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Darth Calypso

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  1. Deep below the Praxeum, Darth Xervatus picked his way through a set of winding tunnels. It was interesting, you could see the increasing urgency of the excavation work as you walked along. At first, it was perfect grid of square passages, mathematically precise, clean cut, and reinforced at regular intervals. The floor and walls were swept clean and sanded smooth. Then, the passages stopped following the grid, and instead started to move with the stone instead of through it. Several spots had uneven floors where the workers had taken advantage of existing passages formed by underground streams. Further along, the once clean stone was coated in gradually thicker layers of dust. Just a bit further along, Xervatus had to weave past discarded bits of machinery, left behind where they'd broken. As he neared the end of one tunnel, he had to step over the body of a worker, similarly discarded after he'd broken. "Foreman, report," he called. A boxy DV-supervisor droid waddled up to the elderly Sith Lord. "PER SCHEDULE, WE HAVE REACHED ALL REQUIRED FAULT POINTS. STRUCTURAL READINGS ARE WITHIN EXPECTATIONS. HOWEVER, EFFICIENCY OF EXCAVATION HAS DROPPED BELOW ACCEPTABLE LEVELS. DETONATION OF SEISMIC CHARGES AT THE PRESENT CONDITIONS WOULD ONLY RESULT IN A 47% CHANCE OF MAJOR STRATUM SHIFT. EXCAVATION BY THE INVADERS WOULD STILL BE POSSIBLE." "How much longer do you need?" "WORK FORCE IS DETERIORATING. WITHOUT ADDITIONAL-" "Brief answer, please." "...42 HOURS, AT MINIMUM." "Then we're out of time. 47% will have to be enough. Begin readying the charges. Have the other preparations I requested been completed?" "AFFIRMATIVE. ALL REQUESTED MATERIALS HAVE BEEN ENCASED IN CARBONITE." "Good, at least that's on track. Have the detonation code sent to my commlink, I'll detonate once I receive the signal from you that everything is ready. My chamber should be just beyond here?" "AFFIRMATIVE." If the droid had an opinion of Xervatus openly stating he would bury him and his entire workforce alive, it didn't show it. This was their plan. Or rather, this was Xervatus' plan. The calculations to pull this exact stunt off had been lengthy, but if they were right then Xervatus could bury the Praxeum out of reach of these rebels. With seismic charges set in precise locations, they could fracture the very bedrock down to a nearby fault line. The tunnels beneath the Praxeum would collapse, but the building above would seem unharmed...at first. The newly unstable ground would move with the fault line, and if Xervatus was right, the Praxeum would begin to sink as the planet swallowed it up over the course of several hours. Too slow to take any invaders with it, but it would deny them the prize they'd fought so hard to take, along with all the lore and relics still contained inside. Excavating it would be a difficult prospect with the ground so unstable, as any attempt to dig out the Praxeum would hopefully just result in it sinking deeper. It would take a major effort, and even then Xervatus had been determined to spite the invaders. Most of the valuable materials had been moved into these very tunnels, and sealed in carbonite to preserve them. A trained Sith might be able to detect them, but to most scanners they would just be indistinguishable bits of metallic rubble swallowed with the Praxeum. Now, maybe the invaders would commit the resources necessary to undo Xervatus' plot, but even then he wondered if they'd truly be able to find everything he'd scattered. Or if they'd be able to find him? He wasn't planning on dying here. He would encase himself in carbonite just before the detonation, and wait for the Sith to return to Korriban. The Sith always returned. _______________________________ The Home Guard Commander snarled, trandoshan features twisted into what might seem like an expression of hostility to those not familiar with his species. And while he was undeniably hostile, that wasn't the reason for the expression. He felt alive. It had been a long time since he'd been in the field on the front lines. He'd forgotten how much he'd enjoyed it. They'd driven back the first invader to poke their head in, a droid by the looks of it. If they hadn't already, they'd soon learn just how devastatingly effective this strong point was. The entrance hall was wide open in the center, and the artistic sculptures and statues that had once occupied its center had been blasted to rubble to provide a clear firing line. Sandbag emplacements replaced them, each manned by a heavy weapons team with their guns trained on the door. An elevated platform ran around the edges of the room, originally intended to hold monuments to ancient Sith Lords, but now served as a firing line by the Commander's best troops, crouched behind makeshift barricades while training standard blaster rifles on the doorway. One way in. Heavy weapons emplacements scattered across the entire hall. A firing line on three of the four walls. It was a killbox. They might take them, but the Commander intended to make sure they paid for it. Still...they had Jedi with them. And the only Sith they had was down below.
  2. The Home Guard Commander snarled deep in his throat as the holo-feed played. A few moments later, the feed was cut, but not before it had likely been seen by any remaining bulwarks. The rest of the defense was not going well either. The invaders were coordinated, and the Sith had only been left with the most zealous of their forces outside of a few elites. Zealots were good for dying, but unfortunately it seemed that was all they were accomplishing in this battle. The Commander watched as another turbolaser battery fell silent. Then the artillery started up... The Commander turned on his heel and strode out of the command center. They'd lost the outer defenses. All that was left was the mopping up, and there was no way any remaining troops would be able to retreat to the Praxeum with the invader's controlling the skies. He gestured to his personal guard to follow him. They would join the entrenched squads of Home Guard elites already in place at the grand entrance hall. They would not be able to give Darth Xervatus much more time, but they would give him what time they could. And they would ensure that when the enemy commander walked into the Praxeum, he would do it on a floor of his men's corpses.
  3. Calypso inclined her head in a gesture of respect. "I have no intention of destroying the Sith. Honestly...I'm not sure if I could. How many thousands of years have the Jedi been trying to do the same thing?" She shook her head. "The dream of the Sith Empire is not one of mine though. In truth, I don't think such an Empire is even possible without an enemy to unite us. If we should ever conquer the galaxy, I foresee us fracturing and warring with each other in endless struggles for power and position." She smiled, her dignified veneer breaking for a moment. "By the Force I'd love to see that. But perhaps you know something I don't. Or perhaps we simply disagree on that point." She cocked her head, her gaze becoming more intense. "Or perhaps you're more ambitious than I give you credit for. When all is said and done, I only wish to use my power to tear this stagnant galaxy apart. Your appetite would far exceed mine, if you would use your power to tame the very nature of the Sith." There wasn't a trace of mockery or deception in words. "A true conqueror." She shrugged then. "But in the end, that's the beauty of our truth. It doesn't matter which of us is right or wrong. It only matters who's the stronger. Rest assured conqueror, when you come for me your Empire will be intact. It's a useful tool to keep the Sith from killing each other before our enemy is defeated, if nothing else. And when you do finally come for me, we will decide the fate of the galaxy between us. The destroyer or the conqueror. I look forward to learning the answer."
  4. "My goal for the Empire?" Her face remained neutral as she paused, then answered. "Nothing at all." She locked her gaze onto where his eyes would be, behind that mask. "I suppose its fitting that our goals are not that different. I'm not here to rule the galaxy. Sith before have striven for that, and some have succeeded in one manner or another, only to fall. I'm not here to found some new Infinite Empire to rival the Rakatans. Their own destruction illustrates the fatal flaw in such an enterprise. And, like you, I'm not here for my own glory. I've studied the histories of dozens of terrible Sith Lords who were legends in their day, and all their legacies were ground into dust by the endless turning of time. No, leave those dreams for those who care for them. I desire something else, something more..." she paused as she considered, before smiling as she continued, "...primitive. I want to kill my enemy. Nothing more than that." She gestured up towards the stars, hidden by the clouds. "This galaxy...it galls me. It offends me. It disgusts me." Her lip curled down, genuine vitriol creeping into her voice. "I want to hurt it. I want to see it suffer. I want it to know my hatred as intimately as I do. And then, when its whimpering and begging for some bright hero to come and save it, I want to see it shatter and burn." Her flaring emotions called the Dark Side to her, and the air seemed to quiver like a string drawn taut. "This Alliance...it's the latest iteration of a stagnant status quo, and I want to see it and its entire line finally die." Passion laced her words. "And when I'm through, and the galaxy is ashes and smoke and blood, I want to watch what comes next." She smiled again, almost sweetly, her demeanor flipping as quickly as it had changed. "Whether that's some new Sith Empire, or something else entirely, will be up to the strong and the ambitious to decide. Perhaps, it'll be you who decides. But make no mistake. Anyone who stands between me and my enemy will die."
  5. Calypso's mouth quirked almost imperceptibly at the warrior master's words, a trace of a smile flickering across her face when he promised to hunt her down if she failed his expectations. "Go and prepare our way then, Darth Akheron. I look forward to the day when I see you in your element, regardless of what side of the battlefield we each stand on." She did smile then, a small, reserved, cruel smile. For a moment, foresight and imagination coalesced in her mind, and in her mind's eye she saw the wrathful Sith mowing down soldiers like grass, and heard their screams in her thoughts. "Yes...I truly do look forward to it." As her eyes slid across the masked man, she immediately understood he was not like the Sith she'd seen before. The Dark Side coiled around this one in a manner that... She could not quite put the feeling into words, but there was something different. Or perhaps she simply imagined it. "Warmaster," she said. With a hand, she gestured for any other Sith lingering around the pair to move away. There was an expectation of obedience in the casual, dismissive gesture. "A strategist then. Is that why you did not step forward?" She arched an eyebrow. "I don't doubt I'm standing before a Sith of true ambition." And I also don't doubt that I'm standing in your way, she added silently.
  6. The corpse puppet tore like cloth. Weakened by the battle and stiffened by the cold, its bones shattered and sinew was ripped apart by the wave of telekinetic power. In barely the span of a blink, the body that had once been Inmortos' mandalorian victim was nothing but strips of meat, shards of frozen bone, and dollops of congealing blood scattering across the snowy fields in a macabre rain. Calypso stood, hand still extended, a wave of destruction extending out from her. Her body was slick with red as a dozen cuts trickled blood down her skin. For a moment, she remained like that, silent and motionless. Then she raised her face to the sky and screamed. Her voice was savage and defiant. In that wordless shout, she crowed her victory as an animal might. And laced throughout that primordial sound, a call that predated all language in the galaxy, was another simple message that could not be misconstrued. Who's next? But even in her victory over the necromancer, she knew the truth of the matter. He was not dead. Not truly. Calypso did not have the means to put a permanent end to such a creature yet. His tricks would save him for a while longer. But...that did not matter now. Killing him had never been her intent. She had defeated him, and that was more than enough. She spun in place, her sight in the the Force alighting on all the figures who remained in audience of her duel. Fully enmeshed in the Dark Side from the battle, her gaze was like a physical tremor in the air. It was the rumble in the ground that came before a volcano tore the land apart. She called out, "By right of victory, I claim my title! From now until I am defeated, any Sith who seeks to prove they are the rightful Dark Lord may challenge me!" Her eyes roved again across the gathered figures. "And if any think I have claimed this title falsely...then you are more than welcome to correct me at any time." Moments of silence passed before she continued. "The Sith have suffered a great setback. We must rebuild our forces before we can finally gut this galaxy of its masters and strip away their lies. So, I call on each and every Sith here. Serve yourselves, for by doing so you will serve me. Plot to depose me, for by doing so you will elevate me. Lay the groundwork for your own domains, for by doing so you will hand the galaxy itself into my hands. Gather power, train apprentices, barter alliances, and prepare your strategies and your gambits. And when the time comes, when the signal is given and the Sith emerge from the shadows, this new Galactic Alliance will fall, not by a single army but by the corruption, selfishness, and fear that they suppress and deny. They will crumble, as is their nature, and we will rise, as is ours. For those of you whose ambition would have you serve me directly, rest assured there will be work for you...and opportunity." She smiled. "This is a trial. Before, you had the fear and weight of an empire standing behind you. Now you must prove that not only do you have strength, but that you have the intellect to wield it subtly. Try to stand stubbornly against the might of the fearful masses, and you will be broken. Learn to use them, and you will find power you have never seen. The weak will die, and the strong will rule. And it is high time the galaxy learned that lesson."
  7. Calypso stood her ground as the tide of the tormented spirits washed over her. Her mind was inundated in their screams of hate and misery, and with them came the supernatural cold of the necromancer's magicks. The chill cut through her once again, and traces of numbness began to spread in from her fingers. She couldn't last long in this. The spirits that touched her clawed and scrabbled at her mind, seeking to tear her soul away and bring one more damned specter into the deathly current, but once again they found no purchase. Through sheer weight of numbers, however, their attempts drew her attention for a brief, but vital, few moments. And so it was that she was once again caught off-guard by the necromancer's secondary assault. As one of the spears of ice lanced out of the ground towards her, she only had a moment's premonition that allowed her to try and block the thrusting icicle with her lightsaber. Whether it was because of Inmortos' dark magic strengthening the ice, the sheer momentum behind the attack, or Calypso mishandling the block, the spear did not simply dissolve under the plasma blade but instead sheared even as it forced her back. The ancient sorceress was sent tumbling over the icy stone. The still bleeding palm of her free hand left red streaks as she came to a stop several yards away. The analytical part of her mind, holding itself separate from the maelstrom of rage and hate that flowed through her, identified the best course of action was to retreat. Get out of Inmortos' immediate range and then assault his weakened body from afar until he gave out. ...No. This was not simply a battle for survival. This was a battle for the soul of the Sith. Inmortos, with his ancient tricks and forbidden lore, represented another way of the Sith. An older way. A way that saw the Sith hiding and plotting, yet accomplishing nothing outside of building temples to ego that would fall to ruin, creating legends that would be forgotten, and training apprentices who would continue the pointless cycle. Each was so arrogant in thinking that they were the exception. Each so foolish in their inability to see the most basic lessons of their own history. The galaxy was a grinding millstone, turning by the momentum of millennia. Inmortos and his ilk sought to build monuments, palaces, and thrones on it, only to be ground to dust when it turned around again. But Calypso had no desire for those things. Instead, she would shatter the stone. That was why she could not retreat. Why she could not win this through tactical trickery. She had to leave no doubt, not in her mind or Inmortos' mind or the minds of the Sith watching, which of them was truly stronger. She would not defeat Inmortos. She would crush him. Calypso stood. She seemed such a frail thing, a scarecrow in tattered cloth. But as she stood, the Dark Side surged to her side. Some spirits that had been assaulting her suddenly began to orbit, as if she was their sun, to eternally circle but never touch. For a brief second, Calypso thought it familiar, and then she remembered. She had been surrounded by spirits just like this on Coruscant during her 1000 year sleep. She had drawn on their suffering too. She walked forward. "I am Darth Calypso." Another icy spear of the necromancer's spell rose to meet her, almost faster than the eye could track. Guided by premonition, Calypso's free hand was already up, as if to block it with her scraped, bloody palm. As it closed the distance in an eyeblink, coming within inches of skewering her hand, she sent a touch of will into the vortex of the Force that surrounded the two combatants, and conjured a brief telekinetic burst. KSSCHK The spear shattered into a thousand pieces under the opposing pressure. Some of it acted like shrapnel, slowed but still moving with enough speed to leave red, trickling lines on her bare skin. She did not slow. "I am stronger than you." Her pace quickened. Each spear that emerged to run her through was shattered by telekinetic power guided by premonition. Even as shards of ice left behind bleeding cuts, as the freezing wind numbed her body, and as screaming spirits whipped and howled about her, her stride did not waver. "I am the Dark Lord of the Sith..." She could see Inmortos now, both with her eyes and with the Force. He seemed as if he was the center of a tear in reality, an entity beyond nature that sought nothing but cold and silence. It was as if she stood before Death itself. She did not falter for a moment. "...AND I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!" She extended her hand towards the necromancer, and called all the power she could summon. Force Push was perhaps the single simplest technique a Force-sensitive could learn. To use it to destroy this undead god-thing that had accumulated and wielded such dark, mind breaking secrets...it was the ultimate denial of his power and arrogance. She unleashed the Push, all her rage, hate, and desire behind it. The stone ground before her, caught in its edge, shattered and pulverized into gravel with a deafening roar. The wave of telekinetic power raced towards the necromancer, bearing enough strength to tear durasteel and shatter starships. I am the end of this age necromancer, she thought. And you are nothing but a ghost. CALYPSO V INMORTOS ((3))
  8. "Fall in! Fall in!" the black and gold commander inside the turbolaser shouted. Before him, the soldiers under his command took up a ragged line. These were fanatics, barely better than dregs, but they could shoot as well as any and they'd die without a thought. He then activated his helmet's communicator with the central command. "Intelligence! Attackers on Battery Three! Confirm!" There was a moment of silence, then the response came. "Confirmed Captain. Intelligence reports one intruder." One? He made a split second decision. "Charge!" Like dogs let off their leashes, the fanatic soldiers tore down the hall, weaving their way towards the entrance, blasters raised and ready to shoot, bludgeon, and beat whatever got in their way to death. Behind them jogged the commander. If they've only sent one operative, then its better to take it out now, not give it time for sabotage. These men of his would charge heedlessly into the enemy. What one operative could stop them? Caught off guard by the improvised sonic-propelled grenade, the elite commander staggered back as bolts of electricity played off his armor and dropped the soldiers standing nearby to the ground shaking. Furious from the pain and the loss of control of this battle, he raised his blaster to target the offending operative and end him out of pure spite... ...only to fall back in an explosion of red energy as his own, earlier barrage was redirected back at him by the Jedi. Armor, black and gold enamel now scorched to ash, sparked and whined as the internal systems failed, and the commander fell back, lifeless. With screams of confusion, rage, and terror, the zealot soldiers broke formation completely, with some charging while seeming to forget the blasters in their hands, and others running away, or even leaping from the cliff face. Without their commander to act as an anchor, their unhinged emotion sent their minds spiraling out of control.
  9. She felt the necromancer's servants before she saw them. Demons, specters, phantasms... The trio of beings were nameless creatures. Their unnatural presence was like slithering worms, threading through the currents of power and life so foreign to them. Calypso did not run, but instead gathered power to her. She would dispose of these interlopers, and then their puppetmaster. For what weakness of her mind was left for them to attack? All around Calypso, the fog took on a life of its own as the apparitions commenced their attack. Images seemed to flash in the haze, while wordless whispers echoed in her ear. Half-remembered smells, tastes, and feelings of her past played out before her. It felt as if these beings had unspooled her memory like a scroll and were scratching their taloned fingers along its length. Lies came with the sensations. She saw enemies she had killed changed to friends she had betrayed. Her moments of victory were turned bitter and hollow. They even went so far as to transform her memories of hatred into puling cowardice. None of it so much as stirred Calypso. Each of their formless attacks on her psyche slid away, finding no purchase. Their lies were discarded as quickly as they formed, each no more substantial than the mist they were woven out of. Like children tossing pieces of paper into a bonfire, the creatures' attempts to break her focus and occlude her senses were useless. Against anyone else, they may have had more success; but Calypso had spent her life ridding herself of such weaknesses and insecurities. She was the Dark Lord. Nothing these creatures could conjure would hurt her, for her will was absolute and her hatred was all-consuming. Then a figure appeared before her. It was vaguely humanoid, and surrounded in a soft, golden light. It smelled of grease, dirty metal, and sweat, the scent of a long day of hard work. The face was indistinct, because Calypso had forgotten it long ago, but the impression it made on her resonated deep in her soul. This person was warm. This person was safe. These thoughts echoed all the louder because this was no lie, but a true memory. The figure stepped towards her, holding its arms out as if for an embrace. Calypso stepped back. For a moment, her hatred faltered. Then came her wrath. Pure, burning fury flowed through her. Fury that these creatures had dared try and needle her mind with these tricks. Fury that she had flinched, she who was first among the Sith, and who'd freed herself of her chains. Fury that she had such a weakness left, buried in her subconscious as it was. Her power grew with her rage, radiating out like the rays of a star. Ire and hatred fed off each other, and in turn glutted the Dark Side as it flowed through her. However, the creatures accomplished their objective after a fashion. For that moment, Calypso was distracted, and did not sense Inmortos' next attack until it was almost too late. The imploding spirit of the mandalorian careened towards Calypso, and only at the last instant did she realize the danger. With all the strength of the Dark Side she could muster, she flung herself up and back. It saved her life, but it wasn't enough to escape. Fog, snow, and stone all rushed inwards as the spirit formed its own brief singularity. The power of the implosion yanked Calypso back down, blackness creeping in at the edge of her vision from the sudden change in direction. She used the Force again, this time to slow her fall. Even so, she struck the ground hard, skidding across the now bare stone circle centered on where the spirit had met its end. Blood turned her scraped palms and knees a deep red. Her breath was shallow as she fought to get her wind back. Her rage grew even hotter. Ignoring her body's protests, she got to her feet. Her lightsaber, dropped when she hit the ground, zipped across the stone and back into her grip. It reactivated with a hiss, and Calypso flung herself across the battlefield. The fog parted as this living missile of searing emotion and power hurtled towards the necromancer. She came to a stop only ten feet away from his puppet body, her free arm extended again, palm out this time. "Suffer..." Normally, Sith who channelled the power of hatred into a Force blast conjured an acrid, yellow-green energy that corroded their enemy's body and assaulted their mind with screams of pure malice. But Calypso's cultivated hatred was of another level entirely, and nothing tainted it as she directed her assault towards Inmortos in a 15' horizontal column tall enough to engulf a man and just as wide. And so, the light that emerged from her palm was not yellow-green, but the raw, searing white of a sun. "...and die." CALYPSO V INMORTOS ((2))
  10. The roar of the wind was like the roar of Ziost itself, a bestial sound of defiance and rage. Up till now Calypso had been holding back the cold of the planet's surface through the Force and her own will. This supernatural chill, however, cut through her, stripping away her life's warmth even as it pushed her back, shoving her against the rough stone of her pyramid as if the wind was the true hand of the sorcerer standing before her. She held her lightsaber like a talisman, a single line of red in the sea of white. And while the snow blinded her mortal eyes, she still saw through the Force. No matter what body the necromancer had borrowed, his soul remained distinct. She saw it now as a dark, inverted thing. It did not shine, but consumed. It was absence incarnate, a hungry emptiness that left only cold and death in its presence. In her memory, Calypso had never perceived a Sith's soul as dark as Inmortos in the full of his power. She laughed. Her voice, rich and throaty, mingled with the howling of the necromancer's magic. This! This was the darkness she would turn on galaxy. The darkness she would awaken in the heart of every Sith. Joy surged within her in response to the display of primordial power. But wait...there was something else there as well. A faint glimmer of light, almost lost in the roiling oblivion of the necromancer's spirit. ...Ah. The soul of the body he puppets. Of course he would keep it. It was such a fine source of fear. For both of him...and her. As the wind died, and the necromancer's puppet inhaled, Calypso extended her free hand in front of her, palm down. If not for her tattered clothes, she might look like a queen giving a benediction. Inmortos' cryomancy was a thing of true skill, draining away the swelling energies of the Dark Side. A lesser Sith might try and cling to their escaping strength. But Calypso understood. From passion, I gain strength. She did not attempt to hold onto the power that Inmortos took. Instead, she drew in more. She drew on the passions of the Sith who had gathered before her challenge. Such anger, such hate, it was a sea of darkness at her fingertips, and she had spent her life carving herself into the perfect channel of that darkness. And for added measure, she drew on the poor soul the necromancer had imprisoned in its own flesh. Such pristine terror, coaxed to greater heights by Inmortos' own manipulations. Inmortos skill was impressive. His cryomantic arts might even be a match for her raw power. But she was no ordinary Sith, and this was no ordinary battlefield. He could suck away as much power as he wanted, for in this moment, surrounded by these black-hearted witnesses, Calypso's power had no end. She called out, "My chains are broken necromancer. Allow me to teach you what that means." She took Inmortos' attack. No trace of fear wormed its way through her. Her gaze did not falter or flinch. She simply stood, defiant. For moments that felt like minutes, what little heat remained was drawn away by the vortex of the necromancer's draining magic. Frost formed on her skin. Numbness took hold and began to spread inward, and she felt her limbs turn leaden. Her body would be slowed now. But in the Force, she simply drew in greater strength to replace what he took. And when it seemed to Calypso like the necromancer's puppet would be able to inhale no more, she struck back. Lightning lanced from her extended hand, an explosion of raw, crimson electricity bolstered by the black emotions of the Sith surrounding the two combatants. The air shuddered and screamed as the darkness-turned-energy crackled through the air and drove towards the necromancer and his hijacked flesh-suit. It was simple, pure, and powerful. It was the judgment of a god. CALYPSO V INMORTOS ((1))
  11. Calypso smiled. It would seem she had an apprentice. Her first apprentice, and he was as hungry and passionate as she could ask for. She laid her hand on his shoulder, saying nothing, but letting her pleased expression show him her approval. She turned to Dictum. "...and you have my attention, Lord Dictum. I look forward to seeing what you will become." And she meant it. Her eyes swept over the group that had begun to gather. Some had clustered together, while others spread out, some close and some far enough that they were nothing more than silhouettes against the white of the snow. The Force itself subtly shuddered and twisted. Many wills drew upon it, and the silent conflict of such strength quickened the Dark Side. Calypso imagined it as a beast, straining at the leash, yearning to turn this silent congregation into a chorus of passion and death. All these powerful individuals who had been drawn here, by her call or by fate, were now waiting. It is enough, she thought. She walked to the base of her crude pyramid, the cold wind and the rapidly diminishing snowfall whipping her torn clothes about her thin frame. Her mundane, vulnerable appearance contrasted with her calm and assured posture. Only the glow in her yellow eyes betrayed the anticipation that was growing inside of her. This was the moment. This was the start of everything. When she reached the base of the pyramid, she leapt. With the Force buoying her up, she effortlessly cleared the 25 feet to the top of the lowest layer. From there, she pivoted to face the gathering figures in the snowy wasteland. She raised her hands. "SITH!" she called, her voice echoing through the air and through the Force both. All here would know what she had to say. "I have called you here! Your challenger stands before you!" She swept her gaze across the crowd, gray shapes in the cloudy twilight. "I am Darth Calypso. I was born from the depths of the Old Republic's decrepitude, over 1000 years ago. I have awoken again, and I emerge to see the Sith truly returned. In the time since the fool Kaan and his Brotherhood of Darkness, the Sith have clawed their way back to the blood and iron they were founded on." She paused. "...And yet, once again the Sith Empire...has fallen!" Her words echoed out across the landscape like the crack of thunder. "How many times has our order been beaten back? How many times have the weak, the ignorant, and the cowardly united to smother a truth they know they cannot hope to control? And yet we always return, as perpetual as the spinning of the galaxy!" The slate gray clouds above her began to spiral, centered over the pale woman in ragged clothes. "So why have we failed again?" She fell silent for a moment. "...Because we have ignored what we are. We are not generals or admirals. We are not kings, queens, or emperors. We are not politicians slinging words to fool the masses, or knights fighting loyally in the service of a lord. We are gods! We ARE power! There will be no great conquest. There will be no empire. We will not unite the galaxy under our rule, as the Sith have attempted so many times before. We will SHATTER IT!" As she shouted these last words, arms upraised, her passion escaped her control, and the ground vibrated almost imperceptibly. "This new Alliance will fall before us. Always the Sith have come as a conquering army, but this time we will come as the monsters we truly are. We will not ape our enemies. We will not try to bring about peace under our rule. We will plunge the galaxy into fire and death! The time of republics, alliances, and empires will come crashing down! The lies of the Jedi will be torn away, and the truth that the Sith have always known will finally be made evident to all! Everyone, Sith or Jedi, soldier or civilian, weak or powerful, will finally understand that a being is only entitled to what it has the will to take and the strength to hold! When we are finished, the idea of a unified galaxy will be laughed at by the survivors digging through the ashes, and the hypocrisy of the Jedi will be seen for what it is. It will be a new Age of the Sith. And in this age...the strong will finally receive their due. They will carve out their realms by their own hand. They will defend what they have, while taking what they wish from those weaker than them. All beings, not just the Sith, will follow our Code! All will fight for victory and freedom, because there will be no other way!" She gestured at the crowd. "Is this not what you want? Do you truly wish to serve under some distant ruler, content with what you've been given? Don't you want the opportunity to prove your worth to a galaxy that has denied you what you deserve? I will give that chance to you. I will give that chance to everyone." Then, Calypso lowered her arms, the animating passion of her speech dwindling. "But these are only words. Sith are not ruled by words." She took a breath. "I declare myself Dark Lord of the Sith!" The words rang out, echoing across the wasteland without softening, as if they had a life of their own. And then Calypso stopped holding herself back. The ground shook. A deep, grinding rumble drowned out every other sound as the stone trembled beneath the snow. With a deafening CRACK, a dozen crevices as wide as a man spiderwebbed out from under the block where Calypso stood. The air crackled with electricity. Wind that had nothing to do with the weather howled and screamed across the snow. The Force itself seemed to writhe and boil. Calypso's power had never come from arcane rituals and ancient secrets. Her master had never afforded her that opportunity. No, she had spent her time perfecting herself as a channel for the Dark Side, refining what strength her master had thought safe to give his tool. She had studied Sith philosophy, and put herself through every trial and strife imaginable to purge any hesitation, weakness, or self-delusion from her. What was left was the passion she drew on, and it was endless. Her master had once called her a misanthrope. The clinical sounding word had never seemed to capture the reality of what the coruscanti street urchin had felt. Her hatred was a consuming, burning thing that ate away at her. It was something she'd learned to lock away until it was needed, but always hovering below the surface. She hated the people of the galaxy. They were self-deluded idiots who spent their whole lives fighting not to think, serving anyone or anything that promised them even the illusion of control. She hated the Jedi. They preached compassion, but had never come to save those like her starving right below their feet. They preached justice, yet stood by as the rulers and officials they defended openly enslaved others. They preached peace, but had been at the forefront of major galactic wars time and time again. She even hated the Sith. She hated the figures gathered before her, either arrogantly thinking themselves superior while they fretted at their mundane or pointless ambitions, or willing to fall to their knees in humiliating subservience and cast away their very thoughts. And she hated herself. Even now, she knew what she really was. The child who had never left Coruscant. The orphan ruling a kingdom of blind, animalistic cannibals. In her new galaxy, there would be endless war. Endless strife. Endless destruction. It was no more than what they all deserved. She leapt down from the block, the quake created from her telekinetic power fading as she gathered her will. Her lightsaber leapt into her hand, and with a hssss its red blade flared to life. "So...who's first?"
  12. The terentatek's arm came up and batted away the axe, its strength monstrous even as a juvenile. It trumpeted in victory, lunging foward. Then it stopped short. Blood filled its mouth. Its tiny eyes flared wide in confusion. It willed itself forward, willed itself to finish off its prey right in front of it, but its legs wouldn't move. Its arms dropped to its sides, limp. Blackness crept in at the edges of its vision, rage bleeding away like water through a sieve. Fiochmar's sword had gone straight into the beast's mouth, and pierced its spine. Its body collapsed nervelessly to the ground, its eyes staring up, a look of disbelief apparent in its brutal features. Then it was dead. Calypso's eyes narrowed as she took in the dark aura of the man. This man had given himself to the Dark Side, but there was more potential that might be drawn out. She paused before answering. "...I'm afraid I'm not one for titles Darth Dictum. There is only one title I respect, and it is only earned, not given." She turned to fully face him. Her words were not harsh, but they were not kind either. "There will be no titles in the galaxy I create but what you carve for yourself. You have strength Dictum, but if you bind yourself to my will then you only cripple it. The end goal of all Sith is freedom, not service. If you are truly set upon being my greatest weapon, then I offer you the chance to prove worthy of it." She stopped for a moment as she considered. "Perhaps it will help you to kill me."
  13. Calypso gestured dismissively. "Leave him. He will follow or he won't." A memory touched her mind, slipping in through the cracks. Blood on the permacrete. Sweat and stink in her nose. Burning in her throat. That's right, she remembered why. She'd thrown up after killing the man. He hadn't been doing anything but sleeping next to a heat exhaust, wrapped up in blankets. But she'd been cold, and she'd found a pipe. Her face didn't change as the memory played out. "Struggle makes us strong. He will earn this victory. If he's smart, he'll learn something from it." Calypso smiled, and her eyes glittered at some private joke. "We shall see, Darth Akheron. You may find yourself wishing to retract one of those statements before long." She turned her head to the sky, and stared through the blowing snow and into the currents of the Force itself. The twisting coils of darkness, aftershocks of the planet's rebirth, told her nothing. Right now, the future was uncertain. The Dark Side had a will, of that Calypso was sure. If her time delving and molding herself to be its vessel had taught her anything, it was that the Dark Side was as much master as servant. She understood why the Jedi felt such peace at the thought of giving in to that power, that plan, that will. They never realized their own contradictions. But right now, that dark will was clouded. It was waiting. Waiting to see what was about to happen. Its will would be done regardless, but by who? Calypso? Or someone else... She breathed in, letting the cold air burn straight down to her lungs. It was almost time. Her hatred had waited for a thousand years for this chance. It would not wait much longer. As her control slipped for that split second, her eyes flashed, and the air around her sparked blue-white with barely perceptible bolts of power. No, she would not wait much longer. And then the galaxy would scream. Try as he might, the Terentatek's mind and hide were too resistant to direct application of the Force to be subject to domination. Now fully enraged, the power pressing against its mind only roused the monster's hunger even further. It was built to kill Force users. It was built to eat Force users. It would eat this one. However, Fiochmar's vibrosword had better luck. With a sound like a handsaw tearing through old leather, the blade found just enough purchase in the armpit of the one of the creature's upraised arms. A gout of dark blood spattered across the snow before thickening into a miniature waterfall down its side. Perhaps the creature understood its situation. Or perhaps it was just really karking mad. It screamed, louder than ever before. Then, with the ferocity of a cornered beast in its death throes, it threw itself at Fiochmar, talons sweeping through the snow, tusks swinging, teeth gnashing in a frenzy. There was no hesitation, no attempt at defense, just pure, hateful violence. It wanted Fiochmar dead, and it didn't care what cost it paid.
  14. ///Sensor perimeter breached/// >>Analysis... >>Lifeform==00 >>Droid==01 >>92.55% : (dsg)Combatant >>Protocol;[defend001v], A;{/} A;{X} >>Deploying Darth Xervatus had not been idle in his stay at the Praxeum. Being such a avid scholar of history, he had taken the opportunity to reinvent some tools of the Sith of the past. The automated defenses for this particular turbolaser, along with a few others, were one of them. A trio of mechanical forms unfolded and detached themselves from the side of the turbolaser battery. In deep, rumbling binary, they spoke as their photoreceptors caught sight of the approaching Ruin. "TARGET ACQUIRED" As one, they raised their arms, and let loose a volley of blaster fire. Captain Bryce's prediction became reality as Sith troopers poured out of the battery near where she'd landed, red blaster bolts zipping across the battlefield even before they had time to line up their shots. These soldiers were not the elite, but the zealous. These were the broken, the mad, and the glory hungry who had refused to admit the Sith Empire's end. Even as their own ranks dropped to enemy fire, they continued to charge forward. Some screamed battlecries. Others wept or cackled, lost in their own warped sense of reality. Barking commands, a warrior in gleaming black and gold plastoid armor strode out of the battery behind them. This was one of the elite, and at his command, a portion of the troops broke off their mad charge and took cover, some behind the bodies of those they'd trampled a second ago. A ragged firing line opened up on the approaching enemy, but their position was tenuous. The elite spotted Æquitas, and trained his repeating blaster rifle on him from the rear line, sending a scything line of blaster fire towards the Jedi. The Home Guard Commander snarled as the automated voice of the computer recited in clipped words the data it simultaneously displayed on the screen. "Lost contact with turbolaser battery two and four. 12% of point defense cannons failing to respond. Ion cannon 3 has suffered critical damage and will not rotate." The Commander's clawed hands touched the holographic interface, redirecting point defense cannon targeting priorities manually in an attempt to anticipate enemy moves. As each bomber and fighter moved across the display, his mind catalogued them. Slowly, he was sorting which held the most talented pilots, the hotheads, and the textbook flyers. It wasn't enough though, and he knew it. There were too many of them, and they were too good. Without air support of their own, this was just a matter of time. I must provide time. "Home Guard squads 1 thru 7, form up and fortify in the main entryway. Prepare for contact. All entries are either deserters or the enemy. Kill on sight." Just inside the large, thick stone and metal doors of the primary pyramid, more black and gold troops swarmed out of side passages and hallways. Taking cover behind pillars and temporary durasteel barricades, the elite of the Praxeum set up and trained their weapons on the doors. Not for a second did they lose focus. These soldiers were the successes of the Sith's "training." They would not break. They couldn't.
  15. As Fiochmar passed beneath the creature, it swung its venomous tusks towards him, inches away from goring the Tsis. However, it missed as Fiochmar succeeded in his maneuver, vibroweapons biting into the creatures legs. Long cuts welled dark blood from its trunk-like legs, and the beast roared in pain now. However, the cuts were shallower than might be expected, and it wasn't hamstrung or crippled. Its hide was comparable to that of a rancor, and wouldn't cut easily. But it did distract it long enough for Fiochmar to climb on its back, weaving between its spines. The terentatek halted as Fiochmar reached out and through his mind against its own. Its head shook back and forth, jaws snapping at the air as the power of the Force buffeted its thoughts and sought to overwhelm its aggression. For a moment, it seemed as if the creature might back down. In truth, it was an adolescent of its species, and not yet full size or as ferocious as its adult counterpart that had earned the nickname of "The Jedi Killer" However, even young the creature would not be cowed so simply. A terentatek's corrupted hide and Dark Side infused mind were almost immune to the direct effects of the Force. Fiochmar's efforts, though fierce, found no solid purchase on the warped, unnatural beast. They did accomplish one thing however. Like a hound catching a scent, the terentatek sensed the power emanating from Fiochmar. The power of a Force-sensitive, its preferred prey. Where the beast had been enraged before, now that anger mixed with the instinctual need to kill and devour. With another ear splitting scream, the beast displayed its own brutal cunning and fell backward, rolling on the snowy ground, trying to crush its potential meal beneath its bulk or skewer it with its spines. Calypso looked at the thing that approached her. Its outer form was one she recognized from Coruscant, but in the sight of the Force it had changed. Its power still radiated outwards, but strands of something else clung to it like...cobwebs? She stopped walking. The ground for hundreds of feet vibrated almost imperceptibly as the Force shifted to her rising emotions like tides to a moon. It had been some time since something had presented such an alluring threat to her. This was not raw, simple power, but something far more insidious. It was new to her, and the place in her mind where instinct blended with the unknowable depths of the Dark Side told her that this clinging essence posed an actual danger. That alone kindled her excitement, and she was tempted to tear Solus apart piece-by-piece and see what would happen. Hairline cracks radiated through the stone around her, hidden from view by the snow. A knot of whirling Force currents coiled around her as her instinct to fight was stirred. She wanted to see if this power could challenge her. She wanted to see if it could hurt her. Then she exhaled, and let the emotions die. This was not the time. "Yes," she finally replied, no hint of her brief contemplation of the shard's death in her tone. "I do remember. It would seem you have grown since I last saw you." She resumed walking. "So what are you now?" The innocent question hinted at a deeper meaning, but she added nothing else.
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