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She shrugged. "It's a risk, of course. All things worth pursuing require risk. I know not if I am up to the challenge or not, but I will try. And if I die trying, then I prove that I was weak. Perhaps that will be little comfort for the dead, but never have I felt comfortable simply being. Always I wish to strive to be more than I was before." She stepped in something that squelched. Wrinkling her nose, she hopped up onto the same fallen log Ryu was on and scraped her boot against it. "On my planet, I had risen as high as I could. I had power, wealth, and prestige. But I was stagnating. I had reached the top and found I had no where else to climb. So when I discovered I was Force-sensitive, there was no hesitation in me." 

 

She observed the leeches on his legs and hopped back down into the quagmire, choosing her steps more carefully to avoid attracting the same pests as they continued. "Some would call it foolishness, but I could not bear staying still and wasting away. A ceiling of transparisteel is a torment, for it allows you to see how far you may yet climb while utterly preventing you from reaching those lofty heights."

 

Aziza shrugged again. "I suppose that is a roundabout answer to your question: I am willing to risk everything to bind myself in service to the Sith because I believe that through them, I can shatter that transparisteel ceiling and become more than I could have dreamed of becoming if I had stayed on Carajam."

 

Her lips quirked. "And you? What path led you to refresher repair? What choices led you to become who you are today? What risks have you taken, and were they worth it?"

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Bralor's attention turned to the commanding voice as it echoed across the stone, Fenrir shifting upon it's metallic limbs as it echoed a droned roar in defiance. Neither of them preferred the engagement of formal introductions, lest it be in the heart of combat where words meant little and action spoke all. Still, Kad Ha'rangir had called them here, and Bralor was not below letting things play out as his Lord willed it. He raised his hand in return.

 

"I am no 'vod. I am Dar'Manda, and I have come seeking Kad Ha'rangir." Bralor spoke as Fenrir quieted, his Visorless Helm perked to the side as he sightless gaze fell upon each of them in turn and his vestige bellowed in the wind's call. "Our Lord calls for the clash of Beskar and the spilling of Blood. I have come to answer it."

 

Reaching up, Bralor removed his helm, revealing the empty sockets of his lineage, the branding of Dar'Manda, a smirk crossing his scarred cheek as the taint of Tatooine permeated around him. There was a darkened call beckoning his soul to this place, to this war, and it mattered little which side he took. Only the path, the battle. "Death Watch has scattered, the Crusade abandoned, and the next battle has been perceived. Will you accept us?"

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Formally Known as Hunter Of Shadows/Dark

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Liam’s eyes narrowed a fraction of a millimeter, then he gave a sidelong glance to his lieutenant whose smile gave him a momentary shiver. They had been at Coruscant, Liam had served and nearly died for the warrior god, and the long scar that bisected his torso told its own tale. The blood on his hands told another albeit shorter tale. He opened his mouth to rebut the mandalorians request but his smiling lieutenant interjected before he could. 

 

“Will we accept you? Why should we take the scattered remnants of a failed crusade? Who forges a chain with links already broken? Your god decided you were the chaff that fed the fire. There is only one god, and that is the Spider. The Lord of Shadows. We burned ten thousand of your crusaders alive in the ruins of Hesperidium. Those that survived we remade in our own fire.” 

 

She gave a meaningful look to his beskar, and his broken eyes. 

 

“We will not take you as you are. Strip yourself bare. Leave everything behind, every bit of armour, every scrap of pride. Every part of you must belong to the Spider. Only then will we accept you into the Emperor’s army. Into the fire you will step again, and you will be remade into a warrior worthy of the title.” 

 

She looked back to the redhaired girl, and nodded. She looked away, the blinking on her cybernetic unit dulling to a faded red. 

 

“Well?”

_________________

 

As she began to work on her kit Delta stepped away, walking a brisk path back to his shuttle, where he napped open the high bandwidth antenna and plugged it into his datapad. He waited until the light blinked then turned a solid green, then he pressed the database uplink on the datapad, connecting him through the SCI interface to the central computer of his military attache on the Hellkite. It took a few moments for her to response. 

 

“Delta, access code 43002. Research Darkwatch. Send everything you pull to my datapad.” 

 

“Copy commander. Files are marked with red tags.” 

 

He disconnected the SCI and waited until his datapad had populated with hundreds of files sent down from the Hellkite. He read the attached report and operational status which read that the Darkwatch had been labelled defunct some ten years before. During the late days of the Deton Empire. Back when Delta had been a part of the great golden black sun. 

 

He grimaced and snapped the datapad shut. There was much to think about. Several hours later he pushed open the door to her forge. He knocked softly on the door and waited until she had turned around.

 

“I would love a partner.” and his gaze took in the dead slave, then refocused on the beautiful Sith. His face did not change. “Not just a lover, or dark ritual partner, As fun as those things are.” His gaze drifted back to her forge before refocusing again on her. “Worth a try I think.”

 

But could such a thing last? 

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Bralor sat in silence for a moment as her words swirled in his ears, her visage dancing upon the Force as he looked upon her with a quizzical, demeaning gaze. With a sigh, he spoke, bringing his helm back to his face and replacing it. "No."

 

It was a short answer, but his faith and determination spoke volumes when it came to serving another. He had no time nor will to serve another, especially one whom named themselves after an insect. No. Kad Ha'rangir was the Lord of War, he was the epitome of life and death, and Bralor held no desire for another. Though a Spider was a worthy hunter, it held no knowledge of battle, weaving it's web and laying in wait for weaker prey. Bralor sought greater.

 

As he turned and began to reach upon Fenrir's saddle, he wondered why his God had even called him here if there was but only another, a Hod Ha'ran, claiming the Birth Place of the Crusades. His gaze turned back to the woman as his words echoed beneath his helm. "What significance does a Spider hold upon the battlefield? It is a Hunter, not a Warrior. A Predator of the Shadows that feeds upon those caught in it's web. Outside that, it is weak and meaningless, extinguished by the Fires of War that destroys it's trap."

 

There had to be a reason Kad Ha'rangir had called him to this planet, had beckoned him to this world. Surely he had not been jested, nor his faith tested. There was a reason he was here. He held little reservation against proving himself to a false prophet. Battle was battle. But why lead him to a false God, a trickster of Hod Ha'ran. He was interested in the woman's reply.

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Formally Known as Hunter Of Shadows/Dark

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"Oh, I see. You weren't content just having unlimited dominion over her dinky little backwater planet. Having power and luxury didn't give you the challenge and adventure you want so you hit the road and decided to to join the Sith. Live hard and die young huh? Maybe if you don't end up coating the interior or a Sith Crematorium you'll rise just high enough to earn daddy's respect?"

Ryu's tone was thoroughly mocking at this point. In the distance the first glimpse the manor's exterior came into view, a large old stone fortress barely holding back the encroaching swamp from all sides.

"A person like me doesn't get to ruminate on whether a risk was worth while. Risks are taken in lue of imagination or better sense. You end up where the struggle to survive takes you. That's not something some spoiled aristocrat would understand, I'm sure. I bet you haven't taken a real risk in your life, or at least, not one that has truly hurt you."

Ryu turned around, halting and facing Aziza. He stood straight, tense, his legs bent. He did not raise his fists to Aziza yet. Emaciated and bony he hardly seemed as imposing as he once was but it belied a sense tension and practice to his stance.

"I had you made for some kind of minder or assassin, somebody to keep me in line or take me offline, but you don't have the disposition of either. You're no Sith. You're not even a very good messenger, evidently trekking across the galaxy with no idea who you're looking for."

Ryu raised his arms as he sarcastically revealed himself.

"You have found the mighty Kakuto Ryu. I hope your task really was to deliver a verbal message, because if you're here to kill me you should think carefully about your next move. I don't think you're prepared for the world you've stepped into."

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Liam let a soft smile creep across his face. A face that had been beaten into a ruin and repaired far before its time. The smile caught the long line of scar tissue that traced from one corner of his mouth as his eyes looked at the back of his Lieutenants neck. He knew her smile was matching his, though her face had not seen the doom of coruscant in quite the same way his had. She had been there with their commanding officer, hunting Liam and his mandalorians in the deep tunnels of that destroyed cityscape. He had seen the wroth of the spider first hand. And he had personally burned his effigy of Kad Ha’Rangir in the weeks after. For he had no need of such a weak god. Not when gods walked among them. 

 

“I think brother that you did not experience our ruin.” Liam’s voice crackled in his throat as his lieutenant let him speak again. “You were not there when the crusade died its death. We thought that Chandrila was our true doom, where Manda’lor fell. But the heart was cut from us at Coruscant. I speak with authority that the Spider lay the crusade beneath the earth. Kad Ha’Rangir, if he ever existed, was merely a shadow of the Spider. A forerunner.”
 

The lieutenant cut back in with a raised hand. 

 

“You speak of failed battles, and the fall of spiders as if you have some shred of experience. Tell me, what great Lords of the Sith have you faced and destroyed in battle? What great Jedi? You may be filled with words, but I have given you the terms of service. Strip yourself of everything, past and future dreams, only then will you be able to serve the Spider. For if you want to see power and glory in war that is the only way.” 

 

She gestured and the red haired teenager turned her head back towards the Mandalorian. Her cybernetic unit flashing a long logarithm. She stepped forward when the lieutenant spoke again. “This is Æthe 43391, the daughter of our commanding officer. She will help you if you need assistance in taking off your armour. But you have your decision. Now take it.” 

 

In the background more soldiers began to appear. Though not in class A uniforms, these were heavily armoured and outfitted. 

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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The man's tone suddenly grew mocking, and Aziza's eyebrows registered her surprise. "You misunderstand me, sir. Let me put it another way. The Sith have a code, the first line of which states that peace is a lie, there is only passion. I've spent long meditating on that phrase, and come to see that no matter what I may or may not have had back home, I was living in a state of passivity, of peace. It is unacceptable for me to live a lie." She wanted to continue, but the repairman jumped back in. Her polite smile grew cold, but she said no more.

 

As they came in sight of a low building, the man suddenly spun around, dropping into a casually defensive pose. Aziza subconsciously adopted a similar one, her training in Teras Kasi kicking in instinctually as the man raised his arms--and then revealed he was the man she had come to Onderon to find. A flicker of annoyance shot through her for him taking her on a wild nerf chase through the jungle, but was quickly replaced by curiosity. Why had he felt the need to hide his identity from her, a complete stranger?

 

But his words answered her unspoken question, and a ripple of disgust ran through her. Amadeus had warned her that the Sith Order was full of betrayal and infighting despite the Dark Lord's firm rule; clearly, that was what Ryu had expected, although what he had done to deserve assassination was unclear to Aziza. "Kill you? Why would I--?" she sighed. "Never mind. No, my Lord Ryu, I am exactly who I have said that I am." She inclined a head towards him respectfully, though she didn't take her eyes off him. "I bear a message for you from Lord Amadeus. I know not what he wants of or from you, only that the message was to be delivered to you or, failing your appearance, to the Dark Lord."

 

She met his gaze and paused, choosing her words carefully, knowing not what this unpredictable man would do next. "I expect to be remade. Other than that, you're right, I am not prepared. But sometimes you have to leap off a cliff without knowing if there is a repulsorfield at the bottom. If that makes me a fool, well," she shrugged, "I suppose I will fail."

 

Her hand drifted to the pouch slung diagonally across her shoulder. "May I present you with the datapad from Lord Amadeus?"

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His attention first turned to the male, the arrogant pride of the fallen still permeating from his pours. Yet, his conviction caused Bralor to falter, to poise the possibility. For Coruscant had been a blow known to all that was there, especially him. For it was his task, his duty to prevent the escape of Arasuum, to prevent the breeding of the sloth, and he had failed. The short Coruscanti had proven worthy more so than most and provided the exit that the followers of the weak God needed.

 

"I know all too well the failings we faced at Coruscant." Bralor spoke with his own convictions, his barred teeth echoing his disgust and anger. "I fought Arasuum's Champion there and was unable to prevent the escape of our enemies, a failing that I can never live down and lead to the loss of Manda'lor at Chandrila. That shame is just many that I carry."

 

Next his attention turned back to the female Lieutenant, her words angering him further, her questions of his feats childish and brazen. He could see her inexperience on her tone, whereas his was greater. Not only had he lived the life of a warrior, praise given to his Lord Kad Ha'rangir, but he had done so as a Dar'Manda. None could ever lay claim to such. He gaze toward the child as she approached and removed his helm once more. "Avert your gaze child." He spoke in a humbled tone as he began to undress.

 

"You question my experience? I could question the same." He spoke in defiance as he removed his weapons, then chestplate, revealing the skin beneath his armorweave and the scars it bore. "I once held the title of Manda'lor Dar'Manda and was the one who presented the helm to our last after slaying the Greater Krayt Dragon I trusted with it. I slayed Ki Ordo on Ryloth for that very title and helm." His hands ran across the bladed scars on his chest. "And I felled Darth Furion at Selvaris before he was a Dark Lord where I was presented with this."

 

Bralor stood before them now naked, his armor and weapons to the side. "This form, this armor, these weapons, all have been forged in many fires, each time tempered to be stronger in the name of Kad Ha'rangir. If following your Spider is the only way to forge me in battle once again, then so be it. But only Kad Ha'rangir can truly forge the soul of mine, the Dar'Manda."

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Formally Known as Hunter Of Shadows/Dark

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The working of steel and spell had a song to it, a universal rhythm found in every forge and on the lips of every smith. There was something truly sacred and intimate about taking a part of the universe and with hammer and flame rendering it down to be remade as an instrument of your will. Untouched the galaxy was just a jumble of purposeless mass and energy, existing simply to exist. It was capable of so much more under the right guidance. 

 

She had come into the Sith with untested beliefs and blind faith, too overwhelmed to find her own truth. But just like the metal that she was reshaping now, fire and fury had led her to new purpose, reformed into something beautiful. I mean seriously, her curves were jaw droppingly amazing. It was more than that though, it was a surety of direction, a guiding pyre of flame that called to her stronger and clearer than any of her chaotic impulses.

 

Every fall of the hammer was another step on a path that she could see clearer than ever now. Before her a key to victory began to take shape, a creation of pure focus and intent. It showed its elegance through its lines and its refined clarity of design. The weapon could be divided into three measures of eighteen inches, the extended grip and flared root, the stem and slender of the blade, and the bloom and point at the tip. With her first blade, Nyrys had gone to extreme lengths to interlink blade, armor, and self into a singular tapestry. This time, such intricacies felt unnecessary as her prowess and command of the Force had grown beyond such aids.

 

The connection between her and the blade felt more direct and less diffused than it had with Gwn Marwolaeth. Her old blade had been quenched in the blood of her most hated enemy, which due to a host of insecurities that she had been drowning in at the time had been herself. Those same insecurities had doomed her on Corellia, acting as a sinister poison that held her back from her full potential. With the clarity of confidence and ambition, her true enemy had been revealed at last. 

 

With ritual reverence she laid out the artifacts of her past self on the ground outside of the workshop. A crystalline heart that she thought would serve better than one that had been broken so many times before. A pair of crimson pearl eyes that revealed secrets but blinded her to so many truths. A sword that misled her into thinking that she couldn’t trust her own instincts. Honestly the armor had performed satisfactorily but it had so many ties to everything else that it needed to be a part of this too. However, she did carefully and gently extract the souls of her family from the armor, greatly relieved that the holy demon that she had fought did not steal them away as well. 

 

These things were parts of herself that she had moved beyond needing. They were paths to misfortune that promised no benefit other than their wretched familiarity. She raised her newly forged blade and in the moment of striking knew its name to be Drych Ysbrydion. Again and again she brought the blade down on her past bonds with storm and fury so great that others in passing might have mistaken the sound for errant peals of thunder, and great clouds of sundered soil exploded into the air.   

 

There was an incredible lightness of being when she finally stopped, her ecstatic trance having put a great furrow in the earth. She let loose a victory cry that resounded throughout the grounds and scattered the dust and debris of her old self to the winds. Within her chest, her heart pounded with the fury of war drums, exultant. Her chains were broken, and at last she was truly free. 

 

With a bounce in her step she returned to the workshop to begin work on her armor. The first pieces that she worked on were gauntlets, into which she worked lanvarok disc casters. Originally these traditional Sith weapons had been full-on polearms, but technological advances had refined them down to a much more practical size, and while they couldn’t penetrate modern high end battle armor, they could hit with enough force to unbalance an armored opponent.

 

Ca’aran returned to her as she finished the gauntlets. She suppressed a vocal squeal at his response, keeping it from escaping by kissing him deeply. Her hands shamelessly gripped him in a way that locked him tightly against her, and with a good squeeze she truly appreciated the firm work of the Kaminoan genetic science division.

 

“I don’t know how effective it will be, I couldn’t really find any past history of it, but I’d like to try training any candidates that you flag as having Darkwatch potential in resistance to mental attacks. If nothing else it will help prepare them for exposure in the field. I know that both of us understand and respect that we are going to be going into hazardous situations routinely, but I want to do what I can to keep you as intact as possible, both inside and out. What do you think about that?”

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At a certain point Lieutenant Hensi realized that the Mandalorian had taken her very literally. She had more meant him to strip down to his undergarments, but she did not blame him for his interpretation. When She saw where it was going, she pointed to the barracks and Aeth ran back to her rooms. She was not a young girl, but even a girl in her late teens did not need to be exposed to every bit of a mandalorian. The rest of the soldiers looked on with little emotion, the few ex mandalorians, those that had survived the ruin of Coruscant, kept their eyes on him. There was honour here, even in the humiliation. They had all gone through it themselves. He had made the first step on a very long journey into the heart of the Sith Lords. 

 

The Lieutenant beckoned to one of the subalterns, a corporal in the grey on grey livery of the Logistics corps who stepped forward with a bundle of clothes and armour. He handed it to the naked mandalorian and stepped away. 

 

“Dress, then you will join us for the afternoon run.” She handed him a datapad. “Soldier 23-55SA. You are assigned to First Battalion, under Sergeant Liam here. Fall in when you are dressed.” 

 

And the with a ring of a bell, the battalion fell in, the special operations group soldiers making long crisp lines in their pale red class b’s. 

 

________________________________

 

 

Delta considered a moment while he held the Sithari woman in a close hug, his clear blue eyes sliding from her new gauntlets to her beautiful face. His mind flew back to the end of the last great war, those few soldiers of the Black Sun he had chosen to elevate above their stations to be his knights errant. Those brief glimpses of smiling faces, fierce set jaws, blaster fire, and the smell of death that came to the surface of his mind caused the smile to stale on his face. Frozen in the mimicry of happiness, until the memories of those friends who now lay in their burned bones in the burned forests of dathomir, faded. To be replaced by the faces of his new soldiers, his battalion. Now bearing little resemblance to the black sunners they had once been. Many had died, too many, but their replacements had been of stronger stuff. 

 

“I have some selections, mostly my current command staff but they have survived much worse.”  

 

He kissed her firmly on her crimson forehead then took a step back to summon his command team. Lieutenants Hensi and Frostwin were called for and they would come at the run. He looked back to the Sith Lord and cocked a smile across his face. This was not a mocking smile, but one of actual pleasure. He reached for his helmet.

 

“But perhaps you could test me as well? I would love to see what you are capable of…”

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Ryu's eyes narrowed with suspicion. In his mind, she was either preparing some sort of ruse, or she was deeply in over her head. He doubled back toward her, pacing around her with a suspicious look on his face.

"Before your leap off a cliff to a possible horrible demise, you should probably exhaust other options. Are you sure that there is not an easier path down? Is the cliff top such an awful place? Could you call an aircab? From the sound of it you came from a full service luxury mountaintop and you're leaping to escape boredom."

Ryu snatched the datapad from her hand. Still pacing around, forcing her to turn to keep her eyes toward him, he turned it on.

Who is this Amedeus anyway? And how did they find me so quickly? Ryu wondered to himself, uncertain if he should know the  name or not.

 

He scanned the message contained within the datapad between frequently stopping to make sure Aziza wasn't springing some kind of trap. Frustration, confusion and annoyance flashed across his face as he read through it. He ran his hand across his head, the persistent headache seemingly growing worse by the second.  He tossed the datapad back at Aziza,

"He must be joking. He wants me to take you as my apprentice." Ryu sighed.

He was thinking an assassination attempt was less and less likely, as her behavior just didn't strike him as particularly well engineered to achieve that end. Which meant that the young woman before him may actually be telling him the truth, and in a way he found that to be the most disturbing of all possibilities. She came from a place of wealth, power, and luxury, and had come all this way to speak to a dirty hallucinating lunatic in the middle of a stinking swamp, because of what he could offer her. He was genuinely annoyed by the idea that anyone would choose to be like him when they could live any life they wanted, and a part of him was in fact starting to worry for her.

He had fragment of memory, a vague recollection of seeing Sith Apprentices used as cannon fodder during an attack, sent in as a first wave and torn to pieces when other options and better strategies were surely available. He could recall watching them be cut down and passing their broken bodies, but what disturbed hm most was what he recalled feeling. That it was good to see the weak had been purged from their ranks.

Ryu thought for a moment about what to do, before ultimately deciding on the same thing he does for every problem he encounters. He fights them.

He struck  a combat stance in the ankle deep muck, his feet spread apart and his hands raised in front of his chest. A straight line was drawn from the center of her chest to his, and along it he placed open palms, ready to strike or defend. His face grew cold and his eyes narrowed. His body was still as a statue, except for the new mechanical hand which randomly jittered in different directions.

"I don't think you're cut out for the Sith, and I don't think I will permit you to go any further. You should turn around and head back to Iziz, and take the first transport back to your clifftop cage. "

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He didn't understand, and Aziza wasn't going to try to explain further. Clearly his experience had not been hers, and it was an impossible distance to relate from. She was about to attempt to change the subject when he accepted the datapad and read it, then chucked it back at her with scorn. 

 

A dagger of pain, sharp and unexpected, pierced her heart at his words, and she was caught so off-guard that she fumbled the datapad and barely recovered it before it plummeted into the bog. Amadeus doesn't want to teach me any longer? Had she done something wrong, something to offend him? Had she failed to meet his expectations, and he had tried to pawn her off on this Ryu without doing her the courtesy of explaining why? She had learned so much from him, and grown so much, even over the course of only a few weeks, and to be discarded like an old garment hurt--more than she wanted to admit or would have expected. It wasn't as if they had really known each other very well. But she had respected him, and this felt like a small betrayal. Betrayal is the way of the Sith, a voice whispered deep in her soul. 

 

She raised her chin. Ryu had settled more deliberately into a fighting stance, and he told her in no uncertain terms that he wouldn't train her. Well, she wasn't surprised. He didn't see how the power she had wielded on Carajam was insignificant compared to the power that Amadeus had shown her how to unlock within her, and how the only thing that mattered to her now was gaining more of it. "I will not give up just because you say so," she replied, her voice hard, her posture tensing as she raised her own arms into a defensive position. "I will learn the power you wield, and strive to one day be your equal."

 

She held the tension for a moment, then released it deliberately, letting her arms drift back down to her sides. "If you refuse to teach me, I'll find someone else who will."

 

She started to turn away, but unsure how he would react, she kept herself vigilant in case his reaction was to throw the punch he appeared to be readying. 

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“I think that I would want another Sith to be the one doing the poking and prodding there, just so that I don’t become associated with any past trauma lurking in your brain. If you’re going to be terrified of me, it should at least be for something that I actually did.”

 

Nyrys moved the copper basin onto a heating element and began mixing in various alchemical components. The blood began to bubble and hiss, and filled the room with the smell of burnt ozone. A somber lament began to emanate through the Force, the wailing of those left behind when tragedy claimed so many. As each piece of Sith steel armor was completed, she applied the crimson unguent to it, infusing them with the mystical concoction. If everything worked properly they would develop a burnt copper hue after she removed the treating compound.

 

“I’ll push your troops, but I won’t break them, and I’ll make sure that whoever works with you understands that you are not to be permanently damaged.”

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Frostwin scowled as he jogged through the dense jungle forest outside Iziz. He could feel the familiar burn of his heavy breathing against the cool morning air, as his lungs struggled to keep up with the now nearing 20 kilometer run. His scowl was more concerning their situation of course, not his aqt his companion, the much younger Lieutenant of the Darkhand commando’s, Sigrid Hensi. 

 

“Captains fouled up again you think?” He said this at barely above a whisper, almost as if the long dead spirits of the Sith that haunted this planet would tattletail on him. Sigrid grimaced and slowed their jog into a walk as they wound their way through a stand of trees. 

 

“His love life is none of our concern, but…” But it was their concern, and it always had been. 

 

So she left the question unanswered, because it was fairly obvious to everyone in Darkhand that had been with the captain since Black Sun. The captain had fallen for another sithari sorcerer, and whenever he did that, death and destruction usually followed. Long before it had been Dathomir, then Dark Sun, and now this. And the two most loyal of Lieutenants could not but feel dread when they had received the summons to the newly built base on the outskirts of Iziz. What darkness awaited them? But they spoke nothing more and walked into the new Sith construction in their class B uniforms, slightly soaked with sweat. An odd pair, an old man and a young woman. Both representing their captain’s past and the old wounds he carried. One had been a child soldier, the other a spice ridden thug from Al-Kerra. They were reflections of their captain, more than he knew. 

 

They saluted Delta and the Sith Lord. And reported for duty. 

 

“Welcome.” Delta said, his clear blue eyes taking in their barely concealed worry. "This is Lord Nyrys, who will be conducting a brief and stimulating experiment. We have to be ready to face the Jedi and this will help prepare you." 

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Bralor stood before them with head held high, bearing himself completely with pride, his flesh as much of his story as his armor. There was no dishonor in who he was, what he was, and the life he had lived. Even if his ilk thought otherwise at his very existence. If he had been born another species, then perhaps his life would have been different. But for many a millennia, Mandalorians have distrusted and shunned the use of the Force, even if only to see. It went against their very core beliefs. And why even he shunned himself. Long had he seen himself through their eyes and sight that he saw weakness in himself, and through that, pushed himself beyond his limitations. This was why he carried himself with pride: even born in weakness, his scars told the story of a veteran soldier.

 

Taking the armor and datapads in hands, he turned his sockets toward the woman and her gathering companions. "I take it that my experience pleases you then?" He spoke, his voice slithering with a smirk as he began dressing himself in the uniform of their company, her words etching his new path into his mind and heart. Perhaps, just perhaps, Kad Ha'rangir had placed him where his destiny chose to take him. Only time would tell if this was truly the case.

 

When he was fully dressed, he fell in line with the others, his physique pressing the boundaries of the uniform he wore with a gentle tightness. With a nod of his head to Sergeant Liam, he signaled his readiness.

Edited by Dar'Manda

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Formally Known as Hunter Of Shadows/Dark

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HIGH ALERT


The Sith Capital was an aristocratic sprawling of high architecture and extravagant nobility, separated by vast pockets of tropical overgrowth that spilled over deep canyons heated by geothermal vents. The walled cities of Onderon seethed with an overcrowd of behemoth warships that swallowed the skies every-which way. Large flight patterns of variable TIE formations patrolled just beneath and through the many mechanized walkers, transports and destroyers that suddenly suspended low in the planet’s atmosphere. Fortress world Onderon drew a hive-like energy that buzzed across every ocean, every city, and every burrow filled with war-ready sentient life. 

 

Iziz was a marveled jewel run amok with opulent red, black and aureate walkways of Imperial banners. Columns and columns of soldiers marched with intention, unloading themselves from scattered military compounds, and loading themselves onto a bevy of loaders and transports. The efficiency was not dissimilar to the assiduous competence of natural ant colonies, streaming forth in beautiful design. 

 

One particular vessel fell from the heavens with fire and finesse, leaning heavy into all thrusters and folding it's long wings upwards in a swift hoist. King Exodus watched the tabulation of data expand in size as they approached in an Upsilon-Class Command Shuttle  from his seat behind the pilot, an outlawed weapons broker who had been conscripted from the holding cells of the Helvault. Servitude over confinement was a rich proposition, but his worth was in the value of his force sensitivity, and not the little he amounted to within the black market. A few other Sith accompanied him in the cockpit of the command shuttle, quiet identities wholly undisclosed with an aura of mystery surrounding them all, not a word said between them. 

 

Exodus drew the corners of his war-plate from his chest, breathing in deep as instinctive meditation fell over him, enabling an acute detection towards the warrior he had shared an affinity with. A few lightsabers hung on the sides of his belt, and a hooded cloak covered his form with the hood drawn up over his dark mane, simmering broodful eyes glowing from behind the shadowed creases of his cowl. 

 

"There they are." The pilot broke the silence in the cabin as the destination loomed in through the viewport, an excited tremor in his voice. Exodus could feel the lunacy radiating off the man, could sense it wasn't due to the maneuver he was about to perform, his confidence in his piloting skill was well enough. No, it was the possibility of blood, a euphoria for battle. "Hold here." Exodus commanded the other Sith, relieving them of their duty to interfere if it came to such. "Pilot, scan the surface for the others, and rally what you can." He continued with authority. “This won’t take long.”

 

 

Exodus departed the rampart, and descended alone from the vessel.
 

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Sergeant Laim leaned forward from where he was standing and brought his hand straight into the back of the Mandalorians head. Enough to make the man see stars, if his empty eyesockets could see such a thing. But it was not a challenge of some kind of honour duel; it was a cuff of reproach, fitting of a backtalking private to his sergeant. 

 

“Get in line Twenty-Three. Whoever you were before has no relevance now.” He raised his voice so that the entire Fifty-Fifth special operations could hear him. “Company, Fall In!” 

 

The first battalion began their run, a light 20 kilometer run, before they wheeled back into the Sith Barracks. It left none of them winded, but when orders finally came in the Special Operations Group would answer. 

 

“Company gather your equipment, we are going on a fast deployment, Twenty Three your equipment will be in your locker. Looks like we will be giving the Rebel Alliance a treat. Report back to the drop shuttles, ASAP.” 

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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"While the Empire has always striven to protect its soldiers from the enemy on a physical level, surprisingly little has been done to prepare them for mental attacks and manipulation. An idea was put forward to rectify that through controlled exposure to allow you to build up a resistance to Jedi sorcery and deceit. I'm going to perform a mental strike, such as conjuring a fear, issuing a command that you are compelled to obey, or deep diving into your head for information. You will do your best to resist it, or failing that, at least familiarize yourself with the feeling of the attack so that you can start to build a foundation to minimize its impact. Also, Sith Lady, because you know, all of the lady bits.

 

If this training shows promise, Dark Hand may see some restructuring. In some ways more will be asked of you, but more in turn will also be given. Special privileges, increased salary, new toys, and access to resurrection protocols through cloning just like Sith and high ranking imperial officers. My father believed in the worth of the soldiers of the Empire, and that by cultivating their talents they would thrive together. He retired eventually from Dark Lording, so I'd say that it worked out pretty well for him. I know that the reputation of the Sith has often been one of ill portent for those that serve under them, but I assure you that your captain is no fun when he's all mopey, so I will be doing my best to keep you all alive and structurally sound. That being said, I'm going to start now."

 

She looked over the troopers like an architect surveying a castle for flaws in its defenses. There was no sadistic edge to this, nor was it a game for her amusement. She wouldn't delude herself by claiming that she had no taste for such things, but it was far too easy to lose control when she was having fun. While Krath could conjure demons of smoke and fear from the darkness, Nyrys instead went a much more subtle route, breathing life into the demons that lurked in their minds, made of regret and sin.

 

The older soldier had traces of poison clinging to his veins, a former slave to a violent romance with spice. It practically did half the work for her, whispering in his ear all of the things that might bring about the satisfaction of a broken promise. They would need to watch this one for relapse down the line.

 

People liked to anthropomorphize everything, including their own darkness, but for Frostwin the darkness was naught but a thought and a craving.

 

Just think about when you were high, it will help calm you for when the witch begins probing your mind. It's been... too long, but you need me to be your friend right now or she will tear through you. Perhaps even down the road you can use the real thing to keep it together, excel in the training beyond the others...

 

The woman was harder to read, she suppressed her pain beneath layers and layers of scar tissue that would react reflexively to her probing. The face in front of the damage was pretty, Nyrys was starting to wonder if Ca'aran picked the majority of his unit from glamour shots. Frostwin being the exception to the rule. She knew that Ca'aran had occupied other shores within his unit, but Nyrys hadn't seen him with specifically this one, so there was no reason to be jealous. The wounds of the past often isolated their bearers, leaving some to distance themselves from anything that could cause pain, and others to seek out anyone that could understand a hurt that could not be comprehended.

 

She seems different from the others, usually Sith just want to use and discard us, but she seems legitimately concerned about us and the captain. Maybe this isn't a death sentence after all. Maybe afterwards they could get drinks, shoot the shit so that she could get a better read on this new mystery the captain gotten wrapped up in.

 

And then to cover her tracks with Sigrid she dumped a couple gallon buckets worth of illusory spiders on her. She wouldn't undermine the whole point of the training just to achieve her own agenda, she could multitask. 

 

 

 

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The sting of the Sergeant's hand against the back of his head was enough to boil the Veteran's blood, the accusations of disrespect flowing through his cerebral cortex as he shook away the fading whelp. It was a humiliating moment to say the least, but if his Master, Kad Ha'rangir, wanting him to learn this lesson, then he would brand it to memory in fire.

 

As the words faded in their echo, Bralor took to the run. Over brush and under towering foliage, he trekked the mountainous terrain with his unit, his physique at its peak even if his prime lingered in years past. Sweat was simply a byproduct and his breath barely waned. As one, the unit took to the course and as one, they would return, Bralor in tow. This was but a menial task.

 

Wiping the sweat from his face and brow as Liam instructed this wayward soldier, Bralor found the armor and gear tucked away beside his bunk, quickly joining the others in progress as klaxons prepared the militia for march. With a smile, he adorned the helm he was assigned and embarked upon this new mission with gusto. Barely a day in and war had called him to battle. Blessed be Kad Ha'rangir.

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Formally Known as Hunter Of Shadows/Dark

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Swift Justice pulled out of hyperspace and quickly made its way to the surface of the planet. As it touched down, the two lone crewmembers disembarked and began to walk the city towards the main area of which they were summoned. Their armor clad feet making loud thuds with each step, but such noise that would have held a different reaction from the majority of places they could have traveled was lost on the Capital of the Sith Empire, as the citizens were used to armor clad troopers walking the streets. The silence of the two Mandalorians was broken by Kot’dral. "What do you know of this Sith Empire?" Tros took a quick glance over at Kot'dral before returning his attention back to the walkway towards the main palace looking building that loomed before them, which was crowded with a bunch of people. "Not much. Exodus is the name of the leader. They made this world home, to which I'm sure pisses Terra off to no end being so close to an ancient site of power."

 

As he moved past people and towards the main gate into the palace, Tros made zero effort to lower his voice or be careful, as he doubted it would do him any good anyways. He looked back at Kot'dral for a moment before he continued on. "Black Sun had been spotted on this planet making contacts of some sort, but I doubt that the Sith Empire actually trades openly with them." Tros remembered that Zalis had always been interested in playing all sides in order to make the most credits she could. So based upon such information he understood that Black Sun was just tolerated here at best. "I fought as a mercenary for them a while back over this planet. The Jedi and Rebels were completely caught off guard. No other attempt has been made by them to push the Sith Empire off this planet. And I doubt any other push is going to be made, at least not until Terra can muster more strength to challenge them herself." Almost as soon as he said the words, he knew within his own mind that more likely they would end up having a conflict with her before the Sith Empire would based upon his movements alone. 

 

Tros flashed the message at the guards at the gate and they quickly let him and Kot'dral in. As soon as they got into the palace, Tros then turned towards his companion and lowered his voice. "Best to remain quiet and talk to no one though. Until we know why were being summoned, everyone here is a potential enemy of ours." As he finished his words, he rested his left hand upon one his blasters, if nothing else but to make sure that he still had it at his side. He didn't know what was going on yet, and that was enough reason for the two Mandalorians to remain alert. 

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Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

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𝔬𝔟𝔢𝔡𝔦𝔢𝔫𝔠𝔢

 

Along one of the military vectors in the constantly busy capital of the Sith Empire, the Herløv dropped out of hyperspace. Qaela sat in her chair on the bridge and took in the sight as the ship began to receive orders from the Onderon Central Command as to where to pull into orbit. Her officers would take care of seeing what sorts of further repairs and supplies the ship could get while here, but they had no idea how long that might be. Damage taken at Fondor was still visible in some areas, though most of the worst had been replaced on Kuat.

 

Instead, she sent a response through the same highly sensitive coded system that had first summoned her to the planet. Her message was simply:

 

I HEAR AND OBEY.

Qaela Sig

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The two Sith soldiers shared a side eye glance before slowly nodding. They both could feel the apprehension in the air, but knew they had to do their duty. Though how far their bonds of loyalty to Delta could be stretched to appease his newest toy they themselves did not know. But he had not steered them wrong thus far, so they would weather this storm. Or at least that's what they believed. 

 

Delta was not so sure, and apprehensively leaned against he wall, his pale blue eyes flicking from his two officers to Nyrys and back. Silently praying that they would not hate him too much for this. 

 

Gerald Frostwin - 

 

The rush. Gods what a rush. He could almost feel the relaxing loss of control that came with the glitterstim. It wasn’t so much a stimulant now, it hadn’t been for a very long time. How old had he been when he first felt the rush? Eight? Nine? Mum had been in a good mood and had shared a little dab from the fingernail to rub on his gums. What had happened to her anyway? But his memory of her was as fleeting as the rush itself. Her memories had been trodden down like grass under the boots of a battalion. Rush after rush, and little by little her face had been swept away. Trampled under the glitterstim, pulled beneath the rushing blood in his veins. That faceless face still smiled though, its form a liquid instead of a pure and unadulterated face. Perhaps he imagined a smile, like people could see Tuk'ata in the clouds. 

 

But I gave that all up right?

 

It didn’t matter, the rush was there, he could feel it. Or was it there? The feelings certainly were. The familiar friends of broken promises and shattered dreams were there. He could almost feel their embrace, their sorrowful nudging that he deserved this. He just needed the Rush to get through. He could always give it up another day.

 

But I did give it up and you can’t even see the needle marks any more. I can taste the food I eat. In fact I can still taste the stimcafe from this morning. 

 

He blinked, and gasped, pushing the rush out of his mind. She was good. Damn her she was good. He forced a smile.

 

“Almost got me there. Took me way back.” 

 

Back to better times. Where the only thing he had to worry about was where to get the next score....

 

- Sigrid Hensi - 

 

Spasted spiders. They even got here to the bloody new construction? Sigrid wrinkled the bridge of her nose and crushed the thing with the toe of her boot. She could feel the pop of its carcass, the rupturing of its abdomen as she pressed down, and the satisfactory splatter of blood that arced its way a few inches from the well shined toe of her issued boot.

 

How had she gotten here, how had she become so attached to this captain? She knew that she had no romantic call, she was no beautiful Tares, or funny Haylee, and she still stood here, Alive. Through it all at least she had lived, even as everything she loved died while she screamed in useless denial. 

 

Love. Was she broken? Tares and Haylee had gone through what she had, they had all been fighting since their early teens, first in black sun then into the Sith Empire. How many years had they served together and how many of those young smiling faces were now rotting in graves on a dozen planets? How many friends had died? And how many…

 

Loves? She had certainly loved Haylee. And So did the Captain. But she owed him more than anyone she had ever known.

 

Memories came fast from her childhood. Remember when mom overdosed in the new home we had been given? A knife and blood on the flood of the pantry. A screaming and premature infant. A new sister. A new mouth to feed. Another child born addicted. But she had been pulled out of all that. Rescued at the end of a blaster rifle.

 

She scratched at an itch and felt something other than her own flesh. Another spider. And in fact there were dozens of them. She flicked away another, then froze. It had been so subtle! She let the fear deescalate and then cocked a grin at the red woman. If spiders were all that she had thrown at her, she couldn't really be all that bad right? She had to get to know her. Somehow. 

 

__________________
 

“Get to the shuttles, line by line. Your equipment will be on the racks above your jumpseats. Get dressed into your armour, we are getting more than flighttime, prepare for close orbital insert. Solid copy?” Liam took his chalks of men and made sure they were well situated. He glanced at the newest recruit who was now seated in front of him. 

 

“Have you ever orbital inserted Twenty-Three?” 

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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The long worn Sith landing craft spun towards the beacon transmitting slightly dated but familiar codes. The Spiders Apprentice had returned, and brought with her another long lost Sith Apprentice, the Cathar Camik. It was time for him to receive his Lordship, and to join the long ranks of the Sith Empire. 

 

Telperien turned to the Cathar, her voice soft.

 

“Kneel.”

 

She had no great name to bestow upon him, no great title. A simple gesture, and one that he had long deserved. 

 

“Rise a Lord of the Sith Empire.”

 

The shuttle docked, and the nightsisters all bowed low to the Cathar.

 

“Now go and find your place. Seek the Spider and serve him until your death.” 

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The thrill of battle, the rush to confront the war, it was as if his heart beat with drums as his blood boiled and his construed face hidden by the helm graced a smile. It was likely the same for the whole unit, but for Bralor, this was his life. This is what he lived for and would die for. A Dar'Manda seeking resolution, aiming to reach the heavens and beyond.

 

"Rarely." He responded to Sergeant Liam, his gaze shifting from the forward to his CO across the way. "Before the call of the Crusade, I worked as a Hunter, both on my own and Black Sun. And during the Crusade, I usually led the Basilisks against the Alliance Forces."

 

Didn't mean the concept didn't intrigue him though. War was war, and blood was blood. Didn't matter who's either belonged to. He was there to do the will of Kad Ha'rangir. The rest was rudimentary, mattering little to zilch. But since the call of the Crusade, Bralor had felt a more devious call in his heart, diabolical and malice. To wage war simply for war, no meaning nor cause, simply to face strength with strength and let fate decide the victor, it was estatic and exhilarating, like a drug with no ending to it's addiction.

 

Could Liam and his comrades provide its release? Only time would tell.

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Formally Known as Hunter Of Shadows/Dark

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EMPEROR

 


"One who shows signs of mental aberration is, inevitably, perhaps, but cruelly, shut off from familiar, thoughtless intercourse, partly excommunicated; his isolation is unwittingly proclaimed to him on every countenance by curiosity, indifference, aversion, or pity, and in so far as he is human enough to need free and equal communication and feel the lack of it, he suffers pain and loss of a kind and degree which others can only faintly imagine, and for the most part ignore."

 

 

I am here.

The affirmation rang out as empty words into an open abyss, sunken echoes that faded lingeringly into a dominion of unmitigated shadow. Exodus meditated, cross-legged and alone, with a vicious darkness that stretched as far as the eyes could see and then further yet. His consciousness searched more composedly than last he had entered the Netherworld, for the frequency in which he had visited the land of the dead, began to produce a near-absolute fearlessness of the unknown. This breach between life and death was unlike the physical domain where he conquered and ruled, for the laws in which bound him were drastically different; a formidable center of gravity slowed his body and bones, the force slipped between his fingers as if catching grains of sand, and an endless horde of revenant spirits undoubtedly watched him here, undaunted by any foreign power. This was their home.

With unyielding mettle he moved to stand, the King of the Sith pushing himself to his feet, watching each leg root themselves into fast-crawling wisps of black smoke. Muscles drew taut at the level of exertion needed to simply move, venting irritated breath from the nostrils of the Emperor. Whatever terrain this was, it was most certainly alive. A true suspense of yawning nothingness drawn out in every which direction, embracing him, becoming one with him. Ground bloated into watery black, a shimmering surface that was as solid as any substance in the material world. Dark flowing robes of onyx and aureate silk stood out against the dark panorama, bizarrely offering a measure of sight beyond where he stood. There was something there.

 

An Anzati Warlord could pierce the night skies with their natural sight, and one born of the dark would always fare far better than the ordinary. His eyes burned with outstanding intensity as they boiled like running magma, searching out the figure before him. His mind became functioning gears of violence and strategy, as it always did when he was on the hunt. He moved to demand the Dark Will of the Force, but felt nothing. He spit, and then reached for the handle of his blade.

 

 

“Face me.”


_______________

 

"That will do nothing for you here," the voice crawled out in a low devilish tone as soon as the Mandalorian rested his hand uneasily on the holstered weapon. Waking abruptly from his meditations, Exodus could feel the power return in a flush through his veins. Venomous was the sound of his words, echoing acutely across the dark and empty halls, thrumming through their bodies. Much different than the void. A brooding figure sat with elbows over knees, and his face curiously buried inside the skin of his palms. Polished braziers attached to one side of each of the six marmoreal columns lit up every part of the throne hall and allowed shadows to play and dance where light could not reach. Countless bloodstones unearthed from the toil of Onderon, layered the ceiling and danced in the flickering light. Sculptures and hunted game looked down upon the slate floor of the magnificent hall, yearningly watching the mortals below. All of this played backdrop to the Sovereign Sith, heralded as both Destroyer of life and Savior of his kin. 

 

"Mandalorians. Do not insult me, be at ease." 

 

Exodus leaned back into the smooth surface of the decor, and ringed the half-filled glass of wine with a single finger, chasing the last vestiges of deep meditation from his psyche. 

 

"You wear the colors well, last son of Clan Ardell..
To what ends, would you see your clan rise once more?"

 

No time wasted, the Spider awaited an answer.
 

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Tros turned slowly towards the direction of the voice. It belonged to someone who was shrouded in clothes of darkness. A quick glance in his HUD showed that Kot’dral was tensing up very slightly at the confounded situation. Lifting his left hand slightly to wave him, he turned his full focus back on the figure before them. His right hand never left his blaster, holster, but not out of fear. He was prepared for anything, and that was something he felt like he needed to be within these halls. Without much hesitation, he turned to face directly to figure.

 

“No insult has been issued. What you find as unease is natural for me as you are touching the Force.” Not wanting to dwell upon the mistakes that both have already made with each other, he quickly responded to the question posed to him. “The ends of seeing my clan rise is to set them apart and make a name for themselves. But no not be unwise in assuming that I mean for all Mandalorians. I am no fool. I understand that my own culture has not been united since the days of when Mandalore the Ultimate led us. Many have tried, but few have been able to make such a claim with full support of all Clans and Houses.”

 

Tros now stepped forward, for the first time letting his own hand fall away from the holster. “I seek to raise up a House that can stand on its own. To make Mandalorians feared as they once were, even if it’s only one House of Mandalore.” He now stood and stared into the shadow, letting his own presence be known that he was willing to do anything for his clan. 

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Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

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𝖙𝖍𝖗𝖔𝖚𝖌𝖍 𝖋𝖎𝖗𝖊, 𝖋𝖑𝖆𝖒𝖊, 𝖆𝖓𝖉 𝖋𝖊𝖆𝖗.

 

Words were relayed though the same channels that summoned her, Qaela was to go down to the planet itself to the center of all Sith power in the Galaxy: the palace in Iziz. She had been here before, but it had been quite some time since and she was looking forward to it. It wasn't that there was any less danger among the perpetually scheming Sith clustered there, it was that she was no longer bound by the same cautious fear that once held her. She had already faced death and it no longer had any hold over her. Pain was nothing new, either. Now, none below had anything to hold over and use against her.

 

She took a shuttle down to the expansive landing pads that serviced the palace itself, then a surface speeder to the gates. Once there, she strode in with confidence and authority given to her by the Emperor himself. If he had wished to punish her, he would have done so, but she had opened up to him on Kuat and let him see that he had nothing to fear from her so long as he benefitted the Sith Order. Should he fall into madness, she would oppose him with every fiber of her being, but she would expect the same from him, too. All here served the Sith, and if they didn't, they didn't deserve to live. She was working to get rid of the days where Sith sought power for themselves at the expense of the Order itself. She served the Dark Lord Exodus because he had unified the Sith and brought them to glory, but not a wasteful glory. As long as he did so, she would serve him faithfully and do everything within her power to ensure he remained at the head of the Empire he created.

 

Finding where the Spider stood was not difficult: one only needed to follow the pureness of Darkness that permeated from his presence. No being would be foolish enough to approach without either a great purpose or being summoned, so none challenged her as she approached confidently. Knowing not to interrupt the Emperor while he spoke, she remained in the shadows, unseen and silent, drawing on the Force only to further cloak herself in darkness to avoid attention from the Mandalorian seeking an audience.

Qaela Sig

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When Karys first entered the system, a awe inspiring sight beheld his vision. Ships of all sizes everywhere, the Sith Empire had become a massive unstoppable beast by the looks of it. His approach was cautious, not knowing if he would be so easily accepted back...He gambled on a calculated risk that his clearance still worked and that he still held some degree of influence among the Sith. 

 

Perhaps there was a use for him beyond being a corpse or as cannon fodder. He would soon see, inputting the codes he transmitted them along with a open comlink  to whoever was in charge down below so he could be granted access.

 

"Greetings, this is Lord Akheron. Transmitting my clearance now. I have been gone several years and the Dark has willed that I return from my exploration of the force to bring my Wrath again upon the enemies of the Dark One, the Sith'ari Exodus. It pleases me to see the Sith Empire is stronger than ever by what I can see before my eyes."

 

 Akheron awaited the reply, as he did this he expanded his presence. Making his presence known to those attuned to it, his Wrath speaking for him and perhaps expediating his entry if someone possibly recognised it and felt so inclined.

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''There are others of my kind...those who see themselves as lions among sheep as I do. As kings--superior to man in every way. Why, then, should we be confined to darkness? Why should we fear man.'' - Darth Lucifer

 

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As Akheron's vessel jumped into Onderon's system, Captain Hurst's sensors lit up. He'd been keeping an eye on the system's traffic for Darth Mavanger, watching for a certain Sith to arrive. Darth Akheron, he was called. Old blood, from the way his lord had described it, and when he asked the other officers of Mavanger's campaign, he was met with little more than rumors and confusion. Some claimed the returning Lord was a lifelong friend of the Sith. Others claimed a bloody past fraught with mayhem. But true information was scarce, and all he was working off of right now was a few whispers of the returning Lord en route to Onderon. He was ecstatic to find that it was true- he was out of leads, and while Darth Mavanger had yet to execute anyone under his command, he knew there would still be punishment for his failure.

 

But he didn't serve the Sith out of fear. No, he served with patriotism and honor, with the grim acceptance that these were the risks of serving so close to their overlords. It was worth it, he thought to himself, to witness such power. It stokes the fires of war and boosted the morale of those who witnessed such rage brought upon a shared enemy. His views were not shared by all, of course. Some feared the Sith, and when Darth Mavanger had stood defiant before the Dark Lord, he expected the new Lord's head to come clean off. But, in the measured wisdom of the best of the Sith's order, it seemed the Dark Lord had decided to spare the Darth. 

 

Still, he had a job to do. Once the vessel was identified, he gather his team, a squad of decorated infantrymen who'd seen fighting throughout the galaxy. He'd personally requested them to accompany him. Mordecai had his honor guard of course, the best of the elite, but the officers of his forces had to protect themselves as well.

 

He keyed the communication device, hailing Lord Akheron's vessel.

"My lord Darth Akheron, I am Captain Hurst. Welcome back to Sith space. If it would please you, I would have a word with you on the behalf of Darth Mavanger."

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