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Darth Calypso

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  1. Calypso stopped as the roar of the rancor grew closer, a crate settling itself on the ramp as she sighed. Perhaps she should deal with this before it got any more out of hand. She swept across the hangar bay, striding with the assuredness of someone who assumes they belong anywhere they choose to walk. She looked out on the scene taking place around the outpost. It seemed the others had handled most of the other warriors of this little expedition, and even the rancor was being distracted by the third of the trio. She considered the scene, then stretched her arms out. This would need to be done subtly. Utilizing her full power here would simply call the Jedi, and that she could not afford at the moment. "Apologies," she said to the Felucian dodging the rancor's blows, her voice polite, "but we can't delay any longer." Her focus shifted to the creature's rider, another Felucian. This one clung to the top of the rancor, and did not move with the experience or grace she might expect if this Felucian had been doing this all his life. A young warrior then, proving himself on a mount as raw and eager as he was. That made a degee of sense. Rancors, despite popular depictions, were creatures of deep emotional connection. They cared, they formed friendships, they mourned. It followed that a young rancor and a young rider should be paired up together, and allowed to connect on an emotional level. That bond would serve them over the course of their lives. Unfortunately for the rider, right now it meant his mount was far more temperamental than an older one might be, and he was simply along for the ride at this point. Well then. Rider first. "Mrias." The arcane word reverberated slightly, a thrum of power at the edge of hearing. A flicker of her deep-seated hatred, focused now on this rancor riding fool who had crossed her path, flared to life in her hand. A searing white hot ball of energy, a Bolt of Hatred, swelled in her hand before flying off directly for the rider. He only had a split second to see it coming, and no more time after that to dodge. The bolt took him square in the chest, and began its work. The rider screamed, pain unimaginable twisting his voice like hands wringing a towel. Steam rose from his chest as it seared and boiled under the power of the Dark Side. Then, abruptly, the scream ended, and the rider slipped off the back of the rancor, either dead or in shock. Either way it didn't matter. The rancor's confusion only seemed to grow, the limited input from its rider suddenly missing. Calypso capitalized on this with another hand gesture, and a blast like wind struck the rancor at the knees, driving it to the ground. "Would you like the honors?" she asked the dark Felucian who'd been dancing around the beast, laughing. She was genuinely curious if it could finish off the beast.
  2. Calypso felt the war party approach before she heard them. They glimmered and glowed like little beacons of light, their energy blending and flowing through the vast network of life that was Felucia without resistance. Unlike the twisted, murderous collection of creatures that had followed her here, these Felucians truly belonged to this world and embraced it, as much a part of it as it was of them. Such unity, such affinity, such rapport... A wordless urge filled her, a desire to rip these young warriors away from their mother world that they so loved. She appreciated agony of any kind, but to tear apart something so harmonious was a treat. It had been so long since she had truly taken her time with a foe, taken the time to fully communicate the depth of what she was to another living thing before she snuffed it out. And here that hurt would echo outward into the very roots and soil of the planet itself, as it felt the pain of its dying children. But...this was not the time. She had work to do. So she was equally pleased and regretful when she felt the creatures outside fight back and begin to slay the enemies who'd found them. She would continue to monitor the situation, and if they required her assistance...well then she might not have a choice but to indulge. A smile crossed her lips as she turned her full attention back to her task. Many of the crates had already been moved, and more than half the shelves were empty. While she could take some credit, the researchers had truly been efficient in how they packed their samples. As the last sets of boxes began to lift, she walked out, following them into the hangar bay. There stood the shuttle, a model that had been old even in her time. Likely a donation no one had a use for, refitted to suit the researcher's needs. Ministry-class shuttle Near its ramp were piled the crates Calypso had been moving. With another gesture, the ramp lowered, and she began to move the crates aboard. The irony of the Dark Lord using the Force to load a shuttle like a common dockworker was not lost on her, but pride had always been the one vice Calypso had been wary of. So many Sith died to it, and she did not intend to be another. She felt the Rancor rider, and though her procession of crates did not stop, her attention was drawn outside. Would her new allies survive?
  3. Xervatus jerked back, saving his arms but unfortunately doing nothing to save the system controls. Numb, he saw the sparks fly as the blade cleaved through the system, and the screen flashed briefly and died. There was a moment of silence. Then he screamed. The Dark Side flowed through him as it never had before. All the rage cultivated by a lifetime of insults and disrespect from more powerful, more reckless Sith welled up inside him. His last hope had been smashed, his composure, scheming, and restraint had been for naught, and now nothing held him back from simply giving in. His frustration at the sheer audacity of these cretins, of the Alliance, of the universe itself to deny him in such tantalizing, taunting manner...it was enough to burn his soul. And so he burned. His lightsaber, a baroque thing decorated with sigils and occult ornamentation slid into his hand and activated with a hiss. His eyes flared yellow, more power flowing into him than he'd ever experienced in his life, matching his mad fury. A wordless howl was his only response. His blade came up to block the scattered shot, and while he defended his most critical locations, rage and power were not enough to stop the simple, technical superiority of a scatter gun in close quarters. The shot tore into his arms, sides, and legs. The old man staggered, and for a moment it seemed like he would fold right there. But, like a marionette, he drew himself back up, his scarecrow like body propped up by the torrent of sheer emotion possessing him. His teeth were bared in hate, and no wit or thought sat behind his wild eyes. He staggered forward, blade raised. (OOC, feel free to kill him, he's finished. Good stuff everyone!)
  4. Calypso smiled, her mild expression not something that would be out of place on the face of a coruscanti lady appreciating an opera. Behind her eyes though burned the cruelty that reveled in the carnage these fascinating creatures were wreaking. She enjoyed this. Strip away all the philosophy and rhetoric, the talk of lies and strength, and that simple truth remained. She enjoyed this violence. She enjoyed hurting people. "All of them," she said, her voice again poised and refined. She wore the elegance of a cultured woman, a subtle mockery of those who used it to hide their weakness, even if no one here who wasn't currently panicking, fighting, or dying would appreciate it. In her own way she supposed, that was her petty vengeance, proving that even a once ignorant gutter rat could play the part they were so proud of. That was her little cut at her "betters." A bit of leftover spite inherited from an angry child, but what was the point in achieving true power if you couldn't indulge yourself now and again? "Follow me," she said, moving down the hall. Any remaining gas or spores wafted away from her, a subtle pressure in the Force protecting her. As she did, another technician ran across the intersection, seemingly headed for the hangar bay. He didn't make it two steps once he came into view. With a sickening pop followed by a bloodcurdling scream, the man dropped to the ground, clutching at his now twisted and maimed legs. On closer inspection, it looked like they had been rotated at the knee almost 180 degrees. Calypso had considered killing him but...well, the Felucians seemed to be enjoying themselves, and she wouldn't want to rob them. She continued through the facility, first using her power to seal the door leading into the hangar (couldn't have the shuttle leaving early), and maiming anyone who crossed her path. She'd need to be more thorough and kill everyone eventually, but first she wanted to find her target. It did not take long, a benefit of the small size of the outpost. She soon entered into a room that was filled wall to wall with glass boxes, most the size of a hand, and some as large as a human. Perfectly preserved inside each box were cuttings. Slices of fungal growths, exotic leaves, bioluminescent flowers, Felucia's floral diversity was on full display. Perfect. Calypso extended her hands, and with a control that would have shamed many Jedi, the various clear boxes began to lift up and form up into a procession, which slowly made its way down the hall and towards the hangar bay. With a simple gesture and the sound of wrenching durasteel, the door that she'd bent in place to seal it suddenly became straight again, and opened up to admit her little plant parade.
  5. Xervatus listened to the shade. Words that the ancient force user spoke resonated with something in him. He was afraid, yes. But not just of the defeat, imprisonment, and death that would surely await him once this new alliance got its hands on him. Like the shade said, he was afraid that all this was futile. He'd been afraid of that for a long time. So many saw the most powerful of the Sith, the mightiest and the maddest of their order, of the darkness they shed like water from a cliff, of the fear they engendered in the galaxy. But beneath them were the Xervatus's of the Sith. Those who stood just below, yearning to reach the next level but always knowing deep, deep down that they never would. Xervatus knew his place in the history of the galaxy. And like the shade said, even the greatest Sith would eventually be defeated. Maybe one day a Sith would achieve what they all strived for, but down in the parts of his soul where his mind feared to walk, he knew it wouldn't be him. And if the greatest among them hadn't achieved the true freedom they strove for, then what chance did an old man have? And if he could never "win", what was the point in trying? He sighed. And then he began to laugh. "Ha...haha...ahahahahahaHAHAHAHA!" His laugh turned into a mad cackle, his body shaking as if in a seizure. "In a way, you're absolutely right shade. But in other ways, you're absolutely, dead wrong." He grinned at the ghost. "I'm a historian. Even before I was a Sith, that was my calling, my passion. I've seen more than most how much is lost by the simple passing of time. I've seen great victories that saved and shattered worlds reduced to pieces of pottery on a shelf. I've seen the galaxies greatest heroes and villains reduced to footnotes on a page." He turned back to the controls. "It's not about meaning. It's never been about meaning." He held his hand over the button that would activate everything. "It's about living. And Sith live free." He brought his hand down... ...and was knocked aside when a chunk of the ceiling crashed down and sent him sprawling. He looked around in confusion, momentarily stunned. That wasn't caused by a bomb's explosion. Something else had triggered a partial collapse. This whole tunnel network had been built for the express purpose of collapsing in on itself, and if someone or something had broken in somewhere else, like say from up above, it might have caused the ceiling to start to cave in on the central chamber where Xervatus was at. That meant the enemy was in the tunnels. Xervatus had minutes, if that, before they found him. He stood up, brushing away the dust. It didn't matter, it would only take a few seconds for him to- He saw the cracked, flickering screen on the system controls. Xervatus cursed in three different languages consecutively, and furiously began to work on the flickering display. It would take him a few moments to get the control system back online properly, otherwise the entire system might fail to activate. He only hoped he had that time.
  6. Calypso's face remained passive as she looked down at the warped Felucian standing in front of her. Her nose wrinkled as the sickeningly sweet stench of rot wafted past her nose. The air around this foul procession hung heavy and unnatural, saturated in the wrongness that had rooted in their very core. They reminded Calypso of something... Then she laughed as it came to her. They reminded her of the Cthon. A different breed of aberration perhaps, but aberrations nonetheless. They were monsters, and Calypso was kin to monsters. "What twisted little things you are," she said, still laughing. "I like you. I won't kill you." A sweet, almost maternal smile spread across her face, though it didn't dim the dangerous glimmer in her eyes. "You want to know why I'm here? I'm afraid it has nothing to do with the Jedi. Indeed, I'd prefer to avoid them for now. No, I'm here for seeds." She gestured around her at the jungle. "This garden of yours will give me seeds from which I will grow pandemonium and fear." Her smile widened. "And as for gruesome work, oh yes, rest assured there will be the blood of off-worlders spilled before I am done. Come with me if you wish. Indulge in your appetites. After that...we'll see." Calypso did not wait for a response. Instead, like a beast suddenly catching a scent, she was tearing off through the jungle again. In her head, she did not know if the strange creatures would follow. In her soul, she was certain they would. The Dark Side walked along its own path, and this chance little intersection was important. Of that Calypso was sure. ___________________________________ The Sionver Research Outpost stood out starkly from the colorful backdrop of the jungle. A silvery dome with a communications dish set at the apex, it was an island of technology in a sea of wilderness. While there were only several dozen technicians and scientists stationed there, the dome was large and well-equipped for an outpost of its type. A sizable door on side, set halfway up the dome, held what Calypso suspected was the outpost's hangar, where the staff's shuttle would be kept for when trips to one of the cities was necessary. A second door, this one on the ground level, would be the one to lead into the base proper and act as an embarking point for the staff's skiffs when they wanted to venture out to take samples. Calypso waited outside the research station, first to look for any potential security measures, and then to give the corrupted Felucians time to catch up, if they had chosen to trail her. Finally, she made her move. She allowed a trickle of the Dark Side to flow through her, calling on her bottomless hatred with the ease of reflex. Her body shivered in anticipation, but she kept herself in check. It wouldn't do to let her full power out here, and draw the Jedi down on her. Instead, she made a small gesture with her hand, and a brief squeal of metal cut through the sounds of the jungle as the communications dish shifted on its base, sparking briefly as its connection was cut. Calypso did not have to wait long. The main door opened a minute later, and a technician stepped out and started moving towards a set of rungs running up the side of the dome, wearing a belt festooned with tools. He started up the side, and Calypso waited until he was halfway up before she held out her hand again. The technician stopped, and while clinging to the rungs he began feeling at his throat with his free hand, first slowly and then more frantically. Faint gagging noises could be heard as he futilely tried to suck in air. Then his strength failed him, and he tumbled down the side of the dome like a toy. Calypso caught a brief glimpse of the man's terrified face, and a thrill shot through her. Her breath quickened, and her eyes widened. She was going to enjoy this. She shot out of the jungle, and as she entered the opened door the technician had come out of, she gestured, and a large spanner jerked out of the now dead technician's utility belt and floated next to her as she raced inside. She couldn't use her lightsaber here, not if she wanted to keep the Sith's presence minimal. But that didn't mean she couldn't kill them in other ways. A scientist was in the entry chamber when Calypso came in. The woman only had time to open her mouth in confusion before the spanner caved in her skull. And then Calypso was past her and moving through the outpost.
  7. The towering plants of Felucia rustled as a dark blur loped through its depths. Calypso had been running for hours, the Force both guiding her and propelling her along with every step. Even though the jungle was quiet to her ears, to her sense of the Force, it was like moving through a thunderstorm. All around her, life clamored and howled into the Force, a riot of silent cries sent up by the overpowering flora. In time, she knew she would acclimate, but until then she enjoyed the sensation. She had felt something like this before, in the depths of Coruscant in its heyday where the deluge of sentient lives and emotions drowned out anything that the Jedi might sense. Here it would be the same, so long as she didn't draw attention to herself. The jungle would only hide so much. As if thinking about it conjured it up, she sensed a presence. A dark power, not foreign like her own but something else. If she was a blade cutting through the weave of the Force, then this was...an infection. Yes, something insidious and subtle, but present. And it was moving towards her. She abruptly stopped her rapid trek, pausing only long enough to gauge the direction this subtle feeling was coming from. Then she took off again, this time to meet what was coming for her. _____________________________________ There was little warning of her approach. Calypso had spent much of her life living in the depths of Coruscant, under the Jedi's noses, and if there was one thing her Master Darth Vilius had been good at, it had been hiding. As such, her presence in the Dark Side was muted, a dull ember of power where a star should have been. Even so, as she leapt out of the foliage and dropped in front of the native Felucians and their warped procession, she showed no fear or surprise. She could sense their darkness clearly now. It was unusual. Erratic. Something similar to the Dathomiri, but also something else. "You seek me," she said, no question in her voice. Her hand flexed briefly, and she allowed the suppressed channel of power to open a fraction. All around her, trees and other plants shuddered. The light filtering from above dimmed, shadows lengthening as the light seemed to withdraw. It was a simple display of power. "...Why?" She did not ask what they were. That would come later. Right now she simply had to determine if they were better off dead, alive and free, or in her service.
  8. In the moments before the Commander died, he had a moment to think. This moment was a unique instance, since for first time since the Sith had broken him to their will, there was nothing he could do. There was no way to escape and fight another day. There was no act of service or sacrifice that would help his masters. He had done his work to the best of his ability, and could only wait for the death that was coming for him to arrive. So, in this last instance, he could finally think for himself. What...what was my name? Then the Commander was no more. ________________________________________ The remaining Sith elite fought with the unerring purpose of living weapons, but no amount of focus would stop the weight of the new galaxy crashing down on them. In only a minute, they elite Home Guard of Korriban lay dead on the floor. Xervatus sensed something, even as he keyed in the sequence that would activate the carbonite freezing process. Something foreign, and unwelcome on this world. It was not a Jedi, not exactly. And no one from above could have made it down here so fast. [PRIMING SEQUENCE COMPLETE] [INITIATE{?}----Y//N] Xervatus' finger hovered over the confirm key. One press... He sighed, and for all the universe he looked like the old, husk of a man he was. "If you're here for me..." he said, his voice echoing out into the silent tunnels, "...than I ask that you not take up too much of my time. I have a deadline to meet, you see."
  9. Calypso fell within herself. On the outside, she seemed mundane, not at all an ancient Sith reborn. Her tattered clothes were gone, replaced by a simple brown worker's frock that wouldn't be out of place on an assembly line. Her yellow eyes had dulled to a sickly ochre, and her pale skin and white hair now looked more the result of a lack of sun and early aging respectively than of any connection to the Dark Side. Perhaps the one thing her master had been talented at was hiding in plain sight, and she'd picked up the knack herself during her time building her strength underneath the Jedi's notice a thousand years ago. Inside, however, a black torrent of emotions swelled and waned to her will. Fury and disgust at the universe mingled with her ever present hatred, and the Dark Side responded as it always did. She let it flow through her, an icy burning that scoured her and left her painfully cleansed. It was only in moments like this that she ever felt truly whole, and she took a moment to savor the exhilaration, before turning her will to the task at hand. She directed the power out into the world, willing the Dark Side itself to manifest in the physical plane, a perfect blasphemy. The power left her, and she opened her eyes. ...Nothing. Frustration curdled her cultivated reservoir of emotions, and she briefly considered letting them out in a display of power. She quickly decided against it. The ship was coming up on Felucia, and she would not risk being discovered by the Jedi now, not over a reckless release of emotions. Better to wait until they'd landed, and the planet's own life energy would act as camouflage. Speaking of which... She got up from her unassuming quarters and exited out into the hall. The other colonists on The Ottega Dawn milled about, excited to be landing and starting their new lives in Har Gau. None of them gave the thin, meek Sith Master a second look, and she shuffled her way towards the bridge. As she walked further away from the living quarters, the crowds thinned. When she reached the final door that led to the ship's command center, she did not pause, but gestured with her hand, and the door whooshed open. Where the crew should have been, only a single Ithorian remained at his station. By the symbols on his drab uniform, he was the captain of the ship. The rest of the crew lay piled into a single corner, charred to the point of their various species being unrecognizable. The captain's response to her presence was immediate and visceral. Letting out a high-pitched whine that would have been more fitting coming from an animal, he cowered, tucking his head down in a futile attempt to look as small as possible. Calypso strode over to him, and the man began quaking in fear. "Are we landing soon?" The Ithorian could only nod. Up close, scorch marks and burns became apparent, a testament to the hours and hours of "meticulous" attention Calypso had bestowed upon him after she'd disposed of the unnecessary bridge staff. She did not have any long term plans for the ship, and so she would only need the captain for now. "Good, land as planned. Then await my instructions." She did not need to threaten. The two of them perfectly understood each other. The utterly broken, wreck of a captain could only nod again, shaking so badly Calypso was mildly surprised he could stand. If her time among the Cthon had taught her anything, it was how to break a beast to her will. ______________________ The Ottega Dawn touched down outside of the city of Har Gau. Colonists, eager to make a new start for themselves in the city trickled out. No one noticed the single woman disappear deeper into the jungle.
  10. A pair of soldiers on the firing line dropped, one dead and the other knocked down as his armor took the brunt of the blast. "Steady..." called out the Commander The Commander felt the Jedi's influence. Like the other Home Guard, his mind had been broken and reforged by their Sith masters, repeatedly. He knew the touch of the Force. Unfortunately for his soldiers, a few succumbed to the mind trick, if briefly. The commander picked out those breaking formation, and his rifle chattered as he began dropping the weak minded squad members with precise blaster fire. Weakness would not be tolerated. Unfortunately, the distraction proved successful, and the Jedi launched his assault in the momentary lapse brought about by his trick. Into that lapse came the droid. The Commander watched as he tore through his troops, first with his hammer and fists, then with one of their own guns. But he would not surrender, or flee. He couldn't. He was the Commander. There was nothing else. The Sith had left nothing else. "Concentrate fire on the Jedi. Prioritize attacks from multiple angles." He reasoned that if the Jedi went down, the attackers would lose heart and fall back. "The droid is my priority." The remaining Home Guard were the elite of Korriban. Minds broken and wills reforged by Sith alchemy and mental conditioning, they followed orders and held discipline as well as any droid. In near complete disregard for their well-being, the soldiers redirected their fire towards the Jedi, simultaneous volleys opening up on the intruder. The Commander sprang across the battlefield, taloned trandoshan hands and feet propelling him forward like a beast, dodging back and forth through the hail of laser fire. Snarling, he leapt at the terror droid, intent on ripping out the mechanical soldiers facial bits, even if it cost him his life. He was the Commander. There was nothing else.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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."
  14. "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."
  15. 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.
  16. 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."
  17. 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))
  18. "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.
  19. 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))
  20. 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))
  21. 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?"
  22. 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."
  23. 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.
  24. ///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.
  25. 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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