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Darth Nyrys

Cathar

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Coming out of hyperspace, the blue and green gem flashed a few quick glints as the angle of the ship's approach made the sunlight appear as if it was dancing across the edges of the planet's atmosphere. Inside the hijacked YT-2400, the Traitor's Gambit, Durose slowly made his way to the cockpit as he felt the ship lunge out of hyperspace and begin to drift.

 

This is it. Let’s get this over with already.

 

Hitting the comms, Ro contacted Dhon as he entered atmo. The unkept Cathar had Ro’s face but a dirty, roughly trimmed mane and two braided strands of mane hair that extended down from his chin on each side. He was what some might call an outdoorsman or what others might consider “wild.” Dhon sneered as he spoke to Ro over the comms.

“I’m where we agreed upon, Ro. This better be worth my time! I dropped a hunt for you. And it was a good hunt. No. A great hunt!”

Ro rolled his eyes. He sighed before replying.

 

“It’s always a great hunt, Dhon. Did you bring what I asked?”

“I even dug the plot.”

 

Those words caught Ro by surprise. He angrily glared at Dhon.

 

“You have no right--”

 

“Save it, Watcher! You have no right! This is my domain! Cathar is mine. And here you are handing out blood bonds and oaths and all this willy nilly and expecting all us to respect them? But I have no right?”

 

“I’m not getting into this with you right now,” Ro roared back. “You know exactly what I mean, you--”

 

The transmission abruptly cut out before Ro could finish his sentence. The response didn’t surprise him coming from Dhon. It still irritated him all the same. But to be fair, Dhon didn’t probably deserve to be the subject of Ro’s ire. It was just easier to ignore the pain he was feeling right now by finding someone or something to be mad at instead.

Planet-side, Roshan carried the body to the ancestral burial pit of his home city. Located at the base of the massive city-tree, Dhon stood there casually waiting. He began ribbing Ro the moment he was within earshot.

 

“So this is what all the fuss was about? Kind of ugly if you ask me.”

 

Ro glared at Dhon as reached the edge of the hole and he held the body over it. Staring down into the darkness, he said a few traditional Cathar blessings and retold stories of this Rose’s deeds, both honorable and dishonorable. Then dropping the body into the pit, he finished with another final blessing.

 

“May your soul be blessed with rest and become one with the Circle of the Force and the city-tree of our ancestors. May your physical body and your remaining life force provide this tree and the generations of Cathar to come the strength to live their life in the manner that you once did. Our bond has been fulfilled but you will not been forgotten.”

 

"So says we all."

 

Cutting his hand, Ro allowed some of his blood to drip down towards the body below. Then nodding to Dhon, the two of them began to fill back in the 2 meter hole with dirt.

“Was she really worth all that?”

 

“She was my Soo’Gah’Wee,” Ro growled. “So yes, Dhon. Yes! She deserved every bit of this ceremony and probably better than she got, too!”

 

Dhon laughed, “Your ritual blessings are a little rusty, bud. That ending was especially rough.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

“I’m just saying,” Dhon shrugged as he shoveled another pile of dirt into the burial pit. “It was pretty sappy, too, bud. But if she was your Soo’Gah’Wee then she must have earned it. We may not be totally alike, but I like to think that we both know what something like that means to Dhonarr and to us.”

 

“Yeah,” Ro replies with a somber note as his eyes drop down towards the pit.

 

“It was a mistake, bud. Humans are too soft and squishy for us. Especially to waste your time mating with.”

 

“We weren’t... we didn’t.”

 

“Ha! Sure you didn’t, bud? I seen the way you look at her even now. I might spend most of my time in the Vast Veldt but I wasn’t cloned yesterday, Ro.”

 

“I’m done with this conversation.”

 

Nodding, Dhon and Ro continued shoveling in silence. When they were done, the two proceeded to head back towards the ship. 

 

“So, Watcher. I’ve waited long enough. Are we going to talk about this offer of yours or what? I didn’t cut short a great hunt just to meet up with you, help you bury some human female, and shoot the breeze.” 

 

Standing at the ramp of the Traitor’s Gambit, Ro finally replied, “I have a deal to offer you. I know you’ve been left behind to watch over, mum. But I need a favor.”

 

“What kind of favor,” Dhon responded as he eyed him skeptically.

 

“I need a co-pilot to Nar Shadda and then delivery of a helmet to its owner on Tatooine.”

 

“Oh? And what’s in it for me?”

 

“Do this and this ship and its droid are yours.”

 

“What’s the catch?” Dhon frowned.

 

“I’ll have to get a new registry for the ship.”

 

“From Watcher to thief?” Dhon laughed. “The Link going bankrupt under your watchful leadership?”

 

“The Link and Coruscant are gone.”

 

Dhon had a witty response already ready to come out but Ro’s words caused him to pause. He gave Ro a confused look before responding.

 

“What do you mean gone?”

 

“Like dead and gone. Destroyed. Massacred,” Ro replied angrily. “Like while you were out here playing wildness tracker billions of people were being murdered by crazed fanatics who believed they were some sort of second coming of the Mandalorian savages of old.”

 

“Wow. You don’t say,” Dhon comments rather casually. “I would have never guessed that. So your cash cow kinda went belly up then?”

 

“You are missing the point, Dhon. Do we have a deal or not?”

 

Dhon laughed. He then patted Ro on the shoulder as he stepped onto the ramp and past Ro.

 

“Whatever you say, bud. But after I fulfill my end of the deal, whatever I do with this ship is my business.”

 

“Deal.”

 

Dhon turns back and smiles, “Then we have ourselves a plan, bud. Times a wastin’. We got a den of scum and villainy to visit.”


((Off to Nar Shadda))
_________


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Telperiën brought her hand down on the table with a resounding ‘crack.’ The durasteel slap dented in result and the screech of durasteel supports from the blow filled the cabin for a nanosecond before she stood up. But he was already gone. She glanced at Hailey for a moment and then followed him aft. 

 

Seeing him and his first mate assembled, she knocked on the bulkhead to get his attention as the klaxons faded from earshot.

 

“Mr Armegedon, you and your men have been pressed into the service of the Sith Lords. There is but only one exit here for you and yours. Death. If you give myself or Lord Awenydd any more lip or defiance, I promise you I will pluck your tongue from your mouth by its roots.” Her voice was an eerie calm as the ship emerged from hyperspace with a tremble. “Understood?”

 

The process of landing and clearance was of little consequence to such a vessel as this and as the ships computer emitted a flight plan and landing codes to the small defensive garrison, Telperiën could begin to feel the faint vestiges of the ancient horror of the mandalorian wars. There was a profound uneasiness in the force in the space around the planet, and its horror called to her. She looked to the dark skinned humanoid, then grinned. 

 

“Tell me Mr Armegedon, can you feel it?”


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…You speak as though your great Sith Empire will never be overthrown. The Infinite Empire was destroyed. Xim the Despot fell to my master’s Hutts. The Old Republic crumbled to dust and tyranny. All great Empires fall, why not yours? How much longer do you think that Spider’s web will last?

 

*****

 

Cathar.

 

The Sith Lord breathed in the recycled air, braiding back her loose auburn locks into a tight plait that ran down her shoulder. She could feel unease in the force, the tenderness of a wound long since scarred over. Entering a flight path into the navicomputer, she analyzed the readouts from the planet.

 

Ocean. Islands. Settlements.

 

The Krath frowned in distaste.

 

Peace. Life. Growth.

 

She didn’t know what she had expected, the war had been millennia ago, but part of her had expected a wasted ruin like the world from which they had just departed. Another breath and revulsion turned to simmering rage.   

 

…What did you expect… For this journey to be easy?

 

Fieldgrey felt it then, a thread of lingering chaos. The disorder that was underlying the unease. She brought Triple Six into a decent towards the coastline of the Ambaryle Sea, a place of only wilderness. She could feel the starship’s subtle agreement to her plan, and she pressed her Wrath into the nature of her ship and felt a shift.

 

Triple Six seemed to roar as it dropped through the atmosphere, and she could feel the chaos buckle with terror. The spirits remembered the clouds parting with the fire of the Basilisks. She set the ship to land on a sandy bluff a kilometer from the ocean and walked back towards the landing ramp. She whistled to the nightsisters and Sith soldiers.

 

“This world has had peace for generations, but this world is the vineyard in which the Mandalorian Crusaders planted the seeds of their own annihilation

 

She licked her lips as the landing ramp unsealed itself, dropping away into sand. The smell of salt and sea-rot was a welcome relief to the stale recycled air.

 

“Set up a camp, secure a perimeter.”

 

To the nightsisters, she spoke seperately

 

"We must find the wound, where the force is scarred and broken."

 

The Sith Lord stepped onto the white sand, letting her leather combat boots sink into its embrace. She stared up at the stormclouds overhead and smiled.

 

...I must find that which was sown in terror and holocaust and reaped in full at Malachor V. 


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Shiro's gaze averted in a semi-horrified look as the Sith mentioned his true last name, something even his comrades knew nothing about. For in the Imperial Marines, he was Shiro Seven of Odik II, and that was who he intended to remain. Turning his gaze away, he smirked toward Dunstan and Saldana, as he finished gathering his things. Within moments, he felt their rocketed decent, the other Sith imposing a horror filled plummet that mimicked the entrance of the Mandalorians of old, likely to intimidate and inspire fear. And as they touched down, Shiro exited the ship with very few words as he passed the first  @Telperiën Ar-Pharazon. "I am Shiro Seven of Odik II. That is all that needs to be known..."

 

His words were not expressed in defiance, but of informance. He withheld his true name but for only a sole purpose. And if this one was that observant, then he wondered how much longer he could keep up the ruse. With his words spoken, he disembarked behind the second with Dustan, Saldana, and the others in tow, the group fanning our at the forefront to gain the advantage should the locals grow intrigued. Two scouts were sent out while the rest remained to set up camp. But his mind echoed of the two Sith, the first's knowledge of who he was and what words she questioned, and the second's elusiveness to his own. What were their true goals here?


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Telperiën nodded brusquely to Corporal Armegedon, he had avoided her question and it had peaked her fury enough to make her wish that she could lash out. Maybe strike for his neck? Gut him from throat to groin? Or perhaps she could possess him. Take his very soul from him, drive it out, and then inhabit him? No, not yet. He still had uses, but her patience was at its thinnest, dealing with his insolence. If the man expected to survive much longer he would need to learn the lesson quickly and without complaining. Otherwise it would be a much more miserable death for him down the road, and the Sith were as a whole much less forgiving than Telperiën Ar-Pharazôn.

 

But Hailey was beckoning her and the others planetside, and Armegedon’s flogging would need to wait until after whatever they found on Cathar. 

 

The planet reeked of rot, deluge and disease. The natural smells of a seaside, but something that Telperiën was hardly used to. The salt at least cut through the putrid air with a stiff breeze that made it somewhat breathable. The Nightsisters grimaced in unison as the mounted the landing ramp, and shading their eyes against the bright overcast light of day, the terrain was nearly hilless and flat save a few peaked dunes that bled away their fine trails of sand over the wild grassland. But behind it all, behind all the smell of the world was the smell of desolation

 

It tingled at her nostrils, cutting through the distractions of her mind, forcing her to concentrate. She took another deep breath, glanced at the maps that were being displayed by Kaiseng’s datapad, then looked back at Hailey. 

 

“South of here is the ruins of old Adun-Levennia. The shattered world stem.” 

 

She pointed to the gorge and canyons that stretched away to the south, white brown rock, from which ran a black river.


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…You reek of death; you carry it on your cloak and in your hair, but it is not the odor of viscera or lifeblood spilt, but that of corruption. The loss of life’s goal, you’ve fallen off the path. You’ve died to life and been reborn in true strength. Life be damned. Your darkness holds the power to conquer it all…

 

*****

 

The sand radiated warmth into the blackened leather soles of her boots as the Sith Lord walked. There must have been enough sunlight before the clouds had gathered in order to imbue such heat into the shifting dunes to give it such incalescence. It matched almost perfectly with the passionate wrath that boiled at a low simmer within her skull.

 

The Krath despised the heat, abhorred the sunlight that trickled through the approaching rainclouds. The distant rhythm of the ocean’s waves was the cadence of her loathing for this world. Her sulpheric eyes followed the Nightsister’s hand to where it pointed, the mouth of a gorge from which spewed an estuary of darkness.

 

“Shiro.”

 

The Sith Lord contemplated the fractious soldier with a challenging scrutiny. His failings and haughty disobedience were a blemish she was reluctant to overlook. Fieldgrey condemned it all.

 

“Follow.”

 

The ground changed from white sand to blacked delta with pools of stagnant water. The Sith Lord observed that no life grew here, there were no avians that she would have normally found stalking the swamps where rivers met oceans. It only smelled of rot. The dark loam was pierced by great tree-roots that snaked through the muck and dove into the depths of the ponds. She followed the roots to their distant source; where the gorge ended was the shattered remains of a great tree. Its size, even burned and broken as it was, astounded her.

 

…Adun-Levennia

 

Had the tree been more than a fire-torn stump, it would have stretched 3 kilometers in diameter. As the group approached, she could see that the darkened river swelled at its base, making it almost impassable. The Krath knelt into the muck at the rivers edge, letting herself sink into the putrid mud. She placed her scarred hands into the rushing water, letting the coolness of it clear her mind. There was a great power here. 

 

“Secure the area, we set our camp here.”

 

Hayley let her eyes drift shut and she focused on the river, inviting it to surge around her. The rain began to fall and the firth rose to great it. It came now to her waist, but the Sith Lord only smiled. The knew she could harness its power.

 

“Give me time, and I will tame the waters.”


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This world, it held a bitter darkness to it. Shiro could feel it, taste it, smell it. It almost as if it pulled at his soul. And it waned as of it wanted to swallow him whole. Shiro and Dunstan took point as the group traveled forward, Dunstan seemingly unaffected by the planet's call as Shiro noted. But Shiro remained on guard, ever steady as each step of his foot pressed down into the sands, almost as if he was walking in the steps of another.

 

And follow he did, even as the lifeless void presented its self to them all, his knowledge of this world, this place, unknowing. Shiro had never been one to back down from a challenge, but even this place, the feeling it gave him, told all his senses not to tread. Yet tread he did. If not for himself, for the sake of his men, even as the pain this place carried called to him in echoes of days past, his glowing crimson eyes darting about.

 

Adun-Levennia...

 

This is what they called this place, the darkness running his blood ice cold even as he drew near and first set his gaze upon it. His gaze darted between the two, these Sith and their grave artifacts, digging into pasts forgotten. He heard the tales, but never truly pictured it. The intrusive one knew of it. The elusive one delved in it. And Shiro feared it. An unholy trinity had converged upon it, and through them, awoke it.

 

Swaying his mind away from it, Shiro ordered his men to begin setting up camp, he and Dunstan remaining among the two Sith as Saldana remained with the squad, her gaze carefully watching over the two in secret. But something here drew Shiro's mind, called upon it like a siren's song, and it made him uneased and yet unable to look away. Dunstan saw this and placed his hand upon Shiro's shoulder, bringing the Armegedian back to reality. "Come. Let's leave them to it."


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Adun-Levennia, the mottled stump of what had once been the home of some ten thousand light furred cathari. The intermittent rains, the heat from the reflected sand, had left the old tree’s base not much more than a charred and rock-like preserved stump. The life-giving waters of the the river, which had once been called the Ibel-Luinë in the half remaining language of the old Cathar, was now not much more than a stream of brackish mud. 

 

Either the Mando’ade had been especially good at “salting the earth” of their enemies, or the lack of any vegetation and animals betrayed the reality of this place. The dark side was here, present, in the very waters that the nomadic people had once called their home tree. She stood at the edge of the mud, watching Hailey beginning to search for its power, then she gestured to her Dathomiri and they began to set up camp. She could not bring herself to meditate, not in a place like this, the shadows were unknown, too ancient, and it betrayed her attempts to grasp at it. She would leave such investigations for the much more competent Darth Awenydd. 

 

Taking only Lilia as her companion, she walked towards the beach, crossing through the dark delta that carried no life. Only thick, disgusting mud. But their eyes were watchful, having been raised in such mud to seek for prey, they watched the eddies and flows for any sign of wistful and innocent life. But found none at all, not even an insect could be found, and they walked in silence to the beach whose white sand was being drenched by the resurgent river. It was there, out of the mud that Telperiën and Lilia knelt. The brackish water lapping at their knees. 

 

“Let your mind slowly drop away the peripherals Lilia, concentrate only on what you feel, then peel away each sense until you can only feel the force.” 

 

The girl nodded and Telperiën began to do the same.


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…What do you do when you find weakness in yourself? Do you try to conceal it from the galaxy? Even if it’s shrouded in your very soul, your weakness will be found by that which lurks in the darkness. If you hide weakness, you build your foundation of strength upon a flaw. The hardest battles are fought in the mind…

 

*****

 

The estuary loam was uncomfortably lukewarm as it began to envelop The Sith’s kneeling form. Hayley was a woman of extremes, stim needed to be scalding and bathwater frigid, so the mediocrity of the water provoked her wrath. The anger focused her meditation, and the Krath concentrated it on the misery of the beachhead. The corruption that lingered in this place was like the smog that had choked her slum on Nar Shaddaa, everpresent but ethereal.

 

I can feel the evil... 

 

The Krath tried to grasp it within her mind, yet it slipped away. She beckoned the waters to rise, but there was no change to the rush of the cloudy water.

 

...but why can’t I hold it?

 

The Sith Lord’s pale fingers clutched at the mud beside her, dragging fistfuls of the clay against her chest as she spasmed in an uncontrollable physical manifestation of her frustration.

 

Am I not strong enough? 

 

There was a change in her, an open door; and doubt rushed in. Her eyes were closed, and she could feel the tears welling up from the burning in her sinuses. Had she brought the Nightsisters on a wild Mynock chase?

 

You are a failure. Rotten. Weak. Cursed.

 

A small, pathetic whimper rose in her throat, strangled back by reluctance of a broken spirit.

 

Why are you so fragile?

 

Pale fingers tore into the blackened mud and the inky rush swept her up in a surge of savage power. Suddenly she was choking on silt as the river took her from the shore without even a splash. There was no personification to the barbarous power of it.

 

Go on, feel sorry for yourself, drown in your weakness.

 

Brackish water strangled her, seared her nose and eyes. The currents forced her down to the depths of it. She clawed desperately for purchase. 


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"I cannot." Shiro replied to Dunstan, shrugging his comrade's hand from upon his shoulders as he watched the intrusive one depart, his gaze fixated on the elusive one and the stream she delved in, the familiarity almost toxic to breath as he gripped tight his hands upon the Z-6 he carried so heavily in his hands. Familiar, yet unknown, like a distant memory that did not belong. "I can't explain it, but this place, this pilgrimage, it feels all too familiar. And yet, it is not my own, almost like a dream I was once told but cannot remember who."

 

Dunstan looked at Shiro weirdly, then shifted his gaze at the two Sith before it began to click within his own mind. He said not a word, but nodded with understanding at Shiro when Shiro glanced his way. Dunstan felt there was something special about Shiro, and now it was beginning to slowly make sense. He may not have been Sith, but Shiro possessed their ability whether he was trained or not. It was the only logical conclusion that made sense of his actions, his words, and his luck back at Coruscant. With that, Dunstan turned toward Saldana and the others.

 

Shiro noticed, but left things unspoken as Dunstan began his departure. But as his gaze shifted back to Hayley, she was nowhere in sight. Adrenaline kicked in, and before he knew it, Shiro had dove head first into the darkened water without thought in search of the elusive one. The water was dark, too dark to see, and at this depth, its aura was overpowering. It clawed at his soul, threatening to tear it to shreds, the pressure of the planet's forgotten past grasping at his form, his glowing crimson eyes providing only an illuminated sight.

 

He had been a fool to dive in without thought, his mind wracked with confusion and despair, his form crippled by the darkness that flowed forth from it. It wanted his life, wanted his future, and it was overpowering. And yet, amidst it all, there was a sense of purpose flowing with it, a glimmer of sight amidst its currents that flowed back in time to days of old when a warrior of his lineage walked a very similar path, the silver haired being with glowing green eyes gazing across the same scene as others surrounded him.

 

At the forefront stood a man who's face was obscured, holding a Mandalorian Mask high into the air as the mixed emotions of sorrow and determination swelled with each of the imprinted souls. But for the silver haired man that linked to Shiro, disgust filled his heart as he gazed back in his own memories at his Orders not to follow his commander. There was defiance in his heart at this and a sense of pride swelled within him as he returned to the presence and he watched the man before him adorn the Mandalorian Mask in memory of what had happened here. And in unison, they all dropped to one knee, a pledge of fealty placed in their hearts this day though it was never spoken. Their reason? The Cathar's massacre. And it filled Shiro with its presence.

 

Almost instinctively, Shiro went to grasp at the man's shoulder, attempting to turn him around and to gaze upon his face in full, to know the bearer of this dream, of this memory. But as he grasped the shoulder, feeling the cloth in his hand, he felt his own grabbed and his formed pulled forth from the river with @Fieldgreyin his own. Coughing the muck that had filled his lungs and throat, Shiro's mind remained as confused as it did beneath the waters. Who did he see? What did he see? Why? Climbing onto the bank and gasping for air, his crimson eyes darted about, unsure of what he had just witnessed and what it was he experienced. Shivering despite the blanket he felt wrapped around his form, this place had began to take ahold of him.


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