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Uriel delighted in the pork pies his host served that night. Granted, another sentient might not enjoy long pork, but Uriel's ethical references lacked certain taboos present for most others.

 

He chewed thoughtfully, savoring every moment of meat that must have been well marbled when it was prepared, unless the chef approached genius status in his cooking ability. Knowing the Hutt as well as he now did, Uriel had no doubt that both of these things were true . He briefly wondered where the meat had come from, then noticed that two of the gifts the Hutt had received were missing and knew that one of his conditions for such an excellent meal were confirmed.

 

When the Demented Madness arrived on Mechis, Uriel had waited patiently for the Hutt to descend to the planet's surface. Uriel, meanwhile, had encountered a new sensation. Through the interface that occupied the left side of his skull, he was hearing the collected whispers of a good number of droids as they communicated with each other. The situation suddenly became rife with possibilities as to what he might accomplish here. One possibility walked next to him. With so much robotic information present here, what might be done to make Marta so much more efficient.

 

Then again, that might have to wait for their Master's pleasure on this planet.

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And so it begins.

 

The entourage spilling like drool from the mouth of the slug's craft was quickly dwarfed by the army of droids accompanying the black figure that stood unwavering in the center of the hangar. He was a slice of oblivion amid a throng of activity, a tear in reality itself. His stare was palpable even with the raven hood shielding his eyes. Monstrosity. Menace.

 

Master

 

Despite the fact that he had seen both of these sentients before, now was the time when the enormity of his undertaking became focused in his consciousness: He was to take a lab experiment and a glorified seaslug and turn them into members of the most feared order this galaxy had ever seen. They had thusfar received minimal training, and the thought at first seemed unlikely. Nonetheless, the devotion of Uriel had already been proven on Coruscant, and the avaricious lips of the Hutt were eager to taste the true power of the dark side.

 

Then the dark god spoke, his quite voice amplified by the force so it was though he were whispering in the ears of the two before him:

 

"Welcome to Mechis III. I am Lord Antilles, but you will call me master. Your servants are to remain in your personal quarters at all times. This journey is a personal one.

 

First you will tell me what you know of the Dark Side."

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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In the Sith Temple, Uriel had fallen to his knees at the bared power of his Master. He might kneel for he was a servant of the Master, but never again would he worship anyone. Worship was for slaves, and the Darkside guaranteed that Uriel would never again be a slave.

 

Marta was the embodiment of that promise to him, the first of many beings whom would bow to him, happy to be his to toy, to bask in his glory. That his mastered ordered him to be without her bother him not at all. In fact, in an inspired moment, the master's order helped Uriel propel himself further on the path of the darkside. He decided that Marta should suffer that she might be a better servant.

 

His implants formatted his organic thought and transmitted them to the droids of Mechis Three in the form of a request. Not knowing what fruit it might bear, he turned to Marta and gave her instructions, "Marta, remove our belongings from Sheoq's ship and find yourself someplace appropriate to stay. Once there, stay and await my pleasure."

 

Uriel then descended the ramp to kneel before his Master as one whom chooses to kneel, not one who as knelt.

 

"Master, through the power I seize when I focus my anger, my passion upon the darkside I am to do what most apprentices can do. In its seething cauldron is the power to reshape anything that can be reshaped should I but decide that it needs to be reshaped."

 

He stops speaking then, knowing there is something he is missing and angry because of it. He takes the anger, focuses it, and understands. It is the presence of his Krath master that inspires, his example in the Sith Temple that provides the answer.

 

"Master, the power of the darkside, when seized by a sith, can enable a Sith whom is strong enough and bold enough, to break the false reality which so chains the minds of all lesser men and Jedi."

 

At the mention of that name, of the order that tortured him in their labs, his anger seethes again, breaking his focus and affecting the delicate interfaces between neuron and neural net damaged by his foolish actions on Kamino, disrupting them and causing him additional pain.

 

Pain he uses to fuel the anger inside him, attempting but failing to control any outward expression of it in the presence of his master.

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"These are possibilities..."

 

The master recalled for the first time in an eternity the same ambitions that drove him to seek the dark side when he was but a boy. That taste of power, the ability to take control of shear anarchy and thrive in it... it all came back to him.

 

The sound of his voice was smoother now, softer than it had been. At the same time it was solemn and full of a dry sense of sorrow that made him wish for the chance to fall asleep and imagine this affair as a dream, a distant memory to be forgotten at will. Yet these were not the workings of reality. The injustice and idiocies that were contained within that feeble concept of reality were one thing that Ason wished nothing more for than to manipulate to his vision of perfection, one such that only he could mold and maintain. Perhaps then his thirst would be sustained...

 

"Yes... that is our shared dream..."

 

His voice snapped back to its usual emotionless quality.

 

"But you speak of a false reality, of the delusion of the jedi. What do you know of this?"

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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Uriel furrowed his considerable brow for a moment, sensing a trap in the words his master had spoken.

 

His first response spoke of what he truly knew about the Jedi. His knowledge was truly limited, something he intended to remedy soon, but for now he spoke of what he knew.

 

"I will be Sith. I will know none of the Jedi's weekness, none of their crying about their destiney, the will of the force, of service to others. I will seize the force, I will make my own destiny and I will serve no one on bent knee."

The force of his own anger gave a slight amplification to his words, couple with a near feral growl just above the subsonic range as he spoke each word.

 

He paused for breath, then continued. "There is also the greater illusion of the reality we find ourselves in. We are taught from birth that what we can see and hear are where and what we must deal with and live within. Yet there are examples, especially among the Sith of those whom see past the veil drawn upon every mewling babe's eyes. Freed from that veil, the move beyond the limitations of a frail shell and...become more."

 

Uriel stopped there, not quite able to articulate what he felt at such a basic level to be true. He had no way of describing what lay just beyond the veil, having never himself pierced the veil dragged over his eyes. Yet he knew, longed for, and desired the knowledge and power to move beyond that veil and be free.

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"The fact that you're searching for words and are not satisfied is a good sign, for what you seek to describe surpasses the categories of speech. There is much anger in you... let us see how you harness it."

 

"I want you to push this droid to my left down using the force.

 

The metallic frame of the krath war droid came into focus ready to take the push as his master commanded him.

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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((Once again”¦ Sorry about the delay.))

 

Sheog grinned as the dark figure approached, surrounded by countless droids, which was no surprise due to Mechis III being most well known for its droid population. The figure was dressed in raven colors, hooded and cloaked like most Sith masters, but his stare could still be seen. The demon's heart, which Sheog gained through victorious battle, shook and trembled inside his side-pouch, as if in response to its master's approach. A power emanated from him. Then, the figure began to speak, his voice oddly loud (as if amplified through a some magical device).

 

"Welcome to Mechis III. I am Lord Antilles, but you will call me master. Your servants are to remain in your personal quarters at all times. This journey is a personal one.”

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Sheog's malicious glee seeped through more and more with every slimy syllable uttered. Alternate views of the force always intrigued Ason quite thoroughly, and he could not recall ever seeing the text the Hutt held in the libraries.

 

"You of course may be guided by these two principals, but therein lies the problem. The common hedonist is but a whim to their immediate desires, a servant to their id. Once you expand your vision, both of you will know the dark side in a way that defies the limitations of speech and the logic of the starving masses."

 

"I ask you to accomplish the same task I asked of Uriel with this droid to my right"

 

Another identical droid stepped up, another obstacle to be overcome.

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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Uriel seized the force with all the anger and pain at his disposal. He felt that stream of chaos and darkness flow through his body. It seared across the implants and actually added to the pain he could use to focus the dark side.

 

He seized upon the whole and nearly flung the power he had gathered directly at the war droid. Instead, something surged across the gap between his implants and the neurons they interfaced with and provided him with a very detailed schematic that included information about the projected weak points of a Krath War Droid.

 

Instead of uselessly pushing at the droid before him, Uriel pushed at a pair of the points that would put the droid on the ground. He also drew the whip and the blaster that he had been told were artifacts of a past Sith Lord, in preperation for the droid's retaliation.

 

He let the Dark Side roil through his body, using it to heighten his perceptions and keep him on a constant edge, ready to act before any movement by the droid and droid alone.

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"You of course may be guided by these two principals, but therein lies the problem. The common hedonist is but a whim to their immediate desires, a servant to their id. Once you expand your vision, both of you will know the dark side in a way that defies the limitations of speech and the logic of the starving masses."

 

Sheog smiled gleefully. His master was indeed wise, but his allegiance was not solely focused on his pleasure. He also fought to better his people through Sith support. It was support they gravely needed. Although pleasure was nice too.

 

"I ask you to accomplish the same task I asked of Uriel with this droid to my right"

 

A simple task, but very hard to accomplish. Sheog stared hard at the droid before him as his apprentice counterpart accomplished the task beside him. Sheog observed the man's wasteful and foolish use of anger. Anger was hard to obtain, yet somehow all those he encountered in the Sith forces easily found it inside themselves, as if it were as simple as dipping a bucket into a flowing river. Perhaps those that found their lot with the Sith had a ton of repressed anger. Family issues most likely. If the Jeedia truly wanted to destroy the power of the Sith, all they had to do was send in a few psychiatrists.

 

Channeling greed and gluttony was a harder deed to accomplish. Sheog focused upon his internal thoughts, and let them float to the surface of his maddened mind. His conscious mind went to the well of greed, which was drilled into his emotions, and let down a bucket. Bringing up the bucket, he slaked his thirst with the foul waters of greed. It roiled in his belly, but it was not strong enough yet. It needed a catalyst.

 

His stomach roiling, Sheog went next to the great feasting hall within his mind. Upon the great table was laid the feast of the perfect glutton. With every bite, the feeling inside his gut became power, faster and faster, the power of the greedy glutton. To finish the combination, and to refine it, he took from the table the finest of emotional wines; lust. He was no longer thirsty, but the crimson liquid was pleasing to his senses, he needed it. Once the goblet was drained, he had it all; a greed for the riches to be obtained, the gluttonous rage for knowledge of the Sith, and to focus it all into a directed force: the lust for power.

 

Sheog opened his eyes, the power of all his workings coming to a crescendo. He reached out with his mind and imagined the droid before him, sparkling silver awaiting the power he was about to unleash. He focused on several locations on the droid. To each of the feet, he poured his emotional power, attaching them to his right hand with a thrice woven rope; greed, gluttony, and lust. The third focus of his mind was the very center of the droid's chest, and to that he channeled the thrice interwoven power of his mind. From his left hand sprung an invisible fist, the fingers of the greedy, the often full hands of glutton, strengthened with the urges of the lustful. He slammed the fist into the armored chest of the droid with all his mental strength, and simultaneously yanked the feat from under the unfortunate droid with the mental ropes attached to his right hand.

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Though Uriel braced for a violent response, both droids flew back and laid indolent on the ground. Their master had not instructed them to attack.

 

"Good. Now do the same to each other."

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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Uriel hesitated not even an instant. His master had ordered him to use the force upon his fellow apprentice. Had he ordered him to kill him, he would have acted the same way.

 

He would have acted without hesistation, without comment, and as quickly as possible. The way of the Sith allowed no room for emotional softness, left no room for friendships between any of its members.

 

Even the size of the Hutt failed to intimidate him. Jedi might have to overcome ther disbelief in the power of the Force, but he was not Jedi.

 

He was Sith.

 

Without turning to face Sheog, he dove further into the well of the Dark Side to which he was already strongly emersed in. That midnight sea of choas, its waters burning with the passions of generations of Sith, moved as a solitary wave of fire through every cell in his body.

 

It attempted to surge through the connections between his neurons and the nanites which linked his organic and inorganic portions together. Reality shattered in the ensuing pain.

 

Gone was the reality common to all mortal beings. Gone was any self control, gone was any acknowledgement that anyone else existed as a living, thinking humanoid.

 

Instead, his mind saw everything and everyone interpreted as their more elemental selves. He saw the planet and the droids around as mounds of earth, vaguely shaped as the more physical selves.

 

His master was all the elements, all wrapped in one person, a terrible shining darkness that also included a heavy sampling of death. It was an image that stayed with him even after the mind and reality shattering experience ended he was not in control of.

 

A quick glimpse at Sheoq through the force helped him understand how to move the Hutt. Sheoq was a swirl of earth and fire, opposing him would always be earth and water. He tried to pull both, but instead found himself pulling the sweet darkness that was death and throwing all three at Sheoq.

 

Drawing on the Force so heavily took its tool on the false reality that his mind had constructed to help him deal with the pain of the force trying to flow across the gaps between his Nuerons and the artifical interfaces. The false reality again shattered and he lost control entirely of himself and again knew the hell that was the way of the unwary apprentice.

 

He found himself kneeling on the ground and back in the false reality most people subscribed to. Smoke rose from his artificial side, the processors burning with the stress of what was going on. Confused, non-sensical signals surged across both his nerves and the artificial pathways that parreled them

 

His artificial eye shut down entirely, leaving him blind on the side facing Sheoq. Cascade failures across many systems disconnected most of his electronic systems, leaving only those adequately shielded at full operation.

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"Good. Now do the same to each other."

Sheog was not all too surprised by the command from the Krath Lord. He was expecting some sort of job for both he and Uriel to do either in unison or in competition. So the Sith chose competition, as was so common amongst this group of angry warriors. Perhaps his master would teach them the benefits of cooperation and the strength of the many versus the will of one. Nothing ever got accomplished by in-fighting, in Sheog's experience, and the galaxy's citizens wondered why the Sith never held power for long? Perhaps it was because of exercises like this. Or maybe it was because of everyone's stylish look in black capes. The stylish ones were always treacherous. And generally poor fighters.

 

Sheog sighed and turned himself to see Uriel head on, shifting his bulk in a defensive settlement onto the duracrete ground beneath his grimy hide. To tell the truth, the last exercise had burned through the food that Sheog had eaten before leaving The Demented Madness, and his stomach yearned for a good filling. He sighed, placed one of his chubby hands upon his aching belly, and patted it, as if reassuring himself of an eventual feast he knew would never come. At least not yet. His stomach was not so easily fooled. It was unbearable.

 

Sheog glanced up at Uriel with his big red eyes, observing him as if in a new light. The red of his irises intensified into a dark crimson, overcome with an intense lust. The human before him, with the angelic name, was made of biological material. Material that could be ingested and digested, and if luck looked kindly upon his pallet, would also be delicious. The biotics would be dissolved by Sheog's exceptionally strong stomach acid if given a crack at the job. The man looked scrumptious, a dish to be prepared, but first it must be caught.

 

With the promise of an appetizing meal, the three powers of his subconscious began to work in unison, towards a delectable goal. At the forefront of the mission, (branded Operation Uriel by Sheog's maddened mind) was the obvious choice: Gluttony. That power had one strength over the others; it was always in excess, and easily accessible in Sheog's mind. It would accomplish its goal through overwhelming force. Sheog felt ravenous power flowing from his empty stomach, seeping through his blubbery layers, and into his grubby hand.

 

Gluttony was a great power, but weakened by a lack of support. Another power would provide that support, its covetous hands eager to join Operation Uriel, promised an increased strength through victory. Greed would cover all the other angles that Gluttony simply could not. From his mind the power flowed, moving down his flabby arm to join Excess in the briefing room of Sheog's palm. His hand was growing crowded with the mixing powers, but Sheog could not yet release them on their mission.

 

Overwhelming numbers and adequate support were vital, but without a leader, the mission was doomed to fail. Luckily, for Operation Uriel, Sheog's subconscious provided the perfect director. Pale and red she was, strong and wise. Lust. A desire insatiable. Unquenchable. From all of his seven hearts came the power, hot and fiery, causing Sheog to wince in pain as the burning pain entered his palm. He opened his eyes and gazed at Uriel, truly hungry.

 

Sheog let his maddened mind give way to the will of the force, letting the so called ”˜dark side' take him. Technically the color scheme of this power was not all dark, but a pallet of tasteful colors. Colors would intertwine and fly from his palm, if one could see the colors of the force. The black of Gluttony, darker than a black-hole, would snake out towards Uriel's kneecaps, to buckle them, and unsteady his feet. They would wrap his legs in dark tethers, binding them together. The green of Avarice, like a vast sickening forest, would bind with the darkened tethers, drawing them up to cover Uriel's arms and face, creating a black mummy with emerald trimming, powerless to hold himself on his feet. The Crimson tide of lust would come next, commanded by Sheog's connection to the force, sweeping the unfortunate angel off its feet. If all went according to plan, his master's challenge would be accomplished. Sheog surrendered himself to the force, releasing the power from his burning hand to carry out its duty. Let Operation Uriel begin.

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Kamino's bonds had been washed away, neither hesitating an instant before turning on the other. All their talk and their gifts had ended in an instant betrayal. In this betrayal, both proved their loyalty.

 

Uriel's attack was calculated, the effort he put into the push taxing his systems to the point of bringing him to a knee. Sheog, on the other hand, launched his attack in a unique fashion. Both launched the elements at eachother: Uriel those that played to the Hutt's weaknesses, the other those that played to his strengths.

 

Still, the Hutt had taken time to make a defensive shift in his weight and took time to turn to face the man before conjuring anything. The ebon and jade ribbons that he launched first were also ones bent on immobilizing, not the actual push itself. It was for this reason that his slimy frame vibrated from the impact of Uriel's push and the massive frame was thrown off balance, the precision of the attack at the right areas forcing the apprentice toward the floor.

 

Still, that scarlet flood was on its way toward a now compromised opponent. It shoved him to the ground. Both had accomplished the task.

 

"Good... good. You have both done what I have asked. You've demonstrated loyalty and both given me invaluable information at the same time. This task was not a competition, but an individual test for each of you.

 

About competition, let me tell you this: We are Krath. We are family..."

 

The last word trailed a bit as memories were repressed.

 

"Infighting is a staple of the sith, but we are not those Sith. You are my sons. I am not here to choose between the two of you. I would not rob the order of two worthy disciples if that is what you two prove to be.

 

Now, settle into the base. You will be led to your rooms and I shall call you from them shortly."

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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Uriel picked himself up off the ground with a grunt, realizing that somehow he needed a better integration of his biological and mechanical parts. Then he reflected he was on Mechis three, and that in the memory banks around here the possibility existed that a better interface existed.

 

It was a weakness he knew he could excise from his person and he was determined to do so.

 

Once upright, he turned to his master, bowed and then turned back to Sheoq and bowed, never taking his eyes off of either.

 

Brothers of the same family, competing with one another but united as family flashed through his mind. The thought was intangible, something that passed unnoticed by either flesh or digital computing, but it did imprint itself in his mind.

 

He decided then and there that the Krath had looked at Sith and Jedi and rejected both. Uriel was glad of that, the tortures he suffered at the hands of the Jedi had made joining that order un-palatable.

 

The Sith had been just as unacceptable, but he was not sure why. He was left with the Krath and he was glad of it. Somehow, both of his natures accepted that as the place he needed to be.

 

He would prove himself worthy.

 

Another thought occurred to him, one that seemed almost funny. He mused on it aloud, not addressing either Sheoq or his Master, but just wanting to hear it for himself.

 

"What do you become if you fail as a Krath apprentice?" Uriel paused a moment to allow his statement to reach his own divided mind. "A Sith Lord."

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Sheog slid himself into his normal position, firmly set upon his tail. He sighed, a bit depressed about being knocked down. His master began to speak, seeming oddly pleased.

 

"Good... good. You have both done what I have asked. You've demonstrated loyalty and both given me invaluable information at the same time. This task was not a competition, but an individual test for each of you.”

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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In the shadow of his hood, Ason had frowned. He had known Lucifer when he was but an acolyte playing torture games.

 

"Each is to serve a role in the Order. Those sith that prove insufficient will be snuffed out. Do not, however, take other sith lightly. There are still others I trust more than even a Krath. This will be your concern once you have become sith. Until then, you are as I once was: a child. Go, get to your rooms. Conversation will be saved for later."

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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"Each is to serve a role in the Order. Those sith that prove insufficient will be snuffed out. Do not, however, take other sith lightly. There are still others I trust more than even a Krath. This will be your concern once you have become sith. Until then, you are as I once was: a child. Go, get to your rooms. Conversation will be saved for later."

 

Uriel's response to his Master's order was as simple as the command he had been given. He turned, bowed without lowering his eyes, turned around and went the opposite direction of Sheog. He meant no offense, but their master had basically ordered silence. Uriel was determined to be a Krath and disobedience or disrespect were two things that were easy to avoid.

 

He had thoughts he wanted to share with Sheog, but those thoughts should probably wait until he was a Krath and able to defend himself from what would surely be an angry Hutt. For Uriel's digital side had analyzed the Hutt's situation, and the conclusions were something as radical as their journey in becoming Krath.

 

Those same electronics had recorded a message, and played it back once Uriel had the time to acknowledge the message. It seemed Marta had expired on the operating table from the droids ostensible efforts to improve her. A thorough autopsy by the droids had revealed that the Marta he had tortured throughout the journey was a clone of the original. He blinked as the information penetrated his awareness.

 

A question of importance flittered through his mind, "So where is the original?" He set the question aside, knowing that he needed to stay focussed on his journey.

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Sheog bowed in response to his master's rebuke. He most likely deserved it. Maybe. Without another word to either his master or his fellow apprentice (who seemed in no great hurry to speak to him either) he pushed himself in the direction of his room, the whereabouts of which he hadn't a clue. It wasn't like Ason had given them a map of the facility with their rooms marked in bright colors. He considered asking one of the nearby droids for directions, but then remembered his master's orders of not a word should be uttered until he was in his room. This would be a problem. At least he had packed a supply of food, and for that he was glad, he had no intention of munching of deactivated droids, which seemed to be the only thing that this food-forsaken planet.

 

He pushed himself past countless rooms with doors he could never fit through, so many that he felt like suing the Sith for specist accessibility, but instead he decided to eat. From his side-pouch he withdrew several handfuls of white-worms and munched on them as he pushed himself down yet another deserted corridor. As he reached the end of it, he drained his expensively decorated canteen of harsh liquor dry, and spotted a much larger door. This door was conveniently his size. He glanced to his left and saw where he had just been, an hour before training with his master. He had come in a complete (and utterly useless, except perhaps for sightseeing's sake) loop from the training area. He shook his head and opened the door into his room. Before closing the door, he placed a crocheted (of the finest ewok fur and wookie-pelt blend) nameplate upon the door and hung it from the handle. He didn't want his lack of direction to lead him astray again.

 

He gazed slowly around the room and moved himself over to the table in the center of the room. From his side-pouch he withdrew his prize from the Kaminoen test; the heart of a demon. He stared at it for a few minutes before placing it in the very center of the table (upon a conveniently located silver plate) and sat back, waiting for a new order from his master. Beside the plate he placed his oversized vibro-dagger, in the case of an emergency.

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Ason's voice drifted throughout the halls from the intercom.

"Now use that same power you used to push each other and force it to your legs... or whatever musculature you use."

 

Suddenly, reality began to combust as subwoofers roared to life. It shook the plate of the Hutt and rattled Uriel to his core. A whisper entered the minds of both apprentices and somehow resonated above the clambor.

 

This room will self destruct in seconds.

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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Uriel let himself completely go. He took every ounce of anger, hatred, and pain and compressed those emotions until they exploded. It was in the resulting explosion that he found a brief mastery of the force, enough of a one that he could feed power to his legs even as he crouched, preparing for a leap from the room he knew his master had somehow rigged to explode.

 

Master Antilles had stated the nature of their training and the path that training would take up front. The Master demanded much of both Uriel and Sheog, he had asked and demanded the utmost of Uriel from the first day of training at the Sith Temple on Coruscant. It was in that knowledge that Uriel acted without thought, without pause, knowing that the lesson that the Master was teaching was born of long and difficult experience and training.

 

As his shoulder impacted with the door frame leading from the room, he reflected that maybe there wasn one lesson that should be learned immediately. Any being calling on the force to execute a force assisted leap should know how to aim his entire body and land on a preselected spot.

 

He could avoid much damage that way, thought Uriel, even as the sound of tearing cartilage announced just how bad his failure was. He reflected that he needed to learn control, to master himself even as he mastered the force.

 

How else could could he find a way to transcend his own mortal shell and the false reality which surrounded them?

 

Uriel was fortunate in that he spun out of the room, skidding on his stomach several feet before coming to a rest. The durasteel floors distressed his clothing further and left a burn across his abdomen.

 

Snarling, he rose unsteadily to his feet and moved as far and fast as possible to get away from the room that his master had rigged to explode. Once he was far enough away, he began looking for a quiet room, specifically one in which he could mark as his own.

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  • 2 weeks later...

((OOC: What a series of unfortunate events... From this point on I'll be able to make posts in a much more timely manner...))

 

Sheog stretched and ate white worms as he waited for his master's call. He was happy, eating and thinking. He had not had the time or the opportunity, (or were those the same?) to sit and contemplate for many a long year. He was always on the run, or whatever is the Hutt equivalent. As his mind worked over inane issues and philosophical revelations, he heard a strange voice come floating down the hall. He moved closer to the door, for some reason carrying the plate with the demon heart, in order to hear better.

 

"Now use that same power you used to push each other and force it to your legs... or whatever musculature you use."

 

He had no clue whatsoever who was speaking or the reason why. He had barely heard his master's voice, but that who was speaking seemed to be talking about the previous training... Perhaps it was his master...

 

”œThis room will self destruct in seconds.”

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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An explosion rocked both rooms as the apprentices narrowly escaped, one falling to their belly and the other sliding slimily away in what appeared to be slow-mo. Droids were there to meet both of them and direct them to the grand hall where they would be having dinner.

 

As they would arrive, they would be led to a great table with the sith lord at its head.

 

"Do you hold any contempt for me for those attempts on your life?"

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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Sheog raised one of his large, slightly greasy, eyebrows, quizzically and perhaps suspiciously at the serving droid as he slid past, waving his arms slowly, as if to stimulate a slow-motion experience. As he continued to slide down the long hallway, he spotted a minor obstacle; the great doors to the dining hall. Unable to slow his slide, he smashed into the great oaken doors, but unfortunately, they did not budge. Apparently, they did not believe in doors that did not need a knob turned to open. Oh the inconvenience! And the pain.

 

Mumbling to himself about the Sith's stubbornness to getting doors that were accepting to species larger and not as dexterous as the average humanoids. Upon entering the dining hall, glancing slowly back at the long slime trail (that would overload the programming of a dozen or more cleaning droids) he had left behind, he noticed a most pleasant smell.

 

Perhaps it was the smell of a roasting nug, (Wait, what is a Nug one might ask? Sheog had not a clue but it sounded delicious. Had the same ring as Chicken McNugget. Maybe it was a shortened word for the delicious pieces of white meat, frozen for a decade before being dunked in week-old grease by a dirty worker, disgruntled at his/her minimum wage, and without washing his/her hands. Delicious. Simply wonderous.) or a basted bantha, or the bubbly yeastiness of a malt ale. Probably it was the strong odor of a powerful Sith, intent on testing them at the cost of the structural integrity of his own temple. Actually, it was probably the nug. Either or. Or both? A voice broke through his food monologue.

 

”œDo you hold any contempt for me for those attempts on your life?"

 

Sheog considered his master's words, for a few moments, weighing the pros and cons of different answers. He formulated a sentence in his mind, with only minor mind wandering and food monologues.

 

<>

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Resetting his arm took a little work on Uriel's part. He decided as the pain surged through both his nervous systems that this body would probably last him through training, then it would be back to the vats for more improvements. Maybe. Then again, all the pain he was enduring helped him create what he hoped would be a useful reservoir for sometime in the future.

 

He had stood, swaying from the pain seeping through his form and begun to meditate on what he knew of the mysteries of the Krath, not for insight, but as a focus to fuel the flow of the force through him. For while the darkside could not heal, flooding his system with its burning sweetness forced him to push past his limitation long enough to regain his feet, reset the arm to something acceptable, and remain standing.

 

It was then that his Master's droid arrived to show him the way to the grand hall and the feast his Master had provided. The smell of the food definitely affected his stomach, roiling with the pain inflicted by his leap through the door frame. He kept his will focused and controlled the physical reaction.

"Do you hold any contempt for me for those attempts on your life?"

 

Uriel heard the question and narrowed his eyes at this Master. Testing apprentices through extreme measures seemed initially to be a good idea. He took to the time to examine that thought before replying.

 

"Master,"Uriel replied in his thoughts, "the only thing that could make me feel contempt for these attempts would be if they were done by a weak man seeking to overcome me by weakening me."

 

A thin smile spread across his face without touching his eyes.

 

"If I thought you were week, then I would find a new Master to complete my training and someday return to remove you from power. Death, however, would not be the result, for a death would be a waste of resources.

 

His eyes now gleamed with the Darkside and a certain clarity of thought. He made no attempt to share that thought, but buried it rather deep, making sure his robotic components store it for consideration later.

 

His thought had struck him as particularly insightful, "How do you harness the power of another force user in such a way that you had it for your own without another intelligence getting in the way of how you used it."

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"I'm glad. I have a mission for you two."

 

He handed them each a datapad instructing them to head to Hoth to procure some wampa pelts.

 

"Act as a team."

 

Sasori said:
Travis said:
Why would you side with a group that is composed of some of the largest douche criminal scum from around the world?

To annoy you.

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"I'm glad. I have a mission for you two."

 

Sheog frowned at the details for his mission. He had to work with the fallen angel, and go to Hoth. Two things he didn't necessarily want to do. He read a bit more. Harvesting Wampa pelts was part of their mission? That was a little messed up, but it did sounds like fun, more fun than ordering the pelts from his supplier. Hunting. A bit barbaric, but this was after all the Sith. Barbaric and Sith seemed to go hand in hand quite often.

 

"Act as a team."

 

Sheog sighed and looked up to his master, a bit intrigued by the mission, and perhaps a bit hungry. He bowed his head, acknowledging his master's orders and turned to Uriel.

 

<>

 

Finishing his speech, Sheog rushed (or more specifically slithered) to his pleasure craft and boarded it. Leaving the landing ramp down long enough for the Fallen Angel to board, Sheog ordered another grand feast prepared and the navi-droid to direct them to Hoth. As The Demented Madness rose from the rickety platform, the cooks were slaving away at the stoves, preparing a delicious Gungan and Ewok casserole, (one of Sheog's favorite dishes. Perhaps he enjoyed eating and destroying species that he felt should never have evolved, or he found them bloody annoying. Either was a good enough reason for the casserole to be Sheog's favorite.) which would be served in three courses, interlaced with sauce made from a variety of endangered species and served with a side of what Sheog referred to as ”œRancor Fries”

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Dinner with his erstwhile partner was always an interesting affair. Sheoq's flair for exotic cuisine outshone his previous efforts, and Uriel's palate was indeed pleased by the sumptious feasts they enjoyed on the way to Hoth.

 

As they sat in pleasant after dinner conversation, which concerned everything from their destination and mission, to the continued success of Sheog's various financial endeavors. Uriel broached something that he had come across while searching for information on Hoth.

 

"My dear Sheog," said Uriel, "I read of a rare culinary treat enjoyed on a few border worlds. It seems they take living simians, restrain the animals, and then eat the brains of the still living animal. I was wondering if your chef might be able to procure something like that for us from the various sentient beings which populate this galaxy."

 

He paused to take a drink of some really excellent brandy his host had offered and then let his thoughts settle on something he felt would be more along his partner's preferences.

 

"Its a funny thing, but have you ever noticed how much crime there is in our galaxy?" He smiled at Sheog, because of course the Hutt knew an incredible amount about the various criminals of the galaxy. "I wonder if it would be possible to create a criminal so beloved that the populace would rise up to protect him or her?"

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  • 1 month later...

After safely navigating from the Hoth system to a safe hyperspace launching point, Uriel went to the converted lounge set aside for his meditation. Dark and heavily shadowed, the room reflected a designer's interpretation of research conducted by his Zeltran companions on the meditation rooms of various Sith Lords. The room remained unfinished, awaiting the finishing touches Uriel needed to add to claim the room as his own. Until then, it simply remained a room suitable for meditations on the Dark Side of the Force. He already knew one symbol that would be added to the room.

 

Uriel just needed to figure out where the symbol would be put and what the symbol would look like. He knew that that symbol would need to reflect the many changes, challenges, and discoveries that he had made while hunting wampas through the freezing environs of Hoth. The flight from Hoth to Mechis left him with a great deal of time to meditate on all that had happened.

 

After Sheog's departure and his discovery of what he had though had been a Sith shrine, Uriel had begun hunting the Wampas that the smugglers had mapped in the cave system that extended beyond the central cave system. In those warrens, Uriel had experimented with several different tactics for taking down the Wampas with little or no damage to himself. The work had been difficult and slow owing to the freezing environment and the animal intelligence of the Wampas. Uriel still bore scars from the more dangerous animals, partially because of their unexpected tactics and partially because of their extreme strength and toughness.

 

One creature in particular from the smuggler's cave had made a deep impression on Uriel. He had been hunting the caves for a week when he had entered what had appeared to be the typical lair of a Wampa. The stench of decaying meat had made his eyes water even through the mask's filters and that had been the outer lair. The creature had not been in the warren when he had first entered.

 

Uriel, knowing full well that the creature's not being in the lair was a gift from the force, had immediately set up an ambush for the creature. Everying had proceeded swiftly, with the creature entering the cavern dragging the fresh body of a tauntaun with him. The wampa that he sighted over the apertures of his blaster was the smallest creature he had seen throughout the hunt on Hoth.

 

The creature had entered the lair and stopped just short of what Uriel had learned where the limits of the zone that guaranteed him a sure kill for the blaster he had while guided by the darkside. An errant draft must have alerted the creature of his presence, how it had smelled him over the stench of the lair testified to the creature's abilities or possibly to its experience.

 

The creature's experience had taught it a few things, as it had flung itself behind the carcass of the tauntaun. It had flattened itself to the floor and after nothing had happened, had raised just enough of its head to sweep the lair for the threat it knew was there. Uriel had actually froze, amazed at what he was seeing. A creature that his research had said had little more than an animal's cunning was showing him the same reflexes many battle hardened soldier's learned after surviving on the battlefront.

 

In his meditations, Uriel again looked into the creature's eyes, into a light that the shots from his blaster had finally extinguished when the creature had decided to stand upright after futilely searching the room. Meditation had allowed him to endlessly review the moment the third or fourth blaster bolt had impacted it between the eyes and the moment of despair it had known when it felt its life slipping away. The despair had been followed by anger at the situation, at its helplessness, and then something that Uriel had not yet identified. It was something he needed to ask his master about. Every time he reflected or meditated on that look reinforced his will to never be caught unaware by any force, whether superior or not and if he should be successfully ambushed, to have more than one option always at his disposal whatever the situation.

 

After returning from that hunt, Uriel had met with his four companions concerning the contents of the smuggler's cave and what he had wrongly assumed to be a Sith shrine. The older Zeltran woman and John had handled the inventory of the smuggler's cave. The contents had proven interesting as a testament to the type of smuggler that had captured John.

Of the several items that they had found, several had found their way aboard his ship and been hung in previously empty weapons racks, both in plain sight and hidden in various places throughout the ship. The imperial era E-11's, DLT-20A's, and DLT-19's along with spare blaster packs, various attachments such as scopes and secondary launchers and their related ammunition would provide defensive positions in the case someone invaded his ship.

 

Some items Uriel refused to allow on his ship. Chief among the substances Uriel had banned from his holds included several tons of two types of spice, lumni and glytteral. While Uriel neither cared about their legality or their effects on others, he did care to keep his yacht free of anything that might earn him the notice of any of several law enforcement groups active throughout the galaxy. It was one lesson that his master had no need to teach him. A sorcerer could not hope to accomplish anything while being hounded by beings that may or may not have a legitimate reason to hunt him or her.

 

By far the largest amount of items among those inventoried were parts for a YT series transport, specifically a YT-2400. Many of those items were still wrapped in the manufacturer's packaging, obviously stolen or purchased at some point in preparation for when repairs were needed to the smuggler's craft. The location of that craft eluded Uriel and his companions, despite Delaneys attempting to discern its location from the smuggler's records.

 

After receiving that report, Uriel had rested that night in the relative comfort of his ship before hunting the surface of Hoth for Wampa not listed on the smuggler's maps or any source at his command. While Uriel knew some tactics for fighting the creatures in their lairs, finding them on the surface proved a formidable challenge, even with him fully submerged within the darkside and flying an unarmed T-47 snowspeeder that someone had adopted for Hoth's cold.

 

The way he made his kills reflected the difficulty of his hunt. Several of the kills reflected his newly learned alertness from the lair of what he now called privately called the evolved Wampa. One kill had been a direct consequence of his now almost constant awareness of his environment. After landing to survey an ice field from the open cockpit which contained several sensor anomalies, Uriel had turned around at a warning from the force.

 

A massive Wampa loomed up from the snow, directly in line with the aft portion of his ship. Uriel noticed that the cable launcher pointed in the creatures direction. He gestured, attempting to pull the trigger of the launcher with the force. He had meant to use the cable launcher to distract the creature and cause it to pause so that he could take aim with a DLT-19, but his lack of refinement in using the Force had resulted in him pulling the launcher from it had been aimed. Instead of distracting the creature, Uriel's shot decapitated the creature.

 

He found he preferred hunting from the safety of his cockpit, using a DLT-19 to pick the creatures off from a distance. He wasted a lot of blaster packs that way but invading their homes proved even more difficult when he did not have maps or other information to aid his hunt. Hunting that way proved annoying, difficult, and something Uriel tried not to do too often.

 

The easiest method turned out to be simply herding the creatures into crevasses deep enough to kill them immediately. The only difficulty with method lie in getting close enough to spook the creatures without getting close enough the creatures could pummel the fragile airspeeder flat.

During his meditations, Uriel realized that the entire hunt had become a giant metaphor for how he would work as a Sorceror. His master's wisdom at sending him to Hoth to learn the balance necessary to rule himself with an iron hand and understand how a Sorceror should approach life would only become clear to him after years of meditation, reflection, and effort.

 

Hunting wampas took Uriel all over the surface of Hoth. Several times during the 4 weeks after his hunt through the cave system, Uriel noticed that when he approached certain coordinates, the speeder's autopilot attempted to engage itself. After the first couple of times, he had simply decided to avoid those coordinates until he could investigate further.

That investigation waited until Uriel finished hunting. Once he had, Uriel had simply taken his craft there and allowed the ship's autopilot to take him where it needed to go. The ship flew straight and level towards a giant dome of snow that turned out to be more than a just a giant snow dome. From one edge of the dome emerged the exhaust novels of a YT-2400 freighter.

 

Uriel immediately understand that he was looking at the craft that the smugglers had used. What it was doing out here became immediately clear when he entered the craft through a landing ramp still down. Entering the ship, Uriel found the remnants of several smugglers and uniformed soldiers of some sort. All bore the impressions of a wampas bite. The evidence prepared him for the arrival of the creature when it returned. By the time it had, Uriel had managed to reactivate the anti-intrusion systems onboard the YT. A small ground repeater had quickly made the pelt of the animal unusable.

 

A quick survey of the ship revealed that the ship's major systems remained operable as it turned out the ship had not long been subject to Hoth's harsh environment. The only problems lay in the state of the ship's interior from its being used as a lair by the wampa and the condition of the landing ramp. Frozen into position by someone's errant shot, the ramp could not be raised so that the YT could be made space worthy.

 

Uriel flew the airspeeder to the former pirate lair and hauled his crew to where the craft waited. He boarded the ship and cold started the repulsors. After lifting the craft directly through the snow dome and hearing the sound of delicate sensors being crunched, he flew the -2400 directly back to where his Yacht sat loaded and ready to head out from Hoth. With a little jockeying, he found that both ships fit into the hangar, but with absolutely zero space for anyone to maneuver cargo around.

Loathe to leave the valuable ship or the lair he had discovered go to waste, Uriel and his companions had discussed the options available. A few moments of effort, some spare parts, some brute force and the force enabled the group to get the ramp into place and make the ship secure for space travel. A quick check revealed the ship could be flown to the nearest repair yards and given an overhaul.

 

John and Sandy had volunteered for the assignment. Uriel had escorted them to the modest repair yard, put a deposit on the craft and then took the two aboard his yacht for their trip to Mechis.

 

While not meditating during the trip to Mechis, Uriel and companions discussed his vision for the future of the space they had found. He had begun to discuss exploring the false shrine when Delaney had piped up with information regarding the last two mysteries of the temple. She had explored the thing on her own while the other three were conducting the inventory.

 

She had found why the Dark Side was so strong in the geode. A cult's leader, despairing that he and his followers were about to be apprehended by an enemy on a distant planet, had stunned the majority of his followers and preserved them in carbonite. He and a select few had then restarted the cart on another planet and repeated the scheme.

The cult leader repeated the process several times until he had collected several thousand followers. After the final attempt at starting the cult, the leader had moved the entire cult to the geode on Hoth and sealed them in. There the entire cult had perished as one after their leader had poisoned the water supply.

 

The poison's effects killed the cultist's slowly, causing them to several days of excruciating pain while the leader had watched impassively before committing suicide. His only regret was that he had not found a way to revive his wife so that she could share in the glory of the moment. As it was, the combination stasis / bacta tank that guided the cult's final resting place would remain in place to guard their secret.

That had been the last entry the leader had put in the cult's logbook. Uriel had been disgusted at the waste of all that loyalty but intrigued by the disease that had claimed the man's wife and sanity. When he had finally found the disease and referenced it in the medical database, he laughed. The horrible disease that had caused so much suffering had been cured millennia ago in the core worlds.

 

It was only when they were entering the Mechis system that two things happened that caused Uriel to pause just before contacting his Master. Uriel foresaw difficulty in talking to his master despite completing the mission. He had returned successful, but without fulfilling his Master's directions concerning the hunt. Then again, the decision to leave had been Sheog's. Uriel shrugged, knowing that he needed to face the result and then move on.

 

Uriel had been meditating on the subject of what to do about Sheog's absence when he felt something new in the force, or finally understood something that had been in the backround since his stay on Hoth. Deep in the force during his meditation, Uriel had encountered the same cold there that had been present on Hoth. He had been unable to grasp anything further, but he knew that at that moment he had touched a greater mystery of the force and that only time, experience, and continued mastery of the force would reveal its full extent.

 

Until then, he needed to resume tutelage under his master. Her rose from his meditation lounge and kneeled before the ship's holoprojector.

 

<>

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  • 3 weeks later...

The delay of a response by Uriel's master meant that a great deal of time needed to be filled with activity, specifically useful activity. He started by dispatching his minions back to the ship yard where he had left the YT-2400 found on Hoth. The bill for the repair barely made a dent in the funds left by the smugglers, so he quickly authorized the money necessary to cover the bill.

 

Once the four left his company, he settled into a series of meditations in which he focused upon the feeling of cold acquired from his initial meditation on the planet. Each time he focused on that feeling, the feeling of cold deepened. After the eighth or ninth meditation, Uriel found himself able to manifest that cold at the very tips of his fingers. Meditation after meditation followed, but beyond that initial manifestation little progress occurred.

 

When not meditating, Uriel found himself busy with the details being sent back by the four members of his family concerning the initial steps necessary to create a shrine to the Darkside in the former cult's lair and upgrading and improving the smuggler's base. The form of that improvement irritated Uriel every time he meditated on his plans for the place. An opportunity existed there that his limited experience, limited resources, and need failed to bring to his imagination.

 

Curiously, he did not feel that situation should be marked as a failure. Instead, he looked upon it as a beginning of something that would be revealed far later. He set that problem aside and concentrated on developing himself as a Krath.

 

To that end, he accessed the extensive databases on Mechis concerning Krath lore, especially that which related to elemental manifestations such as he continued to feel when focused upon the cold of Hoth. He found an answer to his questions late one night after creating an automated search query. Deep within the suggestions in that query he found a small excerpt from the journal of a Krath Lord.

 

”œ”¦The most basic of the Krath studies involves 6 basic elements. Four of those are mistakenly listed as being the classical elements of many primitive sciences. Scene on a horizontal plain these four elements are Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. Fire and Earth and Water and Air are diametrically opposed.

 

A Krath apprentice should quickly learn that the Force adds an extra dimension to that classical arrangement. (Note: Some Krath hold that there is a different arrangement of elements and how they oppose each other. See Appendix B for a discussion on this alternate arrangement and its ramifications.) If the elements are mapped in a three dimensional space, with the classical elements on the x and y axis, it quickly becomes clear that the positive and negative poles of the z axis remain undefined.

 

The apprentice should of course place Dark Side ascendant on the Z axis with the weaker lightside on the descending pole of the z axis. With this arrangement it is possible to understand the manner in which a Krath Lord or Master might manifest elemental abilities across a wide range of effects”¦”

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