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  1. Today
  2. Leena set off, back into the slowly awakening city. She pulled her cloak around her shoulders before donning her traveler’s hood. She was not trying to hide, outright; but, truth be told, she was exhausted. As such, any undue attention she could avoid was worth it. Still, she was looking forward to getting back to Jedi business proper, not politics or positioning or trying to wrangle the Jedi’ position in the galaxy, just simple clean hard work. It was refreshing and after the long trek of war, Leena was ready for a simple and clean challenge. And then her comlink chirped. Leena let out an audible sigh as frustration tensed across her shoulders. Who is it now? she wondered as she took a deep calming breath before releasing it in a slow exhalation before reaching for the communication device. It was if on cue. Leena almost chuckled as a smile splayed across her weary face. Squibs. Short, chatty, and a downright pain at timed, the Jedi Grandmaster could not help but like them. A bulk of them had been vaporized alongside Jedi and Republic forces proper over Nar Shaddaa and still their tenacious spirit lives on. A translucent blue floating head materialized over the communicator. Beneath his oversized large-brimmed hat, the Squibian commander, Reaper Joe, smiled out at the Jedi. ”Ahhh most esteemed lady healer of the mighty Jedi. From far-off distances and forbidden most secret trade routes much word rumors came to us of a shadow stronghold of Sith slimelords to be attacked for the liberation of oppressed greenies. Even now elitest of elite forces of the Squibian Salvage Forces are combing the planet to look for,” the commander paused as he chose his next words carefully, ”survivors. Imagine my most shocking of surprising surprises to learn that you are here as well.” Leena smiled. Wherever there was conflict, wherever there was a chance to scrounge something of value from others’ junk, the Squibs inevitably found their way. Like trans-galactic Jawas, they plied the hauntingly empty spacelanes. ”And a good morning to you as well High Commander,” Leena inclined her head in greeting as she digested everything the small rodently being had babbled. ”What can I do for you?” ”Our newly minted most indomitable fleet requires most secretive of retrofitting and we have much salvage to offload in preparations for ventures beyond the edges of Known Space. It is imperative that we return to the ice world of Jedi secrets and pick our brother and sister engineering Squibian masterful craftsmen up with due zippy speed. Once,” he added, ”we finish obtaining any needed supplies from this ripe world.” Leena sighed as she chuckled under her breath. This was an opportunity to get back to Ilum, to help Keenava best her demons and refocus herself too. ”It would be an honor to accompany you when you depart; but first, I must find my fellow Jedi. She . . . “ The Squib warlord cut Leena off before she continue, ”Oh yes, many many Jedi on the dark planet recently. Squibian Intelligence Assets report at least a dozen, many leading bands of frighty fright freedom fighters. I can direct locations to your transmission device and we can pick you up by the end of business day.” Before Leena could respond, her comlink buzzed, a slew of different planetary coordinates, some within the city and some outside appeared in the small comm readout. ”Many thanks comrade. I am sure I will be able to find my apprentice by then.” ”Excellent! We shall pick you up as soon as we have finished out top secret salvaging rescue operations.” Leena smiled as the transmission ended. She knew better than to question the strange green furred squirrel privateer/pirate or their methods. They worked all too often. If they knew she was here and where a dozen other Jedi or Imperial Knights, she had no doubt they had a way of knowing where she was and would be too. It was yet another mystery of the force. Checking the list of coordinates, Leena noted a pair not terribly far away. Something felt right about it. Tucking her comm away, Leena hurried off hoping to find her apprentice. She figured that had Keenava still been lying unconscious in the temple ruins Reaper Joe would have said something. She had hoped that the newly minted Jedi could find her way. As a former Sith, Leena figured the Twi’lek’s survival instinct was well honed. Still though, she had not found the Grandmaster yet. Making her way down the street, Leena lurched to a stop as she drew up short almost colliding with a short red furred rodent in black tactical gear. “GAHHHHHHHAAAAYYY!!!” the Squib operative cried out in shock as she whipped around in shock, “Can’t you see I am spying on the Jedis?!” she pointed down the street toward @Keenava Dira
  3. Akheron observed with the acute eyes of a hawk, locking onto his prey. Another smile gripped the hunter's lip as the ground toiled and cracked sending a wave of dirt and debris towards Solus, although he had somehow managed to survive and now laid in a large crater where once was snow and ice mixed with ash. Stuck under what remained of the ship from his previous assault. Having failed to kill him, his anger grew further into the conductive loop, making his strikes even heavier. If not for his effort of throwing a piece of metal at his master, the wayward apprentice would of perished there and then. Instead he was given a slight reprieve. Having to adjust his tactics, Akheron moved his Rage and Wrath in the Darkness to Push the metal plate towards his apprentice, the forces exerted, adding to the plates own as he saw him leap towards him. In a last valiant effort to end his master. It was Akheron's attempt at knocking both the lightsaber or him out of the air, and bring either him or both to the ground. To his arena, his surgery. For who was he but not a surgeon upon the battlefield, and all were his patients ripe for the picking. A place of Death. Following this, Akheron sped forwards his speed dwarfing his apprentice as he put almost everything into it, as he ran at a Rapacious Pursuit. A backup just in case. Hoping to get ahead of the wayward apprentice. It was time to end the charade and bring his humiliation to it's conclusion. As his apprentice stretched out his hand, Akheron attempted to remove it and the arm with the loaned lightsaber as he drew closer. In one piece or two, it didn't matter to him. Carving a path diagonally upwards where he thought the arm would be next. For close quarters was his speciality and he would get as close as he could to inflict the pain he desired to bring upon his prey. The final crescrendo would be a series of short ranged telekinetic grapples or Chwit’Jen’Itsu. Ones that utilised attacking with rapid joint hyperextension and lightning fast throws aimed at disrupting his opponent. And Akheron knew his apprentice was vulnerable. Perhaps enough to enact the technique. He would soon see. For if a success he would smash his apprentice into the ground and in that way humiliate him. As he was left for dead. ((3 - Good show Solus, really enjoyed it. Let's see if you did enough to pass the test. )) ((Akheron has attempted to defend against the metal plate by launching it back at Solus in a attempt to knock either him, the lightsaber or both out of the air with a powerful Force Push. Followed this up by use of the Rapacious Pursuit technique within the Warrior guide and a slice at the scomp link/arm followed by a final attempt at the technique of Chwit’Jen’Itsu also within the same guide hoping to overwhelm him with the speed of the technique.))
  4. Last week
  5. @RitaEstrazda @Hagark The Knight raised her eyebrows at both of their responses as she led them towards their drop shuttle. The battle was mostly over, though through the force she could still feel the distant pangs of death ticking at the back of her neck. She outstretched her senses but could feel little close danger save the intrinsic danger of those two that walked behind her. One was a creature of some degree of sentience, likely recently evolved on the galactic time scale, a being that previous galactic governments would have scoffed at giving any kind of rights to. The other was the Toruguta woman whome she did not know. Strange company to be found on a starship but such was the way of such things. The Knight gestured to the Dropship which would take them to the star destroyer. “If you have no objective in your travel then perhaps you can accompany us to Ylsia where the main redistribution and refugee camps are. Would that interest you two?”
  6. The ground underneath Solus trembling made Solus begin to scare. He had no idea how Akheron figured out his exact position, but that didn’t matter now. Solus was caught, even as he tried desperately to crawl out from his hiding spot as the ground crumbled underneath him. He was stuck under the piece of hull plating of his ship. Solus felt the yellow mist in the Impossible Geometries. The danger was about to strike him. Turning over onto his back, he called upon the force to push the hull plating away from himself in the direction of his advancing Master. As the makeshift shield was quickly and steadily shredded apart by Akhron’s strikes, with Solus stuck in the ground, a sense of dread began to set in. On the back of the hull, in Solus' mind, the eyes of the Spider and the Fanged God looked at the Shard, eager for his destruction. Solus laughed as the dread consumed him. This was the way of the Madness. This was the way of the Fanged God. To kill and to be killed. Nihilism incarnate. Even as the potential of Solus' death drew near, the Shard couldn't help but love the fact. Solus threw his blade with all his might towards the makeshift shield that Akheron shredded. His Korriban recording had the side effect of enraging his master, that much was certain. And as Solus recalled from his own duel with the tree, Pure Rage was not the most defensive tactic. Solus had fallen into that trap. Hopefully, so did Akheron, and the blade would get a strike as the piece of hull was torn away. Immediately afterwards, Solus freed himself from the ground. With all sense of safety abandoned , Solus no longer cared if he had to overdraw on the Force itself, even at the cost of his own chassis’ energy. The burst of strength and speed allowed himself to roll over to his hands and knees. Solus followed this up by Force Jumping from his position directly at his foe. Enhanced fully with the Force Jump, Solus raised his right arm forward as if he was going to grab Akheron’s face. In reality, his left hand’s finger opened up, scomp link extended. There was no way he could get Akheron unscathed. The right arm was just a ploy and a sacrifice. But if for a moment, in all of Akheron’s rage and instincts, Solus could manage to get his off hand close, he could lodge it into Akheron’s eye and drain the very knowledge from his brain. He would suck everything he could out of that Sith’s brain, and if Akheron was weak or surprised enough, kill him then and there. As Solus rapidly flew towards Akheron with the speed of a bullet, Solus threw his off hand forward, scomp link aimed towards Akheron’s eye. All the while, the shard's voicebox continued to laugh and cackle madly. (Solus got caught in the Tremor Impact and was unable to get himself into a better position as a result. When Akheron attacked with Sawblade strike, Solus attempted a makeshift shield to hold Akheron back momentarily. Solus then threw his lightsaber at Akheron, hoping it would get a strike in, given his own experiences with rage and becoming defenseless. Following this, Solus is overdrawing on the Force, barely able to free himself, and Force Jumping at Akheron, attempting to Drain Knowledge with his scomp link. )
  7. Akheron laughed almost as if to mock his opponent and as if he were simply toying with his apprentice, as he struck at the metal attempting to slice him apart. Or at least maim him, for he held no intention to kill his wayward apprentice, only to make him suffer. To humiliate and humble him in the face of the Darkness and prove how wrong he was. He would bleed the arrogance from him. With each strike he drew closer to his objective, forcing Solus backwards and showing how much of a gap of knowledge there was. Showing him that to underestimate a Sith Warrior was to invite doom upon yourself. He was however impressed by his tenacity and determination under such circumstances, even despite the inevitable fate that would await him should he fail. It was as the final strike nearly cleaved him in two that the hallucination took hold. Albeit not straight away. For the Master of Darkness was well versed in suffering from illusions, hallucinations and all manner of tricks by the many that had tried and failed in his lifetime to try and break his mind. All had failed. All had suffered in torment and had their souls fed to the Fanged God and the Darkness. As the illusion of Tear created by Solus struck at his back, Akheron reacted. Twisting around he struck at it, but after finding no purchase his eyes narrowed as his mind started to adjust, even as the intensity of the Madness of hallucination clawed at his mind like a rake, trying to break his concentration and consume him with the image of Tear, mutated and grotesque, driven by insanity to try and devour. As he tried to strike again, the beast vanished as quickly as it had arrived. Akheron observed and looked about for his real target, for Solus. But found he had used the moment to escape his grasp. At least temporarily. He had to give him credit for the trick, a smile gripped his lip momentarily before his Rage and Wrath returned. Focusing his inner Darkness outwards, he attempted to locate his wayward apprentice. And then he found him, his aura in the Darkness, a Madness driven beacon of shadow and hate. As he cautiously approached he saw the message flickering out, listening he took note. So it was as he suspected, Korriban had fallen like the rest, at least if the recording was to be believed. After All it could just be another trick by his apprentice. Another attempt to draw him in. Whatever the case, he filed the information for later. Now was not the time to consider Korriban. Not right now, in the moment. He grew more angered, his hate roiled out in the Darkness. His apprentice thought it would distract him, instead it only made his Rage and Wrath intensify. Although he could not see his apprentice, he could feel him. And that was enough, he would know what true suffering was, what it was to be a destroyer. A hunter. A Sith. "Impressive apprentice, but you cannot hide forever." He called out as he ran forwards, zig sagging before jumping up into the air, attempting to land behind the remains that his opponent was now crouched behind. Plunging the blade of the lightsaber into ground ground he called forth the Darkness to shatter the very earth beneath Solus feet and consume him within as the ground ruptured and split open underneath like a earthquake seeking to devour him. While he doubted it would kill him, it would divert attention. Or at least that was the intention. A technique used for a simple purpose, to interfere with his footing. A setup. For it was to allow for another strike far more deadly. Advancing, Akheron struck at his apprentice again. This time delivering a un-merciful barrage of blow after blow, with each additional attempt building upon the other intensity. Each was more heavy than the last as he swung and attempted to cut his apprentice apart, like a Sawblade, he struck, his Rage and Wrath growing, adding to his continued frustration and acting like a self sustaining loop of hate. All aimed at his apprentice. ((2)) ((Initially fell for the Tear hallucination from the Ritual of the Wyyrlok. Defended against the illusion, and used a Tremor Impact in the Warrior guide. This was followed by a Sawblade Strike also in the guide.))
  8. At Calypso’s words, the three Felucian’s looked at each other. Wherever they were expecting, it wasn’t this. They had not expected laughter and prideful boasting. When she left, the three spoke quietly to each other. “What you think? Is she wise? We follow, we chase, to our demise?” Pariah asked, crouched on the ground rubbing his face tendrils curiously. “Perhaps the Spore was wrong…” “Silence!” Virago boomed at the comment. “Or you won’t live long! Never deny the Great Spore’s works. No matter who the Spore does choose…” “Besides, what have we to lose?” Shaman added as she hobbled closer to Virago. She tapped on the large Felucian, who quietly bent down to scoop her back into a fetal position in his arms. “Follow, follow, let us follow. The Hunters come. Follow, follow, and let the drones have their fun!” Nodding, the two other Felucians took off after Calypso. The drones they left behind began to wonder in different directions. No longer guided, they would attempt to consume whatever they found. Eventually, other Felucians, trying to find the cult of the Spore, would find them and put them down. But by then, the trio would be far from the scene. _____ The trio arrived at the station just as Calypso disabled the communication dish. Silently, the three observed the dark lady’s works. When she rushed into the station, Shaman made a motion to be let down. “Follow, follow, find her plans. The Great Spore will need and army to command…” The two nodded and gave pursuit into the station. As they did, Shaman wondered closer to the building, towards the technician that Calypso had already killed. “The Great Spore will enjoy this delicious man” Shaman commented. Wordlessly, she shoved what looked like a small green pod inside the man’s nose, before pinching the nose together, breaking the pod open. Immediately, the spores attached and began to spread, rooting themselves into the man’s blood vessels, and, more importantly, the nerve cells that connected directly to the brain. Shaman stepped back. The corpse began to move on its own. The Great Spore had taken root and had created a new drone. One that was hungry. Shaman smiled as she began to follow the others. Virago and Pariah who followed, ignored the bodies and pursued. While Virago had to bend over to fit through some of the more tighter doorways, Pariah kept up with ease, giggling slightly. “Seeds, thats what you seek? Seeds,so soft yet sleek?” Pariah asked as he followed, bounding like a Kowakian Monkey Lizard. A Klaxon alarm went off. Someone monitoring a camera had noticed the intruders and sent out the small security team the research station could afford. Three guards popped around a corner, wielding blaster rifles. Without missing a beat, Pariah stopped and all of his face tendrils pointed towards the guards. A stream of thick green smoke-like gas shot out. As the stream struck the lead guard, the gas suddenly exploded outwards, clogging the hallway ahead. The guards began to cough violently as breathable air began to vanish, replaced by choking spores enhanced by mineral rich foods that Pariah had stored up in his body. Pariah drooled as he started to approach the guards, but Virago responded first. While the large Felucian had to slow down due to the small hallways, the smell of meat made him go berserk. With a roar, he shoved both Calypso and Pariah aside and into the choking gas. Moments later, a body was thrown outwards towards Pariah and Calypso, as screams continued, followed by chomping noises. “Oh, so sweet, always remembers…” Pariah commented as he jumped on the body that crashed before him. Pariah placed both sucked hands on the guards head and twisted, killing the man instantly. Following this, Pariah pulled upwards and ripped the skull right off, a trail of vertebrae following. “Even when starving, he cares for his members.” Pariah continued as he licked the newly acquired spinal cord. The guards' screams ended, and the only noise was Virago comping on something juicy “So seeds, that’s what we find? These seeds, exactly what kind?”
  9. "Sounds like a deal then. it's gonna take me a few hours to cook up passable identification, but while you wait, I can tell you what we're gonna be doing. If you have any questions, feel free to ask." She heard a quiet beep from her communicator, and was relieved to see that Jude had responded already. He was already on world, surprisingly, and willing to meet up. She quickly sent him her coordinates before moving on. They would have time to catch up on their travels. Pocketing the communicator, she motioned for Elliot to follow her aboard her ship. As they walked, she spoke. "I work as a mercenary of sorts- really more of a bounty hunter on a wider scale. The Sovereign Knights offer top credit for anyone willing to help them finish rooting out the influences of the Sith, whether it be pirates and criminals that festered under their watch, or remnant cultists themselves. I heard they found actual Sith at Falleen too." She took a seat at her desk, pulling up a number of documents as she began to work. "It's good money, and it's work that lets us sleep at night. You'll earn equal parts as the rest of the crew, and I'll teach you everything you need to know about this life if you stick around long enough."
  10. The first sign of something nasty heading towards Solus was in the Impossible Geometries. Solus could only describe it as a 'bad feeling' as it crashed towards the ship. Where Solus’ waves of hatred were a black cloud, his master’s was a storm. It was truly a sobering realization of how much a power gap there was between the Shard and the Sith. The second sign was the ship itself. It shook before it started to crumble, and Solus realized his first intentional strike was not going to cut it, literally or figuratively. He had to adapt as he leapt backwards with the wave crashing through the ship towards him. Even so, the wave sent him flying. His artifical body groaned as the blast ripped through the metal, but the leap had lessoned the blow slightly, enough for it to not be a killing strike. Even so, his fake Hilt broke apart on his back, and his holorecording did get somewhat damaged. Solus flew backwards from the shattering blast. However, his training at the Temple already began to show its benefits. The training in zero gravity, the practice of fighting in the open air, all of these forced Solus to think in three dimensions. As Solus crashed into the ground, he tucked his body in and rolled backwards into a stance, lightsaber drawn, activated and ready. " Ow. alright that was unpl... oh kriff" Solus looked up just in time to see his master swinging at him. The one advantage Solus had being in close quarters was, ironically, his size. Being smaller, his movements required less energy and less time to block what the Sith threw at him. However, it took most of his focus just to block the attacks, and the power of each one pushed Solus backwards slightly. With each strike, Akheron would get closer to beating the Shard into a defenseless position. This was not good. Solus thought. I need distance. Kriff, if only I had my original body from Ishvara! Then I'd crush him! The children of Ishvara would crush him toge- On the last blow, Solus blocked and held the strike momentarily, before giving his master what could’ve been described as a determined look. Or at least, as determined as an analysis droid could look. “Tear, now!” Solus shouted. In the Force, the Madness seeped out and attempted to lodge in Akheron’s mind as Solus performed the Ritual of the Wyyrlok again. Unlike before when awaiting his master’s appearance and calling up the image of some flying polyp, Solus influenced this final result. Here, he used a singular name to pull on the shared memories of both the aggressor and the defender. Specifically, the first memory of the two meeting the first time on Falleen. A memory where Solus had his own ally to use. A fellow child of Ishvara. A blood curdling howl rose up. From the ash and snow, the hallucination of Tear pounced towards Akheron’s back. He was much more twisted than before. The Sith Hound was caked over in spider webbings, as if it had been inside the great spider beast on the planet. Tear’s glowing red eyes had been replaced with numerous spider ones, each one reflecting an infinite starry night. It was as if this version of Tear had been inside the Kathol Rift and had been mutated by it. As the hallucination attacked with a mad fixation, Solus attempted to break away from Akheron. Keeping low to the ground to avoid any accidental swings in his direction, Solus moved around the Sith and moved towards the debris of his ship. During this movement, The Shard kept his sensors focused on Akheron, careful not to break the ritual. It was difficult, but Solus resisted the urge to mock his master. Instead, he deactivated his blade again and ducked to the ground, hiding behind some of the rubble. While this meant he had to break his gaze on Akheron, ending the Ritual prematurely, it meant he could attempt to vanish from sight. Solus crouched under what was the remains of an outer hull plating of the ship. While hiding, the training of fighting the Acklay beasts flashed in the Shard's mind. Deactivated blade in one hand, Solus retrieved his holopad recording and slid it out into the open, activating it. The holopad began to display its message of a Sith soldier and his urgent message. The damage it sustained from the Shatter ability made the thing flicker in and out, making it appear like it had been inside the ship and had barely survived. “Alert! Attention all Sith forces. Korriban is falling! Repeat, Korriban is falling! Imperial Forces have overtaken all sectors and are currently breaching the Praexeum! Repeat! Korriban is lost to the Imperial Forces!” The trap now set, Solus prepared himself for Akheron to investigate the urgent message. If the fall of his home world didn't interest the Sith master, then Solus doubted this was Akheron at all. When his master was in view, Solus would strike again. (Leaping from the ship and losing his planned attack, Solus is barely able to block Akheron's attacks, albeit, barely. He has taken damage and his fake hilt no longer would fool anyone. Forced into a corner, Solus had to use a mental attack with the Ritual of the Wyyrlok, and broke away to hide amongst the rubble of the ship. He is attempting to distract Akheron with the recording about Korriban's fall to imperial forces. )
  11. Kirlocca literally just stood amidst those who now flooded the docks of the spaceport, slowly taking in everything that just transpired. Life was chaotic, as it always has been. Movement of Jedi, survivors and Sith all seemed to move rather fluently like a current of a river set upon its course to the sea. From his perspective of everything that had transpired, he wondered what new purpose the Force would hold for him. He took a small glance up at the ILH-KK currently docked at the mooring tower. His mind then turned towards Tarvo, the imperial who accompanied him on this journey. He looked around for a moment to scan the crowd, but after waiting for a good ten minutes and reaching out into the Force, it was clear to the Jedi Master that his friend was no longer with him. Letting out a sigh, he turned to head towards the mooring tower. His own feelings began to swell up slightly at the loss of his friend, the one who started the movement of his recovery from grief, or rather, his path to walk alongside it. But such was the way of life, and even more so for a Jedi. ********** Sitting in the cockpit of the yacht, the Wookiee closed his eyes to allow for the Force to speak to him. He wanted off the planet, that much he was sure of. But where to, he did not know. He was still slightly lost from the death of Raven. But he knew that he could not travel with Sandy or even Leena. He needed to travel on his own. Opening his eyes, he turned on the holonet and went through some of the new reports. He decided that he would follow the devastation and become a beacon of hope, as it would be what Raven wanted to do, and she would have heavily encouraged him to do the same thing. Having the ship begin to pull away from the mooring tower, Kirlocca quickly changed the name of the ship, as it had yet to be done. Oracle felt like a good name for the moment. He didn’t know why, but he felt it would soon be needed. After he changed the name and beacon, he had the ship pull away from Falleen.
  12. Akheron returned another rebuttal. "We shall see, my wayward and consumed apprentice. Show me what you really are, for with me you shall know no mercy within." Akheron could feel his apprentice. His hatred, rage. His Envy and Madness pulsating like a great drum within the Darkness, and within that same madness he could see how he had failed to heed his most important lesson. To not allow yourself to be drawn so deep as to completely lose who you were.and be consumed by the very Darkness he had sought to control. And he had lost control, that much was now evident. Like a young pup he had lost his way and it was up to his master to lead him from going astray. And he would teach him, in the most painful and humiliating way imaginable. He would educate him in the matters of loss and pain, in what it was to be a Sith. To break all chains. The Sith Warrior and Master recalled fresh lessons learnt from his recent loss upon Falleen to the Jedi. He would not advance and follow his enemy, no instead he would draw them into his own trap. As his apprentice attempted to blind him, Akheron reacted quickly, his experience shining through like a beacon, honed senses on a razor sharp edge, poised to strike down any who opposed him. With his coiled hand, he stretched forth with his Rage and to unleash his own wave of Darkness. His mind was numb to all but the cold. No emotions were on display, only a heartless calculus and cold objectivity. A place where compassion or the light feared to tread. This was the state of the Cold Mind. Solus movements became obstacles to overcome and nothing more. As his wayward apprentice and opponent jumped onto the top of the ship, he let loose. Wave after wave of pure blasts born of his internal Darkness ruptured forwards, lifting snow, ice, ash and metal, meant with one purpose. To obliterate and destroy anything in it's chosen path, to crumble anything not bolted down to the ground as the Sith Warrior attempted to Shatter the land and ship. And hopefully the one on top of it. This was a sight unseen by his wayward apprentice previously. A deadly predator, a Hunter seeking his prey. Behind this wall of righteous retribution, Akheron followed. Using the attempt as a mere distraction, a way to get in close and slice at his enemy. With the Speed of the Darkness he advanced, dodged and darted. Drawing ever closer, moving through what little of the ship remained, until he was close enough that he attempted to slice horizontally across his torso before following with another diagonal from hip to neck and head. (( 1 )) ((Used the Sith Warrior technique Shatter, followed by Force Speed and a double hit combination at his torso via horizontal slice and a diagonal at the neck/head area.))
  13. As an Assassin, Dictum's knowledge of the Dark Arts performed by the castes of Sith Sorcerers was vaguely limited and estimated. His own realm was that of the Shadows, Death, and Chaos, a realm that few walked with sanity and decree. For him to assume anything of the veils beyond was mere stipulation and guess-work. And so, it did not surprise him of the reality in which he had mistook. As Inmortos appeared behind him, he turned to greet the Sorcerer with a degree of respect and acclaim. But that held no extended pleasure as the Master's words etched themselves in his mind and in his soul. For Inmortos' own reality soon forged its self upon Dictum's own. And in that very moment, as two realities collided, his just reward was just that. And in its consummation, became more. As finger plunged flesh, the seeping of soulfrost encapsulating the puncture, Dictum found himself delving a deeper understanding of pain, fear, and gluttony as Inmortos scratched upon his soul. There were no words that could allow comprehension of what transpired, only a simple layman's term could give subtle hints as emotions swept at Dictum's mind and soul. For pain stood at the forefront, inconceivable pain that treated both consciousness and spirit, and in the moment, fear compared to deathly fright filled his mind with anguish and agony. But Dictum's soul was not without strength, and it stood welcoming as the revelation of power consumed his heart gluttonously. Even as his form trembled and his soul ached in pain and fear, an almost freezing paralysis station of being, deep within the soul that Inmortos touched, a deep well of hunger resided, threatening to consume both. Yet, as Inmortos' finger found its scarred crevasse, and with a single motion tore out a portion of Dictum's soul, the world trembled at its awakened power. And in its final moments, Dictum fell to all four. Gasping for air, Dictum's strength wavered immensely as his weak bones threatened to crumble beneath his weight. He coughed, then gagged, before ichor vomited from his mouth and his gaze struggled to watch the moments as they transpired. But his hunger remained, the gluttonous depravity lingering in his soul as he held onto his power. And as the dust settled figuratively and the rumbling stone settled physically, Dictum found strength to rise once again to his feet as the crystals sealed his wound. Hearing the movements beside him, Dictum's gaze turned toward the mummified remains as they lifted from their sleep with true revelation. Dictum had offered his soul, and in it's acceptance, the devil arose. Now the time to unleash hell grew even closer. And upon the precipice of Chaos, Dictum stood between two worlds. No longer was he a mere Assassin of the Sith. No, he had became more, a living blade that stood at Death's Door. And in his gaze, he saw his mission. He was to answer those who came to knock. He was to be the voice of Chaos. He was, is, Death's Divinity. He would sow it's seeds and reap it's harvest as Harbinger.
  14. Sia's mind verge upon the precipice of unconsciousness as he hung there in the air at eye's level, moments of consciousness lost to the cobblestone of time as his mind faded in and out. Only Apothos' words and presence would bring him back as his glowing lens flickered awake. Like a bobble on a fishing line, he hovered. "Not much of a choice, I have." Sia spoke incoherently, his tone weak and raspy as he struggled to breath. "Do what you will, but I will reject any attempts of discourse." With that said, Sia slowly dropped his guard as he allowed Apothos' in. Silently and closely he watched, the energies swirling around and through them as his pain became barely bearable. His bones etched and fractured by the intense lightning, his flesh scorched and tattooed by its immense power. This is what sustained him where mere mortals would fade. And yet, he remained cautious, not only in nature but in mind as well. Sith rarely helped another, and investments carried numerous debts. But for Sia, there was little option. Power had came at a cost, and as fractured as he was, power was the only thing keeping him from death's door.
  15. Calypso's face remained passive as she looked down at the warped Felucian standing in front of her. Her nose wrinkled as the sickeningly sweet stench of rot wafted past her nose. The air around this foul procession hung heavy and unnatural, saturated in the wrongness that had rooted in their very core. They reminded Calypso of something... Then she laughed as it came to her. They reminded her of the Cthon. A different breed of aberration perhaps, but aberrations nonetheless. They were monsters, and Calypso was kin to monsters. "What twisted little things you are," she said, still laughing. "I like you. I won't kill you." A sweet, almost maternal smile spread across her face, though it didn't dim the dangerous glimmer in her eyes. "You want to know why I'm here? I'm afraid it has nothing to do with the Jedi. Indeed, I'd prefer to avoid them for now. No, I'm here for seeds." She gestured around her at the jungle. "This garden of yours will give me seeds from which I will grow pandemonium and fear." Her smile widened. "And as for gruesome work, oh yes, rest assured there will be the blood of off-worlders spilled before I am done. Come with me if you wish. Indulge in your appetites. After that...we'll see." Calypso did not wait for a response. Instead, like a beast suddenly catching a scent, she was tearing off through the jungle again. In her head, she did not know if the strange creatures would follow. In her soul, she was certain they would. The Dark Side walked along its own path, and this chance little intersection was important. Of that Calypso was sure. ___________________________________ The Sionver Research Outpost stood out starkly from the colorful backdrop of the jungle. A silvery dome with a communications dish set at the apex, it was an island of technology in a sea of wilderness. While there were only several dozen technicians and scientists stationed there, the dome was large and well-equipped for an outpost of its type. A sizable door on side, set halfway up the dome, held what Calypso suspected was the outpost's hangar, where the staff's shuttle would be kept for when trips to one of the cities was necessary. A second door, this one on the ground level, would be the one to lead into the base proper and act as an embarking point for the staff's skiffs when they wanted to venture out to take samples. Calypso waited outside the research station, first to look for any potential security measures, and then to give the corrupted Felucians time to catch up, if they had chosen to trail her. Finally, she made her move. She allowed a trickle of the Dark Side to flow through her, calling on her bottomless hatred with the ease of reflex. Her body shivered in anticipation, but she kept herself in check. It wouldn't do to let her full power out here, and draw the Jedi down on her. Instead, she made a small gesture with her hand, and a brief squeal of metal cut through the sounds of the jungle as the communications dish shifted on its base, sparking briefly as its connection was cut. Calypso did not have to wait long. The main door opened a minute later, and a technician stepped out and started moving towards a set of rungs running up the side of the dome, wearing a belt festooned with tools. He started up the side, and Calypso waited until he was halfway up before she held out her hand again. The technician stopped, and while clinging to the rungs he began feeling at his throat with his free hand, first slowly and then more frantically. Faint gagging noises could be heard as he futilely tried to suck in air. Then his strength failed him, and he tumbled down the side of the dome like a toy. Calypso caught a brief glimpse of the man's terrified face, and a thrill shot through her. Her breath quickened, and her eyes widened. She was going to enjoy this. She shot out of the jungle, and as she entered the opened door the technician had come out of, she gestured, and a large spanner jerked out of the now dead technician's utility belt and floated next to her as she raced inside. She couldn't use her lightsaber here, not if she wanted to keep the Sith's presence minimal. But that didn't mean she couldn't kill them in other ways. A scientist was in the entry chamber when Calypso came in. The woman only had time to open her mouth in confusion before the spanner caved in her skull. And then Calypso was past her and moving through the outpost.
  16. There, in front of the ramp to the Falleen 578-R Transport, Solus heard his masters’ words. He heard his master calls of madness, and Solus, in his own special case of insanity, almost agreed with him. But he was not weak. Not in the slightest. His master, as much as Solus hated him, had helped make him strong. Akheron taught him to break each and every inhibition, and the Temple, in their strange and esoteric ways, helped Solus connect to something even greater. A ream of the Darkside that few would ever knowingly tap into. “Emissary of the Fanged God? Ha!” Solus shouted as he holstered his lightsaber. “Then I must be the ambassador of anarchy!" The Kaggoth had begun. Solus raised both arms and threw them forward. The Force reacted as a wave of tendrilled hatred flowed through the Impossible Geometries from the Shard’s center. As it flowed along the cold squares of the ground, the wave picked up everything it could. Snow and ash whipped upwards into a blinding cloud towards Akheron. Solus' memory of facing the that Tree Jedi on Nar Shaddaa flashed back, and the Shard recalled how he got some distance from that giant thing using a similar trick. This time however, neither the tree nor Akheron would bait him into doing something stupid. “I am your end heretic!!” Solus shouted as he pushed the snow and ash up at Akheron. Following this, Solus tapped into the Force again, leaping upwards and landing on the ship’s dorsal area with a resounding clang. The use of so much Force so quickly left the Shard slightly exhausted, but his training had taught him to push on. Retrieving his genuine blade, Solus crouched and awaited for Akheron to follow, limiting his own visibility from the ground. The Shard’s red blade would ignite and swing the moment Akheron followed. ROUND 1 (Solus opened this by trying to blind Akheron temporarily with the snow and ash of the planet, followed by Force Jumping onto the relatively flat top of the ship. He has prepared himself to swing the moment Akheron shows his body)
  17. She faltered for a moment, the Hybrid considering the question and what she desired. A chuckle and a smile. "I guess for now I follow the stars where they may take"
  18. Akheron listened to his wayward apprentice as if he were to a petulant child. How he mocked, belittled and showed his betters such disrespect. And in turn mocked powers beyond his comprehension. The arrogance of youth and inexperience on full display. For in his arrogance he believed he was already superior and free of his chains when he had barely tapped his true potential. He would soon learn how very wrong he was, that he was not quite as transcendent as he believed in his Madness. For Akheron saw him for what he was. Blinded and consumed by the very Madness he had sought to control. He would show him just how much more he had to learn. If he wished for transcendence he would have to earn it, he would not make it easy. He would beg for mercy before the end or see the truth he had been trying to show him. One way or another. Akheron listened as the spectre of Inmortos appeared, making Akheron's declaration holy rite in the face of the Darkness and the Fanged God. For he spoke truth. They were now bound not just in blood but spiritually to carry out the Kaggath. For the Darkness recoiled and answered the call, as even the great beast lurking nearby took notice. Stopping it's assault momentarily. As Solus struck the low baring wall, attempting to crush the Sith Warrior within, Akheron sensed it. His own Darkness alerting him to the fact, and so he acted on instinct. Focusing his Rage and Wrath he stretched out a hand to hold back the tide of rock and debris threatening to encase the Sith. And with Telekinesis he removed those blocking his escape, just enough so he could fit. Squeezing through, he exited along the hallway he had previously traversed. Lightsaber ablaze with crimson to light the path and aid him in teaching his apprentice a lesson of Rage and Wrath. His. And how he would learn. For in his futile attempt at defiance he knew not what he now faced. This was not the Master he knew, but a beast on the hunt. A destroyer set loose to burn and purge his soul of the arrogance he had shown. To show the price of his contempt and hubris, to show him how the Darkness favoured only the strongest. And to conquer Death and defy the Fanged God his soul was to be strong. To be free of another chain. To show him what was possible when you truly let yourself be at one with the Darkness. For even in Death, Akheron had grown stronger. He could feel Solus ahead of him, inside his ship. Yet the Shard had forgotten critical fact. He had taught him everything he knew, he was as a open book. However he did hope he had grown. For even in his righteous Anger he felt Pride at what his apprentice was attempting to do. To try and accomplish what he must to ascend and gain his Lordship. To be recognised by the Darkness for what he was. Just as once he had, long ago now. A price was paid, just as now. Like a great hunter, he stalked his prey. Eyes narrowed as he advanced towards the meeting spot, only the crimson of the loaned blade lightning his way in the dark and bitter cold of the raging storm. He acknowledged it, and felt the return of the necromancer. But kept his focus fixed upon his current objective. And in the gloom he spotted him. The Mad one. His apprentice. Awaiting to be taught a new lesson. He knew there would be traps, he expected as much for his opponent was an Assassin, lacking of honour and the will to fight face to face, unless they could help it. To strike from the shadows, instead of the front. To not see the look in the enemies eyes as they perished, the greatest of all fruits to bare. At least that's how he saw it. For to savour the last look was to see the soul as it descended to feed the Fanged God and the Darkness. And Akheron relished it as much as any Sith Warrior. Would he see such a look upon his apprentice should he perish, he wondered. He would soon see. Lightsaber in hand, he approached cautiously, while his other held back the Darkness. Ready to uncoil like a snake at a moment's notice. He spoke out in rebuttal. "It is you who shall be undone, my wayward apprentice. Let me show you another lesson, and show you the price of such disrespect. For you insult powers beyond your comprehension in your mockery. In your Madness you have been consumed, in the arrogance of youth and inexperience. Face my Wrath, my Rage and know the true power of the Darkness. Let me show you what it is to be a Master of Darkness, a emissary of the Fanged God. If you want me for your prize, come earn it. Come play with the beast within and become the hunters prey of the destroyer of worlds. Let the Kaggath begin." With that he readied himself for whatever happened next. (First official Sith Lord final test/duel Kaggath post is for you Solus, good luck.))
  19. Earlier
  20. Far above, the storm continued to engulf the bulk of the world, both the citadel/academy and the barren wastes of duned snow and crumbled mountains. Thunder and lightning arced and rang across the world interrupting the droves of windswept snow and ice. None kf that mattered however; not here, this far below. Here the chill came from something else. The stillness seemed to creep to the bone. The library, stores of dark tomes, forbidden sorceries, cursed objects and more seemed to stretch out endlessly deep beneath the surface of the planet. Ancient catacombs and frost-formed passageways that morphed and shifted beneath Sith sorceries and ancient mysteries teetered on the edge of reality as they twisted beyond the veil of death and back. Contained within the magics of the vast storehouse of forbidden knowledges and cursebound ancients, the vault of Inmortos remained, untouched and yet, trespassed. It was here that the assassin Dictum had returned to try and broker a deal with the god-king of death himselt. Spells older than the Sith itself, dark curses from beyond the edges of the galaxy, and malevolent wraiths bound in their pots and lanterns shifted in the still air atop the robe draped mummified remains of an unknown body. Dark icy auras, the call of death itself, seemed to emanate from the corpse. As the assassin affixed the bloodstained saber hilt of Inmortos, the spirits shackled within were torn from the great beyond and cast into the tomb. With hissing screams they erupted with the red blade as the saber seemed to spring to life. From the shadowy recesses of the unadorned burial chamber, the lurching servant of Inmortos seemed to materialize, a grizzled being of whose very life had been claimed and shackled; bound not in life, but in death to serve its god. The once high priest of Aaris III bound to a dead form no longer his own, an eternal caretaker. The dead form’s voice was barely a whisper as he laughed at the assassin’s words. ”You are mistaken.” he hissed as an outstretched finger pointed beyond the Sith Lord’s shoulder. There looming larger than life itself, as if to engulf the entire room, was the growing ghostly visage of Inmortos. His grotesque form barely visible beneath the ethereal blue of his cloak offset to a sickly black shadow in the glow of the humming spirit saber. ”Lord Dictum.” he spoke, his voice pained. “my soul is bound to this place and yet stretched across the cosmos. I am bound to the world beyond by oaths beyond mortal understanding and yet bound to this place. My work is not yet complete. Your service shall see its just reward.” he spoke of the Baptism of Blood that had drawn Akheron back from the tortured hellscape he had been cast unto. He alluded to the ancient spells that ensnared him as he had passed unto death and imprisoned him to this reality. Stretching out a rotted ghostly hand, the wraith moved as if to plunge it into the man’s chest, icy crystals materializing where ethereal and mortal met. A gentler soul might have taken its time, expertly carving a portion of what was desired; but not Inmortos. The existential pain that racked his body quivered even as his bony fingers clasped the very soul of @Lord Ōk Rägnär and raked across the surface before finding a spiritual crevice within his chest. The gnarled pointed digits of the necromancer, shackled to this world by magics that superseded death itself, pierced the man’s soul and with a heave that shuddered the entire burial chamber and beyond tore forth a shattered, ichor-bleeding portion of Dictum’s eternal soul. The visage of Inmortos seemed to flicker for a moment as pain unexplainable washed over the room causing spirit, shade, and shambler to cry out in pain. A mighty wave of unnatural necromancic energy toppled the undead servant who had been present in the room as it rocked the bedrock that contained the burial chamber itself. The former priest fell to the ground, his form crumbling to dust as it plumed into the air, a fog of death itself. The spirits of Inmortos’ saber shrieked before vanishing with the spirit that remained of Inmortos. The blade itself sputtered before it fell silent, the bloody coating drained from it’s now shimmering black hilt, the power of the souls and crystals that powered it depleted, drawn forth by the unseen spells that even now continued to wind their wills, bound to a path set forth by eternity past and future. And then, just as suddenly as the room had eruoted, it fell deathly silent. The tormented vortex of darkness replaced by a heavy frigid stillness that threatened to suffocate the minds and hearts of any ensnared within. As Dictum dealt with the physical and spiritual consequences of his soul being rend in two by the necromancer’s undead power and ancient spells, a shrouded hand clasped the edge of the stone sarcophogus, the deep echo of such a simple movement echoing through the very force itself as something was given unholy unnatural rebirth. Ever so slowly, the mummified creature within began to rise.
  21. The blind neimoidian sat back in his throne, his sightless eyes staring out into space. "You look like death, Darth Sia." He paused, before an anemic chuckle escaped his mouth at his own weak joke. Then, he frowned, head cocked as if he could hear something. "Your rebreather...it needs attention." He looked from side to side, dramatically taking in the wasteland they stood in. "...and it doesn't seem like you have much in the way of help." Apothos extended his hand. "I can fix it." Like the tendrils of a deep sea creature, Apothos' awareness extended and touched inner workings of the jawa Sith's rebreather, although Darth Sia's own will immediately repulsed him. Mechu-Deru could only do so much when uninvited. "Let me in, and I can restore it for you." He smiled again. "Consider it an investment." Apothos would not lie and say that he could be trusted, and he doubted Sia would have believed him anyway. The question was, would the jawa see the opportunity here...or the threat?
  22. The Force flowed so effortlessly upon the minds of all as the shadows withheld certain knowledge and presence, a blind man hidden within the veil he had placed upon each's eyes. And yet, just as effortlessly as he hid himself, Dictum did in return reveal himself at Inmortos' brief return. Draped in the skins of the undead as coagulated blood hung upon its form, Dictum stepped forth a new being of death and despair, a Lord of the Dark, bound by the Chaos he now represented wholeheartedly. Beneath the mask, his grin turned to a grimace, the being that was Solus so close to understanding the precipice he stood upon and yet had allowed the madness to forsake him just as so many before him had. Just as Ōk's own father had. Dictum silently wondered if Solus was but a mere reflection of himself, and yet, his mind spoke against this possible revelation, Chaos and Madness two separate realms within the same existence. Madness was the sole revelation of truth. Chaos was it's understanding and acceptance. Solus had yet to find its truth completely. In his Madness, he worshipped the seeds of Chaos rather than planting them. As the two began their ritual and departed, Dictum stretched out his hand and called forth to him the Blade of Inmortos, his hand nearly frozen completely upon its touch and burnt by its touch. But he flinched not a inch as he clipped it to his hip where the one he had gifted Akheron once resided and turned to make his own departure as the veil once again draped the eyes of all and his form seemed to disappate into the Shadows that engulfed him. For his mission was another moment of potential risk and reward, an aspect of eternity broken. His mission was to raise the God King of Death, and it would require a portion of blood and spirit. Heading from wince he had came, he returned to the Library where Inmortos' knowledge laid, the Guardian within revealing the crypt that housed Inmortos' true flesh and bone. For the revelation of the Library still hung upon his mind, the many realms that resided the focal of his power and thought. For the truth was that the library was the mind of Inmortos, an illusion created to hide the carcass of the Sith Master. With a humble bow, he spoke. "It is time for Lord Inmortos to rise as himself and not as a wraith of his power." Inmortos spoke, laying the Blade in the hand of the body found within as the Illusion was swept away by Dictum's own mind. Turning his blind gaze to the Guardian that had protected this tomb during their last visit, he finished. "Or should I say that you should rise?" Dictum grinned behind the mask that concealed his face, the holes that were made to reveal eyes flickering a somber gold as the revelation was spoken. It wasn't a hard one to figure out, for Aaris III was an extension of Inmortos' power, and everything there was forged from it. It only made sense that the crypt within the Illusion of the Library was Inmortos true form, and who better to hide this than the God King of Death, Inmortos himself. But why not return himself? Equivalent exchange. Inmortos was bound to this world. It required a soul for a soul. And if Inmortos was to truly be free of the portion of his soul he had bound to this world, then a portion of another would need to be offered willingly. This was the price Dictum had come to offer. A portion of his soul to the God King. A gift worth gifting.
  23. If Solus was capable of doing so, he would’ve rolled his eyes. Sadly, he did not have facial muscles, so his look of disappointment was missed. It seems that this thing was in fact, Akheron. The emphasis on honor, the misguided pompousness of being closer to the Fanged god than Solus was, and now the delusion that Innmortos actually belonged to the cult of Bragsanu. There was no mistake, this was Akheron and not some false thing made by the necromancer. All of the Shard’s emotions on Falleen had been for naught. Solus was about to speak when the necromancer appeared. Or rather, his saber at Akheron’s side shook and the necromancer took form. “Oh look, the ghost of Aaris’ past.” Solus commented as the necromancer spoke. Once Innmortos was done, and issued that he would enforce the ruling of such a duel, Solus placed his hands on his hips and laughed. “I will accept your challenge, you heretics. But not because I actually respect your foolish beliefs Akheron, nor your puny threats, victim of vapor. Had my child not intervened, you would’ve already been dead, and the necromancer would be running from the spider’s terror. I have tapped into powers beyond recognition, and my restraints have been loosened completely. You Akheron, must die, and this… Kaggath is the best opportunity to erase your heresy from history. And as for you necromancer, you forget my very being! I have lived aeons already, less than nothing! I was banished from everyone, but I ascended! So if I lost and was banished to the insides of your planet, I would return again after its inevitable death!” Solus turned and began to leave the chamber, but stopped and faced the two. “I am not just Solus, nor the Golden Slave, nor even the Dragon! At the end of this, you will know my true name! Let the ritual of the Kaggoth begin!” At this, Solus reached into the Impossible geometries, activated his saber, and threw it upwards. As the blade slashed through the stone ceiling, it began to crumble as the lightsaber cut through a pivotal load-bearing spot. With this, Solus turned and dashed away from the crushing rubble. He didn’t actually believe the rubble would kill Akheron, the wraith-like Innmortos, or even blind Dictum, wherever he was. However, it would provide a distraction so he could get to his ship and make preparations. Solus called his blade back as he passed the room’s entrance and sliced at the roof above the door, crumbling it behind him as well. Any continues delays he could cause Akheron, the better for him. True, this wasn’t a 'honorable' tactic, but the playground Akheron had declared was the planet’s wastelands. To Solus, the entire planet was a wasteland, as well as what laid beneath it, like this chamber. Especially Innmortos, the living embodiement of the planet's wastelands. "Besides" Solus commented to himself. "I'm an assassin. Honor is for the weak" Solus dashed with the mania of a madman and returned to his ship, the Force fueling each step. Once inside, the Shard quickly got to work. First, Solus took the remaining webbing from the spider monster off of his cape and rewrapped it around his lightsaber. When he had been caught up in the webbing earlier, the strange silk resisted a lightsaber blow momentarily, and required Solus to hold the strike to break free. While he doubted it would last more than one strike from Akheron, Solus loved the idea of using his 'childs' gift on his weapon. At the ship, Solus did his second task; he made a fake lightsaber hilt. Made up of various parts from the ship that he had already dismantled to construct his latest blade, this fake wouldn't work even with a Kyber crystal. It was nothing more than a fake exterior prop. In his rush, the fake hilt would never pass close inspection, but in combat, it would pass as the genuine. Solus hid the fake hilt behind him and under his cape. Finally, Solus retrieved a copy of the Korriban transmission. He knew Akheron still loved his home, even if he didn't admit it. This battle would be more than just a test of skill. It would be a battle of morale as well, and the lord of rage would break under the shards' ingenuity. The message of Korriban falling under the imperials would be useful. Solus glanced up. He felt something. Something was happening outside his ship. The Shard dashed outside to meet it, his genuine hilt in hand. Whether or not it was Akheron, he didn’t know. But he would be ready for it. "Come heretic! Face your undoing!"
  24. Tayln observed as R.U.I.N appeared to be trying to smash his way to the level below with some urgency. This caught his interest as did the fact Fera, his companion spoke of a power surge...a fact which did not bode well. Pulling up a scanner, he confirmed the readings before placing it back in his pack, it didn't look good at all. A power surge only meant a few things. And by the sounds of it, if the enemy had been stalling as he had suspected himself, then it probably meant they were preparing to evacuate or set off some kind of defence mechanism and bury the building with them inside. He had a strong feeling it was the latter, especially with how vehemently the defence had been stalling. As such he used a rope provided by one of the other troopers and dangled it down the hole before descending after the chaotic war droid who was on a rampage. He ran as fast as he could, trying to catch him up and motioned the Jedi Knight with them to follow, just in case. Besides they might have need of his advanced speed, especially when time was against them. Several other troops followed into the hole behind him, lighting up the area inside the hole and where they had entered before they followed the intelligence operative. Using his old knowledge of the place, Talyn knew there shouldn't be any reason for such a power surge down here. And so it pretty much confirmed his suspicions. He called out to Sanguis. "Go ahead of us. Don't wait up! Use your advanced speed if you must. I have a very bad feeling about that power surge and the stalling tactics. See if you can find the source and stop it, if my suspicions are correct I don't think it bodes well for us. There shouldn't be any reason for such a surge down here. It's like a build up to something...something bad. R.U.I.N is onto something." With that he sped after the droid and ran as fast as his legs would allow, pushing his cybernetic enhancements to the limit.
  25. Esmer remained quiet a few steps behind the Queen, leaning against the wall and tapping gently against her datapad to avoid additional noise. Bosco and Rotan briefly looked at their wrists before nodding and going a little further down the corridor. Esmer’s expression was blank. Her midnight blue skin was shrouded by the fluorescent light that shone from above, and her starlit eyes sparkled impassively while she continued her work. Disrespect and vulgar displays were not strange in her line of work, nor were they strange regarding her people and what they’d been through. But, traditionally, such slings were indicative of a bankrupt mind. Those who sought to lash out at anyone did so due to shortcomings and doubts within themselves. Even those who appeared cruel and heartless to their core were plagued by phantoms that they would or could never absolve. They were constantly running from their inadequacy and would not admit, at any point, the weakness of their plight. Esmer knew little about the Sith. But people were people. And hate was hate, regardless of where it came from.
  26. Keenava felt Si Si’s fingers between hers as they scampered down the dusty road. They took turns weaving back and forth and singing a song they’d made themselves. It was a joyful, trivial little tune that didn’t mean much, but as the first note of her sister’s music started... Keenava felt a sharp poke at her ribs. Blustering for a moment while she rolled restlessly on the ground, Keenava’s eyes sprang open, and she leaped to her feet, instinctively raising her arms into a defensive position. A few figures scattered with yelps of panic, and a gem clattered to the stone beneath them. They stood away from the Twi’lek with their shaking hands raised above their heads, but they made no further move. It was unclear whether this was due to an abundance of shock or an element of etiquette or decorum. Regardless, they stared at Keenava with wide eyes. The Jedi regarded them slowly, eyeing their empty hands and pockets. She scanned the rubble around her and took a couple of centering breaths before relaxing her posture and lowering her hands to her sides. She bent down, grabbed the gem and her bag, and took a moment to pat herself down and assess that all of her belongings were still together. She looked skeptically at the arrayed scavengers, shook her head, and then began walking away from the remains of the temple. Dawn rays broke over the horizon and lit her cheek, warming her from the tips of her lekku to her toes. She felt a tingling sensation tickle the base of her spine and something warm in her chest. It was odd. She wasn’t sure how she would feel fusing with her remaining alter, but nothing changed. Keenava came to a stop in the foyer of a broken home and ran over the past few weeks in her mind; she’d been cloned in a place she didn’t recognize, realized that she’d been purified, was caught fleeing slavery by a Sith killer droid and Grandmaster Leena on Tatooine, and then fell into a whirlwind of activity that filled every remaining moment after. Any time that she’d had to reconcile her past, had been rushed to accommodate conflict and functionality—at least until she had that moment with Furion when everything broke down after Leena’s massive purifying wave. It was the first time after her cloning that she was able to process and accept everything that had happened without the weight of expectation resting on her shoulders. She turned her head to see the rising light of the Falleen sun and smiled a little to herself. The sins of her past would continue to plague her, but now—as Roene had advised her on Ylesia—she was finally comfortable accepting who she used to be and moving forward with who she wanted to be now. And, all things considered, she was extremely confident that she would never fall again. She may not always agree with the Jedi, but there was nothing in or out of this galaxy that could convince her to go back to the dark side. No amount of power, or what the Sith called "freedom," was worth the toll. Keenava resumed her stroll through the ruins until she came upon a small contingent of armored people. She wasn’t sure what their affiliation was, but they weren’t looting or fighting, so she didn’t really pay them much mind. She was doing what she could to follow the message that Leena left her and was just about to leave when one of the figures in the mysterious group of people drew her attention (@Kyrie Eleison). An Anzati woman with dark hair and facial scars drew her eyes and stirred her heart. Cautiously, Keenava approached the group, her head cocked slightly to the side. She moved until she was standing in front of the woman and looked deep into her intense emerald eyes. The feeling in her heart swelled with warmth, and it reached out toward the woman the closer she got. But Keenava kept her hands to herself and didn’t get much closer than about six feet. She briefly stammered, spluttering as she tried to come up with something to say, but assembled her thoughts and cleared her throat before starting again. "I don’t know how I know you. In fact, I don’t even think I know your name. But I feel like I should thank you. If it weren’t for you, my life would have taken a completely different turn." Keenava said, her amethyst eyes glinting with hope. Keenava couldn’t explain the link or why she felt compelled to do that, but after she was finished, she turned around and walked away to restart her search for @Leena Kil.
  27. The storm itself seemed to recoil for the moment, the winds dying as heavy snow continued to fall all about the challengers. Thunder rang in the distance as if to shake the citadel itself and atop the towering barrqcks Akheron had just exited the massive beast of Aaris materialized, clinging effortlesslesly to the crenelations As it watched the proceedings below play out; seemingly held at bay as its hunger filled the air with the snow. The hilt at Akheron’s side rattled and buzzed against the Sith steel armor he wore and in the stillness a flg of spirits descended from the storm, the sky, seemingly from the very planet itself. They hissed and screamed in agony, telltale signs of their eternal torture in the world beyond even as they sought refuge, shadows in this world, but servants to a god-king that transcended both who yet was bound by the shackles of inevitable truth. Yea, even a Sith sorcerer powerful enough to command life and death with a sweep of his hands, one day would owe the tax of the ferryman. From the cloud of swirling wailing spirits emerged a blackened haze, a wraith that brought bore before it and with it an otherworldly chill that touched all before it, sapping power and strength from bone and steel alike. Amalgamous in form the mighty wraith approached the Sith, master and apprentice. Slowly it began to take form. The heavy cloak of the necromancer was gone as was his skeletal form; what remained was a testament to the ravages of the dark side, to walking the precipice between two worlds and refusing to be contained by either. A humanoid form devoid of color and life, his body shriveled and twisted, muscled flayed out and long flowing hair, once colored as the rainbow muted to blacks and grays matted down the figure’s back and face. Pain and suffering from a thousand lifetimes were rolled out like a scroll on the visage of the body that approached. Ancient words etched in blood across every surface of exposed flesh that told of the sins committed by its bearer in life. A tattered robe of sackcloth was all the visage was afforded for decency and even that had been rent and torn asunder, flayed by invisible whips and hellfire. The being approached, walking atop the deepening snow and leaving no trace of it’s pacing. It cold pained eyes glistened with unseen power as the shackles of death, of the oath and ritual that had, for the time, bound Inmortos, materialized as he stretched out in an effort to strike both Solus and his master. Through the agony of his soul, tortured beyond recognition, the spirit of the god king of death himself was defiant. For as pained and crippled might he appear, his every movement was that of eternal command, a shackled king, and yet a master of the eternal and damned. Stopping to stand between the two challengers, the god king looked first at the mechanized man of metal, then to the steel encased warrior. ”I see you have found my gift” he spoke, his voice barely a whisper, yet it carried louder than the storm that raged all about them. It’s authority apparent as even the great beast above recoiled in tense hatred and animalistic fright, a shrill hiss of defiance winding into the winds above. The very pain and tortured undying of a soul betrayed on the breeze. ”The tears of the dead flow freely in this place and their eternal sufferings now clothe your body, drawing strength and life. Even now your life, saved by my oath, serves my will and shalt free me from the shackles of eternity.” He spoke explaining the curse and blessing bestowed upon the trailings of predestination before he continued, his gaze burning with an ethereal chill as he stared beyond the carapace of Akheron into his very soul. Slowly he turned his head from master to apprentice, the same burning frostfire weighing the Shard against the malevolence of eternity. ”And this right, this Kaggath, I have heard it proclaimed. By the rite of the Sith, I shall see it enforced in this life and eternity; for to break it is to resist the final shackles that lie unbroken by any Sith who has come before and to offer your body and soul up for eternal punishment beyond my hand.” As he stared, his eyes boring into Solus with a sickening hatred, he continued. ”And of this, your soul shall be damned to a world In which your tricks, your spider, hold no sway. You shall be cast into a lake of eternal fire and yet frozen beyond all understandings of pain. Every second shall be like an eon as you endure new and unheard of tortures at my hand; for you are too weak for this world, a mere stone unable to function without the crutch of a slave, driven by fear of an unseen master’s lash you have yet not felt. And why should you not? For you defy a god who by his very nature has allowed your heresies to build, a god by whom you cannot seek to understand lest beat. You defy your master. You prostrate yourself before a beast of madness. That very madness you will transcend in this defeat, as the legs are plucked from your spider one by one. You defy me, one who would give you eternity; one who has overcome the very god you seek to defy.” A cold shackled hand passed across both acolytes of darkness as Inmortos stepped forward to stand directly between the two. He outstretched gnared and teisted hands to place a palm against the metallic chest of each. Searing cold seemed to arc forth as frosty blackened handprints appeared on both. “By this you are bound.” he hissed as his body faded from sight, first his shackles and then his form, leaving not but his words, mark and bitter fold a testament to his presence. And as he vanished and the winds of the storm rushed in to throw cutting ice and ravage once more, his words whispered to the apprentice, “You are but a slave to the madness, a master known not to you but upon the surface; shackled so that you might never become what you are destined. You are already defeated and can blame no one but yourself. You could have been mine and in the end, it is inevitable. You shall.” And as the spiritual entourage screamed off into the storm, the spirit of Inmortos departed. Drug back to the hellish eternity or to lurk atop his throne remained to be seen, but he had appeared and bound the Kaggath within the law of the Sith and within the confines of eternity. Above, the mighty beast of Aaris stirred, no longer repulsed. It could sense the mark of death upon both and before the day was out would seek to devour each. Slowly, hanging by a thread of neuranium, it’s eight massive legs clacking against the wall, mandibles tasting the storm-swept air , the beast began to descend. To tarry he for but a word would invite another challenge, the challenge of life and death outside the bound of Sith rite and law, a sure defeat before the games could even begin.
  28. Akheron heard his apprentice outside, talking to himself again and throwing another insulting accusation. Accusing of heresy, and yet Akheron knew he knew so little still. He would soon learn his error and the cost of throwing such accusations about without knowing the context of the events. How he would suffer but with any luck in his suffering and defeat learn what it was to truly be a Sith. That he would be reminded of the philosophy they followed and that by defying Death and the denying the Fanged God his soul, Akheron was following the Code. By breaking another chain. A fact the Fanged God would be impressed by and acknowledge, for it had not been his true Death. That time had not yet come and only then would the Fanged God get his due. Not before. Opening the door, with caution, Akheron stood defiant and fully armoured before his wayward apprentice. "At least you see some reason, despite your unfounded accusations. You still know so little...for it was through the Baptism of Blood that I live again, a bonus of the ritual you might say. A side effect you too share should you fall. Besides, have you forgotten the unique role the Father of Dust plays? What before I told you? Have you forgotten what it means to be Sith? That we must seek to break all our chains. Death is just another chain broken, one I have done so may times. The Fanged God understands this even if you cannot. The Fanged God would be impressed I have broken such a chain and denied him, at least for now. For the time of final Death is not yet due, only then will he claim my soul and not before. As such no heresy is committed as much as you may in your maddening mind may believe it. But since you insist on carrying out this charade...I offer this." Pausing a moment, Akheron looked beneath his mask about into the very air itself. As he spoke, it was as if a declaration to the Darkness had been called, for he put in motion events that could now not be undone. A inevitable consequence of all that lead them to this moment. "You are correct in that if you wish to advance in Darkness you must defeat me. A trial by fire, a final test. At least the only one that matters before becoming a Master of Darkness. I offer the chance to ascend and settle our dispute through a manner traditional to our ways. I hereby declare and will the Darkness, and any soul within to bare witness to this statement. I challenge you in my capacity as your Master and as a Sith to the ancient rite of Kaggath. A rite you cannot deny less incurring heavy penalties from the Darkness and the Fanged God. A rite long used to settle such disputes but rarely used. If you are unaware of what it is allow me to explain. The rite of Kaggath is one part duel, one part large-scale dejarik-match, and pits Sith against Sith unto humiliation and death. As the challenger I can set the arena, in this case I choose the frozen wastelands of this planet. You shall have no choice but to employ all your skills in a attempt to try and to outwit and outmaneuver myself as your opponent in an attempt to defeat me. Per the rules this must be fought without any kind of outside help, in a direct confrontation. The breach of any rule of the rite will be enforced by execution of any offender, the same applies to any attempts to cheat...strictly enforced by any other Sith not involved in this Kaggath. The Kaggath will reach a conclusion when one side has defeated the other or surrendered, with the triumphant Sith choosing whether to terminate or let your opponent live with the weight of humiliation. To decline is to accept defeat. Do you accept the challenge or accept your current fate? Know that this is the point of no return, after tonight our dynamic changes...forever. For we shall use this Kaggath to see if you are ready for the next stage. To see if the Darkness recognises you as ready. If you accept I will allow you time to prepare and make way o the wasteland. Beyond that your on your own." Akheron awaited an answer, knowing he had no choice really but to accept. He felt the shift in the Darkness around them, as the Darkness itself accepted the rite and recognised the challenge.
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