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Exodus

The Unmounted Heart

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The Unmounted Heart

The Silken Nexus

 

 

 

Aleria Thorne was approached by a creature claiming to be a member of a mysterious circle, only identified by a small Black Lotus glyph emblazoned on it's cloak, investigating the disappearance of several renowned Jedi. Discretion was supremely emphasized, and there was that mention of a rumored link between the denizens of Onderon and that of a shamefully exiled Sith Master. The truth was hers alone to discover, and her travels would lead her to the primeval morasses of a most feral jungle world. 

 

 

 

A derelict raft drifts into an abandoned harbor carrying a young woman. Delirious with hunger, the only word she seems able to speak so far have been “Montar”. Free folk claim that her madness stems from no Montar, but a Monster within the jungles of Onderon. The only other clue to her identity is an iconic weapon she carries. Is the woman insane, or is there something more?

 

Decades have passed since Moonkeep was reclaimed, and a small garrison placed there along with a beacon to help guide travelers. Months ago, that beacon fell dark, with the garrison completely vanishing from plain sight. In the walls of Iziz, rumors circulate that something ancient was discovered in the grounds beneath near the keep, dating far before the new Sith Empire arrived, and seeded the roots of a terraforming Dark Side Nexus.

 

The Moonkeep is a subterranean wonderland, a vast and twisted labyrinth where fear runs wild. It is the home of horrendous Sithspawn that have never seen the light of day. It is here that the Anzati Spider, King Emperor of the Shadows, casted a foul anomaly meant to ignite fountains of dark energy that would suffuse the emergent creatures of the wild and tear open wombs for an army unheard of. What has stepped through the dark, surprises even Him. The insanity that pervades the Moonkeep escalates and threatens to shake the jungles of Onderon to its foundations. Be sure to quell your curiosity, the dark is not for the faint of heart.

 

 

- - - - - - -

 

 

 

Moonkeep, Onderon.
From the Journal of Remays Sirim, Imperial Field Scout,

21st Imperial Excavation Unit, MIA.

 

 

 

"At long last, I've found it. I've found the Moonkeep.

 

It was well hidden to be sure. The exterior is nothing but a pile of upended masonry, covered in lichens and old moldering roots. The Imperials took great lengths to try and conceal it, but my eye misses very little.

 

The structure itself is unremarkable—a simple stone bastion, assembled in a swift prefabricated style. But you need only scratch the surface to find the truth of this place. Quiet horror hangs over Moonkeep like a shroud. Servants of the Dark lurk in every corner, just out of sight but always watching. Waiting. I've never felt more at home.

 

The presence  of the Dark Side only grows stronger as you descend. The Keep's bleak stone walls give way to great caverns, where shadows dance like mad Squibs and massive spider-webs glisten in the torchlight. Creatures of the Sith, the Sithspawn, stalk these chambers, whispering dark secrets to one another in a language no common man or woman understands. But this is still a pale reflection of what's to come.

 

Beyond the caves, the very fabric of reality begins to fray.  In this dark realm, the Heart of Onderon has claimed this place. Its inky tendrils stretch out in every direction, seducing pilgrims and prey alike--claiming them with a cold, setaceous embrace. This is what drove the Imperials to try and destroy the fort. They found this Nexus and sought to slow it from the world. Shortsighted fools, the lot of them. How could someone turn their back on this sublime darkness?

 

After walking these gloomy hallways for a week or more, I feel the weight of it—the horror, I mean. It's as if all this dark beauty could collapse in on itself at any moment. Someone is holding open the nexus by will alone. I his thoughts in my dreams, urging me deeper and deeper into the dark, promising me glory, passion, and terror. His name is Exodus, the Emperor-King of the Night. In time, I shall become his true servant, and together we will bring this world to heel. All will fear Exodus. All will love Exodus. All will worship the Dark."

 

 


 

 

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Why am I doing this? Aleria muttered to herself. 

 

Just a few hours ago, she'd been crammed into a decent sized storage crate that was being shipped to Onderon from another location. She'd been told that discretion was key, so she dressed in civilian clothes, suppressed her force signature and hid her sabers in an explorer's pack, hoping to take the guise of an archaeologist or trader. Granted, she didn't have much experience in espionage. But she figured people wouldn't ask too many questions of her if she didn't have the trappings of a righteous, blade-wielding, do-gooder.

 

So far Aleria's assumption was right; or, if it wasn't, she hadn't figured that out yet. Some part of her thought that everything lined up a little too perfectly, but life without excitement was boring. So it was most certainly foolish, but it might make for an awesome story if she made it out. She had a few worn journal pages written by an Imperial Field Scout, some vague warnings from the Black Lotus figure, some hints about where to go, and a whole planet of evil Sith people or people that worked for evil Sith people that stood between her and what she wanted to accomplish. What was that again? Oh, right, finishing an investigation into lost Jedi Masters that were pillars of history before they vanished off the map. Yep. Easy.

 

Aleria let her nerves settle and kept her force signature barely above a whisper, blending in with the populace of Iziz until she came upon a decent looking food establishment. She'd been looking for some grub ever since the chorus of her need reverberated off the metal of her regrettable but necessary hiding spot. And now that she had her sights set on it, her stomach started anew, loudly preaching to anyone that would happen to listen. 

 

She popped in between a smaller group of civilians and grabbed a spot by the bar, hailing the bartender to grab a glass of water and whatever he had as a special. She did her best to seem small. Her body language was very closed off and she sat at the very end of the bar to avoid unnecessary conversation. It was very obvious what she was doing, but Aleria had no clue. Someone shouldered up beside her as she was handed a steaming plate of something that smelled absolutely divine. And, whether it was impulse or something else, Aleria leaned over and asked the person sitting next to her:

 

"Hey, I'm here to gather information about an old Imperial outpost called 'Moonkeep.' I need to draft up something to give to my supervisor or I'm gonna get canned. All I got is rumors, I was wondering if you might know more?"

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The old cantina was but a small outcrop that squeezed itself between the seams of the newer establishments, sticking out like a bruised toe against the many more popular options that now made themselves available after the war. Development in Iziz was at an all-time high, and opportunists from every wretched corner insisted on leaving their mark. Familiar faces enjoyed the company of familiar faces, and those that frequented this particular bar knew the smell of fresh meat all too well.

"..Yer none the better trading in rumors, darling. Yer super-guy might be fixing you for a bad time, naming things to strangers that you darn sure shouldn't be naming. Unless yer one of them witches now, that's what they'll be needing up them ways. Hair like fire I tell you, pretty face too, ain't never seen you around these parts.. But-but what was it you said you did again?"

 

His haggard and heavy face drew closely to her own, promising the full punch of his alcohol-sweetened breath to roll delicately off of his sour tongue and into her little button nose. The old man had tired feel about him, his features sagging and his voice nearly coaxing black smoke from out of his throat. His bald head was the shiniest thing he owned, and judging by the fill of dirt between his nails, probably the cleanest. He dressed himself in typical civilian attire too, except his was more worn and worked in, loosely keeping to his old bones. He had a knowing look about his brown eyes though, eyebrows intrusively questioning her place here amongst thieves.

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