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Solus

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Everything posted by Solus

  1. Calypso’s words struck several very specific chords within the Shard. A person who technically was older than they looked, claiming a new birthright. A rage at how things had not changed. And most of the declaration of the Sith being gods. Solus’ own visions before his ascension led him to declare Jedi and Sith to be deities in their own right. And here, this new claimant of the title of Lord of the Sith, echoed the words that he had spoken once. Solus even felt giddy at the lady’s end goal. While he doubted her on Coruscant when she was resurrected, here his soul wanted to sing. Her declaration of plunging the galaxy into pure, unbridled chaos, where strong ruled the weak, appealed to every fiber of his being. He could foresee the Fanged God’s final meal take place in the state she desired. The end of all life ever. The annihilation of existence. Solus’ blade twitched at his side, as his giddyness suddenly transformed into the pure, unadulterated envy. The crystal inside, made from his very essence and envy, called to him, and the whispering horror inside himself burbled words of destruction. He should’ve been the one to come up with the idea. That should be his idea. Why should this nobody from an unknown time be able to just pop up and describe HIS dreams? The ground that shook and opened forced Solus to stumble and regain his balance, nearly tumbling backwards. But even the force that flowed from Calypso could hardly stifle the envy that encircled the Shard in the Impossible Geometries. The little Shard’s hand even started to drift towards the handle, when he stopped in realization. What in the name of the unholy madness was he thinking? Challenging this clearly powerful lady to a duel, even as she accepted any challenge at the moment? A woman who, just with pure emotion, cracked the very ground he stood upon and moved the air? No, that was no way for an Assassin to do it. Not one of his lowly calibur. If he wanted to kill her, he would need to do it in other ways. Solus glanced at those nearby and thought. The lesson of killing the Acklay with traps flashed in his twisted memory. Solus had already pledged the loyalty of the Temple of the Spider. Calypso wouldn’t expect the Shard to attack. If someone else challenged Calypso, perhaps he could join in when unexpected and kill the Lady where she stood. But who would actually challenge her? Solus’ gaze settled on his master. The Lord of Rage. An ideal tool to use, if done correctly. “Master, this is our last chance to see this Sith to prove her worth…and yours” Solus whispered, careful not to let others overhear like back at Naboo. “We have both grown, but where is your proof? Does not the Fanged God demand trial by combat? Prove to everyone why either you or her should rule. Anyone can move the earth, but you… the skills you have are beyond exception. Show her that power I saw on Faleen, the power that made me dedicate myself to you and our deity. Demonstrate the rage of Korriban. Show that the Lord of Rage is not just an empty title, but a moniker for your magnificence. ”
  2. Upon the approach of Akheron, Solus first stared. Adjusting his sensors, he said nothing at first, his usual flair of dramatic honor replaced by an eerie silence and calculations as cold as the snow around him. For a moment in the Impossible Geometries, Solus himself seemed to shift slightly, his own shapes congealing and liquefying erratically. But after a pause, his nature seemed to return, covering over the silence with more, almost maniac, energy. “Ah! My great master, Lord of Rage, and Ender of Entrails, it is wonderful and inspiring, nay, invigorating to be in your presence again” At this, Solus did his usual exaggerated bow, arms outstretched like some dancer concluding a performance . “Your presence befuddled me, for I did not sense it on the ground, though that is probably because of our fair lady here. But now that I see you, I do sense the growth in you. I’m sure the Fanged one himself smiles with this revelation, as I know he did with my discoveries. The Temple of the Spider is truly a most worthy discovery for us all.” With this, Solus strode towards his master’s side, and upon seeing Dictum, stopped momentarily to speak “Darth Dictum! So good to see you again. Did you find what you were looking for in the library, blind one? Did you find sight of what you sought? I certainly have. I have found sights that would make all other sights meaningless.” After this, Solus then took a step behind his master, waiting to see what Lady Calypso would do next. He also kept glancing towards the armored woman, who had been approached by someone. Adjusting his sensors again and again for the distance and the snow, Solus couldn’t help but ponder silently. However, a chuckle escaped his vocoder as the Lady’s newest apprentice snarled over the howling winds. It seemed that all of his master’s species were inclined to rage. No wonder Korriban was such a place that it was.
  3. Though he tried not to show it, Solus felt the waves of power flowing off of calypso, directed towards him. The winds of here on Ziost paled in comparison to the winds that Calypso generated in the Impossible geometries. It was like an inverting polytope in the impossible Geometries, rounding its edges to become more impossible. Mystical, and deadly. But try as he might, Solus did show that he felt the power that was almost directed towards him. An instinctual flinch, with the chassis pausing momentarily to bring its hands up in a mock surrender. Solus was finding that his best defense was pretending to be harmless. “Still an abomination, Lady Calypso, but a contained one for the most part.” Solus started. He lowered his arms and adjusted his sensors again to account for the distance he had covered to approach the Sith Lady. “But a little more if you must know. A sojourner of the realms of Madness. An explorer in the unknown darkness. Why, I am now a surveyor of the furthest edges of reality But more than that, a servant to the Empress, like the Temple of the Spider offers.” With this, Solus pulled a small datapad from his side and presented it to the lady. “I have been tasked by the Temple to present their location and transmitter code to the, and I quote, ‘Ruler of the Sith, and only the Ruler of the Sith’. And your beacon of power, which has only grown since Corescant my fair lady, is mounting proof.” Solus stopped and adjusted his sensors again, looking towards the treeline. “Oooh, I see more beings approaching! Could my master be here finally? No no, I see the glint of metal. Ah, another lady I see! Having pointed out the individual @Krath Inmortos, Solus faced Lady Calypso and bowed again. “I follow your steps for now my lady.Or do you need someone to keep track of your apprentice?”
  4. As the ship broke out of hyperspace over the Ziost, Solus’ chassis powered back on. The trip took enough time that Solus was able to mediate and recharge, something he had not realized he missed doing since before the Hellvault. “Ah, what a glorious sight to see!” Solus exclaimed as rotated all of his joints, making sure nothing got rusted shut. “Truly a beautiful sight to any glorious Sith, yes? Yes yes." “Although…” Solus leaned forward in his pilot’s chair and adjusted his visual sensors as he got a better look. “It would be a worthy place for a Sith to build a throne. And I did swear to have a planet of my own, did I not?” Solus tapped his metal appendages on the seat in thought for a moment before raising his hands above his head. “Bah, too obvious and too much hassle. I’d have to be emperor first, and no one wants that trouble right now. Leave that to whoever wants it, I’d rather have a jewel someplace more… populant. Is that the right word, populant? Eh, who cares…” Solus looked at the ships sensors and squealed slightly in delight. “Oh, it seems the Linnorms are already here. How delightful, they can take care of the bodies. And my master will get to see the fruits of my labor.” At this, Solus began the process of land the ship. Finding a landing zone was surprisingly difficult. It seemed the planet wasn’t fully colonized, at least according to his ship’s sensors, and the scanners were showing unstable terrain in numerous locations. Only after a while did Solus decide on a landing location. “That temple looks fresh enough” Solus commented as the small vessel made its way through the atmosphere. The HWK-290 was a sturdy enough ship to handle the snowfall. Unfortunately, the Shard did not have much experience with atmospheric conditions. Solus found out quickly that flying in space was easy compared to planetary conditions. In space the worse thing you had to worry about was other ships and solar storms. Winds, falling snow, air currents, all these things played a much bigger role than Solus first realized as he was forced to land the ship in a method anything but gently. The term other, more seasoned pilots would have called the landing was a ‘sliding stop’. “How in the Force did that Devaronian make it look so easy?” Solus wondered outloud as he stepped out from the slightly dented vessel. He looked over the damage briefly, concluding that it was still flyable. “Probably had some kind of secret droid helping her. Eh, oh well, happy landings all around. Now let's see, that temple was in…that direction, yes? Ah ha ha, i can sense it!” Solus made his way through the falling snow, much like a child would: clomping forward, kicking the snow in front of himself. Given the short stature and inability to actually feel the cold, it wasn’t that sufferable, but it wasn’t enjoyable either. The custom valachord on his back did slow him down after all. However, the sound of combat made Solus pick up his pace. Racing forward, he was surprised to find a large beast fighting a Tsis. “Master? No no, too small…” Solus said outloud as he observed from a distance, adjusting his sensors to see the fight better. It took him a bit, but he slowly recognised the Tsis as the newest apprentice that was at Naboo. Solus nodded as he observed the fight. The pupil was growing, but where was his master? It was only then did he see the others. “Ah! Lady Calypso!” Solus shouted when he noticed the Sith Lord. Ignoring the fight, he made a dash forward, eager to see someone again who wasn’t trying to kill him. “Lady Calypso! It is so good to see you again!” Solus greeted the woman. “I must say, is that your temple? It radiates your…essence.” Solus bowed slightly at the hip before the woman. “Surely you remember me, Solus the Ascended? The Abomination in your own words?”
  5. Solus

    Space

    The time period between when Solus had arrived and when he left was fuzzy at best and immeasurable at worst. The lack of a sun or any kind of rotational period that so many celestial bodies were given made days and nights the same. The station itself had ‘darkness’ periods, but when and how long they would occur were random by what Solus could measure. Once it was many many hours, and another time it was only a few minutes long. No two periods were the same. The worst was when these darkness periods occurred at a place where the gravity was no longer functioning. While not ill-kept, the entire station felt like it was on the verge of falling apart. In addition to the lights, some sections of the station had no gravity activated. Other areas were claustrophobic to the extreme. Even Solus with his smaller body had difficulties navigating. Heaven forbid he got stuck in section 18. The section was actually open to the vacuum of space, where a careless slip would doom to an eternity in the darkness. During the entire experience, Solus continued to have the occasional blackouts. There were no more random and unnecessary deaths, but Solus knew that was only because of Chosen Emlee'esh. But as time went, Solus sensed he was gaining control of the blackouts. He had no proof, but he felt less terrorfied during the times. Emlee'esh, the being who had retrieved Solus from his ship (which translated to Chosen of the empty flesh Solus found out), was mysterious to say the least. Even with his technological abilities, fitted with infrared and electromagnetic sensors, every attempt at peering under her hood resulted in a blank dark void. Her hands, if they could be called that, changed from day to day. One time it would be tendrils, the next clawed knubs, the next a conglomeration of wriggling wires and worms and the following prickly hairs woven into the shape of fingers. Once Solus worked up the courage to ask what species she was. Instead of answering, she only chuckled and commented that such limitations were unnecessary. Everywhere she went, trails of microscopic webs and arachnids seemed to follow, only to vanish when a second look was given. Thankfully her voice stayed the same,making identifying her easy for the Shard, especially given the others that dwelled on the station. Meeting other beings on the station was a rare circumstance. Most of the disciples, as Chosen Emlee'esh called them, kept to themselves, content to expand their own esoteric studies. Solus’ best guess for how many people resided on the station were somewhere between 30 and a 60. The occasional one Solus met and spoke with didn’t disappoint. Disciple Araneae, according to Emlee'esh, was a Kalo scientist who, after hearing the call of the Madness, dedicated his life to transmitting the condition through disease. His maniacal focus on germs that could exist in the vacuum of space was intoxicating to say the least, and at the end of every speech, would exclaim, “The secret is there! Within the cells and between the cells, the secret is there”. Solus felt like if he himself was more dedicated to the scientific arts, he would find a peer in Araneae. The being Solus saw multiple times to get reading material was Chosen Leera’ka, or Chosen of the Leering Specter. The first time Solus saw him, the shard fled and hid until Emlee'esh forced him to return to face the monstrosity. While Leera’ka was a Kadri’Ra, he appeared more like a mass of legs and teeth than the dragon-esque species he was. The reason Solus had to flee was because it reminded him so much of the thing the Shard encountered at the Hellvault. Every meeting with Leera’ka afterwards Solus trembled, even after refortifying his mind over and over. Then there was Disciple Wilmarth and his ‘music’. Wilmarth, the Disciple of the Crawling Wail, was a Bith by birth and never spoke. Solus only met him because he had heard the music echoing down one of the labyrinthine halls. Utilizing several small droids, Wilmarth was creating an eerie symphony of pipes and drums. At first, Solus was hypnotized by the music, unable to resist its siren-like call. But after a few minutes of listening, Solus had to run out of Wilmarth’s chambers, screaming at the noise that stalked him. The very Impossible Geometries trembled at his work. Just as it was beautiful and organized, it quickly became dissonant and maddening. Surprisingly, during many of Solus’ blackouts, he would find himself at Wilmarth’s door, completely drained of any charge and unable to escape the sublime music. Chosen Emlee'esh had begun Solus’ training by subjecting him to an array of illusions and hallucinations. Since the Shard had suffered so many already, it was obvious this task was simple to perform. Many of Solus’ blackouts occurred after these sessions, with him waking up missing a few pieces of his chassis or in front of Wilmarth’s quarters. The fact that Solus continued to end up near Wilmarth’s quarters led Emlee'esh to create several instruments for the Shard to experience with, as well as assign him to attempt to create poetry or small pieces of fiction. Emlee'esh explained that a dedication to the arts was not only beneficial for those in the Temple, it was in some ways a necessity. “At the core of the Madness” Emlee'esh explained As Solus struggled with a hand-held version of a valachord, “is creativity. You must learn creativity and inspiration to manipulate the Madness properly. Much like the ways of an assassin, the more creative you can be, the more versatile and expansive your powers will become.” “You must also learn to lose the rules of this so-called reality” Emlee'esh continued. “Even before you first ascended, you assumed time flowed forward. The cause of the effect precedes the effect itself. Water flows downwards, babies are born then die. Rocks form, then erode. Light jumps from one place to another. But in the Force and in the Madness, such things no longer remain true. Say goodbye to the logic of the universe. It will fade into things like ghosts and shadows here. And when all you see is madness, you will never fear it, and you will be able to control it. ” “How does this relate with the Fanged God?” Solus questioned, taking a slight break from the annoying instrument. “I discovered the Madness through him, and so far, you have never mentioned him once.” “Madness and Death often hold hands.” Emlee’esh answered, circling the shard and forcing him to continue playing. “Your deity desires death of all, including the Force. That is a madness in of itself, is it not? It is why some of his disciples succumb to madness. The very core of your religion is based on it, not that your master would believe so. Do not worry too much over this. You will come to understand in time” However, his training did not stop with illusions and instruments and philosophy. Solus was also forced to endure hours of absorbing information, ranging from subjects of various political systems of the galaxy at large, to past Sith Lords all the way from the first dark jedi, various torture methods developed by various individuals, documents and reports on famous murderers in history, and medical facts on every single type of known species in the galaxy. In addition, Solus was forced to read numerous fictional stories, biographies, novels, and propaganda reports from all over the galaxy. During each training session, Emlee'esh would question Solus about what he read like a seasoned professor, and when he made one error, even an accidental one, Emlee'esh would purposefully force Solus into a painful and maddening blackout. After the first two errors, Solus vowed not to make another mistake again. After some unspecified time, Solus was allowed to have his lightsaber back for training. Each session occurred outside the station on its hull. Fighting in the vacuum of space proved to be difficult for Solus at first, only to be compounded by the fact that the fighting style he was being taught relied on fear, intimidation, and surprise. Solus had to balance his focus between maintaining his mental composure, his foothold and his aggression. More than once Emlee'esh sent Solus hurtling into space, only to pull him back with a force pull, slamming him into the hull. Ironically, the lessons of these training did not include finding solid footing in the zero gravity, but to be able to be loose from the rules of gravity, and to use agility and mobility over steadiness. All of Solus’ training cultivated with the Ritual of the Open Eye. “The Open Eye” Emlee'esh explained to the Shard, who sat floating in one of the many places with no artificial gravity. “Is the opening to the Madness. You are a beacon to the Madness. The ritual will make you a stronger beacon. A door for the monsters to walk through. It is how you become one with what dwells in the Kathol Rift. That unnameable horror that we can never fully comprehend. Give yourself to the Madness.” “How am i to do that?” “Purge yourself of all your virtues. Compassion, selflessness, honor, everything. Then reach out into the darkness. For both Nature and the Force abhors a vacuum. By doing this, the Madness will seep into you. Once you have done this, focus your will against it and force it to serve you.” “Will this cure me of the hallucinations?” Solus asked, genuinely curious and concerned. Emlee'esh shook her head. “They will grow more frequent and intense as time goes on. You will become a beacon for the Madness wherever you go. A conduit for unspeakable horrors. The Kathol Rift may be far behind you, but you will never leave it. You will desire its presence, but loathe its arrival. In time, this will be both your strength and your downfall. And when you die, you will return here, unable to escape its hold. “But you will recognise it easily and be able to dismiss it. You will know what is real in the terms of common practitioners of logic, and what is real in the realm of madness. Here you will find control.” Solus nodded and began the ritual. Emlee’esh left the area, locking the doors behind her, leaving the Shard in total darkness. Sitting in the zero G environment, he began to pluck at the strings of his small simplified valachord. The area was pitch black, with no source of light save the singular datapad floating in front of the Shard. Solus began to read as he played, feeling his mind opening to the Force and the Kathol Rift. “Do not do this apprentice.” A voice ordered from the darkness. Solus refused to stop his playing, even as the figure entered into the light, revealing his large, bulky Sith body. “This power is not what you seek. It is not the power of the Fanged God.” Solus waved a hand from his valachord, pushing the illusionary shade back. The training with Emlee'esh was already rewarding him. Months ago he would’ve believed his actual master was here. He almost did. The shade breathed out warm air, and the metal floor shifted beneath its illusionary weight. Solus’ sensors read everything as real. “Do you think this is what I wanted for you to find here?” The shade of Akheron continued to appeal to reason. “You were sent to get better. To save your mind, not to subjugate it to torture. Stop this and come back to me, or you will suffer more than fear and pain by my hands.” Solus waved his hand again, the shade vanishing into the darkness. Again, he returned to his music and opened his mind. “This is pathetic…” Another voice started. The feline figure was unmistakable. “You are so much better than this. You are a child and warrior of Roshan. How will this help me take over Ishvara?” Solus grunted. This shade was appealing to a sense of selflessness, like Emlee'esh had said. Solus knew he still had a desire to help his father claim Ishvara for himself. Still, he was surprised in the form the shade took on. “Kill these idiots and let's be off Shardling…” The shade continued, its bleeding teeth reeking with fetid rot. “Make your power grow with death, and then rush to my side to help me once again…” Solus waved a hand again, refusing to acknowledge the shade further. It growled as it faded into the black. Finally, another figure intruded. Solus’ old frame looked down at him, its faceless features an unreadable mask. “This is wrong…” It’s voicebox identical to Solus’ past. “You are losing pieces of yourself. Your reasoning? That helps you greatly, and will continue to aid your ascension. Your selflessness? This is what helps you serve the Sith so well. If you lose these things, what will become of you? What will you become?” Solus intensified his playing. He was approaching the zenith point. The Madness would soon invade him. He had to continue. He could not stop here. Not yet. The figment approached and clutched at Solus’ shoulder, pleading. “Please Solus, think of yourself. Think of all that you are losing.” Solus growled and waved his hand. He would succeed. Even if he had to forget his conscience entirely during this. The music became erratic and rapid. The darkness was swirling and congealing. The floors and walls began to swirl with the blackness, mixing and bleeding together. The eyes appeared one by one, opening and never closing, blood draining from their edges. The legs came next, followed by the pincers and the flesh. Some of the limbs flailed, the others twitched and stayed still. Arachnoid and tumorous, the thing’s face finally revealed itself. This time, Solus did not scream. Instead, he invited it closer. ______ Solus powered the ship once more. He gave a small sigh as he glanced out the window at the Temple of the Spider. This was actually his first time seeing the station in its entirety. Once splendid and opulent, it showed its age and worness. Littered about the station, remains of starships that either had tried to hyperjump foolishly through the rift, or were towed by one of the Temple’s disciples for scrapping. But even so, Solus couldn’t help but admire the architecture and mystique. Solus turned and looked at the thing that was forming on the wall. “I succeeded,” Solus commented. The thing didn’t answer in any known tongue. Instead it squelched and burbled something unintelligible. Underneath it sat several datapads and the custom valachord. Solus chuckled as he turned away and started the controls. “I remember what Emlee'esh said.” Solus flipped a few switches and began to turn the ship away from the station. “Pledge fealty on behalf of the Temple to our current Dark Lord. Return when you have grown. Read what is given. Practice your skills. And perform the ritual of the Wyyrlok numerous times. Know your aspect’s name. Sure, not straightforward, but for a being like myself…” Solus gave a few almost victorious whistles as the thing behind him burbled more and more, squelching as pustules popped and resealed themselves. A few whistles came out of its undulating orifices, but nothing comprehensible. It crawled down across the floor and up Solus’ chassis towards his head where his Shard laid. “Please, I am Solus the ascended. Solus the Ascending. The Ascending Dragon. The enlightened. If anyone can do it, I can.” The thing squeezed its way through the cracks of Solus’ chassis and oozed its way onto the Shard’s being. Though nothing more than an illusion of Solus’ own senses, Solus could feel each twitching muscle and each undulating spasm as it crawled into its home that was Solus. Solus chuckled and with a flip of a switch, the ship broke into hyperspace.
  6. Solus

    Space

    Day 1 “Breaking out of hyperspace now” The pilot reported. Solus nodded as the kaleidoscope of blue lines outside vanished into a black abyss. Even the usual dots of starlight that were impossible distances away were invisible here. Solus did not need to adjust his sensors. Nebulaic material blocked any form of starlight to pierce through the darkness. “The kathol rift…” Solus noted as he reached and touched the window with metal fingers. “It’s… gah, the language of sound isn’t sufficient for description. I just…” Solus stopped and scratched head, causing his optics to shift slightly. “It's a pulling. There's something here gentlemen. Something great and powerful. Beyond comprehension if I'm correct. “ “Eh, looks empty to me. Nothing for light years as far as I can tell.” Solus looked at the Linnorm and nodded. “Yes, isn’t it amazing? True darkness. True nothingness. It's the Fanged God’s dream made reality!” The linnorm looked at the Dragon confused. Solus gave a sigh of annoyance. “Think harder, you excuse an organic computer brain. What will the galaxy be like once the Fanged God has had his last feast? What will exist after everything is gone? When the Dragon himself has been consumed by the Father of Dust? This!” Solus gestured widely at the window of nothingness. Something was pulling at his shard. Something dark and ominous. Like the pull of a black hole absorbing all light around it, so too did this thing pull at his very being. The crew on the other hand, did not share the shard’s excitement nor reverence. Of the four, only the pilot had a modem of idolization, and that was because she was raised in the faith from birth. Arnix and Aaran, the two human twins, Delda, the female Rodian, all believed in the Fanged God, but their beliefs were more fueled by the destruction of things and not the destruction of all things. Only the female Devaronian pilot Farnay was a proper Linnorm. An odd group to be sure, but one Solus would make do. “Where are we going, Dragon?” Farnay asked. For not being one of the horned nomadic males her people were known for, she was very eager to get moving. Solus stopped and focused himself. His natural electromagnetic senses were useless out here. Only the Force could guide him. A few moments in meditation revealed that the Impossible Geometries were odd here. The shapes were less geometric and more organic. They flowed in and out of themselves like liquid, only to crystalize and shimmer inwards into an inverted form. Sorting through the shapes was almost impossible. Almost. “There.” Solus pointed out the window. “20 degrees to the left, you hornless thing. The unknown beckons!” Day 5 “No, we cannot go hyperspeed,” Farnay groaned, rubbing her eyes. She didn’t need to remain at the controls, but something felt right about the seat. “This is taking forever though” Arnix whispered, glancing over his shoulder. Solus remained at his place, still staring out into the abyss. He hadn’t moved, say to plug himself directly into the ship’s power supply. There was no need to sleep, no need to take his eyes from the window, no need but to focus on where they were going. Arnix shuddered. “Just a quick jump. Then we ask him if he can sense anything behind him. Farnay gave a glare. “Do you know anything about spaceflight? That’s a nebula we are in. I can’t tell a star from a pocket of dense gas, and if I fly right into the wrong thing…” “Alright alright, geez…” Arnix rubbed his eyes. “Sorry, sorry, I'm just a little tired.” “Can’t sleep?” Farnay looked the human over. She knew exactly what he was feeling. Her dreams were continually haunted by nameless things, and jolted her awake with a paralyzing fear, like something was watching her. Even with drugs to help calm her senses down, she still felt a paralyzing sense of paranoia creep over her. “Ya... I might go collapse a bit if that’s ok?” Farnay waved the human off. “Get some sleep. If anything happens, I’ll call you.” Arnix nodded and walked back into the hallway. He gave a slight salute to the diminutive Solus, who did not return the salute, or even acknowledged his presence . Arnix gave a sigh and left the room. “You know…” Farnay muttered loudly to the Shard. “You aren’t exactly stirring confidence in the crew…” A scream pierced the silence. Both individuals flinched at the noise. Surprisingly, Solus was the first to the door, though Farnay was close behind. “ Arnix!” Farnay exclaimed. Collapsed on the floor, Arnix flailed wildly, screaming and rolling over and over, hands clawing at everything around him like some rabid animal. “Get it off! Get it off!” he cried out between screams. Solus stood, stuck between confusion and observation. Farnay, behind the Shard, could only watch, not daring to cross the Dragon. It wasn’t like she could do anything. She was no medic. Down the hall, Arnix’s brother came racing, dressed in the equivalent of a nightgown. Only at this, did Solus finally step aside to let Farnay get through. Together the two began to restrain the man. Farnay began to issue commands for bacta, but the cold realization washed over the group that this ship wasn’t stocked with medical supplies. All they could do was restrain, watch, and listen. “Interesting…” Solus eventually commented. He stepped forward and moved over the restrained human, placing himself above the flailing human, adjusting his sensors. “Its, no, get it off, can’t you see it? Get it off!” Arnix ranted. “Shhhh, there now you stupid thing…” Solus utterred, working his way into the man’s line of sight. “What’s got you?” “The…the eyes! Get them away!” Arnix turned his head and shut his eyes. Trying to avoid looking at whatever it was, he banged his back and forth onto the metal floor, clanging over and over. Solus adjusted his visual sensors again, then reached and grabbed Arnix’s head, forcing him to look at the Shard sensors. “Arnix, focus. What is it? What has you?” “It’s…its…” “Is it a spider?” Arnix screamed in confirmation. Aaran and Farnay looked at the Shard, confused and scared. This was not something they had ever encountered. “A spider, yes? With so many eyes? And the symbol? Is the symbol there?” Arnix nodded his head, now crying. “The miamed beast. It’s there! Get it off me! Get it off me!” “There there…” Solus soothed and padded the man’s head. The other two looked at each other. In their short time with the Dragon, they recognized that specific tone. Without another warning, Solus unsheathed his comm link from his finger and plunged it into the screaming man’s eye. The man’s flailing intensified momentarily as data flowed from the dying man’s brain into Solus’ circuits. The shard gave out an orgasmic groan as the man began to still. After a moment of silence, Solus pulled out, stood up and looked at Aaran. “Your brother died well in the service of the Fanged God. Store him in the back and we’ll give him a proper burning when we return. Solus glanced at Farnay. With an unusual cheery tone that did not match the situation, he chimed, “Back to your post please! I’ll be there shortly.” Farnay nodded and returned. She wiped her eyes after sitting down at the controls. She wasn’t going to be sleeping well for a long time. Day 8 “He’s out there!” Delda pounded on the door “Delda, that’s impossible, we’re in the middle of nowhere” Farnay tried to calm the Rodian down, to no avail. Instead, she only caused the rodian to bang on the door more. “You don’t get it, I saw him! He’s out there! Brilhon, I’m coming!” Delda began to work the door’s controls. Realizing what the Rodian was about to do, Farnay’s eyes widened. Instinct forced her to grab Delda to restrain her and pull away from the control panel. “Delda! Stop!” Farnay shouted, hoping someone would overhear. “Your husband can’t be out there! He’s billions of lightyears away. There’s no way he’s out the…” Delda’s next shriek was ear piercing. “No! It’s eating him! Let me go, I can save him!” Before Farnay could say anything, Delda broke free and grabbed the door to the outside. “Brilhon hang on! I’m coming!” The vacuum of space ripped the door right out, Delda along with it. In the emptiness of space, filled only with pockets of nebulaic material, her body was quickly pulled away out of sight. No doubt she would instantly fall unconscious, before the lack of oxygen killed her from the inside. As for Farnay, the pull of the vacuum of space felt like it nearly ripped her skin off. But instead of being pulled out with Delda, she hovered in the air. Glancing a look over her shoulder, she could see Solus hanging barely onto a piece of the ship, one hand outstretched into a clenching fist. Farnay screamed. It felt as if a giant hand was holding her by her feet. She could feel her body being pulled apart, like a cloth at the seams. At any moment, she would… The ship’s automatic systems kicked in, as a shield generated at the open doorway. Everyone collapsed into the ground as gravity retook a hold. Farnay groaned as she gripped her head. The oncoming headache was going to linger. “Come on, up, up, up hornless one.” Solus chided as he helped his pilot up. “There…now tell me everything. What happened? What did she see?” “Thanks for the concern,” Farnay remarked sarcastically. “No sass right now you stupid girl!” Solus’ tone became dark and serious as he reached up. Farnay felt her neck momentarily tighten as she was picked up slightly, floating in the air momentarily. Farnay fought back some tears as she gasped for breath. She recognised what Solus was trying to do. It was similiar to what she had seen Akheron do to the Dragon before. “Oooh, my bad, sorry, so sorry, I’m just a little stressed” Solus apologized, letting Farnay down and patting her clothes like some kind of nanny droid. “Please, tell me, what did she see? She did see something, yes?” Farney, gasping momentarily, unnerved and more than a little scared, nodded. “Ya- yah” She stuttered, rubbing her throat. “She claimed her husband was out there.” Solus nodded. “Yes, yes, anything else?” “I don’t know, she saw something outside eating him? It's all fuzzy now, I…” “Tell me more, tell me more! Were her eyes dilated? Was she sweating heavily? What was her breathing rate?” “How the kriff would I know?!?” Farnay cursed and smacked the shard’s hands away. The maniac energy that was coming off the shard instantly vanished. Despite not being force sensitive, she could feel the wave of hatred that flowed out of Solus. “Oh, sorry, sorry, I forgot that your organic eyes are not as great as my own. Please, go back to your room. I’ll take care of things here.” Farnay paused a moment before going. Instantly, the hatred she felt off the shard intensified. Feeling the emotion, Farnay nodded and almost ran for her room. Not that she would be getting any sleep. But at least it would be safer there. Day 11 “Twenty six times…” Solus commented. Farnay flinched, almost rocking the controls and sending the ship into a careening arc. “What?” “Twenty-six times. That's how many times you’ve rubbed your eyes in the past hour.” Farnay looked at her hands, realizing what the Shard had said and silently cursed herself. “Sorry, just tired” “I know” Farnay glanced at the Shard. Despite how everyone else was faring, the Shard seemed unaffected by the journey. Course, having a metal chassis for a body meant less care was needed. A glance at her reflection in the window showed her mess of hair as well as the small bags forming under her eyes. Farnay took a sharp breath. In the dark void outside, something seemed to move. She couldn’t explain it. It was similar to seeing mynocks fly in space, or the sea creatures of naboo swimming in the trenches. Something was alive out there. But instead of flying, she swore it swam. She rubbed her eyes and took a second glance, only to find nothing but the swallowing abyss. “Twenty-seven” Solus commented, not even looking at the Devaronian. “Has it affected you?” Solus turned from the window and studied Farnay for a moment. “Certainly. Much longer than it's been affecting you. And those things everyone’s been seeing. Trust me, I’ve seen them too. Just… different i guess…” Farnay looked back at the controls and the empty void ahead. She glanced at her sensor readings again. There was still no sign of that thing swimming out in the darkness. “Naturally. You have to be stronger in will to be the Dragon i suppose.” Solus nodded and looked at the window again. “Your kind…they are usually force sensitive, no?” “I guess so. Not me though. I’m one of the unlucky ones…” “I’d debate that.” Farnay glared at the Shard. Maybe it was the frayed nerves, the exhaustion finally catching up with her, or just the annoyance of working under Solus, but he was pressing some of the wrong nerves today. “Is that so?” “Arnix and Aaran… according to the Master of Hides, they were both blessed by the Robed Master when they were brought in, did you know that? Farnay rolled her eyes. “So?” “And Delda, from her medical records, her midichlorians were about 10 percent higher than most Rodians in the galaxy, and that is saying something.” Farnay sighed. “Are you trying to rub my face or something? Cause that’s what it feels like, oh great Dragon." Solus groaned in annoyance, an adult annoyed at a child’s incomprehension. “Think about it. Those three are connected to the Force. You aren't. Those three had mad visions, like me in the past. You hav-” “Whoah whoah whoah” Farnay interrupted, waving her arms wildly. “Aaran hasn’t had any hallucinations.” “He did when I killed him” Solus stated matter-of-factly. Farnay had to pause as the words sunk in. “What?” Solus shrugged slightly. “This morning, while you were sleeping. He came to me, crying like a baby. Said his brother’s body was talking to him. I checked on the corpse, and it was still dead, but he swore it was talking to him. Saying things about his worthlessness, his ineptness, etcetera etcetera. A genuine haunting” “And you kriffing killed him because he was hearing voices?!?” Farnay screamed, now off the controls and approaching the Dragon. Solus didn’t seem to notice. “Oh no, I killed him when he grabbed me and begged me to abandon the mission so we could give his brother a proper burial.” Inches away, Farnay stopped, recognising the subtle threat. “More accurately, I killed him when I refused his begging and made a move towards my head. But he was in the throes of insanity like his brother. Dilated pupils, elevated pressure, like I was asking you before. Course that may just be for humans.” Solus held up his, still bloody, scomp link. “It was a rather enlightening experience. Tell me, you haven’t been having hallucinations, have you my dear?” Farnay swallowed and shook her head. “Excellent. Now…” Solus sheathed his link and waved the girl away before returning to his position and turned his gaze back to the eternal blackness outside. Farnay returned to her own seat and did the same. This time, she did not rub her eyes. Even when the thing outside made another pass, its yellow eyes glancing into her very soul, she did not rub her eyes. Day 14 Farnay slammed the door behind her, gasping for each breath. Behind her, the thumping sounds of metal boomed through the ship. “Farnay!” the automated voice called through the hallways. “Farnay!” Farnay screamed a little as something slammed the door directly. The sound of Solus’ fists beating on the door She jumped to where her bunk was and pulled out her personalized hold out blaster. The only weapon she, as the pilot, was permitted. Solus roared, his voice box more demonic than synthetic. The durasteel door shook violently under the violent blows outside. “Get away! Leave me alone!” Farnay shrieked. Once, twice, she opened fire, shooting the control panel next to the door, sealing it completely. “The nwnglui ot n'gha ulnah nilgh'ri!” the voice croaked and groaned. “No! No, go away! Leave me alone!!” The door began to warp slightly, and then a red beam of energy protruded through. Farnay shrieked again. This wasn’t how this mission was supposed to go. She wasn’t supposed to die at the hands of her boss. She was supposed to die in glorious battle. Fighting for the Fanged God, killing all life in the universe. Not being killed by… The lightsaber had made a full circle. Durasteel flew violently away, revealing a dark hallway, with only a singular red beam of energy, held by the Dragon’s fleshy tendrils. “Farnay…” the thing growled. Its meaty form slugged forward, oozing over the door crack, as numerous hairy legs sprouted and recessed into the mass of fat and flesh, grabbing the metal walls to pull itself forward. “No…no…” Farnay began to cry. She fired the blaster again, aimed at the flesh. The shot went wide. Before another shot could be made, her pistol was yanked from her hands by an invisible force, flying across the room. “Mgah'ehye ya ymg' hafh Farnay. Mgah'ehye ya ymg' gokahe…” The Dragon growled, smoke and steam belching from the thing’s mouth. Its tendrils reached forward, dripping with sweat and oils like some kind of piece of a hutt, while its wings scraped along the roof of the room. Farnay’s vision began to blur. The Dragon’s tendrils had wrapped themselves around her, tearing her apart. A metal coldness was pulling her limbs off now, separating each piece from her essence. The eyes were glowing brighter now. Her body roiled from the inside. The parts were being pulled out of her. She was beginning to understand. The fear had brought on a cold realization. She recalled what the Shard had said at the beginning of this journey. The Kathol Rift was the Fanged God’s last feast. The emptiness after life. And she had walked into it.She had willingly flown into it. Into the Dragon’s mouth. And now, it was consuming her. “Vulgtmnah, vulgtmnah..” The Dragon whispered, as everything faded to black. Day 16 Solus reviewed the holofeed again, crumpled in a corner of the room, whimpering like a child. The images didn’t lie. The bodies didn’t lie. None of them ever did. Solus wanted to call them impossible, but that itself wasn’t possible. “I must be missing something.” Solus told himself, rewinding the feed again. “Something. Anything. After all, there’s always more information, isn’t there?” But there wasn’t. Even as the feed from each incident played over, there was nothing he had missed. His strangulation of Aarnix with his bare hands while the others watched helplessly. His opening of the airlock door to throw Delda out while saving Farnay. His bashing of Aaran's skull in over and over. And now, most recently, the complete dissection of his pilot, who had witnessed each event, but somehow didn’t witness the events like he did. It was like she had seen something else play out before her. Solus wanted to declare outloud, but couldn't. If he did, he felt like that would make it a reality. Solus would’ve vomited if he had the organs to do so. He was unable to escape Farnay’s room. If he tried, he would've had to touch the mass of guts and organs everywhere. The scene was beyond recognition. Intestines draped from the ceiling frames. Flayed skin wrapped over the bed. Bones piled in the corner with symbols drawn in blood next to them. Images of arachnids everywhere. It was like some mass murderer's dream. And any sane man’s nightmare. A klaxon alarm blared throughout the ship. Solus screamed and covered his audio sensors, unable to turn them off completely. The noises never stopped. Something was always crawling in the vents, or oozing on the outside of the ship. There were buzzings in the hallways. Clickings under the floors. But no matter how much he pulled the ship apart by the seams, he couldn’t find the source. The entire vessel was at its breaking point. “Why…why is this happening…” Solus whimpered. The alarm continued to blare, louder now. Somewhere, Solus could hear doors opening and closing. Something was boarding the ship. But what? He had seen so much outside the ship. The corpse of Delda he threw out. The swimming beast Farlay whispered about in her sleep. The eyes of the spider monster waiting to pounce. They all were waiting in the abyss. Was now one of the things getting inside? Or were they already in and now escaping? The doorway to the room opened. Solus glanced over, unable to move any further. A robed figure floated in and looked around, studying the bloodied room, before focusing on the whimpering Shard. “Solus, child of Shuburoth, apprentice of Akheron'' a feminine voice buzzed, no louder than a whisper. “We have been waiting for your arrival” One arm drifted out as if to hold out a hand. Instead, what emerged from the robe was a mass of wriggling worms and hair, making the vague shape of a humanoid limb. Reality here distorted into beyond recognition. What was and wasn't real didn't seem to matter anymore. “Come child. Let us begin immediately.”
  7. Solus

    Space

    “You two!” Solus pointed out two crew standing idly by. Instantly they went to attention to the diminutive droid. “Pack your gear, and meet me at the hangar. Your worthless hides been selected for the honor of a little trip with me” Solus didn’t even stop to make sure the crew members understood and continued walking down the corridors. Stitch-Mouth kept a few feet behind, monitoring the Shard. “I tell you alchemist, enough waiting, i’ve heard it. The call. I’ve heard the call.” Solus explained as he continued on into his own personal chambers. Still a mess from disorganization and body parts chewed up by Tear, it was a wonder that Solus was able to find his own personal power generator. “The Fanged God, he calls me! Oh yes, he calls me himself, I know it!” solus exclaimed, almost skipping as the words were uttered. “I can’t explain it, it’s…it's impossible to understand and… and…what was I saying?” Solus stopped in the middle of the chamber and looked around, seemingly lost in thought. Stitch-Mouth raised an eyebrow, wondering if he should allow the Shard to leave. After a few brief moments, Solus looked back at the alchemist and shook his head. “Gah, nothing, nothing. Make sure to keep taking care of Tear while I’m gone. Who knows how long I will be gone, yes?” With no words from the alchemist to stop him, Solus continued on, rambling the entire way. Instructions for what to do with his other chassis while he was gone, frequencies for the transmitters his ship’s sensors would be using, and explanations for what to tell his Master. “Just make sure to convey to him that this is more important than patience” Solus continued as the two entered the busy hangar. Crew and Linnorms were rushing everywhere, fueling the ship Solus insisted on using. “That waiting any longer risks losing the site of the Temple, and my very sanity. Speed is of the essence right now. He will understand that.” Solus stopped and spun towards the alchemist and waved a finger. “And don’t you dare insinuate that I’m doing this cause of the fiasco on Hellvault. That was not a failure, no matter what the Lord of Rage thinks. It was both a momentous discovery and a side effect of accomplishing my mission. If anyone has a problem with that, just remind them that this Shard knows a fraction more than any other fool who claims otherwise. After all, no one else has made any connection to the Kathol Rift. Not even that necromancer nor Akheron’s old apprentice.” These last words carried a bit more venom in their tone. It was obvious Solus was feeling slightly threatened and emotionally wounded. “Now that I’ve explained myself…” Solus turned towards the ship and squealed with glee. The ship was a HWK-290 light freighter, long since past its expiration date and refixed over and over again until it looked like a genuine pirate ship. Small, but it would do. Solus had chosen his crew. Besides himself, there would be four other crew to assist. “Ah, this is perfect. Just perfect…” Solus commented. For a brief moment, he paused in silence, just taking in the situation. “Well, time is of the essence! Let us be off! And remember alchemist! I do this for myself and for the Fanged God! Kathol Rift awaits! The Temple of the Spider essence awaits me!” Solus boarded the ship. The ship roared to life and lifted slowly, before leaving the hangar. Within moments, Solus activated the hyperdrive, and took off for the Kathol rift.
  8. Solus

    Space

    Solus turned to the Master of Hides and bowed, thanking the Bith before leaving the library. Overhearing Dictum’s words, Solus couldn’t help but comment as he followed alongside “If I may comment, Ziost is of note to our current empress as well as a challenger…” Solus stopped, knowing his words would garnish attention. “The power balance in the Sith Empire is changing from my understanding. I would be careful of who you support. A recent acquirement on Coruscant has been dropped off on Ziost, and more than a few Sith around her seem to think she is worthy of so much more. Personally I don't know if she’ll succeed our current empress or not, but if you do meet with a being known as Calypso, I’d treat her with more respect than a common underling. More respect than our necromancer at least.” With that, Solus excused himself. Akheron had told him to be in the training room after this, and he did not intend on disappointing his master again. In the training room, Solus found himself early. His master was nowhere to be seen, though his resident mechanic Stitch-Mouth was sitting on the floor waiting. Looking up, Stitch-Mouth nodded to the Shard and snapped his scarred and burnt fingers, before pressing a button on his wrist. Solus felt the Impossible Geometries shift suddenly as several doors opened up in the massive chamber. Linnorms armed with staves, swords, knives, bows, and other primitive weapons entered. Each of them gave a shout and charged. The shard instinctively reached for his lightsaber, only to find it missing. Glancing down, Solus saw just in time for it flying into the Alchemist’s waiting hands. “You kriffing son of a” Solus started as he reached through the Geometries to grab the saber back. But with another click of a button on his wrist, Stitch-mouth activated the room’s random walls protocol. Metal frames rose up and down at random, making a literal moving maze for everyone. Following this, klaxon sirens blared and pierce the air, creating a deafening noise for all, and the lights began to flicker and pulse at random. With the bombardment on the senses that would drive many organics to the point of seizuring, Solus understood what was going on. This wasn’t punishment or an attempt to kill him. This was training. Solus shut off his visual sensors and focused on the Impossible Geometries. No matter how much visual or auditory chaos there was, the Geometries were the same. A conglomeration of shapes and symbols that, when navigated property, gave insight to what was happening. Solus almost mused how foolish the training was, since he had done a decent enough job using the Geometries in Naboo’s depths and… Solus stopped as pain shot through his entire robotic body. The floor panel Solus stood on became energized, shocking the shard’s chassis to his very brain. Just as soon as Solus lost control of his sense, the energy stopped. “So that’s how it is…” Solus commented. “If you sense me using the Force, you will shock me. But If i don’t…” Solus rolled forward as a sword barely missed his head. Turning around, Solus, blinded by the flashing lights, threw a force push in the direction he came from, and then kept running. The trick was obvious. Solus had to keep moving while he sensed what was around him. If he stopped, Stitch-Mouth would know exactly what panel to shock and render Solus defenseless to the Linnorms with weapons. However, Solus did have to get creative from time to time. At one point when hopelessly lost, Solus found one of the Linnorms, and lodged his comm link into the Linnorm, killing it but draining what it had known about the layout of room and where he was currently standing. More than once did Solus crash into a suddenly rising wall or have to stop to take down a Linnorm using only his body, but eventually Solus found Stitch-Mouth. Sitting at the center of the chamber, the alchemist waited. Thankfully, combat wasn’t needed, as when Solus approached the alchemist, Stitch-Mouth held up an open hand and then clicked buttons on his wrist to stop the training. Solus took his blade back as everything quieted down and then looked around. He was getting anxious and wanted to tell his master what he had discovered.
  9. Solus

    Space

    "My own tutelage taught me different. To rise to the rank of Sith Lord, I would have surpass my Master and slay him. Wouldn't it prove a burden to slay the one who you hold upon such a pedestal?" As Solus led the way for the two, he replied with his own thoughts. “Ah, you are of the same teachings that my father, Lord Roshan, was under. And to that, I say, if I kill someone who is below me, is it such a worthy challenge? Killing someone above me…now thats a worthy feat, is it not? ” As Solus walked he turned himself around and walked backwards briefly, looking at the two Sith Lords. “Besides, there is a phrase in our clan that I've discovered: Wide smiles, sharp blades. Both are easy to clean” Having finished with his own thoughts, Solus finally introduced the group to the ship’s library. A circular chamber filled with various datapads and holocrons, the Master of Hides greeted the group. A tall, gaunt, and horribly deformed Bith by birth, with his left arm and left foot shrunken to half their normal sizes. To make up for this defect, the Master of Hides utilized a mechanical arm attached directly to his spinal cord and a pair of robotic legs overfitting his defective leg. To Nok’s requests, he simply waved him to his right. An assistant servant over there would be willing to help. To Dictum’s request, he took a more personal consideration and pulled a few datapads off the walls. “While our collection is lacking on Ragnar’s personal livelihood…” The Master of Hides explained with a terrible lisp. “...his professional career is a bit more recorded, including many of his more deadlier and deceptive methods of killing his enemies, as well as his last days working within the Sith Empire. I believe these will shed a light on what you hope to find.” For Solus, the Bith looked the Shard over. “I’ve heard about what you seek, Dragon. Your madness has become….erratic to say the least. The sorcerors warned me of this possibility. I have already prepared several datapads for you, but I will say, what we have is limited. The Temple of the Spider is not a well-versed subject here. Madness usually doesn't concern us. But, perhaps you can find something we have missed…” Solus bowed to the Master of Hides. “Great celestial cranial pod , your help is appreciated beyond words. May your brain never explode from the sounds of greatness.” With that back-handed compliment given, Solus began his work. While the others had their own tasks in the ship’s library, Solus was sorting through information as fast as his photoreceptors could take them in. The record speed for a droid of his chassis was hundreds of hours of video files of footage within one hour. Solus was only a little slower then that, much faster than the average humanoid. After three hours of going through the data, Solus began to see a pattern. “Aha! Behold!” Solus exclaimed almost widely as he pulled up files for others to follow. “All mentions of similar madness like the one I have are usually linked to madmen, who were placed under psychiatric watch and then usually died shortly after. But for ones like these…” An image of a crocodilian species appeared. “Behold, Shimrak, a Vulptereen security officer who claimed he was stalked by spider-like ooze, which followed him from Vulpter to Neimodia. Died in custody at a police station. Officially ruled as suicide, but doubts existed as his own through was slashed five separate times. No one else was spotted in the room.” The image changed to an elderly Sullustan woman. “Feen Paluub, nighttime dancer and professional consort. Killed several of her customers under orders by an ‘unspeakable thing made of nothing but eyes and legs. Placed under medical care to be administered before tried in court of law, but died due to heart failure enroute to hospital.” Finally the image changed to a young male human. “Reg Oyce. Correlian freighter pilot from Corellia to Coruscant. On his last mission claimed he saw a ‘dragon’ swimming alongside him, giving him force visions of something ‘beyond description’. Was fired from his job, and the Jedi Temple denied an audience with him. He was found dead in a speeder on his homeworld. Ruled as a drunk-driving accident.” Solus swiped all the information away, and pulled up three separate images of the final death scenes of each mentioned individual. A police jail cell, a bloodied hotel room and a smoldering speeder on a travel way. “Now you may be thinking these people have nothing in common. No similar causes of deaths, positions of work are widely seperated, different genders and species, heck, one of these beings didn’t even speak basic. They died between 12 and 15 years apart from each other, and none of their livelihoods ever crossed paths with each other. But they all had one similarity:” Solus outlined a singular place on each image. For the jail cell, a pattern carved into the wall sloppily by claws. For the hotel room, a canvas painting hanging on a back wall. For the speeder accident, blood smeared on the ground. Each one was slightly different, but only slightly: cascades of circular shapes, overtaking each other, with a few lines criss crossing all over. And in the center of each image, a unified but separate shape, with no lines crossing it. "They all had a unique appreciation for art at their time of death. " Solus brought up another image: His room on the ship. On a previous conversation with his master, he had made a nearly identical image in his own ravings of mania. With all four images before him, the Shard overlapped them each other, with the central object as the pinning point. Separate, they were wild, useless, unimaginative drawings. But together, they were now a star chart, complete with routes and popular planets of trade. “Behold!” Solus proclaimed as he brought up the appropriate star chart to match the image before him. “The Kathol Rift! Hahaha! Yes yes!” Solus practically leapt upwards and jumped about like a child, beating his chest and whooping wildly, unable to contain his joy at his discovery. “Bwahaha, my madness is not madness, it is genuine! The Temple exists here, and here alone! And I, Solus the Ascended…Solus the enlightened! No, I, Solus the Dragon, know where to find it! Haha!”
  10. Solus

    Space

    Solus fell to his knees, grasping at his head where his Shard was hidden inside. The fear that sank in was much more noticeable than one would imagine. Perhaps it was his training with the force abilities, or perhaps it was because what he had experienced earlier in the Hellvault, but he could feel that this fear was much more implanted and fake than genuine. That didn’t mean it wasn’t effective however. On the contrary, Solus’s voicebox began to emit a soft but eerie piercing noise, a quiet scream of a machine. He could’ve sworn that around the corner, that thing was creeping up on him, readying to slay the shard where he stood. Solus began to look at the others. Was their skin starting to peel away? The Miraluka who leaned in to whisper almost got smacked away, Solus holding his hand back barely. Were those scars actual scars or were they just disguises? Perhaps they were monsters hiding in plain sight or… Then the fear vanished as soon as it came. With less effort focused on the Shard, the fear quickly evaporated. Realizing how silly he looked on his knees, Solus pulled himself back up. “Yes master, it will never happen again…” he said, like a defeated child. He nodded obediently as his master went off with Mavenger. Solus looked at the others. Instantly, he seemed to change his posture, as if he was aware of how he looked to those who remained. No longer a defeated child, he acted like the excited droid his body portrayed. “Behold the wisdom of my master, and remember your fortune at having him at our side.” Solus bowed to the others. “If you wish, I will not mind company, for my glorious master has no orders over you, and perhaps you would like to learn what i am learning? Perhaps you, blind one?” Solus gestured to the miraluka. “Or you, great Apothos? Lord Innmortos held a keen interest in our databanks, and perhaps you might share his interests, hmm?”
  11. During the entire trip back to the ship, Solus’ body continued to twitch and spasm over and over, like a person possessed. With draining power cells, and spastic thoughts, it would be a miricle if Solus could accomplish anything else. “dne eht reven si dne eht reven si dne eht reven si dne eht reven si dne eht…” over and over solus repeated, unaware of his surroundings or even himself. Wherever he was, he certainly was not in the shuttle. When the shuttle did finally dock with the ship, the first person to greet the group was the young sith alchemist simply only known as Stitch-Mouth. An odd being to say the least, this sorcerer of the Fanged God looked unsurprised at the entire group. Instead he bowed silently to the group, the best form of respect the silent alchemist could offer. Being the designated mechanic for the Shard, Stitch-Mouth stepped to the imposing chair that held both Nok and Solus and set down a large handheld generator. Stitch-Mouth glanced at Nok and nodded in respect, before starting his work. Waving a severely burnt hand, several wires unwrapped themselves from the generator and floated towards the shard’s chassis. Even as Solus continued to twitch randomly, Stitch-Mouth didn’t stop. Once the wires were close to the body, the alchemist produced a small remote from his cloak and pressed the button. Instantly, the Shard’s body became lifeless. Now still, the chassis was primed for a recharge, and with no connection to the outside world, Solus’ brain could fully process whatever nightmare he was suffering. Not much later, Stitch-Mouth unplugged the power cables and pressed the remote again. As the Chassis whirred to life, Stitch-Mouth re-hid the remote, not wanting his project to know about the security feature. Bowing to Nok and then to the others, he slipped away, back to his studies and other projects. Solus on the other hand, was much more talkative. “Well well well!” He exclaimed, bending upwards into a sitting position. Glancing over, he nearly jumped back in surprise from the being who was commanding the chair he was riding. “Ah! You must be one of the people we were sent to save! Very nice, very nice, and might i say, impressive work. Did you make this? Ah, now i see why everyone was so eager to rescue you amongst the others” At this, Solus patted the chair beneath him and stood up, looking at the others. “ Looks like our mission was a success! Haha, my mission must have been a success yes? Of course it was. I remember clearly poisoning all those simple skin-sacs of lizards and their caretaker. Haha, yes yes, very good. I remember the rush of power, the return of the impossible geometries, the...” Solus paused as he seemed to remember something, then shook himself. "Yes, a successful mission. Very good" Solus clapped his hands together at this, then did a double-take at the group. “Ah, i see our resident necromancer is missing? Did he finally bite the blaster, so to speak? Is Innmortos no longer immortal? Bah, who am i kidding, that crawling corpse could probably survive anything, he probably is looking for a new corpse to inhabit.” Solus turned, jumped off the chair and bowed to everyone, one hand at his chest and one hand behind him, unable to read the room clearly. “To you who we have rescued, I am Solus the Dragon. Do not let my size nor my eagerness fool you, for it was I who gave you your access to the Force again. I look forward to working with you as we step forward into a new Sith aeon. "
  12. More than once, Solus felt the flesh swipe at his metal feet. Each time Solus flinched, barely avoiding the meat that sought to claim the Shard’s essence. The Sharde moved frantically, pushing off each piece of wall and floor that he could in order to gain speed. When security droids fired upon the flying Analysis lightsaber-wielding droid, Solus almost ignored them, only cutting them down as an afterthought. Those he missed he hoped the flesh would be momentarily distracted by. It wasn’t. It was born beyond and it existed beyond. Life gave it form and form gave it life. Droids did not exist to it, and it did not exist to the mindless circuits of droids. It existed in the Force, and the Force was perverted in it. It sought to devour those that gave it life, and in its own twisted way, give life to those it devoured. It existed only to those that would allow it to exist. The Shard gave this thing life, and it would infest it. Solus peeled around a corner and saw the others. “Thank the Force, save me! Get this thing away from-” Solus didn’t finish. A flesh covered pincer grabbed the Shard and began to pull it back into one of the thing’s many blubbering, bleeding orifices. The Shard had given the thing its form, and now it would complete the process required of the Shard. The sudden chill from the necromancer’s spell caused the thing to suddenly slow. The spirits that swarmed the mass of flesh caused it to turn from blubbering to gnashing. The tendrils lashed out wildly at the ghost-like things, with new eyeballs and limbs sprouting in response at these things, but with the sudden cold of the thing and the immateriality of the spirits, it was a difficult battle to say the least. Then, when the warrior Mavenger began to attack, the thing turned from gnashing to moaning. These enemies were pains and annoyances, but simultaneously, life giving. They believed in its essence, and thus, gave it life. It would wound them, destroy them, and show them the madness it was born from. The Madness. The Madness and the Death that awaited everything that existed. This distraction was what gave Solus the opportunity to escape it’s clutches. Between the spirit’s attacks and Mavenger’s onslaught, Solus broke free and flew towards the others. Crashing into a wall, Solus turned and looked back at the fight that battled between the monstrosity and the others. They were fighting the thing back. But for how long? “Stop!” Solus yelled. “Leave me alone!” Solus blindly reached into the Force and at the thing that had pursued him. Its incalculable mass and weight was born in the Force and in its own weird way, was tethered to him. By reaching into the force, he would seize that tether, and through sheer will, anger, fear, and even a little bit of envy at its power, throw it back to the void that it was summoned from. The thing pulsed and ungulated as it pounded at Mavenger, who’s blades caused delightful but excruciating pain. The spirits that attacked were imitations of what it was, slowing but not damning. Irritating but not Only when the symbol of the Fanged God burned on all of its unblinking eyes, as Solus and it connected for a moment in the Madness that existed between the two, did the thing actually screech. All these things were too much for it. Mavenger was destroying its flesh, Innmortos destroying its mentality, and now, Solus destroying its very essence. Then it disappeared. The flesh that crawled on the walls faded into nothing. The blood and puss that leaked everywhere simply evaporated into the air. Cast out from this place, it returned from beyond outer spheres. Back to the beyond where the Temple stood its studious watch. Solus, spent from effort throwing the beast, fell over, batteries drained and crystal black into another Force vision. Only his limbs randomly moved of their own accord, as the Shard’s voicebox repeated the same phrase over and over. “dne eht reven si dne eht reven si dne eht reven si dne eht reven si dne eht…"
  13. For an undefined amount of time, Solus got lost in pleasure. Despite being only adept at best in the infliction of pain, or perhaps because of his inexperience, he became lost in the moment. Each slicing cut, each prodding stab, each brutal blow and stern question made Solus rise in elation. The cries and shrills of the Yslamar around him only added to the bliss. Only the loss of gravity made Solus realize how much time had passed. “Kriffing son of a kriffing…!” Solus cursed as he grabbed onto the broken tube before floating too far from the ground. The loss of gravity was another new experience, but unlike the torture, it was not a welcomed one. Its…too late… The voice of oogoo taunted in Solus’ shard. The brain floated gently upwards as well, unable to move at all. The loss of all his limbs and the amount of pain he was suffering from made any form of locomotion impossible. The Station…is falling… Solus tried to ignore the voice. The torture had been enlightening, but not in what he had hoped for. He needed a way to kill the lizards, and quickly. Who knew how his compatriots were doing? Without the force, he had no means of sensing his master’s progress. He needed to focus. He needed to find a way… Solus looked down at the ground. Floating several feet off of it made it look different. Solus wondered. “Lets see, you said that this is the breeding and shipping area, right bulbous brain?” Solus started, not caring for an answer. An adjustment of his sensors revealed several places in the floor that needed maintenance. Some spots were slick with Oogoo’s fluids, Others were dented from heavy footsteps, like passing guards. One such dent caught the Shard’s eye. Solus pulled himself and floated gently to the floor. Using the small hook on the hilt, Solus caught himself on one of the dents, and placed a metal hand on the floor. “You aren’t the only unique one on this station…” Solus bragged. “I can sense things too. Not brains unfortunately, but i have a knack for not getting lost. And you know why? Electromagnetism. I can feel magnetism, like that from poles on planets and batteries. I can’t sense people per say, but large amounts of energy is doable. And there…” Solus tapped the floor with his hilt once before wedging the hook into the lightsaber resistant material. “Is a lot of energy down here. Energy used to…” Solus grunted and groaned, both vocally and with his own metal joints as he pried the floor piece up, revealing a large, crowded section of tubes, vats, generators and processors. “...help maintain your baby's nutritious milk.” Solus didn’t need the Force guess how much panic came from Oogoo’s realization. But to add to the worry, Solus, continued. “You see, your lizards prefer their food at specific, warm, temperatures. Helps keep them plump and healthy. Makes their repellent abilities more potent. And to keep the food at that temperature, as well as to power the pumps that move the nutrients, the station has these generators to regulate it. And generators and batterries always require the same stuff all droids have in them…” Solus had crawled into the crowded, claustrophobic area and activated his blade, opening up one of the generators. Inside, the liquids of battery acid began to leak out, almost hissing. Solus laughed as he moved his blade to a tube and touched it, making a small hole. The almost watery but almost sludge-like nutrient mixture continued to shoot through, mixing in the deadly acid that dribbled inside. “And like you told me during our torture, its feeding time. And because this is the central breeding area of the entire station, it stands to reason that all the feeding tubes connect to these ones…” Solus began to giggle as he squirmed through the area, damaging more generators and causing more acid to leak into the nutrient-dense material, until each one did their newly appointed task. He became almost giddy with his work. By the time he pulled himself back out where Oogoo helplessly floated, he was cackling. “Oh it is so amazing! Its so great! The Fanged god’s work is being done!” Solus cried out as he floated upwards into the air, spinning slightly, blade still in hand. Already the effects of the tainted nutrient material were taking hold. The Yslamar that were connected to their feeding tubes absorbed the acid directly through their claws and into their systems, guaranteeing a quick, but painful death. The ones in the room he was in already were giving their last croak. “This is my goal! My achievement! To kill and to kill without care! How masterful my art is now, how beautiful my craft is! With these deaths, more will die by my Master’s hands, and by his hands, my god’s hands, hahaha! I am brilliant! I am perfect! I am…” Solus never finished his sentence. The Impossible Geometries rushed back into him full force, overwhelming every single sense he had. For a moment, Solus became lost in the geometries, a blibbering shape amongst the congruent and pulsating stars and spheres. It was a complete and utter bliss that filled the Shard up, a complete awe at the unspeakable sublime that flooded him. Then, that which dwelled beyond the outer spheres, rushed with it too. To another Force user, it was just another facet of the Dark side, but to Solus, who had long become a beacon for that which dwelled between and beyond stars, recognized it as something else entirely. Solus began to scream and panic. Returned to his senses and floating helplessly in the zero gravity, he witnessed the walls take a new shape, twisting and bending over themselves. The flesh that grew from the cracks made the metal groan. Bulbous and bleeding eyes sprouted and grew, all completely focused on the helpless thing that hung in the air. The fingers, pincers and tendrils that stretch out from the ichorous scabs to grab the Shard moved through the air unimpeded by the lack of gravity. “No! No! Not again! Someone, help!” Solus panicked and freaked. He reached towards the floating body of Oogoo, hoping that perhaps the brain would help. But all he found was a corpse, being devoured by a gibbering mouth and a pair of fangs, green saliva splattering everywhere and blood draining upwards onto the ceiling. Solus swung his blade wildly, trying to turn back the flesh. The sizzling muscles and skin cut by the weapon only stopped momentarily, as more and more flesh flooded in to wrap themselves around the Chassis. The mouths spoke Solus' name, with dialect un-transcribable. For the time Solus had been under the protection of the Yslamari bubble, he had been sane. He had been disconnected from whatever madness this was. Without them, he was a target for their maddening hallucinations. Restrained and immobile, Solus could only scream as the flesh touched his very Shard and seeped themselves through the cracks given by that Tree on Nar Shaddaa. A vision flooded his thinking as he lost all control. A floating station in a sea of black, with a fleshy spider-like thing sitting on top, the mark of the Fanged God on its face. Solus screamed as he blacked out, the force briefly rippling with dark echoes of the Shard’s flooding madness. Later, the doors to the room exploded outwards. Solus came flying out, swinging his blade and screaming like a madman. Lost of his faculties, Nothing more than his base instincts drove him forward. Find his master. Find someone. Find anyone. Get away from the thing that was chasing him. The flesh would follow, but he would fly faster. The flesh would ignore everything but him, but he would fight faster. He would find someone. Anyone. His master, a lowly linnorm, Mavenger, even that stupid useless good-for-nothing excuse-of-a-corpse necromancer. Anyone might help him hold off that which followed him. That illusionary, non-existent all powerful thing that chased him, eager to swallow his very essence whole.
  14. “Unit S-I23” Oogoo’s vocalizer’s monotone emitted. “Please scan P3, he seems to be suffering from some sort of malady in his right back leg.” The analysis droid nodded and went over to the massive aquarium tube that held several tens of the lizards together. Each lizard inside was attached to the central feeding unit inside, so no doubt it wasn’t going hungry, but Oogoo cared for the Yslamari all the same. If one was feeling discomfort, he wanted to know why. “Sir, P3 seems to have damaged one of his claws. Must have gotten stuck when it was trying to move.” P3 reported back, still looking the lizard over. Oogoo floated, or rather, swam, over to the tube, wanting a better look while being 35 feet up in the air. The Celegian raised a loving tentacle up to the glass and pressed against it, much like a human youngling would do with their fish tank. “Awww, did little P3 cut his little toe-bean?” Ooogoo’s vocoder emitted. Despite its monotone, the vocader plugged directly into the floating jellyfish’s brain still somehow projected the emotion that Ooogoo had for his wards. The lizard inside made a couple of wounded chirps, its pain obvious. Ooogoo focused, projecting her own natural telepathy to the lizard, trying to convey that everything would be ok. The Yslamari quieted down and didn’t even flinch when S-I23 injected a pain medicine into the afflicted area via the feeding tube. “There, there, you see? All better…” Oogoo cooed a bit more before turning to the analysis droid. “Make sure little P3 gets a daily regimen of extra nutrients and pain medicines until his claw is healed. The droid nodded in acknowledgement but Oogoo had already turned away to look at the other 29 tubes in the massive chamber. While some beings would have considered this job mind-numbing at the very least, doing nothing but fill out paperwork, keep an eye on a lot of lizards, and oversee the droids who actually did keep an eye on the lizards, Oogoo loved it. The ritual, the consistency, the non-excitement, despite being in one massive prison. Being a natural telepathic that his species was known for, he always had company with the lizards in a way not many beings had. A klaxon alarm blared out. Oogoo felt a rush of annoyance and confusion as the Yslamari became frightened at the noise. She tried to calm the lizards, but that was a pointless task. There were too many to calm down. Instead, she swam to where the alarm was coming from: The door. “Odd” Oogoo stated to no one in particular. “I am not expecting any visitors. S-123, my replacement isn’t for another two years, correct?” S-I23 confirmed it. Oogoo became more confused. Visitors were extremely rare. Unannounced ones more so. With the entire chamber filled with poisonous cyanogen, the only beings that could enter without a protective suit were droids and himself. The ‘perfect security protection’ the authorities called it. Oogoo preferred to call it the ‘perfect isolation chamber’. The inner sealed door opened. Standing before him was a LV8 security droid and another analysis droid. “What is the meaning of this?” Oogoo demanded. The security droid didn’t reply. Instead, it looked at the analysis droid, diminuative compared to the large security droid. “Here is section 45, unit S-0L115.” “Excuse me, what is the meaning of this?” Oogoo demanded again. The LV8 turned to Oogoo. “I must now get to the section 18 to attend security alarm. Please remain here until the situation has been handled.” Oogoo’s vocoder groaned in annoyance as the droid left. “Stupid security droids. Too rigid.” The Celegian turned to the new analysis droid. Something was odd about the droid. It wasn’t built like the others, its wiring was in odd locations, and its parts looked a bit rusty. But that wasn’t what was bothering Oogoo. Even as it stood, looking at Oogoo, adjusting its sensors, something about it felt off. “Unit…what was it? S-0L115? Stupid number…” The droid didn’t react. It only adjusted its sensors further. Oogoo shuddered as the thing looked him over and over. He felt like his yslamari felt occassionally. Being studied by something he didn't fully understand. “Hello? Droid! What’s your malfunction droid? And what is that at your side?” Oogoo reached forward with a tentacle to grab the cylindrical device at the droid’s side. The droid reacted quickly. Much too quickly for an analysis droid. Its hand went to the device and activated it. Swinging it, the red blade emitting from it cleaved the tentacle apart. Oogoo would’ve screamed in pain, had the blade not slashed the vocoder next. It sparked and exploded with energy, sending Oogoo flying backwards and crashing into one of the tubes, shattering it. All the Yslamari, both in the broken tube and the other tubes, felt their protector’s mental screaming and began to screech and click in their own language of pain. Solus didn’t stop with the floating brain. The other droids were reacting, moving for the alarms or blasters. If he still had access to the force, he could race across the room in a flash of an eye, but without it, he was forced to resrot to running after them. Thankfully, they were only analysis droids, restricted by their programming and unable to overclock in anyway. They could not sprint like he could, nor aim like he could. They were made to study and analyze, not combat. Solus on the other hand held no such restriction and pushed his gears and parts further then they were meant to go. Within minutes, each droid was cut down. “Well that was unnecessarily annoying…” Solus commented while sheathing his blade again. “Now, onto the important stuff…” Solus moved to the control panel of one of the undamaged tubes. “Lets see, lets see…” Solus mused out loud. “Temperature controls…temperature controls, where are you, temperature controls, ah! There you are. Now let's lower the temperature, shall we? Hmm, how low can we go? Lower, lower… That won’t work Solus froze. “Excuse me?” That won’t work. The temperature. The tanks can only go down so far. Its a… safety feature Solus looked everywhere. “Wha…who is this? Who is talking to me?” I am Solus turned around. The floating brain was still laying next to the broken tube, the yslamari no longer screaming. It was only then when Solus realized all the lizards were not screaming. “You? But…thats…” It is my way the voice spoke. The brain thing raised its slashed tentacle, to emphasize the fact that it was speaking telepathically to the Shard. “But…the lizards..” Solus pointed at the Yslamari. The force has no use for me. I am simply…connected. Like them, it is simply biology, nothing mystical. Limited, but useful. It is why they hired me Solus approached the blop of a brain and placed a foot on a tentacle. The yslamari screeched as the thing’s pain communicated through each other. “Fascinating…” Solus released his foot. Instantly, the lizards stopped screeching. “Telepathy without the force. You are a fascinating thing…” The same could be said for you. What are you? You are droid but not droid? You are organic but not organic? “A Sith. And a Shard. A crystelline being” Solus commented, and then realized what he said without thought. This telepathy was making the Shard more loose then ever. I see. And you want to kill my babies. Well it won’t work. “Ya, the temperature like you said, you bulbous ball of brains. Thankfully i can always do this…” Solus reactivated his blade and attacked another tube. The thing shattered, leaking water, and lizards everywhere. Instantly the things started to screech and scream as Solus continued slashing the bodies over and over. “Aheh? See? So I can't be as finesseful as I want, but I can still… Solus stopped. Oogoo was talking to him again. The voice, as strange as it was, communicated with the Shard like a soul speaking to another. Oogoo was laughing. You think too little, lonely Sith. There are more throughout the station. You can kill these, but the Force still won't work in here. The brain thing started to levitate slowly. It was a struggle to be sure. More than once it fell back over on itself. But it tried over and over again, much to Solus’ confusion. This station has the Yslamari all over the station. This is just a breeding and shipping area. When one dies, I make sure a replacement is sent. If one needs more nutrients, I make sure my babies get what they need. The Celigian laughed harder, Solus’ shard starting to throb in pain from the intensity. Did you think it would be that simple to kill my little ones? Solus clenched his fists. His own vocader screeched as he swung the blade again, aiming for the floating brain’s other tentacles, slicing them cleanly off. The lizards screamed again as it tumbled to the ground. No! Stop, there is no point in hurting me! This time Solus didn’t stop. He stepped onto the brain’s last functioning tentacle and began to poke the blade into Oogoo’s soft exposed body. “If it's not a simple matter of killing your babies, then maybe you and I can come up with something more complex, you stupid sack of sheltering scum!” The room was filled with the sound of screaming lizards as Solus began his first experience in torture.
  15. With all the troubles the Helvault began to suffer, the shields were among the ones no one realized went down for a few moments. No one except the pilot of the shuttle that is. Solus nearly fell as the ship jetted into the landing bay, nesting itself into a landing position. “Well everyone…” Solus announced one the ship had landed. “This is where I’ll be making my own way. I will attempt to locate you all once I’ve succeeded in my glorious mission. Just make noise as you see fit. After all, us Sith are good at that…” Without waiting, Solus exited the ship. The landing area was surprisingly not busy. Whether it was because a majority of droids were needed in other areas of the station or trying to handle the glitches that the system was suffering from, Solus had no idea. He had no clue that the station was having so much trouble. “Well, this looks easier than i expecte…” Solus started to say as he broke off a direction separate from the others. As if on clockwork, a turret nearby suddenly opened fire on the small droid. “Yipe!” Solus screeched as he jumped back, narrowly avoiding a flurry of blasterfire. “Not going that way..” Solus muttered as he peaked around the corner. “HALT!” A robotic voice boomed . Solus turned and found himself face-to-face with one of the station’s security droids. Or rather, face-to gun with the droid's left arm blaster rifle. The thing towered over the small droid like a rancor over a reek. “Identify!” The LV8 ordered, pointing an activated blaster rifle into the Shard’s sensors. “Eek! Erm, I mean…” Solus momentarily began to panic, but quickly recomposed himself. “Unit S-0L115, analysis droid.” The security droid said nothing for a moment as it beeped and hummed in thought. “I was not aware an analysis droid was needed in this area. Identify your mission and parameters” Solus adjusted his sensors, as if he was studying the droid. “Are you an out of date security droid? I am here to check on the wellness of the creatures onboard the station. Both sentient and non-sentient. When was your last system update?” “2 days, 5 hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds ago. Next scheduled update is within 24 hours.” “Well no wonder then!” Solus waved a finger at the droid, easily two times his size. “Your latest system update would’ve included my specifications and codes. But here I am unable to get through any doors thanks to your blasted security system!” “Error” The LV8 noted. “Security system of this unit is completely fine.” Solus gave a grumbling sigh. “Not you, you piece of junk. Those turrets are shooting at me, making it impossible to perform my mission within parameters” The LV8 paused again to think and then stepped around the corner. Due to the security chip it had in its hardware, the turrets never opened fire on the security droid. Even when it itself opened fire and destroyed the turrets with one shot from each arm. Solus jumped slightly from each shot. Whatever he was expecting, he wasn't expecting the security droid to be so...direct. “Threat to analysis droid deactivated” LV8 stated. “You are now able to continue with your mission of analyzing further subjects.” Just as LV8 began to turn away, Solus spoke up again. “Ah ah! Hold on! What if there are more faulty turrets? I need you to guide me to my next location. Uh….” Solus had to stop and think. “Section…45, area b?” The LV8 looked down at the miniscule Solus as if in thought again. Then… “Roger roger. Follow this way” With that, the hulking machine turned and made its way forward. “What do you know…” Solus mused to himself, following the droid closely. “Even without the Force, I’m still better than everyone else...”
  16. During the flight, Solus started to experience several conditions. He showed his anxiety with randomly activating and deactivating most of his joints, looking like a twitching madman. Several moments of confusion seemed to surface when he would randomly begin to ask someone where they were journeying, only to correct himself and pretend it was nothing more than a joke. Any medically inclined people on board would’ve recognized this as symptoms of withdrawal, and had he been organic, would’ve been sweating and feeling nauseated. However, Solus found one thing to focus on that seemed to help his symptoms, and ironically, it was the Yslamari. “Fascinating creatures, aren’t they?” Solus commented to no one in particular as he tapped on the glass that held the small lizards. “Of these four, their average length is little more than 1 foot. And it seems they are attached to feeding tubes via their claws. What is it that they are feeding them?” Solus adjusted his sensors again and again. “Ah, liquid! Nutritional liquid. Fascinating. Let’s see, the temperature of the container…70 degrees. Very warm. Boiling them would be a difficult task I'd imagine, but freezing them… hmmm…” Solus reached up and continued to adjust his sensors over and over. Various schemes and plans were beginning for form in his head, each one begging to be put into action. Entirely focused on the task ahead of him, he had found something to distract his feelings of withdrawal from the dark side of the force and the impossible geometries.
  17. Solus nodded at Mavevger’s words. So nothing more than sentimental value? Oh god I hope there is more to this nok then the shard couldn’t help but think to himself. Thankfully, this time he knew the wisdom of keeping this opinion to himself. At the gesture of the shuttle, Solus clapped his hands together, their metal parts clinging loudly. “Excellent. And while I am no master strategist, I am sure that it hasn’t escaped everyone’s notice that I am the most inconspicuous one of our merry band. Perhaps once we are on board, I can separate and handle some of the system’s inner workings while you, more savage beings…” Solus gave a glance towards his own master and Mavenger before continueing. “...can be quite distracting for the systems. I have no idea what plans, lord Mavenger, you have for Innmortos, but I'm sure he will have some kind of use.” Wasting no time, Solus made his way to the shuttle and boarded it. No sooner than he stepped onboard, he stopped and swayed back and forward slightly. The head swiveled around a bit, flipping its analyzing monitor down and back up again, as if doing a double take. Following this, Solus reached forward and grabbed at the air, as if he could restrain the air around him. “Oh force…oh Fanged God above!” Solus exclaimed, his voice box betraying a sense of panic and terror. “Is this…? Oh gods and deities, what is this? No, this is not right this…oh gods, is this how mortals feel in this world of worlds? Where is…oh its so empty and so…oh gods…” Solus clung to one of the walls of the shuttle as tightly as his little body would allow him. After a few moments, Solus released himself and looked at the others. “My apologies, its just…I’ve only been in this world of worlds for two or three years, but i’ve never felt this before. This…emptiness. This… oh gods, it feels so much clearer but so much emptier. Like a gas released from a bottle. Or a veil pulled from a blank canvas. Its…I’m sorry, don’t worry about me, i will get through this. But let me assure you, if these…Ysalimari are what causes me to feel this way, i will do everything in my power to be rid of these filthy creatures.”
  18. "Understood, understood" Solus repeated himself while holding his hands up when the siths hands went for his blades. The shard couldn't help but think he had touched a very particular nerve at the mention of the mission. But why? Surely not just because of a silly concept of having one person being erased from memory? Solus would have to investigate this later. "Still, this Apothos must be someone most interesting if he is our primary objective. What is he? Why is he so valuable?" "Also…" Solus changed subjects slightly. "What is our plan of attack? Surely we are not going in blades drawn and roaring with fury. "
  19. As Solus followed his master, he was surprised to witness Lord Mavenger was to join them. It wasn’t that he was incapable of the job. Far from it. After all, the last time the shard had seen Mavenger, he was given the rank of Lord. If he was being brought in for this ‘jail-break’, then the fortress they were breaking in and out of must have been difficult to say the least. And given that this Sith had received a special mission from the Empress herself… Then there was Innmortos. The Impossible Geometries were being very odd around him. More so than usual. “Lord Mavenger!” Solus spoke up, giving a bow to the Sith after Akheron had spoken. “It is wonderful to be in your presence of power again. Tell me, how did your ‘special’ mission for our current Empress go?” Solus couldn't help but emphasize the word current while giving Innmortos a glance, indicating something was afoot with the empress that involved the necromancer. “And masters…” Solus turned slightly to Akheron but addressed everyone. “Perhaps if I knew more about this… Apophos, i would understand why we are risking such powerful people in order to get him loose? I did take a look at the limited designs we have of the place we are breaking in on the flight here. It looks quite…impressive, especially if we are only breaking our one individual”
  20. During the trip through hyperspace, Solus and Stitch-Mouth sealed themselves away in one of the workshops, working diligently on Solus’ new form. Or more accurately, Solus worked on the form. Stitch-Mouth simply observed from a side of the room and provided details to any questions that the shard may have had. It was time for the droid to learn how to make his own chassis. To be fair, Solus preferred doing this one by himself. There was something intimate and personal about this chassis. Something about the fact that he was building his own, much like his lightsaber. He was pouring a piece of his personality into this chassis making it more himself then his current chassis was. Not that there weren’t difficulties. “Kriffing scrap heap!” Solus cursed as an explosion of sparks erupted. Solus turned and chucked a piece of metal across the room. It clanged loudly as it crashed into the wall and to the floor. Tear, who had been sleeping contently, jumped at the noise and growled at its master. “Stupid wires and stupid clumsy fingers. everything here is so stupid! ” Stitch-Mouth stepped forward and looked at the shards' handiwork and gave a glare. Several of the wires had been ruined by being plugged into a circuit board improperly, which had just been thrown across the room. With a stretch of a hand, Stitch-Mouth called the piece of technology back and placed it in Solus’ hand, and pointed back at the chassis. "Oh kriff off you overglorified mechanic." Solus waved the alchemist off However, the point Stitch-Mouth made was not lost. When the fingers were too clumsy, the Force would do. This time, Solus called on the impossible geometries. His emotion emanates outwards, feeling around. His envy flared out as his thoughts drifted on the mission ahead. A rescue. A rescue of an ex-apprentice. Slowly, the wires began to move and rearrange themselves. Solus could see his wishes clearly in the moments of letting his envy grab and rearrange the pieces of spun and flat metal. This ex-apprentice they were rescuing presented an odd opportunity. The envy flared from the fact that Akheron had another apprentice before the Shard. Suddenly Solus stopped and turned towards the closed door. Stitch-Mouth stood up straight as Solus began to talk. “No no, you don’t understand, I know what I am doing…” Solus said, waving his hands towards the darkness. “If I simply kill this apprentice, I will no longer be Akheron’s apprentice…” Solus suddenly stopped and covered where an organics ears would have been. “No no no, not like that. Just simply think what i think…” What i think Stitch-Mouth raised an eyebrow. But he let the shard continue talking to its invisible thing. “Yes, exactly. My envy can be unified in this mission. Rescue will prove his weakness, and make a debt. A debt i will collect to satisfy another target of my envy. After all, i deserve more, don’t I?” Deserve more, don't i? Solus turned back to his work, muttering all the while. “But i won’t be able to help unless this is done. So go away, and then it'll be easier for… aha! There we go!” Solus turned to Stitch-Mouth and presented the body. Its head had been completely reworked, with removal of several logic circuits and replacements of other important pieces. And now, its head had a gaping cavity in it to house a small Shard. After a quick overlook, the alchemist gave his approval and gestured to the empty shell of a chassis. It was time to claim a new body. Solus locked his joints, held his head over the empty cavity, and gave a sigh. Slowly, the head opened up, revealing the glowing crystal inside, its lines already spinning in a perfect circle. At first it only nudged itself upwards out of head, but once it had jumped out, it only drifted slowly down into the SP-4. In his research of this chassis, Solus had discovered that the SP-4 was a type of analysis droid. He had hoped that this new chassis would provide him more sensory advantages, as well as a more inconspicuous body that would blend in anywhere it went. For a moment, nothing happened. Then the chassis erupted with life, jumping up to its feet on the workshop table. “Ahahaha! Brilliant! Ah, I am truly brilliant!” Solus laughed through his new vocoder. “Oh so brilliant! So many new details! Oh my! Its like another ascension!” Solus jumped off the table and looked around the room, finally resting his sensors on the alchemist. Several times he flipped the sensor enhanced built onto his head down and up, much like an elderly man would adjust his glasses. It was as if to confirm what he was seeing was true. “I never realized you had so many scars on your neck. Fascinating. And your veins...my how they've been bulging lately to be stretched that thin. No matter. Tear! Get over here please..." Solus snapped his new fingers, indicating Tear to come. Once done, he jumped onto the hound's back, much like a child riding a pony. His much smaller and lighter size proved weightless for the muscular hound. "Come! By my estimates, we should be arriving soon, and i want to be on the bridge when we do so!” Indeed, for at the moment Solus, atop of Tear, stepped foot onto the bridge with the alchemist in tow, the ship arrive at Ziost. "Ah what a glorious place, is it not? Is this everything you were hoping for Calypso? Master Akheron, you said it was destroyed? it doesn't look that bad to me. but then again, maybe i need to recalibrate me new sensors. It can take time to get used to a new body."
  21. "Necromancer, gather my army. Whichever one of you has a ship, get us and my new troops aboard." “If you and my master both allow it…” Solus spoke up quickly, eager to prove himself again. “Allow me to lead the way. I have a natural sense of direction and memorization. You will not fail in trusting me.” …trusting me With that Solus quickly rose and began to lead the way. Every word he said was true, and he was eager to prove it to this newfound ‘ally’. As he had discovered in the Naboo abyss, and as he stated earlier to his master, Shard physiology seemed to have a natural sense of which direction was north, and in turn, a decent ability at navigation. But there was more to what Solus wanted when he lead the way. Part of it was to show he was useful to this female, despite not knowing if she was an ally or not. The rest was that he wanted some time to think to himself. The conversation the group had, with the history of the state of the galaxy, had revealed much to the Shard. Most of his learning had been military and spiritual, not historical. Most of everything Solus had seen so far was through those kinds of lenses, with a perception focused on the Fanged God himself. But having received a crash course in galactic history, Solus had to process the fact that life had just kept going. And more so, some galactic events he had known about beforehand without realizing it. The death of a previous sith emperor by his own apprentice. The crashing of the moon into a populated planet. Exterminations and rebirths. Deities fighting deities with blades of fire. So many events, all witnessed at one point or another by the shard. What did this mean? Even as Solus led the way, he couldn’t find an answer. The Shard stopped, surrounded by piles of debris and trash. The shard only stopped because he realized he had made a deal of progress ahead of the others and needed to allow them to catch up. As he waited, Solus glanced down at his own chassis and almost gasped in surprise. The flesh, the meat…it was all gone. Having journeyed far enough from the epicenter of the dark side nexus, the thing that had clung to his body so easily no longer carried the fuel to maintain itself. It had faded away into nothing, revealing the old, rusted and practically useless metal beneath. “I guess part of the reason we came here included salvage for new parts…” Solus commented and began to sift through the metal. One group of parts stood out. A humanoid metallic shape, with a short stature and large eye sensors. Plucking it from the debris and holding it by a breaking leg, Solus studied it and nodded approvingly. While partially broken in places, the parts from his current chassis would serve to fix it. Plus, its height actually suited Solus. In his time with the chassis given by the sorcerers, he had grown accustomed to being short and agile. This larger, more oddly shaped chassis was bothersome. “Yes, yes, this will do…” Solus commented. He turned his head at the approaching footsteps. The party had finally caught up. “Just past this way, the heat becomes unbearable” Solus warned the others, carrying the droid chassis with one arm. “I suggest you find a way to protect your skin, wouldn’t you agree wax-man? “But beyond here, the transports await us. Come! The galaxy awaits us!”
  22. His master’s response didn’t exactly disappoint the apprentice. Akheron’s words erred on the side of caution overall. He didn’t say that their current empress was undeserving of her title, nor did he say that this being was her successor. Just a potential candidate to back. Solus memorized this moment for later use. A good learning moment if there ever was one. However, the necromancer crossed a line. The Shard took a step forward between his own master and Innmortos. “I’d be a bit more respectful, wax-man” Solus started, hand still holding his lightsaber that desired to be activated. The pulsing envy it generated in the Impossible Geometries demanded death, and this necromancer had earned enough ire from the Shard to consider giving into its desires. “It was my master who allowed you to join our clan and study our own texts. And it was my master who gave you a ship to lose. If he dishonors you, you don’t have to remain part of our clan. We could leave you here, and you can always call for help from home. After all, your planet of lizards will always take you back.” Solus wished he had a workable face on all of the meat that covered his body, if only so he could sneer at the last comment. If Solus had known better, he may have stopped here. But as he spoke, he felt his own spirit rise. Perhaps it was because his blade was still in his hand, but his envy and jealousy expanded in the Impossible Geometries. The shard saw an opportunity, and now he would seize it. “I may be young for years in the clan, but you are younger. The Fanged god demands death, and that's it. He would be with us even if the avatar wasn’t here. If this…woman…is the avatar of the Fanged god, then let her prove it, as my master says. And she isn’t then she dies. And if she isn’t then you truly show your stupidity.” Solus raised a fleshy claw, dripping with puss, to point at the necromancer. “If you support this…being…” Solus gestured towards Calypso, “Then maybe you know her name. Her desires for all of the Sith. Can you prophesize how she will succeed our empress? How will she avenge our losses from Nar Shaddaa? Or do you only know from what you have read and not from what you have personally discovered? Will you drop your loyalty to her as soon as another ‘worthy’ being comes along, like you are doing now?” Solus turned his head, so his sensors focused entirely on the subject of everyone’s talking. Now it was time to let loose some of his envious feelings. “This thing is nothing more than a corpse-hopping ghost, and a disrespectful and stupid one at that. He killed his own world in service to our dark lord and wastes valuable resources that could have been used for our wars, and finally he drops his loyalty to her at the drop of a hat. Will you be so foolish to trust him so easily?” Trust him so easily? The words echoed, almost tauntingly so. Solus remained quiet after this. He had spoken his mind. He wasn’t sure if the others noticed it, but he knew his annoyance at the rise of rank for the necromancer had been obvious from the beginning. This necromancer, who the shard had killed once, had an entire planet to himself to destroy, had been given a ship and crew by the Shard’s master and not his own, had been shown that his talents at information interrogation were not unique at Falleen, and had not rushed into battle like the Shard had been. If this woman, as powerful as she felt, was truly to succeed the Empress, Solus the Dragon was sure to not let the necromancer hold a prestige position while the Shard and the Lord of Rage deserved so much more.
  23. Finding his master was surprisingly easy. Enough training and spending time with his master had led the shard to an innate connection to the sith. One that, combined with Solus' natural sense of direction, made navigation magnitudes easier. There were also the sounds of slaughter that Solus could follow. That alone was unmistakable. "My Master…" Solus greeted Akheron. With a slight bow, he saw his now fleshy covered chassis and realized how strange he probably looked. "I agree. This nexus is amazing to say the least. As for this…" Solus reached and pulled at a strand of illusionary flesh off his body. A long piece with bits of fat peeled off at the pull, squishing the entire way and oozing slightly with puss. Solus seemed to give a slight gasp as if somewhere in between pain and pleasure "It is wonderful, no?" …Wonderful, no? Solus stumbled when the ground shook. That was the only indication he could give before it gave way and he and his master tumbled downwards. Instincts took control of Solus like programming. The reflexes of metal and electricity, combined with the force-given talents of the Shard, enabled a magnificent feat of survivability. Hands had briefly caught grip of the outer wall, with fleshy bits torn off like scabs. Solus only used the wall a moment to slow his descent, as he placed his feet on the wall and push away, downwards and into an opposing wall. Again, Solus pushed and jumped further down. Faster and faster, the shard leapt wall to wall, a leaping pile of metal and flesh like some kind of mad insect. It wasn’t until the bottom of the pit did the Shard come to a rest and looked around for his master. “This place… it grows more hungry…” Solus commented, helping his master as needed. Solus’ body suddenly tensed and grew still. He felt it. Surely Akheron could feel it to. The power had been awoken. Whatever it was, the source that the group had come to find had been discovered. And, to the Shard’s amazement, it was a feminine figure. It was simultaneously surprising and unremarkable in Solus’ eyes. He had no idea what he had expected. He didn’t know if the source, or the epicenter, or whatever the dark side nexus was, was a being or an object or something less tangible. Perhaps it would have been more of a feeling, or an entrapment, much like what he himself had experienced earlier. But for him, who had just encountered something beyond imagination of mortal mind, a simple, feminine figure did not live up to what he had hoped to find. But with the hallucination from earlier still fresh, and the oozing pustules still growing on his illusionary body, his thoughts knew there was more then met the sensor. When Innmortos called upon his own army of the dead, now inhabiting a new, more reptilian body, Solus had to brace himself. Calling upon the Impossible Geometries was an easy task to do here, but even his abilities struggled slightly against the wailing spirits that sought to claim whatever they could find. After Innmortos had spoke, Solus had almost begun to speak up. The necromancer spoke words of blasphemy. The Sith Empress, who had demanded the servitude of each Sith at her coronation, still lived. And yet, Innmortos, with his new body, had found new loyalties. But remembering who’s presence he was still in, Solus silenced himself. Instead, after looking the feminine figure over once more, glanced at Akheron. He was still his master, and Solus had made an oath to the Sith. But if the Lord of Rage so easily abandoned his oath to the current avatar of the Fanged God, then perhaps Solus needed to requisition where his own loyalties lied.
  24. The battle, if you could call it that, turned sour faster than milk under Tattooine’s hot suns. The furious blows of Shard turned into frantic deflections and blockings. There was no style in the Shard’s form. No etiquette. No technique. Just instinct and emotion, and hardly anything of substance. Solus’ own emotions were palpable under the woman’s words. As strange as she was, her presence carried power over the Shard. He did not know her, but he knew of her. He did not recognise her, nor understand her being. But he knew her, in the only way that an abhorrent descendant knew their twisted ancestor. Finally, the woman’s words struck at the Shard’s inner fear. Failure. He had failed too many times to be anything more than what he was. He had failed over and over in his time since his ascension. He didn’t kill Tear. He tamed the demented hound, dooming it to a life of servitude. He had not navigated the Naboo Abyss properly. He had been swallowed by it’s passageways of darkness and danger. He had not killed a single Jedi on Nar Shaddaa, nor even a single foe. He had been slain by the enemy of his fearless deity. This life, he had so proudly declared, was nothing more than failure, and this being knew it, even as she drove her blade in for the killing strike. It was this moment, in cold realization and terror as the woman’s blade stabbed the robotic heart that held the chassis, that Immortos’ power from the Baptism of Blood touched the Shard once more. The moment of the Aaris III returned in full force. In that time on Aaris, Solus had become something else briefly. A beacon for something incomprehensible and foreign by all senses known to mortals and deities alike. For things that In the vast stretches of space dwelled. Things that were aeonian and exotic. It was these unnameable things and horrors, in this moment of madness and terror, that rushed into the Shard’s moment of weakness. The lightsaber that plunged into the Shard was shot back. Following it, an eruption of flesh blasted outwards. Fat, veiny, pulsating flesh of unknown monsters, churning with gristle and bone flooded at the apparition of the woman, and everything around the Shard. It mattered not where it came from. The Force, and all of its dark intricacies, did not care for the laws of physics or conservation in this world of the esoteric and the arcane. What mattered was the willpower of those who, as Lord Roshan had said, ‘were conduits of the Force’. This flood of meat and gristle, did not slow as it consumed the dark apparition. It flooded the entire area. The entire area, nothing more then the dark side trying to consume something alive, was subjective to the devouring nature of this meaty storm. The dark side would feed on the dark side, like a hunting parasite would feed on a dying predator. Even if only in turn the nameless horror that consumed Solus’ soul would feed the darkness that dwelled in this place. It was fueled by the Shard’s rush of emotions, and its envy was still its strongest one yet. Envy desired what others had. It desired what it could not have, and would destroy it. This thing used a mask of flesh. And so, a flesh mask for the Shard would be fitting. In the flood, the meat returned to its source, coating and forming over the Shard’s chassis. Though nothing more than illusionary, it sought to give Solus something it lacked. Skin flayed itself, revealing blood and tissue, which in turn boiled and burned itself to a hardened, thin layer of scab-like skin. It was nothing more then an illusion at its crudest. It provided nothing more then a cosmetic change in appearance But even the appearance of fat occasionally bubbling with invisible heat, and tendons throbbing with black blood, spoke levels of terror to those who saw it. Solus, back in his original form, but now with that illusionary covering of false meat, looked around in shock. The nameless horror he had just witnessed refused to cling to his soul completely. Much like a waking nightmare, it seemed to escape his memory. Only the feeling, and the knowledge that it had existed, still remained. Having defeated the apparition, Solus moved forward through the dark tunnels. The sounds of battle were ringing out somewhere. Blade still in hand, Solus rushed forward.
  25. “Shuburoth…” Solus repeated the name slowly, its sound echoing over and over. It was like something from an old memory hidden inside of a dream. It was familiar but distant. Something from before. Even as Solus tried to put a finger on the name, unable to precisely place it, the feeling from the name alone rang true. And that made him nervous. Her drawing of her blade was met with his own. Instinct had kicked in. This Sith’s otherworldliness drew out his battle-lust, despite the dream-like state he felt himself in. Or was the battle-lust drawn because of it? “I am neither…” Solus started, reading himself into a battle position. He couldn’t draw himself away from this woman. This thing. This…what was this? It called to him and he was answering it in the only way he knew. “I am Solus. I am the Dragon. The… Ascended!” Solus sensors flashed from yellow to red. Even as the scene had changed around him, he felt like he had changed with it. The idea of being a servant affected the Shard. The Force began to ripple. His body morphed and bent over itself and expanded with heat. It was no longer that chassis of the EV-series, nor was it that custom chassis made by the sorcerers of Bragsanu. It was that of the Hutt Security droid. It was the chassis of a slave and an infant. Somewhere, Solus could hear the music of Korriban beat out as he slithered and charged forward, blade ignited in hand and brought down. He was not a servant. He couldn’t be. But he wasn’t a master either. He had no planet to destroy like the necromancer. No apprentice like Akheron. He had no family like Roshan or his Shardmates. He had nothing but himself. “I am not a servant!” Solus roared, nothing more than a child’s cry of denial. With a desperate and scared fury, Solus began to bring his lightsaber down on this woman.
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