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Exodus

Coruscant - Galactic Throne

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The frantic waving of the comms officer told Delta all he needed to know. He kicked his tired body into gear, pushing himself to make the last ten meters to the soldier without collapsing. Most of his units were still hunkered down, rifles and automatic weapons trained at the distant entrance to the power generator. Their cold faceless visors tracked his run, and he could feel their fear through the thin plates of durasteel and transparisteel. Would this be more orders to fight and die for an objective they were never going to see? Would this be the final orders telling them to get out of the hellhole of Coruscant? They couldn’t tell, but their hopes rose to a marvelous height as their commander plugged his comm cable into the backpack and listened to the broadcast. The Comm officer withdrew a durapad™ datapad from his side pack and after also plugging that into the high frequency data line showed his commander the running transmission from Hellkite

 

Delta cocked his head to the side and listened, paused a moment to watch the current objectives, then looked at the large swath of tired soldiers in front of him. Was this enough? Would this bring him back his glory? He activated the isolation feature on his HUD, allowing only Hellkite to hear his response. There really was not much choice.

 

“Feed us coordinates, and transport.” 

 

He felt a pang of regret before he shoved it back down into his stomach. This would be his only chance to redeem himself, and he needed to make it good. Most of his friends were already wounded or down, and the issued helmets had just as dehumanizing effect to him as the enemy. Or maybe it was because he knew only his men could do the job. For his conscience’s sake he chose that last one and then deselected the isolation. He looked back down at the screen then killed the feed. He didn’t need to see another sith lord fight. He had seen it enough, and though he loved his Lord, he did not need to revel in the fact that he was simply fodder while the big players fought on the galactic chessboard. He handed the durapad back to the comm officer and turned to his men. 

 

He waved his arm around him and squad leaders came running. When he had a dozen soldiers gathered around from Lima One he reached up and took off his helmet. The stale air hit him first, then the smell of blown apart bodies and blood. But the gesture had the right effect, and one by one his soldiers followed suit. He looked them in their eyes, showing them his tiredness and his resolution. 

 

“We are once again called to do our duty elsewhere. One last hurrah, then we are homebound. Casualties are being flown out. New Objective is three klicks galactic north. Understood?”

 

Sigrid Hensi, with the fierce blue hair and pale pink features of a Zeltron raised her fist in salute and question. She had been with him since right after Baspin’s fall, and had been the leader of the SOA aboard the Calpto and was currently in charge of the Anti-Vehicle attachment of Lima One. Her voice sounded parched and tired. 

 

“Men are wiped sir.” 

 

Delta nodded, his face looking even graver as he made another decision. 

 

“Squad medics pass out once dose of Medperanazine per soldier. That’ll keep us ‘til after op wrap. Understood?” 

 

She nodded, and the faces of his squad leaders looked apprehensive but agreeable. A single dose of high yield amphetamines would keep them on their toes and wipe out the exhaustion in the squads, but it also carried much more risks than most were comfortable with. Orders were orders. And so with stern looks under their ‘T’ visors, the medics issued hypos of Medperanazine as the soldiers packed up their gear for the tactical withdrawal from the caverns. 

 

As they breeched the surface Delta pressed the capsule to his neck and winced as the needle sunk home. The needle dumped three liquid ounces of concentrate into his bloodstream, and as it took hold he let the capsule drop to the dusty ground. New life sprang into his tired muscles as he placed his helmet back onto his head. He took two large breaths, letting the drug take hold, then he beckoned to his men and they ran back out into the moonfall. 


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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…When you rely on strength not your own you open yourself up to weakness. Loyalty, that virtue you hold so dear will be the vibroblade in your spine. Allies, the True Sith have none. If you rely on the strength of others, and not yourself you are like a painter gone blind; living for the bittersweet memory of the power that has eluded you. Every allegiance to which you bind yourself is a shatterpoint to bring you low…

 

*****

 

Cowards…?

 

The Sith Lord stared at the two soldiers, taking in the one’s defiance with the balance of the other’s horrified subservience. Everywhere she turned there were contradictions. Power to weakness. The insolent one was not only constrained by his own weakness, but more importantly by his devotion to a friend. A feeble friend only magnified impotence.

 

Apart from that one… Could this soldier an aspirant to Sin?

 

"Cowardice?”

 

The Sith Lord’s voice was filled with a depraved mirth.

 

“You think it better to die on your feet than to live on your knees?”

 

The girl’s voice became more serious, taking on an edge of fury.

 

“Match your ambitions with power, lest they be empty words.”

 

The Sith Lord let all her own power drain away, bleeding off her wrath into decking. The Force etched symbols into the durasteel, searing her own ambitions into the metal. She knelt, letting the burning metal caress her knees. Fieldgrey turned to the Nightsisters, beckoning them to look upon the future. The symbols twisted and shifted like a bundle of serpants, buckling and scarring the metal beneath her.

 

…Cruelty.

 

The Sith Lord breathed in, inhaling the inhumanity. The barbarity. She could feel it on her tongue. The palate of death.

 

…The eradication of life.

 

It tasted of the sea. Of scorched bodies. Of a species dying alone, abandoned by the galaxy.

 

Exhilaration

 

The Sith’s sulpheric eyes fluttered open, and she let out a shudder that ran through her spine. Euphoria. She was reminded of her father, lying in a pool of his vomitus enslaved to the blissfulness of a spice-dream.

 

Cathar.”

 

The Sith Lord sprang to her feet, letting her excitement carry her swiftly to their captured YV-666. She ran her fingers over the hull, feeling the carbon scoring. It still smelled like the noxious gas the Trandoshans had tried to kill them with. She could see them now, being torn asunder by her storm and vaporized by blaster-fire.

 

“This is my Triple Six, it’ll do the job and will keep us under the radar of any resistance fighters. I haven’t christened her, I only just stole her.”

 

Triple Six will do for now…

 

As the Sith Soldiers clambored aboard, she set the autopilot off, listening to the increasing hum of the engines and slipped into the pilot’s seat. The leather was cool and soft, but through it she could feel the ship moving. She would make it an extension of herself, more than a simple tool. It would be as Sith as its owner. She toggled the navicomputer for a course for the Axxila sector in the Outer Rim, charting the route past Dathomire. It would be a winding path along the Salin Corridor. The ship disengaged from the Sith docking bay and Hayley brought the control yoke about, feeling the response in the rudders. It wasn't nearly as slow as it appeared. With a voice command, the ship jumped into the swirling chaos of hyperspace.


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E Y E S P Y.

 

 

Gears turned unorthodox, strikes of which were less routine. His opponent wasted no time, rolling forward with renewed conviction, unveiling a sharper repertoire of combinations. Exodus met him within a whisker, powerful physical energy ricocheting each time their guards met. It was difficult at first, resisting the temptation to unbind the shackles of the force between his fists and punch a hole through the chest of the Mandalorian, but the demur of Skon bothered him more than he realized. 

 

Besides, nothing was more euphoric than a traditional barehanded slug-fest.

Blood, bruises, and broken bones.

 

The brutal trades between the two broke under the weight of unnatural clouds opening up above them with a garish crack of thunder, drumming fantastically across the terrain. Exodus pushed backwards, avoiding what the senses in his ears rang out. Moonfall punched into the field with a heavy foot, digging into the broken flatland with fierce-piston like power. The world around them shook violently, pandemonium evolving just outside the reach out of the cove. The assassin shuffled from the immediate impact, dashing a small distance from the cratering while remaining locked onto his target. Overly thawed soot rained down his backside as he watched the Mandalorian escape further into the open battlefield, tracing where his feet carried him.

 

Exodus drew a longer breath than usual, natural responses to stress and adrenaline attempting to numb his concentration. Excitement tickled his nerves too, but the assassin remained doggedly focused on his kill, as was ordinary for any that held the heritage of an Anzati huntsmen. Exodus traced the distance that Skon levied, picking up a predators’ stride while he tracked his prey the long way. Skon hurried recklessly into the open fields, trading his blind sides to clear himself from the debris. Swift and accurate passage across these scarred lands would prove difficult under panic, yet Exodus stirred as neatly as a cold-blooded vornskr. Another whip of lightning and thunder cracked the atmosphere, blinding the battlefield behind them. When his mark did not turn, Exodus hounded forward with incredible speed. Haste consumed him, hungering forward while the black of his robes tapered in the wind. 

 

“.. Unlike me you say? What do you know of the King of the Sith?”

Sickening laughter echoed from every which way.

 

His free-run sprung over great distances in the most efficient of time, stitching himself to the shadow of Skon, immediately recovering the separation of space. Calloused black-leather boots hammered the uneven rock, yet each and every step seemed completely empty of sound.

 

“Behind you.”

The whispering voice lied.

 

The assassin descended from above as fierce as meteor-fall. His body was spinning, turbulence kindred to an unruly typhoon. Brutally, he opened up into a spinning hook kick meant to take the head of his opponent clean off with the blade of his foot. 

 


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Posted (edited)

((Exodus))

The wind softly carried the dust from the latest impacts across the battlefield, reducing visibility in pockets. Skon was alert, but the fact was there were simply too many angles for his foe to attack him from. Still, he relished the moment, enjoying himself before finishing things. If he could finish things. That niggling doubt in the back of his mind was still there, and try as he might through remembering who he was and what he knew the Sith to be, he could not uproot the whispers. They had been his friend in the dark sanctum, his ally, but here? They egged him on, but disparaged him in the same breath. There was an undertone of unbridled rage building underneath his exterior combat calm, fueled by the frustration that quiet doubt had sown.

 

“.. Unlike me you say? What do you know of the King of the Sith?”

 

Echoes masked the source of the voice and subsequent laughter, echoes reflecting off of the hull of a crashed starship here, or a crater there...it didn't make sense for there to be echoes, and yet even after it died out, the laughter continued in Skon's head. He turned once more around a jutting piece of durasteel scrap, hoping to surprise his prey, but the whisper in his ear took him by surprise instead.


“Behind you.”

 

But as Skon whirled, the supposed King of the Sith was not in front of him, but above, his reaction time cut short. Skon barely managed to throw up an arm to block the kick, some of the impact still striking true on his ear and sent him stumbling. The Dark one quickly took advantage of the opening he'd created, now pressing the advantage with strength and speed that Skon had only observed from the toughest of his prey. But who was the prey here? Was this man really the leader of the Sith? How could one of their kind manage such ferocity...

 

"The cries of the scared lamb are the sweetest upon the altar..."

 

It was a line he'd heard before from the whispers, one he'd thought at the time meant to signify a prophecy of his rising. He had been promised so much, and yet...now he was abandoned. The Sith pressed forward, dancing through the unarmed combat effortlessly like a sick game of Dejarik, always several moves ahead. This was not the man he'd walked out of the cave with, this was his true, terrible real self. The mask was off, and Skon saw into the eyes of Death. Adrenaline pumped through him like a jolt of lightning, but this time instead of thrill of the fight and hunt it was out of raw fear. Every misstep he made was taken advantage of, costing him over the next few minutes a cracked rib, a swollen eye with a potentially broken orbital socket, and a viciously painful strike to his shoulder which had nearly rendered the arm useless.

Skon fought now out of a primal urge to survive, to simply make it out alive, retreating as he could, but unable to find a clear opening. Finally he stopped, stumbling back and falling to one knee, looking up with pleading eyes that asked the only question that mattered: how?

 

"I don't...understand...I was meant to...to be..."

((Duel conceded, well fought!

Finish it.))

Edited by Glory Bound

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Bludgeoning speed became punishment. Skon was awarded with a few slippery strikes, even connecting with the face of the Spider. Trickling blood as black as venom and a pristine smile were the welcome, with little in the way of an actual knock back to impede the aggressive onslaught of the King. For every punch his foe landed, Exodus returned a demoralizing three to four that echoed through the bones of the Mandalorian. They both fed their feet into the dirt in order to source a meatier grip, both men dually fighting the slipping gravel beneath their boot with meteoric spray splashing their proximity.

 

Exodus chewed another four knuckles to the face, eating the impact whole. Whether it affected him or not, was not a thing visible in the way he continued to move forward. Nothing slowed the assassin, not even for a moment's time. In fact, the widening of his toothy grin became more apparent with each hit, amusement tauntingly drawn across his soft features. Exodus countered with a force to wake Vadmir from his eternal rest, cracking into his opponents' rib-cage with a swift upper, followed by a cold straight to the face. The sound of the hit alone was jarring, slapping like thunder across his face. The powerful strikes were the distraction, the lighter jabs targeted pressure points and more vulnerable joints on the body, worsening the hesitant efficiency of the warrior.

 

Skon was failing form quickly, arms loosening to a slack, body weight sluggishly hammered backwards until he could stand no longer. Exodus stalked forward still, wiping the blood from his mouth, ceaseless in his curiosity. Something dangerous stirred in those eyes. The way in which he watched over his prey, mechanically searching out any hostile language of the body, revealed much about his approach to the hunt. 

 

"I don't...understand...I was meant to...to be..."

 

 

"...This is beyond the struggle of two men. This was fate, was it not?" Exodus mimicked the words that Skon had shared earlier, a tone of sarcasm cutting into his baritone. “The weak have deceived you. They would say that the meek shall inherit the universe, and that the strong should nurture the gentle.” He pauses, spitting the taste of blood from his mouth. “It is kill or be killed, Skon. Your faith in fate has offered you fearlessness yes, but fleetingly. Such sandcastles find themselves devastated against the heaviest of tides. Power must be won you see, and with the years of your life purchased in blood and survival. What you do not understand, is a reality harder to swallow than the preaching of the blind. What you thought you were meant for, was nothing more than a sharpened fallacy. You kneel before the Dark Side now, and I will reap what you’ve sown, deliverer of what you wished for.”


"I challenge you, Sith. The true test of the warrior. No armor, no weapons, to the death.."

 

 

Exodus massaged the joints in his fingers, warming them for a necessary pain. He drew closer to the Mandalorian now, understanding the paralysis of defeat that numbed his opponents' body, the look of disoriented terror filling his expression. The nature of surrender was far too familiar for the Anzati Warlord, such was the demonstration of all prey he had come across in his years. Now, closer than he had ever been, close enough to ingest the reek of fear from sweat-soaked clothes, the Emperor halted. Exodus reached through the tangle of greasy hair on Skon's head with his bare hand, twisting slowly, gripping at the lengths for control. His right foot planted as pivot, the opposite slid backwards now in gathering. The arm opposite of the one that held Skon like a ragdoll moved likewise, rearing backwards steadily like a rattlesnake readying to deliver death. "You've fought well."

 

The Dark Lord hammered his face with his dominant left, again and again. Each strike was particular, methodical and bone-crushing. The first might have been shook him from his wallowing, but the second and third stole years from his life. The fourth and fifth found blood, phlegm and tooth spewing from his face. Exodus did not stop. The thrashing was strangely paced, with enough time in between for Skon to try and exercise a breath. He couldn't. Quickly, the legs of the Mandalorian came out from underneath him, just as consciousness slipped away in pieces, asphyxiated with pain. Exodus clutched harder now, keeping the body of his enemy suspended from the floor. Breaking his nose, breaking his face, breaking his spirit. Exodus found no enthusiasm in this, just an irresistible itch to put out the flames of hope. Such stubborn cinders. He had lost count after the sixteenth, not that he was interested in keeping track. The body had fallen limp much before, but at last, the hair that he held on to had torn from his scalp. The body had collapsed with a face unrecognizable. Exodus flipped the body over, and dragged him from his collar, back into the cave.

 

 


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Flying debris pelted against his armour in waves, mostly small dust like particles that filled every crevasse in his suit, but some pea sized stones and then even larger chunks as well. He and his squads dodged most of the things that their HUD screamed at him to avoid, but several bits of transparisteel, shattered in some explosion or perhaps even in the original moonfall and not having been beat to dust yet, sliced deep gauges in their armour. Some men were wounded from the intermittent blasts of plastoid fragments, or duracrete chunks, but still they jogged on. 

 

The Medperanazine was having its daunting effect, slowing the desire to eat or rest, filling them with latent energy, and allowing them to run full tilt the several kilometers it took through the hellmaze Coruscant's ruins. The feeling was euphoric, the pure rush that carried the whole of the Lima One Commandos close to their objective with a certain heedlessness that upon any kind of reflection was very bad for their health. Delta knew that very well, but also knew that the only thing that mattered to the Sith and the Lords of the Triumvirate were the successes of the mission. That came first, then came the lives of those men and women he had shared the better part of a decade with. He would reflect on that, he was sure for many sleepless nights to come. 

 

“Stemmerpol report.” This was to the Medic, who nodded his helmeted head and snapped open the protective covering of his mounted datapad. He made several finger swipes then looked back at his commanding officer. 

 

“Stims come down in a little less than four hours. Then we can pass out another kit, but we are at crash time then.” 

 

“Solid copy.” Delta held up his hand and then directed his comm frequency to all of members of Lima One. 

 

“Take a moment to breathe, objective is close, beyond this block of scrapers. Keep low and together, Upon receiving fire, identify, report and engage. Understood?” 

 

The squad leaders indicated their agreement and Delta walked into what remained of the command units huddle. He saw a soldier, small, with a red dusty handprint on top of her helmet, and gave her a brief hug. Blacktorin returned it, and along with Landgraf, Katharis, and Linebris he walked the group to the edge of one of the giant empty buildings. They were his last remaining commanders from his shattered unit. The later comers had been separated by the initial drop and though having lacked positive engagement with the enemy, they bore their own wounds. Out of an initial strike group of over a hundred and twenty men, Lima One was reduced to just below sixty. All wounded to varying degrees but still very capable. 

 

Each squad was now composed of a heavy weapons specialist and three riflemen, and every several squads a medic or fire support team with their large transportable repeating rifles. Delta walked by each squad as they gathered in the darkness below one of the memorials to the old galaxy, a megalith of humanity that stretched near enough out of the heavens. Now empty of all life but a few service droids, relentlessly attempting to vacuum out all the dust. There was something symbolic there, but Delta was no great orator, nor did the men need such. His presence and sacrifice was theirs. And it was only a little longer until it was all over. He made sure every man had taken enough water, and when they had, he and they began their approach through the empty streets. Rifles up, weapons trained for the ever illusive Mandalorian. 

 

But in the back of his head, Delta knew the futility of it all. This planet was damned.


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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((Exodus))

 

As the dust cleared and the grisly sight of the Dark Lord dragging the corpse of Skon behind him came into clearer view from the mouth of the cave, shocked gasps and soft cries of anguish reverberated through the assembly of Glory Bound troops. One of the greener men even tried raising his blaster, but was quickly held back and restrained by one of the higher ranking troops.

One of the Glory Bound Captains stepped forward, meeting Exodus as he reached the cave, hands clearly away from his weapons.

"We heard Skon's gambit. The Glory Bound is yours. Kill us or command us, our lives are yours now. We follow the banner of strength, as our fathers before us."

With a simple hand signal, several of the other troops began radioing the satellite units, notifying them of what had happened. Slowly, many of the groups began to stand down and surrender to nearby Sith units, though there were still some deserters who would rather suffer dishonor in cowardice than death befitting that of a true Mandalorian. The leader spoke once more, lower, cocking his helmet, wondering what this Sith knew of their ways, if he knew what exactly he had inherited.

"We are capable, but dishonored, exiled. Every last man here seeks to reclaim that honor through combat or death in combat. As Death Watch, we are already considered dead among our own kind, until we become so. Do you understand?"

 

The tone wasn't mocking or sarcastic, in fact there was a slight undertone of fear behind the indomitable wall of acceptance, it was clear this man had seen his fair share of death, and though everyone feared the unknown he was clearly one who no longer cared whether he met his end now or in several years. He simply wanted to ensure the Sith understood the bare minimums of their culture before jumping to conclusions over how to deal with them.

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


((Delta/Jax/Nyrys))

 

There was a lull in the battle outside as many of the Basilisks stopped firing, retreating to a safe distance before broadcasting a general surrender message. A few chose to keep fighting, the Captain of Dread company among them, but these few men were quickly overwhelmed with fire when their numbers sharply dwindled.

 

Inside the museum, the Mandalorians in the Force exhibit dropped whatever they had come for, radioing for an extract while relaying the same surrender message and broadcasting their location.

A message was sent to Jax's commlink from the same Sith office that had contracted him, notifying him that a sizable sum of credits, well over what he'd expected, had been transferred into his account as it appeared he'd had a hand in securing a major target of opportunity. He was also offered one of the nearby Mandalorian basilisks as a war trophy, if he so desired.

The resistance the Sith had encountered on Coruscant was crumbling, the Glory Bound having been the clear lynchpin holding much of it together despite the overwhelming forces the Sith had brought to bear. There would still be pockets of criminals resistant to the imposed will of the Sith here and there, but with time they would have no choice but to flee or be stamped out.

As the guns began to fall silent across the planet, one thing was clear: the Sith had taken Coruscant.


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Jax grinned under his head and decided to take the basilisk, this had proven to be well worth his time and he'd gained a reputation with the Sith which would hopefully help him out in getting future jobs and a steady stream of income. As he looked around he saw the ruins of a crumbling Coruscant and was questioning would want the place after the amount of damage they had caused to get it.

Still, that was non of his business he'd been paid, now was the time to leave. Or so he thought.

As he went to leave he noticed a group of soldiers approaching the building,
'Why are the Sith bringing in more troops? the fights over and it seems these fella's missed it.' he thought as he walked towards them on the way to his ship.

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L E S S O N


Weariness, Coruscant began to weigh on him. His breathing was harder, less composed than what others had seen of him in these past few years. Yet, his body felt incredible. It was his mind that fell tired. The thrill of mortality pumped through his veins, unsettling the patience that once rested in his eyes, brewing a wildfire of fervor that bellowed from his chest. His body surged with dark power, but his mind wilted slowly. “..Glory or Death?” Exodus dragged the dead leader through the mud distractedly, ignoring the very distinct attention this gathered him. He could feel the eyes of the cavern lock his way, he could hear the sour sounds of sorrow whimper from the remaining few, of shock and anguish and disbelief. They were fools, unacquainted to the awes of war. They would learn.

 

"We heard Skon's gambit. The Glory Bound is yours. Kill us or command us, our lives are yours now. We follow the banner of strength, as our fathers before us. We are capable, but dishonored, exiled. Every last man here seeks to reclaim that honor through combat or death in combat. As Death Watch, we are already considered dead among our own kind, until we become so. Do you understand?"

 

An unbowed Mandalorian met Exodus mid-way. He was tall, unremarkable before the Emperor-King, but chose his words with surprising certainty in his voice. The man kept his arms from his weapons, which meant he was less a fool than the other that had reached for one, but a fool nevertheless given that he chose to remain helplessly inside these caves. Skon spoke of faith before his face was crushed in; how much faith did these men and women have in him? The thought of it made him smile charmingly, innocently with the life-blood of Skon basting the hand that held the lifeless body. He let go, dripping death from his fist. The perished leader of the Glory Bound hit the surface with a stifled smack, a trail of red had followed their mild trek, now becoming a muddy mess from beneath him. The sounds irked out from them again, that of mewling and sobbing, whimpering. “..L'yukstiwr” A simple word in the lowest of Sith diction, but suiting.

 

“Your name. What is it?” Exodus chewed at the sentence, imperial in tone, and impatient with his precious time. His hair was loose, matted to his face and his neck, barbarically ashen black yet strangely regal against his stern visage. He was every inch a King of the Dark, staring coldly into the visor of the brave. “Rull,” he said flatly, the small trace of fear in him somehow began to surface through his helmet. He was the closest, he moved closer than the others to witness the duel. The hairs on his skin raised when he watched the Sith move as if the wind were his to command. Mandalorians held their own against the best of them, both juggernauts of battle. Somewhere in his mind, somewhere perverse, he wished to test just how far this Sith could go. Maybe one day, but what was this man like unchained? That’s where the growing fear lay. He shuddered at the thought

 

Exodus reached out, and a blade whizzed towards his hand. He snatched it from the air and lowered himself over the body of Skon. Rull hesitated, unsure if this was a declaration of the end, or something else. Exodus spun the small foreign steel between his fingers and drove it into the chest cavity of the fallen leader. Skon was already dead, no reaction came from him. Exodus adjusted the depth of the blade, feeling out the positioning. The Mandalorian may have been sturdier in a past life, but the artifacts of the dark had drained him of incredible muscle mass, sickening his cells into deprivation. The angle rang true, and the Dark Lord tore strongly in one direction, splitting Skon open between his breasts. Nasty business, the sight of the man wretched open from collar bone to belly button, was unnerving.

"Captain Rull. I need you to see this." Exodus squatted for a moment, reviewing his crude handiwork. The blade in his hand hung lax, bouncing to an unheard rhythm as he showcased the scene before him. "Flesh, and blood. No one can tell what goes on between the person you were and the person you become. No one can carry you there. There are no maps of the change, and swearing fealty to fate will do you no favors. You just come out the other side..

 

Or you don't."

 

He said these things plainly, attempting to unhinge the belief that the matter of their survival was indeed out of their control. it was not. "You will temper yourselves in the wild fire of the Dark Side, growing stronger. You will learn that when you find suffering, you learn survival. To cheat this law, will leave you no better than your friend here." The Emperor had heard Rull issue a surrender moments before, soldiers to the rear that radioed the submission with haste. Exodus was not concerned, the Blood Prince would butcher those that stood in his path, Nyrys haunted the surface of the planet as a living nightmare, Telperiën the Golden ran as rampant as a plague through her enemies. The names he familiarized himself with, the names that had carved themselves into the echelon of the Sith Empire would reign supreme, indifferent of the enemy that stood before them. 

 "All honest effort produces lessons. We must embrace every type of learning, even failure." Exodus looked over Skon, in his failure as a man, as a leader. He then turned his focus to Captain Rull, and several others that drew closer now, gathering safely around the Sith King. Each of them listened intently, uncertain where this may lead their clan, if finding glory where it was one striped, was possible here.

 

"I assume that this lesson was clear, unless there exists another that would like to review what little Skon has learned?" 

 

The Glory Bound dropped to one knee collectively, bowing before the Emperor-King in decision. Each of them hammered their fist against armor in salute, the emphatic gesture signaled their obedience, their servitude now signed in the blood of a man that none would remember when history was written. All across Coruscant, in it's space and on it's surface, the clans made their peace. Whether it was life, or war, mattered not. Those that crossed over into the Empire, would be commanded to strike out against their kin, eliminating smaller pockets of resistance. Those that fulfilled their duties with hesitation, were marked and disposed of by a most hidden Inquisition. The fires of Coruscant dwindled now, and the chaos of the lands settled before the might of the Sith Empire.

 


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The commandos of the Lima One moved in a symphony of military precision, clearing doorways, covering and advancing in smooth back and forth lines. Moving from one cracked duracrete platform, to a covered stilted walkway to the next platform. It was hard work covering those last hundred meters. The massive Basilisks fired their cannons in a surprising shattering array, halting the progress of the commandos until heavy weaponry could be brought to bear on the large droid vehicles. 

 

A thermal seeking PLEX missile plucked one of the droids and its rider from the air with a flash of red light. The crashing sound of reverberating explosions thundering in their ears a second later. There was muffled cheering for a second as the limp body hit the side of the museum and bounced inhumanely into the vast abyss of the underlevels, spinning and cartwheeling, trailing a long stream of blood and smoke. Delta held up a gloved hand, silencing the cheering, and they advanced slowly towards the pockmarked exterior of the museum.  

 

Then the surrender order came, not from some great military action. But from the actions of a single man. A sith Lord, God Emperor, who had brought down the leadership by himself. Securing no glory for the Limas or for Delta himself. Delta could feel the rage burn at the back of his mind, the futility of it all. The worthlessness of a soldier compared to a spasted Sith lord. But his men were happy and pleased by it. He could see their shoulders heave from cries of joy and some in sadness for releasing the tension they had been under for over twenty hours. They slumped in exhausted victory. But through it all, their helmets stayed on. They would stay on until the prisoners were assembled and arrayed. With a single word from him and they reformed their companies, reshouldered their rifles and began to advance upon the Mandalorians. 

 

“Collect their weapons, separate them by sex and race, then sit them down. Take their damned helmets off.”

 

The hundred so remaining Mandalorians, in their precious beskar'gam, or shoddy plastoid imitation of it in some cases, were so divided, and sat against the long white walls of the museum with their helmets at their feet. It was then and only then that Delta gave the orders for his own troops to take off their helmets. He twisted, pulled and placed the well worn helmet on its hook on his hip, and handed his rifle to Landgraf, who accepted its burden with some degree of reluctance. This was when the dirty work would begin. The necessary, but dirty work. 

 

He crouched in front to the first prisoner that he came across, feeling the weariness in his legs cry out in protest as he did so. The Mandalorian was a young man, barely out of his teens, with the triple hash of the Kyr'tsad Death Watch on his shoulder pauldron in bright red. The man looked up defiantly and Delta grinned widely. 

 

“Name?”

 

“Natha son of Pathe sir.” 

 

 “Good to meet you son, grab your helmet and stand by miss Blacktorin there. The short redhead. Stand at attention, tell her your name, age, and planet of birth, and wait for me to return. Got it?” 

 

Natha nodded his head and stood, taking his helmet, and walking to Tares Blacktorin, who recorded his information on her blood stained datapad. Delta looked at his men, tired and barely standing, but they looked on in cold amusement. Delta walked to the next sitting mandalorian, who bore the same marks of Kyr'tsad, but she would not meet his eyes, the shame of surrender mumbling her words as she answered his questions. 

 

“Name?” 

 

“Athena daughter of Hadriau sir.”

 

“You will join Miss Landgraf over there, leave your helmet where it lays. Come now miss, don’t let the defeat get to you too much. Hip hop and chin up.” 

 

She went and stood, head downcast, near the black haired Landgraf, who looked back at Delta with eyes that showed no emotion at all. And it was in this way Delta divided the prisoners. The defiant and the arrogant to one side, and the defeated or crying to the other. Child soldiers though few, and mostly those that would have been on the crashed mandalorian ships, were sent to stand with the defiant soldiers who were Proud in their surrender.

 

Delta held up his hand and the scattered squads of soldiers fell in beside him as he walked to Landgraf’s group. She strode forward, saluted and fell in line beside, the rest of the soldiers from Lima One, watching from their guardposts around the prisoners. Delta held out his hand to Landgraf who placed his rifle back into it and he checked its charge, a full fifty rounds of spin sealed tibanna gas and energy. His voice was low, but all could hear it in the still silence of the aftermath of battle. 

 

“Begin.” 

 

He brought his rifle up to bear on the mass of men and women, unarmed, in front of him. Some with tears still on their shocked faces. Those commandos beside him dropped into a crouch and as one unit, poured a relentless merciless stream of fire into the defenseless prisoners. It took seconds to finish the task, but Delta let his finger depress until the whine of the energy cartridge and lack of recoil brought his rifle down to his side. Then he turned and walked away towards the distant landing shuttles of the Sith fleet. 

 

He did not look back and he did not feel a thing. 

 

“The rest of you, fall in with my men and board the transports. You are in the Sith military now. Do not think of them. They are your past. We are your future.” 

 

((Jax, join me on the transport and react to what you saw the company of Sith soldiers do. See if you can make several paragraphs of it.))


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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T E M P L A T E

 

Captain Laz Rull, Ivia Uso, Oevas Qun, Nyra Nepmu, Jamos Byl, Oddeus Viszard, Ziorr Bairn

 

In the hours past, each of them came to heel. The Emperor placed the decision to live or die, in their very palms. Curious was their nature when the proposition was made, because such offerings came with a price. They wished to live, they were driven by the impressions of Glory, an insatiable craving instilled by those that had dismissed them from culture. The ache of abandonment, of betrayal, burned deeper than the crossing of foes. They made an exception here. This Sith before them, when he spoke, their ears filled with spurring aspirations. It was unexplainable to them really, how his words burrowed inside of their minds convincingly, how his strength of presence swayed them so easily from the intractable Skon. He had never cared for them anyways, and had become drunk on tall tales of dark artifacts, losing the interest of his warrior people. 

 

“.. The Sith Empire. Arkaab did not believe word when it came. The Emperor, do you serve him directly?” Laz Rull steadied his words as the Howlers listened curiously from their T-visors. Exodus did not respond immediately, eyes still trained on the hilt of his legendary blade. The band sank several feet back from their Captain, doing their best to review weaponry or pack the remnants of their automated defenses, still careful not to miss a lick of information shared. The Imperial Reclamation Service had arrived, and with them, military transports in droves. The excavated territory was now fielded by dozens and dozens of scholars, archaeologists, and well-experienced Imperial soldiers. Improvised camps were assembled in double-time upon arrival, armored vehicles bullied over difficult terrain, and zone-shielding brewed alive from impressive external batteries. It was as if an entire skeletal framework now etched itself around these immediate coordinates, a functioning bastion that would wreath the Spider.

 

“It is easier said, that you and your clansmen serve directly.” His reply felt fatigued, unconcerned in the title of things or the decorum of conversation. “Much more will be clear to the company you command, and this.. readjustment will await you in the Maw. For now, gather your people and prepare yourselves in Quarantine. Medical inspections are underway, and there are a lot of your dead to sort through.” Matters of a classified nature were held within the labyrinths of the Maw, affairs of indoctrination and curriculum devoted to extreme cases of survival, expounding on what these warriors already knew. Imperial soldiers stormed the sector now, TIEs screaming low, while the heavier crafts nurtured the near horizons. The Howlers were dejected in truth, the feeling of welcome would not be instantaneous, it would have to be earned on the battlefield. They gathered themselves mournfully, and made way for a new journey.


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A silent click on his arm mounted Datapad and the channel setting was reset to all Lima frequency. He reached a gloved hand up to his head and made sure the earpiece was still in place, threading down the back of his neck to connect to the armour mounted comm interface. All of his squad leaders had the same in place, as did every member of the company, their comm permissions being automatically updated and upgraded by the Hellkite’s AI computer which tracked the vitals and locations of every single member of her deployed companies. 

 

“Company, reload. Prepare for next engagement.” He looked to Natha, son of Pathe, sitting five down the long line of jumpseats in the Sith Shuttle. “Stay ready son, if you are needed for an engagement, we have a supply depot up ahead that will issue you weapons. But for now, watch and learn.” 

 

All of the bare headed company members began to check their weaponry, Delta included. Reloading the rifle’s long magazine and checking the power reading on his sidearm. When he was finished, he looked up into the freckled face of Tares Blacktorin who was staring at him as she worked her fingers along her shoulder wound. “Did he make it?” She gave him a curt nod and a smile that, behind its tired expression, held a kind of love. He smiled back and gave her a sheepish grin. They had a long way to go, but for now, they were a unit. 

 

_____________


 

The shuttle came to a rest on its landing arms, and the remainder of company Lima One strode out into the bustle of the work of the IRS. The Imperial Reclamation Service was quickly setting up a base camp and fabrication area for housing and quarantine. Delta sighed and slung his rifle, the rest of his company doing the same. He looked back at their Mandalorian counterparts, “Come with us, it's time to debrief and get some food.” He raised his hand above his head. “Company, fall in.”

 

And as a unit they entered the Quarantine zone.


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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L E G I O N.


 

On the outskirts of the residential, hulking armored machines hibernated protectively, lining the bordering shields that shelled them from moonfall. TIE Fighters, colossal mecha, and a vast collection of transports hummed at bay. Industrious crowds roamed astir. Soldiers from all walks made their presence known. Color varnishes of black, red, and of white armor plates marched from the bulk of transports. Entire hosts of the Imperial Legion stamped their marked banners into the earth, asserting their ranks, strength and positioning to claim pieces of the land. Gargantuan canvases pitched themselves high, ripe with the rich colors of their unit regalia, encampment tents that reached dangerously close to the yawning entrance of a forgotten Sith Temple. Sanctioned standards held a medley of fearsome creatures, bloody bludgeoning weapons, and the hardest of names. All raised high, but none higher than the Imperial Spider. 

 

A herculean awning heaved highest beneath the temple collapse, belonging to none other than the young conqueror. Brazen aurum and silken shadows gilded the royal encampment, regal drapery in the minimalist customs of the King of the Sith. Inside, Exodus rummaged through documents, tediously shuffling through holo-screens to structure the next step for the hungry imperial machine. Dark herbs and plain fire burned incessantly, billowing a soothing and seductive aroma that filled the space. The smell was enriched with amphetamines, a nourishment that speared through the lungs. Beautiful bone-setters and masseuses skirted around the Dark Lord, washing his wounds tirelessly and combing through the knots in his body. The powerful incense was more than enough to remedy the exhaustion that ran through him, but the company of the maternal had been a preference he kept closely. These women were the acme of beauty and strength, the most astute of assassins bred with exotic physical traits far beyond a quality known to core worlds. They would kill him just as quick as he would blink, or try their hand at it, but their admiration for the Allfather of Assassins was second to none. Only he could dwell in the company of the Kodashi Vipera

 

"..You couldn't just break his little windpipe?" She whipped sarcastly, playing at the wild mane of the Spider. "Why toy with him?" Her face was milk, smoother than the bed of stone etched by the harshest of waters. The way in which she stared into the emerald eyes of her King, daring and true. 

 

"Killing him too soon, the rest of them would think of me as a cheat. He had to earn his burial. The promise was made, Ayda." Exodus challenged the amethyst charms her eyes were filled with, uprooting an honest smile. She was a Goddess. She took the sweltering warmth of medicinal cloth and soaked it over his shoulders. Close enough, pressing her body against his, allowing the ointment to run down his arms. Blinking slow, she knew she could tear out his throat from this distance. It was not far from the truth to say that she had considered it more times than once, but she preferred the smell of the cold hard death that accompanied his auric vibration much more. If she missed the kill, there was something unsettling about seeing him maddened. Not many have truly seen it, and those that have, say it is a terror worse than butchering.

 

"Promises mean nothing, Malachi. Why do you men continue to throw such words around? The wrinkles in her nose meant that she was offended by the word, promises made and broken by a past she refused to share. Exodus hadn't pressed it, never searched her mind for the answers. The other women that rested about, sharpening his tools and preparing his war raiment, each of them turned their attention away when Ayda vexed. 

 

"There is value in words, Ayda. Promises are a comfort to those that would have them, to those that are accepting of them. They loosen their guard with belief, and then they become less than what they were; prepared for less than the worst. The promise, the words, are simply a sedation. And we are the venom thereafter." Exodus explained these things distractedly, and with a calming voice, placing his real attention on the screens that he filtered through intensely. He continued to digest streams of information that various councilmen extracted and uploaded to the feed, allowing Exodus to remain abreast with his hands-on approach, categorizing the worth of those that served him. The King would shoulder the entire weight of the Imperial Machine until those that he had groomed, could bear their share of the power. Exodus paused in that same thought, as if hearing a sound too far and too distinct for any other here.

 

 

"The Blood Prince has landed, have an emissary send for him. I will have words.."

 


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“Eat while you can. Trust me.” 

 

The tremours underfoot told Delta all he needed to know about the damned planet. The ever hidden tectonic plates were still reeling from the moonfall, and microquakes were pulsing every couple minutes, causing the utensils in the mess to move on their own accord, bouncing and trembling across the low metal tables, buzzing and whirring with every aftershock. He looked at his black stimcaf that was showing the circular rings of the aftershock, receding as they were absorbed by the steadiness of his hand. He took a long gulp from the enamelized metal mug and set it down beside his plate of mass produced rations. A small part of him missed the extravagant feasts that he used to throw after such a mission while commanding the Black Sun. But he dismissed the thought just as fast. 

 

That hadn’t felt real, it hadn’t fulfilled his purpose. 

 

He had been designed to be a soldier, not some great schemer or criminal. He spat at the memory of the Black Sun. How could he have so willingly let himself be consumed by the desire for so much wealth when it never even felt good? He caught the eye of the petite redhead sitting across from him. His long time companion, Tares Blacktorin. He looked into her eyes and thought of how she had met him, or at least how he had met her. Fourteen years before,two years into a relatively uneventful career as a Red Dawn operative, then a part of the Bretchell’ subgroup that had broken off from the Black Sun proper over some formality or another, he had been dispatched on a special mission. A mission with one of his few close friends, the now deceased Crosa Hoverich, to destroy the deep black site of X1. It had been Delta’s first mass liquidation, and the thousand odd employees at the research base had died not so silent deaths. But it was those pale eyes that had looked back at him from behind a half closed door. The defiance in them had been inspiring, even in a kid. It had been the only time he had not followed orders to their exact phrase. Crosa hadn’t said a thing, and Tares had been the first in a long line of too-young recruits to the crew of the Marie. 

 

The look in her eyes now was different. It was not the stern look of a soldier that had followed him on a hundred missions, or the relaxed joy of a friend, there was something else there. Perhaps it was the runoff of the Medperanazine giving her ideas. But the look and the subtle smile on her lips was one that told a very different story. But could he really do that? 

 

His mind was made up for him however when an envoy announced himself at the table and Delta had to tear his eyes off her blood spattered, smiling face, and find himself staring at an emissary of the Dark Lord. His mouth went dry and he drained his mug until he could feel the granules of half filtered stimcaf beans touch his lips. It didn’t solve the parched throat, but it was enough so that he could at least talk, given enough effort. Tares stood too, fright showing across her pretty face. Then the rest of Lima One stood, the heels of their boots clashing together in a chorus that the new Mandalorians could not quite mimic. 

 

“The Lord Emperor calls for you Blood Prince.” 

 

That title called back a wave of memories that made the former black sun vigo shudder. Delta saluted, gestured for his men to sit, and followed the messenger from the hall. He did not look back. Only when he was out of earshot did he correct the emissary of the Dark Lord.

 

“I no longer wear those colours sir, I am simply a Captain.” 

 

The man did not look back at him as he entered the hall, and Delta had never felt so underdressed as he did when he entered behind him. The bloodstains, dirt, grime, and sweat that covered his armour and under jumpsuit filled him with a certain degree of shame as he saluted the Dark Lord.

 

“Your eminence, Captain Delta Seventy Three of the Special Operations Group Lima One.” 

 

Delta finished his salute and bowed. 

 

“I congratulate you on your victory Lord.” 


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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There were thousands that had lost their lives to the cold clutches of Coruscant, most still burning out by the second. The strong, the weak, and the miserable in-between. A nightmare haunted the broken lands. Exodus had searched, but he had found no joy in this war, besides the culling of the unworthy, or the hunt of a true adversary, these tribulations were a working tire. It was simply kill, or be killed. These were the words his father breathed, living them harder than any Sith he had ever known, beating the ideals into him until his back had scarred maliciously. There were few that could challenge him now, his father no exception. Even the ilk of the Jedi had soured like spoiled milk, yet Skon had reminded him of blood. The scent of it would never leave his hands, nor did he wish to be rid of it. And now, another most familiar with the taste, had come before him.

 

Ayda pressed a white towel against his wild hair, dampening it from the wash. Ilya wrapped obsidian stones in a red cloth, tightly and without touching the cold embrace of it, tucking them securely into a container. They both wore masks now, grossly ornamental in every way, animalistic in their designs and covering every inch of their faces. The colors were hauntingly mixed yet complimentary to their skin, doing their best to distract from their supernatural beauty, ensuring that those that looked upon them were not completely usurped of their senses. The Vipera served their King passionately, and the Spider never thought two ways about it. His attention to detail, cleanliness and order were strange quirks for a man that could murder so savagely, and the hands of these powerful women eased these small burdens.

 

"Our victory, Ca'Aran." The Dark King spoke the name with a strange accent, undoubtedly tinged in High Sith, growling the enunciation indifferently. Whether it was the duel he spoke of, or the conquest that invested them to a dying rock, it was one and the same. The Imperial Machine was an engine of evolution, fueled by the might and power of freedom. Whether it was the stormtrooper that had cut down another with impassioned blaster fire, or an animal in the vein of Nyrys the carnivorous severing her foes, any and all beneath the banner of the Spider would grow.

 

 

"How many dearest to you, have you lost? Speak freely, what are their names?" There was something cold in the way his voice remained so assuring, yet poetically haunting. He looked up from where he sat, exfoliating his hands with the poisonous mosses of Umbara by way of a simple basin, locking eyes with his Blood Prince.


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The sight of the Dark Lord and his entourage of strikingly beautiful women gave Delta a pause. He let his thoughts stray from the pure majesty of it all to wonder about the origins of such women, how they came to be trusted by such a man, and whether or not his adopted daughter Telperien was among them. He could not see her small, diminutive form, but the rumours that had perveyed the Sith Military spoke greatly about her ability of jumping forms. But none of the masqueraded women even deigned to look at him and he dismissed the matter from his mind. But he noticed even then that there was a strange lack of jealousy in the back of his head as he looked at the Dark Lord. There wasn’t pity or any of those proliferous ideals, but he had no desire to sit where the man sat. Had he really outgrown the Black Sun and that opulent wealth that much in one battle? But it was true, he had found his place again, not matter how painful the battle had been. 

 

He finished his bow and inclined his head,

 

“Your victory against the leadership of the Mandoa’ad was enough to crumble any resistance. I admire your work Lord. I am merely a captain among hundreds." He also considered the foolishness of throwing thousands of troops into battle when the simplest solution was to simply assassinate the leadership, bombard and accept surrender. They could have spared countless lives that way. But he kept his mouth firmly shut in that regard. “ I have lost many my Lord. Foremost among them, my heavy strike leader David Senvys. A human from the Taipani freeworlds, and longtime companion from my early days of the Black Sun. Alongside him I lost Lilianna Ordvine, another of my old friends. Many others were lost as well, and you will find their fifty names in my report, my Lord. All perished honourably in the attack…” He looked back up. “On the power facility under the eastern approaches, either on the landing under fire or on the assault itself. A division of Ishi-Tib marines were also lost on the attack. They died honourably and for good cause.” 

 

He remained at attention, considering listing off the fifty odd names from his datapad but decided against it. He would not complain, no matter how useless or foolish the attack had been. That was not his place, his place was to protect his men and women. That was it. 


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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"Honorable then,"

 

He stressed the word. Truthfully, he did not care in the least. It was not for a lack of sympathy, but rather a cold indifference borne of names he once knew as well, names perished to war and famine. To the dirt is where their bones and bodies rotted, souls traveling the dark expanse of the afterlife, alone and bereft of ambition. Yet, Ca'Aran listed a few, friends even. Attachments that both strengthened him, and softened him in other ways. The predictive capacity of clones, the thirstful seed of camaraderie, this one was no different than the others he had studied. The stories of this man were telling, once a drunkard who relished obscene over-indulgence, worshiping little more than the reflection in his mirror. Killing senselessly and without purpose, and bedding himself with anything willing to part legs. He was a barbarian, but one debauched in utter buffoonery, a would-be jester in his courts. He was changing though, becoming harder, lens much clearer than they had ever been. The two had known each other for decades loosely, and finally the promise of Ca'Aran began to blossom in a quiet rage. There was an odd nature when it came to the Spider, one that pulled the very best out of those that drew near. 

 

"T'uulia. See to it that the fallen are recognized, ceremonies in their honor, and restitution for their families." Exodus spoke plainly, feeling the eyes of the Vipera curiously look his way. She obliged softly, voice as savory as honey, leaving the royal canvas behind. There were no gilded furnishings, no banquet tables of abounding exotic foods or wines, nor were there any of the affluent trappings that the Blood Prince was generally accustomed to here. Burning incenses bleeding with alimentary smoke, water and sea-mosses to cure and calm the wounds, and Sith artifacts that played in the dark. Sanitation was a peculiarity with the Dark King, not an extravagance. 

 

 

"I share in your grievances, for your losses are my own." He stood now, taller than the Captain, a primal husk of a creature. "There were those that advised us to leave you to die at Dark Sun, the many thousands of you thoroughly cornered. The losses would have been far greater, more definitive. Your lively maturation would have ceased, and your legend would be a mockery. You would fall, and be a protector of nothing."  Just as Arkaab Skon before. "There were losses there too, Ca'Aran, odds stacked imposingly against you. There was a sacrifice made in your favor."  The Emperor-King spoke in ways that allowed reality to settle in slowly, resting on the coattails of his truth. "They would have butchered you and your companions. Quite efficiently, might I add. Just as I could have done to these whimpering Glory Bound." He spit the words out. "Yet that is the hubris of scum, too sick and cowardly to dirty their hands for themselves. The civilians, our workforce, would perish pathetically and for nothing, we would not see true expansion if we annihilated each and everything we set our gaze too. Development would stifle, under-fed by the growing unrest of innocents sheepishly terminated, food and flame for the Rebellion. The Lords of Dark before myself, were all tyrannically mad for show, weak in their wisdom, burning out faster than a flame set to the tides of Mon Calamari. They could not have built this, they lacked the vision. We are conquerors, we fight, and we die; yet we are Rule, we will decree preservation for those faithful to our code."

 

The mulberry vapor in the air sieved through the nostrils, and burned the irises to a faded shine of white. The solution nebulized and injected the drums of the force inside of his bones. He was electric with power, energy replenishing within the small space he drew rest. Exodus explained these things to his Captain, satiating one of his most promising soldiers with a mandate different than the ones he was accustomed to. This would equal his longevity, this would become his legacy, Ca'Aran of power and promise. These were his tests, and his missions and directives would pull him through an understanding that would rival beliefs he once had. This was the reset he needed, and the one Exodus could foresee. If he failed in these things, if he fell short of his excellence, Exodus would be the one to cull the poison from the root. The Dark King would not stretch himself thin, running this Sith-Imperial machine, he would nurture those into a power of their own and see them flourish.

 

 

"If I have failed in this. Show me, brother."

There was openness in his voice, stern but also dripping with challenge.

The Vipera swallowed a deep gulp, and Exodus stood before his Captain.

 

 

 

 

 


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The incense played across his nostrils, the thick smell of ancient myrrh turning to a sweet mulberry as it filled the room, giving it the royal and mysterious aire without the need for expensive finery. It also reflected on the Lord of the Sith in other ways, the thin tendrils of smoke played off into the arched ceiling, almost embracing the image of the Sith Lord in a white shadow. From a military or tactical standpoint Delta was impressed, with an application of the force, the incense could cause a billow of smoke in which the Lord of Assassins or his apprentices could strike from. Delta had seen such a thing before in the guise of a Darth Lucifer during one of the many times the Black Sun had fought the Sith Lords before the last battle of the Death Star. Though there the guise had ended with the not so subtle application of a blaster bolt to the forehead of a Sith Lord and the death of a half dozen Sith Lords. The Black Sun had been strong then, and Delta had fought beside the strongest.  But like all things, strength faded with disuse, ignorance, and sloth. 

 

But the Dark Lord was right. The Black Sun under Zalis’ leadership had been a disaster, and Delta and his men had paid the price for her foolishness. Well, their foolishness. 

 

Delta could have spoken of course of all the victories the Sith Empire had accomplished only with the help of the Black Sun. But it was clear that the Dark Lord wished to gloat in his single victory at Dark Sun and though it caused a rush of defiance in the back of his head, Delta recognized it as his right. He let the remark slide down his throat unspoken and bowed his head. If the Dark Lord was asking for advice he would give it, it was a lesson that the GA had not learned, and the Black Sun had never had the opportunity to try. 

 

“You are the most sane of all the Dark Lords I have encountered my Lord. There have been no failures under your occupation of Onderon or the defense of your allies. Though I know we must not rest on our laurels of victory over these pathetic Mandoa’ade, I encourage you to begin the securing of the Agriworlds. Without the breadbasket worlds of Chandrila and Salliche our reign will not last and the people will starve or be moved to join this new Rebel Alliance.” 

 

He looked up, his pale blue eyes searching for the eyes of his Lord.  

 

“Give me the responsibility my Lord so that I may prove myself and my men from the disaster of Dark Sun.”


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Orders had come forth, and Qaela was ready for them. The Dark Lord wished to add the Corellian System to his Empire and it was now her task to accomplish this. She had been ordered to take her current force to establish a beachhead in the system then to await further reinforcements once mopping up on Coruscant was completed. By this time, she had fully recovered from her injuries and was eager to strike out. While her previous mission had been fairly simple, this would be vastly more challenging and ultimately, more important to the Empire as a whole.

 

She sent in summons to those back on Korriban to ready a new crop of Sith Lords and Apprentices worthy of joining the war. It would take some time for a full bounty to be trained and harvested, but several who had been on the cusp of readiness during the last summons were now prepared and would come. By the time they were needed, she would have several dozen more worthy and loyal Sith to carry out the Emperor's will through her.

 

With deliberate malice and steady drive, she directed her fleet into hyperspace.


Qaela Sig

Send PM's to Travis.

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From the sunken caves beneath the cold bedrock of Umbara, Exodus was returned to realities of this era, with little from his kin that he could take pride in. The brotherhood of the Sith had rotted into delinquency, dishonorably broken apart and hunted into three parts of a sniveling extinction. Black Sun was dead, sitting with idle hands and too few in numbers that it was laughable. Operations stalled entirely with no one to champion their progression. There was no evolution, in fact, it looked as if every step was taken to ensure that the infamous factions of power became painfully inept. They all shared the blame, they were all guilty and caught red-handed in his eyes. It was Exodus that took the reins of the dark and saddled them into an Empire that would sweep the galaxy, and it was Exodus that bargained with the fading flames of the Black Sun, fanning them to life once more and sheltering them into an alliance that would return them to power. Only a fool would believe they stood a chance without the Sith, no more than a couple whippings from embarrassment. The divide between the Blood Prince and Zalis was glaring, beyond ailing. Public opinion traded in these truths, hear-say and propaganda that illustrated each and every turn that the Spider made to push these forces through, sanctioning the safety of his allies and those that followed him into the fray. Not just one victory, but one after the other and another. Yet, there were many that were sightless and ignorant to these truths, just as Raven was before she fell. He had neither the time, nor patience to educate the apparent children of this galaxy. All he could do was offer wisdom when he could, and yank the weeds from his garden when they reared their pitiful heads. He was a testament to the survival of not one, but two of the galaxy's most powerful empires. Failures would be a part of the journey, and for those, he would be as prepared as he could be. 

 

There were fewer and fewer men and women that were in his likeness, or of his mind, and this was what slowly made the young King colder.

"Do not patronize me, Delta."

 

 

There were others that had committed themselves in totality to the Spider, others that moved even now, to capture worlds on a Red Campaign in the name of the Sith Empire. Ca'Aran would eventually decide which side of the coin he would land on. Whether he ranked amidst fools who could not contribute or value the vision, or he rose higher than the achievements of an archetypal criminal, forging a legacy beyond those that had betrayed him. Ingratitude had a price, and it would be paid in full one way or another. The Dark King sized the trooper as he paced the lengths of his temporary abode, passing the dry armories and weaponry splayed across tables. He weighed the importance of such a creature, wondering if he could endure all of which he had asked for, and more. 

 

"Colonel Ca'Aran. The responsibility is yours." Exodus had moved further from him now, sinking deeper into the shadows. His voice crawled from the darkness, rummaging through small treasuries that the Vipera had been instructed to deliver prior to this meeting. A small-scale case floated towards the clone, suspending before him and opening to reveal a commemoration inside. The medallion had a black ribbon with purple linings, as well as three silver dots on each side near the medal. In addition, the medal itself possessed a tower-like design at the top, which ended with three prongs, and the circular emblem that featured an engraving that resembled the iconic TIE fighter. The Medal of the Emperor's Fist was an Imperial medallion awarded for distinguished services to the Emperor in strengthening and maintaining galactic peace. Each of the surviving lieutenants would have by now, received Medals of Valor for their efforts. "Lima Company will assist you while you levy a personal Brigade by way of your Imperial advancement. Make for Salliche, Colonel. Bring the planet to a kneel and wash Dark Sun from your hands." 

 

 

 

Brigade: ranged from 5,000 to 7,500 soldiers, led by a Colonel.

 

 

 

 

 


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The clone commando watched as the Lord of the Sith considered him, a very dangerous place to be for someone without access to the force. All the Dark Lord need do was to reach with the force and with the delicacy of plucking a harp string, gently tear an aortic wall, or brainstem, and that would be the end of a long lived life. Was it a well lived life? Delta himself did not know. Its latter 20 years had been filled with increasing opulence until almost a point of mockery. His thoughts trayed there again, as they often had in the last few weeks since his induction into the Sith Military. Had the opulence of wealth really set him so far outside reality that he thought himself invincible and his friends mere pawns to be tossed around like so many bits of trash? To be used and thrown away? He had done the same thing but merely hours ago, risking his men for nothing more than glory. But no, that had been for a purpose. This was no adventure with   various fallen Lords of the Sith to commit galactic terrorism at the cost of millions of lives. This Empire meant something different. Its inception may have been dirty, but they were going to build a new galaxy, a galaxy without terror, without the frivolous senate to hamper and harm. 

 

This Empire would be built as something new, something distinct. The foundations of the galactic order had to be ripped up before a new foundation could be built. The Black Sun, the SCORPION initiative, Red Shadow, Alderaaini Towers, all had helped destabilize the galaxy enough to shake off its chains and be rebuilt. But there was no honour there, Delta had enjoyed every minute of the debauchery, the murder, the terrorism, taking each violent act as something that could reach his buried self. To even get a hit of adrenaline. Upon the reflection of it all, the last twenty years had been a decidedly half lived life. One without a real purpose, like a deathstick addict murdering a family to get pocket credits. Except his addiction had been on a galactic scale. That hunger for death and violence, terrorism and credits, seemed to be gone now, leaving in its place and empty and embarrassed void. Perhaps his long companionship with the Mad Hutt had affected him more than he realized. 

 

But the voice of the Dark Lord cut him to the quick, pulling him out of his reflections with a solid rebuke for patronization that left Delta wondering what in the seven hells had happened and just as suddenly fearing for his life. He kept his face stern and unmoving, and gave a half bow as an answer. Giving the Lord the high road and surrendering whatever point may have been made by the statement. The Dark Lord was right of course, he had a long way to go for redeeming the mistakes of the Dark Sun. And somewhere in the back of his mind, Delta decided he would kill Zalis if he ever ran across her again.

 

He accepted the box with a firm hand, glancing at the medal placed within before snapping the box closed and placing it under his left arm. It was a shocking reward for the so little that had been accomplished, and his heart fluttered with gratitude as he finished his bow and made a crisp salute. 

 

“Gladly My Lord. Thank you.” 

 

He spun on his heel and walked from the Dark Lords chambers feeling his heartbeat thundering at his eardrums. He finished the short walk to the barracks holding Lima One and peeked in through the doorway. Most of the men and women were passed out in their cots, and a few, likely still suffering from the Medperanazine dose, were doggedly playing pazaak with a pile of ration dessert cakes as chips. He smiled as they half rose to give him a salute before he waved them back to their seats. He needed rest and there was no need to wake up the men when they were so fried from the mission. He returned their salutes and quietly walked into the sealed officer’s quarters. He stopped in the refresher and slowly stripped his armour from his pressure suit, and placing the dusty, bloody plates into the refresher’s shower unit, allowed the water to run over them as he stripped off the undersuit and tossed it into the laundry basket. He placed the small box on the counter and then stepped into the shower.

 

The water felt so foreign to skin that had been in armour for the last twenty or so hours, and he made sure to soap up completely, inspecting for any signs of heat or friction rash before he finished the shower. He inspected the armour plates while they and he dried in the drying unit, before he stacked them in his locker and put on a pair of grey fatigues. The only thing in the locker other than a few personal objects transferred down from his bunk on the Hellkite. He plucked up the box from the counter and walked to his room, which though it was small and spartan, was still very welcoming.

 

He almost laughed as he saw an asleep Tares Blacktorin tucked into the bedsheets. Her tousled red hair, giving her an almost angelic appearance against the white pillows. He almost considered ordering her out, but his heart wasn't in it. So he simply lay down on the coversheet beside her. Planning to say something very scathing and hilarious if she should wake up, but before he could, he was whisked away into dreamless sleep.

 

Well almost dreamless. 


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Coruscant, the bright jewel of life and far-reaching rule throughout the course of history. An ecumenopolis that had worked to pull apart all evidence that told of powerful Sith who had once ruled with heavy hands here. The enemies of the brotherhood moved tirelessly in this, similar to their efforts on Carida, to destroy the daunting sky-rise temples devoted to the sacred teachings of the Sith. They were fervent in these endeavors, religiously erasing any mere mention of them, commanding that a planet so vast, would be one without the presence of the Dark Side. And now, this was the result of their blasphemy. The Galactic Alliance was an assembly of half-wits thinking they could ever suppress the infinite dark, dressing themselves as a grand protectorate while they hid behind the flood of warships. They announced themselves as judge, jury and executioner. Those warships folded like wet sheets of paper, and their sentencing to exterminate the truest lineage of power had gone against their favor. For too long Coruscant had served as an affront to the Sith, harboring enemies of what was now the Imperial State and serving as an untouchable redoubt for pro-Republican influence, to stifle new Imperial trade convoys moving between the territorial worlds.

 

But that would come to an end.

 

The ebb and flow of the galaxy had begun to shift, spies embedded themselves like ticks into the skin of the crumbling Alliance, speaking enthusiastically of opportunity, far before Faust was sent to upset the scales. Stagnation, coupled with complacency. The Galactic Alliance fanatically spread themselves thin to the rumors of a rising, sacrificing their impoverished people against all warning, neglecting military stratagem in favor of obsession. Their wholeness; mind, body, and soul split from the foundation as they abandoned the people they were sworn to protect, from the horrors of simple and extremely primitive raiders. To have risen so far, only just to crumble to the machinations of few. The Dark Lord dangled threads of web around the theater of war before it even began, predefining the fall of the Galactic Alliance. The Great Sith Empire was here now, its military was centralized and vast. The Emperor-King and his unofficial war council now drew plans to cripple the remains of the ailing bodies of governance that opposed their iron rule. A tripartite offensive now stirred the amassing power of fleets under the rule of the Spider. Border planets that outlined the territorial expanse of the Sith Empire, now caught the attention of his might.

 

A cyclopean shadow emerged over Coruscant, succeeded by a horde of smaller-scaled shadows that quickly changed pattern into an uncompromising darkness intent on swallowing the broken planet whole. An eclipse of battlecruisers, destroyers, warships of all shapes and sizes orbiting the heart of a dreadful assault force; the Black Scarab. Personal flagship to the Emperor-King, reigning miles from prow to stern, the Black Scarab was the largest warship ever constructed in the modern era. It was the summit of nearly thirty years of hidden construction and concealed research by way of Umbara, it was the kiss of death that the Spider intended to wash away the aging fleets of his enemies. Wherever the obsidian carapace of the immortal Scarab crawled, death and destruction would be yielded from its path. And now that same doom would be delivered to the enemies of Coruscant, unfurling as the rest of the Sith Empire unhinged from the black of space.

 

 

An uproar of fighter-craft vomited from the the ventral hangars of monstrous vessels like swarms of hungry locusts, the rain of assault transport continued down from the skies but heavier now like the downpour of a relentless storm. The decree of the Emperor-King was final, and Coruscant would become the belonging of the Sith Empire. Their preliminary arrival was short-changed in the event that pressure was placed onto another of their worlds, but now the deployment became heavy-handed and assets of all kinds fell in overwhelming numbers, eager to terra-form the sickened state of the jewel. Victims of Coruscant would bear witness to this blitzkrieg as the skies became filled with the a mind-blowing upheaval of landing craft skewering the clouds as they breached the atmosphere. The sprawling planet-wide city was too hazardous for any particular landing zone, and only the boldest and most elite of the Empire’s warriors would be given the honor of risking their lives in other dark traces of the disheartened city. The walkers and tanks would have to be assembled beyond the range of any remote defenses that lingered, but the brutality of the Dark-King broadcasted over local holo-screens had forced the hand of many that still held out.

 

 

* * *

 

 

Palms were open, trying to find something that just wasn't there. Answers to the frailty of his foes, largely elusive. Their breaking was as easy as the bones of the smallest of avian species, impishly vulnerable to the crushing weight of the carnivorous. Arkaab Skon broke apart in this way, his brittle body coming undone by the hands of the conqueror. These were the hands responsible for the breaking, and they have done so for as long as he has drawn breath. Exodus sighed deeply and stared up into the emptiness of space, his features looked as if he half-expected a voice to call out from it..

 

Silence.


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    While most of the displays in the museum were not imbued with the Force in any meaningful way, walking through the halls of such a collection of defining remnants of the past still demanded a solemn reverence. When the galaxy seemed stuck in a state of ceaseless turmoil it was important to remember that in the grand picture this was but a moment. One day this war would be a display in a museum too. 

 

    The freelancer had cleared out, new orders from on high. Of course the Dark Troopers were still here, but they were oblivious to the grandeur of their surroundings. Outside, the pageantry of war played out, but in these walls there was glorious stillness. No bored and disinterested tourists, no screaming, rowdy children, and no idiots more interested in getting holo captures of themselves with the art than the art themselves.

 

    She entered the wing titled “Masterpieces of Expression” and experienced art that before she had only seen in data archives. A torrent of snapshots of the soul overwhelmed her with depictions of sadness, joy, loss, hope, anger, and desire, and she willingly succumbed to the pandemonium of it all. Not every piece landed for her, nor would she pretend to understand some of the more alien pieces, but she found the majority of the works awesome in the original sense of the word. Of course at the moment she could only go off of what had been emotionally imbued by the artists onto the mediums, the actual images still a mystery to her unnatural eyes. The sculptures that were present offered both physical and emotional insight, since her sight could define physical boundaries.

 

    Most of the exhibit was composed of “new” pieces, new in that they were not part of the original curated collection. The majority of the prior pieces were destroyed when that pfasker Faust wanted to let everyone know that his mommy didn’t hug him enough as a child by destroying large swathes of Coruscant. A small handful of works had escaped destruction through sheer luck, having been offworld for special maintenance, but an overwhelming amount was lost. It was a gut wrenching loss for those who cared about the paths we’ve collectively walked and the wonders that our cultures have collectively produced, but it was poor form to speak of such things with such a high death toll attached to the event. But here they were again, with Coruscant the target of another terrorist attack, and galactic history again threatened. Eventually this collection would also run out of luck and be lost in another squabble or attempt at genital waving. 

 

...Or maybe not all of it. She scanned the silent, empty hallways furtively, seeing no trace of any life save for her own dark troopers. She understood the arterial pathways of the museum from her own past experiences. The Galactic Museum would have created the baseline protocols and methodologies that almost all other major museums would follow, afterall. She melted away into the hidden infrastructure of the building, where the preservation and transportation equipment was kept out of the eyes of the public. 

 

Darth Nyrys didn’t take everything, this wasn’t an act of blind greed or arrogant conquest. The more she watched the galaxy tear itself apart, though, the less she trusted the community at large to take care of what mattered to her. Both history and her own experiences made her look at sentient life as an easily panicked animal, prone to tearing itself to shreds in thrashing bouts of terror. In order to protect anything though, she needed to be stronger. The pursuit of power to protect what mattered to her was never ending. Part of her wanted to just get away from the grind on a star yacht somewhere far away from everything, but that was just a stalling tactic, reality would still be waiting for her.

 

She needed to go somewhere that she could further her training, challenge herself physically, and evolve into something more powerful. Somewhere isolated from distractions. A place to reforge herself into something greater. 

 

She carefully loaded the pieces of art that she wanted into a shuttle before clearing her departure. The Sith army could secure the capital without her, and she had work to do.


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The lids of his eyes were so very heavy. But as wakefulness pulled him bodily from a corpse like sleep, Delta could feel the light weight of arms wrapped around him and the warmth of a body pressed against his side. It was an experience he had lived many times in his black sun days, but there was something different here. There was silence in his mind. There was peace, he was wrapped up in a love that he couldn’t describe, other than it harkened back to his first. He let his mind drift for a moment. A dark tent on a backwater world. The smell of sweat, jokes about a lightsabre and disrespecting chain of command. What had been that world’s name? What campaign? Was it Kaikielius, or Christophsis the third time? Was his memory really that far gone? Filled with deviance and destruction for so many years that he had forgotten the only time in his life that he had experienced actual love? And like everything else in his life, he had brutally murdered that love with a blaster rifle. 

 

The thought of that caused a shiver to run down his spine, and he could almost feel the weighted recoil of the DC-15’s grip slapping his palm. That ripped every last bit of sleep from him with all the love of a bucket of water. His clear blue eyes snapped open and he struggled for a moment to breath. The arms around him tightened and a whispered voice sounded in his ear. ‘

 

“It’ll be allright.” 

 

He let himself fall back into the embrace for a moment, before moving his own arms to embrace her in return. He dimly expected for his arms to find no purchase but a ghost, but the scopped the small form of Tares Blacktorin into a fierce hug that lasted several seconds before he relaxed and pulled himself out of the mass of blankets. His eyes found the chronometer on the metal wall and he grinned. It was 0530 galactic standard time. He looked back at the tousle haired redhead who was following his every move with sleepy eyes. 

 

“Clothes on. It's time to get everyone up and ready.” 

 

She nodded, and within a few minutes time, he, her and the other officers were sharing quick mugs of caf in the quartermaster’s gallery as they tied their boots, and ensured their jumpsuits were tidy. All the while, the solders of Lima One were up and doing the same thing, encouraged on by the few sergeants that had survived the moonfall and subsequent mass slaughter in the caves and vistas of the fallen world. They formed up in their lines, some squads missing completely, some with only one soldier., some with only a sergeant. All were grim faced, all sporting wounds of some kind, but all enjoyed the five mile run around the Sith complex. Even the Mandalorians in their dispersed state enjoyed it. 

 

It was after breakfast that Delta called a meeting of the officers, commissioned and non commissioned, of Lima One. It was there that he told them of his promotion and the new degree of responsibility he had been given. He also very plainly asked for their advice. What squads, and companies to bring over to his command from other divisions. They decided on a company rearrangement, and with a call to the captain of the Hellkite and the admiralty, they were transferred to the Star Destroyer Terminus which could hold the entire brigade. Most of the executive staff and crew would still be made of Black Sun membership, but a few pure Sith soldiers made it along. Lima One was declared inoperable due to heavy losses and incorporated into the new Brigade with new leadership. 

 

Below is the compiled Brigade. 

DARKHAND

General Staff

Command: Delta73

Executive Officer: Tares Blacktorin (Black Sun XO from Lima One) 

Command Sergeant Major: Jansen Trefey (Sith Sergeant from 31st Lion company(Company destroyed at the battle of Coruscant)) 

Intelligence Officer: Sigrid Hensi (Black Sun Lieutenant from Lima One) 

Operations officer: Haylee Langraf (Black Sun Lieutenant from Lima One) 

Logistics Officer: Gerald Frostwin (Black Sun Lieutenant from Lima One) 

Sith Intelligence: Lord Garik Doma "Devilfish" (Sith Lord , Onderon) 

Spoiler

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Command centers bloomed with a funnel of new and vital information. Planetary management became of immediate importance once a suitable station nestled into the bedrock of a dismantled Coruscant. District creation, building constructions and design, assigning grand workforces for resource production and to maintain peace or enforce order. Officials spent the better half of the night managing the impossibly high disparities in the numbers regarding population decline, all while setting up additional garrisons for planetary defense. The world was a tangle of webs, but these were the right people for the untangling of them. 

 

Piracy was shot to a crawling halt once the presence of entire armadas poured into the system. The Sith Empire spared no expenses in the roll out of their might. With the rings of Kuat under new directives, their ship production soared to an unmatchable efficiency. Sword fleets, patrol behemoths, and creations unseen by any man or woman in recent wars, had nonchalantly dominated the trade routes. The presence of fleets automatically halted the rampant piracy for the systems in which they threw their collective weight. Various sentinel armadas were given orders to patrol between systems, coordinating with joint task forces to increase visibility, for their borders now expanded dangerously fast. To aid in the spread, monolithic outposts were deployed from regions in proximity to give nearby systems further trade protection, also campaigning heavily escorted convoys to assist the operations.

 

Empire-wide laws of behavior outlining the governing precepts for how they have and will guide themselves further in the expansion through the stars, as well as their stance on various other tedious subjects would begin to trickle into the political houses once they were windswept, and the dominion of the Spider would soon capture the galactic jewel whole.

 

Exodus ran his fingers across the SCI built into the vambrace slung to his forearm. The drill of information that flooded unmarked channels was more than enough to break the failing Dark Lords that preceded his reign, the intangibles chipping away at inflated ego. At a checkpoint such as this, most crumbled in their rule, bouncing from planet to planet aimlessly. They were bright flames to a solemn candle, flickering out as time and space ate at their resources. Those that followed Exodus now, would carve a legacy worthy of forever. 

 

"Ca'Aran," the Dark King announced through encrypted voice messaging, a voice so easily pitched in an eerie carving of sound. "Do you see them? The pieces are coming together for you. They shift when you speak, they follow when you lead. They will fight, and die for you, but how.. is entirely in your hands." He let the moment breath for but a second, knowing he already understood such things from the past he had carved for himself. What he really wished to say would dig far deeper. ".. Have you been made aware? Those that left you for dead have shown their faces at last. They have resurfaced unbothered by your disappearance, many believe it is relief as whispers go. They have flaunted their luxury in a system not too far from our reach. Let me remind you, Ca'aran. You are home now, and nothing is out of our reach. Keep me apprised of Salliche." 

 

 

The message cut immediately after, with the Dark King hungrily searching the stars as he departed the broken surface of Coruscant.


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