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Kahla listened diligently as her master made his corrections, and while his voice was stern, she let his words resonate, she would learn, even if through trial and error. It would be the balancing act of politics that would be most troubling for her, she knew that. Similar to wielding the force, too far to once side will have you fall.

 

Mordecai started speaking again, his pause allowing Kahla to have her thoughts. As she reflected, she could almost see herself in the girls position; full of rage, waiting for an excuse to release it in savage combat. Kahla had learned better, thankfully, that giving in to such emotion, while a powerful ally, could very easily be her downfall. She would have to meditate on it later, as Mordecai continued. She started to understand more of the argument over the slave, as it was less about the slave in particular, but more a pawn to use as a point of contention.

 

He concluded with defining the position of the Sith. Kahla's had thought because of her position as a lower ranking Sith, she didn't hold as high a military position either. Mordecai had cleared that mistake for her. She would carry the knowledge that any disrespect from a subordinate would result in punishment from now on.

 

"Come with me. We will spar, and I will assess your progress."

 

"Of course, my lord." Kahla bowed her head, following her master to a sparing room. She drew her saber, holding ready she opened her mind for teaching, and strengthened her stance for proving.

 

((Duel Request VS Mordecai))

Edited by Zendrin
Specifying post as duel request.
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Mordecai watched with favor as she drew her lightsaber. Good. She wasn't afraid of the price of failure. She could have taken one of the sparring blades, spared herself pain and danger. Instead she ignited her weapon of choice, her drive to become a better duelist prevailing over any fears or doubts she may have had. He was on guard this time, however. Her troops had been vocal in their praise for her in her fight against the trandoshan. It seemed that there was skill he had not seen on Korriban, which was what led to this spar.

 

His twin sabers ignited, the azure blades a grim contrast to his blackened robes, a monument to his prior triumph over the Jedi and their lackeys. He circled her for a moment, testing her footing and her stance before leaping into action. He rushed forwards, his speed enhanced by the force as h began with two simple cuts. The first was really a thrust, aimed at her abdomen, his second an upward slash that would hopefully take advantage of his proximity.

 

"Always be at the ready, Kahla. Your opponent may strike at any time, not just in negotiations, but during a fight as well." he preached, intending to lecture her as he proceeded with their combat.

 

((1))

Edited by Mavanger

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Kahla stood ready as Mordecai paced, the hue of his sabers held in contradiction to his dark nature. She could feel the flow of the force around her, there was much intrigue, she could feel it. She waited in anticipation, letting her heart race, adrenaline pump, her body readied on command. She felt the shift in the force before she saw him dash with unbridled speed. She twisted her torso and leaned back, hardly out of reach of the first thrust, and as his second blade swung up she twisted her lower body to match. Her trailing robe singed as fabric was cut away. With a strong two handed grip and aid from both her spin and the force, she dragged her blade heavily towards him in a swing from one side to the other. Her aim true towards his shoulders.

 

She couldn't hold the sigh as he spoke, otherwise she remained quiet. After all, she did come to learn.

 

((1))

Edited by Zendrin
Forgot the duel post count.
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Mordecai's speed aided him here, the force behind his strikes each leading into the next as he displayed a true dance of death. He ducked below her swing, pressing his advance as he rose again, his legs sweeping towards her in an attempt to trip her. He's made her taste the ferrous dirt on Korriban, and now, one way or another, she'd taste iron again.  Her sigh didn't escape him either, her annoyance only mildy off-putting. Here, he traded his rage for a calculated approach. She would learn the lessons he had in his first true fight.

 

"Are you annoyed at my teachings, Kahla? Do my words anger you? Is so, tap into that. Use it against me."

 

He swung for her saber with one of his own, seeking to disrupt both her defenses and her offensive options as his other blade bore down on her from above in a brutal overhead swing, intending to cut her from her shoulder to her hip. 

 

"Don't let me pin you, Kahla! Fight back like your life depends on it. That this is a spar should not lead you to feel comfortable in defeat!"

 

((2))

Edited by Mavanger

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She felt his foot snag hers and pull her aside. She leant into the tug, her weight on her other foot, she leapt off into a roll. As Mordecai was hot on her heels, it didn't take her out of harms way. She held her saber up, still on a knee as his first swing clashed against her blade. Showered in sparks, she only barely saw the radiant blue tint of the second blade come down on her. She spun her saber, pushing away Mordecai's first, only just in time for her to lean opposite his swing. The glance of the saber burned through her cloak once more, and she could feel the heat of the plasma as it passed; but he'd not snagged flesh just yet.

 

She pounced off from her knelt position, back upright. As instructed, her annoyance would fuel her, and perhaps she would seek a means to annoy him in the process.

 

She charged low with an empowered thrust, she'd aimed for the buckle of his belt. She channeled the force through her legs and out like a coiled spring, mockingly remarking "Thank you, Darth Mavenger the Obvious, for teaching me that losing is bad!"

 

((2))

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Sirena's disdain only turned it's focus to Roshan as the Cathar began to wake, his Child's limp form laying across the way. There was fury in her eyes and her lips pursed as she gazed at him. "You fool."

 

Moving to the now injured Aliss, Sirena applied the same ointment to her head that she had done for Roshan just mere moments before, more a salve to stop bleeding than an actual healing remedy, and would likely require stitches before they could progress any further in their training. Sending a comm to @Mavanger, she turned her attention back to Roshan. 

 

This is Darth Sirena. I need a med unit down in Hangar 7-B Level 1. One of my Apprentices gave herself a concussion.

 

"Why did you lie to the girl?" She poised to Roshan, her glare surely having killed him if she chose to. "She is just like us, nothing more, nothing less. So why does she think she is a Lesser and that we are God's? Is your ego that attentive? Did you want her to fail?"

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Mordecai smirked at her growing annoyance. Good. She was getting angry, but she wasn't using it. Regardless, she was faring better that when she had first arrived on Korriban. Her strikes were more focused, though they were all individual attacks. Not the artisanal web of light that his own sabers weaved, each blow leading into the next. He would teach, and she would learn. And if he had to beat her into submission again to solidify his lessons, he would.

 

"You insist that you know not to lose, and yet you do not heed the lessons that would lead you to victory, instead preferring to lash out like a child with blade and mouth alike. Show me that you know more than me, then, Kahla." he said as his communicator flared to life. It wasn't much of a distraction, but it was enough to distract him for a brief moment. He was forced back, pushing Kahla's blade aside as it singed his side with its proximity. He hid his concern at just how close it had come to impaling him- More focused attacks indeed.

 

Quote

This is Darth Sirena. I need a med unit down in Hangar 7-B Level 1. One of my Apprentices gave herself a concussion.

 

Mordecai pivoted back, returning to stalking circles around his apprentice as he responded.

 

"I will dispatch a team momentarily. My own apprentice requires a concussion first." he stated with a cold calm as he glared at her, before leaping in once more for a final flurry of attacks.

 

The first was a deft thrust towards her chest with his left hand as he closed the distance. The next was a brutal slash towards her own belt, the Force aiding him once more as it surged though his body. His final blow, a roundhouse kick aimed at his apprentices jaw, served two purposes. First was to remind her that an attack could come from any limb. The second was to stay true to his word, intending to end the spar here with her unconscious on the ground so he could dispatch a medical team to Sirena's location.

 

((3))

Edited by Mavanger
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To be honest, Durose didn't remember much from the last few minutes. He remembered meeting their new Sith overlord and heading to their quarters and then following Sirena to the hanger bay. He vaguely remembered being given a task and reaching out through the Force. But how he ended up on his back or with this splitting headache was beyond him. Everything was still so foggy. Feeling his head, he looked at his hand to see blood on it.

The one time I actually take off my mask...

While Roshan attempted to sit upright, he could hear a tiny humanoid yapping at him. She looked rather funny. It wasn't that he was purely amused by the fact that sitting upright, he was finally short enough to meet her on her eye level. It was more that he was seeing multiples of her wobbling back and forth as she stared at him, all giving him the same nasty look. Of course, current vision issues aside, Lord Roshan was pretty positive he had nothing to do with this situation so he was unsure what her problem was.

"Why did you lie to the girl? She is just like us, nothing more, nothing less. So why does she think she is a Lesser and that we are God's? Is your ego that attentive? Did you want her to fail?"

Roshan sighed, rolling his eyes and carefully leaning back. He allowed his back and head to return softly to the floor, resting against the cold, durasteel deck. It felt a little better resting there anyway, outside of the wetness which he was sure was a byproduct of his new "battle wound."

"I highly doubt she said as much. She knows we are only demigods. As for her thinking she is a Lesser... well... it all happened so fast. There was never any time to sit down and discuss things properly with the girl. That is, admittedly, a minor oversight on my part. I knew I was overlooking something. I was preoccupied with Soulless. She was never supposed to be anything more than competition to motivate it to become the weapon it was truly capable of. But... here we are."

Feeling his head a little bit again before wincing, Roshan raised his voice a little even though it hurt his head to do so, "Is that what this is about? You sucker punched me while I was doing what you asked because I didn't tell the girl she was a demigod, too?"
 

"Women," Roshan grumbled under his breath.

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Edited by Durose Roshan
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Kahla's grin faded as she realized her taunting bore no fruit. But she let the thought fade, as her master begun preaching once more. She let her anger grow as he continued. Then, he had the audacity to halt their combat, to stop her from proving her worth while he lurked and answered his communicator. Her rage begun to flare as he calmed. Once again the anticipation built and she prepared herself.

 

He surged towards her, his blade outstretched. Kahla slammed her right foot into the ground, pouncing to the left in a dash aided by the force. Her blade connected with his, slashing it away as she moved. Mordecai's charge continued as a powerful slash approached her abdomen and Kahla quickly held her guard, pushing in towards the Darth. Her anger fueled the block, she pushed back with previously untapped strength. Unfortunately not enough, through the shrieking of the blades connection the distinct sound of her equipment hitting the floor at their feet. But she had more pressing issues, namely the intense burning in her hip.

 

She shrieked in pain and hastily jumped to the side. Her flesh seared and her muscles twitched. She tried feeding off the pain, molding it, but in her focus she failed to notice soon enough the boot barreling towards her. She flicked her head back, but Mordecai's foot still made contact. Kahla's head twisted, her body turned in the momentum and she hit the durrasteel ground like a sack of vegetables.

 

She cried out more in anger this time than pain as she hauled herself off the ground, blood spilling from her nose. Her complexion contorted as her hatred overtook her. Kahla charged with great ferocity. She wound her saber up over her shoulder, but just as she reached Mordecai, circled it around to her other side, she twisted her body, her wide horizontal swing accelerated towards his chest. She carried the swing into a spin, by now the blade had met the far side of herself, but had still dragged towards her lord's head. Kahla leapt back and stabbed once more towards his heart as she lunged forward, the force ever present, manipulated for her desire.

 

((3))

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If Sirena's temper had been a force of nature rather than dynamite concealed in a level headed sentient, an entire system would have likely just went supernova. She slapped her forehead, leaving a rather red welp where it landed as the vessels in her temples protruded in her disdain. Him too? Where did people get ideas of Gods and their Offspring when it came to the Force? We're they truly in such dire need to elevate themselves to please sensitive egos. In that moment, all Sirena could do was groan as her fleshed hand slide down her face.

 

Her gaze shifted from Roshan and Aliss in her silence, the moment passing by like a Hutt's sprint. She didn't even know where to begin with these two and their stature of grandeur. So instead, she sighed, letting the moment finish in its passing.

 

"There are no God's, Demi-Gods, or Blessed Beings." Sirena spoke after a few moments of just standing in place. "Life and Stature are what you make of it, nothing more or less. Some may be born with a connection to the Force and have it easier, but it still must be earned all the same. It takes years of training and sweat to achieve greatness. None are born with it, even the Dark King."

 

Sirena approached Roshan and knelt down before him, letting the light behind her hit the wound as she looked at it. Just as she had thought, his healing abilities were honing it nicely. Shifting her gaze back at Aliss, she knew the girl wouldn't be as lucky. Turning back to Roshan, despite her aggravated look, she spoke. "If I was to have hit you, you wouldn't be awake right now. I'm just curious as to why you have robbed this child of such an important truth, a truth that would set her soul free to understand her power and how to control it."

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Durose broke into hearty laughter at her words, even though it hurt to do so. He felt like he was being tested. But the way she spoke, she had enough conviction in her voice to convince him she believed her words.

"My dear Sirena. I'd have taken you for a follower of Slaanesh, if I was being honest. You remind me of such. How the Sith have fallen. We hide our past and our path now?"

Rolling over to face her as she approached, Roshan stared her in the eyes. They looked sincere, for what that might have been worth. A good Sith was trained in lies and deceptions. But these "children" seemed to have sincerely lost their way. Had he been truly gone from the galaxy that long? Had the new Dark Lord hidden these truths from his people and their students? Perhaps there was a method and a reason for such madness.

 

"If I was to have hit you, you wouldn't be awake right now. I'm just curious as to why you have robbed this child of such an important truth, a truth that would set her soul free to understand her power and how to control it."

Raising an eyebrow, Roshan winced as he worked his way back onto his feet, "Clearly, I wasn't the only master to do that. It would seem that your master withheld a great many things from you as well. It is occasionally the duty of a leader to provide his followers with only enough information to be the blunt weapons he needs them to be. Is it sad? Is it unfortunate?"

Durose paused. There was a hint of sadness in his eyes for a fading second before he snorted indignantly. His demeanor shifted to a calm but all-consuming anger. A contradiction perhaps, but Roshan carried both conflicting mental states well.

"Perhaps," he continued before meeting Sirena's eyes. "We lie to those we need to when we need to. I made the mistake of training an Ishvaran once. Those primitive people are unworthy of such. And I paid dearly for it. Not I personally, but many that were valuable to me. Many that I could not protect. Because we are Blessed. It is not a debate. No more than a fool can expect a chicken to perform the feats of a hawk. We may share the remotest similarities. We may need to practice to learn how to fly. But they can and will NEVER soar like us or see the world from on high like us."

 

Roshan clenched his jaw before shaking his head and sighing, "My Knights were blunt tools, designed to protect my people and be extensions of my will. If I had not made the mistake of giving too much truth and empowering the gifted but unworthy, I would not be here, waiting patiently for the day I return to end him once and for all. You see, my dear Sirena... whether you believe in Chaos gods or no gods or Force gifts or random biological happenstance, there is one important lesson that all good teachers must eventually learn. Not every bird with wings can or deserves to learn how to soar.

Pulling out his mask, Roshan placed it back on his face as he finished speaking, "Clipping the wings of a hawk is far less regrettable than teaching a vulture to fly."

 

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  • Both players did an excellent job of respecting the other. At no point did I feel that either side was frustrated, dismissive, or angry. This was a fun sparring match, and it felt like it.

 

  • On the one hand, I would’ve liked to see some more emphasis on the difference in skill in this fight. Kahla never really acknowledges or struggles with the fact that she’s an apprentice fighting a lorded duelist skilled in enhancing his physical capabilities with the Force. On the other hand, Mordecai is an angry duelist, whose preferred fighting style is the tried-and-true Sith method of all out assault fueled by emotion. It never really feels like Mordecai is genuinely giving his all, which follows since this is an educational experience instead of a deathmatch.

 

  • This is a positive that follows from the point above. Mordecai matches the intensity of his opponent and never lets loose in the fight, keeping the fight fun and interesting as a result. 

 

  • This was a very beat-for-beat fight, with each blow choreographed and countered with clarity. There was a bit of confusion over the positioning of Kahla’s saber in her third post. I got the general gist of where the attack was ending up though.

    •  She wound her saber up over her shoulder, but just as she reached Mordecai, circled it around to her other side, she twisted her body, her wide horizontal swing accelerated towards his chest. She carried the swing into a spin, by now the blade had met the far side of herself, but had still dragged towards her lord's head.

 

  • One tip I want to give Zendrin is to double check her character sheet is updated before a duel, particularly for Force abilities, and to a lesser degree combat skills. I can infer from the duel that Zendrin has had experience fighting with her lightsaber, but not much beyond that, like style, form, etc. I noticed she empowered one of her thrusts, and I don’t really know if that’s a skill she knows. Just something small would help.

 

  • I have to really compliment Kahla on part of her final post. When she took the kick, mitigating but not outright cancelling it, and dropped to the ground “like a sack of vegetables,” I grinned a bit. Then she got up, more resolved than ever to finish the fight. That was a fun beat. In a fight that had been fairly even in intensity and without many twists or turns, it made me wonder for a second how she was going to respond. How would she deal with this? The answer emphasized and developed her character, and made me feel like I knew her a little bit more. The highlight of the duel.

 

  • That’s not to say that Mordecai was lackluster. The dialogue between the two of you was fun and established both characters. Plus Mordecai taking a step back to handle a phone call was pretty funny, and further established the tone of the duel. Plus plus he acknowledged how the distraction nearly ended him.

 

Final ruling…

 

MORDECAI WINS

 

While both players did well, Mordecai’s skill and experience in this exact kind of fight nabs him the victory. The fight never really shifted from a saber-to-saber duel, and neither side improvised anything clever or unconventional enough to make me consider giving them the advantage.

 

Excellent duel on both sides.


 

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"The God's are dead. Slaanesh, Nurgle, all of them." Sirena replied after an enlongated gaze of disbelief. It was just as she suspected. Roshan was a follower of Chaos, an old and outdated era that befell many failed Empires. Just as the Dark King, once a pupil of the Chaos God Nurgle, was before truth reigned and their mortality revealed. She shook her head. "You live in a bygone Era. This is the Age of Anarchy, where the strong survive by becoming strong, no matter the hand that was dealt them, and is welcomed. Whether you are born a Noble, or are birthed in the gutter, your strength is determined by your will. So forget the past. It is dead like the False Gods you worshipped."

 

Sirena sat down across from Roshan, a look of pity in her eyes filling what was left by her disdain and anger, leaving questions in her mind. How was she supposed to teach them the path of darkness if they hung to ancient ways that could not exist within the Empire? How was she supposed to reveal their true strength where false philosophy hindered them? How could she get them to see the truth through blinded eyes? Finally she sighed and decided to tell her own story.

 

"I was born of Noble Birth, you know? A Hapian Princess. Electrum spoon in my mouth and everything." Sirena said with a chuckle. "My Father was an Imperial Embassador, my Mother a Hapian Princess. And because of my Impurities, was frowned upon by Hapian Society. So when I became of age, I left, and became an Imperial Soldier under the White Wolf, Dark Lord Montar."

 

"There was constant infighting followed by periods of stagnation, all while the Galactic Alliance and Imperial Remnant fought amongst themselves." Sirena's eyes lowered almost as if in regret, like she felt a since of shame. "And then we were leaderless, left behind by the very Lord's we fought to serve. At least until the Spider, the Dark King, Lord Exodus appeared. It was during this time that I discovered my talent to harness the Force." With a grin, she swelled with pride. "My Master was much like you. Believed in Chaos, Ranks, and being Egotistical. I was belittled on a constant basis for being impure in Hapian Lineage. But he never suspected how strong he would make me, how weak he was himself, and when Exodus ascended with promises of Unification, I showed him."

 

Sirena stared at Roshan in silence for a few minutes, letting her words fall upon his ears whether they remained deaf to her story or not. She shared her story to remind him of her own Master's failings and the consequences of such actions. "Heed my warning Cathar, or not. The choice is clearly yours. But your beliefs are stagnant and ancient. Let go of them or become dust along side of them." Standing up, Sirena offered the Cathar her hand.

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"...You live in a bygone Era. This is the Age of Anarchy, where the strong survive by becoming strong, no matter the hand that was dealt them, and is welcomed. Whether you are born a Noble, or are birthed in the gutter, your strength is determined by your will. So forget the past. It is dead like the False Gods you worshipped."

The Cathar cackled underneath his mask, his voice sounding slightly deeper and more menacing.

"You confuse godship with physical immortality. I never said they were physically immortal, nor does that matter. And even if what you said is true, they served their purpose so that new gods and demigods could rise. The one who matters still lives, even I could feel that much before I was cut off from the Force..."

 

"I was born of Noble Birth, you know? A Hapian Princess. Electrum spoon in my mouth and everything. My Father was an Imperial Embassador, my Mother a Hapian Princess. And because of my Impurities, was frowned upon by Hapian Society. So when I became of age, I left, and became an Imperial Soldier under the White Wolf, Dark Lord Montar."

 

"The Lessers have many titles they use to distinguish themselves from their fellow Lessers. But if  what they feared were your 'impurities' that is because they truly made you better. Unsurprising really. I'm sure there's more to your story?"
 

"There was constant infighting followed by periods of stagnation, all while the Galactic Alliance and Imperial Remnant fought amongst themselves. And then we were leaderless, left behind by the very Lord's we fought to serve. At least until the Spider, the Dark King, Lord Exodus appeared. It was during this time that I discovered my talent to harness the Force. My Master was much like you. Believed in Chaos, Ranks, and being Egotistical. I was belittled on a constant basis for being impure in Hapian Lineage. But he never suspected how strong he would make me, how weak he was himself, and when Exodus ascended with promises of Unification, I showed him."


Roshan grinned widely. He pause and removed his mask. He winced a little. The pressure against his wound felt good once he had gotten used to it but removing it definitely now stung. But this was important. He wanted to stare the little princess in her eyes, unabated by the artificial or technological.

 

"Heed my warning Cathar, or not. The choice is clearly yours. But your beliefs are stagnant and ancient. Let go of them or become dust along side of them."

Waving off her hand, Roshan stood up proudly. There was joy in his heart. She may have been wayward. But her story gave him hope for the future of the Sith and maybe even Aliss' future.

"If only dust could be our fate, princess. But perhaps you misunderstood your master's beliefs and goals. And perhaps you misunderstood the goals of the Chaos gods themselves. Was not Exodus their chosen? Has he not united the Sith into the greatest force the galaxy will possibly ever see? Has your teacher's sacrifices and beliefs and teachings and belittlings not made you prove your strength and made you a demigod worthy of standing by Exodus's side as a Sith Master?"

The Cathar glanced at the fallen Aliss for a moment before his eyes slowly scrolled back across the room to the "little princess" standing in front of him, "That you stand here alive, as a Sith Master means that your master succeeded at his most important duty. Only a fool of a demigod ignores death. I've heard legends of Korriban. So I can't speak of the truth of it. But on Ishvara, I raided many hidden Sith caches and temples. And when I was really really lucky, I would chance upon a Sith holocron or location that would unleash the spirit of a long deceased Sith Lord. It was always an interesting experience. Not one to be toyed with either, less they figure out how to or know how to trick you into undergoing the essence transfer necessary to possess your body and extinguish your soul."

"But I digress," Roshan said as he shook his head, having let his mind wander. "My point is this. Someday, most of us who are demigods will return to the Force and the Mist-Beyond. I'm unsure if you are familiar with Corellian 'folklore' or that of many other ancient civilizations, most as old as space travel itself. What I might refer to as Chaos, some might call the Void and your people might refer to it by yet another name, but it is all the same place. It is where the weaker demigods among us will one day make our home. With our great powers and the accepting and use of them, my dear Sirena, comes a fate worse than death for the weak. A place of suffering and darkness for those not strong enough to cheat death. A place so horrible that the strongest among us would choose to remain trapped among the living and driven mad in isolation rather than dooming ourselves to such an eternal prison."

Roshan hesitated, try to think of the right words before speaking again, "Whether you want to believe in your fate, we see the proof of the 'great beyond' by the very spirits of the Sith that remain after their bodies have long perished. Have the Chaos gods all died as you claim? Or have they simply transferred their essence to a different host? How do you know that the great Giant that you swore allegiance to is not the latest embodiment of Nurgle himself?"

Roshan chuckled, "You can shun the knowledge and teachings that helped make your master the man he needed to be to make you the demigod you needed to be. You can ignore the truth about Chaos and still join it when you die, all the same. You can think that the Chaos gods are actually dead, and ignore the ones that have risen in their place or serve them in what you think is your own way without realizing that they reign over you and your will as a god-like master..."

"But it takes a strong mind," Roshan sighed, "To acknowledge the realities of the fate we have accepted by being reborn into the ways of the Darkside. And it takes an even stronger will to defy and fight and claw to cheat that feeble promise of an afterlife until our last breath. The feeble and frightened and even the misled hide behind platitudes and ignorance and sweet sounding tales that they can just die some day and be like everyone else. That they can return to the Force and rest like a Lesser. Perhaps you have to understand Chaos to understand what makes them gods. But if you ask me, if you managed to escape Chaos for even a moment in time and then also managed to take a new form or possess a new body... even if it appears that you have failed in your ultimate goals... you've proven your status as a god for all those who understand the feat of your accomplishments. We can only hope to cheat death in such a spectacular fashion. And that is what makes us superior to any and every Lesser. No Lesser can cheat death. No Lesser can defy death. No Lesser can gain the ability to use the Force and bend it to their will. Only those who are 'Force Sensitive,' as the Jedi and Lesser scholars so clumsily call it. Only the Blessed."

"Perhaps even..." Roshan finished as he grinned deviously at Sirena. "Perhaps I was brought to you to return the true Slaanesh or her rightful successor to the fold of Chaos's Defiers. Tell me, Lady Sirena. Did you see Nurgle and Slaanesh die with your own eyes?"

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"No. I did not witness it, but it's stories touched my ears." Sirena spoke, her gaze fixated on Roshan standing before her, the towering Cathar's size difference meaning little in the grand scheme of things. "Especially of Nurgle, who along with his Alcazarin's, shed his power and form to become Darth Dominus in attempt to overthrow Lady Dominique and take the title of Dark Lord. And in doing so, lost himself to Hell."

 

"I can see this is getting us nowhere, this philosophical debate pointless. You are blind child, and now I must show you the truth." Sirena spoke with a disheartened sigh, her gaze of blue flames intensifying. "Heed my words pupil, for they are the only truth you need to concern yourself with. Let them shed your past and light your future, for the ways of old are dead, and we make our reality what we will."

 

The Force around Sirena began to swirl, intensifying as her gaze firmed, the air around the growing cold. Sirena fought against the cold, her breath slowing as the air escaping fogged, her skin riddled with the standing of her fair hair as bumps rose across her form. And then her voice and presence became frozen to all emotions. In that moment, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "True power resides in us all, whether we believe ourselves to be chosen. Remember the Code of our forefathers."

 

"Peace is a lie, There is only Passion." Sirena spoke as she closed off her heart with a well aimed jab of her finger to the center of her pelvic, letting her passion disappear completely from her presence in the Force. "Passion is the foundation of Life and Evolution, the key to feel and what separates us from the Artificial. Without it, we are empty vessels with no will of our own."

 

"Through Passion, I gain Strength." Sirena continued, this time closing off the presence of her soul with a well aimed jab of her finger to her stomach, a numbing echo rippling through the flow of the Force. "Passion is our greatest sin, and without it and our will, we have no need for strength. To use our passion to fuel us, we gain the strength to progress and evolve. Every living thing has this, whether they're sentient or not. Even the weakest of animals hunger and strive for it."

 

"Through Strength, I gain Power." Sirena said, this time closing off her presence in the Force with a well aimed jab to the sternum, the flow around her following a more natural stream. "Without the passion to strive for strength, we cannot taste power. For power is a necessary step in our evolution, to bring to fruition our desires and our dreams. These are the basic building blocks of any living being and civilization. Power corrupts absolute, but only if the weak hold it over the strong. Only if the blessed hold it over their lessers. This is where evolution or destruction happens, dependent on those who wields the Power. Share it, and you prosper. Horde it, and others will take it, leaving you defenseless."

 

By now, Sirena could see wobbling slightly from side to side, the flow of her presence blocked. She waivered in her determination, and looked weak from the jabs, her skin paler and her eyes bloodshot. And though she was in pain, she still smirked as she gazed at Roshan. He was about to learn an invaluable lesson.

 

"Through Power, I gain Victory." Sirena struggled to continue, taking both hands and jabbing at each side of her throat, a void in the Force erupting all around them as if the Force beaconed to stay away from her form like a stone thrown into a pond. "We are only as strong as our weakest link, even in our followers and in our pupils. This is why you must let go of the past and embrace what has become. Equality is stronger than division."

 

"Through Victory, my Chains are Broken." Sirena spoke through gasping breaths, landing a final jab to her forehead, and causing her to almost fall backwards as she caught herself. "By accepting that we are merely a glimmer in the sands of time, accepting that our moments are fleeting and repetitive across Generations and Millennia, we can open our minds to true power. Where the Sith of Old failed were in their closed minds, unable to see out of selfishness, they doomed themselves to prison that is the afterlife, whether bound to Hell or to Body. Opening your being to the ideal of equality only ensures your true immortality, both in legend and in minds of those who follow."

 

"The Force shall free me." Sirena spoke, stumbling backwards across the hangar, her skin aflame with heat and sweat, and her lips, nails, and nostrils blue. After she reached a safe distance away, offering her hand for Roshan to stay back and any others in proximity, she fell to her knees. "Now watch the hording of the Old Ways for what they are."

 

The Force that had strayed from her form, that lingered at the edge of her voided presence, came crashing down around her. In that moment, everything around her, from containers to weapons, all flew outwards away from her in a torrent of power as the Force returned to her body. Sirena screamed in agony, it's ripple echoing throughout the ship as her form fell to the floor limp, every Bone in her body broken from the crushing of that which she held at Bay. Blood trickled from her lips, nose, and eyes as color returned and her lungs gasped for air as she coughed up what blood drained in her throat. In that moment, her mortality was becoming slimmer by the moment.

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Roshan was rather content with himself and his speech. He was confident he could rekindle Lady Sirena's faith.

 

It is now only a matter of--
 

"No. I did not witness it, but it's stories touched my ears. Especially of Nurgle, who along with his Alcazarin's, shed his power and form to become Darth Dominus in attempt to overthrow Lady Dominique and take the title of Dark Lord. And in doing so, lost himself to Hell."

 

The Cathar frowned. The name of his former master peeked his interest.

 

Lady Dominique? What did she have to do with all of that? What have I missed in all these years hidden away on Ishvara? Is whatever happened why Lady Sirena hates the old gods so?

 

"I can see this is getting us nowhere, this philosophical debate pointless. You are blind child, and now I must show you the truth. Heed my words pupil, for they are the only truth you need to concern yourself with. Let them shed your past and light your future, for the ways of old are dead, and we make our reality what we will."

 

Roshan stepped back as Lady Sirena began her display. He was not entirely sure what she was doing or what exactly he was seeing. But as the Force swirled around her, the feeling was as impressive as it was chilling. 

 

"True power resides in us all, whether we believe ourselves to be chosen. Remember the Code of our forefathers."

 

As Lady Sirena struck herself she continued, "Peace is a lie, There is only Passion..."

 

Roshan placed his mask back over his face, confused and somewhat alarmed by what he was seeing. Was she preparing to attack all of them? Or perhaps kill him? Or summon a Chaos god? He was completely at a loss.
 

"Through Passion, I gain Strength..."

 

With yet another self inflicted blow, Roshan moved to take a step towards the Sith to stop her. Whatever point she was trying to make, she had nothing to prove to him. She had made her point. But instead of moving, the Cathar felt his legs falter. Even in his weakened state, the swirl of the Force that stirred around her was blaringly intense, amplifying the mental footprint of her words as she spoke them. Her interpretation of the code was reasonable, albeit Roshan found this whole display to be more than a bit unexpectedly dramatic. He wanted to speak up but he doubted she'd even hear him now. Whatever this ritual was, she looked determined to see it through to the end.

 

"Through Strength, I gain Power..." 

 

With yet another self-inflicted blow, Lady Sirena continued to speak, admonishing the large Cathar in the fundamental essence of the Force and the mantra of the Sith. Roshan actually agreed with her take about the Lessers. It was why his time on Carida had bothered him so and also why he had chosen to risk standing up to and antagonize Darth Mavanger when it came to his mistreatment of his slave. Roshan had a soft spot for the Lessers. He knew that they could never and would never be Force Sensitive like the Blessed. But there was value in raising up the others around you, especially those "beneath you."

 

Of course, this may have made his handling of Aliss seem contradictory. But her situation wasn't nearly so simple. Roshan’s misleading of the girl was partly to protect her from the weight of this burden he knew she would eventually have to carry and to at least temporarily hide her from those who might wish to exploit her strength in the Force. He wanted her to develop the techniques and skills necessary for her to succeed as a Lesser before immersing her in a world of immeasurable power and easy shortcuts. Teaching her the truth and showing the child her place in the Force was a conversation that he and her mother often had.

Truth be told, Roshan had vowed to never take on another Ishvaran after the original betrayal of his student-turned-nemesis. But from the ashes of that defeat, the defiant Cathar had moved on and met Aliss’ mother and began building his community anew. He even thought that he had traveled far enough away to be well beyond the reach of "the man-who-shall-not-be-named." He had foolishly convinced himself that he would finally have some peace.

But such hopes and lies of peace are inherently as false and misleading as they are fleeting. The nemesis eventually found Roshan and their rivalry was renewed in full. The Cathar thought he was prepared this time and yet again, he lost nearly everything.

Only the girl remains. Maybe if I had trained the girl sooner instead of hiding her gifts away... 

“Horde it, and others will take it, leaving you defenseless."


Perhaps...


But there was much more to the whole story than simply that. There was no pretty bow to be tied on it. Deep down, Roshan knew that he refused to train the girl, not only out of fear of her not being ready, but also out of fear of him not being ready to fail as a master for a second time.

For as wise as the Cathar attempted to appear and for as many temples and tombs and holocrons as he had raided on the years, he was no more worthy of being called a true master than the day he first set foot on Ishvara. He could doubtfully live up to Lady Dominique or Darth Helios, much less Lady Sirena. In his heart of hearts, he knew that that was the real reason why he had willfully accepted this hexed armor and the hex attached it. It was why he wore it as a badge of courage and defiance to hide his fear and inadequacies. It gave him the excuse he needed to pass the buck to someone else. And that was why he sought a teacher for Solus and Aliss instead of attempting to train them himself.

Fear.


"Through Victory, my Chains are Broken."

Yet I have no victories. Only repeated defeats. And so my chains remain...
 

"The Force shall free me."

Roshan stood there in shock as the woman punched herself yet again before stumbling backwards across the hanger bay and motioning for him to stay back. He looked over to Aliss. She seemed to be safely tucked out of the way for the moment, albeit still bleeding a little and in need of medical attention. Sirena had already called for help so it was likely on the way. But Roshan feared that look in Sirena’s eyes.

What are you doing?!

"Now watch the hoarding of the Old Ways for what they are."


The magnificent Force of energy that came crashing down on the woman rattled the bulkheads and sent tools, containers, and weapons flying in all directions. The Cathar stumbled awkwardly onto his butt as a cargo container was hurled over his head and into the wall behind him. He watched on in shock and horror as the Sith screamed in agony from the immense force that she had brought down on herself in that instant. 

...
..

.
 

Then the cargo bay abruptly fell into a stunned silence. For a fleeting second, Roshan debated whether he should let his new master die and take credit for the kill, taking her mantle in the process. To be a full fledged Sith Lord under this new regime would have its perks and it was doubtful that anyone would seek revenge against him for besting his master in such a spectacular manner. Had the old gods driven her mad and convinced her to kill her ownself for her defiance of them?
 

Even Roshan didn’t believe them to be that powerful. His mind raced, combing over the words that she had said, trying to make sense of her actions. Had he struck a cord so deep that he had, in essence, talked her to death? Or was this some sort of test to see where his loyalties lied? Was saving the life of such a defiant unbeliever akin to betraying his own teachings and beliefs?

As he looked at her small body lying there on the floor, the scene was eerily reminiscent of the statue he had found Dominique’s body in during Sirena’s vision quest. The situation was different but there was something about the feeling of it all that haunted him deeply and sent shivers down his spine.

Roshan wobbled to his feet and headed towards the hanger bay comm system. He attempted his best to use it to comm Darth Mavanger or the medbay or whoever might have been alerted to all the commotion in the cargo bay.

Speaking to whoever was on the other side, Roshan panted, “Hello. Emergency! Emergency! We have two people down. Head trauma and stitches needed for one, multiple broken bones and major trauma care for the other! We are going to need a trauma cart and access to a bacta tank a-sap!”

Not even waiting for a reply, Roshan moved around the cargo bay to where he’d expect to find a first aid kit on a vessel like this. It was a common sense practice to have one, especially in a hangar bay where travelers came in and out. This would always be the first stop for any wounded, after all, upon their return to the vessel.

Finding a suitable enough kit, he hurried over, applying some bacta patches before finding the goo that Lady Sirena had used earlier and applying what was left of that as liberally as possible to her injuries. There was nothing, however, that he could do about her broken bones but the defeated warrior was careful not to move her until proper help arrived.

As he knelt beside her, he tried to conjure the words to say but for one of the few times in his life, Lord Roshan was speechless. He felt his chains weighing down heavily upon him. Even in succeeding in doing what she had asked of him, his victory had somehow turned into failure in a matter of minutes. And what was worse, he had potentially lost of the only person here qualified to train Aliss. First his new community. Then his Knights. Then Solus. And now Sirena, too? Was Aliss next?

If Lady Sirena's goal was for him to feel defeated, she had tamed the beast. She won.

Aliss could not get her training without Sirena. And the Cathar knew had no hope of reconnecting and recapturing any of his former glory without her. If this was her way of silencing him and reminding him that he needed her, her message had been as deafening as her elaborate display.

Still exhausted from his concussion and the events of the past few minutes, Lord Roshan slumped down beside her. He had spent so much time fighting with himself, his enemies, and everything and everyone else around him that in all this time he had never had a chance to truly rest. But as he glanced at the small humanoid narrowly clung to life beside him, Roshan found a serenity to her repose. Perhaps that was her true lesson for him. After so much pain, after hoarding all the sorrow and loss that the old ways had brought to the galaxy, perhaps it was time that they rest.

“Yes...Perhaps peace isn’t so terribly a lie,” the Cathar thought as he collapsed on the ground her abreast of her and drifted off into the tranquility of the silent dark.

___
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Edited by Durose Roshan
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Mordecai nodded in appreciation of his apprentices efforts as they sparred; She had clearly grown stronger, either through her fight with the Trandoshan, or through his teachings. Regardless, it mattered not. What mattered was her growing potential, and with it, her growing pride. Her growing rage. And yet... She couldn't harness it like he could. Not yet. He had failed there, but that was a lesson for tomorrow. His lesson for her today, however, was humility. He blocked her first strike, a sloppy feint, and tracked her movements to parry her next strike, pushing her blade out of the way as he closed the distance.

 

He delivered a knee to her stomach, causing her to double over, allowing for his knee to follow up in a strike to her face. She lurched backwards, propelled by the sickening thwack of the impact, unconscious as she hit the ground, her saber deactivating as she fell. His own blades followed shortly after, clipped to his belt as he pulled out his communicator.

 

Quote

“Hello. Emergency! Emergency! We have two people down. Head trauma and stitches needed for one, multiple broken bones and major trauma care for the other! We are going to need a trauma cart and access to a bacta tank a-sap!”

 

"Captain, send three medical units. One to the sparring ring on deck four to gather an unconscious apprentice, and two more to Hangar 7-B. Prep one for massive trauma, sounds like something went down over there. I'll meet them when they arrive." he said.

 

he glanced once more at his apprentice's seemingly lifeless body. She'd know better than to try to move is she woke up before the medics arrived. It sounded like he needed to keep the peace in his hangar, however. He stalked out of the room, his cloak billowing behind him as he moved briskly along his route to the hangar. What had Sirena done that had panicked her apprentice so? Broken bones? Had she beaten a trooper? An apprentice? Perhaps she flagellated herself, to display her ability to harness pain, and gone too far?

 

When he arrived to the Hangar, it was a scene of chaos. Troopers surrounded the three Sith, all of whom were unconscious. It was a scene of blood and mangled bodies. He barked a command to his troops to return them to their duties as he approached Sirena, kneeling beside her body. What had she done here? The medics arrived shortly after, loading the Cathar and the Hapian onto stretchers and Mordecai shouldered the young woman.

 

What a mess. The campaign hadn't even started and all four of his strongest allies were unconscious. He would need to teach them all restraint, including himself.

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Kahla heard the boots of her master leave the room as she hazily woke. She stayed unmoving, the blood from her nose had dried, her body aching. The thought of failure loomed over her, but she opted not to give in. Progress will be seasoned with the taste of defeat, and through mistakes I will be forged into a stronger Sith. she thought to herself. She had proven her progress, she was indeed stronger now, as not every swing she took had landed her on the ground. She was learning, and she took solace in that fact. Though, perhaps she'd overestimated herself, maybe even underestimated Mordecai, if only a little. A mistake she would correct for her next encounter.

 

She mustered what little strength she could find in her burning muscles, pushing herself to sit up as the medics came into the room.

 

"I'm fine." Her words shook softly from her voice. Her head ached, and she felt the unmistakable pain of a broken rib as she tried to stand.

 

"You won't get far in that condition, and we're under orders to take you to the med-bay."

 

Defeat in her eyes, Kahla subsided, allowing them to help her onto a stretcher. She knew the lecture she'd receive; 'Were I the enemy, you'd be dead.' His voice echoed in her thoughts, am I even worth waiting for? Would he be there to see me arrive safely? And if he did, would he only be there to rub in my failure? With her mind still pounding she allowed herself to drift into a deep sleep.

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Within certain circles of thought--mostly historians and economists with a dry sense of humor--it was said that the chief export of Korriban was misery. Its chief import was everything else. The ancient lords of the Sith were not known for their commercial success, but they were infamously accomplished in their production of war machines and more esoteric sources of suffering. At the very least, the Sith tended to not produce anything that lacked an immediate application to their purposes.

 

Even understanding that Korriban was likely to be one of the least populated systems that she would ever visit, Bryce had charted a course that brought their U-Wing infiltration craft out of hyperspace far from the spacelanes that branched out from the Perlemian Trade Route. She was making a final check on her gear during the last few minutes before the heavy starfighter dropped out of hyperspace. Everything appeared to be in order, from her blaster carbine and sidearm, to her vibromachete and a number of small rifle-grenades that she hoped would never be of use. Even the ysalamir between her ankles seemed calm, blissfully ignorant of the fact that a loaded pistol was less than half a meter away from its inscrutable reptilian form and its owner was perfectly willing to kill her.

 

As planned, the U-Wing popped out of hyperspace nearly a hundred kilometers away from the nearest spacecraft, and that was an ancient Barloz-class Medium Freighter with an obsolete sensor array. Even still, the Rebel Talon shut down the heavy starfighter’s thrusters seconds after reversion and the planet’s  heavier gravity to exert its influence on the ship. She next shut down the craft’s active sensors, relying only on the craft’s ability to monitor thruster emissions from the spacelanes. They would be safe from immediate detection, unless a defensive satellite or a sharp-eyed starfighter pilot just happened to be looking their direction during the few seconds that the starfighter’s thrusters were active.

 

“ETA for atmosphere is fifty-three minutes. We should be safe…. ish for now.” Bryce glanced back at the cabin, where the two discomfited Jedi were undoubtedly waiting impatiently to be released from the ysalamir’s presence.

 

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The soft jerk against her crash webbing told the Jedi Master that they had emerged from the bounds of hyperspace and were now nearing their destination. The rough voice of the Rebel officer followed in quick succession, and told her that they were going to have to wait another hour before the pair of force users could access the flow of the force. It was torture to Sandy. How else could it be, she couldn’t feel anything beyond herself and it was exhausting.  

 

She brought her eyes level with Kyrie’s and gave her a wry smile. 
 

“Well lets hope they don’t just shoot us down eh.”  

 

But her voice carried none of the command it usually did and it felt hallow. 

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Jedi Master

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Deep in the bowels of Mordecai's ship, Sirena laid suspended within the confines of a bacta tank, the painful crackling of her bones realigning and the occasional wince of her unconscious body as her mind wandered to and fro. She reached out in the Force, searching her pupils, attempting to tether her mind to theirs as they laid unconscious in their own confines. It was time to finish the lesson she sought to teach. It was time to reveal the truth of false God's.

 

In each of their minds, they heard her call, her pull. All they had to do was accept her invitation.

 

"Roshan...."

 

"Aliss..."

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She felt small against the tide, pulled this way and that by the emotions and personalities that crowded her mind. There had once been a fire around which they would all crowd for warmth, but now the flame had diminished with the influence of the force-eating lizards that inhabited the shuttle, and the voices had increased to a howl and like wolves they were hunting.  

 

The Anzati huddled into the crash webbing, bringing her armored knees to her small chest, hugging herself about the ankles, burying her eyes into the darkness. Her jaw was set , stress and self-hatred boring their way through her defenses to make them grind. Her lips moved in a silent song, one she sang to keep the wolves at bay. 

 

You come here… To Korriban

 

The Imperial Knight winced and brought her head up to stare out the viewscreen apart from her. There was flickering and reflective sand. Flitting lights swam in her eyes, distant cries echoing on silent winds

 

Look around and you will see them. The burned, the tortured, the slain. Here they lie, desiccated in the sands and drowning in the Phlegethon

 

She could almost smell the burnt flesh. The tormented screaming. Her fingers clung to her crash webbing, white as alabaster in the sunlight. 

 

Did you think the dead lie still here? This is not a place of rest.

 

Her torments were fast becoming her elements. 

 

A voice cut into her wallowing terror, that of Sandy Sarna. 

 

“Well lets hope they don’t just shoot us down eh.” 

 

Kyrie turned her head to look at the woman, taking in the reassurance of her humor, the warmth of her smile. It was almost enough to stoke the flames of her internal fire, but the lizard’s influence was far too great. She winced back a forced smile, her stutter pronounced as she pointed to the lights on the sands that only she could see. 


“Do you see the t-them c-coming? They yearn for life, hunger for it - like a pack of wolves on a hunt…”

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