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Durose Roshan

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Durose Roshan last won the day on December 4 2020

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  1. "Forgive me, Lord Mavanger. My Apprentices needed a demonstration on the importance of broadening one's horizon. I'm afraid only one may have actually learned something from it, however." Roshan thought about making excuses for Aliss but realized that such would only further embarrass the girl. Lady Sirena was asking much from someone with no proper training in the Force. The girl would come around in time. Sirena simply needed to show some patience. "Learn from the Darkness and know yourselves. To wield the Force is one thing. To know it another." Roshan nodded. When she wasn’t spewing nonsense, Lady Sirena had a habit of saying a lot with very few words. It was a gift that Roshan did not possess, nor had he any desire of cultivating. Detail was far too important to him. Plus, what was the point of standing at 6'11 if he wasn't going to use the attention his height naturally drew to him to hold his audience hostage? Still, he had slowly grown to appreciated the contrasting style of Lady Sirena, perhaps even finding it somewhat fitting that someone half his size would have so little to say when passing along her wisdom. "Lord Xahl, this is Lady Sirena. She's a teacher who's taking a brief stint away from Korriban to assist in our efforts. The other two are her apprentices. The Cathar is Roshan, and the young woman's name is Aliss. My own apprentice, there, is Kahla." Roshan and Aliss nodded to the new arrivals with a slight bow of acknowledgement. It was rather irritating to the Cathar that he could not put a face to the names of these new allies because of Lady Sirena’s silly and poorly timed stipulation. He was particularly interested in Darth Mavanger’s apprentice. It was unsurprising that a human of Mavanger’s demeanor would figuratively “beget” another human in the ways of the Force. It was unoriginal but very human of him. It was realistically why humans continued to dominate the ranks of the Sith and Jedi to this day. However, for a Sith Master with such a contradictory set of codes and principles -- from Roshan’ perspective -- the apprentice of such a man was bound to be quite the fascinating enigma. What I wouldn’t give to pick her undoubtedly jumbled brain. "I'll begin now that we're all here...” As they listened to Darth Mavanger speak, Roshan mapped the battle plan in his head. Lady Dominique had taught him to be a student of history and the war of the clones and the fall of the Empire had especially been points of interests during his studies. They were not perhaps as amusing as the destruction of Kamino or the rise of the Chaos gods, but he appreciated the tactical brilliance of the Grandmaster known simply as “The Emperor.” From the sound of it, this war would be much more crude. There was no haranguing of politicians or slyly manipulating greedy power players. They were to show up and intimidate as many worlds as possible into submission. From the size of their forces and Darth Mavanger's leadership style, Roshan believed the task to be possible. However, Lord Roshan knew that he would need some time to study up on the Jedi and their escapades in the years since the Cathar had taken up full-time residence on Ishvara. He had only looked in on galactic events intermittently over the years and it was clear from his earlier discussions with Lady Sirena that he had missed a lot. The one news item that he had stumbled upon, of course, on his way to Korriban was the Holonet report about the near complete destruction of Coruscant. He found it extremely amusing that the New Republic or Rebels or whatever they were calling themselves now had failed to protect the most populous world in the galaxy from a bunch of armor clad Lessers. Perhaps that’s why the Sith had become so bold in recent months. If the Jedi and their allies couldn’t protect the Core Worlds, how could they expect to protect the worlds of the Outer Rim?! Momentarily, Lord Roshan’s thoughts wandered to Durose. The last he knew, that Roshan clone had been assigned to work with the Link on Coruscant. Had he survived? Or had the number of Roshan duplicates dwindled following the latest Battle of Coruscant? Lord Roshan took some glee in the thought that there was one less imposter of him flying around the galaxy. He would one day become the only one to bear this name and face, at least if he had his way. But for now, he clearly had more important matters to attend to. "Questions are now welcome, as well as any critiques or concerns. You are my war council- speak freely here, and with respect, and there shall be no repercussions." Roshan paused at Darth Mavanger’s statement. There was one question that had come to mind early on. It was a silly ask but of historical interest for someone who had been away from the larger galactic scene for so long. Waiting for his moment to interject, Roshan cleared his throat before opening his mouth. “Darth Mavanger, you will have to excuse my lack of knowledge regarding current events. I have been away from the larger galactic scene for some time. When you say “Rebels,” are you simply mocking the New Republic or has the New Republic formed and now finds itself fighting a Rebel faction within its own ranks? And for that matter, is their force we are opposing supported by the Jedi or are they fractured as well? That would explain the tactical ineptitude of some of the latest holonews reports that I had the chance to browse over briefly while in transit to Korriban. But all the same, I just wanted to get a better idea on who exactly we expect to be fighting.” Roshan was content with his question. The Cathar spoke derisively of the self-proclaimed “good guys,” per usual, but he otherwise kept an unusually even tone to his questions. He did not want his questions to come off as silly or for them to make him seem foolish or clueless. Nevertheless, he realized that if they did, then so be it. He was preparing for war. And if he’d learned one thing over the decades, it was that only a fool rushed into battle willing to be blindsided and defeated by his own inaccurate assumptions. Roshan had little interest in making easily avoidable errors in his preparation for the battles and threats to come. From the sound of it, they would not be able to rely simply on overwhelming numbers, which meant making use of every possible advantage mattered. Of course, when more unexpected guests burst into the room and commented on the smell of the humans gathered, the Cathar chuckled to himself. Darth Mavanger had definitely assembled quite the group. Roshan shook his head a little as he silently contemplated the new guest's comments. Snevrian white wine, eh? Never heard of it Does that dull the senses of smell? Perhaps I'll have to try that one. ___ &
  2. "...This allows you to adapt in two forms: First learning to focus your other senses to see without sight, and allows you to see the darkness with you as it reveal itself." The roll of Roshan's eyes was neatly hidden beneath the cloth eye dressings Lady Sirena had handed out just moments ago. Roshan had met the likes of her before; holistic soothsayers trying to sell you their latest Krayt skin oil. Some of their concoctions worked and others were nothing more than cheaply brewed placebos, but for those that actually got real results, the chances were that their shamans actually mixed in something with real medicinal value and just upcharged you for it by a healthy three or four hundred percent. At this point, Lord Roshan felt that he had good reason to expect the same from her "teachings and interpretations" of the Force. Perhaps there was a bit of jealousy brewing in his heart as the woman attempted to lead Aliss astray, but whatever the case, Lord Roshan was not buying into her dogma by any stretch of the imagination. "When I first adapted this method of training, I spent months in darkness..." And clearly enjoyed it so much you decided to remain in darkness. "...That is where I discovered the truth. I could hear everything around me and within me. I could smell everything around me and myself. And I was one with the darkness, becoming a piece of it just as I accepted the darkness within me." If it takes her being blinded to pay more attention to her other senses, she really must have been born with a silver spoon. I... er... my "template" and I myself would have been long dead if we didn't avail ourselves of all of those long ago. I can’t even imagine trying to go on a blood hunt, much less bounty hunting or cache raiding without a thorough use of all my senses. "The Darkness you see behind the blindfold is the very darkness the universe was born from, absent of light...” Who says the universe didn’t begin as pure light and it was the addition of shadow that brought breath, depth, and shape to the light? "...This is the purpose of this exercise. To learn to live in the darkness around you and learn the primordial truth of your existence." So in other words, I overestimated this exercise. It is not to learn a useful skill like Force Sight. It is to explore some primordial pseudo-intellectual religious philosophy masquerading as factual Force truths? Lady Sirena. You truly put me to shame. Selling physical darkness as a metaphysical Force experience? Even I have not tried to sell that quality of Krayt skin oil. Aliss, meanwhile, listened closely to Lady Sirena’s words. The Sith wasn’t wrong. The darkness did help Aliss focus and tap into her other senses. The drone of the ship and the beeps of the consoles -- which normally were drowned out into the background static-- played around her like the room's very own soundtrack of sorts. She also picked out more of the verbal cues and tonal shifts in the Sith Master’s voice as she spoke. The girl could even hear the clapping of feet against the ground as multiple figures approached. Each figure swayed with their own unique stride, telling a little about themselves as they drew near. "Lady Sirena, I would introduce you to Lord Xahl. A veteran sorcerer whom I've fought beside in a previous conflict. His knowledge of the Force should prove invaluable, both in training and in battle." Aliss listened for Sirena’s posture to shift and address their new guests before she raised one side of her blindfold and curiously peeked at their new arrival. It was another man. Oh boy. He seems largely unremarkable. He is a veteran, though, which means he survived at least his last conflict. I guess that’s probably a good thing. As the Sith lord rose from his bow, Aliss quickly dropped her blindfold and stood back at attention. She wasn’t sure if anyone had caught her but it wouldn't surprise her if Darth Maverick had. Of course, she wasn't too worried about him. She already knew he was a jerk anyways. At least now she’d know if he was a tattletale, too. Clearing his throat a little, Lord Roshan bowed slightly in the direction of the new arrivals. Despite him cooking up rebuttals to Lady Sirena's guidance in his head, the Cathar was not going to openly engage Lady Sirena on whether or not literal darkness was a quite illustrious metaphysical example of the crippling effects of ignorance or how the term “darkside” was the real lie. After all, there is no darkness for those who understand the true depths of the Force. Only enlightenment waiting to be found. The Jedi do not have a monopoly on light because they want to quantify the Force with imaginary moral boundaries and dogmatic, high sounding color palettes. The Real world is no more black and white than the Force is light and dark. As Roshan’s mind began to wander off onto creating his next existential “counter-sermon,” the fact that there was a third figure approaching brought him back to the present. The footsteps were light, disbursing themselves across a smaller area than the previous two figures. Smaller feet most likely. In fact, the pattern and sound fit that of a female. Roshan guessed her weight was somewhere around 120 to 160 lbs in total. And there was definitely a familiar aura about her that only grew stronger the closer she got. Roshan was confident that she was a Force user as well. And last but not least came an all too familiar odor. She was definitely a human. Her arrival now brought the total of Force users in the room up to four, not counting himself and Aliss. Interesting. I knew Darth Mavanger wouldn’t let us down. It would seem he has gathered us quite the collection of “talent.” Roshan grinned contently as the others spoke. He was less concerned with what they were actually saying and more focused on seeing them and this room through the Force. He was content to “play blind” for Lady Sirena’s amusement but he refused to "play the fool." Of course, if he was being honest, Roshan had to admit that Lady Sirena’s exercise had challenged him to tap into something that he hadn’t used since before the attack on his commune. Force Sight was a useful talent when exploring Sith caches, perhaps even essential as many of the boobytraps left behind were designed to snare the Lessers that might believe their ordinary sight and ambitious greed was enough to deem them worthy of looting a Sith tomb. But ever since donning this armor, Roshan had strayed away from using many powers that had previously come to him as if second nature. It was an unsettling and uneasy feeling to struggle at doing things that he once had taken for granted. He felt like an invalid relearning to walk again. While he’d never openly admit it, it was a humbling experience and perhaps that’s why he hated it and avoided it as much as he could. Needless to say, he now had little else in the way of options. Reaching out through the Force, he struggled to distinguish the other organic and inorganic objects in the room. He could make out faint auras of colors around the other Sith but the colors blurred in ways that made them hard to read. He was clearly much more than "out of practice" at this point. No, he was back at the beginning. Roshan clenched his teeth in frustration. At least he could make out the basic figures enough to know their relative positions in the room. But even with his keen sense of smell, he could have probably guessed about as much. The fact that such Sight was no longer combat functional meant that he had a lot of work and practice ahead of him. To that end, he begrudgingly gave Lady Sirena a small amount of credit. Whether he loved or hated her methods or theology, Roshan had to admit that Lady Sirena’s silly tests and her pushing and prodding was forcing him to flex his Force muscles again, in spite of the embarrassment he felt about the current state of his Force powers. Perhaps there is a method to her madness, after all. Probably not. But perhaps. ___ &
  3. Aliss stared at the woman in confusion. After a pause of a few second, she finally spoke up. "But that doesn't make any--" "Just put on the blindfold already, girl! The longer this takes, the longer this exercise is going to drag out." Scrunching her face and sticking her tongue out at the blindfolded lion-like alien, Aliss finally complied. It wasn't necessarily that she was scared of wearing the blindfold. She just felt that Lady Sirena was making no sense. I don't even remember what my sin is! Being mad, right? How am I supposed to trust being mad by wearing a blindfold? By realizing this is stupid and taking it off!? With the blindfold firmly secure, it now hid most of Rose's indignation. The truth was, not every one of the Roshan's "Knights" were the same. Some children needed more rules than other. Other children needed more space than rest. Ultimately, each child had their own set of strengths and weaknesses. This girl's strengths, however, were reinforced by a certain level of structure and direction. She always hated it when adults acted mysterious to make themselves seem and feel smarter. Aliss was someone who preferred straightforward and clear directions, explanations, and goals. Instead, Lady Sirena had giving her yet another vague task that could end up with her floating around in one of Darth Mavanger's petri tubes again. Folding her arms, the girl stood there in a brief silence, careful not to presume or guess at what her master had planned for them to next. "... Okay. So... now what?" Roshan also nodded, "Indeed. Are we to follow you somewhere or are we waiting on someone?" ___ &
  4. Roshan acted casually as they interrupted Lady Sirena and the finishing touches of her buttoning her blouse. He almost felt that she had purposely waited for someone to arrive before she did it, whether that someone turned out to be Roshan, Darth Mavanger, or someone else. She enjoyed feeling sexy and playing the part of the tease. Of course, Roshan was still hung up on her height. He had a dislike for short alien creatures as it was. And the fact that she almost looked like a well-endowed human child or midget did her sex appeal little favors in his opinion. But more than all of that, he had grown a rather healthy distain for standard humans over his years on Ishvara. This was quite the departure from his original "programming." The "Durose Roshan line" generally had an unhealthy obsession with the furless, circular-pupiled bipeds. He had once even inevitably shared such deviancy. He may have even been awed by her notable human beauty if they had met a decade or two earlier. But many long years among the feudal, ignorant, and dirty humans of Ishvara had largely cured him of such absurd proclivities. By the time Lord Roshan had left Ishvara and set course for Korriban, the Cathar longed for the day when he'd meet a lovely traveler or even a remotely sexual being that didn't hurt his nasal sensibilities with the unsettling and unmistakable scent of "human." But perhaps it was just as well that he likely would not meet such a diversion any time soon. He didn't have time for such distractions right now. But to be sure, being stuck in a side of the galaxy so overpopulated by humans for so very long had made him miss the scents and smells of home more than ever. For a race of being where scents and pheromones played an important role in greetings, the marking of territory, and even telling the difference between one's family, relatives, and clan, such an acute sense of smell made scents, in and of themselves, an unspoken language of their own among the Cathar. Unfortunately, this "language" often meant that spending time in the close proximity to humans was akin to standing in the middle of a crowd of foul mouth protestors hurling profanities at him. Even when spending time with seemingly "clean" humans, that rarely took the "human" out of them. There were simply some scents and pheromones that they couldn't smell but also help but give off. While he might have once found those to be exotic, unusual, or fascinating, his time spent among the Ishvarans had cured him of such delusions. To be fair, though, Lady Sirena's scent wasn't quite as appalling as a standard Ishvaran. Neither was Aliss. They both had a unique scent that was a notable variation of the standard human stench. Neither was quite the same. It was always hard to explain such a sensitivity to oblivious humanoids that lacked the same sensory sensitivities as a Cathar. But he had learned over time that their sense of taste was fairly adequate. In fact, humans could occasionally "taste" a strong smell according to Aliss' mother, Rose. With that in mind, Roshan once explained it to Rose, "In human terms, if a standard human's scent was like the flavor of oxidized iron being blown in your face, your scent is more the flavor of you biting down on a spicy Ishvaran jalleeno pepper while only half as much rust powder is being blown in your face." Of course, he hadn't quite nailed down the difference in Lady Sirena's scent "flavor." She was the first Hapan that he could remember ever meeting. He was rather sure he'd have remembered if he had ran into another race of flirty midget humans. But her scent, illustratively reminded him of a heady bergamot flavor mixed with hints of blueberry juice. The iron oxide was still there, but only maybe half as strong as that of a standard human. Granted, Roshan was rather positive that Lady Sirena attempted to mask her humanoid odor by other means as well as, so he couldn't be sure whether what he was detecting was the smell of a Hapan or a Hapan's pheromones mixed with some sort of elaborate designer fragrance designed to enhance her natural allure. Whatever the truth may have been, now finding himself on ship full of mostly mundane humans, Lord Roshan was quite happy to have brought his mask (and the installed filtration system within). Lady Sirena's "exercise", of course, would complicate thing. "To understand the darkness, one must know it. From now until our next lesson, I want you two to know the world around you in utter darkness. Wear these blindfolds until I say otherwise, and use your other senses to get around, even if we encounter combat before then." Removing his mask, Roshan held his breath for a brief second before inhaling the pungent odor of the bacta around him. It wasn't that the scent of bacta was particularly loathsome or unbearable. But when you had been through enough scrape and near death experiences as Lord Roshan -- or at least the progenitor of the bulk of his memories had -- the smell of bacta had come to be associated with a very negative and unpleasant set of memories. More often than not, it was the smell that accompanied significant pain and/or catastrophic failure. When given the opportunity, Lord Roshan much preferred to heal naturally. After all, the Cathar races already healed far more efficiently than the delicate humans that populated this universe. If a Cathar was in needed a bacta bath, the chance that they were nearly dead was extremely high. "Learn to accept the insight of complete darkness, and you will understand it for the better." Frowning at the cloth Lady Sirena had offered, Roshan took it with a sigh. There was a decent chance that with his better than human ability to see in darkened conditions, if the cloth wasn't too thick he might still be able to see hints of objects or the movement of light and motion as it crossed the blindfold. To be sure, he understood that the design of this exercise was probably something much different. Seeing through the Force was a valuable tool. As might be expect, though, it was not the only way to get around the impairment of losing one's eyesight. What Lady Sirena's actual goal with this exercise was, Roshan remained uncertain. But for the time being, he took a deep breath --that he immediately regretted-- before tying the blindfold around his eyes and standing at attention for the next portion of this "game" Sirena wanted them to play. Meanwhile, Aliss went about looking for a towel to wipe herself off with. Grabbing one, she next proceeded to see if she could figure out which locker or bin might contain her normal clothes. "Just give me a second..." Once she finally found them -- freshly cleaned and folded at that -- she turned her back to Lady Sirena and the blindfolded Roshan, holding them up with a smile. "Found um! Don't look." "Don't worry. I definitely won't," Roshan replied as he rolled his eyes underneath his blindfold. "Hurry up, girl! The Sith master and I are waiting on you." Aliss proceed to rip off the diaper and bandages that had been currently restraining her sopping form. After that, the girl quickly grabbed the towel and rubbed the gunk off her nude body before jumping into her undergarments and throwing on her shirt and pants. Using the towel to wipe off the bacta still in her hair and ears, Aliss slowly walked back towards Lady Sirena. "Okay. Like... let's say I put on this blindfold. How do I know that you or Darth Maverick or whatever don't try to turn me into a jar experiment trophy again?" From behind his blindfold, Lord Roshan growled, "Aliss! I thought we were done with that nonsense." Aliss looked back and Roshan as she took the blindfold but stopped short of putting it on. She looked back at Lady Sirena skeptically. "What? That's a reasonable question! I almost died earlier!" She grumbled back at Roshan before glaring at Lady Sirena, "You could be trying to kidnap me again or something. What's the point of not being able to see? If this was some meditation exercise, we could simply close our eyes. I just want to know what we are actually doing this time so I don't end up in the tank of failed apprentice experimentation again." Roshan sighed, a little embarrassed by the girl's insistent and stubborn ignorance. Although he had to admit that the fact that she hadn't take his previous explanation as gospel was a bit new. Perhaps she was simply looking for an opportunity to act out. Over the years, Lord Roshan had found that human teenagers were known to become increasingly problematic and irrational at her age, most likely because of the unfortunately problematic and inferior nature of their hormonal make-up. Humans. ___ &
  5. ROSHAN: Roshan bit his lip as the woman spoke her final words in that godsforsaken realm. Her sin was Hatred, or as she might call it "Wrath." Her wrath tested his patience, even now. She was a useful and necessary vessel for their further training. But in her own arrogance, she had turned to her own false worship of the gods of “Progression, Evolution, and Advancement” in the place of the Sith grandmasters that had paved the way for her to put on such elaborately vain displays of her power. The irony was not lost on him that they had found themselves on a Dejarik board. Dejarik, after all, was little more than the Jedi’s attempt at burlesque trolling of the far more sophisticated war game Dejarik was derived from. In similar fashion, Roshan felt that she had mocked his religion only to replace it with another form of self-idolatry. It took all his inner strength not to challenge the woman. Nevertheless, he feared that her own beliefs would continue to make her unstable and weaker than she truly was, weak enough that even he could have slain her and taken her mantle not that long ago. Of course, weakness itself was not a sin that Roshan had never seen or experienced before. He had made a much similar mistake in the past, but for much different reasons. No, Lady Sirena seemed content to think that she was acting of her own volition when in reality it was the hands of the Darkside and Chaos that moved her around like a piece on a board. Moebius, Dejarik, Chess. They were all little more than inferior variations of the same age-old strategy game. It was not unlike the real life game that the Jedi and Sith opposed each other in. Two sides, one light and one dark, both seeking victory but only one attaining it at any given point in time. With the fall of the old gods, that game was over. It did not matter who was left. Of that she was correct. But she had blinded herself with so much hate for her assigned role that she now refused to understand the truth about the game that they were all still active participants in. Like the Old Republic and the Empire and the New Republic and the Chaos gods after them, the demesne may have changed. New Imperators may have been chosen by each side. But that eternal war in the stars -- the intergalactic game of chess played out by the wills of the Force -- that game never truly ended. As soon as one game finished, the board was reset and the game simply started over again anew. What Roshan believed Lady Sirena saw as a fool's errand and vain idolatry, the Cathar saw as the most important piece of the puzzle. She was right. Their life was all that they had. And they knew the penalty that came with death. So why willingly make oneself an oblivious pawn? Why limit your own success by refusing to acknowledge the differences in value and importance between a horse and a queen or the Beast and the Knight? Why limit yourself by failing to revere, study, and learn from the grandmasters of the Darkside and the strategies and tactics they used in previous iterations of the Game? If the old gods had failed to protect their Imperator, then they deserved their fate. But one does not become a grandmaster simply through their own intuition, “evolution,” and a strong dose of luck. Advancement, evolution, and progress were all the end results of knowledge, study, and hard work. To expect results without studying and respecting the genius of the past grandmasters was irresponsible at best. Likewise, not learning from their mistakes was a sure recipe for repeating those errors in judgement and ending up removed from the demesne of the Force with little more than a whimper and a forgotten legacy. No. Like learning to use the Force and mastering the Game required intense study. Even rightly deserved veneration of the grandmasters was in order for those who sought to master the Game’s intricate strategies, movements, and nuisances. Not all pieces were created equal, after all. And while Lady Sirena may have been content with the freedom but limited movement that her philosophy gave her, Roshan had little interest in being the Knight on Imperator Exodus' game board. There were so many more interesting pieces. The Beast, the Dowager, the Counselor, or even the Vizier. All limited in their own ways but all superior in advancement when compared to the Sirena’s philosophy. Or at least, that was Lord Roshan’s opinion on the matter. There was a reason why he had called his students the “Knights of Roshan.” Just like the Knights of the Game, they were given only enough training to move two steps at a time, but were still deadly in any direction he sent them. Combined with their training, prowess, and effectiveness, a short leash was most desirable for the fulfilling of their designed purpose. But for a Sith Master, Roshan considered such a role as the least of all the major pieces. Roshan, of course, had no delusions of grandeur when it came to mastery of this game. He had studied the old grandmasters of Chaos and revered their accomplishments but it would seem that even they had fallen to a new Champion of the Darkside. However, he worried about the future of this particular Imperator. Thus far, Roshan would argue that all he had seen were Knight. A board full of one type of piece would surely not overcome a skilled opponent that could bring all the varied special abilities of all his varied game pieces to bear! The Counselor, the Dowager, the Craft, the Vizier, the Counselor, the Beast! Where were they? Or had they already been removed in his absence and replaced by more Knights pretending they were other pieces? Roshan shuddered to think that he might be the Outcast on this demesne. The Outcast was such an enigma. It was often considered the most expendable of pieces, normally only able to move one space forward at any given time. Its only saving grace being that it could leap up to three spaces in any direction as long as there was an adjacent piece for it to make its leap over. This allowed the Outcast to occasionally move across the board with surprising speed, especially under the control of a well-studied and clever player. Greatlier, if the Outcast ended its move in a spot with an enemy’s piece, the Outcast could take that piece, removing both pieces and replacing itself with the same type as the piece as the one it took. No longer the Outcast, if it could survive long enough, it could take on a more permanent role as something else. That’s why some players called it the Shapeshifter. The problem, of course, was that few players knew how to properly navigate the Outcast across the board without losing the piece in the process, especially since the Outcast posed a greater threat to its opponent the longer it remained in play. In Roshan’s limited experience, far too often the Outcast was perhaps the most targeted and/or expendable of the 9 pieces. More importantly, “expendable” was not a role Lord Roshan had any interest in partaking in. Not now. Not ever. Shuddering awake, the Cathar found himself longing to play the Game in physical form. His board had been one of the things taken from him when his commune was ransacked but he still kept a digital copy of it among his things. Now that Aliss was to join the ranks of the Blessed, perhaps it was time that he taught her the Game as well. As Lord Roshan glanced at the medical equipment surrounding him, he felt Lady Sirena’s call, signaling to him that she was close by. He would grin and bear this situation for now. He was in no position to train the girl in his current state. Sure, Lady Sirena seemed determined to undo his teachings and his narrative. Perhaps she saw her former master in the Cathar and that intensified her need to prove him wrong and knock him down from his “pedestal.” He was sure this would not be the last time that their philosophies butted heads. Ultimately, what could a Sith Master hope to learn from an old Cathar? So for the time being, he’d allow her to feel like she was in control. He’d still watch Siren closely, of course, less her seductive ideologies infect someone as impressionable as young Aliss. But for the time being he would relent in any efforts to convert her to his way of thinking. At the end of the day, Roshan realized that he might have to approach things from a different angle when dealing with Lady Sirena. If she could not be persuaded or converted by conventional means, perhaps he would teach her the Game and she’d manage to take away something of value from that exercise. Maybe it could be a way in which they could someday bond and she could come to the same realizations that he had long ago. It had been a long while since he had taught the Game to anyone else and he was confident Lady Sirena would make a worthy opponent. But at this point, only time would tell. Removing the monitoring devices from around him, Roshan slowly rolled out of the bed. His wounds had healed nicely and most of the equipment around him was probably there simply to make sure that he didn’t fall into a coma or suffer any further brain swelling or damage for his head injury. Personally, the large Cathar felt fine. Perhaps even a little refreshed after his nice long “cat nap.” How long had he been out? Of that Roshan was actually uncertain. But he decided that his next logical course of action would be to track down and check in on Lady Sirena. As the Cathar found his personal items and began re-dressing, a goo-soaked Aliss stumbled into the room. The look on the wild child’s face was one of disheveled confusion if Roshan were to attempt to describe it into words. Roshan, however, casually continued with what he was doing, paying the girl little mind. They had work to do but he wasn’t going anywhere without his gear. *** *** *** ALISS: When Aliss answered Sirena’s call from within the darkness of her mind, she had unexpectedly found herself hurled into the midst of her two teachers. But what she expected to be a long, drawn-out philosophical debate quickly descended into an even greater form of anarchy. Her lord spoke cryptically to her while agreeing with Lady Sirena. In fact, he even apologized openly. Aliss was bewildered. Is this another vision? How can this feel so surreal... yet their presence... I can feel it... as real as if we were all standing in the hangar bay right now. But this is different. So different! What is this?! Roshan spoke of sheltering and withholding and demesnes. Sirena spoke of curses and evolution and false gods. Aliss was quick to accept whatever it was that they were offering if it gave her the powers necessary to save her mother. She would figure out the rest later. In time, she was sure she’d fully understand what she had gotten herself into. For now, there wasn’t time to overanalyze the bazare scene that had taken place in whatever magical dream world this checkered floor of marble had been plucked out of. In fact, she barely had enough time to process everything that she was seeing and hearing before being shocked back to reality. Rushed back to full consciousness, the girl awoke to find herself trapped inside a vat of strange almost goo-like liquid. It reminded her of the vats that they had seen inside the lab of the last Sith’s lair she and Roshan had visited before leaving Ishvara behind. With no desire to become Darth Mavanger’s new science experiment, Aliss ripped and tugged at the apparatus around her face. It was only once she had torn it off her head that she realized her folly. Bacta began to fill her throat as she tried to scream, unaccustomed to the sensation of this terrifying new experience. Large bodies of water where she grew up were scarce and Roshan seemed to make it a habit of avoiding them. There was the occasional commune fisherman or hunter that might venture to one and see what offerings the gods might provide them, but such pools of water were often deemed more dangerous than they were worth thanks to foul beasts that they regularly attracted. Of course, whatever her or Roshan’s reasoning may have been for him and his Knights staying away from such places, the inescapable truth was that Aliss never learned how to swim. Flailing her arms rapidly, she could see light coming from above her. If she could just flap her arms upwards and lift off like a bird, Aliss was sure she could escape this infernal trap. But even as she saw a medical droid begin to scurry across the room to a nearby console, terror of a much more ominous realization hung in the girl’s mind. What if this is how all those creatures in those jars died?! Drown lab rats to be displayed as trophies for generations of other Sith to examine and gock at! Is this because I failed the test?! As a metal arm began to descend into the water, Aliss could feel the asphyxiation setting in. Her foolhardy attempt to scream for help had only hastened her condition and she had never been trained on how to hold her breath underwater either. As panic turned to desperation, the girl swatted at the metal apparatus, instead bracing her hands against the tube’s clear walls. As she pressed against them, her mind raced back to Lady Sirena’s words and the feeling she had felt in that hangar bay. You have that connection, just as I do, just as Roshan and Mavanger. And no artifact or holocron will make you stronger. Only you can do that... My job is to teach you the path to walk, to show you the power within you and your connection to the Force. But only you can find your limits. The feeling of drowning sent a surge of adrenaline through her body as she reached out and felt the Force within the liquid and the walls around her. With all the pain and rage and fear she could muster, the girl screamed and released it, pushing against the tube of goo with her own physical hands and those of the mysterious Force Lady Sirena had claimed she was connected to. A few seconds later, Aliss found herself coughing and gasping for air as she laid atop broken glass and the goey liquid that she had sent pouring into the bacta tank room. As the medical droid approached her check on Aliss, the girl slipped and slid across the floor as she tried to scramble to her feet. “Stay back! I’m warning you! Back!” she yelled at it. When the droid stopped in its tracks, Aliss darted out of the room. She was in a small section of some sort of laboratory, likely where Darth Mavanger and Lady Sirena sent failed experiments and defeated specimens. Where am I? Is this some sort of experimentation room? Or maybe this is where the Sith actually get their powers? The girl’s wet feet pattered against the medbay floor as she tried to pick up a good pace without slipping and falling on her butt. She was sure there had to be an exit nearby. As she felt the panic begin to creap back over her again, Aliss stopped for a moment and leaned against a nearby wall to catch her breath. She thought back to all the recent conversations Lord Roshan and Lady Sirena had had. If Lord Roshan had withheld the truth about a gift like this from her, what else might he have been withholding? She trusted him, almost implicitly so, because that was all she had known and been taught. But what if Lady Sirena was right? What if Sirena had the real truth? What if she had the answers to all the girl’s prayers? What if the gods were a lie? Roshan is a lie? My whole existence is a lie?! The thought chilled her to her very core but she had to press on. Resuming her search, the soused girl soon stumbled into the room where her Cathar lord was halfway through equipping his Sith armor. *** *** *** BOTH: “Lord Roshan,” the girl began as she caught her breath. “Where are we! Where is Lady Sirena! Why didn’t you come for me! I almost died just now!” A little confused, the Cathar turned to the girl to realize that she was sopping wet with little more than a soggy diaper and bandages across her chest for clothing. Puzzled, Roshan shook his head before taking on a rather acrimonious tone. “Where in the galaxy are your clothes, girl?! You look like a soaking, gooey mess!” Aliss repeated herself, “I said I almost died just now. I barely escaped!” “From where, girl! We are in the ship’s medical facility!” the Cathar snorted back, having little patience for her games. “Enough with this melodramatic silliness.” Aliss paused and then frowned, “How am I supposed to know that! The ship we flew to Korriban had nothing like this! And that still doesn’t give them an excuse for making me into one of their science experiments!” Roshan stood up, shaking his head as he strapped on the last few pieces of his armor, “Judging by the looks of you, I highly doubt anyone was experimenting on you, girl. If anything, they were saving your life. You reek of bacta!” “I don’t even know what that is!” Aliss retorted indignantly. Roshan sighed. Having raised her on a backwater world in a confined community such as they had, it was easy to forget just how much Aliss did not know about the world she was stepping into. Roshan had lived a life or at least had memories of a life as an active and well-traveled member of the bustling intergalactic infrastructure that most of the Core worlds were built on. The commune, on the other hand, had limited technology and medicine and only certain levels of interaction with the outside world. Truth be told, while she often just went along with most things and tried to present like she wasn’t in a constant state of wonderment, the girl might as well have been a medieval peasant hurled centuries into the future. “You know the juice from the Yullitus leaves...” “Yeah.” “The ones your mother uses for making ointments." “I said, ‘Yeah.’” “It’s similar to that. Only far more powerful and you must soak in it to allow your body to absorb it and heal itself.” “O-kay... but that still doesn’t--” Straightening out his cape, the Cathar interrupted the girl before she could finish her thought. “Enough! If you wish to read more about it, I’m sure I can find you a datapad with the ship specs and all that silliness. Right now, we need to head to the Recovery Room and find Lady Sirena.” “Where’s that?” Aliss asked as Roshan moved past her. “Where you were supposed to go when you exited your bacta tank.” “O...kay,” the girl replied as she scampered after Roshan, leaving a long trail of dripping bacta in her wake. Looking back only momentarily to shake his head at the soggy diapered messmaker, the Cathar headed for where he had sensed Lady Sirena’s call, this time being sure to place his mask over his face for added protection. He had grown rather leery about entrusting his health and safety to the likes of these two after the events that had transpired so far over the course of this trip. He was aptly reminded of the age-old proverb, “Better safe than sorry.” ____ &
  6. "...What IS important is the Legacy, the mark you leave imprinted upon the Galaxy, once you're gone." Roshan perked up at her words. Perhaps her stunt had finally knocked some sense into the woman. "Tu umero zeuo lizxi ro ue'l inex m'a zeiqixunou, tkuroke. Luquxou'k m'a juo," He whispered to Aliss. "Do you see the truth? Do you understand the dark reality of those you call the Blessed?" With a smile, Roshan nodded and motioned for Aliss to stand, "For once, we are in complete agreement. She speaks the truth, little one. Even if she despises him, she is her master's legacy. The giant and those who followed them are the legacy of the Chaos gods. And so the cycle continues. But to accept this blessing comes with a curse..." Roshan paused. "A curse that I have tried to shelter you from for quite some time. But I can hide you from it no longer. If you are to accept your gifts and ascend under the tutelage of Lady Sirena, then you must accept that this is the ultimate price you must pay to live as a demigod among men. This is the price you must accept to save your mother and aid me in my quest. The price we, the Blessed, must pay to play on this side of the demesne of the Force." Aliss looked to Roshan and then to Lady Sirena as she stood. She was still disorientated from all that she saw, unsure if this was another vision or something to be taken at face value. But the words of those two sent shivers down her spine all the same. Turning away from Roshan, Aliss stepped towards Lady Sirena. "I am not scared! I meant what I said! I am willing to pay your price in exchange for your powers. Tell me what to do and how to do it and I will do it, Lady Sirena. I felt it... for a moment..., " Aliss replied with a momentary second or two of hesitation before returning to her confident, almost defiant manner. "I will not fail you again." From behind her, Roshan's hand pressed against the top of her shoulder, signaling the girl to kneel. Aliss complied without hesitation and dipped her head ever so slightly. Roshan smirked widely as he slowly kneeled behind the girl and whispered into her ear, "Toe unu'k poqu lauiko'q, mipquku'k ouku'k. Toe unu'k poqu lauiko'q." "We are at your service, Lady Sirena." ___ &
  7. Even as he floated in the bacta tank, Roshan could hear her call. The voice was undeniable, piercing the serene silence of unconscious musings. "Roshan...." The Cathar answered her call, only to be hurled into a deep and unnatural darkness. He felt an almost supernatural chill, as air rushed by him and the darkness fled away, revealing an alternating pattern of black and white spaces. The ground seemed to be of some sort of solid marble-esque composition but the entire environment felt neither completely like a dream nor firmly based in reality. This wasn't quite death or at least he hoped it was not, but the sight of Lady Sirena coming into view did not fill him with confidence about their current state. Almost as if she fell from the sky itself, Aliss joined the group, landing and roll across the marble floor. When she came to a stop, the girl looked around frantically like a cornered wild animal. Lord Roshan motioned for the girl to hold her position as he address the figure of the woman up ahead of them. "As if trying to kill yourself wasn't enough, why have you summoned us here, Lady Sirena? Are we dead? Or do you yet live? If it is any consolation, I tried my best to call for help after the stunt you pulled. But whether I had any success... well..." ___ &
  8. Roshan was rather content with himself and his speech. He was confident he could rekindle Lady Sirena's faith. It is now only a matter of-- "No. I did not witness it, but it's stories touched my ears. Especially of Nurgle, who along with his Alcazarin's, shed his power and form to become Darth Dominus in attempt to overthrow Lady Dominique and take the title of Dark Lord. And in doing so, lost himself to Hell." The Cathar frowned. The name of his former master peeked his interest. Lady Dominique? What did she have to do with all of that? What have I missed in all these years hidden away on Ishvara? Is whatever happened why Lady Sirena hates the old gods so? "I can see this is getting us nowhere, this philosophical debate pointless. You are blind child, and now I must show you the truth. Heed my words pupil, for they are the only truth you need to concern yourself with. Let them shed your past and light your future, for the ways of old are dead, and we make our reality what we will." Roshan stepped back as Lady Sirena began her display. He was not entirely sure what she was doing or what exactly he was seeing. But as the Force swirled around her, the feeling was as impressive as it was chilling. "True power resides in us all, whether we believe ourselves to be chosen. Remember the Code of our forefathers." As Lady Sirena struck herself she continued, "Peace is a lie, There is only Passion..." Roshan placed his mask back over his face, confused and somewhat alarmed by what he was seeing. Was she preparing to attack all of them? Or perhaps kill him? Or summon a Chaos god? He was completely at a loss. "Through Passion, I gain Strength..." With yet another self inflicted blow, Roshan moved to take a step towards the Sith to stop her. Whatever point she was trying to make, she had nothing to prove to him. She had made her point. But instead of moving, the Cathar felt his legs falter. Even in his weakened state, the swirl of the Force that stirred around her was blaringly intense, amplifying the mental footprint of her words as she spoke them. Her interpretation of the code was reasonable, albeit Roshan found this whole display to be more than a bit unexpectedly dramatic. He wanted to speak up but he doubted she'd even hear him now. Whatever this ritual was, she looked determined to see it through to the end. "Through Strength, I gain Power..." With yet another self-inflicted blow, Lady Sirena continued to speak, admonishing the large Cathar in the fundamental essence of the Force and the mantra of the Sith. Roshan actually agreed with her take about the Lessers. It was why his time on Carida had bothered him so and also why he had chosen to risk standing up to and antagonize Darth Mavanger when it came to his mistreatment of his slave. Roshan had a soft spot for the Lessers. He knew that they could never and would never be Force Sensitive like the Blessed. But there was value in raising up the others around you, especially those "beneath you." Of course, this may have made his handling of Aliss seem contradictory. But her situation wasn't nearly so simple. Roshan’s misleading of the girl was partly to protect her from the weight of this burden he knew she would eventually have to carry and to at least temporarily hide her from those who might wish to exploit her strength in the Force. He wanted her to develop the techniques and skills necessary for her to succeed as a Lesser before immersing her in a world of immeasurable power and easy shortcuts. Teaching her the truth and showing the child her place in the Force was a conversation that he and her mother often had. Truth be told, Roshan had vowed to never take on another Ishvaran after the original betrayal of his student-turned-nemesis. But from the ashes of that defeat, the defiant Cathar had moved on and met Aliss’ mother and began building his community anew. He even thought that he had traveled far enough away to be well beyond the reach of "the man-who-shall-not-be-named." He had foolishly convinced himself that he would finally have some peace. But such hopes and lies of peace are inherently as false and misleading as they are fleeting. The nemesis eventually found Roshan and their rivalry was renewed in full. The Cathar thought he was prepared this time and yet again, he lost nearly everything. Only the girl remains. Maybe if I had trained the girl sooner instead of hiding her gifts away... “Horde it, and others will take it, leaving you defenseless." Perhaps... But there was much more to the whole story than simply that. There was no pretty bow to be tied on it. Deep down, Roshan knew that he refused to train the girl, not only out of fear of her not being ready, but also out of fear of him not being ready to fail as a master for a second time. For as wise as the Cathar attempted to appear and for as many temples and tombs and holocrons as he had raided on the years, he was no more worthy of being called a true master than the day he first set foot on Ishvara. He could doubtfully live up to Lady Dominique or Darth Helios, much less Lady Sirena. In his heart of hearts, he knew that that was the real reason why he had willfully accepted this hexed armor and the hex attached it. It was why he wore it as a badge of courage and defiance to hide his fear and inadequacies. It gave him the excuse he needed to pass the buck to someone else. And that was why he sought a teacher for Solus and Aliss instead of attempting to train them himself. Fear. "Through Victory, my Chains are Broken." Yet I have no victories. Only repeated defeats. And so my chains remain... "The Force shall free me." Roshan stood there in shock as the woman punched herself yet again before stumbling backwards across the hanger bay and motioning for him to stay back. He looked over to Aliss. She seemed to be safely tucked out of the way for the moment, albeit still bleeding a little and in need of medical attention. Sirena had already called for help so it was likely on the way. But Roshan feared that look in Sirena’s eyes. What are you doing?! "Now watch the hoarding of the Old Ways for what they are." The magnificent Force of energy that came crashing down on the woman rattled the bulkheads and sent tools, containers, and weapons flying in all directions. The Cathar stumbled awkwardly onto his butt as a cargo container was hurled over his head and into the wall behind him. He watched on in shock and horror as the Sith screamed in agony from the immense force that she had brought down on herself in that instant. ... .. . Then the cargo bay abruptly fell into a stunned silence. For a fleeting second, Roshan debated whether he should let his new master die and take credit for the kill, taking her mantle in the process. To be a full fledged Sith Lord under this new regime would have its perks and it was doubtful that anyone would seek revenge against him for besting his master in such a spectacular manner. Had the old gods driven her mad and convinced her to kill her ownself for her defiance of them? Even Roshan didn’t believe them to be that powerful. His mind raced, combing over the words that she had said, trying to make sense of her actions. Had he struck a cord so deep that he had, in essence, talked her to death? Or was this some sort of test to see where his loyalties lied? Was saving the life of such a defiant unbeliever akin to betraying his own teachings and beliefs? As he looked at her small body lying there on the floor, the scene was eerily reminiscent of the statue he had found Dominique’s body in during Sirena’s vision quest. The situation was different but there was something about the feeling of it all that haunted him deeply and sent shivers down his spine. Roshan wobbled to his feet and headed towards the hanger bay comm system. He attempted his best to use it to comm Darth Mavanger or the medbay or whoever might have been alerted to all the commotion in the cargo bay. Speaking to whoever was on the other side, Roshan panted, “Hello. Emergency! Emergency! We have two people down. Head trauma and stitches needed for one, multiple broken bones and major trauma care for the other! We are going to need a trauma cart and access to a bacta tank a-sap!” Not even waiting for a reply, Roshan moved around the cargo bay to where he’d expect to find a first aid kit on a vessel like this. It was a common sense practice to have one, especially in a hangar bay where travelers came in and out. This would always be the first stop for any wounded, after all, upon their return to the vessel. Finding a suitable enough kit, he hurried over, applying some bacta patches before finding the goo that Lady Sirena had used earlier and applying what was left of that as liberally as possible to her injuries. There was nothing, however, that he could do about her broken bones but the defeated warrior was careful not to move her until proper help arrived. As he knelt beside her, he tried to conjure the words to say but for one of the few times in his life, Lord Roshan was speechless. He felt his chains weighing down heavily upon him. Even in succeeding in doing what she had asked of him, his victory had somehow turned into failure in a matter of minutes. And what was worse, he had potentially lost of the only person here qualified to train Aliss. First his new community. Then his Knights. Then Solus. And now Sirena, too? Was Aliss next? If Lady Sirena's goal was for him to feel defeated, she had tamed the beast. She won. Aliss could not get her training without Sirena. And the Cathar knew had no hope of reconnecting and recapturing any of his former glory without her. If this was her way of silencing him and reminding him that he needed her, her message had been as deafening as her elaborate display. Still exhausted from his concussion and the events of the past few minutes, Lord Roshan slumped down beside her. He had spent so much time fighting with himself, his enemies, and everything and everyone else around him that in all this time he had never had a chance to truly rest. But as he glanced at the small humanoid narrowly clung to life beside him, Roshan found a serenity to her repose. Perhaps that was her true lesson for him. After so much pain, after hoarding all the sorrow and loss that the old ways had brought to the galaxy, perhaps it was time that they rest. “Yes...Perhaps peace isn’t so terribly a lie,” the Cathar thought as he collapsed on the ground her abreast of her and drifted off into the tranquility of the silent dark. ___
  9. "...You live in a bygone Era. This is the Age of Anarchy, where the strong survive by becoming strong, no matter the hand that was dealt them, and is welcomed. Whether you are born a Noble, or are birthed in the gutter, your strength is determined by your will. So forget the past. It is dead like the False Gods you worshipped." The Cathar cackled underneath his mask, his voice sounding slightly deeper and more menacing. "You confuse godship with physical immortality. I never said they were physically immortal, nor does that matter. And even if what you said is true, they served their purpose so that new gods and demigods could rise. The one who matters still lives, even I could feel that much before I was cut off from the Force..." "I was born of Noble Birth, you know? A Hapian Princess. Electrum spoon in my mouth and everything. My Father was an Imperial Embassador, my Mother a Hapian Princess. And because of my Impurities, was frowned upon by Hapian Society. So when I became of age, I left, and became an Imperial Soldier under the White Wolf, Dark Lord Montar." "The Lessers have many titles they use to distinguish themselves from their fellow Lessers. But if what they feared were your 'impurities' that is because they truly made you better. Unsurprising really. I'm sure there's more to your story?" "There was constant infighting followed by periods of stagnation, all while the Galactic Alliance and Imperial Remnant fought amongst themselves. And then we were leaderless, left behind by the very Lord's we fought to serve. At least until the Spider, the Dark King, Lord Exodus appeared. It was during this time that I discovered my talent to harness the Force. My Master was much like you. Believed in Chaos, Ranks, and being Egotistical. I was belittled on a constant basis for being impure in Hapian Lineage. But he never suspected how strong he would make me, how weak he was himself, and when Exodus ascended with promises of Unification, I showed him." Roshan grinned widely. He pause and removed his mask. He winced a little. The pressure against his wound felt good once he had gotten used to it but removing it definitely now stung. But this was important. He wanted to stare the little princess in her eyes, unabated by the artificial or technological. "Heed my warning Cathar, or not. The choice is clearly yours. But your beliefs are stagnant and ancient. Let go of them or become dust along side of them." Waving off her hand, Roshan stood up proudly. There was joy in his heart. She may have been wayward. But her story gave him hope for the future of the Sith and maybe even Aliss' future. "If only dust could be our fate, princess. But perhaps you misunderstood your master's beliefs and goals. And perhaps you misunderstood the goals of the Chaos gods themselves. Was not Exodus their chosen? Has he not united the Sith into the greatest force the galaxy will possibly ever see? Has your teacher's sacrifices and beliefs and teachings and belittlings not made you prove your strength and made you a demigod worthy of standing by Exodus's side as a Sith Master?" The Cathar glanced at the fallen Aliss for a moment before his eyes slowly scrolled back across the room to the "little princess" standing in front of him, "That you stand here alive, as a Sith Master means that your master succeeded at his most important duty. Only a fool of a demigod ignores death. I've heard legends of Korriban. So I can't speak of the truth of it. But on Ishvara, I raided many hidden Sith caches and temples. And when I was really really lucky, I would chance upon a Sith holocron or location that would unleash the spirit of a long deceased Sith Lord. It was always an interesting experience. Not one to be toyed with either, less they figure out how to or know how to trick you into undergoing the essence transfer necessary to possess your body and extinguish your soul." "But I digress," Roshan said as he shook his head, having let his mind wander. "My point is this. Someday, most of us who are demigods will return to the Force and the Mist-Beyond. I'm unsure if you are familiar with Corellian 'folklore' or that of many other ancient civilizations, most as old as space travel itself. What I might refer to as Chaos, some might call the Void and your people might refer to it by yet another name, but it is all the same place. It is where the weaker demigods among us will one day make our home. With our great powers and the accepting and use of them, my dear Sirena, comes a fate worse than death for the weak. A place of suffering and darkness for those not strong enough to cheat death. A place so horrible that the strongest among us would choose to remain trapped among the living and driven mad in isolation rather than dooming ourselves to such an eternal prison." Roshan hesitated, try to think of the right words before speaking again, "Whether you want to believe in your fate, we see the proof of the 'great beyond' by the very spirits of the Sith that remain after their bodies have long perished. Have the Chaos gods all died as you claim? Or have they simply transferred their essence to a different host? How do you know that the great Giant that you swore allegiance to is not the latest embodiment of Nurgle himself?" Roshan chuckled, "You can shun the knowledge and teachings that helped make your master the man he needed to be to make you the demigod you needed to be. You can ignore the truth about Chaos and still join it when you die, all the same. You can think that the Chaos gods are actually dead, and ignore the ones that have risen in their place or serve them in what you think is your own way without realizing that they reign over you and your will as a god-like master..." "But it takes a strong mind," Roshan sighed, "To acknowledge the realities of the fate we have accepted by being reborn into the ways of the Darkside. And it takes an even stronger will to defy and fight and claw to cheat that feeble promise of an afterlife until our last breath. The feeble and frightened and even the misled hide behind platitudes and ignorance and sweet sounding tales that they can just die some day and be like everyone else. That they can return to the Force and rest like a Lesser. Perhaps you have to understand Chaos to understand what makes them gods. But if you ask me, if you managed to escape Chaos for even a moment in time and then also managed to take a new form or possess a new body... even if it appears that you have failed in your ultimate goals... you've proven your status as a god for all those who understand the feat of your accomplishments. We can only hope to cheat death in such a spectacular fashion. And that is what makes us superior to any and every Lesser. No Lesser can cheat death. No Lesser can defy death. No Lesser can gain the ability to use the Force and bend it to their will. Only those who are 'Force Sensitive,' as the Jedi and Lesser scholars so clumsily call it. Only the Blessed." "Perhaps even..." Roshan finished as he grinned deviously at Sirena. "Perhaps I was brought to you to return the true Slaanesh or her rightful successor to the fold of Chaos's Defiers. Tell me, Lady Sirena. Did you see Nurgle and Slaanesh die with your own eyes?" ___
  10. Durose broke into hearty laughter at her words, even though it hurt to do so. He felt like he was being tested. But the way she spoke, she had enough conviction in her voice to convince him she believed her words. "My dear Sirena. I'd have taken you for a follower of Slaanesh, if I was being honest. You remind me of such. How the Sith have fallen. We hide our past and our path now?" Rolling over to face her as she approached, Roshan stared her in the eyes. They looked sincere, for what that might have been worth. A good Sith was trained in lies and deceptions. But these "children" seemed to have sincerely lost their way. Had he been truly gone from the galaxy that long? Had the new Dark Lord hidden these truths from his people and their students? Perhaps there was a method and a reason for such madness. "If I was to have hit you, you wouldn't be awake right now. I'm just curious as to why you have robbed this child of such an important truth, a truth that would set her soul free to understand her power and how to control it." Raising an eyebrow, Roshan winced as he worked his way back onto his feet, "Clearly, I wasn't the only master to do that. It would seem that your master withheld a great many things from you as well. It is occasionally the duty of a leader to provide his followers with only enough information to be the blunt weapons he needs them to be. Is it sad? Is it unfortunate?" Durose paused. There was a hint of sadness in his eyes for a fading second before he snorted indignantly. His demeanor shifted to a calm but all-consuming anger. A contradiction perhaps, but Roshan carried both conflicting mental states well. "Perhaps," he continued before meeting Sirena's eyes. "We lie to those we need to when we need to. I made the mistake of training an Ishvaran once. Those primitive people are unworthy of such. And I paid dearly for it. Not I personally, but many that were valuable to me. Many that I could not protect. Because we are Blessed. It is not a debate. No more than a fool can expect a chicken to perform the feats of a hawk. We may share the remotest similarities. We may need to practice to learn how to fly. But they can and will NEVER soar like us or see the world from on high like us." Roshan clenched his jaw before shaking his head and sighing, "My Knights were blunt tools, designed to protect my people and be extensions of my will. If I had not made the mistake of giving too much truth and empowering the gifted but unworthy, I would not be here, waiting patiently for the day I return to end him once and for all. You see, my dear Sirena... whether you believe in Chaos gods or no gods or Force gifts or random biological happenstance, there is one important lesson that all good teachers must eventually learn. Not every bird with wings can or deserves to learn how to soar. Pulling out his mask, Roshan placed it back on his face as he finished speaking, "Clipping the wings of a hawk is far less regrettable than teaching a vulture to fly." ___
  11. To be honest, Durose didn't remember much from the last few minutes. He remembered meeting their new Sith overlord and heading to their quarters and then following Sirena to the hanger bay. He vaguely remembered being given a task and reaching out through the Force. But how he ended up on his back or with this splitting headache was beyond him. Everything was still so foggy. Feeling his head, he looked at his hand to see blood on it. The one time I actually take off my mask... While Roshan attempted to sit upright, he could hear a tiny humanoid yapping at him. She looked rather funny. It wasn't that he was purely amused by the fact that sitting upright, he was finally short enough to meet her on her eye level. It was more that he was seeing multiples of her wobbling back and forth as she stared at him, all giving him the same nasty look. Of course, current vision issues aside, Lord Roshan was pretty positive he had nothing to do with this situation so he was unsure what her problem was. "Why did you lie to the girl? She is just like us, nothing more, nothing less. So why does she think she is a Lesser and that we are God's? Is your ego that attentive? Did you want her to fail?" Roshan sighed, rolling his eyes and carefully leaning back. He allowed his back and head to return softly to the floor, resting against the cold, durasteel deck. It felt a little better resting there anyway, outside of the wetness which he was sure was a byproduct of his new "battle wound." "I highly doubt she said as much. She knows we are only demigods. As for her thinking she is a Lesser... well... it all happened so fast. There was never any time to sit down and discuss things properly with the girl. That is, admittedly, a minor oversight on my part. I knew I was overlooking something. I was preoccupied with Soulless. She was never supposed to be anything more than competition to motivate it to become the weapon it was truly capable of. But... here we are." Feeling his head a little bit again before wincing, Roshan raised his voice a little even though it hurt his head to do so, "Is that what this is about? You sucker punched me while I was doing what you asked because I didn't tell the girl she was a demigod, too?" "Women," Roshan grumbled under his breath. ___
  12. Flung across the room, the girl rattled against a nearby bulkhead before crashing to the ground. She momentarily gasped for air thanks to an awkward fall that knocked the wind out of her in the process. It felt like she had been thrown from a speeding skiff. She could taste the blood dribbling down her chin. Her tongue wiggled around in her mouth, locating the inner portion of her lip that she had managed to bite. She spit and saw red. The taste of blood reenergized the girl. And looking up to see that Lady Sirena was bleeding only excited her more. Her attack had succeeded. She had made the demigod bleed. "There are no God's, child. There are no blessings, nor lessers or betters." She was a liar. Or perhaps a heretic. Even the Sith believed in gods. Roshan had spoken of them. Aliss believed in them. And she knew that there were definitely Lessers. The history and the very nature of her homeworld, Ishvara, was the product of the delineation between and domination of the Blessed over the Lessers. She had seen the Sith caches and hidden temples with her very eyes. Lord Roshan had not sheltered his Knights from the harsh, unfair, and unforgiving reality of the real world. "...We are all born of the Force, a bond that flows through everything, and while some cannot feel it, we are all born with an ability to touch it in some form or fashion." Was that how her teacher lied to her? Did that help her feel better about the Lessers? Was that why she offered that pitiful slave her own vessel to escape, naïve to the reality that "a Lesser cannot escape the reality of what they are, even if they run from where they are"? If there are no gods and no blessings and no Lessers or Betters and we are all born of "the Force," then why can't we ALL feel it the SAME. Fool. She speaks blasphemy. Struggling to her feet, the girl's anger suddenly abated completely. Instead, she felt pity for this Sith master. Sirena had been lied to, taught to deny even her own divinity, esteeming as ordinary the blessings and power she had received at birth. It was the luxury of the demigods to believe that there was actually some sort of equality between them and the Lessers. For a Lesser, you knew no such world. Only fear and fervent prayers that Nurgle or some other might look down upon you and bless you enough to allow you to stand alongside the Blessed. "But many are the unanswered prayers of the weak." Aliss could hear Sirena's distain but also the conviction in the woman's voice as she continued, "You have that connection, just as I do, just as Roshan and Mavanger. And no artifact or holocron will make you stronger. Only you can do that." Oddly enough, for as many lies as the woman had been led to believe and repeat, Aliss believed this statement of hers. The girl had now struck not one, but two demigods! Once might have been luck, but twice surely must have been a blessing. Had the holy crom that she had stolen earlier blessed her, after all? Had the gods seen her tenacity and rewarded her?! Perhaps all she was lacking was enough faith. "...This is what I am trying to teach you, to find your connection to the Force and wield it." A smirk crept across the girl's face as Sirena finished speaking. The blood in her mouth and Sirena's and that of Roshan's that adorned the deck must have been a sign! The sacrifice spilled for a shared trinity. No Lesser could have drawn blood against two demigods, much less ones with the titles of Lord and Lady! Perhaps the gods had, indeed, heard her request and blessed her holy quest to have Helios' head! Had she finally ascended without even realizing it?! There was only one way to find out. Turning her eyes away from Sirena, she focused on the pipe that Roshan had thrown moments earlier. She had seen how Lady Sirena had done it. Roshan always did the same. An outstretched arm. A focused glare. She would have been mocked endlessly by the other children to even have attempted such a thing on Ishvara. But they were all dead so she was the only one laughing now. Reaching out in the Force, she felt for the pipe, trying to feel the life energy around it in much the same way as she might attempt to tapped into her own potential, only transposed across a far greater distance. Lady Sirena may have been mislead by her teachers but her powers and blessings were undeniable. Perhaps Roshan had been lead to her by the gods to return Sirena to the fold. It didn't matter, though. Sirena was either wrong about the girl's newly Blessed state or she was right. Was it possible for a Lesser to ascend? Aliss felt her faith wavering but she pushed through the doubt. And then she felt it. It was almost akin to what she imagined a phantom limb might feel like. While she saw nothing there, she could feel the sensations of the pipe. Unsure of her own strength, Aliss impatiently yanked at the item to pull it towards her. Their competition wasn't done. Lady Sirena hadn't surrendered. If she could arm herself again, Aliss could make another attack and prove herself once and for all... Of course, her plan didn't quite go as she intended. Aliss pulled, but far too hard. The pipe shot at her like it had been fired out of a cannon. Futilely attempting to grab the projectile as it came whizzing at her, her heart leapt for joy in that split second. There was a serene calm and thankfulness that fell over the girl. The euphoria was hard to describe in words. All her life, her mother had told her she was special. All her life, she had wished and hoped and prayed to be a Blessed one, even though she knew it was impossible. But as the pipe rocketed towards her head, she realized that she had finally crossed that impossible threshold. She had truly done it. Lady Sirena was right. She was Blessed now. She was a demigod! Mom... I did it! As the pipe ricocheted off the girl's head and her body collapsed to the floor, Roshan stirred ever so slightly. His head felt like someone had hit him with a sledgehammer. He squinted hard at the blinding overhead lights of the cargo bay, deciding to instead keep his eyes closed for the time being. Mumbling a little, he groaned, "What happened? Where am I? Is anybody there?" Feeling his head, he could tell that one side was wet. Great. ___ &
  13. "Insolent child!" Aliss instantly felt the powerful grip of Sirena around her throat. The girl could feel the blood within her own body boiling. She had been given no directions, still fulfilled the objective, and now she was being punished?! Gripping at her neck with her free hand, Aliss furiously hurled the pipe towards Lady Sirena. In the midst of her choking, the girl's aim was wildly inaccurate and the throw was weak at best. She would have cursed the witch if she wasn't so focused on the terrifying sensation of being strangled that she was currently experiencing. Aliss stumbled several feet backwards, hoping that she could get out of range of her supernatural stranglehold. It was no good. She could feel the grip growing even tighter. She clawed at her neck, trying to scream out in rage. She could feel the veins in her head popping out, partly because of her anger and partly because of her loss of air. "That is the will I am trying to teach you, the will your father grasped so easily before you struck him!" Once Sirena finally released her hold, the girl's knees buckled and Aliss was left gagging for breath. After a few seconds, the girl's breathing returned to normal. By the time she caught her breath and looked up, Sirena was standing by Roshan. "Try it again, but this time, without the use of your hands and on me. Attack me child. Let your emotions will it." She was so mad about being punished for no reason, Aliss yelled back at the Sith, spitting as she spoke, "I can't do what you can, genius!" She gestured towards Roshan angrily as she wiped some spit from the side of her face. She was so mad she could cry. "I'm not a demigod like him or you! I do not have the blessings of the gods. Not even after stealing the Sith artifact! I thought it would make me feel different... She paused and looked down with hints of sadness and frustration in her voice, "But I am still just the same me. I am still a Lesser. All I have is my training, my speed, and my skill at combat." Lady Sirena might have said something in response to the girl's comments but she was no longer listening. Instead, Aliss was raging inside. The Force? Was that what this lady called it? Is that what this lady meant?! Aliss was familiar with the superior energy that fueled the Blessed of the gods. As Roshan once put it to the Knights, "some are blessed to be gods among men and upon their shoulders falls leadership and through this superior life force or energy, they can perform amazing feats. Through the ways of the Echani some can focus such life energy better than others but the Lessers can never truly acquire the gifts of the gods. And that's okay. I don't expect you to. You don't need that to be elite Knights of Roshan." At an early age, Aliss had been placed among the advanced students of Roshan's Knights. She had never quite understood what Roshan had seen in her. Some of the other Knights resented her for it, though, to be sure. They always claimed she was simply receiving special treatment because of the close relationship Roshan had with her mother. It made sense. She was no stranger to seeing favoritism play out among the inhabitants of the commune and her mother and Roshan were, indeed, close friends. But Rose had taught her never to waste her opportunities so Aliss never allowed their powers to stop her from pushing on. Of course, favoritism wasn't as glamourous as everyone made it out to be. Roshan seemed intent on always scolding her but continually praising the other boys. She was never controlled enough or fast enough or calm enough. Her technique was either too sloppy or she made more mistakes than her older peers. Of course, it wasn't from lack of trying. And the longer she spared with the others, the closer to came to besting them. This wasn't the first time she had been scolded from not feeling the "life energy" around her and allowing it to flow through or "mesh" with her inner spirit. But Roshan's lectures usually involved some foot positioning she messed up or an opening she left vulnerable or an attack opportunity that she had failed to capitalize on. It wasn't that she hadn't felt the energy or matched a demigod in his ability to use space magic! Her ability to harness her inner life energy was the one thing he actually praised on rare occasions. She was easily the fastest of all the advanced students, even Roshan's star pupil, Nomi. It was always her technique or attention to detail that had failed her. Now looking up at the woman in this moment, the girl's head felt heavy. Instead of saying more or rising to attack the woman, she dropped her head in anger. She was so mad she was starting to feel its toll in the form of overwhelming physical exhaustion. This woman knew nothing. She expected the impossible. Aliss had mustered every ounce of "life force energy" she could to beat Roshan's pull and make her strike first. She had tried to tap into every congeries of the emotions she could, just as the lady had asked. And what's more, she had even succeeded! She had beat Roshan! He hadn't pulled the object to himself before she had reached him! Sirena had to have seen that! That was surely what he was attempting to do. That was the object of this exercise, was it not! To use the pipes and win their sparing match!!! How have I failed!? Because I lack the powers of a demigod?! Because I can't choke her from across the room?! Because I didn't beat you both down before you could react?! Now Lady Sirena was just stroking her own ego. Aliss knew she couldn't take her. If she wasn't going to play fair, all her mustering of all the life energy and speed in the world wasn't going to defeat a demigod. The holy crom had given her no new powers. The vision had not made her blessed by the gods. Lady Sirena had not taught her how to unlock the secrets of her ancient Sith artifacts. Aliss had nothing to attack her with. No means of winning. To attempt to fight now would be... And then it hit her. In the flurry of seconds that it took for her mind to process the last minute or so of activity, a light suddenly flickered on in her head. Channeling all the angst she could muster, Aliss would show this arrogant idiot what she could do, even if she was simply an advanced Lesser. Using her hands to push off of the ground, Aliss bounced to her feet, shooting forward like a track star shooting off of their block. Her pace quickened, her feet rapidly moving. At the same time, Aliss ignited her lightsaber and hurled it at the woman, lunging at her a split second after she released the saber from her hands. Her sidearm throw arc'd it slightly, hopefully buying her leap a little time. She doubted that she could beat the throw but she could definitely try. She honestly didn't know if her strategy would work at all. If Lady Sirena was anything like Roshan, she knew that the "Blessed" could stop objects in mid-air. But her intention wasn't to actually hit the Sith with the lightsaber. She'd surely stop that. Plus, killing the woman would significantly drop her chances of future training. No, her intention was to distract Lady Sirena for just that split second. She'd play by the rules. She wouldn't use her hands this time. But could Lady Sirena stop the lightsaber and Aliss' knee from plowing her in the face if they both arrived at the same time? Lady Sirena had asked for her to attack, after all. If this was a training exercise to see what she was capable of and one downed foe was not enough, Aliss would prove herself worthy or at least go down fighting. She was tired of bearing all the insults. "I am not weak and I am not a child!" She roared as the girl and the thrown lightsaber came rapidly sailing through the air at Lady Sirena. ___
  14. ROSHAN: Roshan and Aliss listened in silence as Lady Sirena spoke. Then came the pipes and Roshan raised an eyebrow. Before Roshan could question her as far as her intent, Lady Sirena spoke. "Pride and Wrath are powerful in their own rights. But fate has lead to a combination between the two of you, one of both Sins to stand beside the other. Before you two are ordinary pipes, simple and ordinary. I want you two to hone in on these and let your sins open you to the Force that flows through these objects. And if you fail, remember, no one is perfect and some are just plain weak." Aliss looked to the pipe and then to Lady Sirena and then to Roshan. The Cathar remained silent. His arms were folded but one hand was subtly outstretched towards the pipe. His demeanor was calm and stoic. Inside, anger and frustration raged. This was as easy a manipulation of the Force as one could ask for. It was perhaps even a little bit insulting, albeit probably not intentionally so. She did not know of his training or his former master or his past in general. But ever since he had donned this Sith armor and intentionally accepted the Sith hex that his nemesis had placed on it, his connection to the Force had been more elusive than a well-connected crime lord skipping out on bail. He could best describe it as the Force equivalent to trying to regain your senses after a flash bang grenade had just gone off. Only, his "Force senses" weren't coming back naturally. He was having to work for every ounce of Force power he could muster. In fact, since his desperate outburst inside the Sith lab where they had found Solus, this was the first time Roshan had actively attempted to tap into the Force on any truly meaningful level. The atrophy of his "Force muscles" left Roshan feeling exposed. If pride truly was his "sin," then humiliation was now his punishment. He refused to show it, of course, mentally fighting through the chaos of his mind like a soldier suppressing his flight response as the bombs go off around him and the blaster bolts whizz by, instead focused firmly on lining up and taking the next shot. At first, the object began to rattle against the ground as if a large freighter was coming in for a landing a few feet away. That was a good sign. Roshan could finally feel what he had been looking for. Focusing in on it, he channeled his frustration into the object, his eyes growing wide and his arm rapidly reaching out towards the metal pipe before stiffening. The sensation was eerie for lack of a better word. Roshan felt like a bodybuilder who had awoken from months in a coma only to discovered that he could barely walk, much less lift the lightest of weights. It was clear to Roshan that he would have to practically relearn everything before he'd have the level of control and subtly that he once had. Thankfully, though, this test wasn't about subtly and the pipe wasn't of substantial size either. With a forceful swing of his outstretched arm and a grimace, Roshan rapidly flung the steel pipe into the adjacent wall to a loud bang, followed by a series of clatters against the floor. Roshan allowed a momentary grin before a cold piece of durasteel whacked him upside the head and sent the dazed Cathar falling backwards, off of the cargo container where he had been sitting. His impact was the floor nearly knocked the wind out of his lungs as something heavy landed on his chest. *** *** *** ALISS: The girl looked to the pipe and then to Lady Sirena and then to Roshan. Everyone was silent. The girl stared at the pipe again and then at Roshan. She noticed his hand subtly pointed towards the pipe. I want you two to hone in on these and let your sins open you to the force that flows through these objects. Aliss was all but certain that Lady Sirena must mean for this to be a sparing contest. There were two rod-like pipes just sitting there, after all! Lord Roshan was probably taunting her, attempting to make it look like she had a chance. As soon as she came at him, of course, he'd pull the pipe to himself and make her look slow and unimpressive. Or at least, that's what he thought would happen! When the pipe started vibrating on the ground, she was sure of it. It wasn't the first she had seen him pull a sparring object to himself during a demonstration. He was clearly waiting for her to make her move. But he was a fool if he thought she was still as slow as she once was. They had been through a lot since their last sparing exercises several months ago. Your Sin is that of Anger and Wrath. This will be the easiest passion to draw upon in your time of need. It will define your life and your path as a Sith. The girl had no idea what Lady Sirena meant. So she just let all her frustration and anger out, imagining that Roshan was that blue-eye Darth Arrogant and she was about to exact her revenge on that snob. Springing from her seat, Aliss leaped through the air and shifted her heels sideways, allowing the friction to slow her momentum as she slid up to the one pipe that was not shaking. Then, in almost one fluid motion, Aliss swiped the pipe from off of the ground and launched her attack at Lord Roshan with all her anger and might and force she could muster. She was determined to beat the pipe that Roshan was inevitably pulling to himself the moment he saw her grab the other. She'd show Lady Sirena and Lord Roshan force! Her boots stomped against the metal floor of the cargo bay only three times before she vaulted herself into the air. She was surely a crazy sight to see as the girl came screaming across the room, both literally and figurately, with her pipe cocked and ready. Everything happened so fast but it almost felt like the world was moving in slow motion for a split second or two. She could see Roshan's eyes and his expression. It was almost as if he was so focused on his pipe that he didn't even see her coming. As he shifted his arm to the side, Aliss was almost certain he was going to attempt to knock her away but he was too early -- far too early -- and had opened himself up for her "kill shot." Roshan would now be introduced to the "force that flows through these object" and she'd be the winner of today's exercise. No stupid Darth would be calling her "just plain weak" anymore! WHACK! The pipe was a bit unwieldy for someone of her size and physical strength but Aliss was, nevertheless, impressed by the amount of momentum she was able to put into her swing. The Cathar's fur might have cushioned it ever so slightly, but the way his eyes seemed to roll back in his head, she felt confident that he wasn't going to be bouncing right back up after a hit like that. This was good because she had lost a hold of the pipe during the impact and she'd certainly need to recover it before she'd be declared the victor. Riding Roshan to the ground, Aliss cushioned her fall with his chest before rolling off and quickly regathering her pipe. Then outstretching it towards Roshan's neck, the girl giddily looked back at Lady Sirena. She couldn't believe she had beaten Roshan's pull! She'd never-ever-ever beaten Roshan before. Ever. Maybe there was something to this anger and magic vision gel and "holy croms" collecting after all! "I win! I win!" She exclaimed, almost ready to jump into the air if she hasn't needed to keep the pipe at Roshan's throat to prove her supremacy. Of course, in her excitement the girl didn't notice the Cathar's unconscious state, the blood on the side of her pipe, or the blood rolling down the side of his head from where she had blasted him. She was too busy taking in the accomplishment of her harnessing of her force like Lady Sirena had asked them to. ___ &
  15. Following Sirena out of the room, Roshan remained rather silent on the way to their quarters. After they detoured to the hanger bay, Aliss was quite intrigued. She wasn't sure what Sirena was up to but she was eager to continue with her training. She had still not forgotten Master Helios, even if Roshan was right about her whole experience simply being the illusion of a trickster. Once the group had found a quiet location, Sirena motioned for them to sit. Aliss complied without hesitation, while Lord Roshan removed his mask before taking his seat. "How do you really feel about Lord Mavanger? Tell me everything. Do not hold back. Let your true thoughts be voiced without consequence." Aliss looked to Roshan, only to receive a raised eyebrow from the Cathar. She cleared her throat and turned back to Lady Sirena. "I think he likes to sound important. He's kind of rude, actually. He even gave me the meanest look for no reason! And opened by trying to insult me for no reason, too! He's lucky Lord Roshan held me back! I was just waiting for him to try something!" Aliss paused and looked over to Roshan, "Why didn't we put that arrogant windbag in his place?! On Ishvara you'd never let a human mouth off to us like that!" The Cathar raised his eyebrow even higher, "I don't know about that, Aliss. But perhaps that was my mistake. A Cathar can only have so many enemies before one more is too many." Aliss scrunched her face a little at the comment before looking to Sirena and rolling her eyes, "He's in one of those moods. Can I go back to my quarters? All he's going to do is ramble on and on and on and on. And maybe half of it will make any sense... if we are lucky!" Roshan broke into a bout of hearty laughter at the girl's unexpected whining, "Well, perhaps, child, you should learn to listen better." Hunching her shoulders forward, any excitement left on the girl's face disappeared. It was clear that she had surrendered to the inevitable lecture, conjecture, or ramblings that were to come. Lady Sirena had asked for him not to hold back so technically what was to come was all her fault. It was best not to fight it and just let him get it over with. "The truth is," Roshan began in a rather monotone and matter of fact way. "I like Darth Ravanger and am thrilled to be working with him. My hostile interaction with him was never with the intent to fight him. It was with the intent to manipulate him and reveal his character. My experiences on Carida make me very leery of those who treat slaves as toys or worthless property and disrespect them for the fun of it. He established himself early on as someone who thought very highly of himself and his own ability to form opinions of others out of thin air without making any actual effort to get to know us. It was amusing, to be sure." Roshan crossed his legs a little before continuing, "Of course, with such behavioral patterns set, is he to be just another Draken? Or worse yet, were we to follow a Lady Traya into battle? I refused to follow the likes of either of them to certain death. So it became immediately vital for me to know what type of man he was before we left. Not down the road or at the point in which it was too late and we were already as good as dead." "So I had to know, what is he made of?" Roshan continued as he uncrossed his legs. "I baited him to show his power. When it comes to killing an adversary, it is helpful to know what their go-to Force power is when they are under stress or pressed. It is also helpful to know what powers they have access to in general. If he was as arrogant as and as bent on showing off the vanity of his power over others as some Sith, the setting we were in had him in the prefect position to strike. He was surrounded by friends and surely felt himself superior to me. It's doubtful you would have stopped him unless he intended on killing me. Instead, the Sith Lord could have flexed his powers against someone he could 'easily' defeat and have felt a sense of fulfillment many weak-minded Sith revel in." Roshan's wandering eyes stopped for a moment and fixed firmly on Lady Sirena with a hint of excitement and satisfaction in them, "Instead, he showed himself to be a capable leader. He's not quite as capable as the giant, perhaps. He has a level of pride and possessive vanity that could lead us into situations where are margins of victory are dangerously slim because he overestimates his own prowess and expertise. Nevertheless, he does not seem to be so narcissistic that he would attack a potential ally to boost his own ego when threatened or to the point where he is unwilling to listen to those that disagree or even lash out against him. He's calm and level-headed enough to not be goaded or manipulated into a course of action easily, another trait that will serve us well if he's leading armies in battle." "So you like him, even though he's a jerk," Aliss irritatedly replied with almost a hint of anger mixed with jealousy in her voice, momentarily interrupting Roshan's train of thought. Roshan shrugged, "Like him? We don't agree on everything. He is young and brash in certain ways. Unnecessarily stubborn for his age. That can be used against him. But ultimately, I find him extremely prideful but not arrogant. A rare trait among Sith that will serve him well if we are to have success on this campaign without getting ourselves killed in the process. I was satisfied with our interaction so I stood down. Unless his actions change my assessment of his person and leadership over time, I am more than happy to follow him into battle and play the role of active observer for the time being." Aliss pressed her palms against her cheeks while her elbows rested against her thighs. She signed a little as Roshan finished. "What does that even mean?" "What does what mean, child? I was rather elaborately clear." "He's a jerk, Lady Sirena," Aliss sighed again, clearly fed up with the accolades being placed on this stranger who knew nothing and dared to call her weak and timid. "He thinks he's big and bad cuz he has a fancy title. And maybe he collected enough holy croms to get strong in the Force magic or whatever. But I bet without any Force powers, he's the one who would look weak and timid if he faced me!" Aliss let slip a giddy grin as she imagined punching Darth Mavanger right between where his stupid nose and his ugly, Ortolan-colored eyes met. She'd watch the blood gush from his nostrils as the tears reflexively streamed out of his eyes and in that moment of disorientation, she'd knee him as hard as she could in the balls just for good measure. He wouldn't be nearly so smug and condescending then. ___ &
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