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Korriban

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For what was months at a time, Helios sat atop the secret entrance, nestled upon rolling red sands. At every break of dawn, he set himself into a trance, swimming in meditation over the thousands that bustled below. He knew he needed to find himself students to impart his teachings, creatures willing to sacrifice their mind and body to the learnings of the dark side. Death was inevitable, and what a waste it would be to wither away without proper seeding. He knew better now to temper himself, elsewise he would burn himself through more acolytes than he could count from the Bastion, but none could ever manage to endure the rise of his teachings. Strangely, the fumbling crew had happened across him after all this time, turning the table on who would find who, yet none of them were like anything he had ever expected. Helios knew they would become more fodder to the flame, but at least one of them could rise above. But who?


“Enemies. Competition. Strange ants that we don’t know and I don’t trust.”

 

 

Aliss was a blunt blade, her emotions etched into her face for all to see, and along her forearms drew fury and resentment. She was the closest to the wicked flames, and Helios could feel the wisps of fire at his fingertips almost call out to the woman. She was predatorial in her presentation, and whenever she spoke, her voice dripped with an interesting malice. There were layers to her, in the way she walked, in the way her eyes remained ever-piercing. Her story, he imagined, was one filled with betrayal and pain rolled tightly inside of her cold heart. Was it her?

 


“You’ll have to excuse the girl, Master Helios. She spent her entire life on Ishvara...”
“I see legacy. Something forged likely through hard labor, if not slave labor, that will probably outlive us all. I see players, cogs if you will, most likely doing their part and performing their roles. And more importantly, I see knowledge and opportunity. Old things often hide knowledge long forgotten. Old ‘magics’ more powerful in the hands of the worthy than most will ever know or actualize.”

 


Order. This one smelled of the old magics, one of rigid constitution, one of a quiet power. His hunger was sheathed perfectly beneath his feline features. He was the adhesive to this small company, the unyielding chieftain of their journey, and perhaps the most experienced of the bunch. He spoke of his past life on the surface briefly, his training with another halted into stagnation. Would his vanity keep him from learning the hard way? Would he truly submit, or would his nature find him burnt into a crisp? These were the questions that whispered in the charred scalp of the Great Helios. If Roshan could succeed, maybe they all would find a way with this creature by their side.

 

 

“I...I see…well I see a place of life...of...potential. A place to possibly learn or...”

 

 

There it was. When the sentient fusion of machine and stone spoke, hesitation crawled from the voice module in abundance. In that moment, a gauge was finalized between the three, illustrating just who and what they were in summation. Aliss was the highest extreme, cradling the most radical end of the criterion, a flame that could end them all. Roshan scaled the center, his poise and demure tying the team together at the core. Solus was the beginning, the most earnest and uncultivated of embers, with a promise that could far surpass any one of these individuals, or drag behind the others with a propensity for conserving it’s true nature. Abruptly, a distraction set in place, and Helios was now convinced. He watched menacingly as the transaction of words between Solus, and another denizen of the passage transpired. None were to be trusted in these grand halls, for the most cutthroat of beings could find themselves here, attempting to cheat their way up the hierarchy of power. Force sensitives were hated, and it was jealousy of those without, that plotted to end those that were gifted. This Tear drew too much attention, and for that alone, Helios considered slaughtering the thing.

 

 

“Yes, opportunity! That is what I see! Haha!”

 

 

Helios watched the little potion-maker scamper off. He knew that this was now much more than a curious deal to be had. The inhabitants of the passage could detect when things were awry in their little pit of seclusion. Although there were many that moved about the black markets with purpose, this new union staggered without, and became a glowrod of this opportunity that his would-be students had spoke of. Danger would come, and they would be tested. The Master of the Wicked Flame pulled up the folds of his robe, ensuring his tell was not revealed to others, covering as much of his skin as he could.

 

 

“Undoubtedly, you’ve been here countless times, Master Helios. But tell us. What do you see?”

 

 

There was no answer more right than the other, this was a matter of perspective. The markets would open, and then they would close. The people here would come, and they would go. The tunnel systems would field this union to temples, to the Bastion, to the dormitories, naturally formed wonders off of the beaten path. There would be joy, order, hate, jealousy, lawlessness, and injustice in every which way you could imagine it. Stillness was hard to find, and peace was tested whenever you were not watching. The Passage was watching now, and there was a collective nestled deep inside of it, that would seek what they imagined was owed. 

 

"I believe what we look for, gives birth to what we see, and I see a wildfire brewing."

Enemies, Competition, Mistrust, Legacy, Cogs, Knowledge, Opportunity, Wildfire.

 

"There is no need to excuse the fair lady, she is right not trust these people. They do not trust you, and now they know just how to spot you. They have seen you descend from the scaffolding of the rock-ways, they have tongues that will tell tall tales of promise, and as long as you parade that dog of yours, they can pick you from a crowd. They will not pay for that creature, Solus. You will find a knife buried deep between your crust before you see a flash of coin. They will drag you from the markets and dismember you for parts, and then skin your mates for their organs. Remember, the red sands and the things beneath them are no casual matter. We must move. Follow me.

 

 

Lord Helios shuffled his staff and took point at the bottom of the rock-way. He kept a few paces ahead of the others, leaving room for them to spread and watch each other's rear as they drew through the crowds. Any and everything you could think of, had an exhibition stand to advertise what it was they were looking to part with. From combat-effective gear to spices and outlandish cuisines. Smoke both pleasant and unpleasant fumed the spacious hollow-town. Mobs of individual, mostly cloaked, moved rudely against the herds. There were no traffic measures down here, it was a free-for-all of chaos and coin. Thieves, children, humanoids, and the strangest of creatures form a melting pot on the hardened clay alley-ways. Most of the action formed at the mid-town square, which was mostly just a gigantic ring-shaped marketplace that led to other districts at the outskirts of its center. Tall, short, fat and skinny, various body types pushed into each other to have their way. There were pockets of musicians riddled throughout the marketplace, spread out enough to not interfere with one another's sound, but loud enough in their own respect to drone out the noise of hard travel. The music was refreshing, depending on the hour of the day, which foreigners could only guess at, was indicative to the mood of the sound. Now, the symphonies were charged with ecstasy, feeding the consumers and brigands with a raw energy.

 

The Master of the Wicked Flame, held just that inside of his splintered staff. When it raged inside of it's cage, the sound of the heat caught the eyes of those that stood before it and inched away from the group. The four of them would make their way to the edges of the market and file down a more narrow alley-way. This corridor was infinitely littered with dwellings and lodgings of all sorts. Hostelries, saloons, small restaurants, alehouses and tinier bazaars that facilitated the many different species that roamed these parts. They rose high and low, all seemingly of the same large and expansive block, but accessed from just this side of the alley. Other alleyways held different options, and led to alternative districts for the underworld society, neighboring this was one dedicated to places of worship, and another botanical study and garden conservatories.  

If they followed true, they would soon push themselves into a rather tucked-away house of worship. Nothing special inside, mostly carved from the same stone they stood on, with benches and a strange altar that dedicated itself to no one in particular. When there, Helios would reveal a key inside of his grip that would loosen a secret entrance and lead them down another set of stairs (smaller now, and made of black stone), and then they would begin.


"Na-hah ur su ka-haat.

Su ka haru aat"

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Tear growled at the words Helios spoke, as if it understood that it was being addressed as something to be killed. It’s glowing eyes glared with hatred towards this being. It’s teeth were bore out slightly. Solus squeezed the hound’s legs in an attempt to silence it, though that did nothing to quell the low ruble from the hound’s throat.

 

Truth be told, Solus shivered at Helios’ words again. The thought of these people betraying and attacking him for Tear made him nervous. The imagery of Lord Roshan and Sir Aliss losing their skin was enough to get Solus to pause momentarily in shock. A quick glance at the people around revealed nothing but several faces glancing in his direction. Were they hungrily eyeing Tear? Were they plotting on how to take him down? 

 

“Surely, if these people see such potential gods like me in this way, how do real gods like my Lord see me? I must grow stronger...yes, I must. Yes, yes...I will prove myself and these other people of my might sometime.” 

 

As Solus  mutterred to himself, loud enough for any passerby to hear, Tear hissed slightly. His eyes were intent on Solus’ sensor. When Solus glanced at the beast, it glanced downwards towards Solus’ chest. Solus looked down and thought for a moment at what Tear might've been saying. Eventually, he nodded in understanding.

 

“Indeed Tear. You can defend yourself…” Solus started as he released a hand to rub the claw marks that Tear himself had given him in their first encounter. That battle was only the other day, and as his first battle, it was infused in Solus’ memory. 

 

“...or at least you can when you have your front legs. But don’t worry. You are mine, and thus under my protection for now. And these...beings…”

 

Solus glanced around again. He stopped when he saw a few more beings staying still, their eyes on the Shard being. It was obvious they were more than curious in both Solus and his pet. 

 

In a millisecond, Solus mentally adjusted his voice box. With a rough unpracticed mimicry, he produced the low growl of the Tuk’ata alpha from Ishavara, which rose to a bark, and ended with a slight hiss. The on-lookers took the message and went on to their own business.   

 

“Heh...these beings will fear me soon enough. And Lord Roshan will be happy. And Sir Aliss.” 

 

Solus raced after the group, a bit more pride in his slithering. Through the marketplace, the group went. The shard couldn’t help but admire how everyone backed away from Helios and his staff of power. Surely this being did have power and Solus had made the right choice to surrender himself to his teachings. 

 

However, when the group arrived at the building and went inside, Solus glanced around and wondered. 

 

“Darth Helios, this place...this is an alter correct? That implies this is a place of worship. But what is it that we worship? Don’t you, as a god in this world of worlds, control things like the Force? Why worship something else?” 

 

As he spoke, Solus made a point not to look at Roshan. He realized his question could potentially get an answer that directly contradicted what Roshan had taught him already. Roshan had told Solus that they, as gods, did not obey the Force. And what was worship if not complete obedience? 

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Posted (edited)

Lord Roshan:

Roshan watched the distracted "shardbot" with a bit of a scowl. It was rude of him to get distracted but he likely wasn’t used to interacting with people in the real world. After all, he, Aliss, and now Master Helios were the only people Solus knew. Roshan held his tongue. If Master Helios wanted to chastise him for talking to strangers than he could do so. Otherwise, they would wait. Fortunately, they did have to wait long before Solus caught back up with the group and Master Helios answered Roshan’s question.

 

"I believe what we look for, gives birth to what we see, and I see a wildfire brewing."

 

Fitting that he would use a fire analogy. I should have guessed.

 

Roshan grinned to himself a little, realizing he was still wearing his mask. He hesitated for a second, almost raising his hand to remove it before quickly stopping himself. He may have been in semi-friendly company at the moment, but he couldn’t speak for the other strangers. Of course, Helios confirmed that he had good reason not to.

 

"There is no need to excuse the fair lady, she is right not trust these people. They do not trust you, and now they know just how to spot you...”

 

As Helios painted a vivid picture of their villainy, Roshan unconsciously shrugged. He had seen worse and survived worse of Ishvara. If they were itching for a fight, he’d be more than happy to unite them with the other humans he had slain over the last decade.

 

As the group followed Master Helios through the market crowd, Roshan allowed his eyes to wander, making mental notes of what each stand had to offer while scanning the crowd every so often just in case someone intended to do them harm. As the crowds began to brush against their party more and more, Roshan slid his hands down to his waist and placed them firmly on his lightsabers. It wasn’t that he was worried about having to use them. He was more suspicious of others attempting to steal them. There was always something different about a thief. Maybe it was the way they smelled or stood or the pheromones they gave off, but Roshan could always spot them and this marketplace was full of more than its fairshare.

 

As they pushed on, Lord Roshan followed in silence. The “kids” whispered and prattled in the background and Solus took every opportunity to draw attention to their group, but perhaps that was just as well. At least the onlookers would now see them with and know that they were with Master Helios. If Helios was truly a powerful Sith Master, he’d definitely strike fear into this cast of degenerates, thieves, and scoundrels. 

 

Once they finally came to a stop, Roshan examined the building they had entered. It was nothing special, perhaps even more mundane than many of the modest rooms of worship back on Ishvara. Maybe Helios was religious and looking to bless their journey before they headed any further? Roshan doubted it. Nothing with the Sith was ever that straightforward or simple. No, there had to be something more here than met the eye. A lesson, a clue, a story? Of course, as Roshan looked around, Solus continued to participate in his favorite pastime: talking.

 

“Darth Helios, this place...this is an alter correct? That implies this is a place of worship. But what is it that we worship? Don’t you, as a god in this world of worlds, control things like the Force? Why worship something else?” 

 

Roshan turned to look at Solus as the Cathar removed his mask. His eyebrow raised upon hear the full question.

How does he know it's an altar? When has he seen an altar before? Or learned of worship for that matter? Was he built with a database that the Shard can access and learn from? Was he reading the database while they were in transit? Or was it mentally linked to his mind the moment he was “awaken”? What other mysteries might it contain?

 

In those moments, Lord Roshan realized that he still knew so little about Solus and its origins or the design of its chassis and its abilities and purpose. Part of him wanted answers but part of him didn’t want to tip his hand. After all, it seemed that Solus believed that Lord Roshan was actually the maker and awakener of Solus and its droid body. And while Roshan had neither confirmed or denied such an idea, it seemed like a useful falsehood not to shatter. For all he knew, it might come in handy down the road if Solus’ loyalty to Lord Roshan was ever tested.

 

Turning to Master Helios, Roshan was curious to hear the Sith’s answer. Of course, Aliss, it seemed, had a different plan.

___

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*** *** ***

Aliss Roshan:

 

When the stranger first approached Solus and Tear and began asking questions, Aliss glared menacingly at the interloper. It was an odd creature, unlike anything that she had ever seen.

 

But who is he to think he has the right to approach any of us! 

 

Aliss’ eyes shifted abruptly to one side, now resting on the overly friendly droid and his pet. A look of confusion colored her face.

 

What is he doing? Didn’t his... welll... doesn’t he know not to... welllll.

 

Aliss suddenly turned to Lord Roshan with a bit of a disappointed head bob.

 

“You forgot to teach him not to talk to strangers, didn’t you?”

 

Roshan squinted his eyes at her from underneath his mask, “I don’t appreciate your tone, young lady.”

 

Aliss rolled her eyes and huffed a little. Turning back in Solus’ direction, she pulled her lightsaber from her belt and began to march towards the trio. Fortunately, she didn’t have to go far. It would seem that the alien got the hint because he rather abruptly ended the conversation and said his goodbyes to Mr. Solus. As they parted, Aliss made a mental note of the being's name.

 

Kirrinisha. I will remember that. If anything happens to use while we are here, Kirrinisha, I will hunt you down and you will pay.

 

As Solus hurriedly caught back up to everyone else, Aliss waited for him with her hands on her hips.
 

“Ah please Roshan, don’t be mad. Don’t be mad. What am i saying, of course he’ll be mad...ah kriff...still, that being. Such a lovely voice. But potions? What the heck are those? And what's alchemical ingredients…clearly I’ll have to ask the others about those…”

 

Roshan seemed to ignore Solus, ready to move on. Aliss, however, yapped at him in angry bursts of whisper.

 

What was that! Don’t you know! Strangers are dangerous! You don’t talk to random strangers! And potions? Like magical elixirs and stuff? Or like Soul weapon--”

 

Her whispers were suddenly interrupted of by Helios’ answer to Lord Roshan’s question. He basically just agreed with what she said. And of course, she was right. She had been raised well. Roshan was a masterful warrior. But her mother had trained her well and Rose always knew best when it came to life skills. 

 

Rose. I miss you, mom.

 

In fact, the music coming from the market corners reminded Aliss of her mother all the more so. Her mother had always been a talented musician, limber dancer, and lover of song. It was how Aliss used to get to sleep when she was little. No matter how tough things were or how bad things got, her mother’s voice always made everything alright. She shuddered at the thought of never hearing that voice again.

 

No...

 

She couldn’t allow that to happen. Her mother’s body was not found among the dead. She was most likely taken as a slave. And if she was, that meant that if Aliss got strong enough she could return to Ishvara some day and free her. She knew what she had to do.

 

Aliss fell back a little bit to remain within earshot of Solus as Helios lead them through the crowded streets. She listened in silence as Solus continued to rant to himself. She found his rambling mostly pointless. But he did, however, manage to get a little giggle out of her when he did his Tuk’ata impression. She didn’t know why exactly she found it so funny, but those sound effects coming out of his vocabulator throughoutly amused her for whatever reason.

 

“Heh...these beings will fear me soon enough. And Lord Roshan will be happy. And Sir Aliss.” 

 

Aliss rolled her eyes and chuckled a little, “Soulless, how about you worry about keeping up first.”

 

As they entered one of the local building, Aliss looked around, casually examining and touching things. It was not until Solus spoke that her attention turned back to the droid. Before Helios could reply to his question, Aliss was quick to add her take.

 

“Of course he controls the Force, silly! Both of them do! But what do you think Sith holy croms and Force Spirits are! This isn’t our final form if you become powerful enough! It might be yours, though, if you don’t have a soul. I think you need a soul to become a Force ghost,” she concluded, glancing in Master Helios' direction for confirmation.

 

Truth be told, she found Solus to be a walking contradiction at times. He somehow didn't know what alchemy and potions were but knew about worship and altars? His programming clearly must have been faulty. It was anybody's guess if he knew what a holy crom or a Force ghost even was.

 

But if nothing else... I guess... at least I tried. He means well, but Mr. Helios has his work cut out for him with this one.

____

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Edited by Durose Roshan

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With the pull of a lever, the Enforcer emerged from hyperspace over the ancient home of the Sith. The pilot's dark eyes swept her scanners first, then when it was clear that she was alone at this reversion point, she throttled back, and finally raised her gaze to take in the dusty red chunk of rock orbiting an old star with a sense of accomplishment. 

 

It had not been an easy path to get here. That Korriban was the homeworld of the Sith species and the birthplace of the Order was well known; finding someone who knew and would give up the coordinates had been more of a challenge. There had been several false leads, one of which had channeled her into a nest of pirates waiting for easy prey. But Aziza Kalahari had not become the enforcer of a planetary king by being easy prey. 

 

After a moment, she kicked the sublights back in and watched as the planet grew larger and larger in her viewport. The star disappeared around the disk of the planet, then a few minutes later, reappeared on the far side. A sunset for my old life, and the rising dawn of a new. She took a deep breath and centered herself. She was under no delusions. She knew that even if she succeeded in finding the Sith, there was no guarantee that they would accept her for training. And if they did, there was no guarantee she'd survive it. But if she did, she knew without a doubt that true power would be hers. The Force could free her. 

 

And perhaps it was a bit arrogant, but she believed she could be an asset to this Empire that was taking it's rightful control of the galaxy. 

 

But that was the far future. For now, she would take one day at a time. 

 

When she drew close enough, her comm flicked to life, and the next few minutes were busy with IFF transponder signals being sent and docking procedures being communicated. They were sending her to a docking bay on an orbital station, and she glided her interceptor in for a practiced landing. She shut everything down, lowered the ramp, and set the security system, then rose. Slinging her electrostaff on her back, she headed down the ramp, her bearing regal and her expression passive. It was time to discover her destiny.

 

 


aziza.png

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"When the first students to attempt pyromancy at Yrsrathik Academy were found burned to death by their own conjurations, the masters assembled the other students to demonstrate that those apprentices were just too weak to control the flames. The ensuing conflagration led to the banning of pyromantic studies. Even so, pursuit of mastery over the flame would lead to a procession of tragedies through history."

- S Guide.

 

"It is where I give thanks to the first flame. Such knowledge, none of you have earned. Now be silent."

 

 

Helios could feel his temper twitch beneath his skin, the pain in his bones vexed his reasoning as he walked, and his patience wore thin. The stone steps allowed them to descend into the dark basement, visibility quickly becoming nil. They could feel their way down the stair-way as they did before, but these steps were only twenty deep in comparison to the long descent from the red sands they had just endured. The basement was cold, smoothed out rock went from wall to wall, and from the ceiling to the bottom. If there was a measure of airflow down here, it was hidden from the naked eye. There was a slight chill if their natural bodies could feel it, a frigidness that seemed to stick to the barren space. The square footage down here, was significantly larger than it was on the floor above, but natural eyes would not allow them to see the distance. Helios' flame danced joyfully, shedding light to the bleakness of their surroundings.

 

They walked together for only a few steps, and just before their stop, a small object laid at the feet of the Master of Flame. The shape of the item was pyramidal, framed with a strange metallic alloy, shining as if the substance breathed because of the nearness of the small ember. Helios swept his dark robes out of the way, presenting the dead item to the broad silhouettes of his small troupe. "I will not pretend to understand the reasons that the three of you have chose to come to this world. You allude to a learning that has escaped you, an edification that will make use of the gift that is trickling inside of your bodies. Yet, you do not know who I am, I do not know any of you, and it would seem, that the three of you have barely scratched the surface of who you have traveled the stars with. We are all strangers in the mud. That will change, and quickly. This place is where the three of you will rest, study, and prepare. It is as empty as the connections we share between one another, as meaningless as your anticipation to become more. Put your vanity aside and understand that your buoyancy in this place, will guarantee a swift end, and I will not be the one to stay the blade that does it. 

 

The learnings you seek can bring you an indomitable power, evolving you into.. much more than what you are. But, tread carefully, for such things are not given freely. There is a price to be paid, whether you realize this or not. The gifts of the dark side are to be earned the hard way, hard ways that are necessary to govern wild spirits. Your flesh, your friendships, your wit, and your lives will be tested. Leave it all behind and empty your minds. Ishvara must have taught you the importance of this, but your jovial minds have much more to discover here upon these sands. You will see the dead walk before your very eyes, and your nightmares will come knocking, and they will find you. I implore you all to be ready for this. 

 

Solus, you are as nimble as a Mandallian Giant in six-inch heels. You must familiarize your circuitry to that of your natural body. Your cognition of these things are surely infantile, which marks you as the easiest target. Aliss and Roshan, Solus is as strong as the two of you will ever be. Kill it, dispose of it's body, or harness your weakest link until your weakest is impervious to death. The choice I leave between you three. Rest, break bread with one another, and I will return in the dawning of the Red. 

 

...Do not lay a finger on this, I warn you only this once." Lord Helios pointed downwards, and to the Holocron at his foot. He made sure the three of them could see it as he shed his staff-light to the small relic positioned in the middle of the barren floor. He cut-eye with the troupe, and made his way to the level they had come from, taking the only source of light with him. The rest was for them to figure out, for he would return when he saw fit.

 

 


"Na-hah ur su ka-haat.

Su ka haru aat"

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From these heights, the colors of Korriban painted a wild wrath, unrest would soon consume this place.

 

 

His hands could not be cleaner than they were, but the blood from them were a stain only he could see, staring at them every off-chance that struck him. They had warned him that it would be this way, that the loosening of his first kills would shudder through his mind in a strange nausea. It took him several days for the food to stay down, but the taste of his favorites were distant to him. When the rage took over, the way in which he hacked through his opponents with precision was a gross understatement. He danced through them, and at impressive distances, carving into his targets with a rainstorm of the force at his very fingertips. It was an intoxication he was wholly unprepared for, a sickening waltz of butchery that filled him with violent ecstasy. Those that watched, hailed him simply as Archer, honoring Lord Hyperion for his craft. Staring outside of the orbital station viewport, he realized that no amount of praise could convince him that what he did was right, not then and not now. He could see his own reflection now though, in the middle of the bloodshed, his smile was brightest. What was he becoming?

 

 

The terminal behind him shook him from his casual abstraction, and he cut an eye towards the regal woman,  unsure of what would bring her here of all places.

".. You lost?"

 

@Aziza Kalahari


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Aziza made her way through the station, looking for someone in charge. But the station wasn't very busy, and it didn't seem like anyone could point her in the right direction. Disgruntled at the lack of a clear structure, she toyed with the idea of hacking into a terminal to download the station schematics to see if she could make her way to the command center. Probably not the best idea, she mused, but I refuse to just give up.

 

She was making her way through one of the seemingly limitless areas of terminals and databanks when a voice spoke up. She turned her gaze on the man who was addressing her. "Not lost," she replied, dragging out the last word with some hesitation. "More like...looking for someone." She sized him up. "Perhaps you can help me. I'm looking for a Sith, someone who can train me in the ways of the Force, or at least bring me to others who may." She inclined her head towards him. "I'm Aziza. And you are?"


aziza.png

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The station was nearly derelict at this point. All across the feverish planet, sandstorms continued to ravish the unstable terrains. Many believed that the previous establishment was to blame, creating an infrastructure to invite tourists from abroad, regardless of who they were. Such direction did not sit well with the spirit of the sands common folk say, priests of the code were the loudest of those that warned against such an open border legislation. They were right, and the planet itself was now consuming itself from within, with a sinister force none could tangle with. To walk below, was to introduce suffering.

 

"Aziza?" He rehashed the name quietly, as if weighing how it felt against his tongue. "My name is Amadeus," he brushed the snow-white locks from his face, and straightened himself into a chivalrous but slight bow. His bleached ivory eyes never left the strange woman, rigidly aware that she could have been sent here to execute the contract against him. Unlikely, but possible. "Last I heard, there is an academy that still stands near the old valley. The shuttles have been down for maintenance, storms down there are worse than they've ever been.." His noble tone became noticeably measured, trailing at a particular thought that stuck behind his unblemished features.  

 

"I may be able to get you there, but entertain me for a moment.. 

What you seek with the Sith you speak of, the pursuit alone may very well cost you your life. 

..Why does that not put fear into your bones?"


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Amadeus. As the man introduced himself, Aziza had a gut feeling that there was more to him than met the eye, though she wasn't sure what. So she answered his question candidly with a small laugh. "Of course I'm afraid. We've all heard stories of what the Sith are like, what they can do. It may be propoganda, but even if they're half true, it's enough to make any sane being afraid." Her gaze was steady. "But fear is a tool, and a useful one. One can employ it against others, but one can also use it as motivation." She shook her head. "My fear--for my life or my sanity or anything else the Sith could do to me--pales in comparison with my desire for the power I know they can offer me should I prove worthy."

 

She looked away, glancing out a viewport at the storm-torn planet below. "I believe a new Empire is on the rise in the galaxy, and I want to be part of it." She turned her head back towards him, curious to see his response to her statements. 


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“Well...this is different” Solus muttered after a few moments Darth Helios left. The darkness that swallowed the room was thick, almost palpable. But to Solus, it wasn’t frightening. It wasn’t something that filled him with fear. Rather, it excited him. 

 

“Lord Roshan, I must say, this darkness is... not exciting per se, but interesting... “ Solus started. The sound of the large robot shifting in the darkness was something very audible. Metal scratching across the stone floor, trying to find a position that suited him. Still, as he spoke, his yellow sensor stayed perfectly still; a yellow eye floating in the blackness, and above it, the two small fiery orbs of Tear. 

 

“Before you ascended me, I had known nothing. This blackness, this...thing…” Solus started, gesturing with his arms to the darkness around him, as if he could be seen. 

 

“It's something that I hadn’t known before. In my state before ascension, I knew the void. I knew nothingness. I knew…oblivion. This...blackness...this darkness, yes, is something that I had not known before… for this is truly something. Even if it's just a curtain over everything else, it is something...”

 

The sound of Solus’ tail moving changed slightly. The slow and clunky sound of metal pushing and pulling changed to a rapid, quiet clinking. The yellow eye moved in the darkness, turning away from where the others were for a moment, trying to study the room that had become impossible to study. Metal scratched on stone momentarily. A hand had found a wall.

 

“It’s...amazing. I truly am in a fantastic world, where the wonders of both shadow and light can be shared in one place. How great it is to be ascended to such a plane, where magnificent wonders are trivial fragments of something truly extraordinary.”

 

Solus froze and looked around. He realized that without any other source of light, he was completely blind to where the others were in the room. For a moment, a fear began to creep into the shard’s chassis. This was what it was like before his ascension. But that fear evaporated instantly. Solus, while not able to see the others, instinctively knew that he wasn’t alone. 

 

“Lord Roshan...how do you think we will be tested?” Solus asked as he gently laid Tear onto the ground gently. He had found a wall and placed his back to it, figuring that as long as he kept looking in one direction, the others could see both his and his hound’s eyes. Quietly the robotic being coiled himself into a kind of ‘sitting’ position, as he awaited for an answer from the darkness. 

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The Man, purple faced and well tattooed, held the vial up like a talisman. It appeared to be 

 dried blood in a canister of preservative, a crude way of preserving a specimen but not unheard of. Lord Valinor, The leader of the Felix legions, terror embodied, took the vial with a bow of respect. It was not often that the warriors of Kesh brought forth an envoy to the halls of Korriban. And as such, the Sith would treat any requests of theirs in the spirit of ecumenicalism. Even if it was just the request to clone a mighty Lord.

 

_______

 

Weeks later, in the depths of the medical frigate Xerxes, in orbit around the sand planet, a cloning tube beeped away in a drum beat of noise. Orderlies responded, left their preparations, popped the seal of the tank and slunk off into the darkness. When the great Baron of Kesh would awake, he would find a black tunic, made of expensive silken thread, boots of equally fine leather, and at last a single parang.


Commander Valinor - Sith Lord

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Admiral 3rd Felix Legions

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Posted (edited)

Nothingness... a vast empty void. They were not aware of it at first. It only seemed like another insignificant moment of silence in an empty formless nothing. All that existed was fire, all that was, burned. Then came the drumming... the ceaseless drumming. The sound energized and galvanized an already fiery furnace into animation.

 

Then at once came form, a cluster of darkness joined by some fragile trickle of inevitability. Causality took hold, and a cascade of events unfolded as the form drew larger, it's a bonds sealed through a crackle of energy that reverberated forth in the void. Now there was form, but no function, the parts struggled to become one, the one to become many, the many to reform once more. This same form had been so often battered and broken, shredded and forlorn.

 

The form breathed, shivered, exhaled and breathed again. Eyes popped open, exposing searching irises, darting back and forth with alacrity. The body convulsed, sinew to bone, nerve to muscle. Each passing breath the task became easier, more normal, then routine. Finally as the form found purpose, found function, thoughts made themselves known. A shell became more, but barely more. Was it consciousness? Was it life? What was this state... where was this form? 

 

My, me, myself. I! I exist!

 

His body would not listen. His body? This body. This was not-

 

Fragments, deep seeded emotions, the all encompassing anger, these things remained. Then Kesh came rushing back, the conquest, the horrors, the triumphs. All of it like a precious animating genesis. He was Kern... he was of Kesh... born at the death of someone called 'Fynn'... born of fire and rage. Baron of all... the Kesh were his children, no, his slaves, he was their ruler, no their benefactor, their rightful king?... Their GOD! But it all felt false. He was no leader, nor emissary. He couldn't fathom what that meant, he was only a small bit of blood and flesh and bone and brain.

 

The body would move now, it's form was well made. Crafted of new cells, and new tissues, and new things. His arm was his own again, no ragged stump with a protruding cybernetic replacement. No crude metal claws grasping at the galaxy with murderous intent. It felt... good. Yes, that was the emotion, pleasure, in all it's various forms. All of it to be taken at a whim... with... with.... 

 

He reached out his mind to the tunic beneath him, seeking to move it to his hand. But the force did not reply. The force did not consent. It resisted him, fought him, it was not willing for his manipulation. He cursed aloud, and tried once more, but again it denied him. So many times he had bid it do his will, now it betrayed him, just as everything eventually did. He stewed but dressed himself, humbled momentarily by the failure. Cast aside and out... yet again he rose, and again he rose, and again he... rose. The passage of time meant nothing, the savagery of the enemy meant nothing, the extent of his defeat, nothing.

 

---\---/---\---/---

 

Yet he was still lacking. As he stumbled on wobbly legs, attempting to right himself, he found the void in his mind was still there. An emptiness of memory and thought that couldn't be overcome despite his will. He could not figure out the tunic, or the footwear that seemed so proper. So He shambled on, leaving the small barren room dressed only in the barest of clothing, to find his way to a window, looking out upon the vast barrenness of the planet below. His mind was fuzzy, and for all his internal and eternal identity he could not put form to it, and words were still locked away. He passed others, figures of little recognition. There was nothing but bare faces, other forms with no more reality then his own.

 

A small imperious man rounded a bend and caught him standing looking about confused.

 

"You there, standing around, You get lost from your work detail?" the smallish pale humanoid with white hair and dark clothing said as put his hand on his hips.

 

Kern said nothing, for his mind was not settled and the ability to argue or commune, was still absent. The small man examined him, finding no tatoo or tag, he shook his head.

 

"Not claimed? They must have forgotten to... damned medtechs, worse then you mindless ones. Fine then, come on, we don't have time for you to be lazy, one of the lords or ladies finds you about and it'll be my head. Mindless slaves... almost more trouble then you're worth." The man approached, and prodded him down to the cargo bay, and onto one of the various transports ferrying fresh clone slaves to the barren planet.

 

---\---/---\---/------\---/---\---/---

 

Kern had to bend over to enter the barren rock face, but beyond, a large pit that seemed to go down forever had hundreds of pale humanoids, not entirely unlike himself, toiled. Some carried heavy baskets of ore and rock, others toiled at pits of a boiling tar like substance. Kern did not know the purpose of some of what he saw, but the small man moved him on.

 

"Korriban is still rich with minerals for harvest, that is were you mindless ones come in handy. I am called Agripa, your foreman." The small humanoid informed him as he worked.

 

He was shoved into a rock crushing group with other tall humans and humanoids like himself, they all pounded away in unison on a single large ore fragment. One larger alien let drop a huge pick axe that splintered a tiny piece of the shiny rock. splinters of it scattered, some falling on the ground, others into the bodies of the other slaves present. The pain was ignored however, as the next stepped up and did the same. On and on they went, ignoring his arrival.

 

"This... this is you. You look strong enough. This rock goes into making armor for the masters. You free it by breaking it down. Sure we could do it with droids, but some masters prefer the old way, the way of pain and anguish. You break it until you break, your blood, your pain, your suffering... all of it... goes into the rock... the rock makes the masters strong. Service to the masters brings glory to the Sith." The small man said with a wicked grin that exposed teeth that were jagged an horrid. 

 

"The...Sith." Kern said repeating him almost meekly. The words spoke to him, but he wasn't certain why.

 

"Good, now get to work. Only break for protein nutrients and water. Waste go down there-" he pointed at a gross alcove with a hole. Then he handed him a tool, a heavy durasteel pickaxe with an odd looking tip, and pointed him at a new rockface. "You break now, until you break later. For the glory of the Sith" the man said with a nod and disappeared. Kern grasped the heavy pickaxe, and then slammed it towards the outcrop. The first blow came quickly, but the pickaxe bounced off at an awkward angle, nearly striking him. He picked it up again, this time he struck harder, causing the smallest nick in the wall. Soon he found a rhythm... striking and striking and striking. He focused his mind on the single point, he synapses gathering input, and reaching beyond himself to react only, not to see the next move. He would not proceed the rocks reaction. The loud sound of his implement hitting bare mineral rippled away from him, one of a cacophony of others working and toiling under the yoke of the massive juggernaut. "For the... glory... Sith." Kern said aloud copying his words in an undertone, as he continued to slam the tool into the unyielding wall of rock. 

 

Kern, Lord of Kesh, Emissary of the Sith to the Unknown Regions, Baron of Relmis... labored without let up.

Edited by Fynn Relmis

"Some things... are worse then death, being forgotten for example..."

Member Since '05 - The Old Ones | Character Sheet

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Amadeus drew a questioning look, brushing the metal that covered his upper half while he listened, almost as if her very words itched against his skin. He knew what she spoke of, of her desire and how her fear was measured in those same wants. This was how they all began, and most of whom fell when their appetite became too much to bear. There was a strangeness in her gaze and it told of a mystery that she would not soon part with, the Arkanian understood  that those kinds of secrecies would trickle from her mouth with time. She would trade them for this power she truly knew nothing of, or so he thought. 

 

"...Honesty? That is a little different."

 

He nodded her way, and walked passed with a convinced stride towards his interceptor. The crimson high-mantled cloak that was shelved upon his heavy shoulders heaved with his first step, and then ricocheted under it's majestic length.  On his fourth pace he halted and turned to look over Aziza once more. "This transport is mine. You're welcome aboard, Aziza. There are a few vacant cabins, gather whatever else you need, and make yourself at home. The aides will treat you as their guest, but will monitor any movement outside of your quarters. There are a few.. dossiers that I must archive with the staff on this station, I will be brief. If I return, and you are not here. That will be your answer."

 

Dressed in an informal marine uniform, personnel from the Fury-Class Imperial Interceptor exited from the launch tunnel almost as the words left the mouth of Amadeus, the gingerly human passed off a sealed folder with the insignia of the spider inked onto the flat of it. Amadeus gathered the parcel, and pivoted down the halls, unconcerned with the choice the woman had to make. He knew the answer deep down, and he knew just what she was thinking,

 

"I'll see you shortly, Aziza."

And with a charming laugh, he was gone. 


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Aliss frowned at the Sith’s chiding but Lord Roshan was unsurprised. He was more than happy to let the Sith do the talking as he examined the inscriptions of the altar. Before long, the group was moving once again. This time, however, they found themselves traveling down a series of steps that lead into a cave-like basement. Aliss shivered a little, rubbing her arms a little as Master Helios came to a stop. After a brief speech, it was clear that this was intended to be their new living quarters for the time being. Roshan couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. It was a curious location, indeed. But defensible at the very least it would seem.

 

As Master Helios concluded, he added, “Do not lay a finger on this, I warn you only this once." 

 

The only true lightsource in the room, the small holocron’s red glow added a general ambience to the center of the room. It wasn’t exactly an aura of an ominous nature or one of passion or fury. It was an odd feeling. A familiar feeling, all the same. One that tickled the hairs on the back of Roshan’s neck while warmingly embracing him at the same time. The darkside was such a fickle mistress.

 

“Well...this is different.”

 

 Roshan turned away from Aliss for a moment as he stared at Solus’ glowing eyes. He shrugged.

 

“Yup.”

 

“Lord Roshan, I must say, this darkness is... not exciting per se, but interesting... Before you ascended me, I had known nothing. This blackness, this...thing… It's something that I hadn’t known before. In my state before ascension, I knew the void. I knew nothingness. I knew…oblivion. This...blackness...this darkness, yes, is something that I had not known before… for this is truly something. Even if it's just a curtain over everything else, it is something...”

 

As Aliss edge closer and closer to the holocron, Roshan snapped at her, “Aliss! Get over here now! Leave the artifact alone!”

 

It was hard to make out much else in this room outside of the centralized glow of the object. Roshan knew that he could ignite his lightsabers to give him a better chance to examine the room but from what he had seen when they arrived, there really wasn’t much to see or examine. The trip itself had been long, the trek seemingly even longer. He welcomed a moment of shuteye at this point, although he was not thrilled about their current choice of location.

 

“It’s...amazing. I truly am in a fantastic world, where the wonders of both shadow and light can be shared in one place. How great it is to be ascended to such a plane, where magnificent wonders are trivial fragments of something truly extraordinary.”

 

With Aliss backed away from the holocron and Solus examining the walls, his companions all but disappeared into the darkness. This left Roshan with a sense of visual calm as the force ebbed and flowed and occasionally spiked around him. He focused his mind on it, falling into an almost meditative state as Solus spoke.

 

“Lord Roshan...how do you think we will be tested?”

 

Breaking the silence, Roshan replied with his eyes still closed and his breathing steady, “Of course. Sith love their tests. They love to show off their superiority. They love to hide their secrets and play their games and tempt their enemies and allies alike. I’m sure the holocron in the middle of the room is probably a test itself. Do we seek its knowledge or do we obey the master and deprive ourselves of it? Perhaps you can examine the walls for inscriptions or anything that might shed more ‘light’ on our situation or the artifact left here...”

 

As the Cathar finished his last sentence, his eyes propped open. They slid in the direct of the holocron. Aliss was once again standing in front of it, staring at it longingly. Lord Roshan frowned.

 

Girl, did you not hear me the first time!”

 

Aliss turned back in the direction of the darkness, her face partially hidden in shadows, “You said it yourself. This is a test. Holy croms are valuable and powerful. You’ve always said as much. If this was a cache, we would have taken it and left already!”

 

Soulless, can you grab this girl before she does something stupid to jeopardize us all,” Roshan sighed as he started to rise to his feet, before looking back towards Aliss. This is not a treasure hunt, Aliss! We are trying to gain training to become something far more powerful than simple grave robbers. Stop goofing around and join the rest of us. We need to set up a watch schedule and figure out...”

 

Having heard enough, Aliss moved her hand over to the object and grabbed it. She did not want to give the Shard or Roshan a chance to reach her or stop her. If this was indeed a test, she wanted to be the one rewarded by passing it. And as far as she was concerned, the answers and that reward must have been hidden away inside this tiny little object. Why else would it be calling out to her?

 

___
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That will be your answer. His words echoed in her mind as he strode away. Ah, but what is the question? she mused. He never posed it. And so comes the first barrier I must face. For at first glance, it was foolish to accept. Every female in the galaxy had been taught to never get into a strange ship with a strange man. That was the quickest way of being enslaved or worse. She knew nothing about Amadeus, if that was even his true name. She didn't even know if he was a Sith. 

 

Was this a risk worth taking, though? She could leave, find another way down to this academy Amadeus had mentioned, or seek out the Sith on some other world. Her gaze fell once again to the dust-covered world floating beneath her. She had almost decided to seek another way when a stray thought stopped her. Will you so easily abandon a path before even commencing? It was the voice of her father, full of scorn and disgust, speaking words she had heard a half dozen years ago. At the time, she had bristled and lashed out, but time had tempered her, and she understood now what he had really meant. 

 

She took a deep breath. Occasionally, she would get senses about big decisions. Most of the time, it was simply that events had reached a turning point, and that one decision would be better than the other. Other times, it was as if all paths had been leading this direction all along, and only at that moment could she glimpse how interconnected they all were.  Now, she closed her eyes briefly, and looked deep inside herself. And for a split second, she saw it. Her path and his were tied together. She didn't know how, but she did know that meeting Amadeus wasn't a coincidence. 

 

She set her shoulders and turned away from the viewport. Time for a leap of faith.

 

Heading back to her own ship, Aziza quickly packed her things into a hoverbag. She was actually fairly proud of herself for traveling light--her possessions mostly consisted of clothing, toiletries, her disguise kit, and various sundry other items, and everything had a dedicated place in the case. She clicked the control and it floated along behind her as she exited and then locked up the ship behind her. 

 

She strode gracefully into the bay a few minutes later, and went up the ramp of Amadeus' ship without hesitation. The top of the ramp led her into a communications room with a large holostation. Choosing randomly, she went right, and found one of the guest quarters he had referred to without difficulty. Settling her bag down, she went back out and walked back down the hallway, glancing in at open doors but leaving closed ones undisturbed as she made a quick tour of the ship. Once she was satisfied that she understood the general layout, she returned to her chosen room. 

 

Sitting down in a chair, she pulled out her datapad and began to flick through the digital pages of a Coruscanti fashion magazine while she waited.


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The alarm rang early this morning, but there was little sleep the night before. Kahla silenced it, quickly rising to her feet, her heart thumped loudly in her ear. She donned her uniform and triple checked her blaster. It wasn't pretty, scuff marks, hadn't been cleaned in a while, but she trusted it. Quietly she stepped from her quarters and across the hall to the Captain's. His wretched snoring echoed through her bones, how a man like that can sleep so soundly she couldn't understand. She put it past her mind and continued. Silently she grabbed his pistol, loosening the barrel, and jamming it to be safe. That's all it would take. She crept back through the hall, appearing on the bridge at almost the same time as the first pilot.

 

"You're up early, ma'am" She froze briefly but steeled herself. "Had a rough night, figured I may as well report in." The pilot smiled as he sat in his chair. "Captain's not up yet, not sure who you could report in to." He laughed to himself and turned away, busying himself at the controls. Kahla had a laugh to herself, she didn't know if it was to keep up appearances, or if it were just the nerves getting to her.

 

She took her post, and let her mind wander as she stared out into the black. The door behind her hissed, her heart jumped but she kept herself reserved. Slowly she turned to see two more officers walk on deck and took their post. Both of them nodded, the gesture was unnatural for them, but it wasn't lost on her either. She returned the nod and again turned her attention to the window. The door hadn't quite shut before halting. One of the officers shouted "Captain on Deck!" Everyone stood at attention. Surely he'd give us another mistake of an order, more lives to be tossed aside on his meaningless crusade. "Report." his raspy morning voice called out. "We found the station, sir. We've kept out of their scanner's range." The fear in his voice was only noticed by the most attentive ears, but the lieutenant sounded disconnected. The months blurring in his mind. "Very good, Back to your posts."

 

Kahla's heart sank as the time quickly approached 06:00. Any moment now they'd get the signal, one final attempt to halt the captain's reign of terror. Time stopped briefly as the lights died. Every console had gone dark, the whole ship had just been shut off, as if with the flick of a switch. "What the kriff is going on?!" The captain demanded. There was no answer. "I Said Report!" He shouted, the whole ship must have heard it. He had been angry before but this was something else. Did he know? "Engineering's reporting power is gone for almost the whole ship" the lieutenant shakily replied. "Why?!" the captain pressed, the lieutenant shaking in his boots had no answer. But he didn't need one, it was time.

 

The door blasted open, smoke filled the room; then blaster fire. Red hues reflected off the durasteel floors, the smoke itself turning to a dark red. Kahla drew her pistol, and as she scanned the room saw the pilot dead on his console. She buried him deep in her thoughts and focused. the smoke had started clearing, and behind his chair the captain crouched. His face had turned dark red with fury, his eyes locked onto Kahla's as she raised her pistol. But not to the door. Without a hint of hesitation the captain trained his blaster on her. The sound of the bolt burning through the air was unforgettable. The blaster's aim was true, and not a second passed before the captains body fell with a thud to the ground.

 

For months they'd listened, they'd followed orders like lap dogs, biding their time. One at a time they had turned the crew to their truth. The truth that had stared them all in the eye. The captain had to die, the tyrant, usurped. The lights came back on, and with them the flood of thoughts Kahla had shoved aside. There was no undoing this, that if they were to be caught, captured; they'd suffer the same fate. The two security officers that had started the shooting stepped onto the deck, their blasters lowered. "Decks are secured, ma'am, the ship is yours." Her chest was pounding, she could hardly stand, but she gathered her strength and spoke. "V-Very good." She turned to see only three officers make away with their lives, each of them heard her cries for justice and trusted their lives to her.

 

She stepped forward, turning on the ship's intercom. "Men and Women of the Unwavering Pursuit, set aside your arms. The Mad Captain has been taken from his throne. No longer must we stand aside as his atrocities haunt us all. His mission has ended." She turned to the shaken lieutenant, his body now resting on the floor. He looked peaceful, as if finally allowed to rest after a lifetime of torment. "Rest easy, Byron." she solemnly said to herself.

 

As she stood, she heard the unmistakable sound of the escape pods launching. Each and every one. Only a few crew members disagreed with Kahla's words, yet every pod? The realisation hit her, she snapped and turned to the security. "They mean to report us! If they turn our names into the Empire we'll be hunted down and shot like Dogs!" She froze. With dread in her eyes "They took all the pods, we won't be given even the slightest chance. We Have to stop them, Those bastards don't understand!" Her fear quickly turned to anger, all the wrongdoings of the Captain, and they'd be the ones taking the fall? No. She rushed to the comms and raised the gunner's position. "The men and women aboard those escape pods mean to betray us, they cannot be allowed this freedom." Her anger now twisting her thoughts. "Fire on those escape pods. Leave not a single one standing!"

 

There was silence from the other side, so she persisted. "I am ordering you! Destroy those pods, Now!" Time passed slowly, mere seconds felt like hours of hesitation. Then finally the turrets echod. The volley utterly obliterated the pods, leaving nothing more than scrap and ashes to float untouched. When the guns fell silent, so did the ship. All eyes were on Kahla. For a moment the pressure bared down on her, but she recovered quickly. “When ready, plot course for Korriban. Put a few jumps between us. “Right away, ma’am.” an officer gently lifted the pilot’s body out of the chair and took his place. The ship groaned as it jumped to lightspeed.

 

The ship was on alert as soon as they exited hyperspace. They’d just dropped into the lap of their enemy. Immediately they flagged friendly across open coms, praying they wouldn’t be shot down before they make landing. The nav computer issued them a landing pad, where they’d spend an indeterminate time awaiting orders. With a sigh of relief as they touched down, Kahla retired to her quarters. ((Waiting on Mavanger))

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The crewmen of the Beaumaris carried on naturally, undisturbed by the arrival of their guest. No more than a nod, or a simple curtsy to welcome her as she explored the infrastructure of the quaint interceptor.  The ambiance was warmed with an unusual hospitality, but the unfamiliarity of this place remained real. Humanoids of many common species operated here, from the helmsmen to the kitchen and then of course those of bonded labor. More Arkanians were present, but Humans and Delphidians shared their ranks as well as several others. None of the humanoids chanced a personal encounter with the new boarder, for she was as unknown to them, as they were to her. Instead, a well-prepared meal was sent by service of a modish butler droid. The droid would knock once, then twice, before the door flushed heedlessly open.

 

"Greetings, dear Aziza. The kitchen has prepared a quor'sav-fried steak for you, compliments of the house." The automaton servant spoke with an enriched basic, mechanical in tone, but polished with crisp articulation. The dish consisted of a large nerf steak coated in seasoned pom seed flour and then pan-grilled to perfection. The forenoon meal was served with creamy white dwarf gravy, a side dish of octavian fruit-pudding, and two gartro eggs. A tall glass of sour sarlacc trickled with cold sweat on the brass tray, epitomizing a real thirst-quench. The butler set the tray down, nearly duck-walking to where she sat, and then retraced it's steps towards the corridor. "I am Jeeves of the Beaumaris, my kind lady. Is there anything more I can do for you?" The coeval unit attempted to exercise it's best jovial pitch, while extending three different napkins for the guest to choose from.

 

The three of them were all white with a red-trim around the neck of the napkin. The only differences between them, was the small stamped crests on each; one was small blade, the other was a decorous hammer, and the last one looked as if it was an old wooden staff. Simple handkerchiefs for sanitation purposes, but there was a layered prudence to which one the lady would choose, and what questions she would ask.

 


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“Soulless, can you grab this girl before she does something stupid to jeopardize us all,”

 

The robotic being looked at where Roshan gestured. Aliss was moving towards the pyramidal object in the center of the room. Solus, already coiled over himself, began to tense up. Aliss’ hand, his sister, was going to grab that sacred object that Darth Helios warned to not touch. 

 

“Sir Aliss, please don't…” Solus began to beg. He didn’t want to fight. He didn’t want to hurt someone he knew. Much less someone he had begun to care for so quickly. But if she disobeyed…

 

His choice was made for him. Aliss had grabbed the object. Instinctively Solus launched himself at Aliss. His coiled body sprang, giving him the momentum of a vehicle. As he launched himself, his voice box changed from the synthetic but gentle voice to a harsh screeching sound of danger. Not as high pitched as when he fought the hounds on Ishvara nor not nearly as loud, but nonetheless high pitched and startling. 

 

Aliss turned to the flying robot just in time for Solus to crash with her, head first. Solus landed on top, barely preventing himself from having his tail crushing the girl. Realizing that Aliss was still holding the object, and not wanting to touch it himself, Solus’ hands clamped around both of the being’s wrists and began to squeeze. This vice-like grip, ensured there would be large bruises.

 

Solus, still screeching, looked at Aliss face. Even as he screeched in warning, words crackled out, barely audible, as if he was trying to both be aggressive but pleading. 

 

“Please Aliss.... Let it go. Please...Why would Helios test us in this way? Please…” 

 

On the last word of please, Solus’ hands gripped tighter, trying to get Aliss to let go of the sacred object. No one was to touch it. But Aliss had already failed. Maybe if he could get her to let go quickly, the punishment for them wouldn’t be as harsh. And Roshan was watching. Solus had to obey the deity that gave him life.   He just hoped he wouldn't have to break Aliss' wrists like he broke Tear's legs. 

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Aziza eyed the tray appreciatively and set down her holozine as the droid placed it on the small caf table in front of her. She took in the meal with an experienced eye, and nodded dismissively at the droid. "Thank you, no." She took one of the offered napkins without looking and placed it in her lap. "Although," she glanced back up at him back up at him and considered. "Stay a moment." Normally she wouldn't have considered talking to the servants, but perhaps she could learn something.

 

She cut a piece of the nerf. The thought of poison seeped like spilled ink across the canvas of her mind, but she deliberately erased it.  The tender, perfectly seasoned morsel crossed her lips. She smiled and patted her mouth with the napkin, darkening the blade of the embroidered dagger with real blood. After she had tasted a small bite from each dish, she nodded. "My compliments to the chef," she stated. "It's rare to find food of this quality on a starship. I'd offer to share, but," she shrugged, her eyes light with humor, and gestured to his metal chassis. She took a sip of her drink. "So, tell me of my host."

 

 


aziza.png

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The dark walls began to kindle slowly. Strings of bright-red inscriptions illuminated upon stone, one after the other, circling the vast room. A sound of burning flint drew louder and louder as the arcane symbols lit up, layer after layer the strange symbols seethed. Amidst the commotion, a slamming racket rang out from the entryway to the sub-basement, undoubtedly the sound of heavy metal collapsing at the top of the stairs. The way was sealed. If there was another, none here knew of it. All around them was black, and stone, and nakedness of nothing. The air itself held a stale density to it, becoming cloudier as the foreign language continued to carve itself complete. The forgotten dialect began to pulsate as if it followed the rhythm of a beating heart, flickering from black to life. 

 

The small near-polyhedronic device was still and cold until now. Once the sizzling of stone crawled to a haunting close and the flames of written oration had drawn conclusion, the archaic holocron rattled where it laid. Red line-work throbbed throughout the metal frame, just as the walls around the foundation did. The rattling of the device remained indiscriminate of who or what had touched the surface of it's magic, choosing now to release a coal hue of chalk-like smoke from the source. Incomprehensible power emanated from the object, souring any hope of this being the right time to engage what was not yet understood.

 

With every heartbeat of illumination from the ancient scripture detailed across the walls, it became quickly apparent that the inky smoke that poured fourth from the holocron began to churn into unusual shapes. The outlines became outlandishly tall, freakishly beast-like in every sense of the word. There was four shapes in particular, identical to the Nydaks of Dathomir. In fact, they were becoming just that..

 

 

 

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"Na-hah ur su ka-haat.

Su ka haru aat"

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"Oh! You are far too kind, my lady." The installed voice modulator hiked up a few notches with excitement as the woman shared her compliments. The tall butler droid nearly blushed before submitting to it's passive decorum software. In an attempt for authenticity, the machine coughed to imply a clearing of the throat, before patting itself down to recollect it's composure. The question about her host struck a sort of seriousness with Jeeves, even though it was an expected response from the sentient creature.

"Master Hyperion can only be described as an enthusiast of affluence and wealth. He is a collector of culture and coin, but a creature with an immeasurable penance for surprise. It would be particularly unwise to take his demure temperament as one without fury, for he is one with the storms themselves. My counsel; be as you are, less than that, and he will know. We, of the Beaumaris, are his crew. We have been part and parcel to his mercurial adventures, and those have been many over the stretch of the past three years. He is a fair, just in his actions and reasons. Even the mongrels of this world know this, and yet fear his resolve. What he plans with you however, my lady, I do not know." Jeeves inched closer to the woman, noticing that she took the napkin with the blade cipher draw across it. ".. What does it mean to be Aziza?" Quizzically, the butler model leaned forward, scratching at it's metal skin, feigning an empathetic understanding that would escape most artificial intelligences.





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And so her pupil had chose...

 

Insignificant, meaningless, fear. His passion fizzled like a kindling flame as the last ember found its self drown within the breath that gave it life. Roran never showed, and so Sirena took back to her ways of living in solace, binding her time until one of worthiness presented themselves. And because of this, months had go by.

 

Visiting the market place one day, Sirena caught glimpse of an old friend, three persons in tow. Curious, she followed, wondering where the old coot was going and what he was up to. It wasn't all that long ago that she herself had walked the very same path under his tutelage until her Master was found and she wondered if they too were new prospects, and if perhaps, through Helios, she would find her own student.

 

From the shadows, she watched inquisitively, patient in seeing things unfold. The Masked One held potential, if only held back by his ego. The metallic one was inquisitive and new, like a bright eyed child questioning everything. That in its self was a heavy fault, too trusting and naive. And the female, brash and bold, like the fire that light her personality, likely to burn out before her potential was even realized. From the shadows her blue gaze fell upon the Master, and she too saw his own realizations before he departed and the young ones went about their own conclusions.

 

In silence she would watch things unfold in the shadows, waiting to see how they would truly grasp this lesson. If she knew one thing, Helios had a flare for throwing students from the fire pan and into the fire, and she was quite curious as to how these three would react to their own curiosity.


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Aziza listened demurely. She knew well that the words of a valued servant were usually quite revealing of the truth of a being, and a costly butler droid such as this likely fit the bill. Therefore, she kept her peace as he spoke, her meal fading to an afterthought as she instinctively ate while listening. When the droid turned the question on her, she set down her utensils. "Your words hearten me, Jeeves," she replied. "It sounds as if Master Hyperion"--she noted the new information of Amadeus' surname--"and I shall get along well."

 

She leaned onto the right armrest of the chair. "To speak literally, the name Aziza means 'evil spirit' in the ancient tongue of the people on my planet." She chuckled lightly. "It's not a common name, as you might well guess, but grew in popularity a few centuries ago when my people decided that their fear of evil spirits would lessen if their name became commonplace." She shrugged. "But as far as who I am..." her voice trailed off and she grew serious. "I often find that in order to learn something new, one must unmake oneself. As one of our poets said, 'It is hard to fill a cup which is already full.' I understand that who I am in this moment shall wither and fade if I should finally begin my training as a Sith."

 

She straightened up in her chair. "Know this about me, however. I am the daughter of the king of my world. Our family has ruled for four generations. Before I had come of age, there was a rebellion that led to a bloody civil war. The war lasted for six years, until we prevailed and resumed our rule of the planet. During this time, I was trained as an executor of my father's will, and since the end of the war, have become his enforcer.  I had always considered my father's ambition too small and counseled him to expand our kingdom to the other planets in our system, but he consistently gainsaid me. However, about a month ago, I discovered through chance my Force-sensitivity. News of the growing Sith Empire has reached even our small backwater, and I knew by leaving, I could be part of something greater than the mere rule of one planet. So I left with the intention to seek them out and offer what services I could to advance that empire. That has led me here."

 

Her tone lightened. "As far as my hobbies and education, I will simply say they are diverse and thorough. More than that shall be revealed if our paths continue to lie together."


aziza.png

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Solus stopped wrestling with Aliss when he heard something. A growl. Tear was growling. And it wasn’t like a growl from when the two were traveling on the planet. This growl was threatening. A way to intimidate someone. Like back in the cave where Solus had first broken the hound’s legs. 

 

Solus silenced himself long enough to say, “Tear, not now, please, I ca-”

 

A slam of force sent Solus flying off Aliss and into a wall. The crash of metal into stone as Solus plastered into the wall was audible enough for everyone. The shard fell to the floor with a clatter, dazed at what had just happened. His senses told him that he was undamaged, but he certainly felt rattled. 

 

“What the...” Solus started as he looked up. It was just in time for him to see a clawed hand swiping at his eye sensor. Instinct kicked in. Solus barely moved down in time. The claws scratched the wall leaving some marks, but nothing else. The beast grunted and growled as it raised it arms to smash the robotic being. 

 

Solus arms moved. Grabbing the thing’s calloused chest, Solus gave a shove, forcing the thing to stubble back a few steps. Hoisting himself with his tail, Solus followed it and punched the thing’s face. It’s apelike body fell backwards but began to pick itself up. 

 

Solus was about to launch another attack on it when another noise distracted him. Barking and hissing. 

 

“Tear!” Solus exclaimed. The hound was helpless on the ground, barking a storm at one of the beasts. Another large creature was eyeing Tear hungrily. It dragged its front arms on the ground a bit as it tried to circle Tear, eager to tear him up. And all Tear could do was bark and hiss warnings. 

 

Solus couldn’t let that happen. Without a second thought Solus started to charge at the beast. But he was stopped suddenly. The first beast Solus attacked was recovered and standing on the robot’s tail. It roared as it brought down a claw. 

 

It landed between Solus’ left shoulder and arm joints. The damage could be felt. Solus screeched in pain. A few more centimeters in and his arm would have been disconnected from the chassis. 

 

Without thinking, Solus’ right hand opened up. He had felt this earlier in his hand. He wasn’t sure what it was, but instincts were telling him what to do now. From his palm, a small metal ‘scomp link’ was produced. With it, Solus drove the small metal extension into the thing’s eye.

 

It screeched and howled in pain as it jumped back, blood squirting from it’s wound. Solus winced momentarily as his scomp link was broken off, left embedded in the thing’s eye. He didn’t care though. His pet was in trouble.

 

Solus turned again and launched himself at the beast who was about to maim his precious pet. Solus landed on top of it and began to repeatedly punch it over and over in the face. Blood covered his metal hands as he proceeded to fight with a rage he had not known he had. He brought the full force of his tail on the thing’s chest, holding it down. With each punch, the fury in him grew. This was it. 

 

“Leave! Tear! ALONE! Raaaaa!” Solus screeched as he pummeled the beast. The thing opened its mouth and caught a hand in its gullet. It clamped down on the metallic part and refused to let go. Rather than be scared, or feel pain, Solus instead grabbed whatever he felt inside and pulled, using his other hand to brace himself on the thing’s face. 

 

In pain, the beast screeched, releasing Solus’ hand. What followed was bloody. Solus had grabbed some important part of the beast and tore it out.  Blood sprayed everywhere. The beast sputtered and struggled to breath a few moments. 

 

Solus didn’t get a chance to see if he was victorious. The previous monster had regained its composure and launched itself at Solus. It’s claws tore through Solus’ back, nearly cutting to the wires inside. The beast tumbled over Solus, but using the wall as a brace, turned and landed on top of the being, holding him down with one massive foot. Pinned, Solus was helpless as the thing began to beat the robotic being, it's bleeding eye dripping over the Shard. 

 

“Help! Someone, help!” Solus screamed in pain as he was attacked. He didn’t expect Tear to be the one to hear him. 

 

Now that they were close enough to the hound, Tear could do something. While he couldn’t move very well, Tear was able to get close enough to latch onto the thing’s leg that wasn’t holding Solus down, tearing at a tendon. 

 

The beast was surprised by this new attack. It reacted by stepping off Solus, grabbing Tear and throwing the hound across the room towards where Roshan and Aliss were. Tear yelped in pain as he hit the opposing wall and fell unconscious.  

 

Solus got back up and faced the beast. It did the same with him. Bloodied and beaten badly, the two squared off,  prepared for another round of fighting. 

 

“That…was a mistake” Solus growled, unaware how Roshan and Aliss were doing

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Posted (edited)

Roshan:
As the two collided and the room began to transform, Lord Roshan could hear a rumble from above. Darting towards the stairs, he looked up in time to see their access way close. He whispered curses under his breath. Perhaps he could attempt to cut through the exit with his lightsaber if worse came to worse, but they had bigger immediate problems to deal with. He was reminded just how much he hated babysitting. Unfortunately, there were no females available to tend to the children.


Turning back, he watched as the fiery words began to scrawl on the walls. The dialect wasn’t immediately familiar. He figured perhaps that it was high sith or perhaps something different entirely. What alarmed him more was the movement of the holocron itself. Although Aliss was no longer holding it, she had clearly activated. They were trapped and whatever trial awaited them was about to play out, for better or worse.


Making sure that his mask was firmly secured on his face, Roshan unclipped his red lightsaber as he cautiously approached the group. The clouds forming around them seemed ominous to say the least.


*** *** ***

Aliss:
Crushed and enraged, Aliss attempted to use the holocron to hit the metal monstrosity pinning her down. The fool had surely made matters worse. After a few useless blows, Aliss dropped it and attempted to reach for the lightsaber at her side.
 

Of course, she was quickly distracted by the decorative “writing of the gods” that danced across the pit’s walls. “What secrets might they hold,” she thought to herself as they swirled and exploded across the room, illuminating everything in their path. This was the knowledge of the ancients that “holy croms” kept hidden for their seekers of truth to find. She had been right, after all!


Distracted for only a moment, Aliss returned to fighting with Solus in an attempt to get the buffoon off and away from her completely. She could hear Tear hissing in the background.

Clearly, even he doesn’t approve of his master’s shortsighted and malicious actions!


“Tear, not now, please, I ca-”


In spite of her best efforts, however, the droid chassis was too heavy and too powerful. It was not the first time that she had been overpower. It was not the first time that someone had pinned her down or threatened her life. Summoning all the anger and exasperation and passion and energy she could muster into one focused outburst, Aliss’ eyes and the veins around her neck seemed to protrude outward as her haunting screams of rage echoed and rattled against the cavernous walls.


And then suddenly, the next thing Aliss knew, her metallic oppressor was gone.



*** *** ***

Roshan:
Lord Roshan looked on with a touch of surprise and confusion as the forms of smoke solidified into bipedal masses with large gangly arms and hulking bodies adorned with spikes and tusks.

Is the holocron a Totem of Familiars? 


He had read stories of such items from several sources over the past couple decades. In fact, at one point he had even attempted to acquire one from a Sith cache hidden in the Ishvaran “badlands.” Needless to say, that adventure had been a wild goose chase that he eventually gave up on. Some caches simply weren’t meant to be found and others simply never existed in the first place. That was the life of a grave robbing, cache raiding, student of the Force turned cult leader and “demi-god.”

Having lost sight of the forms in the darkness, Roshan could make out little more than Solus’ eyes and Tear’s growls. Stepping backwards, the backside of his cape became dimly illuminated by the etchings on the wall behind him. He still had yet to ignite his lightsaber, knowing that doing so would make himself a target and remove any element of surprise he might hope he still had.
 

Here goes nothing.


As the solid beam of red light fired upwards, the colors danced across the tusks of a Nydak that was actually within spitting distance of Roshan and already in mid-swing. Lord Roshan winced in preparation of its blow, knowing that it would arrive before he’d even have the chance to parry or dodge. His last thought in that moment was turning off his lightsaber and holding on to it for dear life.


SMASH!


The creature’s unusually agile strike hurled Roshan into the wall behind him. Colliding with it at an angle, he skidded across it before hitting the ground and rolling a few more feet. Coming to rest on his back, he fired back on his lightsaber and rolled again.

THUD, THUD, THUD!


Just narrowly rolling out of the way of the monster’s ground pound, Roshan popped back up and quickly got to his fighting stance. He thanked his Echani training that the monster wasn’t the only combatant here that knew how to be agile and light on his feet.

With the lightsaber’s glow providing him with some much needed visibility, Roshan stared down the creature. Now with a little distance between the two of them again, he waited for it to come back into the light. He could see the faint twitching of its muscles at it growled. Calming his mind, Roshan focused on the flow of the force around him.


3... 2... 1...


Suddenly, it lunged in at Roshan with terrifying quickness, giving him barely enough time to roll out of the way of its haymaker-like swing. Hitting the ground, Roshan tumbled to his right and rolled back upright. His right heel was now planted firmly against the rock floor.

The creature’s swipes were too sweeping and too powerful to easily dodge or successfully parry at this range. And as long as he remained at a distance, the darkness and the reach of the creature gave it all the advantages. He would have to close the gap. He wasn’t going to allow the creature to take another leap at him.


There is no room for fear! There is only power! To harness the power of the Force, there must be no weakness! 


Despite his size, Roshan’s feet felt like they were gliding on clouds as he rapidly charged the beast. There was hunger in the monster’s eyes. Roshan watched its muscles twitch as it recoiled its arm to strike a killing blow.


The darkside is my heart. 


The seconds lingered as Roshan held his breath. He could see the swing coming. He knew he had to stand tall and use his lightsaber as a light source until the last possible second. The creature’s body pivoted and twisted as its angled and sweeping strike came at him in a slightly downward motion.


My lightsabers are my hands.

At the last possible second, Roshan flipped his lightsaber upside down and dropped into a sliding motion. The creature had to readjust the arc of its swing but it was too late. As Roshan slid by, he twisted his body towards the ground as if he was attempting to plant himself face first against the floor. This not only sunk him under the swing but also stuck the lightsaber in his hands straight up into the air. As it connected with the fleshy part of the creature’s forearm and lopped it off with brutal efficiency, the beast snarled in pain. But Roshan knew he had no time to gloat.

Using the wall to abruptly stop his slide, he forcefully pushed off the ground with his free hand. The monster was already cocking back for another swing with its last remaining arm. Of course, Roshan had hoped for as much from this feral beast. 


Close enough to smell its breath, Roshan made an upward scooping motion with his lightsaber as the second swing came in his direction. The upside down blade caught the creature just above the elbow and sliced upwards, leaving its fleshly amputated limb to bounce off the wall and flop across the ground. Not losing a single step, Roshan used his momentum to pivot on his left heel and turn his back slightly towards the creature. In one continuous motion, the Cathar also leaned forward and locked his elbow while rapidly scooping back downward in the monster’s direction.

With the creature already half-falling and half-biting at him, his underhanded blade caught the Nydak right between where its neck met its jaw and seared through the fleshy matter of its brain. Feeling the momentum of the Nydak corpse now falling towards him, Roshan powered off his lightsaber to quickly dislodge it and shifted hard downward, using the momentum of his free arm and the lean he already had to rush his body into a final barrel roll and clear the corpse’s “splash zone” completely.

My wrath is my power!

Catching his breath, Roshan reignited his lightsaber and looked around. He had been so focused in on the enemy in front of him that he had lost track of everything else that was happening, not that he could have probably made out too much with all the shadows shrouding the room in darkness and danger.

 

___
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Edited by Durose Roshan

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