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  1. Today
  2. The Dark Side of the Force, cultivated in this place by centuries of sacrifice and pain, was now bloated with the death brought by the moonfall. As the Shard descended, something in its spirit touched the Dark Side and resonated with it. And an echo answered... ____________________ The chamber that Solus entered was dark and indistinct, even to the precise and cold electronic sensors of its droid chassis. But slowly, it began to come into focus. Solus was in a cave. There had been no point where the metal scrap or the fetid gunk had changed to stone, but now the Shard was surrounded by natural stone, every square foot embedded with glowing crystals. Ahead, the stone of what had once been a cave wall had been cut away, revealing a morbid workshop. Shelves were lined with containers holding preserved creatures from across the galaxy, and some that would have been unrecognizable anywhere but a horror holovid. Desks piled with scrap and droid parts, arranged neatly side by side to the point where they threatened to topple onto the floor, were scattered to the corners of the room. And at the center, cables hung from the ceiling, suspending something large and humanoid. Solus was home. The thing hanging from the ceiling, however, was not his droid chassis. It was a man. Or rather, something like a man. Scarred and stitched in hundreds of places, cables piercing muscle and bone to hold him up, jagged spikes unevenly growing along its arms and legs, it was a grotesque caricature of a monster. Yellow teeth ran in multiple, asymmetrical rows along its jaw, and its wide, dead eyes were clouded sickly yellow with streaks of blood red. Standing over the corpse(?) was a humanoid. Their violet skin marked them out as umbaran, and the clinical way their hands dug through the innards of the thing's open torso spoke of medical skill. Their black robes marked them as something darker than any taxidermist or surgeon. The figure turned. It was a woman. Her features were impossible to grasp. Like a fuzzy memory in real time. But the feeling she evoked was real. A feeling of powerful familiarity. She smiled, something between a mother's warmth and a predator's snarl. "Hello son. Do you know who I am?"
  3. Leena Kil

    Tatooine

    With explosive concussions that rippled the very air about them, Ruin brought his hammer down. It was an uncivilized weapon from a less civilized age, but it was just the ticket to solve the ever-expanding cloud of dark evil. Anything lesser may have fallen to the wiles of the broken and enraged spirit. As the spirit shrieked, drawn as if by an otherworldly force beyond the dimensions of this time and place, the wind howled as if caught in a vacuum. The hot winds grew cold in the moment as the very air was torn from Leena’s mouth. Even the remaining sabers that lay within the now scattered circle of healing light side energy had their dark taints swept away as if purged in a cleansing sandstorm. Everything, light, life, dark, and death were drawn into the maw of eternity beyond. And then suddenly, it was over. The warm still air of the desert hanging heavy over them all. An awkward natural silence stretching from horizon to horizon. A smile creased Leena’s worn face as Ruin spoke to her. “Still in one piece brother Ruin. Thanks to you and that Byssian hammer. Kinda glad you snagged that thing.” Leena looked up, her attention drawn to the battered woman on the approaching dune. What were the chances of someone else stumbling across them all the way out here, so far from civilization? And not a fabled Tusken or scrambling Jawa at that. Maybe a moisture farmer? She didn’t look like it though. She did not feel like it either. Leena reached out on the force to probe, gently caressing the aura of the woman before them. She put up no defenses, innate or intentional, all of her mind lay bare. Leena was a healer and the icy suffering and pain of the tortured twi’lek’s being, body, and soul were frigid beacons against the scorching backdrop of Tatooine. The Master Healer saw her pain, felt her wounds and scars. What she did not feel was the tortured festering darkness of the dark side gnawing with hunger at whatever it could grasp. The woman spoke and as she did, Leena drew in a sharp breath. A Sith? She said it. Even if she did not feel like one, even before she said so. A tortured soul; another victim of the Sith’s machinations for power, for their corrupt ideal of freedom at the suppression of others, desire at the expense of the weak. Still, she had said she was a Sith. Leena’s eyes leapt from the haggard girl to Ruin. She might not know who this woman was, but she knew her companion. He was singular in his focus. Their entire time together, he had yearned to follow his primary directive. Now, here, for the first time, he had a potential Sith in the crosshairs. She had a pretty good idea what he would do. Current or former Sith, could he tell the difference without feeing the change about her in the force. With a force-fueled lunge, Leena rolled from her kneeling position forward. She called one of the cleansed sabers to her and stood, igniting it’s sunny yellow blade in a singular motion holding it out st shoulder height and arm’s distance directly in from of Ruin, between the droid and the stranger. “She isn’t a Sith, Ruin. I don’t know what she is, but she needs our help.” Leena’s eyes drifted from Ruin to Keenava. “Are you armed? Do you need help?”
  4. Yesterday
  5. Watching the mass of rolling hateful ash pop from existence, was odd. On the one hand, her history as Furion's estranged right hand and Exodus' prodigal apprentice would beg retribution for the waylaid Sith spirit that sought power and freedom. But Keenava's newfound clarity brought a cold cynicism to the burning embers of passion that used to sear away any cogent thought. And any step she made back to that desperate and broken past was foolish and idiotic. But in her current mindset, knowing that she was given a new path to walk - a new destiny, as it were - she could only feel detached. A part of her was relieved, but she had no context for this. And still another part of her - a darker part - was wondering why she didn't just wander off into the desert; if persisting was really the best choice. “Greeting and meeting? Identify!” The words were abrupt and briefly disturbed her reverie. Keenava allowed herself too look up from the ground she didn't realize she'd been staring at, to view the scene that the cloud revealed when it flew away. And she was slightly surprised. There, in the center of it all, was a Jedi that had knelt to the ground; a circle of glass orbiting her fish-like form. And there was an imposing droid-like figure - the likely source of the blunt request - standing not three feet away; an old droid from the looks of it. She couldn't really tell make or model because she hadn't had a lot of experience with droids, but Keenava had seen some modern combat droids and this was not that. Its seemingly dim black photoreceptors were trained on her, and the hammer it clenched in its fists was still shedding metal pieces from what it'd just done. It had powered the hammer down but, though it was metal, Keenava could feel the implied threat of action if Keenava said anything that this droid didn't want to hear. She could only hope she knew what that was. No pressure right? "That's kind of a loaded question, if I'm honest." Keenava rasped, not realizing how much the sand in the air had ravaged her vocal chords. She coughed a little before continuing. "I am Keenava Ootunavi; former slave; former dancer Lallunia Kallemi; and former Sith Assassin that served directly under both Dark Lord Exodus and Darth Furion." She said her last words with absolutely no emotion. Defeated. Here was a Jedi that could likely tell if she was lying. Here was a droid that just 'erased' a force of evil from the dusty ball of rock they all stood on. And here she was: no crazy mask to hide behind, no clothes, no weapons, barely containing severe wounds on her back, and contending with sand in all sorts of uncomfortable places. She stood with her hands up, showing no sign of resistance. "That's what I was at least. As to who I am now... That's a much deeper question that I'm not sure I really know anymore."
  6. Last week
  7. Solus nodded at his master words and gave the necromancer a glance. “I’ll try to not go too far ahead for your sake man of wax. We’d hate to lose our latest initiate into Clan Bragsanu” With that, and a slight chuckle, Solus made his way towards the nearest entrance. The tunnel, if it could be called that, was tight and claustrophobic to say the least. More than once did Solus have to bend his body to fit forward. Embers and pieces of melting debris littered the tunnels, giving the briefest sparks of light that Solus utilized to see. But sight was not his main sense of perception. Solus almost chuckled to himself, now using all four limbs for locomotion. This was invigorating. Perhaps it was a carryover from those bystander deaths, but the dark and the tight spaces made him almost joyful. He was being put to a test. He was pausing every now and then, a spindly silhouette of a being, only his yellow sensors betraying his position. Audio sensors listened for the slightest noise. A fall of some debris. A scuttle of miniscule life. A gust of heated gas. Anything. And then there was the Impossible Geometries. Solus almost shuddered when he thought back to the depths of Naboo. Back then, he was eager to prove himself, but also in a rush. And he paid the price. He had gotten swallowed whole by that thing, that Colo Claw Fish. If it wasn’t for Master Akheron, he would still be in there. No no no, Solus shook his head slightly. He would not make that mistake again. Every so often, he would pause and conjure his envy, and send it out into the Impossible Geometries. Like a piece of Sonar Technology, Solus would not be sur- Solus stopped. The tunnel branched off ahead. The right resulted in a dead end, but the left appeared to open into a cavern. But that wasn’t what made him stop. There was something there. The shapes there revealed life. Life? In this lifeless place? True, the heat had dropped considerably, but still. And the darkness…the shapes there were doing something odd. There was something there, calling him. Solus focused backwards. He had made a considerable distance between his master and the necromancer. Should he go back? Or should he continue onwards, and see what this was? Curiosity won out. He would not be surprised, and so far there were no dangers to the others. He would report something to his master and the necromancer. So he took the trail to the left and followed it downwards, not realizing that the force, in all of its twisted darkness, had subjected the Shard to a hallucination of its own. The path on the right did not end in a dead end. Even as the Shard moved, the earth churned and the path on the left sealed itself up silently without notice, as if it was never there to begin with. True, both paths led to the same destination, but the journey would be wildly different. Such was the way in the darkness.
  8. She was young, perhaps even the same age as Aidan. That was Draygo’s first and horrifying impression of the Dark Lord. Her youth spoke of a being with profound potential in The Force, but… a peculiar resonance at one that was insecure, doubtful… or perhaps on the verge of fracturing. “For a proper sleep, in an actual bed. No, peace is not a restful state for a creature like me.” Armiena tried to smile, but the forced contortion of her lips only succeeded in causing the wrinkles and hair-thin scars on her face to twist and deepen. If those lines each told a story, then here stood the history of modern warfare. “Those people out there are going to need to accomplish something they think is impossible. Right now they’re trying to kill each other… maybe for ideals, maybe for grudges that they can’t abandon. They’re going to need to find a way to… maybe not forgive each other, but be willing to share a galaxy together.” A few seconds passed. In those few seconds, several hundred more sapients perished in the vacuum and several hundred thousand stared in awe at the contrails of a siege torpedo that would soon render them to dust. As hard but transparent as the canopy surrounding the bridge, it was all her discipline could accomplish to not rush towards decisive action. Instinct demanded that she ignite her blade, but The Force warned her that a single death would have little impact on the course of this battle, much less the years to come. “I actually fear them. It took only a few years for them to rise up, the last time that they were driven to hunt us to extermination. We are going to need to accomplish something impossible, and soon. Otherwise… they have been very patient with us. I have no idea for how much longer.”
  9. As his apprentice finished off the interlopers, he felt a presence, one born of Darkness call out to them. One that felt ancient, timeless and unrelenting, yet dormant and awaiting a awakening. A spark to ignite the fire. But from just who or what it came from he did not yet know, he thought perhaps the necromancer might know. Most likely he did. He would soon see just what it was they sought. Another weapon perhaps for the Sith to wield and let them become stronger. He spoke, musing at Inmortos assertion, laughing at his description. To think that this was the same as the Realm of Chaos. He had been there...had seen it with his own eyes several times, the veil beyond death could not be described. At least not properly, he found it was more than just fire, more than ice. He found it to be both. A place where for every soul there was no rest, tortured constantly and forced to fight for survival against the wraith's who never rested, wraith's that when they caught you left a scarred the soul and left it's mark ever more. "Amusing that you think this describes the Realm Of Chaos, Kraft Inmortos. There is no comparison, believe me. I have seen it many times, witnessed its horrors and suffered first-hand at the wraith's of the damned that forever torment that place. In Death I found new meaning and purpose upon my rebirth by serving the Fanged God. It is both fire and ice I have found, fuelled by the rage and vengeance of those who refuse to submit, and the souls of those lost to build its structures. A place where there is no sleep, where your suffering and that of those around you are is endless. Only the strongest survive, those with the will to break through all seven gates. But I can see why you may make such a comparison, and I can feel it too. Someone or something calls to us from below. We shall soon see if that is for good or ill." By the tone of his voice, it was clear he spoke from experience and was relaying his personal incite into what he had witnessed. he wondered what his apprentice thought of it even as he spoke from truth, one that spoke of having walked the path of the dead and returned. Turning to Solus, he spoke more. "We shall see, proceed my apprentice but be on your guard. Where there is lack of light, use your other senses. Use the Darkness to illuminate the way, to lead you through and bring fear to any who resist and block our approach." With that he motioned for Solus to advance ahead of them, scouting a path. And in a way acting as bait to draw out those who might be in wait...he knew his apprentice likely guesses as much himself or hoped so. But he was trained for these situations, to adapt. Focusing his senses, especially his hearing...already naturally highly attuned and further improving upon it via the Force, Akheron listened, even as he looked ahead into the dark of the hole before them, a abyss into which they walking. Igniting his lightsaber, he lit the path in front of him while staying behind his apprentice. Letting him go further ahead.
  10. TerrorBot

    Tatooine

    Ruin glanced around at the Jedi’s command. There, exposed in the sand, the hilts lay. The dark clouds desperately wanted to kill the beings before they could do damage to the artifacts. Ruin laughed. He would do more then damage. Amongst the roaring and the blinding light of the Jedi’s use of the Force, Ruin jumped at the hilts and raised the hammer over his head, and then brought down hard. The crackling of red energy from the kybar crystal in the hammers head moved like the lines from a blaster. The moment the hammer’s head connected with the sabers was obvious. The shockwave generated echoed for miles in the desert. Sand erupted upwards and outwards around the sabers. If it weren’t for Ruin’s weight, he may have been thrown back by the force the hammer generated as well. The spirits screeched. Their aura began to fade as their hold to the material plane loosed. Ruin raised the hammer again. The sabers, broken into a few pieces, were not fully destroyed. Again, the terror droid smashed the things, his gears overclocking themselves to bring the maximum amount of destruction. This time, the shockwave was less focused, but the weapon did the trick. Nothing remained but small pieces and chippings. The spirits screeched one last time and exploded in a cloud of darkness and ash. The sand around where the Jedi’s light was a thin layer of melted glass. Peace entered the now quiet area like a graceful sand-bat at night. Ruin looked back at the Jedi. “Living and kicking? Or dying and bleeding?” >Excuse me…< Fera’s beepings sounded out, a stark contrast to the desert ambiance. The small buzz droid had crawled over after the spirits had dissipated. Her small form climbed the towering Terror droid’s leg and rested on his shoulder. >it seems we have company< Ruin looked at where the Buzz droid indicated. A twist of the hammer’s hilt, and it powered down. A sign of peace. “Greeting and meeting? Identify!”
  11. Mordecai laughed mirthlessly at her words. "What is madness but the deception of oneself? There is no question that I am a madman, not anymore. But what separates me from the rest is the same thing that separates you. Why we have bodyguards instead of an enlisted man. People put their faith in other people. Mine believe in me, and yours you. Even now they flood the ship in hopes of saving you. How many will die with this ship?" He sighed, watching the destruction with a heavy heart. "I would trade places with any of them though. To die gloriously in combat, to be relieved of the burden I bear. But we all have chains, Raven, whether you realize it or not. I thought mine was the legacy of my forefathers, or the machinations of your rebels. But I understand the truth now. The veil has been lifted, and the madness has cleared. My vengeance is the chain that binds me to this world. I thought it would end with you. That I could let go of this poison, that I could die in blissful relief. But even now, as you bleed out, I thirst for more." He gestured vaguely in the direction that he could feel the force roiling. The Dark Lord would soon face her own trial, but he would be long gone by the end, regardless of who won. "I'm tired. Exhausted. I've fought this war for my entire adult life, brought our empire to the precipice of victory with my campaign. And now, I see the threads coming undone. Exodus was losing grip on the empire, but he still fought to preserve it. Darth Nyrys wishes to willingly cast it aside, start from scratch with some grandiose idea that we will rise from the ashes." He sat beside the Empress, his breathing steadying as he recuperated from his fight. He knew his next step. He needed to truly break free of his chains. "My chains are perpetual. I understand now. I seek vengeance, and in that action, those dear to me die. Conveniently, another target for my hatred surfaces. But I will break free, even if the very forces of the galaxy will resist."
  12. The order to to dispose of the locals was a welcome one. Even as Akheron took care of his share, Solus charged into action. Momentum carried him too quickly however, and at one point he fell forwards. A cry of startlement started to escape his voice box when suddenly he adjusted. His arms went forward and caught grip with the ground. His leg joints bent almost unnaturally far, farther then any organic kneecap would allow. Solus, a piece of cobbled together machinery, skitterred along the ground almost like some kind of rapid insect. Somewhere between instict and thought, the Shard maneuvered his body with rapid movements, crawling and dashing wildly. His neck twisted slightly, giving him a better view of his targets. The guide looked horrified. The woman had already broken into a mad sprint for safety from the horrifying thing. The guide was the first to die. Solus didn’t waste time with his blade. The guide’s back was turned, and made it easy for Solus to right himself onto his feet, leap forward, and stab through the chest cavity. Blood stuck his rusty arm like sticky grease. The woman was much farther away. Solus sighed and reached out with the bloody arm and focused. This place, with all the darkness and death, made the Impossible Geometries sluggish and murky. The woman’s bright, pulsating shapes were simple to pinpoint. A reach through the shapes. A wrapping of anger and envy around the woman’s shapes. She fell forwards, and screamed as she was dragged back to where the shard was. If Solus could have, he would have grinned. He needed this. He needed some catharsis after his defeat on Nar Shaddaa, even if it was just a helpless innocent. Now, the woman was at his feet. With one foot planted firmly on the back, Solus reached down and plunged one of his gripping hands into her eye. True, he didn’t have his scomp link, but he had learned that he needed to think outside the box with such matters. Surely he could drain the information he wanted without that crude instrument, even above the woman’s screamings of pain and agony. Solus came back to the group, this time on two legs instead of four. “It seems that there have been disappearances here…” Solus commented. As he spoke, he shook his head slightly, as if sorting through a variety of images on a datapad. “People here have been vanishing. People wander here to see the crater, and never come back. That woman hired the guide to find a loved one. And I felt something…” Solus stopped. He looked at the necromancer then back at Akheron. “I think we all felt it. There’s something powerful here. Something…. Grand. Ooh ho ho, master I feel excited. I haven’t felt something like this since my ascension. Or when you took me as your apprentice. Something powerful beckons. Perhaps the Fanged God brought us here for something more then what we expected. “Master, may I search ahead? I have developed far more than what I was in Naboo’s waters. Let me prove myself to both of you and explore a path.” "A path..."
  13. Stepping into the room, the durasteel door slammed shut behind them and the screeching of the Jawa began anew. Rru paused. If his face had been exposed, the shock would have been apparent. He had not expected to come into the court of Gorgonzola on this side of the gladiatorial pit. Frozen as he was, the Tusken’s head slowly turned at the low snarl of one of the large cats, his eyebrows high and his eyes wide. That complicated things. The voices of his ancestors swirled around the black-robed nomad, urging him to action. Spurned onwards at unnatural speed, his heavy clothes obscuring his movements, he charged the seven stalking cats whose eyes now glinted as they began to hunt. The Tusken trusted that @Rose Cariadus would spring to action, her lethal beauty annihilating those that preyed on them both, maybe even the Jawa. Rru leapt into the air, his body tucking into a roll as he cleared the first charging feline. From the folds of his robes, the Tusken produced the hidden holdout blaster Rose had pressed into his hands before their ruse began. Squeezing off a pair of rounds as he came out of his roll, the Tusken shot the largest cat behind the jaw. The cat fell in a slump just as Rru’s feet touched down to the sticky floor at a run. He did not stop moving from there even as a pair of the cats turned to give chase. This was no dune hunt with endless hills of sand to vanish between, rocky crags to disappear into the warm shimmering air. Here, in this enclosed space, the danger was even greater; regardless of his lack of gaderffi and cycler. Two less well aimed rounds erupted from the blaster as Rru squeezed the trigger singing the cats’ fur as they skimmed atop their shoulders. As one of the cats leapt, claws extended, Rru turned, throwing the pistol up as a ragtag shield, catching one clawed paw with it as it screeched beneath the dense sharpened nail. He caught the other paw in his swirling robes, his momentum as he fell and the cat’s forward surge being transformed into a throw over himself sending the cat tumbling past. Rolling with the collision, Rru was back on his feet, scarred blaster held at the ready.
  14. Leena Kil

    Tatooine

    Leena’s face wilted even as she strained under the flow of the force that surged through her and against the billows of rage and suppressed destructive power. Beneath the heated surge of blackened clouds the blown sand began to crystalize into glass. The Jedi had never seen a droid hesitate. Ruin might be singular in focus, but on Byss she never saw him falter. The mere fact that the droid did not charge into the melee woth his hammer would have given Leena hope, had she not been counting on his steeled singular focus to carry the day. The light continued to erupt from the Jedi. She buckled to her knees under the onslaught. “The sabers.” She cried out, exhaustion obvious in her strained voice. “Ruin. Smash!”
  15. The Constantine groaned beneath the barrage of Sith firepower. It moved to protect the pods of the Misercordia from the hellfire of the Sith fleet and bore the brunt of the assault. The wail of alarms filled the bridge. “Sir,” called out the communications officer, “Heaven’s Taint has attained orbit. We have relayed the situation to them.” Even as the small bubble of life-sustaining atmosphere that was the Constantine began to fail, command of the fleet, the task of seeing the freedom and the Empress prevailed remained. Not a man or woman left their station. ”All power to shields.” Kolchak ordered as the ship began to drift, a shielding shadow in space. Only then, did he turn to face Qessax. “Ve are in emergency proceedings brother. Zpeak freely and quickly, zhen make your choice. Zhere are many lives zhat ve can save.” New warnings began to flash and flare up as different areas of the Constantine began to vent atmosphere to the cold grip of space. Facing the mask-adorned warrior, Kolchak glanced over his shoulder, “All who are vital, to zhe pods. Make for zhe Ancillary Justice and Heaven’s Taint. Find zhe Empress!” He then turned back to Qessax, the urgency apparent in his one good eye as he planned to take command of the dying craft.
  16. "What can I say, a killer recognizes a killer.” Darth Nyrys said after taking an introspective breath. “I thought that if the head of the serpent was sundered that… something would change. But I just feel empty and numb. You kill us, we kill you, the cycle continues. There are no Sith or Jedi anymore, there is only the war, and every day we cut away pieces of ourselves to feed it, and then we teach our future generations to do the same. There’s another galactic shakeup coming, I can feel it in the Force, but even as you stand on the threshold of victory do you find yourself any closer to a galaxy that stands on a sturdy foundation of liberty, or will you be sleeping with a blaster under your pillow and haunted by the specters of potential threats? We are all of us consumed.” Her stolen power perched uneasily in her breast, like a feast of delights too rich for the senses to handle. Regardless of outcome, this was the end of her tenure as Dark Lady, for the throne was just another chain, perhaps the tightest chain there was. She would break its stranglehold and find freedom in walking away. It would be a setback for the Sith, but they always rose from the ashes of adversity all the stronger for it.
  17. Aidan's commlink chimed, and he nodded an affirmative at her as he grabbed for it to check the priority message. "Absolutely. I imagine you're not going to be a difficult face for me to track down." The shuttle shuddered as it touched down and initiated docking procedures, and he let her attend to her duties as he checked the message. Seconds later relief flooded his thoughts. This was an unfortunate thing, he'd lost many brothers and sisters in arms today, but on the other hand it solved quite a few issues he foresaw having with the upper leadership of the Imperial Knights. If this meant he was supposed to report back to the Jedi, that would mean a much more lax and receptive training environment. As personnel began milling about the shuttle, evacuating the critically injured first, he flagged Anne down, showing her the message. "War has a way of accelerating timetables. I can say with certainty that the Jedi will be far more receptive to your situation than the Knights would have been. As such, you're welcome to remain in my company effective immediately if you like, I just need to explain the personnel requisition to whoever has been giving you orders." He still needed medical attention, but it wasn't anything a long term bacta patch or two couldn't fix. There would be Jedi healers among the main body of medics, at least a couple if he knew his mother. They could point him toward the nearest Jedi outpost or enclave, likely a temporary setup among the rallying forces. They would have resources he could use, but more importantly, resources she could begin to use. Basic gear for training and the like. He would also need to file the official petition for her registration as his padawan with the Jedi archives, but these days it was digital and streamlined. He hoped. It was also probably high time he requisitioned his own ship...but it might take a journey beyond Ylesia to find one worth owning.
  18. It seemed that even the force bowed to the will of the government bureaucracy. Something that prickled a slight irritation at the black haired imperial knight in the back of her head. But she was tired, and pretty much everything irritated her. And as the evacuation shuttle touched down, she gave him a nod of approval. “Well I will be here in and around the medical zone until the provisional government gets put back together. So look me up if you have the time, or if you want to talk about life or something over an MRE.” She leant over the next patient and began her assessment.
  19. Methodically, the white blade of the lightsaber peeled away layer after layer of melted duracrete and durasteel as she carved a passage through the rubble of a fallen prefab residential tower. The small group of non combatants that huddled behind her, staying silent as they watched her carve a way through the fallen building. She spared them a glance through sweat stung eyes and gave one of the children a reassuring grin. Most of them were the younglings of both orders, a mix of children from age twelve to the two toddlers that were being held by the older kids. At the one glance Sandy caught the eyes of the two oldest. Both Imperials, whose high cheekbones betrayed their royal lineage as either from Kuat or one of the inner rim colonies. They were the most calm, and gave her a reassuring nod as she pushed her saber through the last half a meter of permacrete. They knew their orders, and knew that one of the last shuttles out of the doomed planet lay on the other side of the fallen skyscraper. The two oldest kids made sure everyone else was on their feet, then when they were ready. Sandy kicked the permacrete apart. It came away in a large section, and she was greeted by a blast of superheated air and the prickly copper taste of radiation. She took a step back and called upon the force. Letting that singular joy run through her body before she let the force form itself into a shield around the opening. It was time for the children to go. The engines of the Corvette were already flaring to life and the support crew waiting on the ramp. The last transport out of Hell. “Go quickly.” The shield would not last forever, and with the large amount of radiation that was raining onto the shield from one of the many nuclear detonations nearby, Sandy doubted she could hold it much longer than it would take the last kids to make it to the corellian corvette. The kids ran then, the last one turning to give her a look of appreciation and regret as they sprinted their way through the rubble. Sandy watched them run, keeping the shield positioned above and around the stretched out line of children. That is until one of the Imperial Acolytes tripped on a chunk of transparisteel and slammed her head into the ground with a wet thud. Spilling the toddler she was carrying into the hot ground. Sandy moved, pulling heavily on the force as she kept a shield over the two fallen forms as well as the others. She knew she was close to the end of her reserves, the long day of battle meditation, fighting, and rescue operations stretching her to near a breaking point. But this was now a matter of life and death, and Sandy could afford to risk it all. The planet beneath her feet was dying, and would take many billions of innocents along with it. But for now all she could concentrate on was what lay before her. In half a second she had covered the distance and she scooped the two forms up into her arms. Joining the rest of the children as they ran up the ramp into the Corvette. At least one part of the next generation of Knights and Jedi would survive. And the starship sped up into the atmosphere.
  20. Alcmène felt a grin creep over her face. . She reached down to her utility belt and did a quick check for her rebreather, and finding it, she looked back up at the Trandoshan. It was time for him to dive into the force face first. Learning a lesson the same way she had when she had been a youngling on a crashing starship. “Not fly like that Vox.” She took one step forward. “Like this.” Her booted foot lashed out and slammed into his chest and she kicked him bodily out of the transport into the swirling gasses below. Then without another hesitation she lept after him. The Transport banking and veering slowly after them.
  21. TerrorBot

    Tatooine

    Ruin didn’t appear to flinch at the flash of light, but he did noticeably pause. Whether it was because it was surprising or not wasn’t visible, but he didn’t seem to complain. “More light, more bright!” Ruin boomed. The flechette launcher did nothing to these spirits. The disruptor pistol that Fera was fixing was out of reach. The options were limiting. As a battle droid, the idea of talking was impossible. Violence was the only option. “Grah, kill sith!” Ruin grumbled as he reached to the other weapon on his back. The sith hammer, the Soulbreaker, the old artifact. A twist at the handle, and it began to crackle with energy. Perhaps, just perhaps, the alchamized weapon would have some form of effect on the ghastly things. “Smash and bash? Crash and thrash?” Ruin asked. For the first time in his life, he acted unsure of himself.
  22. A comm transmission came filtering into system, connecting with one of the transceivers aboard the medical frigate, passing the encryption handshake before being relayed throughout the fleet and those few Imperial Knights that had survived, mainly Aidan Darkfire. “With the destruction of the sovereign temple as well as the leadership of the Imperial Knights. You are commanded to go to ground until further orders. Operation Reforger. More to come. May the Force be with you.” It did not carry the insignia of the Masters of the Imperial Knights. But came directly from the hand of the Empress. Signed and dispatched should both command towers on the Red and Black as well as the flagship Misericordia be destroyed. A deadman’s switch for whoever may have survived the fires and destruction of the heart of Rebel Power. The imperial knights were to rebuild and reconnect with their cousins in the Jedi Order. Serving to bolster the barely alive rebel alliance until further orders came down the pipe
  23. BASEMENT/FEEDING AREA The two droids looked at the ax presented by the Mandalorian with an uncaring expression and nodded. They were workers, no better then slaves. They didn’t need to think hard. Their lives, while not worth much, did not include programs to stop intruders or pacify targets. They were transport. And if the prisoners were going to transport themselves, all the more power to them. The two lovers made their way into the belly of the beast, as it were. The hallway where Kiv’s bumblings came from ended with a durasteel door that opened into the large open chamber known as the Feeding Area. Upon entrance, the two would find the door slam and locked behind them, a security measure that the great Gorgonzola begrudgingly paid for. The Horned Saber-Cats would be the first to notice them. Of the eight circling and preparing to chase the Jawa rodent, seven of them turned their attention to the Tuskan and the Mandalorian. In the dimly lit chamber, they were difficult to see, but the silhouettes of their forms could be noticed prowling the debris scattered around. One of them growled loudly. The others answered. The hunt was on. Kiv stopped in the middle of his long winded talk when he heard the growl. The hutt and his entourage of lesser criminals looked at the entrance. Gorgonzola roared. “You traitorous rat! You brought the assassins to me! You are working with them!” Kiv waved his arms frantically. “No no no no, not like that great greasy one! Why I would do tha-” Gorgonzola wouldn’t hear it. He slammed and bashed the Gonk droid, spilling his drinks everywhere. The shield on Kiv’s sled flickered out, and the chamber flooded with light. Despite the hutt's violant slamming, the shields ones protecting the criminals from the cats remained. Kiv booked for the nearest piece of debris. The last cat, the largest of the pack and who had ignored the entrance of the others, roared and gave chase. “AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” Kiv shrieked all the way. Meanwhile, in the air vents, Eyes and Zeris had found themselves just above the Feeding Area. The strong smell that Zeris had so keenly noticed was not just from the various dead baby womp rats that couldn’t find any food, but also from the opening ahead. The grate was placed just above Gorgonzola, a feature he insisted so that he would remain properly cool. The fumes from his greasiness went straight up, and sucked into the vent to be emitted outside of the monastery. Kiv’s scream could be heard in the vents, above the now cheering entourage and laughing Gorgonzola. Eyes suddenly picked up speed and beeped at Zeris frantically. >Time is of the essence warlike humanoid. Please hurry, i believe the feeding has commenced<
  24. Wax man . . . Inmortos left the words to hang in the heavy air without retort. They were words of a tortured soul, one uniformed of the ways of the galaxy. And why should he not be tortured? Did he not throw his life needlessly in the funeral pyre of the self-proclaimed dark lord on Nar Shaddaa alongside his master? And for what? Fortune and glory? A brief moment of recognition? Such a waste of good substance. Such ignorance, if only the saber crystal might kowtow before the god-king himself, perhaps he could receive truth and knowledge unfettered. Meanwhile, the stone’s master, his handler, found joy in sending fool hearty adventurers to their death. For what reason? To exude one’s sense of power over those weaker and unworthy? Such a worthless sacrifice to none but one’s own vain glory. Such a death wasted the power of the life. Retrieving a crystalline vail from his belt, Inmortos held it aloft to view the contents, a half white milky substance that crystallized within against the heat outside. He canted it towards the burning sacrifices of Akheron and unstoppered the flask, dark deep words rumbling from his parched frozen lips to call the souls of those worthlessly thrown away to him; to ensnare that of them which was eternal for his own devices. Regarding the new as it mingled with the spilled of Nar Shaddaa and Aaris III, a smile teisted across the morphing features of the necro-shade. Satisfied, he stoppered the vial and replaced it. ”Very fascinating.” He finally responded to the droid-Sith’s musing. “But nothing like the devastations we wrought upon Aaris III. Sacrifices for a cause, to harness absolute power from beyond. Not this, the mere machinations of chaos and destruction for temporary enjoyment. Remember this young crystal; waste not. Want not.” Scanning the devastated crater with its noxious gases and fissured pathways, the necromancer gestured his fellow Sith Lord. They had already wasted enough time on the surface. To dally further would result in more unneeded deaths, including their own. “Lord Akheron, that which we seek is beyond the surface. A dark presence beckons us onwards. Unleash your blade and lead the decent into the abyss, the tenth layer of the Corellian Hells. The blood of the damned cries out to me from beyond the grave.” The words the necromancer spoke were true, mostly. It was not the damned of Coruscant that spoke to him, their blood long since boiled to ash. It was the whispers of the dead from dozens of worlds giving up their grave-held secrets. Somewhere here, unearthed by the cataclysmic chaos of a fellow Sith, was a presence barely whispered about in shadowy crevices of society. Beasts that preyed upon the weak and foolhearty, guarding a prize that could survive even the collapse of a world civilization sandwiched by a exploding moon. And so, he bid Lord Akheron to proceed first, his linnorms a worthy sacrifice for whatever dark beast lay below. A chance to attain that violent glory all warriors seemed to crave. The prize that lay beyond drew the necromancer like the pooling blood of a freshly slain battlefield. Whatever sacrifices were made upon the way, so they too might be welcomed into the god-king’s harem of dark purgatory.
  25. Fivefang listened. Fivefang was good at listening. Its why Fivefang had found prey before the others did when it was a whelp. That had made it strong. And now that Fivefang was strong, it could make others of its kind do what it wanted, like give Fivefang first pick at the food. That made it stronger. Now Fivefang could kill any other who challenged it. Now Fivefang could have territory, and only the biggest and the strongest of its kind had territory. Fivefang had the best territory. Fivefang had the Silent Place as territory. This made Fivefang best of all. But somewhere deep in its primordial, hungry, savage brain, Fivefang understood. Fivefang was strong...because Fivefang knew how to listen. Fivefang had listened to prey. It listened to them walk the tunnels. It listened to them scavenge on the surface. It listened to them scream "Cthon!" when they saw Fivefang and others of its kind. It listened to the sounds of their weapons, to the clicks and hisses that sent death through the air to kill Fivefang's kind. It listened to their screams as Fivefang and its kind ate the dead and their attackers alike. And it listened to the Silent Place. The Silent Place made it hungry. The Silent Place made it angry. The Silent Place made it kill. Fivefang wasn't in the Silent Place right now. It was in a pipe. Outside, everything was hot. Other Cthon had died, screaming and melting, when the hot metal dropped on them. But this pipe was safe. The heat couldn't get in. And by listening, Fivefang could hear the prey walking over a dozen meters above his head. They walked in the crater, where death had come from the sky. That death had shaken the world. Tunnels had fallen apart. Heat killed many. But the Silent Place was safe. The Silent Place had saved them. And now the Silent Place was protected by Fivefang, so that it would continue to protect the Cthon. But the Silent Place needed food. The Silent Place needed death. That's why Fivefang was listening. He heard the soft, barely audible scrabble of other Cthon creeping up behind him. Fivefang turned and hissed, and the smaller Cthon backed away from where they clung to the pipe's sides. Then Fivefang chittered, and they understood. New prey was above. It would come down. Set traps. Take prey. Feed the Silent Place. The others scuttled off into the darkness, chittering and tapping the metal as they did. The message would spread. Other Cthon would come. Fivefang would please the Silent Place today. ______________________________________________________________________ Hundreds of feet below, the remains of an ancient chemical warehouse groaned as the supports imperceptibly shifted. The nearby Cthon skittered away, frightened. The warehouse hadn't made a sound in their lifetimes. At the center, a vaguely humanoid shape covered in carbonite jutted up out of the wreckage and the carefully arranged piles of bones and skulls of a thousand species. Inside, a mind began to stir. Not fully awake, but lost in timeless dreams. Inside, she sensed something approach. She called out. "...Here..." The Dark Side rippled, like a pebble dropped in a pond.
  26. Akheron adjusted the sealed protective suit he had since placed over his robes, as best he was able. His mask was the only component exposed, as he had elected to use the in-built breather. He did somewhat Envy Solus and Inmortos for being able to last without such a need for such equipment to stay breathing like himself and the Linnorms with them. The air in the crater proving toxic to those not prepared. Yet he could also feel the death, pain and suffering of the long dead. A Wound of the Force created from the destruction wrought of the moon crashing down near this spot, he heard his apprentice and answered in reply to his fascination. "As I told you on Naboo my apprentice, Wounds of the Force, especially those created from the Darkness are long lasting and never truly fade. Such a Wound leaves a mark that cannot be undone, no matter how hard the Jedi might try. Such a place becomes as a Nexus of the Dark energy the Fanged God provides, a fulcrum that can be used to our advantage or any of sufficient skill in the Dark arts. A Master or Dark Lord. Such a Nexus or Wound have been known to last millennia such is the case of Malachor V which suffered a similar fate as this desolate place. Come, let us go deeper...I feel something. Something string in the Darkness below. But what the source is I do not yet know. Perhaps this is why Krath Inmortos brought us here, to seek yet another Dark treasure. Perhaps one that could be just as rewarding as previous. We shall see, however remain cautious even then, such treasures are likely well guarded." Just as he was about to move, he noted a group of three who were not part of their group or the Linnorms, approaching over the top of the crater. Tourists it looked like and a local hillbilly guide. A old looking local human who had survived the moon's fall and been taking extreme travellers for a fair price to see the crater for the last few years. But never had he expected to see the group below or know the danger he was now in. Knowing they might draw unwanted suspicion, Akheron signalled to Solus to dispose of the guide himself and the female beside him. Akheron would deal with the other two himself. Focusing within the Darkness, Akheron proceeded to loosen the area they were standing upon, sending a bald male tumbling into a lava vent, frying him almost in a instant as his suit caught aflame and the red hot fire spread up his body. His screams only made Akheron want more. The other he pulled towards himself before impaling the unfortunate young adult from Kuat upon his lightsaber, allowing the tourists to know the truth of what faced them. That the Sith were here and they were as nothing to them. Nothing but another sacrifice to the Fanged and and the Darkness. Another fallen to the might of the Sith.
  27. The quartet of cowboy troopers hustled through the onslaught of stanky liquids as they rained from the ceilings and combined with all manner of fire suppressant foams to create a foggy and slick atmosphere. Clutching the rail of another set of stairs leading upwards, smoke billowed after the group as the aforementioned concoctions rained down. “Can’t say the Empire isn’t efficient.” Lance Corporal Christoph Sokol chimed as he turned to fire a few rounds over his shoulder back towards where they had set off the fiery explosions. “For good measure,” he shrugged as his commander gave him a canted look. Gunnery Sergeant Benjamin Wood couldn’t argue with the simple logic, even if he was rather confident their blasters were doing little to nothing against the super commandos thick armored plates. Clinging to the railing, the group slipped more than once as they scurried upwards, another explosion rocking the lower levels. “Industrial strength is right!” Corporal Ragnar ‘Rags’ Kran spouted happily. Despite the chaos around them and the death that rained down outside, the scouts of Trill Squadron were enjoying themselves. Fast-paces and chaotic, it was where they shone after all. It was up to Wood to make sure the cowboys got out in relatively one piece. At the top of the stairwell, PFC Krilst’eve’nuruodo booted open the door. The most serious in the group, he held his blaster at the ready; but nothing moved in the foggy particularized air on the other side. ”Comin’ through!” Christoph bellowed as he slid on the slick floor past the Chiss at the door, trying his best, and failing to maintain some sort of Kaminoan surfing pose. “Oh krack!” He swore as he collided solidly with the other wall. Lumbering out of the mist another Mandalorian commando seemed to materialize. “Must’ve taken a wrong turn!” He bellowed as he fired his carbine from the hip towards the enemy soldier’s faceplate. “Got company boss!” He shouted needlessly over comms as the other three hurried to assist. Several relatively worthless bolts of laser fire illuminated the gray-white fog in a variety of flashing pink and red hues turning the scene into something more appropriate at an underworld rage than a battlefield. If Scouts were known for two things, aside from playing fast and lose, one of those was just plain playing fast. Speed was the name of the game. Nothing moved slowly with them. Speed was a means of offense and defense. It was no different here. The second went hand in hand with the first. Imperial Storm Troopers were known to be fearless, bit even they could appreciate a well laid out plan to try and minimize casualties, at times. Imperial Scouts fought with nerves of steel; and so it was here. Without a word, like a well-ouled machine all four charged straight at the lumbering Mandalorian even as he began to target the men in the fog. Their white armor bo doubt helping them blend in, for once. With a running start, Rags yanked a ion grenade from his belt and dropped to a slide as he zipped between the Mandalorians parted planted legs. He tossed the grenade upwards right in front of the man. “Happy Life Day!” Meanwhile Benjamin and Steve dropped their shoulders in an attempt to bowl over the warrior. It did not work, but as they caught his shoulders they were already rolling around him towards his backside, swinging their arcing electrobatons towards the soldier’s neck. All that left was Christoph, and as he peeled himself off the wall, he let his carbine fall catching on his sling. He grabbed randomly at the grenades on his belt, snagging both a sonic and smoke grenade, with the flick of his hands he activated both and hurled them with the force of a shockball player at the domed head of the soldier, just as flames ripped from the Mando’s arm in a gout of searing agony towards the fourth and final Scout. The flames toasted Christoph’s armor and sent his helmet based sensors into a tizzy even as he instinctively dropped to a forward slide/dive on his belly. It would have been a move worthy of the holos, had it worked. It didn’t not really. When sliding blind in a foamy mess of fire suppressants a lot of things do not tend to go as planned and the Scout collided solidly with the Mandalorian’s right booted foot. The super soldier knew where Christoph was, even in the melee, even as the ion grenade thrown a moment before by Rags erupted in the enemy’s viewscreen engulfing both the Mando and Scout in it’s shockingly static embrace. For Christoph the world went dark, a rather terrifying place to be; and so as he clawed at the ground to try and put some distance between he and his unknown assailant, the Lance Corproal clambered to unstrap his helmet, letting it clatter to the deck plating. Moments later he was hauled forcibly to his feet by Benjamin and Steve, each with an arm under his shoulder. “Run!” The commander ordered. Keeping a hand on the helmetless trooper’s shoulder, Steve led the charge down the hallway, pushing his brother beside him. Benjamin and Rags followed a step behind, spraying laser fire over their shoulders as they moved. A half a minute later and the entire building shook. A tungsten rod from orbit had impacted a portion of the building, venting it to the outside world. Nearly all four of the Scouts stumbled as the ground shook beneath them before they regained their composure and pressed onwards back to where they had stashed their speeder bikes. Quickly three of the four bikes roared to life, Christoph straddling the back of Rags in a less than dignified manner, clearly something to be joked about later, should they survive. Even so, eveb Steve let out a catcalling whistle over the comms; one Christoph could not hear sans helmet. “Shut it you.” Rags growled as he leaned up in the saddle having flipped a hidden switch on Christoph’s bike. 25 seconds and the thing would detonate with the force of a small warhead. “Time to go.” Idling out of the cafeteria, the bikes roared to life in the hallway. It was deafening and had Christoph not been holding onto Rags for dear life he would have covered his ears. All he could do now was wince as hard as possible. Accelerating down the smokey-fog and suppressant filled hallway the group had to navigate one tight corner before they came into sight with the corner of the building that had been obliterated. Onwards and upwards they moved, accelerating all the while. A makeshift jump sent them airborne and out of the command center. Their landing was less than smooth, but no one, not even Christoph tumbled as they landed, their bikes scraping the ground before the anti-gravity thrusters regained control. ”Holy Sithspit!” Benjamin whispered in shock, the air filled with distant explosions and raining ordinance. “We’re not getting out of here alive are we?” Steve grumbled, a slight air of concern creeping into his voice. Meanwhile, Christoph tapped rapidly on Rags’s shoulder trying to point out the obvious. “I know. I know. You’re the one who jettisoned your bucket. Boss; I’m guessing our evac is long gone. Cowardly navy boys.” ”Yeah…” Benjamin replied in awe as he watched the sky, his bike the point of the trio of speeders as they hurled out amongst the rubblized world. “Plan B. We go to ground. Get deep enough. Ride it out. Rags, you got coordinates?” “Aye,” the intel officer agreed. “Follow me.” The trio banked hard to the right, the two-man speeder falling into the lead as they raced towards a hopefully still intact catacomb entrance where a number of Allied soldiers had taken cover. ”Cannot believe the Sith are bombing their own soldiers, barbaric,” Steve grumbled, repulsed by the lack of common military civility. “They probably sleep well at night too.” Rags chuckled.
  28. The ship seemed to groan and shudder as they exited and entered from atmosphere to atmosphere. From one planet with life to another that had none and the difference in life force between the large orbs was felt by the Trandoshan. Nonetheless, Vox kept his eyes gazing about in wander and amazement as he scanned the great differences in sizes and colors. Upon entry of the gas giant Vox unintentionally shuddered as a new energy could be felt. Was this what he was meant to experience? The cargo door opened and Vox turned his head to the outside, then back to Alcmène as she asked him a curios question. Did he really want to fly? He could handle a gun and blade no issue, but an actual craft? He turned his full body to her and said, "Well... Better sooner than later, show me how this craft works."
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