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"My own tutelage taught me different. To rise to the rank of Sith Lord, I would have surpass my Master and slay him. Wouldn't it prove a burden to slay the one who you hold upon such a pedestal?"

 

As Solus led the way for the two, he replied with his own thoughts. 

 

“Ah, you are of the same teachings that my father, Lord Roshan, was under. And to that, I say, if I kill someone who is below me, is it such a worthy challenge? Killing someone above me…now thats a worthy feat, is it not? ”

 

As Solus walked he turned himself around and walked backwards briefly, looking at the two Sith Lords. 

 

“Besides, there is a phrase in our clan that I've discovered: Wide smiles, sharp blades. Both are easy to clean” 

 

Having finished with his own thoughts, Solus finally introduced the group to the ship’s library. A circular chamber filled with various datapads and holocrons, the Master of Hides greeted the group. A tall, gaunt, and horribly deformed Bith by birth, with his left arm and left foot shrunken to half their normal sizes. To make up for this defect, the Master of Hides utilized a mechanical arm attached directly to his spinal cord and a pair of robotic legs overfitting his defective leg.

 

To Nok’s requests, he simply waved him to his right. An assistant servant over there would be willing to help. To Dictum’s request, he took a more personal consideration and pulled a few datapads off the walls. 

 

“While our collection is lacking on Ragnar’s personal livelihood…” The Master of Hides explained with a terrible lisp. “...his professional career is a bit more recorded, including many of his more deadlier and deceptive methods of killing his enemies, as well as his last days working within the Sith Empire. I believe these will shed a light on what you hope to find.”

 

For Solus, the Bith looked the Shard over. 

 

“I’ve heard about what you seek, Dragon. Your madness has become….erratic to say the least. The sorcerors warned me of this possibility. I have already prepared several datapads for you, but I will say, what we have is limited. The Temple of the Spider is not a well-versed subject here. Madness usually doesn't concern us. But, perhaps you can find something we have missed…” 

 

Solus bowed to the Master of Hides.

 

“Great celestial cranial pod , your help is appreciated beyond words. May your brain never explode from the sounds of greatness.” 

 

With that back-handed compliment given, Solus began his work. While the others had their own tasks in the ship’s library, Solus was sorting through information as fast as his photoreceptors could take them in. The record speed for a droid of his chassis was hundreds of hours of video files of footage within one hour. Solus was only a little slower then that, much faster than the average humanoid.

 

After three hours of going through the data, Solus began to see a pattern. 

 

“Aha! Behold!” Solus exclaimed almost widely as he pulled up files for others to follow. “All mentions of similar madness like the one I have are usually linked to madmen, who were placed under psychiatric watch and then usually died shortly after. But for ones like these…”

 

An image of a crocodilian species appeared. “Behold, Shimrak, a Vulptereen security officer who claimed he was stalked by spider-like ooze, which followed him from Vulpter to Neimodia. Died in custody at a police station. Officially ruled as suicide, but doubts existed as his own through was slashed five separate times. No one else was spotted in the room.”

 

The image changed to an elderly Sullustan woman. “Feen Paluub, nighttime dancer and professional consort. Killed several of her customers under orders by an ‘unspeakable thing made of nothing but eyes and legs. Placed under medical care to be administered before tried in court of law, but died due to heart failure enroute to hospital.” 

 

Finally the image changed to a young male human. “Reg Oyce. Correlian freighter pilot from Corellia to Coruscant. On his last mission claimed he saw a ‘dragon’ swimming alongside him, giving him force visions of something ‘beyond description’. Was fired from his job, and the Jedi Temple denied an audience with him. He was found dead in a speeder on his homeworld. Ruled as a drunk-driving accident.”

 

Solus swiped all the information away, and pulled up three separate images of the final death scenes of each mentioned individual. A police jail cell, a bloodied hotel room and a smoldering speeder on a travel way. 

 

“Now you may be thinking these people have nothing in common. No similar causes of deaths, positions of work are widely seperated, different genders and species, heck, one of these beings didn’t even speak basic. They died between 12 and 15 years apart from each other, and none of their livelihoods ever crossed paths with each other. But they all had one similarity:”

 

Solus outlined a singular place on each image. For the jail cell, a pattern carved into the wall sloppily by claws. For the hotel room, a canvas painting hanging on a back wall. For the speeder accident, blood smeared on the ground. Each one was slightly different, but only slightly: cascades of circular shapes, overtaking each other, with a few lines criss crossing all over. And in the center of each image,  a unified but separate  shape, with no lines crossing it.

 

"They all had a unique appreciation for art at their time of death. "

 

Solus brought up another image: His room on the ship. On a previous conversation with his master, he had made a nearly identical image in his own ravings of mania. With all four images before him, the Shard overlapped them each other, with the central object as the pinning point. Separate, they were wild, useless, unimaginative  drawings. But together, they were now a star chart, complete with routes and popular planets of trade.

 

“Behold!” Solus proclaimed as he brought up the appropriate star chart to match the image before him. “The Kathol Rift! Hahaha! Yes yes!” 

 

Solus practically leapt upwards and jumped about like a child, beating his chest and whooping wildly, unable to contain his joy at his discovery. “Bwahaha, my madness is not madness, it is genuine! The Temple exists here, and here alone! And I, Solus the Ascended…Solus the enlightened! No, I, Solus the Dragon, know where to find it! Haha!” 

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Taking the data pads and holocrons, even a few scrolls harboring his father's life within the Order, Dictum excused himself and retired to a small table set aside for readings. Within the confines of the small library, many had been set about for the House of Dragon members as well as Sith who ventured there to seek out rites and rituals and most held supplies and ingredients for most on the go practitioners. But Dictum wasn't there for such things, and after lighting a small candle in the corner, sat down in the ill lit room as he spread the information out.

 

The scrolls laid out mostly hand written accounts of Rangus' deeds, some even holding his father's barely legible writing. The datapads, on the other hand, were mostly Imperial records of his exploits to derive truth from fantasy, and held the undeniable truth, including the search for Rangus after he went rogue over his sister's marriage to the Jedi Master Phantorius Armegedon. But Dictum cared little for his father's own dealings, a bastard birthed by a rarely known father who only cared upon the realization of his latent gift in the Force. Ragnus, Marie, the Armegedons... they were but a part of the story and miniscule to what he sought.

 

No. What Dictum sought wasn't truth. It wasn't closure. It wasn't even his father. Dictum sought power, and it was only brought by knowledge. Even the smallest detail could bring immense power. And that was his only passion for searching his father's life. Focusing his will upon the small holocrons, he searched their contents for where and when his father gained the most knowledge in the Darkside and what led him to such. Mostly, they held his training, recordings of his self and his maniacal ego, and a few theories upon his father's life and whereabouts, a truth that only he and his former Master knew. He scoffed and pulled forth his own holocron, a creation of his own doing before he slew his former Master and rose to the Rank of Lord.

 

"It seems my Father held a menial life amongst the Sith Order of old, barely a foot note to be spoken of and his disappearance holding more of a mystery than he ever did." Dictum spoke as the holocron recording his presence within its crystalline form, the Force being willed into its knowledge. As he did, the holocron's shapes twisted and bled of the kyber that housed Dictum's imprinting. "It seems he held more of a significance of himself more so than his beloved Order. Just as I figured. He was nothing compared to who I will become."

 

Lifting up a data pad and setting a few scrolls upon before him, he gazed upon them as the Force flowed through his sight and the knowledge of the contents ran through his mind. "But there's not to say that he wasn't completely useless, nor this endeavor meaningless. It seems he dabbled a bit in the realm of shadows and illusionary. I've noted a few records of his training that could be useful to adapt upon my own form. Nothing powerful, but useful."

 

As his mind caught a glimpse of a section he had skipped over previously, he noticed a briefly miniscule mention of the Sith homeworld of Zoist, and the Force tugged at his mind in the most peculiar way. So much so, his interest peaked and he sought out information upon the world from the Master of Hides. Returning to the table, he read over the world in silence before continuing. 

 

"It seems my father has held out on me. There was a world he visited briefly during his time as a Sith Lord shortly before he rose to the Rank of Master. It seems it was destroyed past his time, but recently revived by another. I'm not sure of the significance of this world, but the Force seems to fear this place and is corrupted by it. Which is why I am curious of it, given his time spent there and his rise shortly after. Perhaps it is coincidence, but... Dictum contemplates the thought and resigns to his own feelings. "Perhaps not. I should visit this world and investigate it further. Perhaps it holds the key to his rise."

 

After noting a few other things of little mention, a few techniques to begin his understanding of the powers he found useful, Dictum returns the items to the Master of Hides and exits the library with his holocron settled away. Finding a small training room, he set out to test the powers and skills he came across during his search.

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Dictum.png.0febbb901671155fea9f8e655fca08ba.pngDarth Dictum

 

"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?" - Edgar Allen Poe

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Solus turned to the Master of Hides and bowed, thanking the Bith before leaving the library. Overhearing Dictum’s words, Solus couldn’t help but comment as he followed alongside

 

“If I may comment, Ziost is of note to our current empress as well as a challenger…” 

 

Solus stopped, knowing his words would garnish attention. “The power balance in the Sith Empire is changing from my understanding. I would be careful of who you support. A recent acquirement on Coruscant has been dropped off on Ziost, and more than a few Sith around her seem to think she is worthy of so much more.  Personally I don't know if she’ll succeed our current empress or not, but if you do meet with a being known as Calypso, I’d treat her with more respect than a common underling. More respect than our necromancer at least.”

 

With that, Solus excused himself. Akheron had told him to be in the training room after this, and he did not intend on disappointing his master again.

 

In the training room, Solus found himself early. His master was nowhere to be seen, though his resident mechanic Stitch-Mouth was sitting on the floor waiting. Looking up, Stitch-Mouth nodded to the Shard and snapped his scarred and burnt fingers, before pressing a button on his wrist. 

 

Solus felt the Impossible Geometries shift suddenly as several doors opened up in the massive chamber. Linnorms armed with staves, swords, knives, bows, and other primitive weapons entered. Each of them gave a shout and charged.

 

The shard instinctively reached for his lightsaber, only to find it missing. Glancing down, Solus saw just in time for it flying into the Alchemist’s waiting hands. 

 

“You kriffing son of a” Solus started as he reached through the Geometries to grab the saber back. But with another click of a button on his wrist, Stitch-mouth activated the room’s random walls protocol. Metal frames rose up and down at random, making a literal moving maze for everyone. Following this, klaxon sirens blared and pierce the air, creating a deafening noise for all, and the lights began to flicker and pulse at random.

 

With the bombardment on the senses that would drive many organics to the point of seizuring, Solus understood what was going on. This wasn’t punishment or an attempt to kill him. This was training. 

 

Solus shut off his visual sensors and focused on the Impossible Geometries. No matter how much visual or auditory chaos there was, the Geometries were the same. A conglomeration of shapes and symbols that, when navigated property, gave insight to what was happening. Solus almost mused how foolish the training was, since he had done a decent enough job using the Geometries in Naboo’s depths and…

 

Solus stopped as pain shot through his entire robotic body. The floor panel Solus stood on became energized, shocking the shard’s chassis to his very brain. Just as soon as Solus lost control of his sense, the energy stopped. 

 

“So that’s how it is…” Solus commented. “If you sense me using the Force, you will shock me. But If i don’t…” 

 

Solus rolled forward as a sword barely missed his head. Turning around, Solus, blinded by the flashing lights, threw a force push in the direction he came from, and then kept running. The trick was obvious. Solus had to keep moving while he sensed what was around him. If he stopped, Stitch-Mouth would know exactly what panel to shock and render Solus defenseless to the Linnorms with weapons. 

 

However, Solus did have to get creative from time to time. At one point when hopelessly lost, Solus found one of the Linnorms, and lodged his comm link into the Linnorm, killing it but draining what it had known about the layout of room and where he was currently standing.  

 

More than once did Solus crash into a suddenly rising wall or have to stop to take down a Linnorm using only his body,  but eventually Solus found Stitch-Mouth. Sitting at the center of the chamber, the alchemist waited. Thankfully, combat wasn’t needed, as when Solus approached the  alchemist, Stitch-Mouth held up an open hand and then clicked buttons on his wrist to stop the training. 

 

Solus took his blade back as everything quieted down and then looked around. He was getting anxious and wanted to tell his master what he had discovered. 

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"You know the code, but you do not understand it."

 

Darth Mavanger turned to look at the Sith Lord before him.

 

"There are those among the Sith who believe you to be ready for the title of Master. I am to be the judge of that. While none question your ability to fight, I question your loyalty. Your beliefs. Your dogmatic fanaticism to the cult that you've fallen in with raises concern. In the Sith code, we speak of chains to be broken. Not just physical chains, but mental chains. To be a master of the Sith, you must be above the chains of the lesser man. How can you claim you have broken free of yours if your every move, your every victory, is snatched away from you by some false god taught to you by a wayward cultist? There is a reason those that blindly follow gods do not rise above fodder."

 

He set his glass down, his eyes finally meeting Akheron's in judgement. 

 

"What separates us is that you are a cultist blindly following a deity that if it exists, does not care for you or your struggles, seeking to be deemed worthy. I am a Master of the Sith Order, and I am the one who passes judgement, the one who people blindly follow. Lord Akheron, the true question to be asked of you here, is whether or not you are too blinded by faith to cast off your chains and rise above the fodder to show the galaxy why it should be you, not some dark god, who passes judgement on the worthy and unworthy alike?"

Edited by Mavanger
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As Mavanger spoke, at last he understood and found the reasons for this talk he was having. He was being judged to see if he was ready for the next trials he would face, one that would be far more challenging than that of his Lordship Trial. Indeed it seemed his very faith, deep held beliefs that had been nurtured by Clan Brasganu were being questioned and found wanting. It in a angered him that his faith would be so mocked and yet it there was a truth to the words he could not deny.

 

And so that Anger was redirected towards himself. For now having heard what Lord Mavanger said he understood his true purpose and what he must do. Yes...he had been blind, too blinded by faith that he had forgotten what he was. And yet his moment of redemption was at hand now he saw the truth as he reached a revelation about the Fanged God and what his purpose was to be. 

 

A shift occurred as the revelation took hold and Lord Mavanger's words took root. A visible change occurred, as his stance shifted to one of a serious nature, one fuelled by a newfound freedom in his revelation. As a Brasganu Sith he would now seek to break the chains that bound him to the Fanged God, and finally control his own fate. He would make his own choices and become master of his own destiny. His reliance upon the will of the Fanged God would be replaced by a reliance upon himself.  He knew the Fanged God existed, even if Lord Mavanger disagreed with the notion, and he did inact some kind of will however Akheron now realised the truth of his existence.

 

Yes he enacted his will where required but for most part he expected a Sith such as Akheron to take control of their own fates and encouraged them to try and surpass his grasp using the Sith and Brasganu teachings to break chains. To become the harbingers he desired them to be, that others saw them as and become god's themselves.

 

He spoke after having the revelation.

 

 "I see. Your words have moved me Lord Mavanger and helped my understanding of my purpose. I can assure you my loyalty has and shall always be to the Sith foremost, I see now how far I have strayed. Somewhere in my quest to find a purpose I lost myself and delved too deep. I have become too bound to my faith and misinterpreted my role. No more. I will become master of my own fate, my destiny and I shall seek to break these chains that I have placed upon myself. I realise now that although the Fanged God exists, and enacts his will where required, for most part as a Brasganu Sith we are required and expected to take control of our own fates and we are indeed encouraged to try and surpass his grasp using the teachings and the Code to break the chains we have been given. To become the harbingers, the destroyers and become god's ourselves. Now knowing this I know what has to be done. I must find a way to break this chain currently held upon me. That I inflicted upon myself.

 

Tell me what must be done Lord Mavanger to become worthy again and accomplish this and I will see it done."

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 "Only in my pain, did I find my will. Only in my chaos, did I learn to be still. Only in my fear, did I find my might. Only in my darkness, did I see my light." - Darth Akheron

 

I survived the Great JNet Outage of 2012

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  • 2 weeks later...

“You two!” Solus pointed out two crew standing idly by. Instantly they went to attention to the diminutive droid. 

 

“Pack your gear, and meet me at the hangar. Your worthless hides been selected for the honor of a little trip with me”

 

Solus didn’t even stop to make sure the crew members understood and continued walking down the corridors. Stitch-Mouth kept a few feet behind, monitoring the Shard. 

 

“I tell you alchemist, enough waiting, i’ve heard it. The call. I’ve heard the call.” Solus explained as he continued on into his own personal chambers. Still a mess from disorganization and body parts chewed up by Tear, it was a wonder that Solus was able to find his own personal power generator. 

 

“The Fanged God, he calls me! Oh yes, he calls me himself, I know it!” solus exclaimed, almost skipping as the words were uttered. “I can’t explain it, it’s…it's impossible to understand and… and…what was I saying?”

 

Solus stopped in the middle of the chamber and looked around, seemingly lost in thought. Stitch-Mouth raised an eyebrow, wondering if he should allow the Shard to leave. 

After a few brief moments, Solus looked back at the alchemist and shook his head. 

 

Gah, nothing, nothing. Make sure to keep taking care of Tear while I’m gone. Who knows how long I will be gone, yes?”

 

With no words from the alchemist to stop him, Solus continued on, rambling the entire way. Instructions for what to do with his other chassis while he was gone, frequencies for the transmitters his ship’s sensors would be using, and explanations for what to tell his Master. 

 

“Just make sure to convey to him that this is more important than patience” Solus continued as the two entered the busy hangar. Crew and Linnorms were rushing everywhere, fueling the ship Solus insisted on using. “That waiting any longer risks losing the site of the Temple, and my very sanity. Speed is of the essence right now. He will understand that.”

 

Solus stopped and spun towards the alchemist and waved a finger. “And don’t you dare insinuate that I’m doing this cause of the fiasco on Hellvault.  That was not a failure, no matter what the Lord of Rage thinks. It was both a momentous discovery and a side effect of accomplishing my mission. If anyone has a problem with that, just remind them that this Shard knows a fraction more than any other fool who claims otherwise. After all, no one else has made any connection to the Kathol Rift. Not even that necromancer nor Akheron’s old apprentice.”

 

These last words carried a bit more venom in their tone. It was obvious Solus was feeling slightly threatened and emotionally wounded. 

 

“Now that I’ve explained myself…” Solus turned towards the ship and squealed with glee. The ship was a HWK-290 light freighter, long since past its expiration date and refixed over and over again until it looked like a genuine pirate ship. Small, but it would do. Solus had chosen his crew. Besides himself, there would be four other crew to assist. 

 

“Ah, this is perfect. Just perfect…” Solus commented. For a brief moment, he paused in silence, just taking in the situation. 

 

“Well, time is of the essence! Let us be off! And remember alchemist! I do this for myself and for the Fanged God! Kathol Rift awaits! The Temple of the Spider essence awaits me!”

Solus boarded the ship. The ship roared to life and lifted slowly, before leaving the hangar. Within moments, Solus activated the hyperdrive, and took off for the Kathol rift. 

 

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Day 1

“Breaking out of hyperspace now” The pilot reported. Solus nodded as the kaleidoscope of blue lines outside vanished into a black abyss. Even the usual dots of starlight that were  impossible distances away were invisible here. Solus did not need to adjust his sensors. Nebulaic material  blocked any form of starlight to pierce through the darkness. 

 

“The kathol rift…” Solus noted as he reached and touched the window with metal fingers. “It’s… gah, the language of sound isn’t sufficient for description. I just…” Solus stopped and scratched head, causing his optics to shift slightly. “It's a pulling. There's something here gentlemen. Something great and powerful. Beyond comprehension if I'm correct. “

 

“Eh, looks empty to me. Nothing for light years as far as I can tell.”

 

Solus looked at the Linnorm and nodded. “Yes, isn’t it amazing? True darkness. True nothingness. It's the Fanged God’s dream made reality!” 

 

The linnorm looked at the Dragon confused. Solus gave a sigh of annoyance. “Think harder, you excuse an organic computer brain. What will the galaxy be like once the Fanged God has had his last feast? What will exist after everything is gone? When the Dragon himself has been consumed by the Father of Dust? This!”

 

Solus gestured widely at the window of nothingness.  Something was pulling at his shard. Something dark and ominous. Like the pull of a black hole absorbing all light around it, so too did this thing pull at his very being. 

 

The crew on the other hand, did not share the shard’s excitement nor reverence. Of the four, only the pilot had a modem of idolization, and that was because she was raised in the faith from birth. Arnix and Aaran, the two human twins, Delda, the female Rodian, all believed in the Fanged God, but their beliefs were more fueled by the destruction of things and not the destruction of all things. Only the female Devaronian pilot Farnay was a proper Linnorm. 

 

An odd group to be sure, but one Solus would make do. 

 

“Where are we going, Dragon?” Farnay asked. For not being one of the horned nomadic males her people were known for, she was very eager to get moving.

 

Solus stopped and focused himself. His natural electromagnetic senses were useless out here. Only the Force could guide him. A few moments in meditation revealed that the Impossible Geometries were odd here. The shapes were less geometric and more organic. They flowed in and out of themselves like liquid, only to crystalize and shimmer inwards into an inverted form. Sorting through the shapes was almost impossible. 

 

Almost. 

 

“There.” Solus pointed out the window. “20 degrees to the left, you hornless thing. The unknown beckons!”

 

Day 5

“No, we cannot go hyperspeed,” Farnay groaned, rubbing her eyes. She didn’t need to remain at the controls, but something felt right about the seat. 

 

“This is taking forever though” Arnix whispered, glancing over his shoulder. Solus remained at his place, still staring out into the abyss. He hadn’t moved, say to plug himself directly into the ship’s power supply. There was no need to sleep, no need to take his eyes from the window, no need but to focus on where they were going. 

 

Arnix shuddered. “Just a quick jump. Then we ask him if he can sense anything behind him. 

 

Farnay gave a glare. “Do you know anything about spaceflight? That’s a nebula we are in. I can’t tell a star from a pocket of dense gas, and if I fly right into the wrong thing…”

 

“Alright alright, geez…” Arnix rubbed his eyes. “Sorry, sorry, I'm just a little tired.”

 

“Can’t sleep?” Farnay looked the human over. She knew exactly what he was feeling. Her dreams were continually haunted by nameless things, and jolted her awake with a paralyzing fear, like something was watching her. Even with drugs to help calm her senses down, she still felt a paralyzing sense of paranoia creep over her. 

 

“Ya... I might go collapse a bit if that’s ok?”

 

Farnay waved the human off.  “Get some sleep. If anything happens, I’ll call you.”

 

Arnix nodded and walked back into the hallway. He gave a slight salute to the diminutive Solus, who did not return the salute, or even acknowledged his presence . Arnix gave a sigh and left the room. 

 

“You know…” Farnay muttered loudly to the Shard. “You aren’t exactly stirring confidence in the crew…”

 

A scream pierced the silence. Both individuals flinched at the noise. Surprisingly, Solus was the first to the door, though Farnay was close behind. 

 

“ Arnix!” Farnay exclaimed. Collapsed on the floor, Arnix flailed wildly, screaming and rolling over and over, hands clawing at everything around him like some rabid animal.

 

“Get it off! Get it off!” he cried out between screams. Solus stood, stuck between confusion and observation. Farnay, behind the Shard, could only watch, not daring to cross the Dragon. It wasn’t like she could do anything. She was no medic.  

 

Down the hall, Arnix’s brother came racing, dressed in the equivalent of a nightgown. Only at this, did Solus finally step aside to let Farnay get through.  Together the two began to restrain the man. Farnay began to issue commands for bacta, but the cold realization washed over the group that this ship wasn’t stocked with medical supplies. All they could do was restrain, watch, and listen.

 

“Interesting…” Solus eventually commented. He stepped forward and moved over the restrained human, placing himself above the flailing human, adjusting his sensors. 

 

“Its, no, get it off, can’t you see it? Get it off!” Arnix ranted.

 

“Shhhh, there now you stupid thing…” Solus utterred, working his way into the man’s line of sight. “What’s got you?”

 

“The…the eyes! Get them away!” Arnix turned his head and shut his eyes. Trying to avoid looking at whatever it was, he banged his back and forth onto the metal floor, clanging over and over.

 

Solus adjusted his visual sensors again, then reached and grabbed Arnix’s head, forcing him to look at the Shard sensors.  “Arnix, focus. What is it? What has you?”

 

“It’s…its…”

 

“Is it a spider?” 

 

Arnix screamed in confirmation. Aaran and Farnay looked at the Shard, confused and scared. This was not something they had ever encountered. 

 

“A spider, yes? With so many eyes? And the symbol? Is the symbol there?”

 

Arnix nodded his head, now crying. “The miamed beast. It’s there! Get it off me! Get it off me!”

 

“There there…”  Solus soothed and padded the man’s head. The other two looked at each other. In their short time with the Dragon, they recognized that specific tone. 

 

Without another warning, Solus unsheathed his comm link from his finger and plunged it into the screaming man’s eye. The man’s flailing intensified momentarily as data flowed from the dying man’s brain into Solus’ circuits. The shard gave out an orgasmic groan as the man began to still. 

 

After a moment of silence, Solus pulled out, stood up and looked at Aaran. “Your brother died well in the service of the Fanged God. Store him in the back and we’ll give him a proper burning when we return. 

 

Solus glanced at Farnay. With an unusual cheery tone that did not match the situation, he chimed,  “Back to your post please! I’ll be there shortly.”

 

Farnay nodded and returned. She wiped her eyes after sitting down at the controls. She wasn’t going to be sleeping well for a long time. 

 

Day 8

“He’s out there!” Delda pounded on the door  

 

“Delda, that’s impossible, we’re in the middle of nowhere” Farnay tried to calm the Rodian down, to no avail. Instead, she only caused the rodian to bang on the door more. 

“You don’t get it, I saw him! He’s out there! Brilhon, I’m coming!”

 

Delda began to work the door’s controls. Realizing what the Rodian was about to do, Farnay’s eyes widened. Instinct forced her to grab Delda to restrain her and pull away from the control panel. 

 

“Delda! Stop!” Farnay shouted, hoping someone would overhear. “Your husband can’t be out there! He’s billions of lightyears away. There’s no way he’s out the…”

 

Delda’s next shriek was ear piercing. “No! It’s eating him! Let me go, I can save him!” 

 

Before Farnay could say anything, Delda broke free and grabbed the door to the outside.

 

“Brilhon hang on! I’m coming!” 

 

The vacuum of space ripped the door right out,  Delda along with it. In the emptiness of space, filled only with pockets of nebulaic material, her body was quickly pulled away out of sight. No doubt she would instantly fall unconscious, before the lack of oxygen killed her from the inside. 

 

As for Farnay, the pull of the vacuum of space felt like it nearly ripped her skin off. But instead of being pulled out with Delda, she hovered in the air. Glancing a look over her shoulder, she could see Solus hanging barely onto a piece of the ship, one hand outstretched into a clenching fist. Farnay screamed. It felt as if a giant hand was holding her by her feet. She could feel her body being pulled apart, like a cloth at the seams. At any moment, she would…

 

The ship’s automatic systems kicked in, as a shield generated at the open doorway.  Everyone collapsed into the ground as gravity retook a hold. Farnay groaned as she gripped her head. The oncoming headache was going to linger. 

 

“Come on, up, up, up hornless one.” Solus chided as he helped his pilot up. 

 

“There…now tell me everything. What happened? What did she see?”

 

“Thanks for the concern,” Farnay remarked sarcastically. 

 

“No sass right now you stupid girl!” Solus’ tone became dark and serious as he reached up. Farnay felt her neck momentarily tighten as she was picked up slightly, floating in the air momentarily. Farnay fought back some tears as she gasped for breath. She recognised what Solus was trying to do. It was similiar to what she had seen Akheron do to the Dragon before.

 

“Oooh, my bad, sorry, so sorry, I’m just a little stressed” Solus apologized, letting Farnay down and patting her clothes like some kind of nanny droid.  “Please, tell me, what did she see? She did see something, yes?” 

 

Farney, gasping momentarily, unnerved and more than a little scared, nodded. “Ya- yah” She stuttered, rubbing her throat. “She claimed her husband was out there.”

 

Solus nodded. “Yes, yes, anything else?”

 

“I don’t know, she saw something outside eating him? It's all fuzzy now, I…”

 

“Tell me more, tell me more! Were her eyes dilated? Was she sweating heavily? What was her breathing rate?”

 

“How the kriff would I know?!?” Farnay cursed and smacked the shard’s hands away. The maniac energy that was coming off the shard instantly vanished. Despite not being force sensitive, she could feel the wave of hatred that flowed out of Solus.

 

“Oh, sorry, sorry, I forgot that your organic eyes are not as great as my own. Please, go back to your room. I’ll take care of things here.”

 

Farnay paused a moment before going. Instantly, the hatred she felt off the shard intensified. Feeling the emotion, Farnay nodded and almost ran for her room.  Not that she would be getting any sleep. But at least it would be safer there. 

 

Day 11

“Twenty six times…” Solus commented. 

 

Farnay flinched, almost rocking the controls and sending the ship into a careening arc. “What?”

 

“Twenty-six times. That's how many times you’ve rubbed your eyes in the past hour.”

 

Farnay looked at her hands, realizing what the Shard had said and silently cursed herself. 

 

“Sorry, just tired”

 

“I know”

 

Farnay glanced at the Shard. Despite how everyone else was faring, the Shard seemed unaffected by the journey. Course, having a metal chassis for a body meant less care was needed. A glance at her reflection in the window showed her mess of hair as well as the small bags forming under her eyes.

 

Farnay took a sharp breath. In the dark void outside, something seemed to move. She couldn’t explain it. It was similar to seeing mynocks fly in space, or the sea creatures of naboo swimming in the trenches. Something was alive out there. But instead of flying, she swore it swam. She rubbed her eyes and took a second glance, only to find nothing but the swallowing abyss.

 

“Twenty-seven” Solus commented, not even looking at the Devaronian.

 

“Has it affected you?”

 

Solus turned from the window and studied Farnay for a moment. “Certainly. Much longer than it's been affecting you. And those things everyone’s been seeing. Trust me, I’ve seen them too. Just… different i guess…”

 

Farnay looked back at the controls and the empty void ahead. She glanced at her sensor readings again. There was still no sign of that thing swimming out in the darkness. “Naturally. You have to be stronger in will to be the Dragon i suppose.”

 

Solus nodded and looked at the window again. “Your kind…they are usually force sensitive, no?” 

 

“I guess so. Not me though. I’m one of the unlucky ones…”

 

“I’d debate that.”

 

Farnay glared at the Shard. Maybe it was the frayed nerves, the exhaustion finally catching up with her, or just the annoyance of working under Solus, but he was pressing some of the wrong nerves today. 

 

“Is that so?” 

 

“Arnix and Aaran… according to the Master of Hides, they were both blessed by the Robed Master when they were brought in, did you know that?

 

Farnay rolled her eyes. “So?”

 

And Delda, from her medical records, her midichlorians were about 10 percent higher than most Rodians in the galaxy, and that is saying something.”

 

Farnay sighed. “Are you trying to rub my face or something? Cause that’s what it feels like, oh great Dragon." 

 

Solus groaned in annoyance, an adult annoyed at a child’s incomprehension. “Think about it. Those three are connected to the Force. You aren't. Those three had mad visions, like me in the past. You hav-”

 

“Whoah whoah whoah” Farnay interrupted, waving her arms wildly. “Aaran hasn’t had any hallucinations.”

 

He did when I killed him” Solus stated matter-of-factly. 

 

Farnay had to pause as the words sunk in. “What?”

 

Solus shrugged slightly. “This morning, while you were sleeping. He came to me, crying like a baby. Said his brother’s body was talking to him. I checked on the corpse, and it was still dead, but he swore it was talking to him. Saying things about his worthlessness, his ineptness, etcetera etcetera. A genuine haunting”

 

“And you kriffing killed him because he was hearing voices?!?” Farnay screamed, now off the controls and approaching the Dragon. 

 

Solus didn’t seem to notice. “Oh no, I killed him when he grabbed me and begged me to abandon the mission so we could give his brother a proper burial.”

 

Inches away, Farnay stopped, recognising the subtle threat. 

 

“More accurately, I killed him when I refused his begging and made a move towards my head. But he was in the throes of insanity like his brother. Dilated pupils, elevated pressure, like I was asking you before. Course that may just be for humans.”

 

Solus held up his, still bloody, scomp link. “It was a rather enlightening experience. Tell me, you haven’t been having hallucinations, have you my dear?” 

 

Farnay swallowed and shook her head. 

 

“Excellent. Now…” Solus sheathed his link and waved the girl away before returning to his position and turned his gaze back to the eternal blackness outside. Farnay returned to her own seat and did the same. 

 

This time, she did not rub her eyes. Even when the thing outside made another pass, its yellow eyes glancing into her very soul, she did not rub her eyes. 

 

Day 14

Farnay slammed the door behind her, gasping for each breath. Behind her, the thumping sounds of metal boomed through the ship.

 

Farnay!” the automated voice called through the hallways. “Farnay!” 

 

Farnay screamed a little as something slammed the door directly. The sound of Solus’ fists beating on the door She jumped to where her bunk was and pulled out her personalized hold out blaster. The only weapon she, as the pilot, was permitted. 

 

Solus roared, his voice box more demonic than synthetic. The durasteel door shook violently under the violent blows outside. 

 

“Get away! Leave me alone!” Farnay shrieked. Once, twice, she opened fire, shooting the control panel next to the door, sealing it completely.  

 

“The nwnglui ot n'gha ulnah nilgh'ri!” the voice croaked and groaned.  

 

“No! No, go away! Leave me alone!!” 

 

The door began to warp slightly, and then a red beam of energy protruded through. Farnay shrieked again. This wasn’t how this mission was supposed to go. She wasn’t supposed to die at the hands of her boss.  She was supposed to die in glorious battle. Fighting for the Fanged God, killing all life in the universe. Not being killed by…

 

The lightsaber had made a full circle. Durasteel flew violently away, revealing a dark hallway, with only a singular red beam of energy, held by the Dragon’s fleshy tendrils.

 

“Farnay…” the thing growled. Its meaty form slugged forward, oozing over the door crack, as numerous hairy legs sprouted and recessed into the mass of fat and flesh, grabbing the metal walls to pull itself forward. 

 

“No…no…” Farnay began to cry. She fired the blaster again, aimed at the flesh. The shot went wide. Before another shot could be made, her pistol was yanked from her hands by an invisible force, flying across the room.

 

“Mgah'ehye ya ymg' hafh Farnay. Mgah'ehye ya ymg' gokahe…” The Dragon growled, smoke and steam belching from the thing’s mouth. Its tendrils reached forward, dripping with sweat and oils like some kind of piece of a hutt, while its wings scraped along the roof of the room. 

 

Farnay’s vision began to blur. The Dragon’s tendrils had wrapped themselves around her, tearing her apart. A metal coldness was pulling her limbs off now, separating each piece from her essence. The eyes were glowing brighter now. Her body roiled from the inside. The parts were being pulled out of her. 

 

She was beginning to understand. The fear had brought on a cold realization. She recalled what the Shard had said at the beginning of this journey. The Kathol Rift was the Fanged God’s last feast. The emptiness after life. And she had walked into it.She had willingly flown into it. Into the Dragon’s mouth. And now, it was consuming her.

 

“Vulgtmnah, vulgtmnah..” The Dragon whispered, as everything faded to black.

 

Day 16

Solus reviewed the holofeed again, crumpled in a corner of the room, whimpering like a child. The images didn’t lie. The bodies didn’t lie. None of them ever did. Solus wanted to call them impossible, but that itself wasn’t possible. 

 

“I must be missing something.” Solus told himself, rewinding the feed again. “Something. Anything. After all, there’s always more information, isn’t there?”

 

But there wasn’t. Even as the feed from each incident played over, there was nothing he had missed. His strangulation of Aarnix with his bare hands while the others watched helplessly. His opening of the airlock door to throw Delda out while saving Farnay. His bashing of Aaran's skull in over and over. And now, most recently, the complete dissection of his pilot, who had witnessed each event, but somehow didn’t witness the events like he did.

 

It was like she had seen something else play out before herSolus wanted to declare outloud, but couldn't. If he did, he felt like that would make it a reality

 

Solus would’ve vomited if he had the organs to do so. He was unable to escape Farnay’s room. If he tried, he would've had to touch the mass of guts and organs everywhere. The scene was beyond recognition. Intestines draped from the ceiling frames. Flayed skin wrapped over the bed. Bones piled in the corner with symbols drawn in blood next to them. Images of arachnids everywhere. It was like some mass murderer's dream. And any sane man’s nightmare.

 

A klaxon alarm blared throughout the ship. Solus screamed and covered his audio sensors, unable to turn them off completely. The noises never stopped. Something was always crawling in the vents, or oozing on the outside of the ship. There were buzzings in the hallways. Clickings under the floors. But no matter how much he pulled the ship apart by the seams, he couldn’t find the source. The entire vessel was at its breaking point. 

 

“Why…why is this happening…” Solus whimpered. The alarm continued to blare, louder now. Somewhere, Solus could hear doors opening and closing. Something was boarding the ship. But what? He had seen so much outside the ship. The corpse of Delda he threw out. The swimming beast Farlay whispered about in her sleep. The eyes of the spider monster waiting to pounce. They all were waiting in the abyss. Was now one of the things getting inside? Or were they already in and now escaping?

 

The doorway to the room opened. Solus glanced over, unable to move any further. A robed figure floated in and looked around, studying the bloodied room, before focusing on the whimpering Shard.

 

“Solus, child of Shuburoth, apprentice of Akheron'' a feminine voice buzzed, no louder than a whisper. “We have been waiting for your arrival

 

One arm drifted out as if to hold out a hand. Instead, what emerged from the robe was a mass of wriggling worms and hair, making the vague shape of a humanoid limb. Reality here distorted into beyond recognition. What was and wasn't real didn't seem to matter anymore. 

 

“Come child. Let us begin immediately.”

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The time period between when Solus had arrived and when he left was fuzzy at best and immeasurable at worst. The lack of a sun or any kind of rotational period that so many celestial bodies were given made days and nights the same. The station itself had ‘darkness’ periods, but when and how long they would occur were random by what Solus could measure. Once it was many many hours, and another time it was only a few minutes long. No two periods were the same. 

 

The worst was when these darkness periods occurred at a place where the gravity was no longer functioning. While not ill-kept, the entire station felt like it was on the verge of falling apart. In addition to the lights, some sections of the station had no gravity activated. Other areas were claustrophobic to the extreme. Even Solus with his smaller body had difficulties navigating. Heaven forbid he got stuck in section 18. The section was actually open to the vacuum of space, where a careless slip would doom to an eternity in the darkness. 

 

During the entire experience, Solus continued to have the occasional blackouts. There were no more random and unnecessary deaths, but Solus knew that was only because of Chosen Emlee'esh. But as time went, Solus sensed he was gaining control of the blackouts. He had no proof, but he felt less terrorfied during the times.

 

Emlee'esh, the being who had retrieved Solus from his ship (which translated to Chosen of the empty flesh Solus found out), was mysterious to say the least. Even with his technological abilities, fitted with infrared and electromagnetic sensors, every attempt at peering under her hood resulted in a blank dark void. Her hands, if they could be called that, changed from day to day. One time it would be tendrils, the next clawed knubs, the next a conglomeration of wriggling wires and worms and the following prickly hairs woven into the shape of fingers. Once Solus worked up the courage to ask what species she was. Instead of answering, she only chuckled and commented that such limitations were unnecessary. Everywhere she went, trails of microscopic webs and arachnids seemed to follow, only to vanish when a second look was given. Thankfully her voice stayed the same,making identifying her easy for the Shard, especially given the others that dwelled on the station. 

 

Meeting other beings on the station was a rare circumstance. Most of the disciples, as Chosen Emlee'esh called them, kept to themselves, content to expand their own esoteric studies. Solus’ best guess for how many people resided on the station were somewhere between 30 and a 60. The occasional one Solus met and spoke with didn’t disappoint. Disciple Araneae, according to Emlee'esh, was a Kalo scientist who, after hearing the call of the Madness, dedicated his life to transmitting the condition through disease. His maniacal focus on germs that could exist in the vacuum of space was intoxicating to say the least, and at the end of every speech, would exclaim, “The secret is there! Within the cells and between the cells, the secret is there”. Solus felt like if he himself was more dedicated to the scientific arts, he would find a peer in Araneae.  

 

The being Solus saw multiple times to get reading material was Chosen Leera’ka, or Chosen of the Leering Specter. The first time Solus saw him, the shard fled and hid until Emlee'esh forced him to return to face the monstrosity. While Leera’ka was a Kadri’Ra, he appeared more like a mass of legs and teeth than the dragon-esque species he was. The reason Solus had to flee was because it reminded him so much of the thing the Shard encountered at the Hellvault. Every meeting with Leera’ka afterwards Solus trembled, even after refortifying his mind over and over.  

 

Then there was Disciple Wilmarth and his ‘music’. Wilmarth, the Disciple of the Crawling Wail, was a Bith by birth and never spoke. Solus only met him because he had heard the music echoing down one of the labyrinthine halls. Utilizing several small droids, Wilmarth was creating an eerie symphony of pipes and drums. At first, Solus was hypnotized by the music, unable to resist its siren-like call. But after a few minutes of listening, Solus had to run out of Wilmarth’s chambers, screaming at the noise that stalked him. The very Impossible Geometries trembled at his work. Just as it was beautiful and organized, it quickly became dissonant and maddening. Surprisingly, during many of Solus’ blackouts, he would find himself at Wilmarth’s door, completely drained of any charge and unable to escape the sublime music. 

 

Chosen Emlee'esh had begun Solus’ training by subjecting him to an array of illusions and hallucinations. Since the Shard had suffered so many already, it was obvious this task was simple to perform. Many of Solus’ blackouts occurred after these sessions, with him waking up missing a few pieces of his chassis or in front of Wilmarth’s quarters.

 

The fact that Solus continued to end up near Wilmarth’s quarters led Emlee'esh to create several instruments for the Shard to experience with, as well as assign him to attempt to create poetry or small pieces of fiction. Emlee'esh explained that a dedication to the arts was not only beneficial for those in the Temple, it was in some ways a necessity. 

 

“At the core of the Madness” Emlee'esh explained As Solus struggled with a hand-held version of a valachord, “is creativity. You must learn creativity and inspiration to manipulate the Madness properly. Much like the ways of an assassin, the more creative you can be, the more versatile and expansive your powers will become.” 

 

“You must also learn to lose the rules of this so-called reality” Emlee'esh continued. “Even before you first ascended, you assumed time flowed forward. The cause of the effect precedes the effect itself. Water flows downwards, babies are born then die. Rocks form, then erode. Light jumps from one place to another. But in the Force and in the Madness, such things no longer remain true. Say goodbye to the logic of the universe. It will fade into things like ghosts and shadows here. And when all you see is madness, you will never fear it, and you will be able to control it. ” 

 

“How does this relate with the Fanged God?” Solus questioned, taking a slight break from the annoying instrument. “I discovered the Madness through him, and so far, you have never mentioned him once.”

 

“Madness and Death often hold hands.” Emlee’esh answered, circling the shard and forcing him to continue playing. “Your deity desires death of all, including the Force. That is a madness in of itself, is it not? It is why some of his disciples succumb to madness. The very core of your religion is based on it, not that your master would believe so. Do not worry too much over this. You will come to understand in time”

 

However, his training did not stop with illusions and instruments and philosophy. Solus was also forced to endure hours of absorbing information, ranging from subjects of various political systems of the galaxy at large, to past Sith Lords all the way from the first dark jedi, various torture methods developed by various individuals, documents and reports on famous murderers in history, and medical facts on every single type of known species in the galaxy. In addition, Solus was forced to read numerous fictional stories, biographies, novels, and propaganda reports from all over the galaxy. During each training session, Emlee'esh would question Solus about what he read like a seasoned professor, and when he made one error, even an accidental one, Emlee'esh would purposefully force Solus into a painful and maddening blackout. After the first two errors, Solus vowed not to make another mistake again. 

 

After some unspecified time, Solus was allowed to have his lightsaber back for training. Each session occurred outside the station on its hull. Fighting in the vacuum of space proved to be difficult for Solus at first, only to be compounded by the fact that the fighting style he was being taught relied on fear, intimidation, and surprise. Solus had to balance his focus between maintaining his mental composure, his foothold and his aggression. More than once Emlee'esh sent Solus hurtling into space, only to pull him back with a force pull, slamming him into the hull. Ironically, the lessons of these training did not include finding solid footing in the zero gravity, but to be able to be loose from the rules of gravity, and to use agility and mobility over steadiness. 

 

All of Solus’ training cultivated with the Ritual of the Open Eye. 

 

“The Open Eye” Emlee'esh explained to the Shard, who sat floating in one of the many places with no artificial gravity. “Is the opening to the Madness. You are a beacon to the Madness. The ritual will make you a stronger beacon. A door for the monsters to walk through. It is how you become one with what dwells in the Kathol Rift. That unnameable horror that we can never fully comprehend. Give yourself to the Madness.”

 

“How am i to do that?”

 

“Purge yourself of all your virtues. Compassion, selflessness, honor, everything. Then reach out into the darkness. For both Nature and the Force abhors a vacuum. By doing this, the Madness will seep into you. Once you have done this, focus your will against it and force it to serve you.”

 

“Will this cure me of the hallucinations?” Solus asked, genuinely curious and concerned. 

 

Emlee'esh shook her head. “They will grow more frequent and intense as time goes on. You will become a beacon for the Madness wherever you go. A conduit for unspeakable horrors. The Kathol Rift may be far behind you, but you will never leave it. You will desire its presence, but loathe its arrival. In time, this will be both your strength and your downfall. And when you die, you will return here, unable to escape its hold.

 

“But you will recognise it easily and be able to dismiss it. You will know what is real in the terms of common practitioners of logic, and what is real in the realm of madness. Here you will find control.” 

 

Solus nodded and began the ritual. Emlee’esh left the area, locking the doors behind her, leaving the Shard in total darkness. Sitting in the zero G environment, he began to pluck at the strings of his small simplified valachord. The area was pitch black, with no source of light save the singular datapad floating in front of the Shard. Solus began to read as he played, feeling his mind opening to the Force and the Kathol Rift.

 

“Do not do this apprentice.” A voice ordered from the darkness. Solus refused to stop his playing, even as the figure entered into the light, revealing his large, bulky Sith body. “This power is not what you seek. It is not the power of the Fanged God.”

 

Solus waved a hand from his valachord, pushing the illusionary shade back. The training with Emlee'esh was already rewarding him. Months ago he would’ve believed his actual master was here. He almost did. The shade breathed out warm air, and the metal floor shifted beneath its illusionary weight. Solus’ sensors read everything as real.

 

“Do you think this is what I wanted for you to find here?” The shade of Akheron continued to appeal to reason. “You were sent to get better. To save your mind, not to subjugate it to torture. Stop this and come back to me, or you will suffer more than fear and pain by my hands.” 

 

Solus waved his hand again, the shade vanishing into the darkness. Again, he returned to his music and opened his mind. 

 

“This is pathetic…” Another voice started. The feline figure was unmistakable. “You are so much better than this. You are a child and warrior of Roshan. How will this help me take over Ishvara?”

 

Solus grunted. This shade was appealing to a sense of selflessness, like Emlee'esh had said. Solus knew he still had a desire to help his father claim Ishvara for himself. Still, he was surprised in the form the shade took on. 

 

“Kill these idiots and let's be off Shardling…” The shade continued, its bleeding teeth reeking with fetid rot. “Make your power grow with death, and then rush to my side to help me once again…” 
 
Solus waved a hand again, refusing to acknowledge the shade further. It growled as it faded into the black. 

 

Finally, another figure intruded. Solus’ old frame looked down at him, its faceless features an unreadable mask. 

 

“This is wrong…” It’s voicebox identical to Solus’ past. “You are losing pieces of yourself. Your reasoning? That helps you greatly, and will continue to aid your ascension. Your selflessness? This is what helps you serve the Sith so well. If you lose these things, what will become of you? What will you become?”

 

Solus intensified his playing. He was approaching the zenith point. The Madness would soon invade him. He had to continue. He could not stop here. Not yet. 

 

The figment approached and clutched at Solus’ shoulder, pleading. “Please Solus, think of yourself. Think of all that you are losing.”

 

Solus growled and waved his hand. He would succeed. Even if he had to forget his conscience entirely during this. 

 

The music became erratic and rapid. The darkness was swirling and congealing. The floors and walls began to swirl with the blackness, mixing and bleeding together. The eyes appeared one by one, opening and never closing, blood draining from their edges. The legs came next, followed by the pincers and the flesh. Some of the limbs flailed, the others twitched and stayed still. Arachnoid and tumorous, the thing’s face finally revealed itself. 

 

This time, Solus did not scream. Instead, he invited it closer.

 

______

Solus powered the ship once more. He gave a small sigh as he glanced out the window at the Temple of the Spider. This was actually his first time seeing the station in its entirety. Once splendid and opulent, it showed its age and worness. Littered about the station, remains of starships that either had tried to hyperjump foolishly through the rift, or were towed by one of the Temple’s disciples for scrapping. But even so, Solus couldn’t help but admire the architecture and mystique. 

 

Solus turned and looked at the thing that was forming on the wall. 

 

“I succeeded,” Solus commented. 

 

The thing didn’t answer in any known tongue. Instead it squelched and burbled something unintelligible. Underneath it sat several datapads and the custom valachord. Solus chuckled as he turned away and started the controls.  “I remember what Emlee'esh said.” Solus flipped a few switches and began to turn the ship away from the station. 

 

“Pledge fealty on behalf of the Temple to our current Dark Lord. Return when you have grown. Read what is given. Practice your skills. And perform the ritual of the Wyyrlok numerous times. Know your aspect’s name. Sure, not straightforward, but for a being like myself…”

 

Solus gave a few almost victorious whistles as the thing behind him burbled more and more, squelching as pustules popped and resealed themselves. A few whistles came out of its undulating orifices, but nothing comprehensible. It crawled down across the floor and up Solus’ chassis towards his head where his Shard laid.

 

 “Please, I am Solus the ascended. Solus the Ascending. The Ascending Dragon. The enlightened. If anyone can do it, I can.”

 

The thing squeezed its way through the cracks of Solus’ chassis and oozed its way onto the Shard’s being. Though nothing more than an illusion of Solus’ own senses, Solus could feel each twitching muscle and each undulating spasm as it crawled into its home that was Solus.  

 

Solus chuckled and with a flip of a switch, the ship broke into hyperspace.  

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Darth Mavanger nodded. He'd heard enough- While Akheron clearly believed in his god, his declaration was a good start. 

 

"The road ahead is long, Lord Akheron, and you will have many trials ahead of you. The galaxy has fallen into the hands of the rebels, and the power that is rightfully ours has been stolen from our very grasp. The Jedi and Imperial Knights, despite their losses, walk openly in the galaxy once more. The Dark Lady has plans for a shadow war, anonymous terrorism and assassination. This is not a fight for me- the time is for those amongst our order who did not have a chance to show their worth under Darth Exodus to do so now. And to do this, you will have the backing of the Sith Empire as a Sith Master. By taking the first steps to casting off your chains, you have passed your trial. Masterhood is yours- use it well, or die trying."

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Akheron listened, every word taken as seriously as the last. It appeared many rumours and what he had witnessed himself were true, the Jedi and the Imperial Knights were again in control with the backing of the rebel scum. The inferior and lesser beings, sheep too weak by themselves and could only accomplish what they had with the help of the Light. But the Light would never smother the Darkness for it was eternal. And so were the Sith. For they were the masters of the shadows and their own destiny, unburdened by morality or law. They were the destroyers of all who opposed the galaxies truths. 

 

As Lord Mavanger issued a warning and named him Master over the Darkness, Akheron felt as if a shift had taken place. As if the Force itself heard the words and echoed them in the Darkness. For he felt different after, as if his eyes were truly opened up to the Dark and his aura spoke of it. For any who could see with the Force if they had been present or were aboard the ship would notice how his aura had deepened, as if he had been dipped into a vat of shadow and emerged something else. 

 

Bowing in respect, Akheron spoke. 

 

 "I shall do what must be done, I thank you for a recognition long awaited. I feel as if the Force itself has taken note of this change...I feel different, stronger I guess one could say. Stronger than I had been at least in the Darkness. Although it seems though that perhaps the time to prove myself may come sooner rather than later. You see a challenger for Dark Lady Nyrys position has emerged from what remains of Coruscant. One that was awoken from slumber by myself, my apprentice and Krath Inmortos upon our travels. I am certain she may be the one calling us in the Darkness to Ziost, which has also reemerged. When we first met her her power and command of the Darkness was a sight to behold. But we shall see if she is powerful enough to back up her claim and take what is currently Dark Lady Nyrys As it appears was her desire. As is the Sith way."

 

It was then he received word, they were about to revert out of hyperspace above Ziost. Indeed, he could feel the planet approaching.

 

He spoke a final time.

 

 "I have just been informed we have arrived at Ziost. If you wish you may join us below and ascertain this newcomer for yourself. If not you may stay aboard or depart with a shuttle as you desire. With that I take my leave and again thank you. I shall not fail my new position or the Sith."

 

 With that he exited the shuttle, the men guarding also departing, leaving Mavanger alone in the hangar at least that one as several other shuttles departed for the surface. Akheron headed towards the bridge so as to gather the other Sith aboard and depart together.

 

((Next post on Ziost))

https://jedirp.net/topic/4851-trodai-narat-iv-adas-darth-akheron/

Akheron.jpg

 

 "Only in my pain, did I find my will. Only in my chaos, did I learn to be still. Only in my fear, did I find my might. Only in my darkness, did I see my light." - Darth Akheron

 

I survived the Great JNet Outage of 2012

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Dictum reeled from his sparring partner with haste as the Sith's blade aimed for a scarring blow, the sudden shift in the Force emanating from the Sith Lord dispersing in all directions as his facade took hold of all options of escape. To his opponent, it appeared an illusion of four separate Dictum's spirits away, but only one held the true path. By the time his opponent would have figured it out, Dictum had become one with the shadows and at a decent distance, had lashed out a tendril of dark energy and smirked as his opponent fell to his knees in an agony of the mind, the Sith Lord allowing his hold to seep into the Sith for a brief moment before he released.

 

Sheathing his blade, Dictum scoffed as the Sith attempted to retaliate, but held himself off in the experience. But Dictum's spar had came to an end, and though there was no victor, his opponent held the knowledge of when not to push farther. A wise choice for a nameless Apprentice. But what the Apprentice had learnt in return was a far more valuable lesson. Shifting his head toward the encroaching planet, Dictum nodded and made his departure from the training grounds toward the gathering others. Though Dictum held no knowledge of where they had come, he had felt the shift from hyperspace and felt the knawing presence of the Darkness. And also the rise of another.

 

For Dictum, the Darkness was but a bath, a siv that ran abundantly across any who chose to shower beneath it. But in its natural and enriched form, it was a well to dip the bucket to fill said siv. And that is what emanated from the planet's presence below. As he made his way down the halls and back to the hangar bay, he felt the refreshing presence of another who had recently showered in the Darkness and its power had filled this being beyond his own. As he passed @Karys Narat iv-Adas, he nodded respectfully to the recent risen Master of the Darkness.

 

"It's seems I'm not the only one who has grown in power." Dictum spoke barely above a whisper as the two Sith's presences passed one another. "Thank your Archivist for what he was able to procure for me during my stay."

 

(Next post will be on Zoist after the others)

Edited by Lord Ōk Rägnär
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Dictum.png.0febbb901671155fea9f8e655fca08ba.pngDarth Dictum

 

"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?" - Edgar Allen Poe

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sitting in the main hold of the Supremacy, she stared at the holodisplay of Thalassia and all of its glory. Her mind raced about the best options to gain better advantage. She didn’t even bother to listen to some of the banter going back and forth between Fluanern and Akor’ketez. Ve stood behind her as the ship was still traveling through hyperspace towards Chandrila, so there was no need for him to watch over the cockpit. The Yarkora kept his stance calm, which helped Zalis focus a bit. It was only when Fluanern spoke on utilizing some of their own resources that the Queen of Vice lifted her head. “I mean Graak has made it fairly clear that he doesn’t like the avenues of aggressive movement we as Black Sun are taking, and Kivro is just an idiot.” She turned from looking at Akor’ketez to Zalis to finish up her thought. “He’s going to get himself killed sooner rather than later.” 

 

The comment had Zalis put her own head down again as she re-looked over Thalassia to process what was being put forth by her team. Without looking up herself, she slowly responded to the comments. "... Kivro is a smart enough to not start a war. Only the Hutt family has enough to make a full take over outside of us. Pykes and Crimson Dawn together... Maybe... But still doubtful. They have a play in mind..." She looked up finally after musing over some options. "Akor'ketez, now is a good time to use Delta Contingency. Maybe not the best play, but the panic afterwards may help us." She turned to look at Fluanern. "Connect with Graak and Bakkull the Hutt, invite them to Thalassia. I may as well make a play myself if I can." 

 

She then stood up and straighten her dress that she was wearing. "I have to finish my trip to Chandrila before anything else can happen. I will let you both know how it turns out. Until our next meeting... Oh- Fluanern, activate Remo protocol. I want it in motion by the time I land. Have fun." She then cut the transmission and turned to Ve and gave a slight smile. "And now we get to wine and dine with the finest of Chandrila."

Zalis2.png

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