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Exodus

Coruscant - Galactic Throne

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-̰̩̞̲͘-̷̥͔͡ͅ-̬͖͎̺̯̪̟̘̥͢͝-̸̡̤̙̠̼̥̦̥͢

 

 

…Thirst...

Darkening thoughts reverberated across a dire mind. It had not always been as such. Scientific brilliance had fallen into shadow with the shattering of the heavens. Baser nature was all consuming. The abyss was watching.

-̮̜̰͉̲̬̮-̥-̸-͇͖͉̩̘̹-̛
̗͎̝

 

The Imperial Knight, listened to the words of Lok, followed by those of Adenna. The Force had led her to them for a reason, and that path was now offworld. Away from the shattered world. She nodded to herself, her heartbeat filling her ears with its unsteady rhythm. Something else lurked behind her struggling heart. She could feel a sense of unease.

 

The Exorcist slowly drank from the canteen beside her, washing her mouth of the sour bitterness of her stomach’s rebellion. She focused instead on the anxiety and felt a fleeting spirit to it. She spoke through gritted teeth. Bluntness was her only respite. 

 

“Then let us leave.”

 

The wounded teenager struggled to bring herself to her feet, and with help from Lok she succeeded. She leaned heavily on him, her fingers gripping his armored arm as it was the only way she could keep above her swimming mind’s collapse.

 

As the soldiers assembled to move out, Kyrie meditated, leaning on the stronger Imperial Knight beside her. The unease she felt lay upon their path towards the stars. She touched it and felt no humanity.

 

-̹̬-̨̥̺̖̭̣̭-̭͞-̞̻͎̹̠͙͍--̹̜̼̞̼

 

Shambling nightmare, unspoiled by neither lucidity nor benevolence. Deprivation. Boundless suffering, unbroken by death. A shade of the tombworld

…I still hear their screams…

-̧̼̪̲̙-͇̜̼͟-̢̼̤͇-͙̹-̯̭͖͙͍͇͔-̰̣̥̻̬͍͞-̠͙̟͍

 

As they walked, The Exorcist focused on her own apprehension. They were climbing towards salvation, but she could feel only the advancement of inhumanity. She stepped away from Lok as they crested the rooftop. The team began to prep for the oncoming shuttlecraft, but she was focused on a heartbeat that was not her own. A cold sweat beaded upon her neck.

 

…Who are you?

--̭̥͕̫͍͖-̛̝̜̫͕̻̖ͅ-͈͎̖̳̠̀-̹̲̘̰̪̹͖̀-̟̙̖̦͔͡-͏͇͚-͔͜

 

Indignant zeal gave way to discontented pain. Unrelenting starvation, the ravager of sanity.  The depravity of instinctive mania.

-͏͕-̱̺͎͍̥̻͕-̳̹͙͍̗̯̱--̵͇̫͖̯-̢̳̯͈̜̲ͅ-̯̥͕̹͉̹͘-͖̺̙-͈͚̼̪̲̪

 

The Exorcist bled all of her remaining power into her spiritual fire. The Malice was rising. Advancing. Hungry. A form tore itself from the shadowed sprawl of the ruins.

 

…Sagitta spiritus

 

A bolt of pure white light leapt from the Exorcist’s mouth, as bright as lightning across the shadows, striking the rushing form in the throat. The wave of ravenous hunger gave way to a swell desperation, before it began to fade into the background song of the Force. The form seemed frozen where it stood, silver flame pulsating from its neck. Kyrie stumbled as she approached, and both she and the form collapsed onto the rooftop with a clatter.

 

...Help...  M̱͇̠̫͈̜e̱̝̺͉͖̰͔.͎̖͍.̗͈̱̬͙.͕

 

It was a young woman, the twisted form of an Anzat. Black blood bubbled from her partially cauterized throat, gurgling bubbles portrayed unspoken words. Her orange eyes were full of fear. Full of the terror of the abyss. The Exorcist gripped the humanoid’s hand. Silver flame connected them, consumed them. When the Jedi spoke, it was with grace and compassion.

 

Te Liberavimus.”

 

The desperation left the searching eyes, replaced momentarily by peace, before the gaze fixated and faded. There was a mewing sound that passed from her chattering teeth, and then there was nothing. The Exorcist collapsed beside the body, still grasping the dirty hand in her own. She stared into the heavens and no longer saw the abyss of endless night. She coughed up blood of her own, spattering her face with crimson. She could hear repulsar engines. Her eyes searched for Lok. Consciousness faded.

 

“The Force Provides.”

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Bakra was hearing voices, but not through his own head. He couldn't explain it- some sort of sorcery inherent to the dreaded ship they were on. 

 

 

<<Did you think I would be so easily tossed aside?>>

 

He shook his head. These weren't his demons. They were another's. The Sith, perhaps? Or maybe it was the Corporal. Either way, with the ship ripping itself to pieces around them, he had to fly. She booted up the engines, lifting them into the air with a lurch. He gave a nudge on the control stick, disconcerted at how slow the response was. Pushing a bit further, he angled the craft towards the hanger, pushing up on the throttle and exiting the hanger as fast as the ship would carry them. Immediately, a squadron of hostile fighters reeled to face him, before getting annihilated by the remnants of Dagger Squadron.

 

He smiled. Despite his determination to not get attached to the pilots under his command, they were starting to grow on him.\

 

"'Atta boys. Kick their asses." he muttered under his breath.

 

"Hold on tight! Things may get bumpy here. This ship's not build for flying through a combat zone." he called out, leaving the door to the cockpit open for communication.

 

Sure enough, the flight was a messy one. It took him a minute to get used to the bulk and shape of the craft, and despite its surprising maneuverability for its size it was still no star fighter. His squadron served as a fine escort- He'd have to reward them with a night of drinking later. Soon, they were out of the fight and Dagger had returned to their fight. He docked on the nearest Sith ship with a hanger, lowering the ramp once they landed.

 

"Thank you for flying Sith Spacetravel, lady and gentlemen. If I can be of any service to you, just ask for Dagger Squadron."

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The firefight was intense, the sound of ordinance popping through the sound dampeners on his helmet, the recoil of the blaster rifle as it kicked against his shoulder pauldron. Three lightly armoured Ishi Tib took the brunt of the automatic fire from the thickset mandalorian, bits of plastoid, mixed with blue black blood spattered him like clods of dirt. Marking over the dark red blood of his friend, and adding another layer of grime from the hours long conflict. Delta could feel the tiredness beginning to ache at his bones and muscles. When the firing at last ceased, Delta let the rifle fall into low ready, resting his arms and relying on the sling to take the rifle’s weight. 

 

“Lima One, Hotel Two. Lima One Command. Status report.” 

 

Squad leaders sounded off as the last bit of smoke and dust in the cavernous expanse settled down into the vivid, jagged lighting of rifle mounted glowrods. Some of which were unmoving and half buried by explosive debris. Delta made sure that his comm was triggered off, before moving up to gaze at the deceased Mandalorian female that he had escorted here. She may have been pretty once. He muttered a curse and walked up to the remnants of his squad. Landgraf was applying pressure to a nasty wound on one of her commandos, and he could dimly see the bright yellow of her eyes staring at him behind her ‘T’ visor. 

 

The reality was there, this was a fruitless mission, and would take more hours to complete and many more men. Men he did not want to give up for these foolish mandalorians. He set his Jaw and nodded to her. He strode to the tunnel entrance and assessed the damage to the enemy positions and how far the enemy objective was away. Only a mere several hundred meters, but it was through more killzones, more traps, more mandalorian fools. 

 

He pointed to one of the commandos who carried a heavy pack on his back. Giving the sign for him to bring his comm pack over to him. The man saluted then dutifully turned allowing Delta access to the high power comm station that would be able to penetrate the caves twists and turns and reach the main sith command fleet. Delta pulled out the comm pin connector and its wire from his armour and plugged it into the terminal on the pack. He looked at his HUD for a second, punched in the required key command for direct access and hailed his superior officer. The comm spun for an irritating amount of time as the device attempted an encryption handshake with the comm receiver on the Victory Class Star Destroyer Hellkite. It took almost ten seconds before the three beeps of the communication array announced that the unit had made connection. 

 

“Hellkite Actual, Lima One Command.” 

 

The voice that responded was filled with static and a little hostility.

 

“Go ahead Lima One.” 

 

His blue eyes looked at the hand signals that Landgraf was holding up. 

 

“We are experiencing higher than accounted casualties. Requesting application of heavy ordinance. Structural integrity of the target area is minimal.” 

 

Several heavy strikes of siege torpedoes or nuclear busters would finish the job with more sincerity then another whole platoon of fresh soldiers would. They could bring the whole mess of duracrete down on the heads of whatever waited for them in the power generator with just a few well applied munitions. Lima One had taken enough losses, secured the objective’s entrance and scoped the area. This would surely be enough. 

 

“Understood Lima One. Sending your request up the admiralty.” 

 

“Lima One Copies, we await your decision.” 

 

Delta unplugged his comm cable and ordered the soldier to monitor the frequency as he returned to his command frequency. They needed to secure the area and prepare for a negative answer either way. 

 

“Secure the area and prepare for another push.”

 

He shouldered his blaster rifle again and fell in with his men as they fanned out in the cavern to find any further resistance. 

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When Mordecai woke, he was suspended in a bacta tank, his body aching from the burns he'd received. He didn't need to remember what happened to know he'd failed. Though there was a lesson to be had. He'd lost his composure- his bladework became sloppy. He knew the Sith were ones to give into their emotions, but he could find a better way to channel them. He was stuck here regardless- If he was awake, he could function. But someone would have to drain the tank, and while he might've been able to shatter the glass, it was probably not the best idea, given that he didn't know who's ship he was on.

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P A R A G O N

 

 

 

A young boy crept slowly and silently down a dark hallway. He looked to be no more than the age of six or seven Coruscanti solar cycles . He had straight jet black hair down to his shoulders, shimmering pale green eyes, and a powdery almond complexion. He was clothed in a deep red night tunic of exceptionally fine material and craftsmanship, contrasted by his bare feet and arms. Every step was thoughtful, careful, steps that were driven to memory. The route had long been mastered, as mastered as it was secret.

 

The unlit halls the boy tiptoed down were that of his family's manor; a significantly old and looming residence nestled deeply in a dense inauspicious forest. The walls were solid stone, stretching up into a curved, classical-like ceiling. The house was marked throughout by paintings and tapestries, running the gamut from elegant landscapes and portraits to out right abominable depictions of violence. A dark red woolen carpet was spread throughout, covering the cold hard stone of the floor.

 

Ahead of the boy, down the stretched and daunting hallway, was the reason for his stirring in the middle of a high-moon. A grand cast-iron door marked in strange genealogical symbols. Rustic, inflamed with age and richness, light peered through several small gaps in the frame. The crafty child continued his silent march. As he approached he began to hear the voices of the people on the other side.

 

He reached the imposing door at a crouch and pressed his emerald eye up to one of the larger gaps on its side. He was not able to make out much at first, though after a bit of focusing, he could make out a group of hooded men spread out across the room. Absence of clarity settled in as he could see these people gathered in a large half circle, and standing among them in the center, was a single man shed of his hood. A severe, domineering, ardent looking man. His eyes were a similar color to the boy's, but darker, more consuming, intensely unnerving. He seemed to be leading this gathering, but how the boy came to this conclusion, was beyond him. The man in the middle was the master of the house, and it was his father.

 

The boy pulled back from the door, breath awkwardly strained, heart pounding. His father was a dreadfully stern figure, who would not hesitate to punish such skulking in his home. The boy swallowed hard, understanding the danger he was in. With a deep breath he peered back into the unusual chamber.

 

He could now see that in the center of the circle was a woman, entirely naked, heavily with child, and surrendered in radiantly arcane tattoos. She struggled and cried out, writhing around on the ground, but she was not bound. She was there as willingly as any of the others present, including the hidden little boy. Her convulsions were not the result of fear or panic. They were but the byproduct of the coming birth. Her baby was well on its way.

 

Chanting. The men all began to chant, but it was not in the boy's native tongue of Anzat, nor any of the several subsequent languages he had acquired in his short life. It was a language that he had never heard before, that very few humans ever had. A guttural, inhuman language, seemingly ill-suited to human phonetics and vocal biology. It was the boy's father that started the chant, and it was promptly repeated by the others, his followers.

 

“HAA, NEYO LA YUD MASUR KEE, TAH UHNAH KAHRU LUR SHU.

DZWOROKKA YUN; NYâSHQûWAI, NWIQûWAI.

WOTOK TSAWAKMIDWANOTTOI, YUNTOK HYARUTMIDWANOTTOI!”

 

Pressed up against the wall the young boy was dumbfounded, confused between senses of wonder and terror. While this was far from the beginning of his espionage on his father, from the idea that his father was up to things those outside his home would not condone, he had never witnessed anything like this. The chanting continued, the same strange words repeated over and over, for what came to seem like hours to the boy. Even to an excited youth, the repetition proved daunting and eventually boring, it did not take terribly long for him to fall back against the wall, and into a deep sleep. The chanting continued.

 

Belatedly, and to the sounds of faint thunder, muffled moans, and an abnormal amount of creaks from the old house itself, the boy's eyes slowly blinked open. He was momentarily lost, unaware of where he was or what he had been doing, in far more of a daze than the effects of sleep alone would produce. After a short time the thunder struck much louder outside the house, and the boy's confusion started to fade. He was soon up on his feet, stumbling backward, still slowed a bit by the strange drowsiness. He could tell that his mind was more clouded than it should have been, stifled by a blurring uncertainty.

 

Something else caught his attention after a moment. The masonry all around him, the carpet, the door, everything was moist, covered in a thin layer of a strange black grime. phlegm-like growth crawling against the walls. Small puddles of soiled water pooled in crooked pockets of the stone floor, strangely similar to the spilling of soup from his Fathers’ prey. The boy almost choked and grabbed his nose defensively as a horrible acrid odor gagged him. It should have been immediately noticeable upon waking, but it hadn't been. It was an uncomfortable smell, rancid and sour enough to burn the eyes. The entire moment became permeated with an immense and sudden sensation of primal terror.

 

Suddenly, the sound of a splitting lightning bolt cracked his sensitive ears , the loudest strike he had ever heard, as if it were pounding mercilessly into the room next to him. It shook the foundations of the house violently, echoing loud enough to give the impression that the manor would come crashing down into rubble. The boy sobered from his sleep immediately, eyes already filling with tears.

 

The terrifying crash was immediately followed by screams from the other side of the door, voices begging, crying out in fear, or pain, perhaps both. Though one voice remained constant, steadfast in the face of terrible peril, that of the boy's father. He continued chanting without interruption, only one or two others struggling to still follow along with him.

 

There was another loud but much more muffled boom from within the room, the boy felt it as much as he heard it, vibrating out through the house, and within himself. The roaring echo-like chanting now reverberated through the boy's body as well, pulsing down his spine and through his limbs. The Anzat lacked the common constraints of a humanoid heart, but the abstract feelings pulsed through him body-wide, nearly knocking the consciousness from him.

 

The concert of screams continued, progressing in intensity and participation, echoing through the door more wildly and desperate by the second. And then, a horrible shriek. Unlike anything the boy had ever heard in his life. So awful, so barbarous, and terrifying, Neither the Anzati language, nor the linguistics of Basic could describe what this was. It was more than enough to send the boy flying from the door, moving down the hall at a dead sprint, not stopping until he crashed into the banister at the end and almost flew over it, plummeting two stories to the hard marble floor of the entry hall below. The screams from within the other room continued frantically, increasing in volume and desperation. Only the boy's father continued the inane ceremony now, his voice booming loud enough to reach the nearest settlement miles away.

 

From his new perspective the boy could see that it was raining heavily outside. Lightning strikes flashed in the distance every few seconds, occasionally hitting quite close to the house. The thunderstorm rattled the already diminished foundation, brewing a natural phenomenon unlike one he had ever seen. The boy was hyperventilating. His chest and shoulders lifted and fell dramatically. His eyes were wider than they've ever been. Another horrid shriek rattled the foundation of the manor again. And the boy was again in flight, down the stairs with an almost supernatural swiftness, stopping at the front door.

 

Thunder strikes continued to assault the property, which seemed to be drowning in a smarmy otherworldly quality. The walls and floor of the first level also contained the same wet, acrid quality as the second. This had to be a nightmare, one that was slowly ingesting his home. The boy knew he had to escape, this dream was far too real, and somehow he knew that he was very short on time. Catastrophe rested on the cusp of climax.

 

He burst through the door like a battering ram, sending the old wooden aperture into the stone wall with a loud crack, flying out the large main entryway of the manor, dashing through the pouring rain and into the sprawling ancient forest. Trees stretched out beyond the perimeter of his home in all directions. The boy continued as fast as he could across the cleared land, into the treeline border. He ducked behind a very large stone, pulling himself down, putting the bolder between himself and the house. He lowered himself behind it, peeking over at the house.

 

Somehow, even after putting so much distance between them, he could still hear the incessant chanting. Even more shocking was how the chanting here seemed to be equal in volume to when he had been hidden on just the other side of the door. But now it was more felt than heard, like the drumming of thunder from before.

 

The chanting then stopped. It was replaced by an absolute silence, so complete that it almost seemed to slow time, sickeningly so. It was quickly interrupted by another lightning-like crash, louder than all the others, like an explosion. Finally broken, the boy's father began to scream out for his life, in abject horror. He was answered by a scream so loud and monstrous it could only be described as a whaling, overpowering, roar, almost demonic-like in its garbled, depraved seething. The entire forest shook as if the world were falling apart, trees cracking and falling over, fissures opening and sucking up patches of forest into blind and unknown depths. The boy held onto the rock to stay on his feet, praying that this dream would end.

 

The boy took off into the forest, his mind not even attempting to comprehend anything else, his survival instincts taking complete control. A third other-worldly wail roared out from behind him. In the final moments before what was once his lifelong home fell out of sight he managed to turn his head back to look. The view was not clear, but something now sat where his house had been, or so his eyes told him. The boy ran as fast as he could, as hard as his young body could withstand, deeper into the woods. Stranger sounds continued behind him, carnivorous in nature. He wondered in his panic why this nightmare continued, he needed to wake before his life had changed forever, placed onto a unique and tragic path that would echo out into millennia.

 

The boy's name was Malacoda Syn.

 

________________________


 

Malachi heaved for air, lungs completely dried of it. His little eyes widened to twice their size, completely blinded by black while panic pumped through his body. "Help me!" The boy tried to shout the words, but they were shallow and trapped. Boxed in, his arms and legs were pressed against wood. There was no room to lift himself, no space to pull himself upwards. It was impossible, but he tried. Fear swallowed all of his reason, and it drove him wild. He scratched, screamed and beat against the imprisonment. Crying, sweating and struggling to breath. Frustration was draining him, and the noises the little boy made were completely irrational. 

 

LET ME OUT. 

 

He beat against what felt like impenetrable wood, elbowing and punching until his skin began to split open, quickly inviting an unsweetened numbness. Kicking and headbutting was not out of the question, but nothing seemed to work. The more he squirmed, the more he choked and coughed to catch his breath. Tears ran down his cold cheeks, while sweat stuck uncomfortably to his clothes. Wait, what was that sound? Pouring, a low whisper, something was spilling. He hushed himself to a still, but the tears still teemed from his eyes. Dirt, it was loosening somewhere. Putting the flat of his hands against the surface, he felt the cool earth leak between his fingers. This was no dream. The boy opened his mouth to scream, but a bursting of mire and muck cracked through the wood and strangled the child. Eyes widening before death while his body was claustrophobically confined. 


 

This was no dream.

 

________________________



 

"Skon."

 

Screaming. The rushing tides of black haze disappearing into the warm sickly soil, just before the bone-fingered yawning of the dark side could fall upon each and every Mandalorian here. A hesitation in butchery which would cost Exodus the musings of surprise, but in exchange, a new opportunity became ripe for the picking. Skon had wormed himself to the surface at last, bawling hoarsely in a dreadful pitch that singularly reminded him of that night. This moved the Dark King to a reverie that he once buried in the recesses of his mind, a childhood souvenir he had tried to wash himself of. 

 

Skon drew closer, pacifying his fright with empty words and a blind vanity. Blasphemously he walked, garmented in the dressings of a powerful Sith. Skon continued to roar his accusations with excellent clairvoyance, bandaging his souring resentment with tales of unfair privilege. Every word that left his mouth only meant failure. Lord Exodus likened this emotional tirade to the last words one always chose to spew from the hole in their face, seconds before the cold hands of the reaper snatched their life away. Vain rhetoric regurgitated so they could hear themselves speak, but did nothing to stave the end of their days. An uninterested smile began to outline the wet of his lips, eyes frozen with an emerald glaze. The Dark King held an unnerving watch, locked dead onto the leader of the Glory Bound. Skon waded in the waters of an Anzati, extremely territorial, and any movement within their domain was to surrender to swift and indiscriminate barbarism. 

 

But what if the Mandalorian spoke true? Entitlement, ego, and ease. Perhaps Exodus would forever remain a victim to the poorer stigmata of the unruly Sith. He shrugged slightly at the idea, entirely unbothered. It was difficult to draw a line from now to his beginnings, unsure of when exactly he had placed upon his shoulders, the mantle of a God.

 

"Nothing unveils the truest nature like the use of power. It is far too easy for the weak to be gentle. Most can bear adversity; but if you wish to know what a creature really is, give it power. This is the supreme test, this indeed is my heaviest burden. Yet, your fear has been acknowledged, and I more than welcome your desperate conditions. Skon of nothing and no one, I will show you exactly why the Force crowned me as King." 

 

It was strange how the cool of his voice boiled newer tensions that silenced the backdrop of the wide cavernous space they had found themselves in. Motion slowing, time creaking by. Exodus' grin had become deviously sharp-toothed and full of intention. He let his weapons hit the ground, and the unbuckling of his crush-gaunt followed shortly after. The Force worked around his own body, disarming blades and tools of battle mockingly. Piece-by-piece they fell until all that remained was the two-toned black tunic fitted against his powerful body. He tightened the band around his waist and set himself to stance.

 

 

"Step forward. Your burial awaits you."

 

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Qaela was glad to see the young Mordecai waking within the bacta tank. The Dark Lord had expressed his desire for Mordecai to survive and Qaela was not keen on disappointing the True Emperor. She was in the medical ward herself, though with a less invasive treatment of bacta patches on her shoulder and arm. The black medical droids swirled around the tank scanning their patient and evaluating his recovery. The burns would definitely heal and, if the young apprentice was smart, might not even show any scaring. Hair might take a bit more time to return, though it seemed most of his scalp was intact.

 

Qaela knew he could talk through his breather mask and had made sure that her voice could be projected through the bacta with small speakers. "You survive, Mordecai," she said matter of factly. "We both survived, though the Dark Lord desired for the Rebels to be released rather than destroyed. Regardless, we carried out the will of our Master and, though you were struck down, you were left to rise once more. Perhaps this time, you will find yourself under the training of one who can teach you how to use your emotions rather than letting them get the best of you. I lost two of my entourage, unless the Spider has other plans for you, I might just conscript you to replace one of those losses."

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The machines of the Sith were ceaseless, the differences in respective banners were vast, but each one hailed the command of the Spider. The crest was almighty, unyielding in presence as it was imprinted on each and every vessel of war that flooded the Coruscanti sector. All hail the Sith Empire. The Goliath, the Reaver, and the Chirikyât entered the engaged territory synchronously, coordinating through past experience and familiarity. Their coordination was zealous in practice, and executed well during real-time. Many commanders shared news of the small victories that continued to pour through the streams of deployed spy-bots, many more means of intelligence swarming into every section that their ordinances would allow.

 

When Master Qaela had defeated the treasonous Raven, the entire Imperial nation rejoiced with a spirit that shook the known galaxy. Fearlessness settled into the hearts of their citizens, and a savoring of revenge was a taste that the loyalists would never forget. She had mowed a history that was stained with a breach of faith, but as her weapon beat down the pride of the pretender, Lady Qaela had lifted her promise before the hungriest of the Empire,  and they were proud of what she had demonstrated. Her followers would broaden, and those that entreated the Masters of the Dark Side, would now include her name amidst the appointed.  Her name would be spoken with esteem. 

 

 

 

image.thumb.png.9dd2b05687ce2083fef80ca7c72c96fd.png

 

 

 

Task Forces

 

 

 

 

GOLIATH
30 / 30

 

FLAGSHIP

(Augmentations: Pocket Dreadnaught)

Experience: Green, 1XP

Commander:

Captain Rosa Orsaa , Commanding Officer

 

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
Status: Active (12/ 05/ 2019)
Homeport: Arachnakorr

Description: 

The Xhendora-Class Dreadnought is one of the largest vessels in the Sith-Imperial Armada. So far only two vessels of the class, The Goliath, and another under construction. These two advanced warships are designated as Fleet command ships, and form the core of a line of battleships and dreadnoughts intended to counter any direct assault in Sith-Imperial Space by a large scale fleet formation. Dense, cutting edge armor, heavy shielding, reinforced hulls, and numerous other internal and external modification make the hull one of the most rugged ever constructed to serve under the Imperial Machine. The heavy-set firepower, and thick armor make the Goliath one of the most formidable forces in known hyperspace. Direct and deliberate frontal assaults easily overpower lesser opponents. Under the Goliath's relentless assault most targets break and run, or surrender if retreat is impossible. 

 

 

REAVER

 

COVERT STRIKE FORCE

Vornskr Stealth Crusier

Experience: Green, 1XP

Composition:

Captain Alvaro Correra , Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Commander Corey Seidling.

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
Status: Active (12/ 05/ 2019)
Homeport: Umbara

Description 

These Stealth Cruisers are heavily armed and independent operations vessels. They are intended to patrol the conflict prone fringes of Sith-Imperial occupied space. They are heavily armed with multiple heavy bay weapons. They often engage groups of raiders, and scouts attempting to penetrate their patrol routes to reach prioritized settlements, or respond to attacks on shipping and isolated facilities. Usually operating alongside other task forces for added protection against fighters the Vornskr Stealth Ship is often deployed for several months at a time before it is relieved by another vessel. During these patrols the ship will transit to multiple systems and set up ambushes along trouble prone routes or near key systems in it's area of operation. The captain has wide discretion in their routes, tactics, and when to engage ships belonging to hostile factions. While multiple patrols may pass between actions, these stealth cruiser squadrons are among the most daring vessels in the Sith-Imperial Fleet. Due to the long duration of typical patrols the Reaver is equipped with workshops, hangers, and training areas for the crew.. This does limit the amount of ordnance, and armor the ship can carry however, the heavy firepower of the vessel is sufficient to eliminate all but the largest raiders and scouting vessels that it might encounter.

 

 

 

Chirikyât

 

X.   HH: 10 / 10. DAMAGE: 3 / 5

Y.   HH: 10 / 10. DAMAGE: 3 / 5

 

TYPE: Krath War Menagerie (Cruiser supported by two colossal Sithspawn, considered to be roughly cruiser sized themselves): Monsters in the Darkness (Sithspawn are considered to have the equivalent of ten hull health, and deal three damage to shields or five hull damage if the hull is exposed)

Experience: Green, 1XP / A conspiracy of Sith sorcerers guide their unnatural creations to acts of destruction and butchery in the void. Each Sithspawn can attack a separate target.

Composition:

Srak Vordoonn, Beastmaster (Nikto)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
Status: Active (12/ 05/ 2019)
Homeport: Dxun-Onderon Rift

Description: 

A late entry into the Imperial Navy, fielded mere weeks prior to the climactic Battle of Onderon, the Druid-Class Cruiser is an exceptional project concocted by the fearless Krath, boasting additional armor, hull reinforcement to protect previously-exposed elements of the unique cruiser structure. Additionally, it possesses three umbilical ports in its center structure to permit seamless maneuverability during extended combat operations with the Sith warbeasts that steer these vessels.

 

 

 

Edited by Exodus

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The Sith do not live for chaos. True it fuels that which gives us power, but we should not be consumed by it. To let chaos rule us is to give up all order and to fall to Anarchy. What good then is ambition if all it leads is to a chaotic end?

 

*****

 

The Sith Lord stumbled from the ship, her hands leaving crimson stains on the bulkheads where she used them to hold herself up. The blood was pungent with spice and caused the durasteel to warp and curl. She mouthed her thanks to the two soldiers, engraving their names into her mind as she stole from the freighter, finding solace in the shadows of a maintenance hallway.

 

The subjugation of Coruscant was supposed to bring order to the chaos of a dying world, but all she was left with was doubt. It had left her without conviction.

 

Why had the Dark Lord called them, only to abandon them to an exploding dreadnaught?

 

The Sith Lord sunk into her torn cloaks, feeling the material grind against her skin. It stank of the deadly cytotoxin the Trandoshans had tried to kill them with. Not a single life saved. No slaves to rescue. Just death.

 

Wasn’t the Dark Lord an all-knowing spider, spinning his webs from the shadows?

 

As the misquiet overshadowed her heart, Wrath moved. It was not the swift violence of the warrior classes, but a harder and dispassionate thing. It was a settled and deliberate anger.

 

Only the darkness would know her thoughts. She would find the strength the save the innocents from chaos. Only wrath gave her that which she needed.

 

She slowly rose, feeling the fabric of her cloaks clinging to her sweatstained skin. Stalking through the halls of the starship, avoiding the frightened gaze of Sith troopers and navy corpsmen she made her way to a refresher. With the door bolted, The Krath stripped the damaged cloaks from her pale flesh. When she was fully naked, the girl analyzed the damage to her body.

 

The wound on her wrist was deep, but not crippling. It dribbled a constant stream of blood onto the polished white flooring. As her eyes took in the damage, pain flared into her mind. It gave her mental clarity, but physically it crippled her. With a trembling hand Fieldgrey fumbled through the refresher’s medkit until she found a kolto-spray. She uncapped it with her teeth and promptly dropped it into the crimson puddle at her feet.

 

…Spast.

 

The Sith stooped, snatching it wearily from the ground and discharged it into the wound. As the kolto burned into her ragged flesh, The Sith Lord concentrated on the wound, bleeding off her own pain, letting the feeling enhance her ire before releasing it back onto the wound in alchemical magic. She placed a small strip of darkmetal into the wound, digging it into the blood and viscera. Around it she knit the flesh together, forcing the wound to close around the metal in a twisting scar. She bound it with the force, compelling the blood and skin to bend to her will.

 

With the wound treated, the Sith let the sonic-shower do its work, scrubbing the battle from her body. Grime and toxins gone, The Sith re-dressed in a simple black tunic, bound by a leather belt. The Trandoshan’s artifacts she had recovered she placed in a pouch. She would need to make a soul-reaper and a lightsaber soon, or she risked not achieving her full potential as a Krath. She paused before opening the door back into the starship’s corridors.

 

There was another Sith presence outside.

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The smell was exquisite. The force moved heavily behind the door, and the trail of fear that had led them here was just beginning to ebb. Soldiers that normally would stare death in the face, had parted and pointed like schoolmarms hoping that whatever this group was, they would take the Daemon away. Their fear was intoxicating, and Telperiën, or Darth Annwn as the Sith now called her, drank deeply from their cup of sorrow. She placed her hand upon the door and the door opened with a groan. To the young girl behind the door, Darth Annwn would look very normal, if oddly dressed and oddly armed. Her beautiful face was covered in a smear of blood that formed into a runic curse, and her leathered armour also carried the stench of blood and ash. 

 

Beside the Heir to Ar-Pharazon there stood in company three others in dark leathers. All with lightsabres on their hips, but antique weapons beside. 

 

Thenra, her dark hair lank over her shoulders scratched at the wound that crossed her almost perfect face. A long trail of blood had marked the wound and had traced down her long neck to disappear in a smear between her meagre breasts. She wore a manifold of knives in sheaths that traversed from her thin hips to the end of her thighs. Beside the knives were also spikes of sharpened durasteel, in clusters oh the reverse of her shoulders. The sharp edges peeking from above her thin leather covered shoulders.  

 

Kaiseng, olive skinned, her normally curled hair held in plaits that stretched down to her belt. She wore a short sword at her hip beside the ornate sabre. She was the most armoured, and that did well to hide her dark complexion in the company of so many light skinned ladies. She had ascended from the ranks of the slave class, and her back, if exposed, still carried the scars of wips. Her smile was a sneer, and her beautiful full lips betrayed a heart as black as sin. 

 

Lilia, by far the youngest, copied her mistress, holding a recurve bow, whose white feathered arrows hung from a bag at her hip, the fingers of her left hand caressing the well worn bone carved notches. Her red hair was tied back betheat a cap of black leather, that matched the armour her sisters wore. Her freckles covered by the white ash of Coruscant's burning. 

 

Telperien grinned widely. For it was a face that she recognized. Hailey Fieldgrey, the once servant to the Master Sheog the Great Devourer, who had been such a friend to Delta her adoptive father. It was a face out of time and place for Telperien, bringing her back years of feelings and thoughts in a flash. 

 

She reached out her hand in greeting.

 

“Darth Awenydd I presume?”

 

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thekrath.png

 

…Do you plan on raging and screaming your way to power? Are you some Sith Warrior? Some tot wracked ravaged by a conniption? We are Krath. Our power is manifested in the Sins, for which there are seven. For you it is Wrath, that terrible demon through which you find your power…

 

*****

 

Naturalistic and arcane was the power that seemed to beckon to the teenaged Sith as the door to the refresher slid open. It was a taste that lingered on her tongue, an undomesticated, agrestal essence that drove to the very core of her being. In that moment she was transported back to the raw days of innocent youth, when the mysteries of the force had been as uncultivated and wild as Kyrie’s palsied songs. Her eyes sulpheric eyes fluttered closed as the feeling washed over her.

 

…Your songs were lovely…

 

But Hayley could not feel them now. No more was her mind entranced by innocence, all it could see was the destruction of that purity by chaos. A cringe passed over her features as she opened her eyes. She blinked. Before her stood a group of four leather-clad women. They were armed in a primitive manner but stank of death.

 

Ash and blood. The requiem of a dying world.

 

Fieldgrey drew in a steady breath, tasting the air for the scents that lingered beneath that of the sanguine.

 

Lust. Daughter of Qaela.

 

She carried still her master's distaste of the promiscuous nightsister. The woman's chaotic nature had been a stain upon the Sith. Another breath. 

 

Greed. Daughter of Ar-Pharazon.

 

The Sith Lord smiled warmly, ardently grasping the forearm of the woman before her.

 

“Mistress Ar-Pharazon, when last I saw you, you were but a child. Now you look upon me as the elder.”

 

She bowed her head to the woman and her companions

 

“How the galaxy does turn.”  

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The presence of the Sith Lord without her consort of a Hutt in whom resided the power to devour worlds gave Telperiën enough pause that she did look behind the girl to check if the noxious bulk was hiding among the refresher stalls. Seeing no trail of white worms, or legion of slime borne parasites wriggling in the distance behind her, Telperiën gladly took her arm in the traditional greeting. The Sith’s muscles were not as developed as her own, having not drawn upon a long bow for the past years, but she still carried with her a strength of grace, strangely unspoilt for one that had been a consort of a Hutt. Perhaps his hunger had not extended to all things. 

 

But the girl's greeting was filled with a barb that seeped with Pride. A not unwelcome trait in a Sith lord, but it took Telperiën aback and caused her amethyst coloured eyes to narrow for a moment as she tried to find the jest in the words. 

 

It was true enough that Hailey was younger now, at least in frame and curve of breast, muscle, and raw power. But maybe that statement was more of a question into itself instead of a barb of to hook into a sensitive chink in Telperiën’s psychic armour. When she had deduced this she let her mouth grow into a wide smile and she barked a laugh that caused a tittering in the women behind her. 

 

“Why yes!” 

 

She stepped back as if to show off her body.

 

“I was cursed foully, to wander the mortal plane jumping from flesh to flesh like a parasite. Seeking forever what I cannot achieve.” 

 

She laughed again and stepped fully forward to embrace Hailey, trying to make the best of an awkward moment. She was well enough aware that she was young and inexperienced, even if she had supped deeply on the memories of her victims, like some vampyre of legends long past.

 

“But it is good to see you friend, you are full grown into your splendour, a full rite Krath, how marvelous! Do you mind if I but for a moment clean up?” She indicated her dust covered features with a wave of her hand.

 

She stepped past the Sith Lord and walked to the sink and mirror where she analysed her face after a thorough scrubbing with soap and a towel. She looked in the corners of her eyes, her gums, under her tongue. Carefully watching for any sign of the Decay. Finding none, she perched herself on the stool next to the refresher as Lilia also washed her face.

 

“I am searching for companions outside my order, as you know we carry with us a weakness in our blood.”

 

She looked back at Aweydd, her eyes searching for hers.

 

“For a mission of sorts. Are you free for an adventure?”

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((Delta))

 

((RTB - return to base))


After several minutes, Delta's comms crackled back to life.

"Lima One Command, this is Hellkite Actual. Use of heavy ordinance has been denied. The structure is deemed a priority capture. Seems the bigwigs want it intact for something. But good news, it's no longer your problem. Command wants you to regroup to rally point four-seven-tango and exfil. Spider Actual has taken the field and intel suggests that the resistance guarding your former objective should soon not be a problem."

A small video feed from orbital cameras on one of the Star Destroyers was pushed across the comm line, tracking the Dark Lord as he landed at a cavern structure several kilometers across the moonfall fields from Delta's position, with absolute chaos breaking out shortly after.

"Command is authorizing RTB for your unit at this time due to casualties, but you're more than welcome to request additional objectives. Hellkite Actual out."

The comm was cut, but the video feed was still pushed, allowing Delta to kill it manually if he still wished to watch. According to access records, it was currently being broadcast to several units across the fleet via the secured comm traffic, pushing the war footage as propaganda to encourage the Sith troops. It wasn't often the Dark Lord took to open combat, but when the time came it was often awe-inspiring and ideal material to inspire esprit-de-corps and morale.

And that was that. All the bloodshed, all the fighting, for nothing. Rina had thrown her own life and the lives of her squad away over nothing. But, that was how things went. War was ugly. People died needlessly. And yet, the galaxy continued to spin, unmoved.

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

((Exodus))

A vile grin crept across Arkab Skon's face as this Sith began doffing his armor. He could have his men open fire, right now, and end this threat. For a long second, the thought hung in his thoughts. In the end, though, it was his own logic that won out on him. His men wouldn't respect him, he would face threats to his leadership from inside, and eventually another would replace him. No, true power was earned, and Skon had won his right to earn it.

 

He quickly began to shed his own vestments, eliciting hushed gasps from those nearest him as he removed his helmet, revealing a sickly pale skin with yellowed eyes and sores forming on his hairline. Few had seen him without his helmet before then, for many Mandalorians it was a grave dishonor, but as Death Watch their dishonor already marked them as dead. What was more dishonor if gaining back all he had lost was on the line? Skon ignored his men's reactions, writing them off as simply shock over willingly accepting that dishonor.

"Not here." Skon pointed, over the shoulder of the Sith. "Out there. This is beyond the struggle of two men. This is fate. Fate should have her place in our contest."

As soon as he finished, a particularly large chunk of moonfall crashed to the ground nearby, like an enormous mortar round with no explosion, only a large thump. Even the smallest pebble was enough to end either one of them if it struck in the right spot, acting like a bullet that fell from heaven itself. One of his men started to step forward, hoping to talk some sense into the leader of the Glory Bound, but Skon simply took the man's sidearm from its holster and shot him in his gut. Nothing and nobody would stop him from claiming his prize.

As Skon walked past the Sith, it was clear in his eyes what kind of sheer madness had taken hold of him, Skon had been infested by the Dark Side, and he would stop at nothing to see this interloper dead. But as he led the Sith outside the perimeter of safety the cavern provided, he dropped low, lashing out in a reverse leg sweep before turning to attack his opponent more aggressively. These Mandalorians had a code of honor, but that code didn't always include fighting fairly. It did include survival at all costs.

((1))

Edited by Glory Bound

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…You are Wrath incarnate, my little love, but it is a wrath infected by pride. Pride is not an uncommon folly of the Sith, but it is a contamination, nonetheless. It is not that Pride is weakness, but unsubdued it undermines the other Sins into pitiful façade of strength, when all that remains is hubris…

 

*****

  

As the Sith Lord was wrapped by the older woman’s embrace, Fieldgrey returned it stiffly. Physical affection had not been part of her upbringing, other than the falling of drunken fists. The woman was malodorous with fire and the sweat of exertion. The woman’s accent was peculiar, and her words outlandish.

 

“…to see you, friend”

 

…Friends?

 

Dark Awenydd stared after the woman as she began to inspect herself in the mirror, stepping into the blood that the Sith Lord had left behind from her wound.

 

Is that what Sith are to each other? Friends?

 

The Sith Lord walked after the girl, following her to the refresher’s bloodspattered sink and then to the stool beside it. As one of the Nightsisters took refreshement in the ship’s recycled water, the Sith fumbled with her hands. The rules of strength made them her superior, as long as they outnumbered her. Nightsisters were powerful opponents

 

Power is only a means to an end, It is not an end in itself.

 

The fact of her own disarmament was foremost in her mind. She touched the darkmetal that was embedded in her wrist and flinched. Pain rushed through her nerves, fueling her Wrath. The Sith began to braid her auburn hair into a plait as the woman spoke. She transmitted the power that rushed from the pain into the darkmetal, letting the metal’s substructure bend and twist, for it to wriggle and squirm like a worm in a Hutt’s hand. A flake of the metal twisted its way from her flesh to tether the plait in its form.

 

“If it is blood you pursue, this Krath is at your service.”

 

Darth Awenydd smiled back at the Nightsister, flicking the blood that ran from the freshly closed wound between them in a line on the decking. She stepped over it, letting the symbolism hang in the air unsaid.

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Intrigue had bested the young Imperial Marine Corporal, and he could turn his gaze from the Sith Mistress before him. His questions had mostly went unanswered about the reasoning and why behind their invasion of the Prison Transport, and a part of him felt that the answers could lay within this Lady of the Dark, as fearful as he may have been of her after her display of Power. But what had drew his vision the most was the torment and pain that she had inflicted upon herself despite the Power that it drew upon her. Part of him understood it. Long had he relied on the infliction of pain and fear to motivate himself within the Arena of Krayis II. But never had he seen such intensity as the enhancement he saw her unfold upon herself as she withdrew herself. And so, in silence, Shiro followed.

 

Despite the fear that dragged at the young Marine, he couldn't resist himself. She was Sith. Powerful and Dark. The very reason he had enlisted, to make his way through their Ranks and find his place amongst the Echelon, unbridled and free of his slaved and imprisioned past. It was because of this that he let his curiosity gain the upper hand in the battle waging within his mind. Tempted as he was to enlist the aid of their Medic as they passed his men, he waivered the call, knowing her to be Sith and possible of knowing a means to deal with her wounds, and so he continued to tail her. To understand her, it was possible he would in turn, understand himself and the power that laid in rest within him, dormant and stagnant.

 

But that would have to wait, just as he would, as she turned into the refresher. Quickly his mind rushed with the possibility that she had caught wind of his following, a dangerous task in it's own right just as Dunstan had forewarned. But at this point, he did not care in the depth of his mind. Whether confronted or not, the answers needed answering and she was the first he had came across. So as she disappeared into the refresher, Shiro stepped aside and found his perch upon the durasteel halls amidst the shadows, his mind wandering in wonderment.

 

What was it to be Sith? What was it truly like to wield this gift the Sith called 'The Force'? He played her actions aboard the ship through his mind again and again, his skin crawling each time, just as it did that day on Nar Shadaa when he was first captured and brought up for sale. And even then, his mind could not attempt to grasp an understanding at what the Force was and why he was sensitive. Sure, he knew the basics that all knew of the Force, the Jedi, the Sith, and it's tales of mysticism and magic. But even that was lost in translation, only false knowledge as evident in her plight aboard the death trap they had barely escaped. So what was it exactly?

 

His thoughts were interrupted as four other women past, briefly causing his gaze to shift away from the refresher and his thoughts as they passed. Shifting his weight as they approached the refresher, Shiro's glowing crimson eyes illuminating his silver hair into a deep pink hue amidst the shadows of the bulkheads, his gaze focused upon them as the Sith and the new arrival met and conversed briefly before disappearing themselves into the refresher as well. Shiro's hair stood up on ends at the thought of having been caught, and he almost bolted. But something asked for him to stay, and without question, he did so. At least, until Dunstan showed up on crutches, his wounds patched and wrapped, looking a lot better. "You are playing with fire." He whispered, causing Shiro briefly to jump. "We are not welcomed in their world unless asked to lay our lives down for them." Shiro's gazed shifted to Dunstan. "Why is that?"

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How could she so easily draw upon the energies that surrounded her? Frustration at the ease the young woman was able to handle the force coursed down her spine in a tingle. It was not directed at her of course, merely at the myriad of curses that had been laid upon the Dathomiri people since their fall. Cursed to only summon the force through spoken word or talismans like the dark crystal at her own neck. 

 

The blood the Sith coursed so finely upon the decking smelled thicky of pride, and Telperiën nearly stood up to take challenge of adding her own blood to the mix but a small voice echoed behind her. Lilia’s soft voice spoke the bitter tongue of the Dathomiri with a grace uncommon to the native speakers of that backwater world.

 

van egie követõnk. férfi. jóképű

 

A watcher. A male. One plus two. Could she pursue? 

 

Telperiën grinned widely and nodded before stepping up to take Hailey into a warm and strong embrace before walking the both of them to the doorway where they could witness the youngest of the Dathomiri ply her trade. Telperiën’s voice matched the softness of Lilias as the strode the few meters to the door. 

 

“We seek the wounds of the Mandalorian wars. To craft and consume. To bring our blood strength.” 

 

Lilia sprang from the doorway, her lithe form landing beside the Sithari Marine and his hobbled friend with ease. Her hand held the long thin form of a bodkin arrow, praised between the man’s collar bone and his neck. Her eyes looking to her mistress for further order.

 

Telperiën’s voice was a bark of command. And she pointed to the two marines.

 

“Have you come to spy on the trades of your betters? Or perhaps you came in the chance of seeing a beautiful form in much undress?” 

 

Her voice was a growl as she strode towards the pair of men. Her tongue tracing her lips. Until she was right in front of them. 

 

“Speak swiftly.” 

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Jax turned to look at the Sith Lord listening in on the Sith and bots conversation, though to Jax seemed to be nothing more than a quick briefing of the situation. Unsure wether the building was clear Jax checked the live feed of his camera's he'd set up earlier looking for any sign of the Mandalorian raiders. To Jax, these men had broken the Code of Honor, having proven disloyal and dishonorable by their actions risking the lives of the rest of their clan and their senseless slaughter of men who were of no match for even a single madalorian. However, he pushed these thoughts aside instead thinking about the task ahead and once again turning his attention to the live feed.

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What do you care for the Force? You have done little to embrace your Sin. Why turn away from the power you are offered? How do you propose to bring the galaxy to order without power? How will you end chaos without your sin?

 

*****

 

A familiarity in the Force.

 

The Sith Lord could not ignore the gentle touch of the Force. Something lurked nearby, but there was no feeling of ill-nature. Another embrace from the nightsister broke her concentration. Her sulpheric eyes caught a crystalline form that hung about the woman’s neck, and it brought back a wave of memories.

 

There had been three such talismans crafted by the Master of Gluttony, one for each of the triplet-spawn of the bride of Ar-Pharazon. The Sith Master had been a soothsayer in his own right, one who prided himself in perceiving the threads of fate. One had been pure white, to represent the future the Hutt had perceived for the child, to be sworn to the Light Side of the Force. The Second had been as dark as deep-space, for the child that would become the night incarnate. The third had been grey, representing the balance between the two.

 

Wounds…

 

Her master had pursued such leads tirelessly but had never the patience to visit the sights himself. His Sin had consumed him, as he now consumed the souls of those beyond the Galaxy’s rim. Pursuing that which had made such an impact on the Force had made him a shade of his former self.

 

Would they find power where the Hutt had consumed only his own fate?

 

They had to try. To not seek power, even in the face of danger was itself weakness. How else would they bind chaos? 

 

Wrath moved then, drawn by the nightsister's actions. A deliberate desire to rend flesh, to tear sinew from bone. Two forms at the end of the hallway. The subject of her feelings. Spies?

 

An affable nature.

 

Wrath recognized that there was a lack of Sin, but opportunity for potential. The Sith Lord placed a calming hand on the Nightsister’s shoulder and gave the woman a smile that held nothing but enmity for all the world.  She acknowledged the soldiers, gripping them lightly by the throat with the force, as one would take a tusk-cat by the scruff. 

 

“It is only but, Shiro. Stand down your… sisters…”

 

The Sith Lord’s voice came to the nightsister alone through Wrath’s projection.

 

…Their blood can be useful in our charge…

 

Her voice was full of gravel as she spoke to the soldiers, releasing and throwing them backwards with the force. 

 

“Get your squad and your gear. You are the star that ventures too near the Maw… You are now bound to us, and whatever fate.”

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His crimson eyes ablazed with fire as the arrow graced its presence, his gaze staring with fear filled intent at the first of arrivals, Dunstan at his side mentioning a subtle mellowtone doze of 'told you' as he shifted his form to a makeshift attention despite the hindrance of the crutches. But then Shiro's gaze shifted as the second arrived, his attempt to show no fear only stenched by its foul oder emanating around him as his crimson gaze met the violet gaze of hers.

 

"Neither..." He spoke, his gaze shifting briefly between her and the arrow as he coarsely swallow a careful gulp before it returned to her. "Your comrade was injured.... I was worried."

 

It was a half truth, but a subtle one to hide his own interests and the knowledge of his sensitivity that drew it. Here, in this moment, he knew he should have listened to his more experienced companion. But such was the way of curiosity, prideful as it may be. Still, he did not waver in his stance, even as he felt the tightness around his throat as the Sith he was following made her own approach, instead fortifying his convictions by not even bothering to fight against it.

 

…Their blood can be useful in our charge…

 

The words yet again tore at his mind, causing him to flinch against the tide of them as he felt the release and the ache of his body sliding against the durasteel flooring. Without thought or action, he recoiled, rushing to Dunstan's side to ensure his condition before he turned his gaze back toward those who considered themselves better and heard their words cross his ears in bitterness.

 

A hiss to his voice, Shiro replied. "Only Imperial Command can issue me such orders. If you want me and my men, get them."

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The nightsisters exchanged a look and Lilia flipped the arrow around and lay it softly back into the bag at her hip. At little less than a meter in length, the arrow was not the most fitnesse solution for close quarters combat, but should the confrontation with this Shiro had gone differently, it would have greedily drank he and his crippled companions life blood. The short Dathmiri stepped back at the order from Darth Awenydd and grinned maniacally at the pair of Sith Troopers. 

 

“The Lamb looks on us with defiance!” 

 

She cackled a laugh and sprang back as if to distance herself from a plague. Her mistress’s eyes flashed from a pure amethyst colouring to a pale yellow. And Telperiën Ar-Pharazon strode forward, no grace, mirth, or laughter on her lips. The crystal at her neck glowed a dark crimson as she muttered a curse under her breath. The Two Dathomri behind her mimicking her words. 

 

The Force moved heavily, surrounding the two men with it’s grasp, tightening on their necks like a slave collar. Telperiën’s stretched out her hand and made a fist, tightening the grip upon their bodies and necks, her eyes flashing. Her voice echoed through the hallways, filling the ship with her words of command.

 

“Imperial command means nothing to the will of the force. Corporal you and your men are being pressed into service. You have no option. Submit or die.” 

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You must embrace your since, little one. You must drink deeply of its power, to bathe in its waters, to let it take you into itself. Wrath is a deep power. It is so much more than simple Anger, it is an evolved anger, a profound hatred for that which opposes you.

 

*****

 

The solder’s voice ripped into her head, but it was distorted by her growing hatred. Every instinct within the Sith Lord cried for his blood. Wrath wanted to rend his flesh, to shatter every bone and revel in the pain of his last breath.

 

Chaos will not control me!

 

Darth Awenydd actively withdrew her power, shutting down her emotions before she could destroy the man and his men. She was still learning control, and the Dark Side did not bend easily to one’s will. To consume its power required payment, and often the Force demanded her own sanity. She had no desire to be only a conduit.

 

When she spoke, her voice was grave and carried a twinge of sadness at their disobedience

 

“The Sith do not ask twice. You saw the power of the Dark Side in battle, I will not hesitate to use it on Imperial Soldiers.”

 

The word Imperial came with a disdainful sneer. She had no love of those that claimed to be of the Sith but could not use its power. To her, the Imperial troops were but a minor convenience, pawns to be used and thrown away.

 

“We will take a freighter, the one we captured from those pitiful lizards. See that it is prepped.

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Power...

 

Shiro could feel it surrounding him, its weighted pressure pressing down upon his form like gravity as the girl with violet eyes stepped forward, her gaze locked with his own deep crimson. He could feel Dunstan reaching for him, almost begging for him to stand down. But these creatures, these Sith, gazed upon him no better than those his family was chastised by his entire life. Fear or not boiling within him, he held no reservations for backing down. If they wanted him, they will have to claim him.

 

Even as he felt his form being squeezed by her power, his neck and spine frozen in crushing pain, he simply gazed at them in defiance. He would not be dismissed so easily. He was no pawn to be disregarded and disrespected, even if they held knowledge of their power where he was lacking. Yet, a part of his mind worried about Dunstan, his already injured form taking the same brutality as Shiro. And this was something Shiro was not fond of. "Cowards..." He managed to grasp out as he heard their words and spat upon them.

 

"Fine." Shiro spoke again, his breath leaving his body as he fought to grasp another, his agreement leaving a distasteful sour in his mouth as he spoke them. But he would not let Dunstan's death be caused by his hands. "I will do as you wish. But remember this day."

 

This was the day that Shiro began to understand why he was told to enlist rather than go straight to the top, these Sith before him no more than children with gifts like his own. The only difference that separated them was the different path that had been chosen for him, and it was a path that would rise even above their own. His gaze ablaze with tempered thoughts, Shiro demanded. "Let us go." The was the first truth he began to understand.

 

Corrupts...

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The team began to break their makeshift camp as Adenna activated her recall beacon with her code. In the time it took for their pilot to respond, they had managed to ready up and load their meager provisions. Everyone ate a double ration of food simply to be ready in case there was a problem or crash landing and they lost their food.

 

She could sense the eagerness and anticipation of withdraw from the scouts and troopers that made up the ten surviving members of the exploratory team. Even within the battle hardened veterans, this had been a very trying and depressing mission that all were eager to leave behind and she couldn't blame them in the least.

 

As they made their out of the ruined office building and to a suitable pickup zone, Adenna began to pick up an elusive presence of hunger and anticipation that was wholly different than what their party was feeling. In an area as large and full of hostility as ruined Coruscant, she couldn't quite tell if it was Mandalorian, Sith, or something else, but they had definitely attracted attention and she didn't like it. With a quick triple tap on the shoulder of one of the most able of her trooper escorts, she alerted him to potential danger without letting on to any observers that the party was aware.

 

They made it to a suitable if not exposed location that would work for a pickup zone. Adenna gestured for the team to fan out and take defensive positions, but before they could take action, Kyrie lashed out at something with an ability that reminded Adenna of powers wielded by those consumed with the Dark Side. Now was not the time to decide what she felt about that because the master of the Imperial Knights delved into a level of their Exorcism that fascinated her as she had had fairly minimal experience with that craft.

 

It seemed that Kyrie had plans for this wretched creature and, as much as she disliked the thought, Adenna had the feeling that it was an useful occurrence. "Very good," she said with only a little resignation. Before she could say anything further, Kyrie collapsed with blood pouring out of her mouth.

 

Adenna took two steps toward the bloody form before the Force spiked with danger. Her lightsaber whipped out on instinct and ignited in its orange blaze just as sniper fire lanced out at the team from across the vast cavern that was once a speeder lane. One of the scouts was hit in the shoulder and fell hard to the duracrete. There were no cries of panicked alarm, but rather of quick instructions as the team instantly worked to triangulate the source of the sniper fire while looking out for other threats.

 

More shots shot out from the original source, but with less affect. "Cover Master Eleison!" she told Skyshatter while she took action blocking the shots while the team returned fire. It didn't matter who was firing at them, they needed to end the threat.

 

She could see their rescue shuttle approaching and hoped it would get there in time before they attracted too much attention. It didn't matter at this point, because at least three more attackers joined the original one with sporadic and scattered fire. There wasn't much cover on the exposed rooftop, so the team kept moving and firing until they could get behind Adenna and her lightsaber. One of the troopers was hit in the hip and collapsed, but kept firing from his fallen position.

 

When the shuttle got close, its pilot landed between the team and the attackers with its shields angled to that side. Now that they had cover, the team collected their dead and wounded and loaded onboard. For good measure, the shuttle's armament blasted into the other building causing secondary explosions and a reduction of fire aimed at them. As soon as the team and the body of the young woman Kyrie had downed were on board and the doors sealed, the shuttle blasted up for orbit at full speed.

 

With the hyperspace coordinates pre-programmed, all they needed to do was escape the gravity well of the planet and angle themselves to make the jump to safety and the Justice's Mandate waiting in the blackness between stars. Though the Sith fleet scattered in orbit, they were largely ignored either due to the Sith appearance of their ship or due to the large volume of ships coming and going from the planet. It took a few nerve racking minutes for them to clear the planet and see the streaks of hyperspace.

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"I don't understand, Father. Why do they come from my wrists, why are they not like your own?" 

 

"Do not question it. Your appetite is of a different nature, my son. The soup of a creature is, to you, a lowly matter. The light of the universe is what you hunger for most. And your fate will see you devouring the very stars above."

 

The boy frowned, not understanding the meaning of his Fathers’ words. All he could feel was anxiousness, uncertain of why he was born different than those he loved. His disfigurement left him more desirable than most, but in his youth, his peers had chastised him for it. There was never enough time in the day to digest such heartache, for his discipline was swift and his every waking moment slaved to a rigid physical and mental acumen. There was only the hunt. You lived, or you died by the hunt. There were no two-ways about this, and the rule of survival was made clear by the thousands that succumbed to it by day and by night.

 

"..The stars?"

 

Malacoda looked up at them, peaking through the long limbs of an old tree. Three men set themselves into stance before the boy as he stared curiously towards the skies, readying their traditional duel with the young master. "Begin!" The voice of his Father had always put a fear in him, much more concerning than the sound of a blaster bolt emptying into a man. Exodus searched the crest of the cavern, somehow watching those same stars he had seen when he was younger through rough-hewn stalagmites, imagining the curiosity that had once set his eyes ablaze with wonder. How far away those memories were.

 

The King of the Sith turned to Skon, entirely too nurtured by death to care for the execution on display. What meant more to him was the unsightly circles of dark that sunk the skin beneath the eyes of the Mandalorian. There was a festering imbalance inside of his prey, a sickness that rattled through the fragile being, misspelling impressions of strength. The Anzati could smell this. Yellowing tracked the pigmentation around his face and into his eyes, a corrosive infection of power that this creature drank blindly of, or rather, a power that in-turn drank from him. The Mandalorian wore his pride as his armor, perishing brilliantly from the soft trinkets of death that he choked himself with. Other indicia were rampant in the histories of the Sith, powerful creatures swallowed by the immortal taint of a burden too heavy for weak shoulders. This fiend was no different, bearing the same marks, failing to a gluttony born from incompetence. Now he courted with the orchestrator of the ways of the Wicked, the Lord of his sickness, without the slightest of clues. 

 

"You could've left the mask on." 

 

Skon moved past him, hideous and unsightly to the naked eye. Just as the two drew themselves outside the crown of the cove, the bandit made his move. The sweep came fast, scratching along loose rock. Exodus leapt before contact, nearly high enough to vault clean over the Mandalorian. Anzati physically outclassed most species, and the way in which they carried themselves showed this. When the Dark Lord landed, a conversion of raw power audibly erupted from his body, grounded by the landscape. Skon continued forward with an aggressive out-pour of strikes both high and low, and Exodus exploded with unmitigated might to match, snapping defensively at the strikes before they could land their mark. The spider kept his prey close, shifting his feet quickly, re-balancing his weight to sidestep and weave anything that came his way. The exchanges were tight, jarring and becoming faster by the blow. Exodus smiled knowingly, pristine canines hungering as they fought. 

 

"Without it, you're nothing. We are the true warriors, our entire life being a struggle to survive and thrive, each day fighting to lay claim to the right to continue on to tomorrow. You took shortcuts, your ego growing fat while it rested on the laurels of your gift.."

 

"What of your gift, Arkob? Ssss-hehehe. What of the artifact we found?"

The voice was slithering, embedded inside of the mind of the Mandalorian with a nauseating ache. Each word, each crawling syllable, teasingly maddening. The tone of it sounded like nothing of the Sith he fought, perhaps a voice uprooted from the dark energies this Skon had entertained in all his thievery, perhaps it was the artifact. Without misstep, Exodus kept the exchange of strikes comparable, extremely dexterous in countering the basic aggression thrown his way. 

 

"Without it, you are nothing. Isn't this why you are here? You struggle because you are weak. This is your shortcut. You know what you found inside, it is dark there, it is warmth. It is your only hope, because you are weak, but it is not yours. Poor Vadmir, do you know what this one made him do? What he--This one is trouble, this one is stronger than you know. He is pretending, you should.. run." 

 

 

"Skon, of nothing and no glory. Is this all you have?"

 

(1) 

 

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((Exodus))

Skon had started off easy, a few simple combinations of punches and jabs that even the greenest of his troops could defend against, but Skon moved through them with incredible fluidity and speed. The entire point was to attempt to throw this Sith off balance, to remove whatever haughty confidence that had been falsely built up by their over-reliance on some pithy space magic. They didn't deserve it, none of them did, sitting on their thrones from on high, looking down from ebony towers with their crimson gazes as if all others were beneath them. Skon hadn't bought it for a single minute since he'd heard of their rise to power. Paper tigers, the lot of them.

 

But now he had the chance to claim this power. It had to be here. He knew it had to be here, a means to use this power to set things right, to claim the true mantle of strength that these pretenders had only played at. He would show the galaxy the true meaning of what it meant to be Mandalorian, he would foster the strong and crush the weak.


"What of your gift, Arkab? Ssss-hehehe. What of the artifact we found?"

 

And what of it? Sure, his rise would also be artificial of a sorts, but he had claimed it by showing true strength. He wasn't born with the innate gift, with a silver spoon in his mouth, he'd had to fight and claw and earn every last bit of standing and respect he'd come by, especially after his clan had discredited and dishonored him. All he had left was the Glory Bound, but if anything, that was only a tougher arena that he'd still come out on top of. It took brawn and brains to command these men, to be able to order them to their deaths and have them simply salute and carry out their orders was a feat very few could achieve.

 

Skon changed up his fighting style a bit, testing his opponent's defenses, throwing several more unorthodox blows and combinations. The Sith was physically strong, and though he took a few blows, it looked like he knew how, turning at the last moment to deflect most of the impact. So he'd probably had a few rounds in a fighting pit before. Big deal. Skon had taken down bigger, stronger, and faster opponents. Combat was just as much tactics as it was physical prowess.

 

"Without it, you are nothing. Isn't this why you are here? You struggle because you are weak. This is your shortcut. You know what you found inside, it is dark there, it is warmth. It is your only hope, because you are weak, but it is not yours. Poor Vadmir, do you know what this one made him do? What he--This one is trouble, this one is stronger than you know. He is pretending, you should.. run." 

 

Vadmir? Skon hesitated for the briefest of moments, almost opening himself up to a counterattack, but ducking at the last second. Why had his thoughts drifted to Vadmir? These thoughts...were they even his? Was this the power of the Sith, insight and knowledge beyond knowledge? It only strengthened his resolve, his ferocity. Skon needed to have it at any cost. But when the whispers told him to run...

 

"Skon, of nothing and no glory. Is this all you have?"

 

Something impacted the ground next to them, narrowly missing the two men. A pebble, having fallen from impossible heights. Skon risked looking upwards, but was quickly rewarded. Had he not looked, Skon likely would not have had time to move from a veritable hailstorm of moonfall coming down on top of them. Like a terrible dust cloud descending rapidly on them, his only recourse was to flee deeper into the moonfall fields, where cover was scarce. Skon knew if either of them tried to flee back to the safety of the caves, his men would kill them for cowardice. So, he ran. 

Thunder crackled and boomed overhead as lightning strobed the area, a common sight in the moonfall fields for the same reasons it tended to happen during rainstorms. Skon could hear the loud pitter-patter of the rubble falling behind him, slowly beginning to blanket the area in more small meteor strikes. He didn't check to see if the Sith had followed, but they would likely have been separated anyways due to the poor footing the chaos of the moonfall fields offered. Quick movement was possible, accurate movement was possible, but in the rougher impact pock-marked terrain like this both at once were unlikely.

 

After a bit, Skon could hear the debris strikes lessening in volume, knowing he'd mostly made it out of the pocket that had fallen on them. He stopped and scanned his surroundings, ever on guard for an unexpected attack. He called out a reply, a taunt, hoping to get under the skin of this Sith, to make him reveal himself.

"You know nothing of what I have, and unlike you everything I do have I've fought for. I wouldn't expect you to understand the life of a Mandalorian, where every day we fight or we die! Our struggle is our life! Tell me of the struggles you've faced that your precious Force hasn't coddled you out of, or are you just learning of them? I'd happily teach you some more..."

The thoughts in the back of his head still whispered in his madness, still warning him of something, but that something had still not presented itself yet. His intuition as a warrior told him to stand his ground, and that's what he did.

((2))

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Telperiën relaxed her control of the force with a satisfied sigh, letting the connection taper off to nothingness as the crystal above her breasts lost its satisfying crimson glow. She looked inquisitively at Shiro, noting his attitude. This was always the problem with those that did not see the vision. They did not even imagine how grasp at the power. Their lives were filled with monotony, guard drills and menial jobs. Only interrupted by spats of combat and the loving arms of a wife. They could not but glimpse the power of the force. The true joy of fulfillment that came from its eddies and flows. Instead they resented being subject to its whims. And the resentment glowed deep in his crimson eyes, he despised her, and with little thought she despised him back. 

 

He was weakness embodied. And weakness was something to be scorned. Not something to be nurtured. 

 

Good.” Came her harsh voice. “Bask in that envy you feel. Bask in that rage. And in time perhaps that spark will fan to a flame.” She smiled wanly. “Or be snuffed out.” She looked at her cuticles, searching in vain for the black specs of corruption that could be starting there. She glanced back up upon finding nothing. “Oh I will remember this day. Don’t worry.” She spoke like one might reprimand a disobedient child.  “This is the day you chose against your will to be strong.” 

 

She turned to her companion. 

 

“Where to first my Lady?” 

 

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