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Durose Roshan

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  1. “Perhaps her sin is not revenge and passion… but rather fear? Yes, fear I suspect is a deadly path, no? Course, I have experienced no such thing like you, Sir Aliss...” "You piece of--" Aliss growled under her breath. Lady Sirena's response momentarily distracted Aliss and interrupted her train of thought. Nevertheless, it wasn't the answer Aliss wanted to hear. It delayed her reaction to the Shardbot's words for just long enough for her to confirm in her mind that Lady Sirena was scared of Helios. Shifting her attention back to her rival, Alice stoic stance quickly shifted into one of launching herself at the Shardbot to surprise attack him. He was clearly full of himself. She had had enough of his lip and his attitude. He was always taking subtle jabs at her, trying to undermine her in front of Lord Roshan and Lady Sirena. He might have thought he was so clever but she had definitely noticed. With everything else that she had just witness, she wasn't even completely sure whether she had returned to reality or if she had ever left it but the pain and rage and fire in her heart was certainly real. Of that she was for sure. All it would take is a step and a bound and she'd be digging her lightsaber into the Shard's chest before he even realized what was happening. Of course, she only managed to just barely lift off into the air when a tug at the back of her collar choked her neck and swept her feet out from under her. She suddenly went from reaching for her lightsaber to flailing her arms as she began to experience a sensation of rapidly falling. The next thing she knew, her head painfully splashed against the ground. Looking up, Aliss saw Roshan's eyes staring angrily down at her. She knew he wasn't going to release her until she stood down and he had her pinned rather easily. It was her fault for not noticing how close he had edged towards her. Clenching her teeth a little, Aliss released her hand from her lightsaber and put her hands up in the air. As she rested there, she made no further attempts to move. After a few seconds, the girl could feel Roshan's firm grip loosen. "Good." His look of disapproval said it all. As she sat upright she spat in the direction of the robotic menace but made no further attempt to retaliate. Looking over to the Lord and Lady, she could see that Roshan and Sirena were staring at her. Brushing the sand out of her hair and off her face, Aliss gave Sirena a defiant glare. "Maybe she was right. Maybe you are both nothing but fools who have and will led me astray and waste my lineage. Helios is still a man and all men bleed and die. If you are too cowardly to face him, fine! That's your sin, isn't it? Be that way. Give me the power I need and I'll face him myself. I'll save them all myself! You or your cowardice or this infernal machine won't stop me. Help me or get out of my way!" ___
  2. Roshan was also confused and somewhat concerned by the girl's words. She was impulsive. It was a fatal flaw that he had never figured out how to break her of. Roshan edged closer to Aliss as Lady Sirena spoke. "Who is he, child? Who is a danger to your family?" Aliss looked to Sirena and then back to Roshan. "It's him! The one who's name cannot be spoken! I saw it!" Aliss' eyes darted wildly, as if she was still somewhat delirious from coming off of some sort of drug-induced hallucination. "Get ahold of yourself, girl!" Ignoring him, a wide-eyed and somewhat panicked Aliss glared at Sirena, "You don't understand! We must kill Helios! Before he kills us all! We must! Or he will kill her. You, too, Roshan!" With pleading eyes, she looked around to those still present, "Please! I need the power! I must save us! We must hurry... Please! She's in danger! We must find him!" With Aliss' eyes tearing up a little, Roshan almost expected her to hyperventilate. Looking to Lady Sirena, he raised an eyebrow. He was unconvinced by anything she had to say but this all was Sirena's doing and her mess as far as he was concerned. ___ &
  3. "In the depths of the darkness, did you find your sin? Your hunger? Your purpose? Did you hear the call and heed its answer? Did your past define your future? Tell me what your experiences were and how it guided you to its inevitable conclusion." The momentary pause was broken by the synthetic voice of Solus. It was clear to Roshan that whatever it had seen, the Shard had enjoyed his experience. As the Shardbot spoke, Roshan's gaze shifted towards Aliss. There was a cold and calculated look on her face. He had seen it once before. Years ago, one of his students had pulled a prank on her and it had left her feeling humiliated. Needless to say, that boy never made that same mistake again. ...Such is the way how the Force should be, correct Lord Roshan? No, you said the Force is unbridled here... Roshan opened his mouth to reply but Solus continued to ramble on. There was no reason to damper its excitement. Roshan was honestly still processing what he had personally experienced. It seemed like he had lived another lifetime but he was likely asleep no longer than a few minutes, maybe hours at most. He had to give the Sith woman credit. He never experienced something quite like that. "...Will we be using this more often, in our quest to control the Force for our own uses? Is this how we connect with the Force? But then again, how do you three do it without this stuff?” Rising to his feet, Roshan finally cut the Shard off. "I sure hope not. This is a parlor trick. An impressive parlor trick. But it is not the Force. If dreams were effective teachers of the Force, the Sith would spend all their time sleeping. And be slain in their sleep because of it. But rest assured, they do not." Turning to the woman, Roshan crossed his arms. "My sin? I saw none. But I did see the sins of the Sith... a purification necessary. And the one who saw what I saw and has the power to do it. An executioner. A giant named 'Exodus' is the one I must find so that I can pick up where Dominique left off. Maybe then..." "I must kill him," Aliss uttered matter of factly as she started into the nothingness in the distance. Roshan paused and frowned, "What are you babbling about, girl?" As Aliss rose to her feet, she stared into Roshan's eyes before resting her wild glare on Lady Sirena. "I must kill him! He is the evil that threatens everything! It is the only way to save mother. It's the only way to save me and you and Roshan and all of you. It's the only way..."
  4. ((TLDR: Roshan had an almost out of body vision/dream/experience? of the past... then he woke up. The End.)) ROSHAN: Consumed by the darkness, Roshan slowly lost all sense of smell, slight, and lastly feel. As if his body was completely numb, floating in an empty void of nothingness, Roshan soon lost all sense of time. Left with only his thoughts, he pondered his life and his past and what would become of his future. He had no answer but it seemed like each time he reached for one with his mind, he was pulled closer and closer to reality. First came back his sense of smell. There was something ancient to the place where he now found himself in. A mixture of old lore and modern technology. Then came sight, the blurring brightness shocked his eyeballs, forcing him to recoil and close his eyes to diminish their pain. And lastly came sound. Roshan sat alone in silence for only a moment. His eyes were closed but he chose not to open them as he tried to calm himself and steady his uneasy stomach. Even when he heard the patter of feet approaching, he remained motionless. “You are early, Cathar.” The voice was almost immediately recognizable. Roshan did not need to open his eyes to know that the petite woman with raven hair and bright blue eyes was standing before him. As he slowly opened his eyes, he watched her lithe figure as she casually approached him. “Well, this is an unexpected surprise.” Of course, there was something different about his former master. The ageless woman seemed to be younger somehow. The way the darkness swirled around her made it seem almost as if her powers were more raw and unrefined. “This is where it happens, you know.” “Where what happens? Where are we?” “Cardia, you fool!” As Roshan rose to his feet, he looked around in confusion at her words. He did, indeed, seem to be far from Korriban. This was definitely no place he had ever been but with the occasional noises and voices that echoed off the walls, it was clear that this place served as some sort of hub for something. “Cardia? What is this place?” “Königreich des Teufels,” the woman replied proudly. Roshan frowned. The name sounded familiar. He thought he remembered reading about such a place during his research. It was an old Sith Academy if he remembered correctly, in fact. “You must be mistaken. The academy you speak of should be in ruins and this place is far from that.” “No, you must be mistaken.” Roshan features contorted into a mixture of confusion and irritation, “Why am I here, Master?” “I am not Dominique and I am not your master. She has yet to arrive but she will play her role when she does.” “Wah... what? Then why do you look like Dominique?” “A familiar face tends to make the transition a bit easier, child.” “Okay. Then who are you?” The woman flashed him a coy smile as she cryptically replied, “Gods only know. But who I am or who I am not is of little consequence. After all, you are not even you.” Roshan ground his teeth a little and he sighed. He hated cryptic answers, riddles, and puzzle games. They were such painful wastes of one’s time. “What does that mean?! Who am I? Where am I? When am I? Why am I here?! Is this a memory from Dominique’s past? A vision of old events? An echo in the Force? Some wild hallucination?” The lady grinned as she began to walk away, “Perhaps it is all. Or perhaps it is one. Or perhaps it is none. All that matter is that you are here now and you have a call to answer and a job to do.” “What do you--” He..l..p me.. plea..se Roshan stirred a little, looking behind himself but seeing nothing. The voice was so clear, almost too clear for it to have been spoken out loud. Seeing no one, Roshan turned back to Dominique only to see an empty hallway. The mysterious figure, however it was, had vanished into thin air. Roshan debated his options. It would seem that this vision quest of his had a role for him to play and he’d likely not be released until he had completed it. This call, in fact, might be his first clue. Hoping he was on the right track, Roshan hurriedly moved through the compound, following the call through the Force as if he was chasing an echo. As he narrowed down the call’s point of original and neared the location, however, Roshan could see that he was not the only one to hear it. Stepping out of the way, the Cathar decided it was better not to reveal himself and get involved until he knew exactly what he was getting himself into. As he watched a rather tall human stumbled down the ramp of the ship in front of him, the man mumbled words that Roshan could only partially hear. "I left it there, my first saber. I must... .... ..." The almost equally tall humanoid with him seemed irritated at the fallen man’s response, although Roshan had no idea why. In fact, there was a definite chill between the imposing figure and the much smaller woman that stood not far from him. Roshan could tell that the three of them had history but the details escaped him. Nevertheless, the small woman was strikingly beautiful for a human, even with her cold demeanor. The Cathar moved to cautiously approach the group and get a better look at what was going on. As he did, the large Sith whispered something into the downed man’s ear. "So Dominique has his saber,” the woman began with a chilling tone. “That's typical. Roshan was confused. None of this was making any sense. Perhaps my quest is to retrieve the saber? "Surely you can feel how his soul is split. If your lover is going to gloat that she has his weapon... part of his soul, it shows how little she respects any of her fellow sith." As the violet eyed beauty commed from a medical team, Roshan’s own eyes grew wide as his comm device went off. Looking down at the comm unit at his side and then back upwards towards the ground, he jumped a little as he found the woman’s piercing eyes staring at him. Roshan froze in place, unsure of what her reaction would be. Up until this point he had been unsure whether this vision was one where he would be an observer or an active participant. But the way she looked at him, he was clear now that she clearly saw him. “Medic! Over here! Get this man to the medical wing.” A look of bemusement played across Roshan as he stared at the woman. She must have confused him with someone else. But looking down again at his uniform, her mistake was likely logical. In fact, it was only now that he realized that he was wearing an odd uniform, one perhaps even consistent with his mistaken identity. Of course, her glower was intense enough at this point that Roshan didn't dare contradict her. Simply nodding, he hurried over to the injured Sith. “Yes, ma’am. Coming, ma’am.” Taking out his medical equipment, Roshan looked over the fallen man and tried to look as busy as possible until the rest of the medical team showed up, if for no other reason than to attract her ire. Whatever was going on, she didn’t seem like someone he wanted to be on the bad side of. After the rest of the team arrived, they carefully moved the man onto a gurney and began heading for the medical wing. Almost the whole way to the medical wing, Roshan could feel the woman’s glare. He was relieved, of course, when she broke off to handle other business and gave him and the rest of the team some room to breath. For now, Roshan decided that he would play doctor and act like he knew what he was doing. As far as he could tell, he was someone in charge and short of having to perform surgery, telling others what to do seemed easy enough. If “gods know who” wanted him to play this game, he might as well see it through. At least, he might as well do so for now. So far it wasn’t so bad. Glancing over the patient’s vitals, it would seem that this fellow was stable for the time being. As for souls and what Dominique had to do with all this, Roshan doubted he’d find his answer here. Nevertheless, Roshan deemed reviewing the patient’s file prudent and as Roshan glanced over the file, another wounded Sith “warrior” soon arrived. Stepping out of the first patient’s room, Roshan left to see what all the commotion was about. Truth be told, this dark haired woman looked like she had seen better days. I swear that the Sith of this academy must either be into self-masochism or are made of papier-mâché. The staff hurriedly set up a bed for the new arrival. As the staff helped the woman onto a bed, Lady Traya addressed Roshan. “Give her whatever she needs, doctor.” Roshan looked over the woman and shook his head. He didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that her arm might not be an easy fix. “Yes, ma’am! I’m just not sure that her arm... you know. I mean, I can’t give you a full assessment until I unwrap it and properly examine it but--” Roshan motioned in the direction of the injured woman. “If you can save it, great. But if you have to, give her a synthetic one! Get her back on her feet as soon as you can, doctor. You know the drill.” Roshan nodded, “Yes, ma’am.” Setting down the file on Draken, Roshan pulled up the file on his newest arrival. This was looking like it was going to be a long day. “Malyss Slayde. It seems you have been a naughty girl. But don’t worry. We should have you back up and running soon enough.” Roshan glanced over at the other medic that had just entered the room. Roshan could have sworn that the young man had to have been freshly graduated medical school with as young as he looked. In fact, were it not for his doctor’s attire, Roshan would have guessed he was a nurse or intern or orderly of some sort. “Over here, doctor. Grab the team. We have our work cut out for us.” The man sighed, “Yeah. Sure looks like it. But what about our other patient?” “He’s stable for now. Go send one of those nurse slaves over to make sure nothing crazy happens.” “Yes sir.” As Roshan began to examine the woman, he was surprised by how easy and comfortable the whole thing was. It felt as if he had done it a thousand times. And judging by what he had gathered of this place so far, Roshan was sure the medics here probably had. Removing the makeshift bandages, Roshan was greeted by a gnarly sight of exposed muscle and tendons. He could treat the arm for now but it would likely need extensive surgery if they were to save it. The other doctor had a worried look on his face as he examined the rest of her injuries. “I don’t know, man. I know Lady Traya wants us to save the arm if we can...” “But? I feel a ‘but’ coming on...” “But, I mean,” the man began as he motioned demonstratively towards it. “Look at it! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to find out what happens to us if we don’t pull off another miracle. But good gods.” Roshan shrugged. He had seen worse. And there were worse things than a prosthetic limb. “We will try to do what we can but at least she will most likely survive. Let’s rally the staff and begin prepping for surgery,” Roshan ordered calmly. The other man nodded as he left the room and Roshan began looking for the proper change of attire. Of course, he was only half way done changing when he heard some commotion coming from a different room. “You dare to stop me in my quest. This single act has condemned you to die by my hand. " “What in the...” Roshan sighed as he hopped around awkwardly in an attempt to get into the legs of his surgical pants. Before he could finish, one of the nurses barged in. “Doctor!” “What is it now, nurse?” “The slave we had watching the other patient...” the woman began in a distraught tone. “What about him?” “He’s dead!” She exclaimed. “His throat was completely crushed and the patient is gone!” “They don’t pay me enough for this,” Roshan grumbled before sighing. Of course, there was still the matter of the surgery itself. Perhaps this was a perfect out for him. Then again, would I really prefer chasing down an “escaped” patient that moonlights as a windpipe crushing madman? “Was that all, nurse?” She sheepishly dropped her eyes to the ground and nodded. Roshan rubbed his own eyelids in frustration. “Very well. Please have the body properly disposed of. Clearly that psychopath doesn’t need any more medical attention so I’m going to focus on the one that actually does. You are dismissed nurse,” Roshan finished as he waved his hand irritatedly. He was beginning to enjoy his time here less and less with each passing moment. He wasn’t even sure what he was doing or why he was doing it at this point but he felt unusually confident in his medical abilities and if he failed, he figured this wasn’t real so he likely couldn’t hurt much. Of course, by the time he was all suited up and the medical team was all ready to begin, the same nurse appeared once again. “Um... Doctor...” “What is it now, nurse!” The woman looked at him nervously as she replied, “We have an influx of slaves arriving for treatment. What would you like me to do with them?” “Specify influx?” “I don’t know. Like a study flow?” she replied almost wincing. “I swear,” Roshan sighed. “We can’t go five minutes without someone being tragically injured around here! What happened now? Landslide? Mine collapse? Someone forgot to use the proper pronouns when addressing a Sith Lord?” The nurse glanced obsequiously downward before locking eyes with Roshan as he scowled in frustration, “Maybe... you... You should see for yourself, doctor.” Pulling off his gloves, Roshan slams them on the tray next to him, “Fine! Lead the way, nurse!” Several minutes later, Roshan found himself in the small medic break room. Close by, the other young doctor was sitting down, sipping his drink. Roshan’s rather disturbing examination of the arriving slaves had lead him to this pause in his activities to vent to the only “familiar face” he knew at this point. “For the love of the Force! Their balls, man! And they were lucky if that was all! I’ve never seen anything like this. At least not to those you intend on keeping alive! Do these Sith have no decency?!” “You act like this is your first day here or something,” the man responded with a tepid laugh. “They are Sith. Sith! Darkside and all. What do you expect?! We just need to get back to that Sith girl with the jacked up arm before Lady Traya adds us to her growing list of eunuchs.” Roshan shook his head in exasperation, “I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but I’ve had it up to here, I tell you. Here,” Roshan replied as he raised his hand to neck level. “I’ve really had it with all this wanton waste and disrespect for life! They act like all of us are their little play things. It’s time someone had a talk with them or did something!” The other doctor gave Roshan a blank stare. He then paused for a second before suddenly bursting into laughter. “You really had me going there for a second,” he replied with a hearty laugh. “You think being turned into a eunuch is bad? If any one of us confronted one of them we’d wish all we were turned into was a eunuch!” Roshan scrunched his face into a light grimace. The man was probably right. Perhaps poisoning them to death slowly over time would be a much more prudent strategy. The Cathar was less than enthused about helping nurse another one of these maniacs back to health. He contemplated how long he could stall her recovery without making Lady Traya mad. Of course, his train of thought was broken by a forceful knock on the break room door. Roshan moved to the door, opening it as he spoke with a twinge of irritation in his voice. “What?!” he exclaimed before he even saw who was there. Sure enough, it was the same nurse as before. She timidly stared at her feet and fidgeted before replying. “Doctor... Lady Traya... she headed this way and she looks very unhappy.” As he leaned against the doorpost, Roshan sighed and rubbed his face partly out of exhaustion and partly out of frustration. Stepping out of the room, he motioned for the other doctor to stay put. “Thank you, nurse. I’ll handle this. Lead the way.” Lady Traya was mad as advertised. And She was now making the outrageous demand that they move Malyss even though she was currently in the middle of surgery prep. Roshan rubbed his temples as he tried to calm himself. “No, ma’am. I’m not personally handling the surgery because doctor Linsrom is more than capable and I had to take care of the sudden influx of slaves that arrived dismembered. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that would you?” “I DON’T WANT EXCUSES. GET DRAKEN AND IT DONE, DOCTOR. NOW!” For a second, Roshan almost flinched. That look in her eye told him that he was seconds away from suffering some sort of terrible fate. In fact, if it wasn’t for his usefulness in his capacity as a medical professional, he probably would have already suffered said fate. The Sith might have been sadistic but they seemed to recognize the foolishness of harming the skilled help, at least for now. Motioning to a group of slaves and other medics nearby, Roshan ordered, “You heard the Lady! Inform the surgery team that there has been a change in plans. You three, you’re with me. We need to grab the medical supplies and a gurney. We’ll be on this right away, Lady Traya.” With that, the group scurried around like their life depended on it as Alora disappeared out of the medical wing. When he was absolutely certain she was gone, Roshan wiped some sweat from off his brow. Yup. I am living in a nightmare that just doesn’t end. As the group jogged towards the location they had been given for the collection of the wounded remains of Mr. Draken “Throat Crusher” Insano Jr. the Third, the medical team suddenly heard the thundering voice of Lady Traya ahead in the distance, “How dare you girl! Your abuse of power and lack of respect for your fellow sith will see you punished!” One of the medics put out his hand the rest of the group stopped. He hesitantly looked to Roshan. “Perhaps we should wait a few minutes. It sounds like they are in the middle of something. What do you think, doc?” Roshan looked to the man and then back in the direction of the screaming. The Cathar scratched the back of his head a little before sighing, “Perhaps we take the scenic route?” “Scenic route. Copy that,” the medic replied with a relieved grin. There was only so much stalling a group of medics could do in a place like this but by the time the group arrived, Roshan was “treated” to the startling sight of a smoldering Dominique and a wounded Draken. While he didn’t show it in his face, internally Roshan smiled at this turn of events. Perhaps this psychopath will now have to think twice before running off with a leg wound like that. Serves him right. As Lady Traya ordered the medics around, Roshan kept eyeing the body of the smoldering girl and the giant of a man beside her. She clearly needed medical attention. Those burns were serious by anyone’s standards and every second was crucial. But at the same time, he did not want to end up like Dominique either. Carefully lifting Draken onto the gurney, the rest of the medics helped secure him and began moving the ever wounded Sith to the medical wing once again. As the group led the way out of the room and walked briskly towards the medical wing, Roshan glanced back at Lady Traya. He tried to hide his disgust but it was growing harder and harder by the second. He grabbed at his first aid kit. He had snuck a knife into it for protection purposes before they had left the medical wing. But he was starting to get the nerve up to use it for more proactive purposes after her latest outburst. Maybe his judgement was being clouded by the fact that he knew the “future” Dominique but this other woman was clearly a menace that cared nothing for others, friends or foe. She was a liability and someone had to stop her, even if it cost him his life. Perhaps that was his job. Perhaps that was why he was here. Fumbling for and finding the knife, he gripped it tightly. But as he turned once again to eye the woman, he noticed motion behind her. It was the giant. “Your first mistake; Interference. Your second; My Child, and lastly your third; My apprentice.” Out of nowhere, a brilliant display of supercharged energy sprung from the Sith’s hands and blasted the woman, immediately sending her crash to the ground! The display was so powerful and frightening that the medical team was thrown into disarray. Some ran, some tried to push the gurney away faster, Roshan himself found the nearest piece of furniture and dove for cover. He wanted no part of the wrath coming Lady Traya’s way. The smell of burnt flesh filled the air as the woman tried to talk the Sith Lord down. As the sparks continued to fly and she undoubtedly grew weaker, she must have known that her end was near as she spoke her final words. “What are you waiting for? Finish the job, Exodus." The giant’s name. Exodus. That was Dominique’s master, right? I never discussed her past much with her. But who was his child? Surely it couldn’t have been Dominique. Hmmm... I wonder... As the light show stopped, Roshan looked across the way to a nearby medic who was also hiding behind some furniture. Roshan gave her the gesture to look over the object and see what was happening. The female shook her head emphatically in reply, making it very clear that she most certainly would not. It’s up to me then. Poking his head slowly up, Roshan could see the woman struggling on the floor. She was holding her neck as she flopped. There was a scary determination in the Sith Lord’s eyes. Roshan wondered if in her final moment the woman had regretted making such a request. Exodus seemed more than happy to oblige her. As he slowly squeezed Lady Traya’s neck until her throat collapsed, Roshan looked back towards the direction where they had left Dominique. Dominique needed help. There wasn’t time to waste with the burns she had on her body. Slipping out from behind the furniture, Roshan slowly and carefully walked around Exodus to allow him to finish his execution in peace. Once clear of the scene, the Cathar scurried over to the woman’s burnt body and began to place Bacta patches on the worst areas of burning. What she really needed was a bacta tank but this would at least provide her with a stop gap measure until they could get her there. Trying to move her body himself, Roshan was shocked at how weak he felt and how difficult it was. She’s a tiny woman. How could I have lost all my strength? Scratching his head, he was interrupted by the arrival of the other medic carrying more bacta patches and the giant trailing close behind her. Dominique perked up for a moment as Exodus neared. “Exodus...” Dominique faintly uttered before completely passing out. Roshan nervously turned to address Exodus, “Dark Lord, sir, she’s suffered severe burns. I’ve tried to buy her some time but we need to get her to a bacta tank immediately if we want to save her.” As Exodus held her, Roshan winced a little. “Your Lordship, you really must be careful about touching her. Your skin is super charred and there is infection and whatnot to worry about. This whole process is pretty delicate, honestly. Perhaps we could grab a few others and--” Exodus stirred, his movement causing Roshan to stop mid-sentence. Despite his cold demeanor, Exodus had no problem rounding up a few passersby to help carefully move the body. Roshan nodded to Exodus and mouthed a “thank you” and they created a makeshift gurney to get her where she needed to be. “There is a remedial lab nearby that happens to have a few bacta tanks that are on standby. Follow me. This way!” Roshan motioned to his newfound assistants. When they arrived, Roshan carefully removed the burn clothing and helped prepare her body as much as he could before Exodus helped get her into the tank. With everything hooked up and all the monitoring equipment properly set up, Roshan discussed the situation with the newly arrived relief shift of doctors. Exodus, meanwhile, sat waiting nearby. More than exhausted by this point, mentally and physically, Roshan was relieved that his shift change was here and he could finally catch his breath. Nodding to Exodus, he informed him of the news, “The good news, Lord Exodus, is that she will survive. We were able to treat her in time and all is well. I’m off the clock now but the new team replacing me is more than capable to care for the situation. If you need me for anything else, just send one of them to get me, sir.” Bowing, Roshan backed away and left to find his quarters. He was extremely content that he had saved Dominique. This must have been the event that Dominique simulacrum had spoken of. It had to be the reason he had come here. He could not think of any other reason. Simply put, it was not her time to go. She surely had many adventures ahead of her. But more than that, Roshan took some solace in that fact that seemed like perhaps that was some sort of balance in the Force had been struck after all. Perhaps even the Darkside was not devoid of some sense of justice, no matter how brutal. Entering his room and plopping his head on his pillow, Roshan grinned as he slowly began to fade off to sleep. Of course, he couldn’t shake the feeling of something lingered at the back of his mind. He knew that he was forgetting something. And right as he drifted into slumber it hit him. Malyss Slayde! Startled away, Roshan eyes opened back to reality. The Cathar ones again found himself back in the sandy dunes of the present and the bitter smell of Lady Sirena’s poison lofting into the air as it sat on his face. ____
  5. ALISS: When Aliss opened her eyes, she suddenly found herself back on what she was sure was Ishvara. Aliss could hear the sounds of fighting on all sides as the boots of dozens of men stomped against barren ground, kicking up dirt and dust in their wake. The warm wind wiped the coarse sand against her face as she laid on her back with a dead body pinning her to the ground. It was human and from the markings, the corpse was from the clan of Goreth. Aliss struggled in vain to move the heavier man's armored body. Summoning all her energy into one emphatic push, she startled her own self when she suddenly sent the flopping body hurling through the air and into another section where the fighting was more intense. She looked at her hands. The palms were surprisingly clean but the backs of her hands were still covered in dried blood. There was no time to evaluate how she got here or what was truly going on. She could sense that an enemy combatant was barreling towards her. Rolling to her feet, she turned to face the man and reached for her lightsaber. It was gone. She looked back in the direction of the corpse to see that it was still lodged in the dead man's chest. Not good. Aliss stared into the eyes of the barbarian soldier, the bone claw necklace that adorned his shoulders clattering louder and louder with each step. He had the face paint markings of a berserker of the Goreth Clan, likely hopped up on the same herbal concoctions that gave their berserkers such fearlessness, brutality, and immunity to pain when they went into battle. Short of a killing blow, he would surely not stop coming after her. Of that she was sure. The madman whipped his scimitar for the girl’s throat, Aliss managing to lean back just enough to miss his slice but still feel a cool rush of air tickle across her neck. A spike of adrenaline immediately brought her back to her senses as the Echani training that Roshan gave all his Knights began to kick in. Even as he frantically attempted to murder her, Aliss center herself and concentrated on reading his body movements. He was armed and stronger than her, but his drugged state mixed with his aggression to make him sloppy and easily readable. But what he may have given up in finesse and surprise, he more than made up for in relentlessness. No sooner had she dodged or weaved or rolled than she found her attacker back up on her ready to deliver another strike. Wearing him out would be impossible and the density of the fighting around her made attempting to retrieve her lightsaber a tall order at this point. Eyeing the ground around her in between dodges, her eyes suddenly stopped on the glint of a sword lying in the dirt next to where she had been trapped only moments before. She had finally found her path to salvation but her inexorable assailant continued to deny her any hope of deliverance, jabbing and swinging and swiping with every breath and grunt and scream. Like a choreographed dance, Aliss followed her opponent's lead, allowing her body to effortlessly move to the rhythm of his blade. But every time she attempted to reposition herself and take the lead, the madman aggressively reasserted his dominance. He obviously must have also known that her lifeline lay behind him. It was the only answer. Refocusing her attention on finding an opening in her opponent's stance, Aliss watched almost in slow motion as he anchored his feet and flailed his arms with each swing. Taking out his knees would be extremely challenging without also getting hit in the process. He had plenty of reach on her and even if she was able to get in tight and catch his arm, it was doubtful that any of her techniques would phase him in his altered mental state. She couldn't rely on the sudden shock of pain to stun him or give her an opening to momentarily overpower him. And if his more than healthy musculature guaranteed her anything, it was that this man was more than capable of overpowering her if he managed to lock her in a grapple. No, she would need to use her environment to her advantage if she wanted to escape this altercation alive. Waiting for his next swing at her neck, Aliss curved her body backwards into the shape of an upside down “U” before completing the flip and landing back on her feet. At a glance, Aliss had done nothing more than find a fancy way to exhaust further energy. The berserker's wild eyes flashed with sadistic amusement as he laughed at the girl before rushing to close the gap again. But what the madman had failed to notice was that she had actually completed the flip with only the strength of her right hand. In that brief moment she had used her left hand to dig her nails into the loose dirt and uproot a handful for herself. When the berserker predictably charged, he was suddenly met with a blinding splash of dirt and sand that exploded in a vaporous dust cloud that stung his eyes and obscured his vision. Diving his left to avoid his wild swings, Aliss looked almost feline as she gracefully maneuvered herself out of harm's way. Quickly finding her way to her feet, she neglected to stand upright, instead cutting through the hot summer air with her back and head arched like an arrow as she ran. In a matter of seconds, she had gone from defenseless to possessing the sword that had previously been resting upon this blood soaked battlefield. And without a moment of hesitation, Aliss turned and hurled it through the air with all her might. The warrior, who had no choice but to pause and clear out his eyes, had only enough time to angrily turn and yell before his body was jerked back! The blow from the sword lodging itself in his chest was so forceful, in fact, that it swept his legs out from underneath him and sent his body thudding to the ground in short order. A cloud of dust spit out around him as he landed, almost as if Aliss was watching his soul depart from his body in real time. Served him right. But as she now had the chance to catch her breath and survey the battlefield in hopes of getting her bearings, she finally could see where she was. The her section of the battlefield was on a hill overlooking a valley. And in the valley was a shining white stage. On the stage, stood a woman tied to a black pillar. She was adorned in white, which vividly contrasted with her olive colored skin and red hair. There was kindling of some sort at her feet and a man -- undoubtedly the leader of the Goreth clan, the one who’s name Lord Roshan cursed and swore never to speak until that man breathed his last breath -- was holding a torch in the air just above the collection of flammables. There was no question in Aliss’ mind. The woman in white was her mother! The aged yet strikingly beautiful Rose Morra Kiss was impossible to miss. Aliss had to get to that stage! Looking frantically at the fighting taking place in her immediate vicinity, Aliss did not know who the warriors were that were fighting against Clan Goreth. Whoever they were, they seemed more than capable of keeping the majority of the Goreth warriors occupied for now. Her more pressing concern was making her way down the hill and towards the stage in as efficient a manner as possible. Analyzing the battlefield leading up to the stage, Aliss could see what looked to be Lord Roshan below, cutting, chopping, and wading his way through the Goreth soldiers like appetizers. His determination could be clearly seen in the trail of body parts and death he was leaving in his wake. But the trail of death behind him was not the only one. About 25 to 50 yards to his left there was another trail of the dead that had also almost advanced itself all the way to the stage. And from the slender feature of this trail’s blazer, Aliss could tell that the architect of this congoline of the dead was a woman. Unfortunately, her black attire and dark hood obscured her features almost completely from this distance. Fearing for her mother’s safety, Aliss decided that she wouldn’t leave her fate up to Lord Roshan, much less a stranger. As a wave of panic washed over her, Aliss could hear her lightsaber call for her and she instinctively and commandingly answered the call, suddenly looking down to see the powered off weapon resting in her hand. There was no time to waste or figure out what had just happened. The two figures had already almost reached the stage! Dashing down the hill, she ignited her lightsaber and severed the limbs of any that dared to confront her. The valley looked so close but with every step down the hill it seemed as if it was getting farther and farther away. Retreading the trail that Lord Roshan had made, Aliss rushed to clear out any additional her enemies while making up for as much lost time as possible. The deeper she go into the valley, the more vicious and desperate her strikes began, ruthlessly ending the lives of any fools that attempted to stand in her way. All the while, however, Aliss kept part of her attention on the stage as Roshan and the hooded woman reached the structure and began to climb it. By now, Aliss was close enough to see that the odd glisten and sheen in her mother’s hair and on her skin was not a natural glow of some kind but actually some sort of liquid that had been poured all over her dress and body. Aliss anxiously glanced over at the hooded woman as she dropped her hood to reveal her face. Aliss froze for a moment. She watched as her older self in shock as the duplicate and the masked Lord Roshan stared each other down. The new version of Aliss looked older, a bit more scarred, but unquestionably determined. At the same time, though, something felt off. Aliss wasn’t sure what was going on but she quickened her pace even more, furiously trying to reach the stage before something tragic took place. Unfortunately, right as the girl reached the edge of the stage, Goreth soldiers carrying lightsabers stepped forward to block her path. Aliss stopped dead in her tracks. She found herself at the foot of the stage but with no way to reach it. Aliss pivoted and spun, confirming what she already knew. She was completely surrounded. Her breathing started getting increasingly uneven as panic and desperation began to fill her lungs as if she was drowning. And then suddenly came a voice. “You know what you must do, Aliss.” The sheer surprise of the voice she heard immediately pulled her attention away from her current predicament and back to group on stage. The man adorned with the Goreth crown was none other than Master Helios! It was as unbelievable as it was unquestionable! His face might have looked slightly different but the voice was undeniably his! Aliss fell into a stunned daze as she watched her duplicate older self step in front of Lord Roshan’s killing blow and fight him back. “NOOO!!! What are you doing!!! NOOO!!!” she screamed in a blood curdling crescendo as she watched the two fight on. Terror consumed Aliss’ heart as she charged the warriors blocking her way only to be easily beaten back and disarmed. Kicked to the ground, Aliss could feel her body trembling. Her muscles locked up. Her legs went limp. What is happening?! Why is this happening?! Somebody please make this stop!!! “Soulless! Sirena! Somebody! Help!!! Please!” she wailed at the top of her lungs. Looking back up as she caught her breath, Aliss noticed that the fighting had, indeed, stopped. From her view, She saw that her fraudulent older self was standing in front of Roshan and they both were paused, locked in a moment in time. Somebody had just struck the killing blow; she could feel it. But Aliss couldn’t see who actually had landed it with Roshan’s large figure obstructing her view. For a moment, her heart leapt with joy. Lord Roshan had surely saved the day! But her joy was immediately crushed when she noticed the hole in the back of Lord Roshan’s cape as a chilling gust of wind rolled across the white marble stage. As Roshan dropped to one knee, Aliss could see the woman smirk. Her lightsaber was turned off but it was clear that in Aliss’ moment of distraction and desperating, the vile woman had pierced her lord. Aliss cried out to her teacher, the Cathar that had been her father figure of over a decade. “Roshan! Please. Get up! Save, mom! Please! I need you! We need you!” Lord Roshan’s head swiveled just enough to stare into Aliss’ eye as he held his hand over the hole in his sternum. The Aliss imposter grinned with malicious intent as she looked at the dying beast and then to Master Helios. The master grinned contently and nodded back. “Finish him.” Before Aliss even knew what was happening, the imposter’s lightsaber reignited and chopped with a rapid flick of the doppelganger's wrist. Roshan’s severed head sailed through the air, bouncing towards Aliss and coming to rest beside her. The eyes of his half shattered mask stared up at her lifelessly. The girl screamed in horror but failed to audibly put the horror into words. Fighting with all her might, she got her wobbly legs to move and somehow returned to a standing position. Meanwhile, Master Helios handed the torch to the Aliss simulacrum. He then stepped aside and clapped his hands twice. “You know what to do. Finish it.” The entire battle -- everything -- suddenly stood still. Silence fell upon the whole valley as if all eyes had now turned their attention to the stage. The girl’s pupils grew wide with horror as she watched the fraud inhabiting her future self release the flaming piece of wood above the pile of kindling at her mother’s feet. It seemed to fall in slow motion as Aliss stumbled towards the stage only to be met by one of the Goreth lightsaber wielders and kicked back. She stumbled back and landed on her rear but never took her eyes off her mother. Her older facsimile gleefully watched the girl the entire time, catching the stick only inches away from the ground. With tears streaming down Aliss’ face, she couldn’t even form the words “thank you” as her duplicate tossed the torch a few feet away from where the girl now sat. But even as Aliss struggled to get to her feet one final time, the girl could see that something was off with the way the doppelganger turned to smile at her mother. It was in that second that she knew what the monster was about to do, even before she did it. A brilliant conflagration of red flowed from the simulacrum’s outstretched hand, hitting her mother’s clothing and causing the woman’s whole body to burst into a giant fireball of flames. Spine-chilling screams that came from her mouth’s throat as the fire rapidly burned through her body ignited something primal and vicious in the girl’s heart. She didn’t know what she was doing or how she was doing it, but she was moving so superhumanly fast that even the warriors with lightsabers could not keep up with her. And almost as if in the blink of an eye, Aliss found herself now standing on the stage with a row of dead foes face down in the dirt behind her. Her mother’s murderer grinned at Aliss, Rose Morra Kiss already well charred at this point. Master Helios nowhere to be found. It was just the two of them now. “You will pay for that!” Aliss roared, laboring to breathe between each frown. “You don’t get it, do you? Your mother? That Cathar? They are nothing but fools who have led you astray and wasted your lineage. You are home, little one.” Enraged, Aliss charged the woman and she roared in reply, “Kark you, Witch! You can take your lineage and go to--” As Aliss swung at the woman she poofed into a cloud of smoke, causing Aliss to pause mid-sentence and look around in momentary confusion. Of course, her confusion didn’t last long as she suddenly felt the piercing hot blade of a lightsaber sticking out of her chest. Aliss felt reflexively like a cough was coming on, but she choked and gagged instead. The girl could hear the sound of the lightsaber powering off as she, herself, fell to her knees holding her chest. Aliss could feel the breath of the woman as the witch whispered in her ear, “The rage within your heart cannot be denied any more than the red that adorns your skin or the lineage that flows through your veins. You are born of the darkside. And all that deny this of you must suffer. Only when you will sacrifice everything for power... will you have the power to save everything you love.” As the woman stepped back, Aliss could feel the pressure bunch in her knees as she fell backwards with a gentle thump. Her body felt listless, the last bits of life force slipping from her grasp like sand in an hourglass. But as the girl looked up towards the brilliant sky above in her final moments, the face staring down at her was not that of her older self but that of Lady Sirena. And then Aliss woke up. ___
  6. "You're to mark yourselves and lay down, you especially Solus as you have to mark the Shard within your true form. And don't worry about the paralysis. I placed Shrill Shrooms in for safety reasons." The girl looked upward to Roshan, reading his reaction. He only nodded at Aliss in response. They would play along. He was rather intrigued. They would allow the lady the amusement of her games. It was a small price to pay for progress. "Only I will see what you will. This is the price of my training." "Very well. Although I should warn you, I think your overconfidence in your Sith Alchemy will betray you in the case of Soulless. I am willing to bet that Shards have much more in common with droids than they do organics. Your "potion" will likely have about as much effect on Soulless as it would a protocol droid. If you seek to see inside its mind for your entertainment, you'll likely need to accompany Soulless into a place much more dark and dangerous and teaming with the energies of the darkside... if, of course, you are brave enough to follow him down that path in pursuit of your own amusement..." As Roshan spoke, Aliss dipped her hand into the cauldron and tasted the concoction with the tip of her tongue. She winced and spit as the bitterness pricked her tastebuds. Stepping back, she rubbed some of the "poison" on the sides of her face before taking a seat and leaning back. Her body had already began to feel tingly all over. She remained unsure of the wisdom of going along with this experiment but she trusted Roshan to know what they were doing and she did want to receive her training. Meanwhile, Roshan traced his fingers across the surface of the goop as he waited for the Sith Master's response. It didn't matter much to him what she had to say about Solus. She could believe she knew what she was doing all she wanted. He was confident she was wrong. This wasn't a matter of Sith Alchemy. It was a matter of simple chemistry. Just because it was "alive" didn't mean it was organic, much less that it could be poisoned by any stretch of the imagination. And admittedly, Roshan felt a slight tinge of pleasure at the thought of seeing her fail. Her sin was not lust. In fact, lust was not a sin at all. It was a virtue that had undoubtedly helped her reach the rank of master. No, her sin was overconfidence. The fine line between useful lust and harmful overconfidence was most likely what had cost the woman at least one arm already. One day it would likely cost her her life. But not today. This was their turn to be in the spotlight. As Roshan slid his finger tips across his face in a warpaint-esque pattern, he pivoted the conversation to something else that was on his mind, "So this goop. What can we expect? A vision quest? Fears? Monsters? Dead loved ones? 'Whatever we bring with us'? I'm not opposed to walking into things blind, but if we are going to willingly play your games, a hint shouldn't disrupt your process that much, should it, Lady Sirena?" ____ &
  7. ALISS: As Lady Sirena spoke and Solus replied, Aliss mulled over the Sith's question. She had so many sins and failings. Which one was her greatest? Not being of more aid to Lord Roshan? Not saving her friends? Not saving those at the compound? Not rescuing, protecting, or saving her mother? Not being better? Not being good enough to be Roshan's first choice? Never being the best? As there was a silent break in the conversation, Aliss realized that all eyes were now resting on her. Swallowing hard, cleared her throat nervously before replying. "I... it's... it's not being stronger. Serving Lord Roshan is obviously my greatest passion," she added in a perfunctory manner. "But I really wish I could get revenge and save my mother. It's failing her... because... because I'm not strong enough... that I don't know enough. That I didn't pay attention enough. That's.... I guess that's my greatest sin." It felt like her words hung on the air as her dry mouth choked and bumbled them into existence. This subject was uncomfortable for her. It made her nervous and sad and angry all at the same time. She couldn't shake dreams of her mother. Something inside told her that she was still alive. Maybe it was just wishful thinking. But she couldn't let go of the chance that she still lived or shake the thought and the nightmares of her that haunted her sleeping and waking moments. Mom, I swear I'll come back for you. Please forgive me. I'm just not strong enough yet. Please hold on just a little longer. *** *** *** ROSHAN: Roshan listened intently as his two proteges replied to Lady Sirena's question. Solus answer was a bit underwhelming. But perhaps it was correct. It technically had not sinned, depending on the way one looked at it. It had done its job every step of the way. A perfect weapon so far. Then again, it had lead the way without knowing where it was going. But such a sin could be easily forgiven. Of course, when Aliss spoke, Lord Roshan couldn't help but nod contently. He had trained her well. He might have chosen her arrogance, disobedience, stubbornness, lack of attention to detail, or inability to stay focus and live up to her potential. "Greatest sin" was such a prospective laden phrase. But perhaps all of it could most easily be summed up in her being "weak." After all, his most glaring flaws were all symptoms of her physical and internal weakness. It was something that he hoped this trip would weed out of her. He could not be expected to teach her everything. Sometimes a student might begin to tune out their teacher after listening to them for a long enough period of time. In times like those, bringing in a new voice was sometimes necessary to teach them the same exact lessons. He had hopes that Sirena would be that voice. But only time would tell. As the eyes shifted to him, Roshan removed his mask for the first time since arriving on this treacherous planet. His eyes locked on to Sirena's in a serious glare, before a grin slowly seized his face muscles and words bellowed forth. "To sin, I would have to acknowledge a divinity higher than myself, of which I do not. But of passions, I have many. Subjugating the Force to my will being my most pressing at the moment. How about you, Lady Sirena? What is your greatest sin?" ____ &
  8. Durose glanced at Aliss with a slight frown when Solus mentioned that perhaps Helios not showing up was his way of voicing his displeasure with them. The girl defiantly glared back, still storing the holocron among her things. Roshan decided it was not worth his effort to attempt to part her from it. Of course, after enough waiting Roshan felt all but certain that Helios was not coming. So when Solus suggested that they leave, Roshan simply nodded in agreement. There was little point in wasting the day. Perhaps Master Helios had other more important business to attend to. In the meantime, Roshan stood back and took some amusement in the oddly shaped droid chassis figuring out a way to ascend stairs. His design was so curiously odd. Roshan couldn't help but wonder why his builder had chosen something with such impracticality. A humanoid body just seemed so superior to Roshan. A body of such size and odd shape was bound to have numerous blind spots, be much easier to hit, and have constant challenges navigating bipedal architecture. Unlike a real snake, it couldn't easily squirm, squeeze, shrink, or wriggle its metal body into whatever form it needed to conquer each navigational abnormality. All the same, Solus had once again proven that where there is a will, there is a way. It was an impressive weapon and if the Shardbot could continue to adapt to each new challenge, it may prove to be a very formidable slayer of men and enslaver of worlds. But that would be where the Lady Sirena came in. Right now, Solus was like a malfunction droid that didn't know how to access its assassination protocols. But Roshan hoped that with proper Force training Solus could discover its true potential. If Roshan was being honest, he personally preferred Helios for Solus. He wasn't sure that the Lady and her playful demeanor would give the Shard the proper structure or discipline. But human females were admittedly a mystery to Roshan. He often found them to be temperamental and unpredictable and occasionally a touch insane. So anything was possible. Maybe she would be perfect for him. Or maybe Lady Sirena might wake up today and decided to pop a few crazy pills just for the fun of it. It wouldn't be the first time he'd seen it happen when dealing with human women. In either case, Roshan decided that his best bet was to remain on guard for Lady Sirena or other crazies as the group entered the marketplace and continued to move through it. Solus already attracted enough attention to himself as it was and this definitely seemed like a place that maintaining a low profile was much more beneficial. “Ah...such...majesty. Hmmm...Lord Roshan...Sir Aliss, it just occurred to me, how are we to find the Valley of the Sith Lords? Truth be told, I was just following the path we took yesterday under the guidance of Helios, but now...I'm unsure where to go." Roshan grumbled to himself a little bit. Following people who were leading the way but had no idea where they were going was a bit of a pet peeve of his. Motioning to the other two, he replied a little grumpily, "Follow me. I think I spotted a location that fits its description on the way into town." He wasn't totally positive of the direction from this spot in town, but he figured if he could pick up her scent or follow his "Force intuition" they'd be standing in front of her soon. Worse case scenario, he could always ask for directions. But he was pretty confident that he could manage. Next stop, Madam Money Business. ___
  9. “Ah ha! Since I am bound to Darth Helios, but also owe Lady Sirena our respect, we must satisfy both of them, yes? And since there are three of us, we can do just that! Lord Roshan, you stated that it will be our duty to kill you, yes? Perhaps a separation will enable Sir Aliss and I to do so later. After all, if we all learn the same, then we all know the same and be killed equally.” "Well don't get too excited about the prospect. There is still much time before that day comes and revenge we must take on Ishvara first and foremost. There are debts of blood to be repaid. But yes. In time, that day and my end will likely come. Just be sure that you are strong enough to defeat me in that day. Failures receive no mercy." “In order to satisfy my debt to Lady Sirena, I choose that Sir Aliss will meet with Lady Sirena. You two are of both similar build and gender, right? Perhaps this will allow you to learn in ways impossible for me. Yes, yes, that will do. Do you agree Sir Aliss?” Aliss did not respond. Perhaps she was asleep. Or maybe she was just pretending. But she remained still in the darkness as Solus continued. “I, however, must keep my word and follow the dreadsome but curious Darth Helios when he comes in the morning. After all, if I broke my word to him, how easy would it be for me to break my oath to you Lord Roshan? And this way, us children will learn in two different ways and become more powerful. That way, whichever person you choose to learn from Lord Roshan, you will have a child training separately from you and thus learn what you will not. Yes, yes…” Roshan grinned as he listened to the Shardbot's plan. It was more clever than Lord Roshan had expected. In fact, the Shard's idea had plenty of merit. More interestingly, it would likely show not only who the better pupil was but also who was the more competent master. For probably the first time since originally setting off on this quest, Roshan once again felt a tingle of excitement dance across his shoulders and up his neck. He let out a hearty laugh in the darkness. "Well, Soulless. It would seem that my faith in you was not misplaced at all. I find your suggestion excellent. Before Master Helios arrives, we will explain the situation to the girl and Aliss will leave to meet with Lady Sirena as you suggest. Well done." With that settled, the rest of the night and their watches seemed to go without incident. By the time some semblance of morning arrived, Roshan was a little tired but rather content. The real training would finally begin. The only question that now remained was whether or not Master Helios would show or instead decided to stand them up. Roshan couldn't help but wonder if Aliss' actions had ruined their chances of training under the grizzled master. If push came to shove, the party could always go and track down Lady Sirena. She seemed competent enough to handle a few beginners. And if it proved to be too much for her, Roshan was confident that he could help when needed. Granted, Solus' plan seemed like the better option and more advantageous for Roshan's grand master plan and their eventual revenge tour on Ishvara in the months or years to come. Of course, all of that would be figured out in its own time. For now, the mission was simple: find a master, master some teachings, keep learning. ____
  10. “Well Lord Roshan, it seems we got what we came for here, yes? We wanted a teacher, yes? Now we have not one but potentially two to choose from! Darth Helios, while very, er, would strict be the right word? Whatever the word, his burns are certainly fascinating, and a teacher in pain I suspect he is. What knowledge he might hold! Yes, yes... he has offered to train us. But there is now also Lady Sirena! How lovely she is. Her prosthetic arm, her feminine looks… Is that the right wording? Anyways, she also has power. That energy...so godlike!” Roshan nodded in reply, still in silent contemplation. Lady Sirena intrigued him. His previous master was a female Sith Lord. He was not opposed to serving another. The fact that neither Sith Lord seemed very successful at keeping themselves in one piece worried Roshan a little. But his primary focus was on expanding his abilities. He wasn't going to press the issue or claim the status of Sith Lord for himself. He would hid among the apprentices and bide his time. It had been well over a decade since his original training and the life he had subsequently made on Ishvara. The galaxy had passed him by in that time and the great Sith Lords of his day that he once knew were had now passed into legend. He did not know much about this new leadership, their objectives, or their teachings. This was a whole new Sith Empire and Lord Roshan had decided shortly after his arrival planetside that the best way to learn about these masters and how this generation of Sith operated was to keep his head down and draw as little attention to himself as possible. Having Solus and Aliss with him made it rather easy. They both seemed so eager to hog the spotlight that he'd have little trouble remaining an afterthought. Whether he would decided to adopt this generation's philosophies and truly call this place home remained to be seen. But at least this was a start. “Yes, yes...this is truly good, yes? Having options? And this place!” "Sure. Options can be nice. And I guess--" “This place is magnificent! Those people out there are suspicious, except that lovely being with the voice….oooh what a voice. I could listen to that voice for a long time...and there is so much available for us! Perhaps there is more information to get from here…” Roshan chuckled a little at Solus excitement. "I mean... I don't know if I'd go that far. I've seen better. “But Lord Roshan...who are we to follow? Lady Sirena at the Valley of the Sith Lords? Or Darth Helios tomorrow? Sir Aliss, what do you think?” Roshan paused at the question. He thought for a second while Aliss replied. "Just know that next time you try to tackle me with your oversized metal frame I will cut it in half," retorted in a grumpy manner as she laid against the cold ground and curled up into a ball. Roshan rolled his eyes, "Aliss Rose Roshan! If you do not let this go this instant..." "Maybe if he apologizes!" She whined back. "Apologizes?! You are the one who disobeyed and tried to steal the artifact even though we were directly told not to! Soulless was the only one actually following directions!" Aliss crossed her arms as she continued to rest against her side, "Fine." Roshan shook his head. Children. He would end up stuck with this one. "Where were we again? ..." Roshan sighed and paused for a second before remembering his original train of thought. "Oh! Yes. Were we supposed to meet Helios tomorrow? That is right, isn't it. Do you remember when and where? To be honest, all this excitement had me a little distracted. I don't see why we can't visit with them both. Helios might have more knowledge to share but Lady Sirena seems like she might be better suited for beginners and a bit easier on the eyes. If you have a preference, we'll follow your lead, Soulless. It's time to let you make some executive decisions, as any good Knight of Roshan eventually must." As Roshan finished, he leaned up against the rock wall behind him and took a seated position. He was ready to get a little rest. The space travel plus the desert trek and then the heat followed by their combat session had left him more than a little bit weary. Tomorrow would probably be even longer. Turning to Solus, Roshan added, "Do you got like a motion sensor mode or something in that chassis of yours? Perhaps you could set it to wake you up and alarm us if anyone enters? Otherwise, we can take shifts. It doesn't matter to me. We should probably get some rest either way. It would just be wise not to take any chances. That's all." ___ &
  11. Roshan watched the Shard curiously out of the corner of his eye. It was clearly thinking about something. The way it seemed to be moving, one might even mistake it for thinking hard. "The Cathar thinks me pretty? Perhaps I should rub his belly later?" Perhaps surprisingly, Lord Roshan didn't have a clever reply or witty retort for the woman this time around. Nevertheless, he was mostly unphased and content with what he had said so far and how they conversation and developed, at least until Aliss spoke up. Lord Roshan couldn't help but catch his forehead with the palm of his hand and shake it a little. He felt like red-skinned child's comments made their group all look rather amateurish. But then again, he could only expect so much from a girl that had yet to even see her 16th birthday. Not to mention that she was not supposed to be his prized pupil. No, little Aliss was never supposed to be a possessor of such knowledge. She had fate to thank this sudden opportunity. Perhaps the Force knew something he didn't, and perhaps that is what worried Roshan the most about this whole situation. The Force was something to be subdued, not allowed to run wild, and surely not something to guide destinies and be trusted farther than you could throw your enemies with it. "Holocrons are mere tools for recording teachings and philosophy. What I can teach you is the power to open them without setting their security feature off and you not end up dead." Roshan sighed a little as he nodded at her response. She wasn't saying anything entirely clever but she wasn't wrong either. Roshan's train of thought, of course, was broken when Solus suddenly spoke up out of nowhere. “Yes great Lady Sirena! Surely if you are able to produce energy from your...lovely hands...then you must be great enough to train one of us! Provided you found us worthy, yes? I hope our trial of restraint that evolved into a trial of combat proved that at least one of us are worthy of apprenticeship? " Roshan could see Aliss glaring at the Shardbot. Lord Roshan was actually impressed, of course. Was the weapon of Roshan showing a touch of ambition? "Yes. I can impart my knowledge to all three of you, but only you can do what you will with it. It's up to each one of you how powerful of Apprentices you become." Roshan nodded at the woman, satisfied with her reply. "Very well, Lady Sirena. You see to check out. Would you like to teach us these things now or is there somewhere you'd like us to meet you in the morning? I'm not thrilled to be sleeping her but we all have to rest sooner or later." ___
  12. Roshan grinned underneath his mask. He had gotten the woman to drop her charade, if only for a second. Of course, he was impressed by her knowledge when she spoke. But he had perhaps poked a spot of irritation and he was interested in poking it a little more as she seemed determined to continue to use her animal euphemisms. "... the Iron Knights of old where a race known as Shards were placed within Droids, including their Force Sensitives." "Well I'll be a monkey's uncle," Roshan muttered to Aliss, feigning shock. He spoke just loud enough that the Sith woman could possibly hear him but he directed the comment to the girl beside him. Aliss frowned a little at him, unfamiliar with the phrase. She then shock her head before looking back at the woman. "One was even told of having been defeated by the infamous General Grevious during the Clone Wars." "Yup. Lord Primate Kitten is my new name," he mumbled for what good lowering one's voice did inside these enclosed walls of stone. His "Lord Primate Kitten" comment actually got a little bit of a chuckle out of Aliss before she rolled her eyes at Roshan and again shook her head. Whether Lady Sirena was phased by his chatter or not, the woman added what Roshan assumed was the "hint" of a threat as she concluded her history lecture. "But enough of the History Lessons. I have not lied. I came to see your mettle against Darth Helios's task and to see your potential, to understand your passions, your sins. And if you want to know how I know him, you can ask him yourselves, and then ask him why one of my arms is a prosthetic." "Let me guess. You aren't just a pretty face. You'll have to forgive me, your Sithness. Obscure races and an obscure orders of Knights that existed a long time ago are not my specialty. General Grievous I'm somewhat familiar with. He was the famous jedi killing droid, right? Droid history never really interested me and the rise of the Empire was well before my time so I only know the general facts and major battles of that time period. I did study a little bit extra on Darth Sidious and Darth Vader and their inquisitors because such Sith wisdom and brilliance and subject matters like that do interested me. But I imagine you have access to much better archives than that of Darth Hel or Kamino or the scraps on Ishvara. I look forward to perusing them. I truly do," Roshan paused just long enough to attempt to read her expression but short enough to cut of anyone else before they interrupted him. "That said, it would seem I was not entirely wrong that you've been following us for some time. That adds up. And you are correct, of course. It is a Shard. It is Force Sensitive. And it is a weapon of the darkside. Plucked from among a pile of useless ones and given new purpose." Truth be told, Roshan wanted to verbally joust a bit further with the woman. Perhaps he was just bored, but he was curious to see what she could do. With his Sith armor on, she might ruin his cape but he doubted that this "wicked flame" could penetrate his armor any easier than ordinary fire. He might get burned but he doubted he'd end up like Darth Vader unless she lit the whole room on fire or something. Of course, maybe it was called "the wicked flame" for more reasons than simply melodramatic sensationalism. But then again, Sith weren't above melodramatic sensationalism. Some would argue that they thrived on it. After all, how would it look if a fellow student was like, "Hey! Look at this awesome lightning I can now shoot from my fingers and strike down a room full of enemies, droids and fleshlings alike! Amazing right!" and you are like, "Well, well... I... I can shoot flames... and turn into smoke! So... so... ha!" Recruitment for passing on your teachings might be slim. Roshan chuckled to himself a little as he entertained the thought, his eyes slightly glazing over but his subconscious still attentive to the woman's movements. He was ready to snap back into action at a moments notice if he needed to. He still did not believe her to be entirely friendly or trustworthy. Of course, as Roshan finished speaking, Aliss looked to Solus and then to the Sith lady. She was a bit surprised that Solus was so quiet. He normally talked new people's ears off. She wasn't surprised by Roshan's responses, though. She was used to his wordy and often invective manner. But she was determined to use this sudden break in Lord Roshan's latest "harangue" to ask the question she had been wondering since the woman first introduced herself. "So does that mean you can teach us how to use the holy croms and unlock the powers inside like Lord Roshan and Darth Helios have?" ____ &
  13. "But they're so delicious." Lord Roshan couldn't help but be somewhat amused that she had actually brought some sort of cookie-based concoction with her. For a "Sith Lord," she was surprisingly silly and playful. Which made him trust her even less. "But you're right. I do have ulterior motives for being here. And no, Darth Helios doesn't know I followed the four of you here, at least not in the sense that he asked." Roshan nudged Aliss with his leg. When she looked up to him he offered his free hand and pulled her to her feet. "I was curious about the three of you. I wanted to know the potential that each of you held and if you would be worthy Apprentices to poach." Roshan wanted badly to fold his arms and interrogate her. But he had seen what she had done earlier and they were not safe. She said that this wasn't a test and she wasn't sent by Helios but lies are always easier to pass off as truth to the "new kids in town." His lightsaber would remain lit for the time being and he retained a semi-casual stance that could give him the flexibility to drop into an attack stance in a moment's notice. "Let's say I was to believe you, which I don't. You made one simple mistake, my dear primate. You referred to the ascended soulless one as 'the Crystalline.' But as you can see, his chassis is solid and looks just like any other ancient Hutt security droid, albeit a bit more 'handy'," Roshan began as he tapped on the shard's metal chassis. It sounded a touch more hollow than he expected, which caught him a bit off guard but he continued anyway, "Sure. Maybe you sensed that it was Force sensitive. I'd question whether you'd assume that you were getting a false echo or just think you were picking up the presence of organic force users like Aliss and myself. After all, it's impossible for a droid to be Force Sensitive. And it is not some common part of Sith history that such a thing like Soulless exists. Believe me. Darth Hel had be spend extensive time reading her Sith library during my training. And even if you've heard stories of something like him in some random ancient journal, his kind in such a form would have to be so extremely rare that such an assumption would be no less than wildly assumptive and unbelievably brilliant guesswork on your part. So your familiarity with our situation denotes purpose or much more extensive spying than you've lead on or both." Pausing, Lord Roshan adopted a much more aggressive stance as the red light of his lightsaber better illuminated the Sith's face. He watched her reactions carefully as he finished his deductive argument. "You act is cute, human. You clearly excel at humor, wit, and improvisation," the Cathar adds with a hint of sarcastic emphasis placed on the "wit" portion of the sentence. "But we've seen through this monkey business. Why are you really here? How do you know Darth Helios? Do you work for him? Are you two finally done with your tests and ready to train us? Or would you like for us to play more games for your amusement?" ___
  14. With his lightsaber still on and the room dimming as the excitement waned, the woman came more into view. She was pretty for a human. The type of beauty that was more worthy of a prized mistress of a harem than a Mandalorian Princess. But he had known enough Sith females in the past to know better than to underestimate them based on their looks. That was especially true of this one. The way she moved reeked of danger in the way that a sweet smelling poison might be passed off as a perfume until your body lie twitching on the floor. "...Haven't you heard the saying about curiosity, my dear Kitten?" Roshan gave her a hard roll of his eyes from underneath his mask. Humans always thought they were so clever, as if they were the first one to come up with such a silly expression or as if he hadn't heard it from literally hundreds of humans. Cathar weren't even cats. It was like telling a monkey joke to a human and snickering. Roshan smiled back at her from underneath his mask. "Well aren't you a cheeky monkey." "Forgive my manners. I am Lady Sirena. As far as the Holocron, the test was to resist, not touch it. But Master Helios was never one for all the details and preferred his students to play with fire. And don't worry. I'm not part of it, that is, unless you want to get burnt." Roshan looked knowingly down towards Aliss. She was still beside him but had slumped to one knee and was using her free arm to hold herself up as she leaned forward to catch her breath. That blow from the beast had clearly hurt her fragile humanoid body. "I figured as much. But you'll have to forgive the girl's opprobrium. You know humans. Always monkeying around. She couldn't help herself," he shrugged, speaking in a tone that danced the line between playful and mocking. “That certainly makes me happy to hear...Lady Sirena. This here is Lord Roshan..." Roshan waved casually at the mention. "We are his children. Sir Aliss… So sorry about that Sir Aliss. Let me help you..." Aliss pulled away from the shardbot, keeping her head down half out of the embarrassment of being chided and mocked by everyone present and half because she was still angry at the abomination for violently subduing her only moments earlier. "Leave me alone," she replied sharply. "I'm fine, Soulless." "And I am Solus, Lady Sirena. Solus the Ascended. And he is Tear..." "If you, Lady Sirena, are not part of the test, then why are you here? Are you a person who uses what Darth Helios calls ‘the wicked flame’? Surely you are some sort of deity, for that energy that crackled from your fingertips was godlike.” Roshan sighed. He had taught Solus a bad habit. It was endearing to have Solus think of Lord Roshan as a deity. Perhaps even an appropriate assessment under the circumstances of its ascension. What's more, the evident deity of Lord Roshan had been the basis of his Knights and his Ishvaran cult. But that cult had been made up of ordinary humans and aliens that rarely ran into other Force Users or had people around to teach them how to use the Force. They were primitives easily impressed and easily subdued. Comparing himself to a god or demi-god was simply a force of habit. But now that they were in the midst of a camp of Force sensitive beings, it was like bringing a cave dwelling humanoid to visit some sort of heavenly pantheon. They were now inevitably bound to stop every two minutes for him to fawn over this deity and that deity and gush over this power and that power and this parlor trick and that parlor trick. She had done nothing to warrant such attention. She can mist around. So fancy. Such a great ability if no one graps a hand-held fan and blows her away. Roshan rolled his eyes. "Yes. Excuse its ramblings. But Soulless does bring up a very good point. If you are what and who you say you are, why are you here? I have my doubts that Darth Helios simply asked you to stop on by out of the kindness of your heart to drop us by some blue milk and cookies." ____ &
  15. Roshan: No sooner had he killed the monster he was fighting, when the true threat revealed itself. He could hear a female voice as her enchantments echoed off the cavernous walls. It was not any dialect he was familiar with. But within the blink of an eye the woman managed to surprise and quickly down one of the grotesque creatures. "Aliss, zeuritou nouliqo xo xo!" Roshan bellowed in Echani. Roshan's lightsaber remained drawn as he turned his focus to the new arrival. He stood at attention, ready to strike if necessary. Her arrival concerned him greatly as she seemed much more powerful than their group. If this was a test, it was not going to be an easy one. But if she was some sort of Force ghost, she definitely had quite the solid look to her. “Lord Roshan…” “Lord Roshan, was that a test? A test of combat? If so, then I believe we passed. But who was that? Who was that being that helped us?” Roshan turned to Solus, the worry in his eyes reflected by the glow of his red lightsaber. "I do not know. I have not quite ran into a holocron quite like this one before. But she may be part of the test. I'd suggest you fall back to me. It will be hard for her to manifest behind us if we are against a solid wall." *** *** *** Aliss: It had taken Aliss a moment to gain her bearings. As it turned out, it was not the "holy crom" that had given her any special powers. Rather, a snarling, slobbery beast that had formed right above her and flung Solus off of her. Aliss froze for a moment as she first eyed the holocron beside her. Then the monster above her. It seemed to be watching its "brothers" engage the other two. But as her hands crept towards the device, the monster paused for a second before sniffing and dropping its eyes in Aliss' direction. Her own eyes grew wide as she swiped the holocron and rolled! The ground shook a little as the creature narrowly missed her and connected with the rock floor. Aliss hurried to her feet and pocketed the holocron just before she took a massive swipe across her body. Launched through the air, Aliss sailed several feet behind colliding with a stone wall and collapsing to the ground. She was a little dizzy and her body hurt all over. She tried to catch her breath. She could hear the roar and screams of the monsters in the distance. Get up, Aliss. Get up! It's coming! Get up! She struggled to move. The cool touch of the ground felt unusually comfortable in that moment. Maybe I should lie here for just a few more... "Aliss, zeuritou nouliqo xo xo!" The irritated and forceful nature of Lord Roshan's command triggered a sense of fear and adrenaline that snapped her out of her delusion. Looking up, she could see the glow of Roshan's lightsaber and almost instinctively scrambled towards it, ignoring the throbbing pain she felt along the backside of her body. Moving beside him, she reached for her lightsaber but Roshan's hand motioned for her to hold her position and wait for order. She knew the drill. She was ready to strike if called upon. But as he engaged with Solus, she was almost certain of it. Her lord was cautiously curious about whoever this "she" he spoke of was. Aliss looked around puzzled, trying to find the mystery female in amongst the shadowy and uneven mixture of glowing words and pockets of dense blackness. ___ &
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