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Assigned PC: Kahla Zendrin

Task Force Experience: Green (1XP)

Harrower-class Dreadnaught Phantom's Spear 9/25

 

Mobile Disruption Escort: The Net of Hate

Assigned PC: Kahla Zendrin

Task Force Experience: Green (1XP)

Crusader Class Corvette 2/2

Crusader Class Corvette 2/2

Crusader Class Corvette 2/2

Raider II 2/2 Raider II 0/0

Raider II 0/0

Vigil Class Corvette 2/2

Vigil Class Corvette 2/2

Vigil Class Corvette 2/2

Vigil Class Corvette 2/2

Vigil Class Corvette 2/2

Vigil Class Corvette 2/2

 

Precision Strike Carrier Group: Wings of Glory

Assigned PC: Kahla Zendrin

Task Force Experience: Green (1XP)

Gladiator Star Destroyer Devout Cardinal 9/9

Terminus Class Frigate: Trident of Raxus 0/2

Terminus Class Frigate: Galvanized Spirit 0/0

Terminus Class Frigate: Crimson Crescent 0/0

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Artillery Battery: Incendiary (Vulcan)

Commander: Exodus, Inquisitor Barca

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Onager-Class Artillery Cruiser, God of Cinder |10/20|

Imperial II-Class Frigate, Gremlin |0/0|

 

Engineering Support Cluster: Bucket Brigade (Chariot)

Commander: Exodus, Inquisitor Barca

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Providence-Class Carrier, Blood Merchant |9/9|

Interceptor-Class Frigate, Maiden |3/3|

Interceptor-Class Frigate, Iron Moth |3/3|

Interceptor-Class Frigate, Little Wasp |3/3|

Raider-Class Corvette, Left Hand |2/1|

Raider-Class Corvette, Right Hand |2/1|

 

Heavy Brawler Escort: Hammer and Anvil (Colossus)

Commander: Exodus, Inquisitor Barca

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Gladiator-Class Star Destroyer, Colossus |27/25|

 

Golan I Space Defense Platform |25/25| (GSDP)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Destroyer Group [Missile]: Sith Resurgent

Assigned PC: Mordecai Valar

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Harrower-class Dreadnought Krayt's Fury 16/25

 

Advanced Warfighter Cadre: Through Power, Victory

Assigned PC: Mordecai Valar

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Interdictor-class Cruiser Korriban’s Retort 9/9

Terminus-class Destroyer Kressh’s Lance 3/3

Gage-class Transport Juggernaut-1 2/1

Gage-class Transport Juggernaut-2 2/1

Gage-class Transport Juggernaut-3 2/1
Gage-class Transport Juggernaut-4 2/1

 

Shadow Warfare Pod: Shadow of Dread

Assigned PC: Mordecai Valar

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Interdictor Cruiser Sadow's Wrath 9/9

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Anarchy continued to erupt across the ambit of the Kuati Shipyards at a terrifying cadence. Star Destroyers thundered their firepower with destructive intent, bursting warships into pieces and boiling whatever shields stood in their path. Smaller battleships maneuvered under duress, executing far more complex flight patterns while heaving through mounting debris. The black expanse quickly became a theater of metal and death, quietly aroused by the incessant Rebellion.

 

The communication beacons did not falter under the heightened strain of information that was divided between the war-machines of an Empire; their efficiency and discipline easily highlighted as the primary nature of their brutish domination over the years since resurgence. The Emperor King demanded this of his galactic kingdom, and those that failed this, would endure an uncompromising reproach. The cannons would drum until the fire that fueled them burned out; the legions of his military would fight until their body and mind caved to death and then push further; these worlds would not loan an inch to the seditious. 

 

From the hindquarters of the Imperial fleet line, reinforcements gushed through hyperspace. Hordes of blackened-titanium TIE variants rose sharply into the scramble, ionized gasses burning loudly through their thrust arrays, expelling a rich square-wave harmonic infamous to such Imperial powerhouses. Proximity sensors would swell, as the haunting fighter-craft flooded the battlefield. These were experimental TIE Silencers; tremendously frightening in their sudden emergence, with macabre hulls of ingratiating black. Several of these weapons of war had their frontal viewports smothered with red-painted hieroglyphs of the Spider. He was alive, the totality of the grand armada would soon realize. The Emperor had come.  
 

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The oversized mountain of filth slithered across the semi-abandoned hanger, austere behind his façade as a kind and idiotic Hutt, but within, the Maw churned through its digestion of the Jedi’s energy. It was a meager feast, but it was sustenance that he had not found since the violent end of the Jedi Council’s response team during the hunt for Geki.

 

…Notes of cherry and happiness. Love perhaps? Why did it taste like a shower-scene? 

 

What had been the last thoughts of the Jedi as she had died? Were they of peace or of Love? Were they of the Code and the admonishment of life it brought with it? The Hutt could not quite taste the truth, but there was a feeling of peace within the meal, which saddened him. He preferred terror, horror, or even despair over such a melodramatic peace. It was like unspiced Nerf, sautéed in plain linthseed oil. No real flavor.

 

Crimson, slitted eyes blinked, their many lids sliding and focusing upon a figure at the far side of the hanger. The Force reflected the storm of grief and rage that played upon the Sith’s soul.

 

So the Lord Xahl was dead then, and a meaningful bond shattered. Poor boy. 

 

The Hutt slithered on, concealing his rotting wounds by knitting the shattered flesh together like a babushka knitted a blanket for a babe. The Sith Master drew in the pungent puss and ichor, binding it into his undead flesh once more. It wouldn’t do for the boy, that Lord Mavanger, to see his favorite apprentice as the Master of Filth he was. Sheog raised a greasy, dirty hand as a soft greeting as he approached, inclining his misshaped head in a small bow, a line of drool dribbling down his multitudinous folds. His voice was soft, filled with empathy instead of joy as it had been.

 

<<My Lord, you have my condolences for the loss of your friend. I have a gift, taken from the kill of a great Jedi Lord, may it help to ease your suffering.>>

 

The Hutt tossed the Jedi Master’s lightsaber to the decking at the Sith’s feet. The lightsaber echoed like a wound in the Force,  a reflection of The Maw and of the terrifying power of a master of the Krath, imprinted forever with the death of its former owner.

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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The soldier stepped backwards, her heart racing as she watched the enemy survive her grenade, making an inhuman leap in the process. Her shoulder was throbbing, stiffening up as she retreated, and she gingerly moved her rifle back into her primary hand.

 

So it was a Sith after all, and not a soldier.  

 

The Sith was kneeling now, and Kenna angled to fire a bolt into her, but a lightsaber tore itself into light before her, burning bright against the relative dimness of the assembly-hanger. The silver medallion ground against her teeth as she stepped backwards, her eyes wide and drawn to the lightsaber’s brilliance. Her eyes dipped to her own weapon.

 

Oh Kriff. That’s a lightsaber. This’ll be no good now.

 

Kenna toggled the firing switch on her blaster rifle, her thumb depressing the stun setting, the only thing she had left up her sleeve. Stun was at the least, more effective against the Sith’s lightsabers, or at least that was what the Imperial Knights had trained into her. She began to backpedal faster, her already adrenaline-fueled heart beating with and even more furious pace.

 

Another inhuman leap and the Sith’s lightsaber came down like a bolt from the heavens and Kenna, scrambling backwards in her oversized boots, dove to the side, but not quite quickly enough. Searing heat roared its way in a dark furrow down her side, the plasteel armor disintegrating under the lightsaber’s attack. The armor absorbed much of the lightsaber’s furious onslaught, but the skin bubbled and burned beneath it, the lightsaber’s tip scorching its way past her ribcage, frying nerves and skin on its path.

 

The soldier yelped, wrenching herself to the side with the continuation of her momentum, her feet staggering as she jumped into a clumsy dash. She spat out the medallion and shrieked in pain, depressing the trigger to unleash a stream of stun-blasts towards the Sith’s flank. She was running on pure instinct and adrenaline now and the fury of a cornered predator.

 

((3))

 

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Her fiery orange blade impacted the decking with great fury; a blastwave of sparks, molten metal and chipped plasteel was blown wide. Kahla had clipped the trooper, but the girl had shown a swiftness to rival her own. And while she had hoped in that heavy swing she could end the battle, she knew it wasn't over yet. In the moments of her landing she focused hard, drew on the blistering pain in her neck, the shrapnel she could still feel buried in her muscle. The pain coursed through her mind, she felt not failure, not pride; she was impressed. Such a young trooper holding her own against a trained Sith. She drew a level of respect.

The clopping of loosely fitting boots echoed in her ears, then a shriek of pain. Kahla lifted herself, her agony fueling her charge for the trooper. A volly of stun bolts came opposite of her sprint, dropping down, Kahla slid low, barely avoiding the first two shots, as she rose back to her feet, she swung her saber wide, catching a third bolt. But she had underestimated the strength of the round, and her saber was flung from her hand with a disappointing hiss of the discharging blade.

Her heart skipped a beat, dread washed over her, her empty hand clenched as the next bolt hit her center mass. Kahla fell to her knees crying out in pain; her voice crackling as her vocal cords spasmed. Her blood felt boiled in her veins, her skin raw, and her muscles constricted. Pure rage flowed through her as she called on the force, her only ally through the pain she endured. Dozens of shards from the broken panels around her flew, careening towards the girl.
 

Albeit she was still in immense pain, it was starting to wane, it almost felt relaxing. right next to her hand she saw a larger fragment of the shattered solar panel. Kahla sneered as she gripped the glassy material. She screamed bloody rage and hatred, her grasp so tight as to draw her own blood. With one final push she bolted, with the force as her aid, she made a wide stab at the burnt ribcage of the young trooper. This time she wouldn't miss, nor graze, her prey would feel the pain she had endured.

 

((3))

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Round Three Fleet Results

 

Attackers Defensive  Actions

 

|Alexandra| detaches from |Anastasia|

|Phobos| Guards |Aeneas|

|Fleet Commander Starfighter Action| Interception(Forward Deployment)

 

Attackers Offensive Actions

 

|Aeneas| attacks |Wings of Glory| which takes 8 DPS

|Fleet Commander Starfighter Action| Bombers Inbound on |Wings of Glory| 3 dps (Covered by interceptors, reduced two points to shield damage)

|Fleet Commander Starfighter Action| Bombers Inbound on |Wings of Glory| 3 dps (Covered by interceptors, reduced two points to shield damage)

 

All Task Forces retreat

 

Defenders Defensive Actions

 

Defense Heavy Brawler Escort: Hammer and Anvil (Colossus) is covering Golan

Engineering Support Cluster: Bucket Brigade (Chariot) is covering Phantom's Spear

Mobile Disruption Escort: Net of Hate covering Phantom's Spear

 Interception (Forward Deployment)

 

Defenders Offensive Actions

 

|Vulcan| attacks |Sairdonga| for 8 points of DPS, launching ordnance at Sairdonga that will hit next round

|Sith Resurgent| attacks |Alexandra| which takes 6 damage

 |Phantom Spear| attacks |Alexandra| which takes 4 damage (This includes the minus two penalty for stacking fire and the partisans)

|Through Power, Victory| attacks |Anastasia|, but is intercepted by |Alexandra| for 4 damage (AWC attacks at fast speed)

|Golan| attacks |Sairdonga| for 4 damage

Bombers Inbound on |Sairdonga| (Veteran Destroyer), Forward interception shifts one damage to shields

Three Bombers Inbound on |Romanova| for 9 damage(One of which from each attack is converted to shield damage by forward interception)

Technical errors reduce shields on the |Sairdonga| by three, it's probably nothing...

Technical errors reduce shields on the |Anastasia| by three, must be a bad motivator...

Technical errors reduce reduce shields on the |Misercordia| by three, checking for mynocks...

 

 

No cloaked ships detected

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The Emperor of the Sith Empire sat grimly within the dark cabin of his Silencer, heavy arms mantling loosely over the control deck orientations as his war vessel erupted into enemy formations. His broad-shouldered and magisterial body heaved coolly while cloaked in the draperies of Sith aristocracy and power. Dimmed light sources reflected off of his black spider spun armor-plates, but the long drawn hood over his head covered most of his semblance in a ghoulish shroud of darkness. His squadron of fighters steered the deep battlefield territorially in his likeness; as wolves that masticated any metal that did not hail the colors of their command. Point-of-view numbered these late arrivals in the hundreds, but these TIE demons draped in oily obsidian and reds were a mere dozen strong across radar calibrations. Reality was quickly distorting.

 

“Inquisitor. The reinforcements found you well.” Cold breath left his mouth beneath a devilish tone, faintly misting his scope of vision as his machine of war punched through the opposition. 

 

“Lord Emperor? You’re—You..” The voice of the Emperor buzzed through the communications array of the Onager-Class Artillery Cruiser, God of Cinder, and much to the surprise of their stoical crew. Barca hesitated with a raised eye-brow, treading whether he should ask the question on his mind, and then burst out with estranged laughter as he realized just who he was dealing with. “Affirmative, Black Lead. There were those that held reservation on the choice of support for our task forces. But, as you see, the enemy crumbles before you now.”

 

“I see that, Barca. Order the Armada to impede the enemy retreat.

Our wolves will tear apart those left behind, for they have not learned their lesson.

No mercy, Inquisitor.”

 

 

The small company of TIE silencers moved in hyper-aggressive patterns, shelling and picking apart life pods without remorse. Scrambling TIE-variants swarmed the scurrying rebellion and increased their oppressive firepower, unrelenting in their efforts. Accompanying bombers laid into anything that moved without the full force of their shielding, bleeding the morality of their enemies. Over the year, these shipyards had become the most exhaustive graveyard in the Empire, and continued to swell with death as the Rebellion offered their own as cattle to the flame. Hundreds of thousands would be lost here in such a short window of time, unimpressively and unremembered. Hard judgment would passed for their transgressions against Imperial Law. As for the Sith King, he would take as many lives in this affair as was offered, while reviewing parsed information revolving Lord Mavanger, his apprentice Zendrin and the elusive Master Sheog.

 


 

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Kahla Zendrin vs Kenna Banebridge

First, I want to congratulate both of you. This was an excellent duel, with both party's creativity and writing prowess on full display. I fully believe, for the most part, that these are two low-level fighters who just had the misfortune of running into each other on a larger battlefield. Both characters are played excellently, Kahla finally accepting what it means to be a Sith, and Banebridge very much accomplishing what was set out for her in coming off like a rookie, without making her seem incompetent. I know I often talk about how it's hard for me to read very fluffy posts like these, but this duel made it more than worth it.

 

First we'll touch on the only error either of you made (Very well done on both of you, by the way.) In Kahla's final post, the use of mass telekinesis. This is generally a power reserved for master level sorcerers and consulars, and while others can use it, Kahla has no specific training in telekinesis that would make it a viable piece of her kit.

 

Next, the meat of the duel. The attacks and how they are handled. You both did an excellent job of writing believable attacks and treating them like such. Between the hail of fire from Banebridge and the strikes from Kahla as she closed the distance, this is a great example of how to respect your opponent if you out range them, and if they out range you. There was no 'I run backwards and stay out of range', no 'In a single leap I close the distance' type moves, and you both got the opportunity to work with your toolkits to their strengths (And weaknesses). I want to make particular note of the fragmentation grenade and how it was used as a sacrificial leap by Kahla- she took a decent amount of shrapnel, and as a return she got to use that as fuel for her power and it gave her the ability to propel herself forward with the momentum to close the gap. I also want to touch on Banebridge and her reliance on training to get the job done- A more experience soldier would likely be able to come up with a solution to defeat a Sith on the fly, but she's not that. Instead, she buckles down and makes a gamble on her training, specifically, her training against force users such as the Sith.

 

The last post from Kahla is where the duel is decided. The stun blasts are a difficult attack to respectfully acknowledge, and while it's great that Kahla didn't just deflect all of the blasts, she lost one of the most essential pieces of her toolkit as a warrior, her lightsaber. In doing so, she's forced to perform unorthodox attacks. It's handled well, but ultimately the time it takes for her to recover from a stun blast coupled with the loss of her lightsaber puts her at an extreme disadvantage. In conclusion,

 

Kenna Banebridge is victorious over Kahla Zendrin

 

The next post goes to Banebridge, and I urge you to work together on the conclusion, whatever it may be.

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Oh. She’s just a woman like any other.

 

Kenna put away her weapon, gasping at the pain in her side as she hobbled over to the fallen Sith. With the toe of her oversized boot, she kicked away the lightsaber, wincing at how loud it sounded as it skittered across the decking. There was distant shouting, and it was growing louder.

 

No time to take prisoners, and I won’t kill a disarmed opponent, not even a Sith.

 

The Soldier gasped again as she leaned down, feeling a roaring, biting pain rush through her ribcage. With weary hands she retrieved the Sith’s rank cylinders, a proof of her conquest she could giver her superior officers. The shouting grew louder and the soldier retreated back towards the Alliance lines, hobbled by her wounds.

 

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This was it; the drive yards had claimed her. She slowly came back to consciousness, but her energy was failing her. Her eyes wouldn't open, and all she she could do was lay in her misery, and listen to the rising sound of trooper's boots. They're coming to take me Kahla told herself. From Sith, to prisoner, all in but an instant... The thumping grew louder, she could feel their presence, standing over her. She couldn't make out what they were saying, but she knew as she was lifted from the ground by her arms, it was only a matter of time now until some Rebel scum laughed in her face. Her feet dragged, and she was helpless to stand.

As the bootsteps echoed in the halls, Kahla's rage smoldered inside her. Had she really given up so easily? Given in to Kuat's call without so much as a fight? These were just troopers! She could cut them down, with or without her saber! Inside her festered the hatred of this place, it bubbled in her soul, boiling her blood. Her muscles tensed, she was ready to fight for her very life.

From deep within her she called a primal roar, her boot stomping down into the plating of the halls. Before she had even opened her eyes, she had flung the trooper to her left against the wall, in her right hand she gripped a man's throat. She tightened her grasp as she stood, she could feel the air being cut off from his lungs.

"Lady Zendrin!"

She froze. Her heart sank as she opened her eyes. The black helmets of the Sith troopers under her command stood expressionless as ever, staring at her. Immediately she releases her grip, on his hands and knees the man hastily pulls off his helmet gasps for air. The Staff Sargent, who was leading them through the halls, speaks up. "The Rebels are retreating, the Sith empire still holds Kuat. Darth Mavanger has requested your return to the Krayt's Fury." He seemed to have little care for the man choking on the ground next to Kahla, perhaps this is just what he'd expected from the Sith.

"Good, good.." She clears her throat "I.. Apologies, for the outburst. I had thought-" "It's fine." He interrupts. Kahla stared blankly at him a moment, disappointed at his disruption. She looked down to the blonde haired trooper, he had caught his breath, and was sliding his helmet back on. Kahla stretched out a hand, offering to help him up, but he ignored it, standing on his own.

The Staff Sargent broke the silence. "I'm sure your master would be none to pleased that you'd lost this." He held in his hand her lightsaber. She took it from him, placing it back to her belt. "I'm sure he wouldn't." The adrenaline had waned by now, and as she went for a step, she faltered. Caught on her left by the trooper she had thrown, he helped her up, and they continued down the hall. The only sound breaking the silence were their collective footsteps, and Kahla's occasional grunt of pain.

They returned to her interceptor, the medic tended to her wounded flesh as the Staff Sargent flew them back to Mordecai's flagship. With no windows for her to peer threw, Kahla's concern chafed in her mind. Had she lost her closest, perhaps only friend in the battle? And what of her fleet? Why not return to her own ships? But she had little time, the medic gave her okay and she stood as the landing ramp extended. She stepped out into the hangar, awaiting the belittlement from her master.

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Mordecai stood from where he kneeled over Xahl's body, glancing warily at the Hutt. Another loss- Whatever Xahl had learned had died with him. It meant that he would take matters into his own hands, soon. As the lightsaber clattered against the durasteel plates of the hangar floor, he stared at it. So, the apprentice had kill his first Jedi. Impressive. Normally, such a feat in combination with the eerie energies around the lightsaber would draw no end of suspicion. Right now, however, Mordecai was blinded to such details by his own grief. He was silent, looking for the correct words. It was worthy of praise, but in light of all that had happened this day, he could not muster the words. They were lodged in his throat and his brain tried to tell him to speak. After an excruciating moment, he spoke softly, in a tone that had long since been removed from his vernacular.

 

"Good."

 

Behind the Hutt, Mordecai caught a glimpse of his own apprentice's dropship. Good, then she hadn't joined in Lord Xahl's fate. He strode slowly past the massive slug as she disembarked. There were already medical teams on standby from his own arrival that he had brushed off, but now he motioned them towards her. He knew what had happened before she spoke, he knew the air around her, the glances her troops were giving her. She had failed. No matter. On another day he may have punished her, berated her. For now, he had surprised himself in his gratitude to see her living. He approached, placing a hand on her shoulder. He didn't speak at first, he simply nodded.

 

"Lord Xahl has fallen, Kahla. Come with me."

 

By now news had spread of the Sith Lord's death- Those of Mordecai's entourage, as well as Xahl's own, had come to the hangar to pay their respects to the body of the fallen man. He stepped before the gathering crowd as his personal guards began moving the corpse. Again, silence. And then... rage. The force channeled through a booming voice, his fury evident on his face.

 

"This was the work of the rebels, the heathens who have now struck down your allies and your homes in triplicate! Gaze upon Lord Xahl, one of the strongest among us, and know- we will have our revenge. We will subjugate every world in the outer rim, and any that align with the rebels will know the losses we've faced today. We will raze entire continents if any dare stand before the might of the Sith. Lord Xahl died seeking vengeance for comrades slain, and now his legacy is ours. Gaze upon his body, burn this image into your mind. You may not have known him as I did, but you have all lost people. Family. Friends. Trusted comrades. His legacy of vengeance is our mantle to bear, and we shall use it to burn whole fleets, to genocide entire armies! We are the Sith Resurgent, and the Rebels and their false empress will know each and every name of those she has wronged!"

 

A cheer broke out from the ranks, but it quickly evolved into a roar for vengeance. His personal guard loaded Xahl's body into a transport before exiting, the ramp sealing behind them with a hiss as the hydraulics raised. Remotely, the shuttle slowly lifted from the deck. A soldier in the crowd began a chant- he didn't know it, and he was too far to hear it properly, but it spread like wildfire amongst the troopers as they stomped their boots on the deck and beat their durasteel armor. It quickly became a din of voices and clattering as the shuttle launched out of the hangar, and as it left their view, angled towards Kuat's star, it began to fade away. It was only quiet for a moment though before a soldier pointed at the rebel ships that were beginning to jump away. Another cheer ripped through the crowd, and Mordecai couldn't have asked for a better ending to the simple service.

 

Xahl's death had set the Sith, troopers and otherwise, to their melting point. His speech had shaped them, their goals, their feelings, their hatred. Now, their victory over the rebel fleet had galvanized them in confidence.

 

The Rebels' days were numbered so long as he lived.

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The roars crawled to a room full of whispers while the shuttle released from the Destroyer and set course for the burning star. Citizens of the Sith Empire had shown en masse to pay their respects. Many among them carried faces of fury, long expressions of pain and vengeance whether or not they held a personal familiarity to those that fell to the desperation of the struggling rebellion. "Awuzi ir midwan." Unheard words in the highest of Sith dialect, purred nobly from beneath one of the many dark cloaks scattered throughout the gathering. There were other voices, other tongues sharing words with the dead, and for a moment, there was an unbreakable unity that spread through the halls like the fanning of a great flame. An oath of retribution could be heard, ringing through the heart of the dark side. 

 

Just outside of the larger viewports, they all could see their enemies turning tail and pulling back to the trails of hyperspace, retreating before the unbridling might of the true Empire. Mercilessly, the Sith Armada hunted the remnants of their derelict vessels and tore through them with an anger that the entire congregation could feel. Emotions of wildfire passion boomed through the chambers, filling all in attendance with an adrenaline spurred from the speech of a rising champion, infectiously spreading through the body of the Harrower-Class. The rest of the Armada cheered with thunderous applause for their own reasons, mattering less for what, and more that the energy spilled through the entire dominion of the Empire through communication relays. 

 

A tall man stepped from the disguise of the crowd and into the clearing, lowering the black hood covering his face as the riotous celebrations continued. The long length of his dark mane was pulled back and tied into a braid of ceremonial cloth skirting a metal-fanged half mask wrapping the lower half of jawline. King Exodus held a magnificent grandeur, while the crude scar carved through the lids of his eye, hinted at the powerful barbarism that he traded in. The Emperor was noticeably taller than most creatures surrounding him, thicker and more brutish by far judging by his imperial gait, and the way his heavy black cloak capered his ivory-bone armor chassis. Those that began to notice just who he was, shifted uncomfortably fast when the inimitable features of his appearance surfaced from the dark shadows that swam about him.

 

 

"Warrior, we meet at last."

 

  
 

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As she came down from the ramp she knew she'd caught her master's attention. The air was filled with a somber sentiment, much less the dread and fury that Kahla had come to be familiar with. She did what she could to hide the slight limp as she made her way slowly down the ramp. That eerie feeling of eyes looking onto her from all around had Kahla cautious, but she knew her failure, she couldn't hide it.

 

Mordecai's stride was foretelling, much less his usual aggressive march; something was wrong, not just in Kahla's failure. Her heart skipped as he placed his hand on her shoulder, a gesture she had never seen from him. Finally she'd met her masters saddened gaze as he nodded, the grief in the air around him cut through her feelings of failure.

 

"Lord Xahl has fallen, Kahla. Come with me."

 

It took a moment for the words to sink in, as they did Kahla could feel her emotions sink into a bottomless pit. She knew only very little of Xahl, yet still his loss punctured her. He had been the first fallen Sith she'd personally known.

She followed him back, joining at the front of the now gathered crowd. She couldn't bring herself to look upon the man's body. Addressing the crowd, Mordecai made point of the actions of their enemy, the devastation they'd faced, and will continue to face. And then, a rising vengeance; Lord Xahl would be a true martyr of their cause, his views now at the forefront of their crusade.

 

Capping the speech with all but a direct threat to the Rebels, the hangar erupted with great cheer. As emotions rose and voices cried out, Kahla couldn't help herself, and let out a roar of confidence.

Xahl's body was carried gently aboard the waiting shuttle, and as it lifted itself from the decking, a low voice started calling from behind. It wasn't long before the words echoed into a chant across the hangars floor. While Kahla chose not to take part in this ritual, the empowerment of clamoring came to strengthen her resolve once more. Not unlike adrenaline coursing through her veins, the moment let her forget her pain to the extent of feeling healed. She watched the shuttle drift towards the sun she grew up under, and the noise calmed. Not but a few seconds had passed before another cheer came over as they watched the Rebel fleets turn tail and run. Kahla smiled wide, as in the face of her failure, was a much greater victory. She knew her own fleet was a major contribution, and the man she'd put at her helm fit his roll perfectly.

A great presence shifted in the roaring behind her, slowly she turned to see the break in the crowd. She stepped aside for the giant scarred man, as his attention was unmistakably on her master. Kahla's heart sank, though she knew only that the man had almost an all-powerful presence in the force. She stared, enthralled in the man's great potency, anticipating the duo's next moves.

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Mordecai watched as the crowd parted as the man strode forward. Mordecai knew him immediately-  He'd felt this presence before. Once when he was an apprentice aboard the Sith flagship, before his first conflict. He's been victorious that day, claiming the limb of the Jedi padawan that had opposed him. At the time, it had been a great victory, his first battle ending in triumph. He'd not seen the Dark Lord that day, but he had felt him. The second time had been at Corellia- He'd caught merely a glimpse of the Spider that day, dueling a Jedi strike team in the bowels of his ship. Mordecai had come to assist, and had ended up on the wrong floor. He'd only glimpsed the Dark Lord when he'd sent one of the Jedi through a hatch in the floor. Another victory, for Mordecai.

 

But this was his first time meeting the Dark Lord in person. Mordecai stood his ground as the others in the hangar knelt or saluted. He didn't stand in defiance- not yet, at least, but he stood as a matter of politics. He'd heard tales of the Dark Lord, of his powers and exploits, of his conquests in war and in battle. But what Mordecai hadn't done was seen it for himself. An assassin like the Dark Lord would be more than adept at simply pulling strings and leaving the gossiping of the Sith do the rest. His judgement was yet unrendered, but he didn't trust the Dark Lord.

 

"My king." he said simply, giving a polite bow. He would not kneel, but he would not stand in open defiance of this man. Not now, when his wounds were fresh and his mind scattered. His eyes still carried the intensity that they always did, however, as they met the Dark Lord's. He could feel the man's smothering presence, gnawing at his weaknesses, whispering to his grief and rage. He shut it out, lifting his head and straightening his posture. He was dwarfed by the King of the Sith, but it didn't matter. He would not buckled and break at the mere presence of the Dark Lord.

 

"What brings you aboard in our hour of victory?"

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The Hutt kept his head bowed, his multitudinous folds of fat lapping into ripples that were luminescent with grease. His multiple lids fluttered across his crimson eyes, his best imitation of a grieving apprentice. The Sith Master had, in truth, little care over the death of the Lord Xahl, whom he had met little of, and had never conversed at length about politics over a tankard of Lumninats Brogg Ale with the man. The Sith Lord had seemed more of an IPA man, and so he had a disdain for the dead man.

 

To which Sin did you adhere, Xahl, that left you so predisposed to mortality? Why do we mourn the passing of the weak? 

 

The Hutt stared out into the frenzied and irritable Sith forces, mystified as to why they too seemed to care about the death of a minor Sith Lord. Were the forces of Exodus so bereft of decent fighters that such a loss was meaningful? With a small flourish, he snatched his discarded gift from the floorboards, the saberhandle leaping into his greasy palm with a wet slapping sound.

 

The mountain of filth breathed in, taking in the taste of the emotions that flew through the room, the rawness of rage, that mix of bitterness, the grief of lost love. A delicious cacophony of unrestrained emotion. He let it channel through him, feeding upon it like the Maw, drawing from it strands of emotion to savor and roll upon his tongue.

A new sensation.

 

The Spider had come.

 

Sheog pushed his way to the side of the Lord Mavanger, leaning heavily upon his ceremonial staff. He bowed low, his folds tripling, the seems of his flesh, that façade of life, buckling against the stored rot within. He kept silent but eyed the Spider with a coy slyness. He would have given a quip or started inane rambling, but he didn’t care to ruin the moment.

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Darkness descended.

 

The eleventh hour drew nearer. Destruction and devastation fell like rain-water around the Imperial Battlefleet and the prestigious shipyards. Annihilation of life now seethed within this sector after yet another attempt on their way of life. Kuat had always been a place of respite. The arid landscape, the tumultuous weather, and the invigorating boon of the Dark Side of the Force were tranquilizing, principally for the hard-nosed industrialists. Rebel scum had changed that forevermore. The Drive Yards of Kuat was constructed as the beating heart of this corner of the galaxy, from which the life-blood of many civilizations and military might spilled forth. Each section of the garrisoned shipyards was designed for defense, with hundreds of chokepoints and redoubts scattered throughout the narrow winding superstructure. The marriage of Jedi and Rebel Forces, incessantly slaughtered their own faithful against the vast Imperial barricade, atomizing the bulk of their resources in the face of an undying Red Sun. The end of another rebellion played out again, across a long history of feverish feuds. What did the enemy gain?

 

The Darkside relished in this reckless abandon, victory rhythmically drumming throughout the heart of the militia as a hunger growing unabated. This yearning would be met swiftly, and a heavy-handed reckoning would soon fall upon their enemies. However, the Emperor was not a man goaded by simple emotions. The mortal fall of weaker men was a transaction; a bartering or thinning of the herd that was necessary to inspire survival of the mighty. The weak, for the strong. Judgment was the only reason the Shadow now marched openly. With treasonous ruminations festering inside of his mind, Exodus recognized early that many from within posed as deferential allies, but equaled nothing more than bottom-feeding leeches that nursed on the affluence of an Empire built with his hands. This is why he had destroyed Raynuk Montar, and would punish Kakuto Ryu, as well as any other that dreamed they could double-cross the Sith. 


"What brings you aboard in our hour of victory?"

 


The Emperor stalked the three comfortably in half-circles, carefully measuring the choice of words and tone that came from the human’s mouth. Hundreds of eyes watched with nervous uncertainty from all around as Exodus heeled dauntlessly through each and every one of them. Molten-ivories curiously dissected any hint of body language or behaviour left naked for him to see. The world was always a little unsettled wherever he tread, the reaper entreating with anything he considered a harvest. From beneath white-plastoid composite helmets, the traditional range of ceremonial black hoods, and just plain flesh-faces pulled over bone with a smattering of expressions, they watched. 

 

"I came to see for myself.." Exodus, closer now, spoke plainly. An empyreal gaze settled upon the fair lady Zendrin for a deliberate moment, glacially to the familiar Master of the Krath, and then back to the one enunciated as Darth Mavanger. In passing, he shared a knowing look with the Maw, and then his attention naturally shifted. The moment revealed no such familiarity, but this Hutt was a creature he considered a part of his brood, family from an age of Gods. Sheog was a creature that would have wrenched the spines from any and everything that stood before Exodus, bowing them to their knees exempting any form of hesitation. Suspiciously, he had disappeared for great lengths at a time, now standing across from him in the mire of fresh blood. Lord Ryu had done nearly the same. Now delusions of grandeur tickled at his mind, but for any other to know that, was an impossibility.

 

“Mordecai. A name, among few others, enumerated to the defense of my Empire.

Your superiors spoke lightly of you. Those that have fought alongside you, speak more."

 

He moved authoritatively in his position of power, left hand massaging the ridges of his bone overlaid armor-plate while his right toyed with a terrifying Sith Blade, the tip of which angled towards the floor and to the rear of him. Exodus was quite large for an assassin, with a distinguished body of muscle embellished in long tapestries of black shadow silks and golden imperial grandiosity. A medley of brutish black and red pallets born of a Sith King and the aristocratically gold trimmings of a sworn Emperor. Spun spider silk frayed at the seams of heavy black cloak, wisping subtlety from his body as if shadows crawled from him in soft vapors.

 

"You will report all activity directly to my council henceforth, there is no discussing the matter.

For your endeavors however, I have motioned your campaign forward in totality,

and by my hand alone it moves."

The Emperor took another step forward, eliminating the distance between the two.

 


"Be cautious of your next step, young warrior" He lowered his voice to but a whisper

Whether within the circle of the Emperor, or an enemy of those within it, either path represented a significant change in the power structure of the Sith Empire. Narcissistic belief was in abundance throughout the machine of the Empire, especially in the youth. There were a great many that considered themselves the next best thing, most lacking any regard for those that had laid the foundation for others to find footing within higher civilization, but Exodus had surveyed decades of such creatures fizzling out beneath the weight of their own sickening vanity. Yet and still, positions of strength would need filling from the most promising. Classes of Warriors, Assassins and the majestic Krath would need candidates to steer their expansion. Cogs within every function of the resurging Sith Empire, would need tithe and toil from those chosen by the King, and anything less than would be rooted out from it's stem. 

 

"You and those you have become responsible for, depend on it."

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Mordecai listened closely to the Dark Lord's words as he circled them like a shark. The only indication that Mordecai was on high alert in this situation was  a hand resting gently on his own lightsaber's hilt, his head tilted to the side as he watched the Dark Lord size them up. Mordecai's own judgement wouldn't be rendered until he saw the Dark Lord in action, but he carried a Sith sword. An admirable weapon. It was a start, for him. Something that indicated the Dark Lord's true self besides words. That he relied on a true weapon spoke highly of him. He listened patiently as the Dark Lord spoke his decree, closing the distance with a single stride. Mordecai stiffened, his muscles coiling to strike if needed. He spoke quietly now- these words were not for those who watched. 

 

"Your title and position are owed respect, my Lord. I haven't seen if you're worthy of them, but there will be time aplenty for that on the battlefield. The Sith need a stable leadership more than they need a new Lord. You will face no mutiny from me- not as things stand now, at least. On this, you have my word as a warrior." Mordecai replied, matching the deathly whisper of the Dark Lord.

 

It was the truth- Mordecai had no wish to usurp the Dark Lord in these troubled times. To do so would only weaken the Sith. And perhaps, by the time the Rebels were defeated, Mordecai would be dead, or the Dark Lord of the Sith's worth will have been proven to him. The threat against himself was understandable. It was possible that the Dark Lord saw him as a potential rival. But the threat against his people drove at his anger. He forced himself to remain calm- He would use that anger, but not here. Not now.

 

His voice returning to it's natural tone, he responded publicly to the Dark Lord.

 

"You have my gratitude, my lord. I will see the rebels weakened and crushed under the strength of the Sith Empire, and you will be kept in direct contact with my fleet," his voice lowered a final time, in a sentence meant only for the Spider "and when the bloodshed is over, whether in victory or defeat, I hope you will remember that it was I who mustered these fighters for this cause."

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Hutt’s crimson eyes caught those of the Dark Lord as the Spider stepped to congratulate the Warrior Mavenger. They shared a look, one the mad Hutt could only hope to decipher. Was it lust with which the Dark Lord gazed upon his corpulence? Was that an eyebrow waggle? A blink or a wink?

 

The Lord of the Krath supped in a moist breath, a froth forming upon his tongue. He had missed the mysterious Assassin with which he shared so many ages of history, but that was mainly due to the Hutt’s own propensity to disappear into the madness of the Force. As the Hutt self-reflected, the Master of Assassins moved past, to address the man of the hour; Darth Mavenger, renowned duelist of two ties. Why Sheog wasn’t getting a pat on the back for smacking down a Jedi Master, the Hutt would never know.

 

But he was beyond vanity. Or was he?

 

The Hutt scratched at one of his multitudinous chins and took the time to admire the Dark Lord’s sword. The angle of the ebony blade was perfect. It fit the man’s stature, and for a moment, the Hutt was utterly proud of his oldest friend. It had slayed many, there was no doubt.

 

The Hutt sighed, almost seductively through his heavy breathing, and looked for Mavenger’s sword, but found none, which was somehow both disappointing and relieving.

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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LESSON

 


"Your title and position are owed respect, my Lord. I haven't seen if you're worthy of them, but there will be time aplenty for that on the battlefield. The Sith need a stable leadership more than they need a new Lord. You will face no mutiny from me- not as things stand now, at least. On this, you have my word as a warrior."

 


Shimmering, full-bodied hair cascaded down the strong bone structure of his face, celestial eyes sat deep behind cheekbones that angled symmetrically with an arrant nose and a broad full-lipped mouth, all of which screwed itself in careful consideration. Unyielding features of a peerless and brutish general were on rare display, features accented by a sovereign lambency that oozed from the ornate build of his fiendishly obsidian armor-plating, the face of an elysian Anzati gladiator at whose feet the wise would crawl and submit, the face of a King made in legends against conquered worlds and the open rule of the galaxy: The Dark Emperor.

 

Rage almost surfaced onto one such face. An unruly vibration of power could have erupted and stifled the moment, stirring a mixing pot of volcanic blood and ethereal fury in his chest. His white eyes would have churned into a burning deeper than the red cresting of a dying Coruscant, empty soulless things, debasing the proud lines of brow and jaw, peeling lips back to show sharp drawn-out porcelain fangs. 

 

 

It never came.

 

 

“Disappointing.” Flatly, the single word fell as apathetically as one could ever speak it, souring what the King had come to expect. A world-weary sigh escaped him, nostrils somewhat flaring from the heavily bored exhalation. “Words of mutiny, insurrection, and worthiness." Exodus said the words indirectly as he paced, as if tasting them for the first time, wondering why each one had felt unbalanced against his tongue. Exodus met the eyes of his lesser with the same indifference he had exerted with all that opposed him. Antipathy lurked beneath his facade of noble decorum, a cold and meticulous cunning as glacial as frostbitten steel, perusing the demeanor of the human before him. "Your validation has never been, nor will it ever, be any of my concern. It is fetching that you’ve come to believe otherwise, adorable even. But unfortunately, your respect is not a thing to be desired in the slightest, my child.” Basic was the simplest language he could use to relay his meanings to such a creature, stressing the importance of every word as if it were indeed, his very seed.

 

 

Ungrateful. 

 

 

As if enjoying the Emperor’s stalking prowl, aberrant shadows flowed beautifully across the mapping of the Sith King. Maintenance headlights flickered a few episodes, and the silence drew menacing. It was wildly apparent that many here drew strength from the same source, the Dark Side of the Force, but none brandished such power with equal footing. The rushmore of power within the Sith Empire had many faces far more tried and tested than the machinations of an over-eager student, the unstudied would be wise to acknowledge each and every face that had paid their dues beforehand, for fear of gravely disparaging those that had paved the way. Delusions would have one quickly believe they could rival or displace the throne of the Dark Lord after they’ve bumped their chin in a few scuffles. A few bruises and victories were a far-cry to a near impeccable legacy carved from persistence and steep reverence. Such a lack of awareness was why the creature did not appreciate that it stood a mere footfall from the maw of the great Sheogorath the Insatiable. Did the human even realize just who that was? These thoughts ran through the mind of the Emperor, and swiftly by all means.  

 

 

Severing the head from his spine cleanly, or watching the Hutt devour the soul like marrow from hollow bones.

No. No.

 

 

What stood before Exodus was the equivalency of a spoiled child, a child of his own brood, broadly ignorant of what it took to manufacture such dominion. An affluent galactic estate built from nothing but rubble. From the very brink of extinction to the triumphant subjugation of the known galaxy, the entire infrastructure of this superpower was laid brick-by-brick by Lord Malacoda and his Faithful. This very fleet and the souls that crewed them, were but a gift given to divulge freedom and autonomy to his Sith kindred. Such things could be taken away, and by the snap of a finger. But he would teach this one, for he held a promise that if nurtured by the right hand, would reap wonders. To empower the young, and not castrate the lifeblood of an Empire.  “You’ve mustered nothing. Nothing but arrogance and delusion it seems, for you have been given the means and the resources freely, but fail to recognize which hand provides these in abundance. Do not misunderstand, you have simply done your job Mavanger, a duty shared with the many others that have come to Kuat." Or would you have them excluded to flaunt personal glory? Exodus nodded genuinely towards apprentice Kahla for her efforts in battle, encouraging her victory for the next. Inquisitor Barca had laid the stratagem for the first round of contest between the fleets, despite criticisms, yet had stoked the flames of victory before the battle even truly began. Such efficiency garnered praise from the men that followed the beast, but even larger praise from the King himself.

 

"..And yet, your hope is that I am to remember that you showed yourself,

That you've done what is expected of you? ..Foolishness.

 

You are strong, Mordecai. Your active presence has not gone unobserved, but you have much farther to walk.

The Rebels weaken by the moment, and I have belief when you say they will be crushed underfoot.

For that, you have my ear.

 

Nevertheless, it is imperative that you become wiser than what you've shown, young warrior.

 Your poor choice of expression has proven less than the promise of your future,

 

Show me that this changes when you return victorious."

 

 

The King shifted from his half-circle hounding, now disinterested in offering what he had come to propose to the promising warrior. There would be another time, depending on what side the human found himself on when the line was drawn in the sand. Exodus instead rounded towards the disguised Hutt, bowing graciously before the creature. The Emperor smiled something sinister at the stern of his bow, dangerous white-pearls stretching from ear to ear knowingly. "And you. Executioner of Jedi Master Sarna." Words fell from his mouth with silken satisfaction, snarling at the name of an arch-enemy, as he rose slowly to his full height once more. "Inquisitor Barca cannot take his eyes from the feeds of your brutish supremacy, he quite enjoys your style of aggression. Most would say they have missed it." Exodus hinted fluently, that he had indeed longed for the company of the insurmountable Krath, while adhering to the secrecy that the Hutt was maintaining. "You have honored the Sith, and the Empire in totality, with such pivotal triumphs against our sworn enemy."

 

"LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!"

As if signaled, the entire floor and audience shared in an explosive salute,

every hooded figured, and every armored soldier,

observing the great contributions put forth.

 

"I myself, look forward to bleeding the fields of battle with you, shoulder-to-shoulder.

It is time to bring our enemies what they have been dying for;

an extermination the likes of which the Galactic Alliance would have begged for.

Do not venture too far, the time draws near."

 

"LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" "LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" "LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" "LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" "LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!"

  Hysteria and frenzy became infectious across the bay, heightening with the declarations of swift retribution.

"LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" "LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" "LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" "LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" "LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!"

 

 

Honoring the hierarchy of the Sith was a key ingredient in why this dominion had lasted as long as it had, eschewing the infighting that had collapsed every rule prior in short order. There were a great many that held significant power within the ranks, many of which Lord Mavanger had yet to face, or answer to if his hubris ever sparked an affront to the efforts of others. His journey would be long and difficult, but his careful considerations of choice would dictate how far he would reach within the emerging Sith Empire. Exodus would curate each and every fighter charged to his campaign, and for now, gestures of conciliation would last only as long as his patience allowed. 

 

 

The Dark King of the Sith Empire turned and motioned to move through the havoc,

Thralls and officers of every nature converged on his march, procuring an unimpeded path to his departure.


 

 

 

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