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Exodus

Coruscant - Galactic Throne

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With a small flash, a small shuttle formerly in the service of Black Sun reverted from hyperspace over the former Galactic capital. The ship had been refitted extensively to better suit the needs of the strike force while maintaining a profile and signature matching what had been observed from other Black Sun shuttles that had been turned over or absorbed into the Sith Empire. Most of the modifications composed of an immense array of both active and passive sensors and recording devices: the team didn't want to miss any sort of intelligence data they could glean while here. They were using a freshly made and intercepted identity sent from loyalist agents within Kuat's shipyards where thousands of ships were being made.

 

Even so, it was always nerve wracking in the first minutes of infiltration missions while the fourteen individuals inside waited to see if the enemy would pick up on their presence. Adenna deliberately kept her Force presence as minimized as possible to avoid detection by any Sith in the system. They were mostly relying on the vast numbers of ships coming and going from a rather impressive amount of Sith activity. Adenna and other Rebel strategists had been wondering what was occupying the Sith over the last few months after Dark Sun Station and as she gazed out the viewport, she suspected she had at least a partial answer.

 

As the minutes passed by and they continued to approach the planet Adenna began to relax slightly. Though they had no idea what faced them on the surface, it would be particularly ignoble to be destroyed in orbit before they even touched land.

 

Adenna's heart broke to see what happened to the once glistening city planet. She had spent a lot of time here and to see the utter destruction visited it and the cloud of enemy ships controlling its space and surface left her struggling to contain her righteous anger. These were actions done by evil beings, both the Sith Faust and the Mandalorian Crusaders. She wished that there had been something the Jedi Order could have done, but that was not possible. It was folly to look to the past, she could only look to the future and fight the enemy to do what was needed to prevent this from happening all over the Galaxy.

 

They were eventually directed through various automated signals to a region that seemed to be on the edge of heavily devastated cityscape and slightly more stable ones. As they grew closer, they could see plenty of signs of recent combat or destruction, though they had no way to knowing how or when it occurred. They managed to find a fairly abandoned looking rooftop that seemed stable enough to land on. As they touched the surface, their pilot kept the repulsorlifts active and very slowly lowered their effectiveness until they were sure the roof wouldn't collapse on them.

 

Once that was done, it was time to depart. "Remember," she said as the ramp lowered, "we are here primarily to observe and record. Unless needed, we will not expose ourselves even if there are innocents under attack by the Sith. As much as we may want to interfere to safe a few dozen from death, doing so would likely bring a vastly increased Sith focus on the area which would probably result in even more deaths. We must be wise, use restraint, and gather the information that will help us when we eventually return to liberate the planet once and for all."


Adenna Sig

 

Send PM's to Travis.

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((Delta))

 

He spoke Mando'a. It was the one thing preventing Rina from cursing out the trooper. Somewhere, through all of the clans and bloodlines, they were kin, if not by blood then by creed. She replied in kind, but not with the information he wanted.

<"You are the enemy. Why would I tell you anything? Just give me the warrior's death.">

 

A blast echoed from the tunnel, but as none of Delta's troops had gone into the tunnel, it caught the attention of several outside it. Something had tripped one of the traps Remar and his men had laid, though the Mandalorians weren't so sloppy as to blow themselves up with their own explosives. It was either a seismic tremor causing falling rubble to pull a tripwire or set off a pressure plate. Regardless of the how, it partially answered Delta's line of questioning for Rina. She chuckled briefly, looking back at him.

<"Go on. Find out for yourself what traps have been laid.">


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If you consume strength, is it truly yours? If you rely on the power of others, does that not make you weaker? Is power, in of itself, enough for a Sith? Or is it one’s own strength that makes us truly powerful?

 

*****

 

The cacophony of blasterfire created a discordant rhythm with which the Sith Lord danced, an angry, rebellious beat that that carried with it the death knells of the Cabal. Darth Awenydd’s pale lips twisted into a smile as she danced over the decking, her body twisting to compensate for the roiling chaos of the ship’s rattling death throws. The Sithling’s lightning ripped through the veil of smoke, writhing about her but not ensnaring her. The azure light blinded her, stars of multiform color clouding her vision as her ocular nerves were overwhelmed temporarily. The Sith’s eyes closed and she focused upon the rhythm of the Force.

 

Fieldgrey could feel it, the rapid heartbeat of the Trandoshan Sithling. She could smell his blood. She could taste his fear. Her tongue curled, a predatory imitation, drawn from her deep psyche, a desire for a crimson stain upon her ashen lips. The Sith had trapped the lizard with her furious storm. The lightning faded; the heartbeat increased with adrenaline’s touch. She amplified the primitive reactions of the Trandoshan as she moved through the smoke, growing the flight reflex to augment his fear.

 

The Cabal Sithling had been impaled through his gut, a writhing ribbon of durasteel trapping him and curling through the wound. She let the metal writhe and coil like a snake. Black blood poured upon the durasteel. Darth Awenydd could feel the durasteel’s lust for blood as it was an extension of herself. She let it work its way through his viscera, drawing out as much pain from the reptile as she could, letting it nourish her own power. The heartbeat began to stall, but she bade it on, bathing it in its own dopamine and epinephrine, keeping the beast alive until she could devour all of its power. There was a rattling gasp.

 

The Sith Lord bathed in the lasting terror and sundered the corpse. Black blood fell like rain. She added the Trandoshan's book and belongings to her own. Her sulphuric gaze found the pilot and the newcomer, (Shiro). She drew the remaining Cabal to her, letting her twisting metal dance through them. More rain, more terror, more power. She stalked like a predator towards her allies. Her simple robes, soaked as they were in reptilian blood, whirled around her, sending a shower of darkness about her teenage form as she leapt.

 

…Shiro of the Sith.

 

The Sith Lord landed nearly on top of the Pilot (Bakra). The decking reverberated beneath her feet. Her voice exploded into his mind, with none of its previous subtlety.

 

…Fear not, Pilot.

 

The dark magic of the Krath was averse to life, but it thrived on power. Only he could see it, in the hollows of her eyes, a regard averted from life. The Sith Lord brought her hand to her face and with a swift motion, slit her wrist with her own teeth. As she bled, so his bleeding reduced. As her wound grew, so his would shrink.

 

Equivalent exchange.

 

The teenager spoke with a snarling voice,

 

“Shall we leave this accused ship?”


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“Hotel Two this is Lima One command. Hold fast until command elements reach the from with a guide.”

 

Delta hissed under his breath a trail of heavy curses after he heard her retort. He knelt heavily on her chest and then reached forward and grabbing the woman’s helmet right below the ‘T’ visor, ripped the external comm until mic from where it was usually set. There was no reason to allow this woman to give his enemies any additional support while in captivity. He quickly searched her for weapons, discarded those he found, then firmly secured her hands behind her with binders handed to him from a helpful Ishi Tib marine. 

 

The squid like humanoid appeared to be about to say something quite brilliant when a small finger sized chunk of permacrete rocketed through the top of his duraplast helmet and struck him dead on the spot. Another hapless victim of moonfall. Delta closed his eyes for a moment as he looked away back to his prisoner. 

 

“Now.” His voice was soft but carried well due his helmet’s blood spattered speaker projectors. “Then you will show us where the traps are yourself.” He tossed the mandalorian over his shoulder and strode down the tunnel to the front lines. As he walked his earpiece lit up with a broken chatter on Lima comms.

 

“Lima one command, this is Lima three actual.” 

 

Lieutenant Haylee Langraf. The commanding officer of strike group three, assigned with heavy fire support in the Lima One company. His smile could be heard over the comm as he replied. 

 

“Lima three status?” 

 

She had been on the Holofernes with him over Kuat and Dark Sun. She was good, and had been an easy pick for leadership. 

 

“Casualties high, enroute to objective. Ten minutes out.”

 

He sighed. It was good news at least. 

 

“Understood, dispatch a medical specialist to the following coordinates then rendezvous with elements of Hotel Two at cave entrance. We are clearing a path for you. Copy?”

  

The voice was tired but understanding. 

 

“Solid copy boss. See you in fifteen.” 

 

Perhaps the medical teams would be in time for Frostwin. Perhaps not. He didn’t have time to think as he put the Mandalorian down in front of him as they arrived to where the first trap had been set off. He kept one hand on her binders and lay the barrel of his blaster along her thin shoulder. Walking her in front of him like a mobile shield. 

 

“Now walk. If any of my men behind me get hit, I will take you apart piece by piece. Sold Copy?”


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Blood Prince

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The force moves darkly around creatures about to kill.



The small transport descended carefully over the last recorded landing zone of the Devil Hounds, suspending itself under the constant shelling of moonfall. As armored as the carrier was, the damage it had endured thus far was physically evident in how crushed the steel skin of the bird appeared. Traces of black smoke inked from out of the loud and overworked motors, wheezing as the strain of suspension worked the last nerves of the ship. The ventral side of the carrier heaved open, while search-lights popped on and scanned the depressing proximity of the broken building. War had quite obviously taken its toll, and the emptied drop pods were evidence that the Hounds had become part of the struggle. Thick cables flung from the ventral port, and down them came the grisly black polish of Imperial Shadow Troopers. As they descended into the gloomy landing zone, their cloaking devices vanished them as soon as their boots met with the uneven surface. They were in their truest form as invisible predators, sweeping the scene, securing the bewildered premises. The first of them moved to secure the blind corner of the room, the second disappeared as he slid down the rope but made for the opposite corner. The third of them dropped down and moved up the middle, angling his T-21 blaster rifle evenly towards the gaping breach in the wall that exposed outdoors. He paused half-way, sweeping to his left, and then to his right.



"LZ Secured, Spider One."

 


Just as the courageous voice sizzled through their communication set, the Imperial Emperor stepped from the carrier at roughly sixty feet, plummeting dangerously fast, landing with a powerfully charged force that seemed to stretch the barrier of sound. The raw pressure loosened the moon-fall brie and shook the exposed room to the roots. Sediment fell from all over and softly revealed the positions of three more Shadow Troopers not previously seen. Their cloaking devices were slightly hampered under these conditions, but the veil still offered a considerable measure of comfort from sniper nests in the area. The fragrance of death was a sweetened scent he could taste on the wind as it brushed by, so remarkably fresh. Bleak and colorless vistas of destruction seemed to be the only backdrop that Coruscant could now afford the people, no matter which way you looked. A dark force marinated the bodies of the fallen here, sweeping from mangled corpses and draining into the black hole of power that wreathed the Dark Emperor as he motioned through them. The passing of lives was an intimacy more telling than the taking of them, and as the surcoat of the reaper swept over them, their failing spirits yawned the secrets they once held dearest. The dead had nothing to lose.


Exodus marched forward while the men with him kept themselves extremely aware. Meteoric moonfall began to line the indentations of Sith steel that were sanctioned on his body, a mounded ebony warplate resting against exotic trimmings from the fiercest of creatures. He embraced the visage of a nomadic conqueror, with the trappings of his kills drawn about him, emboldening his mighty presence. Truly, the warmth it afforded him was a pleasure on this miserable planet. He drew the traditional hemming of his black hood over his wild and unmistakable mane, covering himself from the uncertainty of the powdery mildew.
 

 

"Jurek. Lead reconnaissance through the immediate vicinity.

Eliminate any hostiles, leave none alive.  Beetle, provide assistance for our wounded. 

I will find the others, they are nearby. Make contact if there are obstacles."

(Jurek, Mu, Xora, Beetle, Law, Code)

 

"Copy, Spider One."

 

 

Six Shadow Troopers heralding their stygian-triprismatic polymer armor, embellished with the insignia of the Imperial Spider, confirmed their mission by moving as soon as their Emperors' had finished. Unit NZ-44 withdrew through the building, navigating an adopted and digitized schematic. The Emperor stood on the edge of the breach, staring out into the abyss, tracing where it was that the Blood Prince had found himself now. 





 


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The girl slipped through the destruction, the listless throws of a dying world, listening to the voices of the dead. Her teenage form was draped in a mud-stained canvas of mottled green and brown.  Its previous owner had been a much taller and broader woman. The hem was tangled and frayed, stained dark with a half meter of the putrid mud that drowned the fading world. Once a glittering gem, shattered now as it was into mud and crumbling permecrete, no longer radiated the light that had made it the pillar of civilization.

 

Kyrie’s scavenged, military-style boots slogged through the foul mud, the leather bindings fighting against the tide of tepid sewage and runoff. She brushed the hair from her eyes with her freckled hands, sweeping the blonde tangles behind her ears. The whirling crash of a missile caused her to crouch, nearly disappearing into the sludge. The rancid odor invaded her nostrils, driving her to nearly wretch, but her empty stomach allowed her only to shudder. She drew into herself as she heard footsteps slapping through the putrid muck.

 

The Imperial Knight let the force flow about her, steeling her body, enhancing her muscles. The aura she allowed within the force was small and weak. No more than a padawan. She pumped fear into the force, but there was no response in the footsteps. No quickening of pace or movement of the dark side.

 

…Not a Sith then.

 

The Jedi thought about the longhandled-lightsaber that hung from her hip, concealed in the mud, but had no desire to attract even more unwanted attention. Clarity came as she focused, allowing herself to feel her surroundings. She hadn’t tapped into the song in far too long. Kyrie tried to burrow herself deeper into the mud. Perhaps it held some protection

 

…Two sets of footfalls. Heavy armour. Their song was of Malice and Lust.

 

A guttural voice cut through her silence.

 

“Ber’aka I see a girl. Cloaked in the mud.”

 

Kyrie stood slowly, letting her blonde hair fall over her violet eyes.

 

“Pretty little thing. Looks half starved.”

 

She faced them slowly, her eyes taking in their armored forms. She let the force crawl over them, exploring their armor, probing for weaknesses. Somewhere in the distance she could feel more Jedi presences, but they were not of her concern now. These soldiers were Mandalorian raiders, marked as Deathwatch. Scavengers.

 

The Jedi could feel the lust in their eyes as they looked over her teenaged form. It reviled her, but she took the anger that welled within her and let it burn away upon her soul’s flame. She began to feel strength flow into her, along with a righteous power. Her boots set themselves, her muscles tensing. The song of the force hardened before her and she raised it as a shield against their wickedness.

 

“We can feed you, girl.”

 

The voice was sneering at her wretchedness. The other raider spoke, a gruff laugh staining his laugh

 

“You’ll have to work for it”

 

He motioned to his codpiece, which Kyrie found to be an unnecessary clarification. The Exorcist brushed the hair from her eyes once more, letting them see the glowing silver fire in her eyes.

 

“Spast!”

 

They stumbled and fired their weapons haphazardly, but the shots fried the mud only. Before they could move further, the Jedi Master was upon them. Her long-handled lightsaber was wielded like a baton, the burnished metal hardened by the fire. With a hammer-handed strike, the pommel crushed the larynx on one raider, leaving him crumpled and choking in the mud. The other was decapitated by a quick burst of energy from her blade, one sweeping motion, a single beam of light that was extinguished almost before it was lit. She kissed the onyx rosary on her wrist, thanking Il-Andon Rorik for the blessing of his power.

 

The Exoricist stripped the weapons from the raiders, admiring the E-11 and the scattergun, slinging the latter on her back and holding the former in her shaking hands. The two vibroblades she placed in her belt. With heavy footsteps, she began to trudge towards the force signatures, letting her own aura pulsate with the inexperience and caution of a scared padawan, hiding her strength to draw in Sith prey.


 

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The hall strobed with the flashes of crimson and emerald fire as Shiro and his men firmly stood their ground, some bolts recieved while most were given. Thankfully, none of the wounds gain were critical as the combination of adrenaline and determination boiled with them. Shiro stepped to the front, Dustan following his lead as they attempted to push forward through the flooding green of the Cabal and into the open, fire in their eyes mimicking Shiro's own crimson gaze.

 

It was the field of battle and the drums echoed the pulse of their hastened hearts. And for Shiro, accompanied by Dustan, it was more than just life or death. They were the leaders of this marry band of brothers, chosen specifically by each of their comrades to replace what they had lost in this hopeless cause, not just to have orders given, but in the chance of survival even if it remained slim. And both chose to take it to heart, their men more important than themselves, and what they stood for in each of their eyes. They were to stand as examples, and truly lead by it.

 

Step by step Shiro and Dustan began the push forward, their men guarding the rear as well as the front as they marched, a unit of few choosing to face death with a smile rather than a cowardly whimper. Their boots soaked in the blood of the Cabal and the green smoke that had settled upon their hidden forms twisting together beneath each step they made over the strewn bodies. Shiro felt the burning sting graze his cheek, and Dunstan nearly fell over as one tore into his calf, but neither of them faltered in their assault even as those behind him wrapped his arms around them and carried him forward out of the bottleneck. And in moments, the open arena welcomed them.

 

Shiro's Z-6 whirled as the clip emptied, the young Armegedon stooping down as the two behind him continued their fire, giving him just the few spare seconds it took to eject the mag and clasp in another as they emerged from the hall and into the hangar, the group fanning out amidst the chaos that had ensued within the hangar. Unleashing the holy hell fire that rested in the new magazine, his gaze shifting toward the two combatants that the Cabal fiercely fought against ( @Fieldgrey, @Bakra). It was madness that he saw, the Force User ripping forms apart and reveling in its bath while the pilot looked to be nearly overcome by injury. And as the battle began to die down, Shiro glanced at Dustan and both gave a mutual nod toward the other.

 

"Alright men, fan out. See if any of these ships are salvageable for our escape." Shiro ordered, his men quickly crossing the hangar to search the ships to see if any were worthy of flight. As the Sith rose from over the Pilot, Shiro approached alone, Dustan being tended to by the medic in his group. The white haired boy gave a subtle bow to the Sith, his crimson eyes glowing against his tanned skin even in the darkness of the hangar. "Ma'am. Corporal Seven of the 7th Marine Battalion. Are you two alright?"

 

 


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Lok sat mostly in silence during the trip to Coruscant, the imagery he retained of Coruscant being that of before, his stomach in knots knowing he would finally see first hand what Hesperidum had done to what he had long held as his second home. During his time as an Initiate in the reformed Bear Clan of younglings, Coruscant was the only home he knew, his homeworld of Onderon being but a distant memory. And even later, as a Padawan and as a Knight, the jewel world always held a certain nostalgia for him when his missions led him away, a semblance of being homesick settling within him.

 

But that was before the Schism, before he followed Kyrie and the others away from the Order and he found a new home among the Imperial Knights. And yet, even now, the sensation of know the place of his raising was no longer what it was, it tore at his heart, just as Onderon being under the suppression of the Sith Empire enraged him. So when he felt the shift of the ship and their departure aboard the captured shuttle, Lok delved himself deep into his meditation. It wasnt just to distract him from the pain he would feel upon the Force as they grew closer, the entire planet that was Coruscant screaming in pain, but it was also the only means he knew to suppress his presence within the Force its self. Where others could with little ease, Lok required focus and intent, his own talent focused on support and combat. 

 

It wasn't until they had landed that Lok gathered himself. He didn't wear the Imperial Armor he usually adorned with pride, but instead wore a lighter and thinner variant of his own creation. Mostly thick hide, interwoven with durasteel that protected the vitals and overlaid with an urban netting cloak, it did not stand out amongst any masses they would eventually encounter and blended in well with the chaos that even he could not have imagined until he saw it with his own eyes. Placing his hand upon the saber that hid beneath the netted cloak, he pulled the T-21B from over his shoulder and gripped the heavy blaster tightly as he dismounted the ship with a look of horror upon his face.

 

Tears streamed down the Imperial Knights face, causing the blackened face paint to run slightly with it as he gazed around at the destruction he saw. It was heartbreaking, the anger and sadness within him aching to boil to the surface. But he slowed his breathing and calmed himself, Master Alluyen's words echoing in his ears. Looking around, he felt no presence of the Sith nearby, only that of the Marauders and a few hapless beings. There was darkness enveloping the planet, and its foul stench smothered the air. But it wasn't Sith. It felt different, untamed and wild, similar to the untrained. And yet, there seemed to be pockets of hope strewn about as well, small whispers and echoes dotting the horizon. Careful not to fully reveal himself, he kept watch as their mission began. At least, until he felt a familiar presence (@Kyrie Eleison) a few clicks away, causing him to stop and wonder.

 

"Master Alluyen." Lok spoke softly, his gaze still observant for unwanted company. "I'm not sure if it's anything, but I feel a strong and familiar presence a few clicks to the east, definitely not Sith or wild like the others. I can't be sure without completely opening myself up, but it feels like a Jedi or possibly another Imperial Knight."

 

Personally, he wanted to investigate. But he held no command on this mission, so the decision was left up to her. But he couldn't quite shake this was someone he knew of very well, a presence he had felt around him since he left the Jedi Order. But since it was taking most of his strength to hid his presence at a bare minimum, he would have to get closer, and that wasn't the mission they were sent to do. Only the Grandmaster before him held that power.


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Jax curses under his breath at the sudden arrival of dread company. He sighs before yelling out, "Stand down dread company, friendly bounty hunter in the AO, no hostiles!" Jax quickly types away at the holopad that he had and sends the contract info over to the Dread company commander to confirm he was supposed to be here.

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What do you see?



He planted his knee in the unsifted rubble, rocks and rust thrown askew. The Dark King rested his breathing, slowing the heaves of his heavy chest. He quieted his mind, just enough with the chaos of Coruscant running free, Exodus would become acutely still. The wailing wind coursed through his wild mane, brushing through the small trinkets of his fuel-black armor, dancing with the darkness that shed from his skin. Kneeling with his balance surer than standing, the Spider focused his mind into a clarity that could see so much more. The skies were seething with pain, black smoke chalking the atmosphere as the industrial clouds burned horribly red. Corpses by the thousands filled the soil as fertilizer would, blossoming into a misery that the Sith could feed from like swollen fruit. Rivers of blood were tickled by the shine of a dying moon, draining into the deep wells of the galactic city with the thickness of wine. He could see it all with eyes wide shut, and it was the force that showed it to him. Lacking the natural biorhythm that most creatures had, his body began echoing vivid sights through sound for miles away. The range of detection that opened up for a King of the Dark Side was beyond ordinary measurements, heightened predatory senses that was wielded so naturally.

"We will bring an end to this." The voice of the Spider was as comforting as stone, both unmoved yet strangely empowering as the smooth fluency of his Anzati tongue whispered like a warm chill down the spine of his most powerful allies.

He slammed his fist into the broken earth, breaking the floor beneath him apart as he shoved his weight from the ledge and leaped far into the distance. First instinct drew him to crush the resistance that his commanding forces weighed their lives against, but something more had revealed itself to him. Echo detection unearthed a cluster of activity buried in a place shunned by the citizens of Coruscant. Beneath the roughened crust sat a broken site once claimed by the darkness that had been buried away shamelessly. Whatever it was, it now called to him. The assassin spared no quarter to his speed, the whistling and waning of meteoric impact punished the grounds around him. He slid beneath barely suspended canopies of steel, bound himself over vast canyons filled with fire, spearheading through blockades of failing buildings. In the passing, there were creatures and small groupings of people that caught this and blinked twice, checking their eyesight while trying juggling their survival. He harnessed the force as if it were entirely his to command, allowing it to burn through his blood as he covered great lengths that landed him before a fortress he had longed to set his sights on.
 


"So this is it?"

 


Taut rancor-skinned boots nestled deep into the moonfall debris beneath his feet, planted sternly as a high-heated storm began to brew overhead. The Emperor dusted his cloak leisurely and tightened the metal gauntlet braced to his right hand, now sizing up a vast uneven region of land that was utterly beaten to pieces. The people of this world were beneath the oppression of a nightmare, and every where he turned, Coruscant seemed drearily seeped in an inevitable downfall. The roots of the industrious land were heaved to the surface, the streets were cracked wide open with mammoth splinters of concrete staggered awkwardly everywhere. There was something here.

 

 

 

Edited by Exodus

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The devastation of Coruscant pierced Adenna to the core of her being, but she refused to allow herself to show or dwell upon those emotions. This was neither the time nor place to truly contemplate those things, and a Jedi needed to be centered and in control at all times. Perhaps it would make the men and women with her feel she was too cold, but they needed to keep focused on this mission until a more appropriate time to process everything presented itself.

 

She could feel the constant misery and despair rising from the planet and wished that she could help in a more substantial way, but with the massive Sith fleet in orbit and Rebel resources stretched thin taking care of the mass of refugees from Coruscant and other planets affected by the Sith and Mandalorian invasions, they simply didn't have the ability. As cold as it was, the smaller number here had to suffer so that the greater number in the rest of the Galaxy might one day see freedom. If the Rebels and Jedi attempted to throw all of their resources here, it would irrevocably destroy their hope to face the Sith and one day liberate the thousands upon thousands of worlds under their brutal grasp. She hated that truth, but it was the direct result of the complacency of the Jedi Order and corruption of the Galactic Alliance. That had to change so that it wouldn't happen again.

 

Knight Skyshatter's words reached her and she considered them. She did not sense anything yet, but that was because she was shielding her Force presence to an area no more than a couple dozen meters around her. If any Sith sensed her on this planet, it would certainly doom them all. There could be any number of stranded Jedi or even Imperial Knights left on this planet. If one was alive, it would be helpful to recover them for multiple reasons. The largest would be the fact that any Jedi who had been here through the invasion would hold far more intel than this one mission could provide, though there was no denying the benefit of rescuing another trained ally and the inherent boost to morale that may also provide.

 

"You could be correct," she responded. "Do not open yourself up further at this point, but I see no reason why we couldn't begin our scouting in an eastward direction. If we come across one of our comrades, then the Force is truly with us. If we do not, then we will still be carrying out our mission."

 

With the scouting team loading up their various and assorted surveillance gear and weapons, they began to carefully pick their way through the abandoned and damaged buildings towards the east. Nothing irreplaceable was left on the shuttle: all of the data it had collected had been transferred to small storage devices and distributed to all of the team so that if even one survived, it would not be lost. Every night, they would share whatever data had been collected that day among themselves. To help them survive, each of them carried two weeks of extremely compact dehydrated nutrient pouches that didn't taste very good, but if mixed with water would fill the stomach and keep the body in shape. The hope was to eventually return to their shuttle, but if they weren't able to make it and had to find another route out, their mission could still be completed.

 

Only their pilot and two security/sentry droids remained in the shuttle, waiting for a mundane but very specific signal to attempt a recovery. Each of the scouting team had a beacon that could be used to summon the shuttle if the correct password and biometrics were input. Still, despite that, the pilot was given orders that if he didn't hear from the rest of the team in three weeks, he was to leave and attempt to escape.

 

As the first few days passed with fairly slow progress, they began to fall into a rhythm. They tried to hide from any survivors which wasn't as hard as Adenna had feared it might be. These people were traumatized, constantly plagued by terror and threats. The sound of anyone coming was enough to make most hide. Even then it wasn't always possible to avoid everyone. Sometimes, people couldn't hide or, worse, didn't care if they were discovered and killed. Those were the worst because, as much as they wanted to help, the team simply couldn't. They couldn't take them along nor could they spare rations. Seeing the terrible condition of the planet, Adenna couldn't even bring herself to issue hollow, empty promises of salvation. For most, the only thing she could do was carefully use the Force to nudge their attention away and numb their anxiety.

 

By the fourth day, even the hardest of the shock troopers and recon rangers in the team were clearly shaken. There was very little chatter among the team even when it was deemed reasonably safe to speak. Adenna spent many hours silence attempting to process and store what they were seeing and feeling while struggling not to let it split her heart asunder. In some ways, this was the hardest mission she had ever been on, yet she was glad she came firsthand instead of sending someone else. If she were to lead the Jedi Order and help the free people of the Galaxy remain free, she needed to see what would happen should they fail.

 

There hadn't been too many rampant reports of Sith atrocities yet but there were plenty of stories of individual brutality, slavery, extremely harsh punishments for any violations of "order," and an overall sense of authoritarian control over more and more of everyone's lives. It may be true that this iteration of the Sith Empire wasn't as overtly cruel as those of the past, but it was far from optimal. Even Palpatine's Empire had planets and societal circles that thrived and enjoyed his rule, but beneath that crust of order, wealth, and structure was a foundation of massacres, torture, brutality, and suffering.

 

This planet wasn't directly the result of the Sith Empire, but it well could be what happened to planets that resisted in the future. For now, it seemed to her that the Emperor Exodus was content to portray himself as an almost benevolent authoritarian only wanting to bring order to chaos. Such tactics were ingenious as many planets that might have resisted were mollified and elected to join. She wasn't so sure how long this phase would last if the Sith were in complete power and Exodus no longer needed to restrain himself. How many planets would be stripped of life to fuel some Sithling's lust for power? How many slaves would be needed to build his war machine or vain monuments to the Sith's glory?

 

On the other side of the proverbial coin was a harsh lesson in what happened to even the "good guys" who grew complacent and allowed themselves to let their guard down. This was a failure of the Galactic Alliance an an isolated, insular Jedi Order that refused to fight evil directly. However this Rebel Alliance played out, Adenna was determined to do everything she could to ensure that it learned from the lessons of the past and kept its guard up while staying true to the concepts of freedom and liberty as well as the Light Side. Failure to do so would only lead to another Old Republic collapsing into the Galactic Empire or the Galactic Alliance giving way to the Sith Empire or Mandalorian Crusader brigands.

 

No, with each passing hour on this ruined planet, she steeled her resolve to fight as long as needed while constantly guarding herself and the Order entrusted to her for corruption, complacency, and compromising morals.


Adenna Sig

 

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Bakra watched in disturbed fascination as the young Sith mutilated herself, her voice vreeping into his thoughts as she did so. He shuddered, and had it not been for the sorcery he'd just witnessed, he would have spoken against such an intrusion. But the Sith held abilities spawned from his nightmares and he didn't fancyfalling on the recieving end. So he gave a curt nod and a thanks, looking at the apparent reinforcements as the ship shuddered. 

 

"Petty Officer Bakra, Dagger Squadron. I was shot down in the fighting and landed here. If there's a ship here that's spaceworthy, I can fly us through the fight, get your troops back with the fleet. Then I need to link up with whatever is left of my squadron- I don't like the idea of training a new squadron from the ground in wartime."

 

He looked around, briefly wondering where the second Sith had gone. Maybe he'd died. Perhaps his objective had been further into the ship. Regardless, he needed to coordinate. He jogs through the smoke, climbing into the wrecked cockpit of his TIE. The comms were still slickering, which meant they had life. He flipped a few switches, and they came alive.

 

"Dagger Squadron, Dagger One. I'm on board the hostile ship. It's tearing itself apart, I'm commandeering the first craft I find. If  it doesn't have guns I'll need an escort. Don't be late." 

 

Making his way back to the Sith, he offered a shrug. "You helped me with my wound. If you're ever looking for an escort, I'm in your debt"

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((Delta73))

This commando knew his stuff. Rina was mildly impressed, but still belligerent. Still, it made her think. The stories she'd been told about the Sith made them all out to be monsters, to the point where she expected him to use his men as living land mine detectors. None of what the Glory Bound had done had really made sense after they'd gotten to Coruscant, and Rina was one of the few who had noticed. Every one of the troops under Skon's command were either too afraid of reprisal to say it, or completely oblivious because of the chance to jump at combat. None of this made any tactical sense to her, and she had a head for tactics.

Speaking of tactics, she also knew that every second she could give her comrades was another second they had to reinforce positions and ready themselves for battle. Every second counted in a war zone. He kept walking her down the tunnel, and her mind raced as she scanned the environment. A pang of alarm ran through her body as she saw the first marker, wires hanging from the wall, the ends of two of them tied in a square knot. To the untrained eye, it was very hard to spot features like this made from the surroundings, but Rina had trained well with her unit and knew all the signals they would use. Every step forward her thoughts raced faster and faster, contemplating sacrificing herself to take out this commander and some of his guards. But when the breaking point came...

 

"Stop." He kept pushing for another half second, and she pressed back hard on the pressure he was putting into her back. "Stop. Tripwire mine in the doorway. We use near monofilament wires so they're hard to see. You'll need a plasma torch or something that can cut with heat to disarm it. Having all your men try to step over it is impractical and one of them is likely to set it off."

There. That would buy some time. In Mando'a, she talked to him again, questioning his motives.

 

<"So tell me. Why have the Sith come to Coruscant? Laying waste to the remnants?">

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

((Jax))

Dread company's commander laughed at the comm transmission before jamming the channel with more loud music. If this bounty hunter thought he wasn't a valid target in a war zone, he had another thing coming. Meanwhile, the teams in the museum kept winding further through the expansive building, nearing the item they needed to claim. Outside, there was blaster fire and screaming, and of course blaring loud music, as the troops of Dread company began to lay waste to the Dark troopers still out in the open.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

((Exodus))

 

((By the way, the Temple in this plot was an underground structure, hidden away for years from both most of the Sith who came to Coruscant and also especially against the Jedi or any other organizations that had controlled the planet. It was not the typical old Sith temple that has been used in the past, I came up with this location when I wrote the plot specifically for use only in this scenario. It had a secret entrance, but that entrance was destroyed and is moot in the aftermath of the moon impact. Instead, a large cavernous hole in the cliff face of a tectonic upheaval from the impact now leads to the Temple, which was what the Glory Bound found. This cavern in a cliff face is also located in the more dangerous parts of the moon fall fields.))

A single being saw the Dark One and exited the building, moving to greet him. There were a mere handful of others left, but this one was distinctly different from other typical Sith acolytes. This servant was once groomed to serve as a mouthpiece for Ar-Pharazon, and had long ago been intentionally disfigured into this role. He wore a helmet that was fused to his skull, revealing nothing but a mouth that was withered and filled with yellowed and rotting teeth. He cowered as the Dark Lord approached, seeing his terrible magnificence through the Force and knowing immediately the station of the Spider. As he spoke, it was clear that the action caused great pain, and spittle dripped from the wretch's cracked lips.

"Sire...forgive me. I am but a humble worm in your presence. Terrible atrocities have occurred since the one called Faust decimated the jewel of the Core Worlds. Another temple, hidden to even other Sith Masters, has been taken. In the cataclysm it was exposed and overrun with Mandalorian filth. A new entrance was carved in stone from the moon's fury, in the scarred fields where its touch lingers. It holds secrets, holocrons...dark and terrible things. Only Ar-Pharazon the Great and Powerful and the Dark Lord are permitted to know the knowledge kept there. I am the only one to survive to pass on this message. I humbly offer you my life for this failure."


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Jax realized his mistake and shut his comms down, not needing the music to give away his position. He attempted to determine where dread company was headed based off the search pattern they were using, while maintaining cover.

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Kyrie kicked the torn boots from her feet, casting them carelessly down the permecrete ridge she had climbed up over the course of the last two days. The shattered stone and steel beneath her now bare feet hummed with the terror inherent in the dying world. It had been skyscraper once, full of life, but from the pain she could feel, it was the poor that had died here in the destruction of the ecumenopolis. It was nothing now but a crumbling mesa. As she walked, she left footprints of crimson upon the bare permecrete.

 

Five days.

 

The Jedi placed a protein cube in her mouth, washing down the gritty taste with a mouthful of rainwater. She let the metallic wrapper float away on the wind, the imperial insignia glittering in the refracted sunlight. They had been scavenged from a wreck. Looted from the rotting bodies of the mandalorians who had died on their basilisks. Their base nature had led to their deaths, and she had no reason to mourn the deaths of raiders. She was no Jedi Pacifist.

 

A rusting steel beam jutted from the rubble, hanging haphazardly like a bridge across a ravine of wreckage to a downhill slope. The girl slowly clambered onto it, balancing herself as she made her way across. The steel coolly caressed her wounded feet, the rust grinding into the cuts and blisters. Wind swept its way across her, billowing her mudstained cowl and blinding her with her own hair. She stretched her arms out like a circus performer and calmed her galloping heart with a sharp breath. She was almost at the end, but there was something else that made the hair on her neck rise.

 

-Snap-Crack-

 

Permecrete shattered into dust and splinters tore at Kyrie’s face. There was another report and a hole punched its way through her cloak. The Imperial Knight let herself fall from the beam, her shoulder catching her weight as she tumbled down in a hail of stones and rust. She let her body twist and contort as it moved down the hill, distributing her kinetic force into momentum, letting the Force redirect her from being impaled on any jutting rebar. Eventually gravity gave way to the entropy of friction and she skidded to a jarring halt.

 

The Jedi wanted to get up and fight, but there was something that gave her pause; there was a sense of friendliness nearby, vague and distorted, but there, nonetheless. Her own force signature was still disguised and diminished, but perhaps it would serve as a beacon. She pumped innocent fear and desperation into the Force. She lay as if dead, taking shallow breaths to disguise her life amongst her tangled cowl.

 

The Imperial Knight could smell them before she sensed them, the pungency of unwashed human and alien. Four figures approached, a Rodian at the lead of two humans and a wookiee. The hard steel of a slug-thrower’s barrel bit into her back as he prodded her. One of the humans spoke behind a patchy beard that was squirming with lice.

 

“Could have gotten her alive, Kato.”

 

The Wookiee chortled, scratching at the mange that pockmarked his creamy coat. Kyrie held her stomach at bay as they leaned closer. The Rodian picked at her cowl, lifting it to reveal one of her legs. His rough hand stroked her bleeding foot.

 

“Still warm though, Warg. I know how you hate when they struggle.”

 

He slapped a hand on the Wookiee’s rump, and the crew roared with laughter. The allied presence was close.

 

“You’ll get last turn Mak’ath, for obvious reasons.”

 

Kyrie nudged the beastial mind.

 

Why shouldn’t you get prime pickings?

 

The Wookiee roared and pushed the Rodian to sprawl across the Jedi. As the weight came down upon her, The Imperial Knight slipped the E-11 from her back and put a blaster bolt through the belly of the bearded human and another that reflected off the permecrete to char the throat of the other. The Jedi slapped the trigger again to send a bolt into the Wookiee, but the gas canister misfired, slagging the rifle and nearly tearing her hand off.

 

…Oh kriff.

 

The Wookiee roared as the Rodian scrambled and withdrew a vibro-dagger. The girl threw  the useless rifle at the Rodian with her burnt hand as she jumped to her feet. She longed to wield the force to her capabilities, but with the Sith in orbit, it would only bring a hail of turbolasers upon her head. It would be a fight like her old days in the fighting pits of Nar Shaddaa, but only now she was in a much weaker body.

 

…Spast.


 

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Lok nodded in appreciation as Master Alluyen spoke, a sliver of hope amassing within himself as she took heed to his senses. He only prayed that deep down, it wasn't simply falsified. As the gear was gathered and they departed, Lok prepared himself for both the best and worst of situations. Seeing Coruscant like it was, only the foolish expected a miracle. Yet, that is exactly what hope filled his heart, foolish as it was.

 

As each day passed, however, and each night came, coughing on soot and dust from their solemn trek, Lok sat alone and in silence, gazing at a blanketed atmosphere and pretending to even know what stars laid beyond the veil he gazed upon. He knew what their mission here was, and his intent had not wavered as his actions day in and day out have proven. But those who made the trek with him could see the sliver of hope he felt in finding whom he had felt. It was still there in the distance, like a child knowing their parents were out there somewhere. But it seemed to grow mpre faint with each passing day and he often wondered if he felt wrong. And these nights alone that he spent were his only moments of reflection.

 

Each day was full of information to gather, maps to chart, debris to tread lightly over, and despair in the eyes of the few that managed to take a subtle glimpse of them, broken and no more than shells of a former life remaining in their eyes. The rest they either managed to keep out of sight from or they chose not to see them. Even Lok began to feel their despair more and more as the days grew longer and longer. Coruscant was lost, and it was evident in every step they took, and in every move they made. And by the fourth day, Lok even noticed two of the men that had came had deserted the encampment the night before, lost in what they had witnessed most likely. Not that he couldn't blame them, but dereliction of duty was just that. But finding them on such a planet was slim, even if they managed to survive it.

 

Lok approached Master @Adenna Alluyen as they began to make camp. "It seems we're missing two of the men, likely deserted. And I can hardly feel the presence I did the day we arrived. I may have led us on a wild rancor...."

 

Just as he managed to get most of the words from his mouth, a blaster resounded in the distance, causing Lok to grab his T-21B and dart toward its direction. He couldn't explain the feeling rushing over him, only that it pulled upon his very soul to react. And it placed him in a dangerous position as it pulled him away from the group. But in that moment, it didn't matter to him. He could feel the fear and anguish in the air and as an Imperial Knight, it was his duty to protect in the service of his Empress. Cleaning the inside of a collapsing tower, and skidding down its stony remains, it was there that he saw her. 

 

His silver blade activated as he charged silently from the hindering darkness to the west, and within seconds, cleared the twenty or thirty yards that separated them, his blade cleaving through the gurgling throat of Rodian, boiling blood splattered across his face as he looked toward the woman and her face became revealed.

 

Her soul was familiar, but the face was different, the form was different. His blade still active, he couldn't help but stare, to try and recognize where he knew this woman despite having never seen this face before, the look of confusion apparent. Her presence was as familiar as his own breath. This he could say without question, but this was not the face of Kyrie. How? Why? What reason? So many questions flooded his mind. And yet, he could not deny his knowledge of the same look behind her eyes that he had seen a thousand times.

 

"Master Eleison?"

Edited by Skyshatter

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((OOC: Apologies for this upcoming character development, it’ll look weird))

 

The whole universe is in Dejarik. At the end of all things it doesn’t matter what piece you are on the board, what truly matters is who plays you. Any move can be the death of you, if you are moved by the hands of others. Never be a piece for others to play.

 

*****

 

The Sith Lord licked her lips, removing the blood that had stained them, metallic and sweet in its taste. The pain from her arm blossomed in her mind like a fire-rose on Ryloth, living for but a moment before the flames of the eternal sun destroyed it. She took that pain and let it flow into her own power. The Sith lived on primal emotions, and pain was as good as any other to fuel her fire. She brought her pale arm close to her lips, smelling the wound as it grew, rending the flesh. Its odor was of war.

 

Like her master before her, she was well trained in the Krath arts, and amongst them was pyromancy, a particular favorite of hers. She channeled the pain into literal flame, searing the flesh, cauterizing the wound before it could spread further. She brushed away the ashen skin and a wave of nausea hit her like a speeder.

 

White Fire.

 

There was a song in the force. One she had not heard since her innocence had died on Nar Shaddaa. It lasted but an instant before it was gone.

 

In igni, nec tamen consumebatur…

 

What madness was this? On fire, but not consumed. You died!

 

The Krath swayed on her feet, her eyes a milky white. She spat bile from her mouth as the ship’s rattling death throws drove her to her knees. The figure in her mind was a revanchist in holy fire.

 

The Sith cringed, driving a spear of pain into her own mind. A shriek left her lips as she shattered the visage. The decking was torn apart around her by the fury of the force. A whirlwind of her own hate. She hated what she saw, what could have been if her life had not been so destroyed on Nar Shaddaa. She added fire to it, slagging metal to liquid.

 

Hate, Anger, Fury. Passion. Those are my friends. That is my strength. I had no choice.

 

The Whirlwind shattered the wall of the hanger, revealing a YV-666 Light freighter in retrofit. Anger formed to determination. She ripped it from its moorings and pulled it towards the scattered Sith Forces. It skidded upon the destroyed decking, sending up a shower of sparks.

 

“Pilot, you have no debt to me. Let’s get out of here.”


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"Understandable Petty Officer" Shiro spoke in jest, offering a hand up. "But given the hell hole that's pressing down upon us, retraining a Squadron are the least of my worries. Between the these feral beings and this cryptic vessel, I'll be happy to simply survive."

 

Shiro left the words rest upon the air as the Petty Officer turned and disappeared into the fog of war as he turned to face the Sith before him, her movements almost as if not her own. Curious, he cautiously approached as his men continued their search, Dustan nearly completely patched up when he saw Shiro approaching the Sith. Barely able to move Dustan stood and rushed toward Shiro as best as his body could move, but Shiro could only see the milky white of her eyes as she fell forward, bile excreting from her foaming mouth as he reached out to aid her.

 

And then came the shriek, Shiro unable to comprehend whether his form flew from Dustan's embrace or the power of her fury before he landed hard of what remained of the durasteel plating. Picking himself up and helping Dunstan stand, the white haired marine looked upon the display of power both in horror and confusion, Dustan's ineligible words garbled by the ringing that still stung at the Armegedian's ears. A few seconds passed before they finally able to reach the young Corporal.

 

"Shiro! Shiro!" Dunstan yelled, Shiro flinching against his tone as his hand cupped his now bleeding ears. "Not so loud Dunstan." Shiro replied, his crimson gaze shifting to his comrade. "What was that?" He questioned. Dustan stared at the Sith with an all knowing look upon his face as he turned back to Shiro and only uttered what he knew. "The Power of a Sith Lord."

 

Shiro's tanned face turned almost a ghostly complexion as he darted his gaze from the Sith to the missing deck plates to the revealed ship, and then back to the Sith all in a fluid motion as he tried to comprehend both its possibility as well as his own potential. After all, his whole purpose behind enlisting was his knowledge of his own sensitivity as well as his true heritage. But now, in this moment, he began to second guess it all. Was he truly capable of such actions? As the ship skidded across the floor toward the gathering group, all he could do was stare and hold Dustan on his feet.

 

"Come on. Let's go" Dustan spoke, bringing Shiro back to reality. Aiding his comrade, Shiro began making his way toward the freighter just as the rest of crew began to return and board as well, all the while Shiro finding himself unable to take his gaze off the female Sith. 


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The days grew worse with each passing step forward. Nights were no better as then you didn't have to focus on where to put each step or watch for threats ahead and could dwell on what was happening. The worst part was that, throughout it all, Adenna simply didn't have any sense that they were going towards something or any conclusion. It seemed that their team was simply on a never ending quest through hell. She tried to subtly encourage and boost the team's morale with the Force, but even that was difficult to do when she herself was so down.

 

They were scouting out a place to spend yet another night when they heard the blaster shot ahead. That occurrence was not in and of itself a rarity on this planet, but Skyshatter leaped into action and charged towards the sound. Adenna bit back a small curse under her breath as she and the rest of the team followed. She hoped that there was a good reason, perhaps a nudge in the Force, that caused the Imperial Knight to charge recklessly into danger potentially exposing the presence of their team.

 

When they arrived, they saw a teen aged woman clearly being accosted by a mixed group of thugs but fighting back. Skyshatter quickly dispatched the remaining thugs. Motioning for the team to secure the perimeter, Adenna turned her focus onto the girl Skyshatter had helped. There was definitely a strong sense of the Force from her, but it wasn't the raw natural power of someone so young. It was far more refined and honed, something she sensed from a fully trained wielder of the Force, and it was almost familiar at that.

 

She remained silent, letting Skyshatter continue taking the point that he had already began.


Adenna Sig

 

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The tunnel interior was thick with dust kicked up by recently fired munitions, traps, and the general explosive nature of coruscant itself after a moonfall. The dust made thick paste of the exposed blood that had covered Delta’s chest, covering most of the insignia that emblazoned almost every surface with the crooked spider of the God King of the Sith with thick red rust. The dust coated his faceplate and visor enough that he had to pause and pull an aide bandage from his belt pouch and thoroughly scrub over the ‘T’ visor to remove the dust as it began to seriously hinder his ability to see in the low light of the tunnels. A few of the Marines from Hotel two, keeping a judicious distance behind dimly illuminated the area in front of them with their weapon mounted lights. They pushed on a few meters until the woman froze and finally spoke. He slackened his pressure on her back and gestured behind him for one of the approaching Lima One commandos, whose voices he could hear echoing down behind him. 

 

His Mandalorian was rusty and antiquated as he responded, his voice rasping out of the mic grill of his helmet that was partially coated in the sticky paste of bloody dust. 

 

<”We come to restore order and to rebuild.”> He harkened back to the Mandalorian religion, one that had been drilled into him with prejudice by his ARC trainers. <”We cannot allow this world to lay in the arms of Arasuum. Or to lie fallow. This is the capital of the Galaxy, it should be the shining city, not a wasteland.”> He referenced the God of sloth, of whom the crusaders were very likely to despise as much as he. It was a gamble at finding rapport with the woman, but it was worth the shot. 

 

“Captain, Langraf and strike group three reporting sir.”

 

Delta smiled as the voice boomed down the tunnel behind him. He held up a hand and pointed to the trip mine as he brought the mandalorian woman and himself backwards away from any blast as two of his soldiers went to work, checking the monofilament, then setting a directional charge against the exposed mine before retreating back behind the corner before the charge safely detonated the mine. Delta nodded his thanks to the EOD crew and began to push the woman in front of him again while his troops formed an advancing cover behind him.  There were likely very many more traps ahead. 

 

<”Girl it does no one any good to die for no reason. The forces of the Sith are overwhelming, I promise there will be no reprisals if your men decided they wanted to be on the winning side.”>


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Blood Prince

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-Snap-Hiss- 

 

She heard the lightsaber far before she could see it. It pulsated in her senses like a beacon of warning. There was a faint feeling of friendliness, but the world was a tumultuous storm of emotions now. The spirits were crying and it made detecting friend from foe much harder, as the wound in the force masked the signatures of all

 

The Jedi scrambled backwards as the Rodian and the Wookiee made their attacks, but her attention was fully on the oncoming lightsaber. She gathered herself, letting the Force flow to her muscles, allowing her to quickly move over the shattered stones, ignoring the pain from her torn and bleeding feet.

 

Silver...

 

Its illumination crashed through her foes, and she could feel their spirits fade before the smoking pieces crashed into the rubble. Smoking blood stained her face. It burned but she hardly noticed. The form was familiar in style, the strikes fluid in their subtle brutality. He wore armor. 

 

...Alekseyev? Did you not die with me on Cardia? 

 

The Exorcist rose to her feet, the mudstained cowl concealing her trembling hands as they clung to the long-handled lightsaber beneath. Her matted hair half fell into her vision, and as the lightsaber moved his face was revealed. She breathed out a breath of air slowly, and with it her anxiety and her prepared strike. 

 

“...Master Eleison?” 

 

With a bloodied hand, The Imperial Knight moved her muddied tangle of hair behind her ear, and she shot the man a sheepish grin. Nausea twisted her belly, eating only a protein cube in the last week had taken its toll, and now that the adrenaline was draining away, her relief turned to sickness. Her feet dug into the broken permecrete, trying in vain to steady her, but it was to no avail. The permecrete cut long gashes into her legs as she teetered and stumbled barefoot towards the growing number of allies, before she crumpled to her knees. 

 

“As subtle as a bantha, as always, Lok.” 

 

The Jedi Master gazed at him from behind her violet eyes. She longed to embrace him, she was far removed from the soldierly stoicism of her command. Behind him came another, one she recognized from the old days when she had been pledged to the Order. Her old form had barely spoken, but in a stuttering rush. Now she spoke with the accent of the Outer Rim, off the Shantilan Trade Route. 

 

“Forgive this reincarnated form, its master called me and I was reborn. It is not my own.” 

 

She glanced to Lok’s companion and bowed her head, cringing at the pain that racked her body

 

“Master Alluyen, it has been many years.” 

 

Kyrie’s mind turned to the Jedi, distaste souring her tongue. She bit back the nausea. The Jedi had shown up to a crisis, and it was a welcome surprise, but not one that filled her with ease. 

 

“How does The Order fare under Trevelian’s leadership?”


 

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It definitely took a moment, but when Adenna looked at the woman with the Force and not her eyes, there was a familiarity between them. They had met once on Kashyyyk for Kirlocca's funeral, but had Skyshatter not mentioned the name, she would have had a difficulty recognizing the girl in front of her. It hadn't been an incredible time ago, but judging on whatever happened to Eleison, she had clearly been out of things and not able to keep track of time.

 

With a slight smile of amusement, she responded, "Welcome back to the fight, we presumed you had died on Kuat. There is a lot we need to speak about, but for now, we need to get to a safe place. This fight will likely have drawn unwanted attention and I would rather not be here when it arrives to investigate." They were way too exposed here and there was no telling who had seen this fight. "Are you able to walk? I can give you a stim if you want."


Adenna Sig

 

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As soon as her saw that sheepish grin, Lok's heart nearly lept from his chest with disbelief and excitement. Could it really be? It had to be. His mind flooded so proportionally with emotion that all he could do was stand there with a goofy smile across his face. Indeed, he was never a subtle one, and in all intent and purpose, was never one to really suppress himself in the slightest. Rushing to her fallen form, he placed his hands upon her shoulders, holding her up as best he could, the grin still adorning his face as she spoke.

 

"It doesn't matter." He spoke true to his heart, his gaze shifting to the others as they arrived. "It seems the Force just isn't done with you yet."

 

He wrapped her arm over his shoulder as Kyrie and Master Alluyen conversed and lifted her weakened form out of the muck, carrying her briefly over toward a larger piece of the debris, letting her rest as he examined her wounds, and bandaging what he could. He kept his gaze upon her despite hearing most of the conversation, particularly taken by her rebirth, having never seen such an act. But then again, the mysteries of the Force were abundant. As she mentioned Trevelian, he chuckled and spoke. "Better off without him, I'm afraid."

 

"Before we depart, Master Alluyen," Lok's gaze shifted toward the Jedi Grandmaster. "There is something I can do for her outside the stim. But it will require the Force and may briefly expose me." His gaze turned stern, showing that he felt it better now than later. "If I do it here, and we leave right after, it likely wouldnt give us away for long. After all, one spike in the Force wouldn't draw too much attention and my own presence will diminish for a brief time after, likely giving the impression of a dying Jedi."

 

His gaze shifted from Adenna to Kyrie and then back. "Do you approve?" After all, Lok held a slight natural affinity for Revitalization, and his proficiency with it was amazing. The only downfall was it depleted his own. But he wouldn't do it without approval from both Kyrie and the Jedi Grandmaster, because it wasnt just his life on the line. That, and he made a promise to both Adenna and Raven to follow her Orders as if they were his Empress' own.


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((Jax/Nyrys - as Glory Bound))

The fight wasn't going as Drom expected. They'd lost two Basilisks in the initial salvo of missiles, but his men were more than competent enough to return fire while they evaded, the concentrated formation of Dark Troopers taking their fair (or perhaps even unfair) share of casualties. Regardless, it had turned into a hit-and-run guerilla skirmish, with the Mandalorians owning the sky and the Dark Troopers having rapidly scattered and digging into positions with cover and advantageous firing angles. Two more basilisks down, but twice as many Dark Troopers turned into smoking circuitry. Luckily, Dread Company didn't need to annihilate their enemy, only secure the asset and exfil, else the collateral damage would likely have been much higher. Still, it wasn't like they wouldn't wear their assumed victory with pride even if that were the case...

 

Meanwhile in the museum, one of the Mando teams finally found the museum wing hosting the Mystical Artifacts exhibit. The other teams began to rendezvous toward that point as the initial team began their sweep, looking for the specific medallion that Arkab Skon had described. This made their search go slower than expected, as unfortunately there were two walls of various medallions to pour over and compare to the various features they were told to look for.

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((Jax/Nyrys - as SC-4R, NPC posted with permission))

 

The Special operations Command unit Dark Trooper, designation SC-4R, quickly entered the museum as it was directed by Darth Nyrys. It was accompanied by four other melee variant Dark Troopers, They were meant to reinforce the asset inside the museum and secure the facility, with a secondary objective of denying the Mandalorians ground and property. It did not take long for the Dark Troopers to find Jax, and SC-4R stopped when they reached him while the other four troopers continued on, audio sensors having pinged movement deeper into the museum.

"Bounty Hunter Jax Rymeeter. I am designation SC-4R, you may address me as 'Scar'. There are hostiles in this building that require neutralization. You will assist. Minimal damage to property is required for this task. This way."

SC-4R pointed down a hallway, leading Jax deeper into the maze-like museum.

((I'm leaving it up to you whether you want to encounter and fight one of the squads on the way to the exhibit described above, or just get to the exhibit and start a fight.))

 

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((Delta))

 

Rina scoffed at the man's words. Easy lies from another Sith. She stopped them for the next trap, a pressure plate trigger buried under some dirt and rocks marked by an odd "Y" shape from nearby pebbles. At this rate, her men would have plenty of time to properly ambush his forces, and she seemed to be in no danger.

<"The Sith have said as much many times before. Actions speak louder than words. You offer no proof, no guarantee, and many times the Sith have simply slaughtered those who have surrendered to them. What makes this any different? You should just give me an honorable death instead of trying to string along my hopes with easily spun lies.">

Meanwhile, nearly three hundred metres ahead of Delta's team, Remar and his two men had backtracked from setting up their traps and had set up an ambush in the underground apartment complex the cave network wound through, hiding themselves behind sensor resistant debris and waiting for the right moment for the enemy forces to pass them so they could assault from the flank for a few easy kills. They would likely die this day, but they would die in the glory of Kad Ha'rangir, regaining their honor in battle.


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Coruscanti sunsets were always a thing of praise. It was strange, the praise being what it was—especially considering the artificially controlled environment. After centuries of being the most occupied world in the galaxy, manufactured structures had ultimately sheathed the entire surface of the planet. To better accommodate such overdevelopment and dense inhabitation, it had been necessary to fill the stratosphere of the city world with a sequenced array of planetary mirror technology and atmospheric purifiers. The deployed facilities were essentially the only way that Coruscant maintained its place as the capital and undisputed heart of the galaxy.

 

However, consequential to the fabricated ecology that ensured temperate stability was the complete elimination of all weather variations that would normally denote the natural passing of seasons. Coruscant no longer experienced the sweltering heat and lackadaisical haze of summer. Nor did it undergo the cooling night temperatures that stimulated waning displays of multi-colored foliage, which would indicate the transition into fall. Frosty mornings and thick blankets of snow no longer marked the dormant slumber of winter, and absent was any trace of the flowery blooms and melodious birdsong that would herald in the rebirth of spring.

 

Instead, there was only the continuous gray of neutrality, as bleak and artificial as the dull plasteel and indistinct ferrocrete that covered most of its landscape. The last remaining hints of Coruscant's past natural splendor were those spectacular sunsets. When, without warning, the sky would burst into a magnificent array of vivid shades spanning from pale ochre to deep magenta before slowly ebbing into the night. No such spectacles graced the skies now. Coruscant burned with a fire drawn from the deepest depths, accentuated by the somber downpour of a moon scattered across the galactic throne, raining unforgiving death. The uneven terrain beneath him waned with enormous fissures that lined the entire district. There was nothing like it for miles. It was incredible how vast architectural designs were now reduced to simple mounds of mud, stone and metal. An area once brimming with life, was savagely torn asunder by the heaviest concentrations of moonfall he had seen thus far, trimming tall buildings to mere dirt, turning men and women into shelved dust. 

 

The grandeur of the jewel was lost, but the Empire would use their might to stave total destruction. Emperor-King Malacoda Syn stood with unfocused eyes as lengthening shadows fanned themselves across the splintered streets. Although his impeccably shined armor halves and meticulously blackened robes were consistent with the persona of the esteemed King of all Sith, his unruly appearance was just the surface of who he was. A terrifying shell that shed no light on the frustrating sorrow that churned within his mind and burrowed unrelentingly into his cold soul. His yearning for perfection was riddled in a time he wished he could forget. A heavy sigh escaped him, Exodus lowered his face into the rough leathers stitched to his gauntlets and raked his fingers through his long ravenous hair. Such things made no difference now, Exodus knew that his destiny had become greater than his thoughts.


 

"Spider-1. We have a visual on an incoming target. Signal to engage."

"Stand down. I will clear the area."

 

 

The command was immediate, stern and baritone as the words echoed over transmissions. Exodus turned instead to lay eyes on what he could already feel approaching. Rampant rot riddled the core of the creature, permeating each step it traveled with an intangible sickness. It walked as the infected did, diseased with half-hearted mobility and a health quite obviously on the decline. Threadbare clothes, sullied and picked apart by the seams. Ink and charcoal covered sickly skin, while death lingered in it's bones. The language of the creatures' clothes spoke of High Sith diction, trinkets and hieroglyphics reminiscent of an age previously passed. Exodus locked his visceral emerald slits onto the prey, as it dared to speak freely in his presence.

 

 

“.. The only one?”

 

 

Exodus wondered if such words were true, outcasts from failed tenures could not be trusted, nor did he have a particular use for the whimpering that came from them. If what he spoke was true, he would be the first to dissect these harbored secrets for what they were, and weigh their worth. He turned towards the creature, while reaching out to it’s mutilated countenance. The helmet was triangularly fashioned, larger and heavier, burned into the face of the absent-minded servant. The Dark Lord drew his metal-plated fingers across the headpiece, searching for particular apertures. The power that stood before the servant would buckle most to their knees if he allowed a measure of it to loosen. 

 

"You are forgiven, worm. Your life is mine."

 

 

From the radiocarpal joint and opposite of that, the ulnocarpal joint, long and thin proboscis-like appendages slowly revealed themselves. What was mythically derived from the face of the Anzat species, now drew from the wrists of the conqueror and propelled themselves into the foul mouth of the creature. They scurried like rattlesnakes into the nasal cavity, aggressively tearing through bone and brain membranes, and leeching onto the brain. The raw absorption was otherworldly, quickly vacuuming the soup of life from this odd creature. The brain ruptured violently, leaking aged life, informational synapses and the secrets of the soul. Blood struggled to find openings as fast as it retched from the mouthpiece of Ar-Pharazon, crawling down the iron mask of a disappointing regime.

Edited by Exodus

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