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Nar Shaddaa


BLCKCLONE
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She waggled a dark eyebrow and grinned even wider, writing a last sentence then snapping the datapad closed as they walked. 

 

“Well sir, killing the Dark Cloaks is our speciality!” 

 

And she did not speak a mistruth, but perhaps she should have said ‘defeating the dark cloaks.’ But that had far more nuance that she did not need to pass off on the Trandoshan for now. She waved to her group of Ace pilots and they jogged up to join them. 

 

“Hey everyone this is…” She realized that she did not know his name so looked at him with a cowed expression on her face. Hoping that he would speak his clan name. “And these are my squadmates from the Jedi Order! We were just heading back to the compound if you wanted to join us.” 

 

-continue your response on the rebel base thread-

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  • 2 weeks later...

Once she recovered from the quiet, the vertigo, the dread sense of being the only sapient being in eight cubic kilometers, and the knowledge that a single mishap with her suit’s thrusters had the potential to send her into a Mandalorian funeral in Nar Shaddaa’s atmosphere or a frozen grave in the space between planets… Johanna actually began to enjoy her time in null-gravity. The absence of the bonds of gravity allowed for a surprising freedom of movement. Every half-second of thrust translated to a surprising degree of acceleration that her gravity-limited mind was having difficulty translating into its previous conceptions of distance.

 

Even barring the tactical options that null-gravity opened up, it was difficult to remember a time that Bryce had seen a better view. The Bespinian stood on the riven hull of the Mandalorian Star Dreadnaught Medusa, situated within the drydock of Nar Shaddaa. Only forty-five degrees above the horizon, she could see the cityscape of the night side of the Smuggler’s Moon. Concentric rings of golden light criss-crossed over the moon’s surface, interspersed by shifting, multicolored glares in the center of several of those rings--a concert, performance, or some other demonstration? Judging from the smoke, however, it seemed that a major fire had broken out in the Corellian Sector. Closer to her location, a constant stream of pinprick lights traveled to and from the moon. And closer still, no less than ten fleet tenders were attached to Medusa by umbilical. Hundreds of sapients and droids were marching over the exterior of the vessel with plasma torches and shaped charges, cutting--or blowing away--portions of the ship’s armor and batteries for reprocessing in the kilometer-long foundry ship that loomed above her.

 

Poor Medusa. Only a short time ago, it had been the pride of the Mandalorian fleet. Now its hull and armor was being melted down to forge the newest capital ships of the Rebel Alliance and her remaining ordinance was being diverted to much smaller, less fearsome craft.

 

“What are you doing here? You have authorization to be here?” A coarse, clipped tone--Corellian?  Johanna couldn’t see through the shielded faceplate--growled over the proximity comlink.

 

“Null-grav exercises. This is the largest stable position in the system.”

 

“Not where you’re standing, it ain’t,” the dockworker grunted, pointing downward to indicate a crimson ribbon of shaped charges. “This plate’s blasting off in thirty seconds. Might want to move there. In fact… you just stick near me so you can keep clear of any hazard zones. Check-check, twenty five, get clear.” The dockworker moved with surprising nimbleness given the ungainly suit that covered every square centimeter of his body. As Johanna stomped along the hull, she marveled at how the dockworker casually jogged, triggering his magwell boots in imitation of a run that she had seen on low-gravity worlds, with entire seconds between strides. Indeed, once the Bespinian had begun to imitate his stride, she bounded along the hull at a pace that rivalled her Bridge Rush and reached the next kilometer-long section of armor in only a few minutes.

 

Mid-stride, she didn’t even feel the explosion that sent a great durasteel square of armor drifting into space. She tailed the dockworker for some time, closely watching the efficient movements that conserved the energy needed to move the bulky suit.

 

An hour later, the Bespinian bounded along the hull to observe a team of dockworkers disassembling a railgun battery. A team of twenty was swarming over the fortification like a horde of ants, cutting apart the massive barrels and manually ripping out tangles of conductive fiber and circuitry into open space, where it would be collected by the shipyard’s droids. This particular battery was only a short distance from an airlock--not one of the tiny, two-man umbilicals, but a five-meter portal sealed by an armored blast door. Standing directly on the massive steel plate, Johanna stared downward and considered the force necessary to breach such a barrier. Man-portable ribbon charges would be insufficient--a proton torpedo would manage the task. Or… one of the boarding torpedoes that the Sith had used to great effectiveness at the Third Death Star could breach it and probably tunnel through several compartments before its inertia was finally stopped. Atmosphere would be a concern after breaching so many interior compartments, but portable air supplies were lighter than the charges needed to breach a seal that thick.

 

That was even assuming that a conventional assault was necessary. Taking a cue from the dockworkers, Johanna took a gentle leap at a run and triggered her suit’s thrusters. allowing for inertia to carry her the remainder of the six kilometers to the bridge. A gentle application of the magwell boots allowed her to take the landing at a bounding run, gradually coming to a halt over a hundred meters. Captain Bryce stood amongst the wreck of Medusa’s bridge and the terraces of its superstructure. The recessed bridge was a difficult target for a turbolaser or a starfighter to hit, but a marine could easily place breaching charges and blast through where the transparisteel canopy had been. A boarding action wasn’t even necessary--Bryce could see the welding marks that remained of the shield generators. Shaped charges--or even sustained fire from an E-Web--could demolish the towers in short order, rending the bridge vulnerable to strafing runs.

 

Before Bryce could begin to traverse the command superstructure and venture into the bridge, that obnoxious Agamarian drawl oozed over the comlink.


“Cap, we need’ja ‘ere back a’ Wreckin’ Machine.” Bryce shuddered. “Evac shuttle’s on ‘er way. C’n give yer report once, y’get back, but sumth’s going down.”

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  • 2 months later...

          Alliera had quickly entranced a group of the younglings with stories of old Tal'verda Glories, and legends her clan had about old Jedi and Sith. She didn't have much else to do at the moment, she didn't have a master yet to train her, and the classes she had been attending were out for the moment. Other than that, she had been festooned into helping get people situated, even 6 months after Coruscant things were still a mess at the adhoc 'Jedi Temple'. During this time, Alliera had garnered a minor following among the younglings with her stories. The younglings accepted Alliera, in a place where everyone else seemed too busy to deal with the Jedi Hopeful. That helped the Mandalorian to fit in with the big Jedi 'Family', and caused her to 'open up' more to the idea of being a Jedi and a part of the 'family'. That caused a problem though. Her new family was in a perceived peril. 

 

        Like all good Mandalorian Clans, Clan Tal'verda kept an eye on prospective contracts for Bounty Hunting work that went beyond the norm. The bounty on Force Users was among the contracts that the girl's previous life made her aware of. Younglings certainly counted, in Ally's reckoning, she had seen a few do interesting things with the force already. To add to that concern, they were on Nar Shaddaa, where the kind of Bounty Hunters that absolutely would steal a child were likely to be. The Jedi were too busy either still scraping together something from their previous life, or trying to deal with the ascendant Sith Empire. The Alliance Military could likely do something, but with how big and corrupt Nar Shaddaa was, something was bound to slip through the cracks. So, Alliera was again in her armor, craddling Ori'kad, the improvised Energized Shotgun. The younglings, unknown to her, had seen her go with concern. The children, with a determination only children posess, went to go find one of the really important adults to tell them what was going on. 

 

   ----------------------------------------------------

 

       

     Alliera's first target was a dingy bar, one she had found deep in the alleyways and backstreets. Even walking in, the girl could see that she had been right about this place, there were plenty of the types her parents had taught her to avoid keeping to isolated tables or shadowy booths... The bar was also packed, but not as much. "What can I get ya?" The Bar-droid asked, washing a glass like the walking cliche he was. "A corellian ale will be fine." As the droid got her order, a group was eyeing her up. She was young yes, but a Mandalorian was a Mandalorian, and the bounty they were chasing made it a sure thing that they they could afford her. So when the girl got her drink, a dark skinned Rodian slipped onto the stool next to the girl, careful to avoid the rather large gun. "My associates and I were wondering if you'd be interested in helping us." He said, after signalling the bar droid that he didn't want anyhing "Not safe to discuss here, join us if your interested, there are alot of credits in it if we succeed." The Rodian left back to his dark booth, where he doubtlessly had a crew waiting. Alliera made a show of thinking about it over her drink, before setting down the empty class and coming over. 

 

    The group consisted of the Rodian, 2 humans in ramshackle armor, a Twi-Lek in scavanged Stormtrooper armor, and a Devaronian in a smuggler's outfit. "Now that your interested, here's the job: There's a pretty substantial bounty on Force Users, and the new 'Jedi Temple' here on Nar Shaddaa has a bunch of little snot 'younglings' that should do nice..." One of the humans had started to say, before the distinctive retort of a Westar-55 silenced him. The body's head bounced off of the booth wall and slammed on the table. Alliera was out of the booth, and the next shot came from the Ori'kad, as the rest of the 'crew' were trying to either pull blasters of thier own or get out. The Devaronian wasn't helping matters as he was simultaniously pushing the body and trying to shove his compatriots out of the way, he was at the very back to the booth and was almost stuck. These movements jostled the rest of the crew and made the efforts to run or fight all the more confusting. The energized nerfshot* blasted through the rodian and the Twi'lek, both of which were trying to pull thier own side arms while being jostled by the table and the other. 

 

The Devaronian, pulled out a pouch, and dumped a bunch of black powder into his hand, as his last human compatriot finally pulled his blaster and started shooting at the girl. "You think you can mess with me, kill my friends without consiquence!?!" The Human called, as Alliera jumped over the bar "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, AND DROP YOUR FRELLING HEAD OFF AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE TEm..." THe human didn't say anymore, because an usually strong Devaronian hand was around his throat, and he was thrown to the side. The Devaronian was able to finally extricate himself from the bodies and the booth, and charged the bar. By this point, the patrons and the Bar Droid had all evacuated the area, and were cowering in one of the back rooms. Alliera tried to grab Ori'Kad to shoot the Devaronian, but it was pulled from her grasp and thrown to the opposite side of the bar, as she was pulled up by her neck. Like her gun, the girl was thrown, this time to the booth...where this had all began. the young woman's back slammed into the edge of the booth table with a 'WHAM', and a cry from the girl before she fell to the ground. She found herself smeling something vaguely familiar.. "Sulfer?" she asked, more to herself than others. "Yeah, I keep a pouch with me at all times, to help me deal with little bugs like you." The Devaronian said, grabbing a bottle of ale off from behind the bar...confident in his victory. What the devaronian didn't realize was the blaster shots from his former companion had shattered many of the bottles and storage mediums behind the bar, leading to a growing puddle and trail of Alchohol. that quickly spread from under his boots to a few meters in several directions. The fumes and smell was becoming almost too much for a normal human, but the Devaronian wasn't paying attention. He was drunk on his power, and what he would do to the little Mandalorian that had killed his compatriots. 

 

One person that did notice what happened was Alliera, as she was getting up, she remembered what her Ba'buir taught her about how flamable Alchahol was, and how it wasn't necissarily the liquid. Alliera flashed her flamethrower somewhere close to one of the growing puddles, and it worked. The Devaronian was preparing to move again, to show this little mandalorian who was really the boss...before he got set ablaze by a mix of the flumes that engulfed him and the natural flammability of organic beings. The Bar exploded shortly afterwards, too many flames and high pressure systems were compromised. Luckily, the bar patrons had either left, or hid with thier bar seated breathren in the back, so noone was hurt...other than the Devaronian...who was already on fire to begin with. Alliera, seeing her work done, walked away from the mess and into the back alleys and streets of Nar Shaddaa, but not before grabbing the Ori'kad. She hadn't intended to blow up the bar, but her father had always said that it was just a hazard of doing the business in a place of highly flammable chemicals and high pressure containers. 

Edited by MandaJetii
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  • 1 month later...

Nar Shadaa, the Smuggler's Moon...

 

Or so it had been called such for hundreds of millennia. Now it was the home base of the Rebel Alliance and it's trio of Lightsided Foundations. But even amidst the brightest of lights, shadows linger in its cracks and crevasses, hidden from sight from even the most detailed viewers. And this is where the criminal underworld of the once economic Hutt space still resided.

 

K'reel walked amongst the many back alleys and side streets, visiting the darkest of dives as any smuggler would in such a highly judiciary planet such as the one Nar Shadaa had become. The Karkarodon towered above most sapients and sentients, but even one such as he easily could disappear and reemerge amongst the crowded masses as need be. Such was the way of an alien world where many gathered. And with a little mental fortitude and luck, no one could grow to be the wiser.

 

His contact was like any other, a dock worker with a habit, scrounging up the last few credits to support it without his family being any of the wiser. He held no true knowledge what the information would be purposes for, only the request for the information of local departures from the Red and Black district. So when K'reel made his initial approach, his grimacing teeth barring a deathly unappealing smile, the Sullustan was quite surprised and taken aback.

 

"Are you the one who requested fish lady Jedi departure?" He question squealishly in his native tongue. "Family will notice if I no return."

 

"Silence Sullustan." K'reel spoke, his tone barely above a whisper as his gaze slowly shifted about the darkened room before he pulled out a fairly sized portion of spice. "Dead contacts make information a scarse commodity."

 

With a relieved sigh, he took his payment and placed it inside his uniform before leaning in closely to speak. "Fish lady Jedi go to frozen Jedi world Ilum. Flew away few days ago. Don't know why anyone want to visit frozen worlds, especially fish lady."

 

K'reel smiled as the Sullustan spoke and leaned back, his rows of teeth stratching completely across as he stood up. Nodding his head, K'reel made ready to depart. So Ilum was his next destination. He knew Jedi held certain worlds sacred, but like the Sullustan, couldn't fathom why anyone would traverse such harsh worlds. But then again, Jedi rarely made any sense to anyone outside their Order. 

 

Ilum or not, she was his target. And that would be where he would be going next.

Edited by Kreel Son of Drell
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  • 6 months later...

The streets were more crowded than she would have thought. Nothing like the sprawling carve granite walkways of Naboo, everything here was dense and dark. Prefab buildings on prefab buildings, the perfect place for crime to be fostered. But the Rebels, or at least their Imperial Remnant predecessors had done much to clear out the criminal underworld. Reports of the mass execution of the Hutt slaving class were not uncommon, and Namari did not much care about it. What she did care for however were the children and other beggars that wandered the streets. Too young for the jobs that were offered, and rebellious enough to ignore the schools and the mind numbing education programmes that teachers pumped out en masse. 

 

Namari did not care for any of it. Instead she walked the refugee wardens with two non uniformed soldiers, giving what credits she could to the beggars. Almsgiving being a key part of her own personal religion. Not to mention she actually genuinely cared for the plight of the refugees. Many were from her own world. Which had been brutally laid to waste.

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Setting out of place within the grimy world, a large twisted tree stood. It’s branches hung heavily, the black foliage glistening in the sunlight. It was such an odd eccentricity amongst the manmade structures, prefabricated homes, and dreary life that even now hovered over the people of Nar Shaddaa. Nobody knew where the tree had come from or what had forced the upheaval of duracrete cobblestones to reveal the earth the tree clung to. If asked, any passerby would just shrug and offer an explanation of some variation amounting to, “one day it wasn’t there. Then one day it was.”

 

And yet, there was something about the tree that kept the locals from hacking it down for firewood or fun, a soft glow that seemed to warm the hearts of any that took rest beneath it’s shadow. It really was in the way if one thought about it.

 

The tree bore no fruit. It’s black leaves seemed a stark contrast to the usual green of plant life. The twisted wood was of little use but to be burned. Still, it rarely dropped leaves or branches and all in all was a tidy little spot that seemed to not accumulate any rubbish or refuse.

 

Today, a group of children had taken to playing amongst the great timber’s branches, scrambling up and down and around. Their laughter echoed down the streets, warming the hearts of those who heard them. Their mothers gathered nearby exchanging gossip, bits, and baubles with ever watchful eyes.

 

Deep within the tree, a being sighed mentally. It was not a sigh of frustration or grief. If one were to compare sighs, this one was almost pleasant. And with that sigh, the tree’s branches and leaves rustled as if blown by a warm breeze even though there was no wind in the still cityscape’s air.

 

Contentment. Frond was content here. After the goings on of Ossus, he had cast himself away from the Jedi and back to that which he knew, to the world beyond shadows. There he contemplated for what felt like a step before eternity. Yet even there, the lessons of the force, of the Jedi, followed him. In a world beyond physiciality, the tree found himself meditating, moving his wooded humanoid body along the paths of  martial contemplation. He did not have a lightsaber, that part of him, along with his connection to the Jedi and the poisons of the dark side had been hewn off by the Jedi and Imperial Knights.
 

Frond was still a Mind Walker and yet, he was more. He cared little for the material world. The force was all that was truth. Beyond the crude matter of the worlds about him in the galaxy. Yet he continued to see glimpses of the galaxy, of the mortal coil. Flashes of violence, smoking deathscapes, burning jungles, and more. Violence plagued wherever he looked, whenever he looked. So it was that one day, Frond had taken to securing transport off world to this dreary landscape, drawn by the aura of hopelessness and an inexplicable feeling that something of great importance to not just the mortal world, but the force itself, could happen here.

 

And amongst such dreary existence, Frond had planted himself one cloudless night, a flash of yellow light and a frack transforming his humanoid form into a towering ancient tree, willowy in nature, twisted trunk and hanging tendrils. From there he returned to his meditations, emanating the seeds of light implanted by the Jedi outward to counteract the looming darkness.

 

So even now, Frond sighed, relaxing and enjoying the moment as it played out. He did not look towards the future and her looming darkness. This was peace. Here, amongst the laughter of children and the chatter of friends, the backdrop of pain and suffering, carried by a galactic war, melted into oblivion.

 

Frond was happy. Well, he was as happy as he could be on what he felt to be this doomed mortal scape. And so he sat, basking in the light of the sun, nourishing his wooded form, his mind aglow as he simply existed in the moment, allowing the joy of the children to become his very own. At least here, in this out of the way intersection of the burrows and ghettos, there was joy.

 

Then he felt it, a presence not of these tired and toiled, but something different, a regal bearing of blemished light, stomped but not extinguished. Where it moved, it glowed, lighting embers of hope upon it’s path.  Such a peaceful moment approached and before he knew it, had melded with his own. Without eyes in this form, Frond could not see, but he felt her, this hope giving gracefulness, and he was intrigued.

 

The tree creaked as Frond instinctively leaned slightly, his viney swaying appendages reaching to be nearer the presence that was Queen Namari.

 

One of the children, a dark-haired boy of no more than nine, with eyes to match ran to the Queen and grabbed her hand. His white toothy smile illuminated his entire face as he tugged at her hand. “C’mon! Come closer to the tree! Leave a gift and be repaid in ten!” he chortled playfully as he tugged Namari beneath the dangling blankets of glistening black plant.

 

Within the shadowy canopy, children crawled back and forth above and the twisted and gnarled trunk was adorned with all manners of toys and baubles left there by the locals. Each day they would leave their gifts for the mysterious tree and the next sunrise, they would be gone. Sometimes they appeared at another’s home in their window or upon their doorstep. Other times they seemed to vanish for days or weeks before showing back up; always at the home of they that needed it most. It was a miracle to some. Magic to others. Yet no one could deny the benefits that were conveyed when their need was met by the mysterious tree that seemed to facilitate the provision of their communal needs.

 

And as the refugee Queen of the Naboo passed beneath his fronds, his tendrils draping her shoulders like a cape, Frond felt her touch and his mind reached out for hers, ‘The touch of the spring, carries hope unto the life, vanquished is autumn’

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It was such a strange thing to be seen in the depths of Nar Shaddaa. She had always been a curious girl, even in the training to be selected for the queenship. She had spent hours every day studying everything she could about the Jedi, the force, and their age old rivals, the Sith Lords. She had watched the conquest of an imperial remnant be joined by the survivors of the Galactic Alliance, while sitting the stuffy chambers of the royal palace. While the heroes died, she sat on the throne of a useless and unhelpful kingdom. Had she ever had any semblance of power over the provisional council she knew that she would have joined the war before it reigned down on their heads. 

 

But peace was a lie. It always had been. 

 

But this peace was different. It was not the blissful peace of an insignificant vacation world on the skirts of the Galactic Alliance. It was the peace of the force. It did not assuage her anger, or her fears, but it did soften them. Turning knife point to dull blade. 

 

She let a smile come to her lips and she let herself be embraced by the peace of the Tree being. But it did not stop the fears. The knowledge that this world was next. 

 

“I fear winter comes on the next breeze.”

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Frond’s fronds rustled in the non-existent breeze of the force. He could feel the emotions that boiled beneath the Queen’s warm calm demeanor; the weight of a crown. And so, he allowed the warm weight of his tendrils to ever so slowly press in with a warm embrace.  
 

“Like wind, you speak truth, from the deadness of winter, life flows like a stream.” he pressed from his mind to hers, gently rebutting her statement with the warmth and hope that he felt assured of within his own soul. Where evil existed, so did good; where death, life; and where darkness was the strongest, light would always shine through. Such was the way of the force.

 

The tree would stand, radiating warmth and life throughout the day. It was as he had done for many days before and as he would do into the future; a weight in the scales of light to hold the cosmic balance in place.  
 

Yet, here in the moment, Frond felt the weight of the queen’s short life, her desires to do more, to be more for the souls of her people. Without words, he encouraged her to stay as long as she needed. He embraced her with the warm weight of his leafy limbs. Wordlessly, he invited her to return late that night when the people had all gone home. He urged her to return so that they could do what was right. 

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Never had she been so thankful for the metal floors of the prefabricated and mass produced quarters she was living in. They did not creak at all like the mahogany floors of the winter palace where she had spent only one short and blissful winter before naboo had been ravaged by the Sith. But these floors did not give away any sound as she silently walked through the winding corridors, past sleeping handmaidens, guards, and one Imperial Knight who merely glanced at her and shook his head before pretending to go back to sleep. 

 

She slowly slid the door open on its manual setting, and crept out into the night of Nar Shaddaa. At first glance, the looming highrise skyscrapers of the upper levels and their dimly lit and distant windows were indistinguishable from the night sky. A haze of stars and lights against a vague and gloomy background of dark night. She slipped on her soft leather shoes and pulled her cloak tight about her and walked towards where she had last seen the tree being. 

 

Nar Shaddaa had always been a scummy world, its nightlife and clubs more popular than its daylight hours. But a curfew had long been in effect and the only clubs around offering only business to those with military credentials. The streets certainly felt safe for it, and though there were plenty of people walking and doing business in the late night shops, there were also the grey armoured stormtroopers, whose presence was thick on the streets and street corners. Their shoulder pauldrons bearing the mixed insignia of their units and the phoenix of the rebel alliance. Most did not wear their helmets, keeping them looped by the chinstraps to their belts. 

 

She ducked through an alleyway and ducked again into the shade of the tree being. 

 

“Are you awake?”

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Frond’s heart smiled at the return of the stalwart queen by cover of night. He had not been sure she would return. His viney limbs rustled in response to her query; the soft sound of nature piercing the still night of the back streets. He glowed warmly at her return and then, they waited. His warm aura continued to radiate into the emptying streets. Gently he allowed the peacefulness of eternal stillness and bliss to wash the area, a light breeze that seemed to emanate from nowhere and blow outwards; softly chasing flecks of dirt and darkness away. 
 

Eventually the streets were entirely bare, even the most grog-addled soldiers searching for a place to sleep off their inebriation. The occasional patrol would pass, but here in the shadows, the tree was nothing of concern. And as they waited, Frond’s knot holes creaked and slowly morphed enclosing the gifts of the day, opening anew, empty. 
 

And then the stillness was pierced by a single sharp crack, the sound of limbs snapping as a instant flash of light broke the dark shadows of the night. Stillness followed in it’s path as if nothing had happened at all. Yet, the towering willowy tree was gone, replaced by a four-legged creature of twisted grain and glistening black leafed ‘fur’ down it’s back. It was almost caninoid in appearance, standing shoulder to shoulder with the queen. Turning, the creature gazed upon the woman, swathed in disguise. They were not that different these two, hiding in plain sight.

 

The wooden creature closed his eyes in a drawn out blink before looking to young ruler again, his mind feeling for her own. He beckoned her to accompany him, a hand on his shoulder or atop his back, he did not mind either. Quietly he padded down the street, allowing the force flow outwards, feeling for those within. Where he felt need, they would stop, a gift from an earlier time, regurgitating within his maw. Gingerly he would deposit it at an open windowsill or within the shadows of a doorway.  
 

From house to house they moved, the goodness of the living force radiating from them as they sought to meet the needs of the many. Stopping at a dilapidated home, the creature craned his head to look at the queen. In a world of loss and need, even this structure stood out like a beacon of need. One did   not need the force to see the need here. Indications of numerous children existed everywhere. The door barely remained on it’s hinges. Windows were cracked and some even missing. A corner of the building had been rebuilt with scavenged planks; even now rubbish piling up against it.

 

Pawing at a piece of metal in the dirt of the ground, Frond unearthed and flipped a metal sign. In the dim light from a wall-mounted glowstick down the street the sign read ‘LITTLE REBELS ORPHANAGE a home for those abandoned by the ravages of war”

 

”Saplings need water; in the desert, rain is scarce; a bucket, a friend.” Frond spoke, his mind pressing in on the queen’s. He did not know her. She did not know him. Yet they were united under the causes of goodness and compassion. In this, he invited Namari to take a turn, to take that which she had been given and to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. A low mewling pleading growl punctured Frond’s point, spilling from his wooden maw.  That which they had was fleeting. It meant nothing; but it could be used for eternal good, to wrest the cosmic balance back from the deepest darknesses that lurked in every man.

 

They were a long ways from Frond’s growing spot and the first lights of the sunrise were just starting to graze the horizon; their pale glow against the smoggy sky radiating above the jutting buildings that surrounded the rundown orphanage. 

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Ann held the crudely manufactured sign and ran a finger over the eroded lettering. It was strange to find such a thing here, in the deepest slums of the arcology world. The slums that had once been occupied by spice dealers and slavers, were now occupied with the poor and sick, living off the refuse of the upper class. Not to say that the rebellion and the imperial remnant that ran the world were doing a bad job, but what could you do? Tens of thousands of refugees arrived every week, speaking in hushed tones of some world a dozen lightyears away being laid to waste, or its inhabitants purged, enslaved and starving. Naboo had been such a world. But so few of them had gotten off world. Only a thousand or so were all that remained of her domain. 

 

But they still had the royal treasury, and as she propped the sign against the eroding permacrete wall, she decided she would use those funds for this. To help the poor when they could. For even if Naboo were restored, they would just replace her in the next general election. It was time for her and her alone to make an impact. Before the opportunity slipped through her fingers. 

 

“How do we start?” 

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The maw of the creature-formed Frond twisted into a toothy smile of wooden teeth as he looked at the queen. This place held a glimmer of hope amongst the hopelessness that seemed to radiate from it’s very porous walls. His eyes glimmered with hope. 
 

Raising up on his hind legs, Frond twisted unnaturally towards the sky, a flash of yellow light and a wooded crack piercing the night for but an instant. Standing where the wooden creature had been, now stood a towering (8 feet) tall humanoid. It was if he had grown from the viney and trunks and tendrils of trees. Garbed in all the splendor of nature.

 

Turning to the queen, Frond smiled widely, exuding a sense of peace towards her as he extended a hand to the queen. He reached out to gently take her hand, turning it so her palm lay upwards in his own smooth woody tendrils. With another limb, Frond reached into a deep scarred rift in his chest and removed a prepackaged can of Salthia Bean Paste. He pressed it into her hand as he whispered, his voice carrying to her ears for the first time since they met. “Give.”

 

Frond smiled at Ann. He could see the pain such a sight pressed against her. He could feel her desire to help. He knew that he alone could not care for everyone in need. He had nothing; serving only as a pass through for the generosity of neighbors for neighbors. But from those who had excess, he welcomed them to care for they that did not even have necessity. It was up to this girl to decide what she did from here. Each soul was responsible for its own place in eternity.

 

Taking his eyes off of the queen, Frond glanced towards the brightening pre-sunrise sky. 
 

“Sunset brings the night; mystery thrives in shadow; sunrise purifies” he spoke, gesturing back the way they had come. They had cone far depositing gifts through the night, but now Frond needed to return before the waking of the townspeople stirred alarm at the mysterious giving tree’s disappearance. 
 

Turning, Frond squeezed Namari’s hand before letting go. “Tonight?” he sighed, before shuffling away as quickly and quietly as he could. 

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Red and Black within range of major Sith fleet elements. Attack is expected. Fortify shipping approaches to Red and Black with utmost dispatch. See Attachment 6: schematics for kinetic-kill weapon for use in orbital debris fields. Do not bring Fidelity into the system.

 

“Fixed fortifications...” are a monument to the stupidity of man, went the rest of the quote. In all of Slaughter’s history in the armed forces of the republic, from his time as a simple line soldier to his present position as the commander of multiple fleet elements, he had never had the misfortune to be tasked with preparing fortifications. Those were waste of time and resources that could be better spent preparing for a decisive assault, his training  as a Talon claimed taught him. It was better to go on the offensive--even to live off the land in enemy-held territory--than to passively wait to be attacked on a location that was critical to the war effort.

 

However, judging from the schematics that had been sent from the office of the Jedi Grandmaster, not all of the fortifications were strictly immobile.

 

The Majestic-class Heavy Cruiser Kalidor lumbered out of the drydocks of Nar Shaddaa SpaceWorks, flanked on all sides by an entourage of smaller vessels. Most of them were small Corellian vessels, such as the speedy, cylindrical DP20 Frigates that were so valuable as anti-starfighter supports, but in this instance their size--or lack thereof--and speed would make them more survivable in the debris fields than the other ships in the squadron. Aside from Kalidor, the largest ship in the squadron was the ancient Carrack-class Light Cruisers Breachmaker and Vigilant. The latter might have been part of the reserve fleets that drove Grievous away from Coruscant, judging from the kill insignia on her broadside.

 

At the end of the careers of those two venerable  cruisers, they had been utterly gutted: stripped of all but the most essential crew. The remainder of both ships--including their TIE racks and a number of jury-rigged arrays that trailed from their flanks like tentacles--were occupied solely by a prodigious cargo of space mines.

 

“Take us out, Lieutenant, one quarter forward until we clear the docks. Signal the corvettes that they are free to send out their engineers as they see fit.” Flanked by the boxy Vigilant and Breachmaker, the Heavy Cruiser lumbered out into the moon’s crowded spacelanes. Once in position, the three larger ships began to release their cargo of mines. It would be a relatively standard mixture: a blend of contact-fused, proximity-fused, as well as a small number of the more modern models that were armed with a laser cannon. 


The smaller ships braved the unpredictable debris fields that littered portions of the moon’s orbit, further contributing to the hazards with proximity-fused mines. The more perilous obstacle that they left behind, however, would be the modifications that the Alliance’s ever-resourceful and enthusiastic engineers made to some of the larger pieces of ship debris. Illuminated by clouds of searchlamps, the lights on their own suits, and the sparks issuing from their tools, these engineers faced one of the most dangerous assignments that had ever been entrusted to a combat engineer: to work in null-gravity, in a debris field, and with improvised equipment and ad hoc schematics.

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Frond shuffled quietly back to his perch in the dilapidated city square as the first rays of sunlight began to trickle in from above. The long shadows of sunrise blanketed the world in starkly differentiating patterns of grays and purples, yellows and reds. Amongst that, a sharp crack echoed down the empty streets and in a flash of yellow light, a light that was lost in the rays of the sun, Frond transformed. The Neti’s body twisted and arced growing upwards and outwards, 30 feet in each direction, until his foliage reached towards the sky and encompassed the better part of the intersection. 
 

Here the ancient being stood, in the rapidly warming air of the day, an aura of peace radiating outwards. A new day had began and soon enough the waking people were discovering the blessings of Anne and his own nighttime handiwork, blessed in their times of need. He basked in it. With the newness of day came the freshness of rest and the hope of a future. Soon enough, as denizens began to shuffle to work and children to school, they stopped beneath the heavy fronds of his canopy. Some left gifts in his emptied crevasses,  others simply ran a hand down his smooth barky exterior in silent thanks. 
 

Frond exhaled, a directionless breeze flicking and flittering his foliage in gentle symphony. He was at peace.

 

He remained as such as the day wore on, exuding peacefulness to all that passed. Yet something different wafted on the air. With each hurried passerby or marching column of soldiers; every speeder that whizzed by in the distance and craft that glode overhead, it seemed to grow microscopically, as if carried on the very breath of this bastion moon. Something was afoot. Tension raised. It was the beginning of unseen preparations for an unknown but suspected act. The world itself seemed to brace itself as the denizens made their preparations. On a stronghold such as this, war was always on the air, it permeated all that took place; but now, it was as if that everpresent lurking truth had been thrust to the forefront. It even rippled oh so delicately on the force, for those that took the time to watch it. Beyond Shadows, Frond had seen something of the sort centered on this world, these people. It was what had drawn him to this very spot, anchored to the world itself. He did not know what was coming, but he felt it. A surge of suffering to tear not just the insignificant physical world, but one that rippled upon the waves of the eternal force.


 

With this fresh in mind, and never one to jump brashly, Frond finally knew what it was he had to do. So, that night, when the sun had set, the aged seer transformed once again. Only this time, he did not shuffle through the streets leaving gifts. No, this time, Frond directed himself towards the Rebel and Jedi bade that occupied this world. If such a force was coming so as to tear at the very fabrics of truth, he would do what was needed of him. Frond was no longer a Jedi, in truth, he really never truly was; and yet, it was to the Jedi that he would go, would they have him. The people he had taken to looming after would need him in a way more tangible than ever. He would see to it that he was there for them. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sitting atop the cockpit of the Bleached Mynock, Scorpio gazed toward the rising sun coming around Nal Hutta as he chewed upon the Maraffa twig that sat upon his lips. It didn't feel so long ago that he was last here with members of the Luka Sene and Armiena's Mother and Padawan in tow. And yet, even if it hadn't been as long as it was, so many things had changed. Alpheridies was a distant memory, the loss of Railyn's mother still an echo within his heart. And thanks to Anakin, his soul was whole again, no longer a puppet of the Spider's web. Shifting his gaze through the glass below, he spied Railyn shifting in the seat next to the controls as he watched her attentively to see if she was waking, but saw no affirmation. So he continued chewing upon the supple sap from within the twig.

 

Sleep was a luxury he rarely experienced lately, too many memories that prayed upon his mind. He remembered his death at Onderon, he knew the vile things he had partook in as a shambled corpse under the Spider, and then there was the memories of Anakin that played their part. His darker half searching for a way to bind them back together, his life without his ability to touch the Force, the love he had developed for Delilah and the pain of losing her and the pride he felt as a father. But as Scorpio, being whole again, there was awkward moments where even the slightest of feelings felt so false. Even as he checked his daughter out of love, it sometimes felt that it was not his own. He even thought of leaving the girl on Alpheridies with her kind, but could not bare to part with her. It was a strange feeling to say the least.

 

And then there was they're departure from Alpheridies and the Luka Sene, as bittersweet as it was. Scorpio had always been a Jedi, had always faced Wars and Struggles for the sake of others. And Anakin, though worked well in groups and could lay roots, had always been a Sith at heart. Even as he sought to restore him and Scorpio, deep down he also sought to usurp the Miralukians of Alpheridies through the Luka Sene. Scorpio could not, in good conscious, remain after. So he instead chose to travel a pilgrim's path across the Galaxy, to understand what Damon had actually created in them and what it meant within the Force. 

 

And here he was at Nar Shadaa, the once vibrant hive of villainy and scum, a place where for millenia, Jedi often sought to disappear and understand their purpose behind it and how they managed to achieve such a goal. Opening his mind completely to the Flow of the Force, he traveled upon its natural course across the cityscape and beneath, feeling the overbearing noise of life packed so tightly within it's atmosphere. And as he did, familiar and new presences surrounded his own as he traveled the globe telepathically. He opened his eyes as Railyn began to cry. Tossing the Maraffa Twig aside, he slide down the face of the cockpit with a sturdy landing, before he ran up the ramp inside. Finding her still asleep, he smirked. Night terrors were a commonplace for someone of her age, and despite his inability to connect with this child, he was quick to rush to her side.

 

Walking back outside, he gazed toward the east where he felt the familiar presences within the confines of the Imperial Headquarters. Just perhaps, he may pop in his head, if only to see old faces and some new.

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scorpio.png.f3af7b38a7a0c45d85e8fcaea6d40d45.pngScorpio Armegedon

You heard it too, didn't you? The Insatiable Hunger of the Saber.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Frond took a seemingly meandering but decidedly direct path out of the Rebel stronghold and back into the city at large. There, he was just another of the meandering masses, albeit an odd one. He moved as one with little purpose but the grand mysterious guidance of someone or something unseen; and yet, Frond knew where he was going. Turning left, then right, then left again, he continued on, sure of his own path. He came to what seemed to be a trash-strewn alleyway that curved into shadow. Shuffling down it, Frond reached an askew manhole cover. Kicking it aside, the tree being’s body writhed and shifted as he fit his hefty frame down into the stinking sewers below.

 

Even here, one was not entirely sure of being alone. Criminals roved these underground highways of filth, even here. The old ways lived on in shadow.

 

Frond waded waist deep through the stink and filth. It did not bother him. His body relished in the nourishment contained within. Frond moved until he found a ledge deeper in. He pulled himself up on it, clear of the muck, and into the thin rays of broken light that shone down from a small drainage grate above.

 

Reaching into his opening knothole, Frond removed the smooth wooden case. He felt it’s weight in his tangled hand. The protective layer inside contained the force powers of the dark tools within.

 

In one hand, Frond held the holocron, in the other, the case of darkmetal sabers and mask. With a sigh that ruffled his leaves, Frond set the holocron before him. He needed a lightsaber. Maybe these would fit the bill, tinged as they were. Holding the case in both hands, the Neti gingerly opened the lid.

 

He felt the glow of dark energy wash over him like a warm wind. A familiar old friend that greeted him with warmth. A warmth that brought a smile to Frond’s face. He was wiser this time. He would overcome. These weapons were merely saturated in darkness, his last one had been formed from it without  blemish or watering down.

 

Setting the open case down beside the holocron, Frond reached for the duo of matching hilts. His viney fingers encircled the weapons. They were cold to his touch, sapping the heat and energy from his palms. Frond inhaled sharply at the draw of energy before he lifted the hilts and activated the blades. Immediately a pair of crimson beams speared into the heavy dark air and Frond’s face twisted as the darkmetal blades’ draw increased tenfold. Frond opened his mind to the force, pulling it from around him to feed the call of the blades. They cried for destruction and Frond wanted to give in to their desires. He reached out, his mind touching the life forces of the small creatures that filled these sewers, he drew from their power, feeding it through his viney wooden limbs. He felt alive, young, and ready for anything.

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Away from the Imperial Headquarters, Scorpio continued his path of self reflectance. For someone who wielded the Force but was neither Jedi nor Sith, there was little option or fold to consider. Even more so for one who was plagued with the personalities of both. Anakin and Scorpio, Scorpio and Anakin. Yin and Yang, Yang and Yin. The Light and the Darkness, the Darkness and the Light. Where one soul should exist, two halves made a singular imitation of a whole. That was the curse he carried, and the burden that was forced upon him. One without the other could never exist long.

 

So where did they belong? Where did one such as Scorpio call home? Amongst the Jedi, he was corrupted, tainted. Among the Imperial Knights, he was an abomination. And amongst the Sith, he was weakness. To all, he was foul. Beginning to hear Railyn stir, he shuffled the carrier forward and placed it upon the ground, her gaze shifting up forward to him with a smile as his gazeet hers with distance and coldness. She may have been of his loins, but she was still Anakin's creation, forged from his mingling with the Luka Sene while he searched for a way to bring Scorpio back from the realm of Chaos after his death at Onderon. As much as he wanted to care, it felt unnatural.

 

"Dada" She spoke, her word jumbled by the inability to coherently concentrate on words, more mimicry than thought process. And yet, it still stung, it's tug at his heart. Grabbing one of her toys from the carrier, he gave it to her before placing the carrier to his front. Pulling a nutritional bar from his own satchel, he continued his journey as she knawed and nibbled on the bar during their trek, a constant giggle or laughter intermediately.

 

"You're a pain in my arse, you know that?" He caught himself saying to her as the bar began to become slug as it rolled down and across his fingers. "I have half a mind to leave you at a local orphanage."

 

Her gaze shifted up toward his own, an almost knowingly look in her eyes and the audacity he held for saying such a thing as her lip began to pucker up. "Pain in my arse, no, Dada."

 

Scorpio had to force himself both from holding back a fit of laughter and the shame he held that she had repeated him. She was beginning to reach that age where children began to repeat what was heard and their concept of understanding. So much so, that he failed to react properly as a speeder clipped his side as it whizzed by with two Imperial speeder bikes in hot persuit. Before he knew it, both he and Railyn were over the railing and falling into the depths of Nar Shadaa rather fast. His presence and moment of being caught off guard sent out a powerful presence of fear that vibrated violently across the area. @Frond

 

Collecting himself and making sure that Railyn was still within his embrace, Scorpio pulled upon the Force to correct his trajectory. Nar Shadaa, like Coruscant, was a planet wide metropolis that had been built atop others over the millenia of it's existence and it was said one could fall for hours and still not see it's surface. That was something he'd rather avoid. With Railyn close to his chest, he reached around her and grasped his blade, unlocking it, and bringing it forth as their momentum began to hasten. There wasn't a moment to lose and most had already been lost. It was now or never.

 

Forcing his Cyan blade active, he drove it into the siding of the older spires. He could feel his shoulder disconnect from it's socket, but held onto the blade without mercy. Sparks and molten metal flew from it's slice as Scorpio used their momentum to drive the active blade in further and slow their descent as best he could, until there in a moment of luck, a ledge was found a few meters below them. Or rather, the remnants of a landing pad to be precise. Swinging his legs forward as he fought back the pain, Scorpio deactivated his blade, placing his form into a spin towards the ledge, and in a last ditch effort, reactivating it and plunging it back into the spire in attempt to direct them toward it.

 

Moments later, Scorpio laid in pain that was only outvoiced by the wailing of a fearful Railyn as she laid across his chest, Scorpio still holding tight his saber as he laid both in exhaustion and in pain as he forced himself upright and pulled himself away from the ledge's edge and against the blast doors. Checking on Railyn, Scorpio could only sush the girl as he fought against his own pain and feel the rage of his inadequacy for not having paid more attention to his surroundings in the first place.

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scorpio.png.f3af7b38a7a0c45d85e8fcaea6d40d45.pngScorpio Armegedon

You heard it too, didn't you? The Insatiable Hunger of the Saber.

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Frond sat in the dark glow of the duel sabers, his mind extended outwards enveloping the world about him and drawing on it for several minutes. It would have been longer but a sudden jolt of fear arced like a bolt of lightning across his senses. Opening his eyes, the Mind Walker powered down the blades. He felt their hunger fade to a faint tug, like a constant twitch. It was there, but could be ignored with ease. And still, the stabbing bolt of fear lingered.

 

With deft mind work, Frond sought to follow it, concerned that one of his wards had fallen into a quandary that needed immediate intervention. What he felt at the end was something different entirely. It was a being, no two, connected as he to the force behind the veil of this physical world. What more, this being seemed to carry a light and void within his countenance. Could it be? Another seeker of the cosmic balance called to this world by the will of the force itself? Frond was intrigued.

 

Grabbing up the holocron and sabers, Frond tucked them into a knothole, sealing them within his thick wooden frame. He then picked up the mask. Staring at the visage it contained, he could not help but see Aidan’s face materialize across the metal surface. Was this what they had arrested him for? Was this why he was imprisoned even now?

 

Frond shook his head. He did not know. What he did know was that to possess such items as a Jedi, and so he guessed even more so a Knight, was not good. He recalled his own dark weapon and the response he had received for it on Ossus. Aidan had helped him then, and so, now Frond would return the favor.

Taking the mask, Frond hurled it into the darkness of the sewers where it landed with a splatter and sank beneath the caustic muck of the city itself. 
 

Frond then set off the opposite way, back the way he had come; following the glowing silvery tendril of whoever’s fear had jolted him back to this world. He would find this one.

 

Back up and out of the sewer the tree-man shimmied. Along the streets he walked with purpose, his eyes darting to and fro. He did not stop until he was staring straight up a spire that shot up into the sky. He could sense the presence above. 
 

With a flash of bright yellow light and a loud wooden crack, the humanoid vanished, a large willowy tree taking it’s place; his long viney black-leafed tendrils swaying with the sudden change. Thirty feet into the air the tree stretched and suddenly he was beside the kedge that held the presence and . . . a baby? A potential liability to be dealt with later. For now, his limbs creaked and moved as if pressed by a nonexistent wind, reaching out for the pair, beckoning them to climb amongst his branches downwards to safety. On those same reaching branches, a presence called on the force,  “A flake on the wind, snow falls lost to forever, it remains alone.”

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In the underbelly of an older Nar Shadaa where life rarely wondered, Scorpio sat in a brief moment of humbled silence upon a ledge that had seen better days, perhaps eras. Railyn wailed like a spirit of millenia past from below and only her cries could be heard by the spirits that still lingered as her father sat in place with a bite in his mouth before he rotated his arm back into place despite the pain and anguish of his torn ligaments that threatened to usher in an unconscious darkness.

 

A large scream erupted from below as it drowned out against the life of above before silence once again set in and Scorpio grabbed at Railyn to comfort the fear filled child and let her see that everything was okay. He may have been a distant father, but he wasn't a cruel one. Shifting his gaze about, he noticed a lower level where life once flourished as it did meters above, a hymn reverberating from his lips as he rocked back and forth with thoughts of potential escape routes dancing across his mind.

 

Thirty feet was not that far down, but with Railyn in hysterics, he would not test her mentality. Nor was he sure the grates could even still support the weight of life after such a time. So, for the moment, all either could do would be to sit in the silence of the dead and take in the calming serenity. At least, until either a safer way was found, or Railyn calmed down. He had questioned the blast door behind him, but the welds spoke otherwise, sealing away whatever memories it once held.

 

Then a flash and a voice presented an opportunity, one Scorpio hadn't counted nor imagined. A Neti alive and well, in the flesh so to speak, upon the Smuggler's Moon. And Scorpio wouldn't look a gift kath in the mouth. As a Padawan, he had came across their description in the holovids of the Eternal Vigilance, and knew most of the ilk were of a pacifist nature, in tune with the Flow and Life and nature as they were born from it. But he never guessed he'd ever get to meet one, let alone be saved by one.

 

Climbing aboard the tree's branches, he felt himself being lowered to the walkways below and onto a somewhat more sturdy footing. With a bow, he spoke to the creature and offered it his thanks.

 

"I thank you Neti." His voice still echoed his pain, but there was grace in it as well as Railyn played with the dancing leaves of it willowed vines. "Deeply."

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scorpio.png.f3af7b38a7a0c45d85e8fcaea6d40d45.pngScorpio Armegedon

You heard it too, didn't you? The Insatiable Hunger of the Saber.

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Lowering the man and child to the ground, Frond passed them from viney ensnaring tendril to tendril until they touched the ground.

 

With a blinding yellow flash and a loud cracking of wood, the tree vanished leaving a hunched thick wooden being in it’s place. He still towered over the other man, his glistening black cloak of leaves fluttering at his back about his shoulders. Canting his head, Frond regarded the two before him. Slowly he blinked feeling the two out in the force; annoyed by the child’s whimpering cries. “The scales of justice,” Frond spoke holding out two gnarled wooden hands equally before him with his palms up, “perfectly balanced by fate,” he wavered both hands up and down regarding each with his eyes before turning his attention back to Scorpio and his child, before continuing, clasping his right hand over his open left hand against his chest; “both sides must be here.” Frond had felt the darkness and light in the man he regarded. To forgo one against the other invited ruin and sought to shift the momentum of the force itself; the only true entity of this illusionary existence.

 

“Wind called from beyond,” he gestured to the sky and the horizon beyond sight, “flocks follow preordained courses,” the Neti’s hand traced a zigzagging path across the sky zeroing down to the ground at their feet, “called here by the force.” Frond’s eyes followed his hands before stopping, looking to Scorpio as if seeking confirmation that he too was called to this place by the will of the force. Frond was a seer and he traced the trails and tendrils of he force across the cosmos. It was part of his millennia as a Mind Walker, and his connection with the younger force users of this reality was sometimes lacking. If he could see these deep truths and branching futures, why couldn't anyone else who touched the force?

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Scorpio listened attentively as the Neti spoke, coddling young Railyn against his chest with his good arm and he rocked her in a hushing motion. It's pattern of speech was odd to the former Knight, but it came across clear as cryptic as it was, Scorpio turning his gaze almost shamefully as the creature spoke of balance within the Force. Looking down to the settling Railyn as she began to suckle on her thumb, He kissed her forehead in an effort to let her know that it was okay.

 

"I am one half of two souls, of light and of dark." Scorpio began when the Neti had finished, the echo of his burdened belief apparent in his speech. "We exist within this form, but are not complete, separate, cut in two by the curse of a Sith's blade. I wouldn't say that we are balanced by fate, only by need."

 

Neti we're know to live very long lives, some could live nearly indefinitely with the right training under the right circumstances. He once heard of one who lived well past venerability by hibernating in a trance upon a world strong in the Force. And as he gazed back into the eyes of the Neti before him, he couldn't help but feel a wisdom that was well beyond his own years, perhaps even a kinship as he noticed the sabers which it held as it's dark taint pulled upon the flow of Nar Shadaa's life stream.

 

"Perhaps I was called here." Scorpio replied in response to the Neti's questioning as his gaze shifted from the sabers back to the Neti before him. "There are no coincidences in life, only fate and destiny, whether we can discern the reasons or not. Nar Shadaa has beckoned me quite alot since Coruscant fell to the turmoil of Power, the war of the Sith and Mandalorians that followed the stagnation of the Republic, and I have beckoned it's call numerous times since it's destruction."

 

There was truth in his words as he spoke them, unbridled by hesitation and restraint. After all, the Neti had saved his life and the life of his child, and despite his feelings toward Railyn and the distance at which he held her, her life was still precious to him. So he answered wholeheartedly and honest, giving the creature what many would call the whole truth. For Nar Shadaa had become a Haven for those like himself, if only for a time. And as of lately, he had many reasons to come to Nar Shadaa, the last of which being the Jedi Padawan, now Knight, Genesis Stormhelm. And now here he stood again amidst it's city wide metropolis as a renegade, an abomination, unwanted by all because of his broken soul.

 

But now, with the Neti before him, his attention grew toward the call of the Force. Perhaps this is why he came here, not for salvation like attempted to find within the Rebellion, but for this moment, here.

 

"Forgive my manners." He spoke, Railyn's head buried into his chin as she grew quiet and allowed her dreams to dance in the silence of her wails. "I am Scorpio Armegedon, Exiled Jedi Knight."

 

scorpio.png.f3af7b38a7a0c45d85e8fcaea6d40d45.pngScorpio Armegedon

You heard it too, didn't you? The Insatiable Hunger of the Saber.

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Frond took the man’s words in stride. He did not move as he watched Scorpio speak. He did not even blink. Like an ancient tree rooted against the changes of the world about him, he stood.  As the man introduced himself, Frond’s face twisted into a smile. His arm creaked as the Neti placed a single gnarled knuckled vined finger against his chest. “Frond.”
 

Frond’s eyes narrowed as his gaze shifted to the child, his mind turning to the visions of the future that captivated his waking thoughts. He wondered why the child existed; why she was here, in this place, with the tempest that brewed ever closer on the horizon. “The storm gathers nigh, leaves atree or free are lost, what must be done, will.” Frond’s inner eyes flashed to the chaotic gale that he had seen Beyond Shadows. He felt the winds buffet his very soul and saw the force itself torn asunder. His entire body tensed, creaking as if buffeted within a gale. He had been called to this world, to stand against the Jedi and Sith alike who would rend the force like a rag in their questing for their monastic and Imperialistic ideal.
 

The force was all that mattered.

 

Edited by Frond
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Scorpio bowed his head in response to the Neti's naming himself, a symbolistic ritual of mutual respect and acknowledgement for those whom have walked the path of Jedi as he watched the Neti within their interactions. There were indeed hints of wisdom and knowledge within the beings movements, as well as his speech and his presence within the Force. But what truly pulled at Scorpio was the kinship of light and dark, the duality of the Living Force, only one other ever having presented the same understanding. And he watched the Jedi die at Onderon just before his own.

 

"I can feel the approaching storm as well, it's grasp tugging at me and threatening to tear my souls apart." Scorpio replied to Frond, the chaos of the ensuing war echoing ripples through the currents that breath life into the Galaxy. "Unnecessary lives will be lost and Nar Shadaa will become a wound upon the Force. It cannot be stopped."

 

There was sorrow in Scorpio's eyes when he spoke this to Frond and it lingered even after amidst the silence of the moment. The Force echoed of many recent wounds that had grew infected and festered, and in its ripples, Nar Shadaa had became a beacon of their intersection. He felt this when he first stepped upon Nar Shadaa upon his return and it left him feeling hopeless, even as he sought refuge for both he and Railyn from it's plight.

 

Only now, before the Neti he gazed upon, had he felt a semblance of hope upon the walkways of Nar Shadaa. And amongst that very feeling, peace. This left an unspoken question with Scorpio's mind.

 

"Do you plan to fight what cannot be stopped?"

 

scorpio.png.f3af7b38a7a0c45d85e8fcaea6d40d45.pngScorpio Armegedon

You heard it too, didn't you? The Insatiable Hunger of the Saber.

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Frond’s face creeked as it creaked into a warm smile. Here was one who understood; but even then, he, like Frond, was limited by their very existence.

 

With an inhale, Frond closed his eyes, dampening his very essence against the backdrop of the all-encompassing noise of the force that echoed across the galaxy. The dark hunger of the sabers he bore shone more clearly against the haze and he melded into the intricate geometries. He felt the tangle of countless emotions, of worlds and star systems, of the crashing and receding flow of powers above and beyond the mortal coil, the will of the force. He was insignificant, yet he was here, bound upon this mortal coil.

 

He pondered Scorpio’s words before he spoke, each word drawn out, slow, and pondered. “Many lives will be lost. The force itself churned anew. We will stand against.” He allowed his presence to surge back out, blanketing the area in a mystical heavy aura of peace and comfort. “The future flexes. Three souls intertwined are strong. Sabers in defense.” His words were a question within a statement. Alongside Scorpio’s split soul, Frond was willing to stand; to face off against the churning onslaught of the dark side that even now was lapping at their doorstep.

 

Turning his attention towards the child, Frond regarded the young humanoid for a moment before speaking again; “The wind blows cold, death.” He shook his head, his aura douring at the idea that formed in his mind. “A divided mind is weak.” He ran his hand across his chest before reaching out to touch Scorpio’s, feeling the warmth of the man in his viney tendrilled hand. He urged a comforting soothing warmth to flow from he to him. “We will defend this.” 
 

Moving his hand down to Scorpio’s, Frond grasped it firmly and began to shuffle deeper into the shadowed cityscape. He pulled the once-Jedi, once-Sith, now both and neither, man after him. Through the winding streets, beyond ghettos and slums, the hidden face of the world they now trod, Frond moved.

 

The sun set beyond the spires in the distance as the run down villagescape of this reach of the planet fell under the rising stars. This was where Frond had stood since he came to the world. This was where Frond had cast his shadow on the force itself, a protective warming shield over the small people who struggled to eek out a living. Stopping in the very intersecting clearing where he had stood a weeping tree, he offered a warm smile of positivity. These were the people he had come to protect; their  existence the thread that kept the force from being torn into the void.

 

Frond gestured to Scorpio’s child, warmth exuding from his every pore. “Sheltered by shadow. Protected from Death’s cold touch. Stones shielding your child.” His offer was a simple one. The people he had protected, would protect this child. He had felt their desires, their needs. Frond knew this community, these people; their hearts and minds. He knew who would cherish this child for days, months or years, who would protect it. All Scorpio needed to do was give the child to Frond. He held out his arms.

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Terra slipped a hand into one of the pockets of her black duster, feeling with shaking hands for the vial that should have been there, but hadn’t been, time and time again. Her lungs felt more filled with tar than air, each breath a gasping, ragged thing. She hadn’t told anyone where she had gone, and that had been a week ago now, or more. There just hadn’t been anyone to tell.

 

The Mandalorian had gone a week without talking again, consumed by the sickening blackness that circled within her mind. She stepped to the edge of the passenger causeway, folding her head on her dirt-stained hands, staring into the swirling traffic below, a stark pattern that reminded her of Hyperspace. Her comrades were all but dead, her Black-Guard slain by the Sith Master Qaela, the rest folded into the ranks of an Empire she barely supported. There they had found life again, and she had let them go, joyful in the moment to see them find a purpose. Now she was despairing. Envious of what they had gained and jealous of what she had lost.

 

Reports had filtered to her of a New Mandalore in the Sith Empire, Tros Ardell. Terra stared at the dirt that had stained the underside of her nails. Dirt or dust or spice. She bit at one of them in hope, but tasted only dried blood.

 

He can take the blasted thing.

 

It had brought her nothing but sorrow. Loss. Failure heaped on failure. Nothing had cut through it, not after Mon Cal. She had slipped, slowly at first into despair but now she was tumbling in freefall. No upper or downer had cut into it. No whisky had expunged it. No tearing needle had drained it away. She stared down, down into the depths, and simply breathed in the air of a crumbling city. Lost.

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To the Death...

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Scorpio gazed from beneath the conical hat toward the gathering crowd and then upward toward the towering Neti. He could feel the intent and the warmth of the moment, but all Scorpio could offer in return was a shake of the head. Nar Shadaa wasn't to be his fight. There were others, more present beings within the Force that had been chosen for this fight. But he had not been one of those. Fate had chosen a different path for him, and the Force echoed this intent as it swirled around and through them.

 

"The Force didn't call me here to... fight." Scorpio replied with reluctance as his gaze met that of the Neti's. "It called me here for aid, to rescue the innocent caught within the path of the Sith War Machine. If my blade is called to action, it will be in defense of them."

 

Scorpio pointed toward those who had gathered, the potential victims and casualties of the razing darkness that swept across the Galaxy from the Core. It was not his place to fight a war he held no stakes in, nor was it in him to raise his blade in combat. For even as he stood there, the Force contained within it's crystal held malice. It was a mimicry of his days before, when he walked paths of war and rebellion. It was corrupt and tainted, it's cry for blood and death echoing within it's sheath. It had been his blade since his Knighting and carried on into his Lordship. Now it was an instrument of contradiction, an aggressive blade forged from war only to be used to defend.

 

"If you choose to fight for the Matriarch of the Rebellion, I can help to the best of my ability," Scorpio spoke as he turned back to Frond. "But I cannot. I am an outlaw, unwanted. I understand their needs, but they will never accept my existence, let alone my blade."

 

He shifted his gaze back to the fearful and despaired.

 

"But it doesn't mean that I can't help those who need it. I have a ship large enough to handle refugees, and I have skills that could be of use." 

 

Scorpio gazed at the Neti and felt the call of the Sith sabers.

 

"Especially when it comes to the Darkside."

 

scorpio.png.f3af7b38a7a0c45d85e8fcaea6d40d45.pngScorpio Armegedon

You heard it too, didn't you? The Insatiable Hunger of the Saber.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Frond stared at Scorpio intently. He did not intend to fight for the Rebellion or for any political cause. His goal was simpler and more grand. He was a servant of the force as he understood Scorpio to be. The Neti extended his hands outward as if to encompass the gathering of people that were coming and going, seeing the strange duo amongst them where the Tree of Giving had stood for many months. “Leaves bound to the branch,“ his eyes turned to them and back to Scorpio before looking downward. Squatting he ran his hand over the worn roadway and the dust and dirt gathered atop it over the centuries. branches affixed to the trunk”. Looking back up to Scorpio he concluded, understanding them to be bound by the same calling even if they came to it differently, “rooted in the force”.

 

Frond shook his head remorsefully as he patted the sealed knot where the dark-tinged sabers rested. They were a curse he would bear until the the time was right to give them up. He had spent time with those who followed the light. He tasted the insatiable hunger of the darkness and the call to at ensnared those who craved it. He would not be bound to or by either.   

 

With creaking limbs Frond stood slowly back to his full height to regard the clouded sky of daylight overhead. As he looked overhead he spoke again, “day, night, bound as one”. He clasped his tendrilled hands together as if to emphasize his point. “The force is the same as this; it calls me to stand. Shattered and stagnate;” Frond spoke of his concerns that could be wrought upon the very aspect of the force by those gifted enough, those real enough to touch it. Those meant to serve it but strayed by their own ideals. “Ideals to manipulate.”

 

”To serve and maintain.” Frond tapped his chest. He would stand and fight for the people, for the force. He would protect them. In doing so, he would protect the force. He could not standby and allow the force to stagnate as an untouched pool; nor could he stand aside and allow it to be torn asunder. It was the latter that he had seen in his visions. Upon Nar Shaddaa, the force would be strained. It could be torn if what was to come was not stopped. It was that he had to stand against and which he invited Scorpio to stand beside him for. To ferry lives away would be a start, but there was no way all of these could be rescued. Someone would need to stand between them and their ravagers of the dark side. He hoped that Scorpio would understand this. They were kindred in their outlooks and ideal. Frond only hoped that Scorpio would step beyond the politicking of the galaxy and embrace the will of the force itself. He looked at Scorpio’s child, his heart longing to see that the child, like all others, be protected from the coming apocalypse. 
 

Frond turned his eyes up towards Scorpio, his face serious and his look longing. He needn’t speak to communicate the seriousness of his request. One could save the child and few of the many, or they could together risk it all together, for the greater good of the force and by such the majority of those who had taken refuge upon this planet.

 

Frond extended a hand to Scorpio, hoping that he would take it and join him against the gathering storm. His face twisted into a smile. A warmth emanated from his very core. It was tangible to those nearby as their demeanors lightened and smiles spread across their faces.

 

He invited Scorpio to again reconsider and embrace the force over his own desires.

Edited by Frond
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Scorpio stood there in an encombered silence, the weight heavy in what Frond was asking of him. Even as he placed his hand upon the hilt of his saber, his hand shook with reluctance. And it echoed, the malice intent of the Saber, the crystal within calling for blood, death, destruction, all things unholy. It screamed within the ripples of the Force, visions of days gone by remembered by it at the mere touch of his hand. War was it all it ever knew, and it was forged in its flames, as was it's Master.

 

Sabers forged during training are connected to their wielders. Through time and use, the bonds grow between warrior and weapon. For users of the Force, it's intensified ten fold through the crystal and application of the Force. And even though Scorpio and Anakin were once separate beings, the Saber followed both. It had been influenced by boths sides of the Force and retained it's own memory along with the memories of both. In essence, the Blade held a certain sentience to it within the Force. And Scorpio feared unleashing it.

 

And it was this that he held a reluctance to fight. To wield it meant to allow it's self a brief moment of freedom, and in that moment, influence over him. Activation was to release the warrior within himself as much as the blade. 

 

"Long have the Rebellion and their allies faced the war marches of the Sith Imperium," Scorpio began as his gaze met Frond's. "And long have their actions held consequences for the Force and those attuned. Children are drafted to replenish numbers, families are torn apart, lives and homes destroyed, and wounds are left both upon body and spirit, echoes in the Force. Action breeds reaction, and reaction breeds action. Nothing changes, and the Force suffers. Only in inaction have I found peace and tranquility after walking the path you are asking me to return to." Scorpio's gaze turned to his daughter, the consequences Frond was asking him to inflict upon her weighing upon his mind. He sighed and turned back to Frond. "I am a living testament to such wounds, as will she become if I walk this path again. Are you sure you know what you are asking to be sacrificed?"

 

Scorpio's gaze looked past Frond toward those who looked on in desperation and fear, his own clouding his judgement. He knew this. He knew he held his own reasons to hang onto peace for as long as he could. And he could still save as many as he could without the use of his blade or to march back to war. But what Frond was asking held deeper consequences. If he was to pick up his saber and take a life, hate would take root in the families of those he slay, just as it would if he chose inaction for those he could have saved. But those wouldn't be on his conscience. What Frond was asking was to place others on his conscience and for him to carry the burden of death, the burden of War.

 

And War was a tricky and slippery slope. To take a life meant you became an object of hate. To lift a blade meant you became an object of defense. To open yourself to the emotions of the moment meant you opened yourself to the unnatural. And if you saved a life, you became an object of dependence. This was why he walked away from War. This is why he chose to walk a different path. The Force is perfect within it's own path if you followed it correctly. But to use the Force in either attack or defense meant to change it's course. And in that, meant wounds that would echo for decades. This was the truth he found at Onderon.

 

If you are sure, then you will have me and my blade at your side. I will sacrifice all and carry the burden of war, but only in the name of the Force."

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scorpio.png.f3af7b38a7a0c45d85e8fcaea6d40d45.pngScorpio Armegedon

You heard it too, didn't you? The Insatiable Hunger of the Saber.

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Frond smiled. His heart longed for the path that Scorpio spoke of. To simply be, as he had for countless centuries as a Mind Walker, would be his greatest desire. It was a path he was not destined to follow. Frond was no longer a mere observer of the force, but a servant of it in all it’s facets. 
 

Frond regarded Scorpio’s child. He turned his gaze to all of those that passed about them giving them little more than a glance. “The grass of the field,” he swept a hand to encompass all of them. “Burns and no being cares plants fate.” He shook his head his expression saddening as he ground his rooted foot in the broken stone and soil that worked it’s way through. “Below is bounty.”

 

Frond sighed heavily, reaching into his chest withdrawing the darkened saber hilts. “Paths of passion, yes,” he regarded his fellow’s comments on war. He knew the toils it called for. He had watched countless conflicts from afar. The suffering was intense, regardless of side and cause. In one hand he held the weapons. In his other, he held the Darkfire holocron. He weighed them both. Both of them were “wrought by passions of men.”

 

Frond inhaled as he stared into Scorpio’s eyes, deeply. He stared as if to bypass his fellows’ surface emotions and touch him beyond his planar constraints. “The force, peace, prevails.”

 

Frond cared not for the lives of those about him. He cared not if they lived or died. He knew though that their deaths would be the catalyst by which the disciples of the dark side would seek to twist and shape the force to their will. It was that which he sought to stop, to stand in the way of. To save these lives would be to seek the preservation of the force itself in it’s cosmic entirety. Yet Frond knew that to serve the force would require sacrifice. It was one he was willing to make. To forego his mortal form was a sacrifice he had come to terms with long ago. And it was one that Scorpio now wrestled with.

 

”Blades against the storm.” He nodded, reassuring his comrade of the justness of their cause.
 

“Cords bound together are strong.” He stepped forward placing the holocron in Scorpio’s hand and then resting his viney hand on the man’s shoulder. He held the saber hilts before him. “These must become mine.” He squeezed Scorpio’s shoulder hoping the man trained by both Jedi and Sith would be able to combine his knowledge of weapon crafting with Frond’s own and that of the holocron to take the accursed sabers and shape them into a powerful weapon bound to the service of the force beyond that of the mantras of the Jedi or Sith. 

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Scorpio stood before Frond as he held the Holocron within his hand, knowledge of whom it belonged to as his presence rolled from within. With saddened eyes, he shited his arm forward and offered the device back. He was not worthy, left wanting, when it came to knowledge once held by Darkfire. For he was there when Aryian was called back to the Force and although Scorpio died, he could not follow.

 

With his free hand, it shifted down to the hilt of his blade, and with a twist, unlocked it from it's sheath. As the Force flowed through it, it's cyan blade sprung to life and hummed chaotically. It was active, it's humming reminiscent of ghostly screams. It called to the sabers that Frond held opposite of him, it's cravings for battle almost too much to restrain. This was evident in Scorpio's browed face as he scorned to outweigh it's desires. This is what Frond desired of him, and it was time to show the Mind Walker what it was he truly asked of him.

 

With Aryian's Holocron in one hand, and his blade in the other, he was off balance both visually and metaphorically as the scales of power tilted.

 

"A blade is just a weapon, nothing more, nothing less." Scorpio spoke as he divined Frond's intentions through the Force. "But a blade forged of the Force becomes sentient, aware of its self."

 

As Scorpio speaks to Frond, the weight of the blade becomes evident in his stature. A lightsaber, though significantly weightless, draws upon the will of it's user. This brings the weight of one's soul into the blade and binds the two as one. The weaker the mind, the heavier the blade becomes. Scorpio gives this demonstration by allowing the blade to prey upon his will, it's color beginning to become redder as he allows its will to overcome his own gradually, and in doing so, the scream of it's humm grows louder.

 

"Jedi nor Sith ponder upon this." Scorpio continues, allowing his arms to remain straight to visually show his meaning as the balance of the blade lowers his arm over that of the Holocron. "Conviction allows for blindness where the blade is concerned, no more than a tool to be used until it's weight becomes unbearable and too heavy, its call to battle divining one's fate."

 

But as Scorpio shifts his presence in the Force and begins pouring his will into the Force and into the blade, the arm with the blade grows lighter and begins to rise into balance. As it does, the cyan begins to return and it's humm grows quieter as it's hunger for death is silenced. 

 

"Will controls the blade and it's intent." Scorpio speaks, this time his gaze stern and prepared. With a snap and a hiss, Scorpio lowers the blade with the Force and resheaths it into it's lock as he gives back Darkfire's Holocron completely. "Either forged by Jedi, or by Sith, the hunger is always insatiable. It calls for reaping and it longs for souls. This is the curse of one's blade, just as any other weapon. And once drawn, it must have it's fill or it will consume it's wielder."

 

"To weild those blades will take more than simple will." Scorpio spoke. He had faced another with blades similar before during his time as Anakin, so he held the knowledge of what Frond requested. "It will take dominance, and unwavering conviction. Falter in any way, and it will consume your presence in the Force and leave you lacking."

 

And that was simply to cleanse them of it's previous user's own dominance over time.

 

scorpio.png.f3af7b38a7a0c45d85e8fcaea6d40d45.pngScorpio Armegedon

You heard it too, didn't you? The Insatiable Hunger of the Saber.

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