow more powerful if I am to see my vision a reality." Kern said as he turned to leave the platform.

 

"Keep the local's in line Morrigal."

"What shall I tell them?"

"Tell them...tell them that I've gone to commune with the New God."

 

----

 

The transport awaited his arrival. The Correllian Gunship was 'Aegis' was not an inexpensive vessel, but it's cost was a fraction of some of the larger vessels and in his Estates employ. However the the Aegis held one advantage, it could defend itself in a firefight, and was not recognizable as a Sith craft. The small ship had a crew of some 12, loyal servants from Corellia and Keshiri guards. With this vessel and a sufficient disguise, entering jedi or Corsec territory was simple matter. No, he hadn't the ships, soldiers, or plans to wreck havoc. He needed information, and a jedi computer was the easiest route.

 

The Aegis lifted off, and hit the upper atmosphere quickly. In a matter of minutes, Kesh was behind him.

 

"Set course for Corellia... I have some old ghosts to look up." Kern said sternly and sat in the captains chair, flanked by his loyal Keshiri, as the pilot in front of him entered a few coordinates and all faded to starlines.

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"He's never left your mind... has he?" Morrigal said as she stood near the sacrificial pit, as yet more blood was being prepared and brought to the altar of the new god and his emissary. The large stone temple was one of a dozen built from the hard labor of the Keshiri. It's Millions were now enthralled to this new religion, and while some still respected the old gods, the emissary had supplanted them all in the minds of the populace.

 

The sun set, the short day on Kesh ushering a long cold night. M'ruka's bare arms and legs glowed in the darkness, her Keshiri blood had a luminescence that had once marked as a social misfit or outcast. Now she was third in command of all of Kern's holdings on Kesh, and nothing save Morrigal's position was kept from her. Kern's new outpost was a manor house that once belonged to a rouge imperial commander. It sat above the central city of Abaddon, on a rocky outcrop of a nearby mountain. Here his new facility kept his tightest secrets, locked away in a newly constructed vault. She herself had seen to it that the builders were killed upon completion, and marveled at the technologies she'd glimpsed.

 

Morrigal stood dressed elegantly in a blackened shall, with ritualistic markings and the splatter of blood from the most recent sacrifice. M'ruka had been kneeling, praying fervently to the faceless statue at peering down in marble at the fiery hell deep below. The people called the god Dakahr, but the true meaning behind the name was lost. In her estimation, it mean "darkest one."

 

"He is here, with me, even now. Yet, I worry-"

 

"That he has forgotten you?" Morrigal cackled slightly.

 

"Kern is not the type to forget his followers, when he calls, and he will, it will be for the utmost need."

 

Indeed, Kesh was a different world then when Kern had first arrived. The parts of the planet under complete control were given gifts, food, shelter, wealth even. Those that resisted were executed, and their provinces suffered unbelievable poverty. The tribes to the south had been virtually wiped out by a sith plague released on Morrigal's orders to keep the populace in line. The Keshiri military was also taking shape. Under Kern's leadership, legions of faithful soldiers were in training, and legions more had already begun to patrol the streets, enforce the new gods' order, and summarily executing those who questioned that order.

 

"Still, this new god.... is different then the old. This one..." she silenced herself, realizing that such conversation was forbidden.

 

"You are his right hand, he will call on you when the time comes. I have seen it." Morrigal approached with a syringe, plunged it into the Keshiri female's side, and removed the sample she desired.

 

"And now, you will forever be linked with him." she said placing the syringe in a sterile bag.

 

"If you know the future, can you tell me if Kern will become what his visions have told him?"

 

"Much is in doubt, and chaos is not easy to decipher... but-" Morrigal's voice was interrupted by the entrance of several into the temple's inner chamber.

 

"Who dares..!?"

 

"My priestess... apologies... but Kern calls. We are to ready ourselves."

 

M'ruka stood quickly. Gathering her armor and turning back to Morrigal to bid her goodbye.

 

"Our emissary call's and so we answer... victory or death."

---

 

Three columns of the best soldiers Kesh had to offer piled into a Relm transport ship bound for an off world target. These were the special operatives, highly trained assets that Kern had mentored in his early days on Kesh, and using that training had become efficient in the art of war, and nigh fanatical in their devotion. Their armor was a hybrid mix, of the best that money could by. Reactive armor, high powered compact blasters, lethal and non lethal ordinance of nearly every kind. All trained 16 hours a day against dangerous prey both real and imagined. These were not green soldiers, they had faced the teeth of the enemy on their own world, and they each had scars to prove it.

 

M'ruka entered last, slowly marching down the aisle, checking each and every soldier's gear and comm. The twenty four of these men and women were ready, and were en-route to begin something that was much larger then any of them could contemplate.

 

The Relm Transport entered low orbit, then high orbit, then exited to hyperspace.

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A small transport appears over the Planet Kesh, aboard a small crew of Kern's elite guards, and Baron Kern himself. Somehow the wound over his left eye upon again midflight, the stitching coming loose once more. He knew the force was behind this wound, a mark left upon him from his fight with Lallu. It was meant to be a reminder of her superiority, but all it did was fuel his rage at his failure. Serving Faust though, this had brought him a measure of success, as well as the opportunity to attack his favorite target, his former 'friends'.

 

In orbit they were greeted by two fighters that asked for their identification. The small Tie interceptors were part of the small fleet being assembled in orbit around the small planet. So far only one refurbished Victory Class Destroyer had been purchased. Staffing the ships would be a challenge, but the Keshiri were quite adaptable, and his contacts with the Sith had led to quite the recruitment boon. Various other vessels made up a rag tag fleet of half a dozen ships. Some from Sith who hadn't heard or seen in years, others from warlords eager to curry favor with a new master. With the new money from the recent plot on Coruscant. Kern was certain that these recruits would only be the first of many.

 

Standing confidently behind the pilot, the Baron orders the ship down, to the capital city of the small world, to his strong hold. To his left, M'ruka sat silently, her thoughts on the success of their recent mission, and of Kern's next moves.

 

Upon landing, Kern sends a comm to Faust, on the same line he was given, a secret channel none only to his dark master. He reports on their success, and asks for further instructions.

 

Morrigal and small column of Keshiri guards, fresh from their Sith training.

 

"Welcome Baron Kern... the planet of Kesh greets it's overlord." She said as she came along side the returned Acolyte. Her long red dress and bare pale shoulders stood in stark contrast to the dark tribal markings and tattoos that graced her neck and face. 'The marks of her witchcraft', Kern thought to himself silently, 'Always be on guard with her...trust is a false emotion.'

 

"Thank you Morrigal, we have had much success. My master will be pleased with our progress on Coruscant. Lord Faust's orders were followed to the letter. Soon the galaxy will tear itself asunder, and there will be a new order of things." He said beaming with some self assurance.

 

"How favor my affairs here Morrigal. I trust the monetary gain from the recent economic upheaval remains in our favor."

 

Morrigal accompanied him to a small balcony near the the center of the training facility in Abbadon. From here a massive parade ground could be observed. In the courtyard below, thousands of Kehsiri trained with weapons of all sorts. Blasters, rifles, blades and knives, light-axes and viroscimitars. It was an impressive sight. M-ruka leaned forward looking over the field of red and brown, the native soil packed into place on the training field.

 

"Yes, your assets have grown considerably. Our new army numbers now in the thousands." Morrigal responded.

 

"They look hardy enough, green though." M'ruka stated critically. Her green eyes flicking about the assembled throng as they practiced their maneuvers.

 

"Don't worry, we'll be putting them to use soon enough. When my master gives word, the galaxy will tremble, and we will be his words." Kern said with arms folded, eagerly awaiting the battles to come.

 

Overhead another small shipment of supplies arrived on schedule. As the sun began to set and the sky above turned a dark crimson, the color of a crusted blood, he thought of his revenge, and of the throne in his vision. Each day brought him closer to true conquest, of this he was sure.

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"No... not the stake... please...PLEASE!" the words were followed by a blood curdling scream, as Kern sat watching, his eyes taking in every gory detail.

 

The screams were silenced as a large stake was driven through the man's pelvic area. Soon after he was raised high into the air, the odd colored blood running down the wooden stake. His death would be long and painful, for Keshiri could last for days after serious blood loss.

 

Kern turned to M'ruka standing at his left hand, two steps below the small humble throne that he'd captured from the principal tribe on his initial conquest. The throne was made of blackened wood, and iron like plant that was incredibly strong and had been carved into the shape of reclining slaves in various positions of submission. Kern liked the throne so much that he put it into his central throne room. His eyes scanned her form, but she was unflinching as the man's form writhed in pain above them.

 

The man had attempted to steal a box of weapons from the newly constructed depot. The others had caught him, and brought him forward for justice. Morrigal had informed him that there were some who were not satisfied with Kern's rule. They despite the influence of the dark side, still harbored rebellious thoughts. It frustrated Kern that despite all his efforts some remained outside of his influence.

 

For a moment he considered just how much he enjoyed the small measure of power he had, but all to fleeting was the enjoyment. He could see that no matter the power he currently had, there were would be some with desire to topple him from that place. Vigilance was the price of power...

 

...

 

"Well!?"

 

"I kno-"

 

"You promised me Morrigal, and now my face is worse then before!" Kern said as he slammed his hand into a nearby panel, shattering the electrical circuitry. His face was pale, but on the spot above his left eye, a large tear had formed, beyond the stitching and tattooing that Morrigal had done that she had promised would cure the wound, or at least stop the bleeding.

 

"Was this your plan? Destroy my appearance... clever you know, I trusted you. My trust was a weakness, and you took advantage?" He looked in another mirror. It now appeared as if portions of his face were peeling back from the area. The new stitching was a problem as well, the tatoo's hid the tissue damage, but the oozing blood, the constant pain...

 

Morrigal stood quietly. Her response was measured, as she could see his agitation.

 

"You need the wound, I only did as you-"

 

"-" Kern grabbed her with the force, choking the life from her frame.

 

Morrigal managed to croak out a response. "The pain, focus on the pain. Use it to fuel you as does your anger and thirst for power, it will hel- help you."

 

He thought about her words a moment.

 

He released her, and turned to leave, realizing that she had done him a service in her own convoluted way.

 

"I... I have ever been... a loyal servant, Kern." she said regaining her breath.

 

"Never forget Morrigal, cross me, and I will end you. I do not enjoy intrigue, nor do I suffer betrayal. If you are planning a rebellion, I will see you suffer and die at my hands." He said pausing a moment, then continued on his way.

Edited by Guest

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The seconds ticked by, as Kern practiced his new techniques. The training area was once a large banquet hall in the large compound looming over the nearby city. The new forces went through their training exercises in the facilities beyond, on both land, and the skies above. A new squadron of Tie Defenders, purchased with the new funds streaming into Relm Trading Corporation, was being put through it's paces in the evening sky. The pilots were some Sith carry overs, and others were new recruits from Kesh and Kuat Shipyards. Faust's reach was vast, and the vacuum left by the absence of other Sith made recruitment much easier. Each day the power of the darkside grew stronger with the new forces. Kern could feel it, like a growing torrent of malevolence. It was a but an indicator of a swelling tide in the galaxy itself.

 

He new that the number advantage would remain with the Jedi and their cursed allies for the moment.

 

It was then that he received a communication. Faust needed transportation, his master beckoning was clear.

 

"We have a task to accomplish. My master beckons..." He said to M'ruka who had waited patiently at the door to his training area. She bore the mixed black and red tribal armor that had come to symbolize the brutal, dark regime Kern had enforced on Kesh.

 

Arming himself with his Red Krayt lightsaber, and the new blade 'DeathGrip' gifted him by Morrigal, Kern readied himself for an extraction. Kern had been outfitted by Faust's weapons supplier as well. The new armor and mask he bore carried blast resistant padding, and a light cortosis weave in the arms and legs. Two squads of freshly trained Sith Assassin troops accompanied him as they boarded a small transport piloted by M'ruka.

 

Once aboard the ship, Kern ordered them to Kashykk utilizing a series of blind jumps.

 

((revised to reflect Mod's ruling))

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Darkness...pain... loss... Kern felt these in constant repetition. He stood along in a long dark throne room. There hundreds of figures stood about. All of them mocking him, laughing at him, hounding him with calls that seemed more monstrous then human. He sat upon a throne as black as night, and cold as ice. There he was more jester then king, more ridiculed then admired. Every deprivation imaginable was heaped upon his head.

 

"Baron Kern, the man who history forgot-" the words rolled from the tongue of a ghostly Faust.

 

"I knew him as Fynn once... how embarrassing" Said Master Skye with a derisive ghoulish snort.

 

"To think, he thought himself worthy of dueling me..." Lallu said hysterically, her eyes searing him with intensity.

 

"You fools, I will kill ALL of you... I will make you beg for death!" Kern said growling. His rage growing with each passing insult.

 

"He's most hilarious isn't he... a pale shade compared to true darkness." Ryu said, his figure looming above him in the dark.

 

"Talk...lies... deceptions... you are all just in my mind." Kern said angrily at the figures, slicing at them with the force itself, only to see them vanish and disappear.

 

Suddenly Darla descended a stair case at the far end of the hall.

 

"Face it Kern... you have been and will forever be a tremendous failure."

 

"I am above you... all of you...-" Kern struggling to keep his composure, the hate boiling over in his mind. "I will show you... there will come a day! I swear it!" He yelled as he put his hand forward and concentrated all of his rage, all of his hate, all of his pain into one concentrated point. Suddenly, an arc of lighting slid from his fingers through the air, slicing through the remaining figures. As they vanished in his rage, words came from their howling mouths.

 

"Return!" They screamed as the world broke into millions of peices, each one like a dagger to Kern's mind.

----

"The time has come" the Morrigal said as she sat next to the monitoring station.

 

"Are you sure?" said M'ruka... his loyal Keshiri guard, her eyes tinged with worry.

 

"We've tried everything, the repairs are the best we can manage at this point. He's beyond our capacity." Said a rather imperious looking medical droid. Morrigal gave a nod, the dathomir witch flicking her long black fingernails in a nod of approval. A series of switches were toggled, and the monitors began to stir violently.

In the room beyond Kern stirred, his eyes snapping open with a demonic glare of anger.

 

"Where... what... what is this!?" He said as the many wires were attached to various parts of his anatomy. He felt as if he were some sort of experiment.

 

"No... not again... send me back... they were trying to tell me something!" He rambled, a bit like a crazy person. The two women looked at each other.

 

"My lord... you are awake. The treatment, was not successful." Morrigal said, in a patronizing tone that Kern quickly remembered.

 

He looked over at a mirror in the far corner of the temple chamber. There he could see his face still bore the large metal staples running the length of the left side of his face. The injury was still there, the raw pain of it, the searing of flesh, fresh as if it had never left.

 

Kern ripped himself free, and lashed out with the force, crushing the medical droid's large armature. Standing, he breathed heavily, trying to reform his shattered conscious.

 

"Nothing... no change. You lied." He growled, as M'ruka covered him in a dark crimson robe. She knelt as he took a step or two.

 

"My Baron, the wound you carry will not heal with traditional techniques, it was left upon you by the dark side, and I fear, it may not be healed at all." Morrigal said in her defense.

 

"How long?" He asked his kneeling servant, as he retrieved the small Keshiri mask he wore to obscure his wound and his identity. The black lacquer that covered it gave it an iridescent shimmer, it's eye holes covered with a red bio luminescent glow, that made it appear as though hell itself raged in his eyes.

 

"The damage was extensive, Morrigal felt it was wiser-" M'ruka spoke, doing her best to stall.

 

"Damn you! How long!" He reached down with the force cutting her breath before she could speak.

 

"Two...two ye-" she choked out, keeping her eyes lovingly on her master despite his violence towards her. This angered him even more, and he prepared to kill her for her impudence.

 

"Baron Kern!" Morrigal interrupted the woman's reply. This yell broke through to him, and he relented, deciding it was better to have live fallible servant, then a dead one.

Kern released her, and she panted for breath at his feet, he turned away to look up at the skylight above. There in the nights sky he saw the stars had changed. Reaching out he could feel that Kesh was different as well. The activity was stagnant, the mines, the foundries, all work was seemingly still.

 

"Is Kesh, still, still?" He managed to get out as he shook off the haze of what felt like eons.

 

"We've been on lock down since losing track of Lord Furion. We felt it wiser to await futher instructions, rather then to attract unwanted attention. Kesh remains ever loyal to you Baron Kern, and to Lord Furion, I assure you." Morrigal said as she approached ever gracefully.

 

Then it came back to him the words spoken in his vision. It was just a number... but there was more to it. A message perhaps, or a warning. He needed more.

"Return." Kern said aloud, flexing his fingers on the railing of his bed.

 

"My lord?" M'ruka asked worriedly.

 

"Something powerful is out there... something revealed to me in a vision. I must learn more, I must." He said hungrily.

 

"Shall I have your ship ready to leave." M'ruka said, coughing a bit as she recovered.

 

"See it done, and send Lord Furion a message that I have returned, and stand ready to aid him. He may know more." Kern said as he continued to stare up at the sky, wondering just how much had truly changed.

 

"There is much to do." He said with his mind fixated upon what was to come. "Much to do, indeed." He repeated.

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“Again!” Kern said sternly.

The group of battered and broken warriors were carried out, as Kern wiped the sweat from his brow. A new team of Keshiri warriors were ushered into the training space. The room was lit by multiple fire pits, and the aroma of blood and sweat permeated the air. This had been the sacrificial altar to the old god Dakhar, but under Kern’s guidance the entire temple had been refurbished in tribute to Furion, and the Sith. Daily sacrifices were made in flesh, and no longer with animals and crude fair.

 

M’ruka came forward, leading the newest group. Her green skinned scarred by dozens of ritual cuts, 1 for each month of his absence. It was a reminder to her of the pain of missing her new god. He’d admired her loyalty, for in his absence it was her who had kept the rituals going.

 

“They had better be a more fitting challenge then the last group.” Kern said as he stretched and prepared himself.

 

“They will be, I swear it.” M’ruka said as she nodded for them to take their places.

 

U’mbaro was the biggest of the new warriors. His face bore the slanted eyes of the Keshiri, his skin an olive-green that almost hid the massive tribal marking along his arms. Almost Three meters in height, weighing hundreds of pounds, the massive bulk of Keshiri muscle was a deadly opponent in the fighting pit’s of the south. His particular brute strength impressed Kern as he recalled seeing him crush a man’s sternum, and wondered just how much M’ruka would prove her words true.

 

L’thara was next, a Keshiri female that had proven herself a capable fighter in the pits of the northern continent. Tall, lean, and with a bluish hue to her skin, Kern found her to be striking and deadly all at once. Her weapon of choice were too long whips that seemed to be everywhere at once. The long leathern cords had metal and bone fragments mean to rend flesh from bone, and combined with her quick reflexed and natural prowess made for a lethal combination.

 

The others were no less dangerous, but these two… they had potential.

 

U’mbaro charged growling loudly, a his heavy fists seeking to find a home on Kerns’ skull. The strikes were anticipated however, through the force, Kern easily dodged each blow. Punching back with equal force, Kern caught U’mbaro with his defenses down. He managed to knock a tooth out with a particularly heavy strike. U’mbaro raged, and Kern felt his power grow with each angry retaliation. The darkside allowed him to use the man’s rage against him, for a while. Suddenly U’mbaro slammed his massive head forwards, striking Kern in the chest in a way he hadn’t anticipated.

 

Knocked backwards, Kern reeled, losing his breath. How? How had he allowed himself to be hit? Weakness… sloth… his long slumber had drained him he concluded. There was no moment to hesitate, drawing air into his lung by means of the force, Kern regained his feet. U’mbaro charged again, and this time Kern swept his right leg, and applied the force in heavy push on the man’s shoulder, sending him rolling across the ground as if he’d been hit by a massive boulder.

 

L’thara wasted no time. Seeing her opening, she entered the frey, striking at Kern with the left hand whip. Kern feeling the attack coming narrowly dodged the strike, and deftly waiting a moment, the other strike as well. Flipping the whips around, L’thara exposed to small blades at the end of each whip. Coming in close she flailed at Kern with repeated strikes, each one stronger and more precise then the last. The first sliced Kern’s cheek, he pain reaching deep into his mind, awakening the darkness he still held so tightly inside. Screaming he knocked her wrists aside with impunity as she continued to fight. She lept sky wards, trying to deliver a swift kick to his mid-section, but found herself suspended in mid-air, held there by Kern’s will and reanimated power.

 

He held her there a moment, before throwing her in U’mbaro’s direction, the two bodies collided, as U’mbaro was just regaining his footing. The two of them got up angrier than ever, blood lust rising in their eyes, pain and embarrassment rising from their failure to kill.

 

“Yes… that is what I want. Hold nothing back, let me feel your rage.” Kern said he stuck his tongue out and to lick some of the blood that trickled down his cheek. The coppery taste was yet another memory that helped he regain himself. This is where he was at home, in the hunt, thirsting for combat, allowing himself to revel in the defeat of his enemies. The darkside was truly his home when he was raging in battle. But he needed more.

“What are you waiting for…. Again!” He called to the rest of them.

 

---

 

“Fools… all of them” Kern said as he sat on the small throne once belonging to the chief priest of the Keshiri. He stared at a the Holonet, scanning the headlines and stories for updates on the galaxy.

M’ruka stood behind him, refilling his goblet with what passed for wine on Kesh.

 

“Open peace negotiations!?”

 

He grabbed the goblet and drained in a moment.

 

“I have such plans for the jedi… so many wonderful things to share with my old friends.” He said his mind imagined the incredible ways that single soul could feel pain. He could hear them when he slept, the cries of their padawan’s wailing and screaming in the pyres he would build for them. Hate… hate filled his every thought when they came to mind. Pain, pain from the injury to his face that would never heal.

 

“They say the best revenge isn’t in defeating your enemies, it’s seeing them beg… breaking their pride… making them as helpless as lambs before the slaughter.” He said aloud, amusing himself with the thoughts of having all of the jedi on their knees at once.

 

“Ryu knew it best, if only his wisdom was still here to guide me.”

 

But I am.

 

The voice startled Kern, he turned to see the visage of Ryu staring down at him. “No… it can’t be… your-“

 

Dead? True Darkness never dies… it just takes a holiday on occasion. Now Kern, what is it you seek?

 

“To destroy them… to tear them limb from limb, to hear their-“

 

“Easy, easy. You’re still weak. You’ve only begun your journey. Still, you can have a measure of fun in the meantime. Perhaps focus one enemy at a time. Until you have greater means”

 

“But… the ones I would so eagerly destroy are beyond me, lost in this infernal galaxy. Damn their secret codes and protectors!” He pitched the goblet across the dark room. It landed with a clamor at the foot of an altar with various trophies from his numerous victories among the Keshiri tournaments. All of the accolades were worthless. He lacked a true foe, one who could match him. Someone who’s breaking would mean more than just another random barbarian.

 

“Does my master desire anything else?” M’ruka said her confused and patient tone even more infuriating. She looked upon her master and saw him conversing with someone not there. Her puzzled look disappeared as she knew even the appearance of impudence was punishable.

 

“Nothing you can give me… leave me!” He said angrily.

 

“Wait! …Corellia you fool. Your scanning programs… surely the resources there might-“ Ryu’s frustrated voice was replaced by his own.

 

“-might find a connection, a clue. Jedi are not perfect after all. All I need is a crack, a sliver to budge open. A place where the knife can fit through the armor. Oh… oh that is good.” Kern said continuing to pace, his voice switching between revelation and contemplation.

 

“And when you find it?” Ryu said, is face generating a disturbing large smile.

 

“Then I will have my revenge, and show them the true power that the dark side has given me. They will know pain…” He said smiling back.

 

“Perfect…you learn quickly.” Ryu said as his form in Kern’s mind dissipated.

 

“Where is that blasted ship of mine!?” he hollered at M’ruka who had been standing there in stunned silence.

 

“Ready Baron Kern, awaiting your orders per your instructions.” M’ruka responded trying to keep with her master’s madness.

 

“Tell them to prepare for hyperspace. And assemble my personal guard, I have business at the old homestead.” Kern said as he looked over the dark planet below through a large window facing the western edge of the city of Tahv. Above in the distant lay the red tinted Takara Mountains. There he could see the faces of all those he would punish… all those who would be made to bend their knee and beg him for mercy. If they had escaped into deaths embrace, then their progeny would know the same suffering. He would see even force ghosts scream in agony at the pain he would inflict upon their young. No stone would be unturned, no minor player left unscathed. The violence wouldn't stop until they all were but broken and tattered. Then he would deliver them to Furion, and to the altar of blood he would create in his honor.

 

Skye, Colos, Kiralocca, Trevalian, Darla, Armenia, Darkfire, Kitt… so many names, so many possibilities. It was so close, it was almost like he could see it, taste the future war that would come.

 

"Even mountains crumble..." Kern said under his breath, in a voice that even he didn't recognize.

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Serenity, Peace, Calm… it was all a lie. Peace was the moments between battle. Life was war, and death stalked the living like a beast with an endless appetite. Live and feed the beast others, deny it it’s prize… or die like the weak.

 

Kern stared down at M’ruka’s sweat drenched form at the foot of his large bed. Her long hair and lithe figure was even more attractive in the deep cover of night then in harsh light of day. Covered with the finest furs of the planets beasts, he could still smell the blood from the wounds inflicted in what passed for Keshiri mating. It was a violent affair, that to most was beyond their comprehension. Kern however reveled in the carnality, the taking violently of ones will, the release of ones passions. M’ruka had been his since his early days on Kesh, her loyalty and ruthlessness were above reproach. Still he could feel the deception, even now as she slept. The falseness of her devotion, he knew that if pushed she too would crumble.

 

He pressed his hand against the false skin that was stretched over his torn flesh on the left side of his face. The affect was immediate. Pain crackled through his nerves and replenished his inner dark power. He felt the cold rush of malevolence fill his soul once more, like a refreshing volcanic bath to any momentary feelings of allegiance to anything other then his Master Lord Furion. He needed more knowledge more power, but perhaps Furion’s absence was away to strengthen him, all part of his plan.

 

M’ruka stirred, placing a four fingered hand on his ankle. He removed her fore finger himself, as a reminder of who she belonged too, unable to stand the fawning designs of her love for too long. He would have Morrigal replace the digit with a cybernetic one, adding usefulness to her to flesh.

 

He stood and walked over to the large communication kiosk, and proceeded to sent out two messages through a secure channel. The first was two his estate on Corellia, informing him of his arrival. The second was an inquiry into the finances of Relm Transport. It had re-branded itself RelmCorp, Smartly avoiding any possible controversy about the attack on Coruscant done from several stolen transports.

 

The company had survived the economic upheaval, growing and expanding in the aggressive course he had set for it upon his return. The considerable financial assets were not without it’s draw backs however. The company was too public for Kern’s taste. Without anonymity any plans he might draw upon might be exposed, and the last thing he needed was Corsec, or some other entity deciding it was a threat.

 

Power in the military sense seemed to be no longer against the jedi, as disgusting as the thought was to Kern’s sensibilities. Where were the Sith? Were they lounging on some tropical isle in retirement? Playing politics and squabbling over petty affairs? Where was Furion…? What of Faust? He discovered the incident on the Holonet… the duel that ended Faust.

 

Colos was gone, and with him-

 

The glass in Kern’s hand shattered through the force, it’s tiny shards spinning in all different directions, most avoiding his face and uncovered body. An unfocused moment of rage, slammed across his mind.

 

“Darex!” He said aloud, His voice stern, cold, and aggrieved.

 

Two more jedi he couldn’t exact revenge upon. Two more that slipped in to the ether of death.

 

“This won’t do, no this won’t do at all.” Kern said perturbed. Fate it seemed continued to steal the opportunities he so richly deserved.

 

He found no reference to Darla, or his old lying and deceitful Master, Skye. Perhaps Colos had loved ones as well. What of Darla’s progeny? They had to be out there somewhere. The Universe would not deny him the pleasure of seeing them stripped of all they held dear. But where? There was only one answer, one remembered through the haze of his weak and ignoble past.

 

The Eternal Vigilance… Gifted her by the slippery worm Tares, the disgusting representation of all Jedi ineptitude and falsity. The very name was an insult to the truth of the galaxy. All that was eternal was darkness, for in the infinite stretch of eons, darkness is what would prevail. He re-purposed his search algorithm to look for references to the vessel if it ever got close to a public facility.

 

He turned his eyes back to the sleeping M’ruka.

 

Of course… so simple.

 

Tares too would pay, the consort of his Master would certainly strike her in a place where there was no defense. No matter how powerful the opponent, there had to be weakness, some spot where they would think not to look. She liked to heal did she? He would make a wound that was incapable of healing. A blow so deep and so divisive that even her miraculous abilities would be powerless to halt it. He reached out with his recovered powers... searching on an on... but nothing.

 

He needed access to a Jedi network. Perhaps a facility that was lesser known, something he could overwhelm, or at least infiltrate. But it would have to wait. He was hardly back to full strength, and even then accessing such a place would represent a serious challenge. The time would come though, and that right soon.

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Kern slashed his dark crimson blade through the air with use of the force alone. The skill he had mastered so long ago had atrophied somewhat, but he could feel his connection with the force grow with each passing day. Every moment he concentrated on his hate, on his rage, on his will to dominate, moved him closer to the source of true power.

 

He had waited several days to pick up his light sabers again. Feeling finally worthy of their potential, he'd been delighted to see that they both functioned well. The blade sliced through the air, crackling against the rising steam from the vents below. The mines below the temple opened cracks to to the super-heated water that spewed forth columns of steam high into the air. The thermal energies were harnessed through several generators, providing a power source that was constant and away from prying eyes of any seeking a way in.

 

The red blade now swung back and forth, swiftly over he heads of two Keshiri renegades, each of whom had defied Him and in turn the will of Furion.

 

"What are we to do with you?" Kern said in disappointed manner. He stalked back in forth in front of them practicing shallow swings with his saber above them, reveling in the fear they released as he brought it closer and closer. They were tied to heavy stone columns, each one bloodied and bruised from a night of beatings committed by those who were loyal.

 

"I bring order, peace, unity," Kern said proudly. "This... this is the thanks I get?"

 

"Peace? Peace through slaughter, through slavery?" The older Keshiri male said, guilty of throwing a makeshift explosive into the training compound, a new recruit had sacrificed himself to smoother the blast.

 

"You really think I'm here to banter with you?" Kern said as the blade slashed downwards, plunging itself into the man's shoulder, eliciting a screech of pain.

 

"I'll die before-" The man collapsed the pain and shock overcoming him.

 

No.. no... it's too soon. I haven't even started... Kern said to the man's unconscious form.

 

The man expired, and Kern felt a surge in his power as the man's minuscule force energy drained away. He lost most of it, being untrained in methods that Faust used. But he could taste it, a small sip of the life energy. It surged through him, invigorating his mind and body.

 

The other captive was shivering now, her fear overcoming every other emotion. Her companion was the brave one, but she had nothing left. Member of the Binti tribe, the one hold out on planetary unity with the new Sith regime. They were recognizable from the streaks of red in their hair, and the pale hazel eyes. They had opposed Kern from the start, costing him time and valuable resources to quell. But he had done so... finally. Kern had slaughtered them all to a man and woman, except the children, them he enslaved in the mines or as slave laborers. This was the last one that was all that alive and free, if his spies were to be believed. The last light of her people. He relished the thought of ending them all... but why end what could be prolonged and enjoyed. Kern pushed himself into her mind...

 

You're alone...defenseless...no one is coming for you. I will crawl inside your every thought, I alone will control your every nerve. Your pain will be mine to enjoy, your sorrow and despair will feed my power. When finally you beg for death... I will be there to start it all again.

 

She whimpered, her fear accelerated to a new plateau. Then Kern saw it... water, a deep fear of water. Perhaps from child hood, Kern chuckled as she had given up a deep secret of her mind and left the interrogation room.

 

"Strip her, throw her in the water cell." Kern said as he made an exit to the two Keshiri guards on duty. "Feed her well." He finished.

 

"No... no... no!", The woman's screams diminished as Kern moved away, then were muffled by what he could surmise was the gagging of her mouth. Still he could feel her screaming with force, a dark lonely echo shrouded in darkness.

 

He knew the thrill of combat and the heat of battle were where he belonged, but only did he begin to understand why. All that he has denied himself as Jedi strengthened him now. Lust, envy, passion, these were not distractions, they were the natural law, accelerants to fuel his climb to power. He observed how he could create them in others. L'thara now jockeyed with M'ruka for his favor. The two angrily regarded each other to Kern's delight. He knew that his ability to manipulate was growing as well. He could inspire fear, dread, anger, and hate in others by his mere mental suggestions. Loyalty too, but that was less important.

 

It was easy with U'mbaro, the man-beasts rage could be moved to murderous with a subtle mental hint of disrespect. Each person had a trigger, a switch deep down.

 

Kern now understood why he could ascend to levels of power that might evade others... each person he could abduct, every life he could drain or control could sustain him. He wondered what he would extract from a Jedi or two?

 

---

 

The tranquil darkness of space was broken by the Gamma-class Assault Shuttle Agamemnon, it’s angular frame silhouetted by the dark side of the planet. It landed with fanfare, as thousands were appropriately compelled to line his route to shuttle. Kern traveled on hover carriage board flanked by a Dozen of his fanatically loyal Keshiri soldiers and guards. They were arrayed in a mixture of warrior garb, and Sith trooper armor. Each was armed with weapons designed by Kern himself. U’mbaro and L’thara were now chief among his new recruits, having bled for Kern, and swearing unyielding devotion until death itself. What they could not know, was the existence of small explosive charges he had planted in their sternums and the detonation switch in his right armband. Kern took no chances.

 

Kern himself was resplendent in a long dark tunic, silver buttons mined and worked by the finest artisans and slaves on Kesh. The look was complete with a small half cape, and the crest of the House of Relmis on it’s main fastener. His disfigured face disguised of course with cowl and a more dignified lacquered mask, this slightly less ornate then his battle mask. His curled hair, now half grey because of his reliance on the dark side, was neatly kept, very unlike the barbarians wild loch's.

 

The adoring masses screamed in unison Kern's name. The chant was incessant, insistent, powerful. They held the traditional sign of obedience on Kesh, one finger skyward, a symbol of where the gods lived and descended from. A whole day had been planned for it... the day of Ascension Morrigal called it. Her mastery of the local religion was nearly complete, within a few years Kern and the Sith had gone from mysterious outsiders to god's to be worshiped, feared, and obeyed. Kern himself had presided over both trial and retribution of 'criminals', His only regret was missing the traditional live disembowelment... that was always a highlight.

 

He waved to the adoring and enthralled masses, all which knew him as the emissary to their new god…not a few had begun to view Kern as one as well. Here and there cheers for him, went up by the young and old alike. The female warriors in particular were loud in their praise. To them Kern had meant an end to the old caste system. Heads of traitors now reduced to bones and some rotting flesh from the years previous battles, stood on stakes every mile from the temple to the main port. Kern looked upon all that he had accomplished and smiled, thinking of the many who’d died in agony at his command, or even by his own hands. The darkside had helped him accomplish what none on the world had ever managed, and yet it had so much more in store for him.

 

Kern said few words, leaving Morrigal to explain the needed departure but eminent return of their emissary. Yes, Kesh was a planet of the Dark side now, with all the misery of self-determination replaced by the certainty of one man’s will to dominate…his own.

 

Aboard the shuttle, the new fighters Kern had chosen glowered at the vessel’s comparatively stark and cold interior. Kern smiled remembering that for them, this was all new. The captain of the vessel, and several crew members greeted Kern with a bow.

 

“Baron Kern, RelmCorp is pleased to provide you with escort to Corellia. We’re ready to depart.”

 

“Thank you, captain. Please proceed.”

 

The ship vanished into hyperspace, and in moments the sky above Kesh was tranquil again.

 

---

 

Morrigal stared up at the departing shuttle, and noticed M’ruka do the same.

 

“You did not tell him.”, Morrigal said mischievously as her gaze was seemingly unbroken.

 

“Kern is a God. You do not burden God’s with such matters.”, M’ruka said defiantly.

 

“Even God’s may have children.”, Morrigal said with a keen insightful smile.

 

“It is of no concern to you, witch.”, She broke away, leaving the landing pad area with her arms folded.

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Shadows... voices... screams... pain. 

 

She had the dream again. Her master was not well. He screamed over and over in rage. His eyes issued forth fire and flame. He seethed on his throne in front of her, restrained in the darkness by something that couldn't be seen. Some bright chain that held him from her... he strained to rise, but always was he pulled back. "Liars... traitors... thieves!" Came his voice, dark and horrible and enraged. "Took what was mine and defile it with your hands... the blade was mine... always mine! You are unworthy! I will remove you from this world. I will crush your hope... I will burn you to ash and dance in the remains!" M'ruka heard him cry. 

 

"Kern... who... please tell me who?" M'ruka begged, unable to approach lest she be consumed. Kern did not reply... he simply continued to scream and rage.

 

---

 

She awoke to hear the guards in the palace running to a disturbance at the front gate of the massive palace built to honor her long absent master. Outside, a storm raged, it was not an uncommon occurrence in this the small capital city of a world pulled from "the dirt" as Kern had put it. Her master had arrived on a world that was a backwater, a ball of dust and blood, where the locals had no technology, nothing but crude weapons and brutal tribal warfare. In short order he had abolished their old world, and ushered in his order. As a God, he did what he wished, striding the planet to pacify it. No resistance was tolerated, no rebellion unanswered with crushing force. Kern put down any who opposed him with brutal efficacy. Those who served him, and did his will prospered, those who opposed were vanquished... slowly and painfully. Sith god's were prayed too as well, Exodus, Faust, Ryu, names that were beaten into the minds of the younger generations as befitting veneration. Kern was a member of this grand order, M'ruka loved him desperately and still found herself wishing that he could have remained forever, but dreams do not last forever.

 

Then, at the height of his power. He vanished. His power was still held in check by his acolytes. His high priestess Morrigal kept his name in the rituals, his soldiers still held sway over the planet. But rumors had started, the talk of his demise was not unheard. One or two pretenders had tried unsuccessfully to reclaim the planet, but Kern's influence was felt from afar. Had he been killed by his lust for vengeance some felt, others that he had other planets to tame and conquer. Some even questioned his godhood. What would happen to the planet if he remained away much longer? Morrigal had seen fit to keep her as a symbol of Kern's power. In truth however, she was paramount in her position. M'ruka felt she was more prisoner then ever before, and the child....Her child Aldra had been born a few months after he had left. The girl was small, but every bit the image of her father. The childs' bed across the grand residence was quiet, as the child slept in the comfort of many furs. M'ruka approached the small bed, and smiled lovingly at the child. "He will return, I know he will. Your father will return. Those who seek to thwart him will fail. I know it."

 

---

 

"This is the freighter Halcyon II, on descent to Kesh. Respond Station 1?" The captain of the large freighter running illegal frieght to the small Sith outpost, asked calmly. On his screen a storm flashed in a vibrant display. The large Corellian blockade runner swooped low over the mountain ranges that ringed the capital city, surrounded now by industrial farms and factories, where the populace had only been living in thatched huts, large metal buildings and modern streets had emerged from the muck. Still the planet was not remarkable, no one came to Kesh that didn't know of it from the Sith archives, it was not a vacation spot. 

 

"Halcyon II acknowledged, stick to established landing route. Enter passcode."

 

"Confirmed. Pass Code Kern-sigma-one-Faust." The co-pilot nodded to the captain, "I better go check the straps, that storm looks nasty."

 

"Hurry, I don't want to be here long, this place gives me the creeps." The captain said back.

 

The hold was full of containers from various underground suppliers to Sith forces across the uncharted regions. Careful to cover their tracks with blind jumps and jumbled transponders, freighters and smugglers made a pretty penny by supplying dormant places with the supplies they needed. This run was routine, save for the odd passenger from time to time. 

 

"Got a storm, might want to strap in." the co-pilot advised to the three passengers. Two of them obeyed immediately. The third was covered in a dark robe, only his heavy boots, and thick armored gloves remained without shroud.

 

The figure in a dark robe said nothing at first, then moved to strap himself in as advised. Only one hand moved to obey the request, the other remained un-moved.

 

"You uh... never mentioned payment." The co-pilot continued.

 

"You will receive payment in full on arrival. Your assistance has been vital. Your pay will be considerable, trust me, I repay my debts." The man said with a simple quick statement. 

 

"Hey, you're the boss chief, why would you want to go to Kesh anyhow? Place is a mess if you ask me. Looks like some long gone Sith conquered it years ago. Ain't much here except a couple of training bases and some factories. Couple of nice statues...but otherwise unremarkable." The man said checking a random gauge at a nearby panel. 

 

"I have... unfinished business. Besides, aren't most places worthless balls of blood and dust?"

 

The pilot nodded, and headed back to the small bridge. 

 

Looks are often deceiving... whole empires rise from the dust, as will I. He said to himself. He had almost nothing. Kesh was no longer truly his. It would have to be reclaimed. RelmCorp had folded, it's assets frozen. His estate on Corellia had been seized, his legacy further tarnished. No fortune, no weapons, no power save for the force that still animated him. The challenge was daunting, but his will was equal to the task. One thing he had learned in his time away was patience, cold calculating patience.

 

Kern said sternly as he reached out with his gloved hand to adjust his cowl, as the ship hurdled towards his old home. So much had happened here... so much was about to.

Edited by Fynn Relmis
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