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Felucia - Jedi Temple


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Qaela vs Leena and Kadi

This was a tricky one to judge. Before I put up my ruling, I have a few notes below:

 

-Good job to everyone for taking damage without taking too much, and respecting each other's attacks. I thought it was well done from all sides.

-Kadi, I really appreciated the specifics of your attacks. Your posts felt very clear and concise with easy to visualize action, and that made them great to read.
-I really have to hand it to Qaela with how she handled fighting two opponents. I never felt like one opponent was being ignored or underestimated, and he did her best to act tactically the whole fight with attacks and reactions intended to rob her opponents of the edge given by their numbers.

-In particular, I like how Qaela used Leena's shockwave to propel her away from Kadi's attacks rather than stand her ground and take both.

-I do have to nitpick a little on Qaela's character sheet, as its equipment and abilities were fairly vague. "grenades when in combat" and "normal abilities for a master level character" weren't helpful for me to determine if the Force maelstrom or psychic attack she conjured was something that was within her wheelhouse, or if tear gas grenades were something she would normally have on her. However, I also understand that she justified in the post having the tear gas grenades specifically for the mission, and that the maelstrom is just an advanced form of telekinesis combined with scientific understanding, but having some detail on what she focuses on and what her arsenal consists of would be helpful in the future. Bottom line, I didn't really have a good feeling for her capabilities or limitations in this fight, though I never felt like you were exploiting that.

-Leena, judging from your abilities and the Healer’s guide you have linked in your character sheet, it seems you're using the Force Blind ability in your 1st round, which has a visible beam of light attached. I’d prefer if this was called out in your attack, as it's a bit vague here when “light” refers to actual light or the Light Side of the Force.

-Kadi, in your 2nd round, you post that you bat away the "force-propelled gas grenade". I don't think Qaela actually launched the grenade at you. In her post, “She kept one grenade where she was to cover the Zabrak”, implying she held onto it or dropped it on the ground.

-We're getting to the really minor stuff here, but Kadi, I would have liked some acknowledgement that the Acklay was charging towards and around an unnatural maelstrom of dark power. Given that it’s an animal (though admittedly one bonded to a Jedi), I would have liked it acknowledged that it was overcoming its instincts to serve its partner's needs. Again minor thing though.

 

So, with that out of the way, here's my ruling.

 

Leena defeats Qaela, Qaela defeats Kadi

 

With everyone bringing their A-game, and all parties using their abilities cleverly, I have to use the minor stuff to determine who comes out ahead. While Qaela was extremely good at fending off two opponents at once (and likely would have won if the power arrayed against her had been a little less), in the end I have to give the win to Team Jedi for their own tactical prowess in how they worked in tandem with Leena remaining in the back to support while Kadi spearheaded the attack, presenting a combination that was difficult to overcome. However, I also have to knock Kadi a little for the misinterpretation of Qaela's grenade attack. Again, with everyone being clever and using their abilities wisely and being respectful of the other writers, I need to use the little things to determine the outcome.


**edited**

Leena has the next post, but must leave Qaela able to physically escape. The result of her final Force Sever attack is hers to determine, as the victor. Qaela may post next, but must leave Kadi alive and intact. Kadi may post after.

**end of edit**

Great duel all around! With a two-on-one duel, this could have gone badly if the parties involved hadn't respected each other, and I think that a compelling fight like this is an accomplishment for all involved!

Edited addendum:
Qaela and Kadi, regardless of Qaela's choice, are out of further duels for planetary control. As the overall victor, Leena may determine the results of the NPC battle and its participants.

Edited by Krath Apothos
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The Rhythm of the winds changed, melding with the songs of sorrow. The Sentinel could feel its gentle whispers across her flesh, drawing the hair upon her arms to stand on end. It echoed inside of her, rebounding in the soul of that fell Krayt, Ysgithyrwyn Mwynfawr. Predators were upon the winds. She moved her hands from the body of the child, the burden of shame and sadness still heavy upon her mind, her heart a lump inside her chest.

 

She stared at the souls of the dead about her, emerald eyes still overflowing with tears. Probiscis flicked at the air, tasting the changing rhythms. Her fingers sought the briar heartwood of her lightsaber, drumming to the song upon the elongated handle. She felt as one amongst the corpses, letting their souls add to her song of mourning. Her locus of control expanded beyond herself

 

So many dead.

 

Kyrie turned as sound came, like the rushing of a rocket in a gale. The rhythm of the predator was growing nearer. It was not outright hostile, as the Sith always felt in the rhythm, but steadfast and resolute hunters. She saw them then, two of those that called themselves Mandalorians twenty meters away, clad in Black and Crimson. The Sentinel had heard that the Rebel Alliance had hired the Mand’alor for her services, perhaps they were friendly?

 

They were not. 

 

The calm, steady beat of predation formed into the heat of violence and the Jedi dove into a roll of her own, splashing into the fetid mud stained as red as Gadfruit Wine by the blood of children. A touch of fire scalded across her left forearm from a pistol shot. A blast from a rifle dug a furrow into her plasteel backpiece, the ARC-Armor distributing the kinetic shock evenly across her back.

 

The Sentinel hissed with pain as she continued her roll, adding the pain to her song as she shifted her rhythm from mourning to a reflection of the heart of Ysgithyrwyn Mwynfawr, the Krayt within. Crucitorn turned the edge the pain, reducing it to a throbbing that echoed her beat. She came from the ground in a spin, the saber-spear washing the world in silvered orange. Crimson mud streaked to orange as it fell from her armor. She ran, feeding the rhythm of the force into her speed and agility, as was natural for her lean body.

 

Her face was set into a grimace, not that of pain but of determination. The tears that ran down that pale canvass of freckled skin began to glow, infused with white, electrical light, evaporating into smoke and dust. She was a blur onto the wind, joining in its unending rush. Another rifle shot from the younger of the Mandalorians tore the quiver from her side, and she let it drop amongst the bodies. Its rhythm was not lost to her, and she kept it within her song.

 

Pale lips formed the words of ancient battle-songs as she advanced.  She asked permission of the souls, and forgiveness for desecration, but the dead only sang of vengeance. The Sentinel extended her locus of control, and a body moved from the ground as if brought momentarily to life. Deep sadness rushed into her song, flooding into her very core, allowing the pain to rise again.  Flesh was not given life, but the body moved at her command, launched in a leap of limp limbs towards the younger Mandalorian (Kot’dral Duvul), propelled by the force. Following after whipped a fine-pointed knife from the belt of the Sentinel, cracking towards the man at parabolic angle.

 

To the older Mandalorian (Tros), the Sentinel advanced, channeling the speed of the wind and the controlled intensity of a Krayt. She angled to the man’s right, intending to keep both opponents on one side of her body. She would not allow herself to be flanked. Nail-bitten fingers twisted the spear in a flurry of silver-orange light. Her forearm smarted as her arms moved, and the woman’s grimace deepened.

 

She transferred her stance to Thyssian as she ran, sacrificing defense for the swift offensive capabilities of a speardancer. She cut at the Mandalorian with a deft strike, intending to bisect the man from his left pauldron through his navel and out through the right hip. She hummed the songs of war, tinged as it was with the sorrows of the dead about her. 

 

((1))

 

Takes a grazing hit on the forearm from Tros’ pistol shot and one on the backplate from Kot’dral. Sends a body and stiletto knife flying at Kot’dral and strikes at Tros with a saber-spear cut.

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The living force surged through the Jedi Healer as her will and it’s own coalesced as one. The dark storm that ravaged overhead suddenly lessened in intensity as the healer struck. The living force glowed about the battlefield, illuminating the lives of Jedi, man, beast, and plant; driving back the darkness in it’s path forwards and outwards

 

The power of Leena’s attack struck the Sith with full intensity, bypassing her armor and defenses as it drove it’s way through metals and flesh without hindrance or damage until it struck at the root of the problem: the evil that was intertwined about the witch’s heart. It struck with the power of a hammer, driving like a nail against the darkness until the darkness shattered sending a shockwave of dark energy echoing the battlefield; hurling Leena, Kadi, and the acklay backwards to the ground.

 

The witch, at the center of the vortex of light, collapsed. The metaphysical power that sought to purge her soul became physical; the tendrils of energized light chased after the darkness as it sought to flee flooding the wake of darkness with a warm glow of comfort and life, forcing the storm up and away from the combat that was beginning to wane all about them. 
 

The explosive internal battle of the light and dark sides of the force was powerful enough that it tossed Qaela through the air, above the trees and into the sky, only for her body tumble haplessly back towards the ground. The entire time, the living force surged and purged, seeking any crevice that the darkness might hide in and exposing it’s content to the blazing light. Even the Sith’s skin glowed, piercing through the cracks in her armor, as she rushed past limbs and leaves, slowing slightly as she became entangled in the swinging vines and brush, coming to a stop just before she struck the ground, cradled and entwined by the foliage of the planet. Her glowing form would not extinguish back to normal until the last vestiges of darkness were cast out. The force raced through the slack Sith’s form, tracing along nerves and blood vessels, bones and muscles, tissues and tendons. Not a cell would be left untouched. Darkness was removed and the bit of light that could be found bolstered. The healing energies of the Jedi rejuvenating the woman’s decrepit flesh and worn body erasing years of dark side drainage in moments.

 

When it was done, the light that radiated from Qaela’s skin would fade, leaving her feeling refreshed and confused. Her life was returned to her; but her mastery of the force was gone. The world about her would be as unto any other, a place of life and wonder with an odd sense of something out of place in the jungles of Felucia. Gone would be her connection and control of the force, her manipulations of and by the dark side severed by the light side of the force. As with much of medicine, the final outcome rested with the will and strength of the patient. After three-ish days, the shunt that prevented the Sith from touching the force would dissolve, as would the healing it offered. Only by a continuation of will by Qaela herself, and a rejection of the darkness, would the healing become permanent. Similarly, only by her own mental block would the Nightsister’s hampering of the force continue beyond. It was all Leena could do to save a life that many would have ended.

 

The healer had little more time to concern herself with the Sith as the attack was no longer pressed. She had her friend and ally to think of and the remnants of the storm driven high above to contain as it’s fuel source was extinguished. 

 

Even as the living force swirled about her, churning into a froth of tidal energy as it radiated through and from the Jedi, Leena turned her laser scalpel focus back to the chaos at hand. The Sith’s powers had ravaged the environment and even as her arm ached against the scorch of lightning, so too did her comrade-in-arms require aid. As the surge of light side energies ebbed from their onslaught, Leena gently pressed them, echoes of calmness radiating about the clearing. She turned, looking for Kadi and warily eying the green-shelled acklay from a distance. 


“We are alive and the threat has passed my friend. Come, let me aid you in your healing.” she offered, reattaching her saber to her belt, sensing in the distance that though their fight may be over, the onslaught of darkness was not.  She reached  down to pick up the fallen spear of the witch, eying it momentarily before stabbing it into the ground.  That could be dealt with in a moment; but for now, it was not a threat. They would need to be at their best to help the locals, contain any captured foes, and combat any other Sith that might present themselves a threat. “I suspect that the Mistress of Darkness will no longer be a threat to us for a time. I hope that this battle will be a turning point in her life and that she might begin coming back to the light.”
 

The storm clouds tumbled and surged overhead, their power torn from them by the natural wind currents of the planet; their lightning unable to reach the ground as it rose higher and higher, weakening in the light of the sun. 


In the dense undergrowth all about them, the Squibian allies of the healer had an advantage. Small and lithe they could slip over and under vines, brush, and branches in the shadowy environment. Outnumbered and outgunned the squirrelly beings engaged in a sort of hit and fade style of guerilla warfare, drawing the Sith forces deeper into the jungles before vanishing and attacking from another angle and vantage point. In groups of twos and threes, the worked tirelessly, descending on the soldiers of the Sith Empire as soon as they fell from view of their comrades. Those that surrendered were quickly bound and stripped of their weapons. Those that did not were extinguished in balls of explosive flame, blaster fire, and gnawing teeth.  Not all of the Squibs faired well. Some of their own succumbed to the assaults of the enemy. Bolstered by their Jedi comrades and the will of the force as it surged in what they could only describe as ‘magic’, the Squibian forces carried the day. As the storm overhead dissipated, they marched a tired and worn group of Sith soldiers, their hands bound about their heads, into the clearing. Many of the diminutive creatures sported a variety of gear and weapons striped from their prisoners. All about them was an aura of gritty confidence. The day was not over, but for now, they had won. What these w had was by all rights their to claim, their lives, the Squibs’ to barter with. It was not the Jedi way; but Leena knew better than to question it. They were not Jedi and she was not a Squib. Yet they remained stalwart allies.

 

 

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The blaster barrage began a very successful movement of the jetii until she caught her wits about her and forced movement in a way that she attempted to push both Tros and Kot’dral on a less offensive front and instead on the more defensive front. A single curse went through his mind and almost as soon as he thought it, a body went flying towards Kot’dral in a very fast rapid motion. There was a loud thud, followed by a grunt. Tros made the small mistake of turning to see what happened, only to realize his opponent who was far deadlier than some random soldier was still in front of him. 

 

Turning to look at the jetii, the distinct hum of a lightsaber in motion caught his ear before he even saw it. Turning instinctively to protect himself, his blaster in his left hand was cut through cleanly before he was able to get his vambraces up in a v formation, protecting him from any further damage. The pure beskar vibrated as the blade against it, while making no progress, still threatened with heat and the constant vibration. The tactical pad on the left vambrace began to spark as the blade was able to damage basic functions of the pad. The blaster in his right hand had dropped to the ground and Tros stared at it for a moment before a flash of words went across his HUD. 

 

::Dampeners up-Sonic incoming:: 

 

Using the controls within his HUD, he quickly put up his dampeners as his own peripheral vision caught sight of the sonic detonator mid air near both jetii and Tros. Quickly he pushed back and rolled backwards in an attempt to break free from what would have resulted in certain death had he remained where he was without support. Coming out of the roll, Tros hit his right vambrace, utilizing the flamethrower in a quick short burst. Nothing that the jetii would be able to avoid. It was simply a tactic employed to get space from his attacker. After the burst finished, Tros stood up and picked up his other blaster. Kot’dral on the other hand activated his personal shield and withdrew his vibroblade and charged the jetii head on with the knife still in his ribcage just below his main armor. Tros simply took aim with his blaster and fired off a few rounds.

 

((2)) 

Tros lost a blaster and his tactical pad to the lightsaber strike, Kot'dral took a knife to his ribs. Kot'dral tossed a sonic detonator at Kyrie and Tros gave a burst of his flamethrower. Finished off with Kot'dral charging Kyrie and Tros firing a few rounds at her. 

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Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

 

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𝖇𝖑𝖎𝖓𝖉𝖎𝖓𝖌 𝖑𝖎𝖌𝖍𝖙

 

As the storm raged, the area around the clearing became darker, lit only by flashes of lightning and the flares of blaster bolts. The energy it took to create such a storm took much out of Qaela, but its potential for destruction was great. She could sense the attacks of the Jedi coming for her as they struggled through the storm and gales of wind and moved to avoid the strikes.

 

She managed to evade the slashes of the Zabrak, but in doing so, she fell into the blinding light of the Mon Calamari's strike and her world dissolved into whiteness.

 

* *                                      * *

 

Qaela woke up with her helmet off, staring into the ceiling of the shuttle she had arrived on Felucia in. She struggled to make her mouth form words, but one of the commandos put his hand on her shoulder to stop her. "Turgin came back for us when he saw the storm," the soldier said. "I won't pretend to know what happened, but the storm and the damned furries pushed us back. We found your unconscious body seventy meters from the clearing and got you on board. Only four of us made it out, but we did take some of them out with us."

 

It took a little longer than it should to process that because she was still groggy and disoriented, but there was something else clearly wrong. She felt physically intact, but there was something missing. Her eyes widened slightly as she realized she could no longer touch the Force. Perhaps she had burned herself out with the storm, but she suspected that blasted Mon Calamari did something to her.

 

The shuttle climbed out of the atmosphere of Felucia away from any of the other fighting and made the jump to hyperspace. They would rendezvous with the Herløv while she decided what to do about this. She clearly couldn't return to the rest of the Sith until she figured out what was going on with her ability to touch the Force. Being on board the Star Destroyer would be an opportune place for her to figure out what was happening while in a safe place.

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Kadi staggered to her feet, leaning on her spear. At first, she ignored the other Jedi's words- there was a sadness in her as she saw the battered form of the Rancor. The beast had been caught in the Sith's storm, and was hurting. She limped towards it, reaching out with the Force to soothe its rage. What was done to it was unforgivable- its mind was dominated, it was forced to fight, and then it was abandoned as though it were merely a tool. It visibly began to calm. Her injuries ached, but she used the force to soothe the pain of the beast, reaching out softly. The Rancor responded- it was still a wild animal, but for now, it was docile.

 

"Go, friend. Your pain is over. You can return to your life."

 

She watched as it snorted, turning and lumbering back into the forest. She wouldn't maintain the link- it wasn't her place to interfere with the Rancor any further. She sighed, turning to face Leena.

 

"You shouldn't have let her go, Master Leena. She was their leader- she ordered them to wipe out an entire village. And for what? Wanton cruelty? That is not the type of behavior that self-corrects like you hope. She will kill more people. She will continue to warp the world around her, to twist its beauty into violence and hatred. When you asked earlier why we fight... To stop her. To stop people like her who without our direct intervention, will go on to kill thousands. I hope you are right. I hope that you prove me wrong and that she stops her life of violence. But I know that she will not."

 

And it wasn't just the Rancor she had damaged- the very weather around them still buzzed with the Dark Side, waiting on a hair trigger to be whipped up once more into the cruel mockery of what natural processes would normally occur. Unfortunately, she would have to trust the healer to fix that- her own abilities were always more physical that spiritual, with the exception of her ability to bond with creatures.

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Leena offered a brief warm smile towards Kadi, “I am sorry that you feel that way. Sometimes to live is a fate worse than death. To live and to die is the will of the force. Regardless, I sensed some good in the dark sorceress. I touched it, amplified it. She cannot use the darkness anymore. Somehow I think the Sith will find her more a liability than an asset now. Regardless, she has been given the chance we all hope for when we stumble, a chance to be be forgiven. Her fate is in the hands of the force. You will have to suffice yourself with that. I will not stoop to the level of our enemy. Ours is the cause of righteousness. Let us not taint it. Let me tend to your wounds” 

 

As she spoke, Leena moved closer to the Jedi, reaching out a cool hand to guide the healing waves of the force as she probed the naturalist’s wounds and urged her body to begin anew purging any foreign contaminants and beginning to knit themselves back together at an accelerated rate.

 

“Many of the Sith’s soldiers, some pressed into service, some not knowing any different life, and others controlled by fear and lies, have been captured. If you would please escort them back to the Temple. We can yet help them as well. Their fates will be determined by the authorities. I will go seek our foe. If she can be found, she too will be brought to stand trial.” she spoke as she mended the worst of Kadi’s injuries so as to allow her and her acklay companion to move freely. When she was finished, she offered a hand to Kadi in friendship before nodding to her Squibian companions. They would not part with their charges readily; but would help ensure that they remained relatively unharmed. To negotiate with them was for the Alliance. Right now, other darknesses needed the Healer’s attention.

 

Setting off into the jungle, Leena began to search for Qaela, reaching out on the waves of the living force, finding good where it might glimmer and amplifying it; surrounding herself in light side energies and forcing the darkness back wherever she moved.

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There’s a sensation tied to absence, to the sudden jolting realization that there is a void that was once occupied. Even for all of its subtlety, the absence of the Dark Lord’s presence was starkly apparent, the way that breathing was an action rarely noticed by the mind until it stopped. The full meaning of Exodus handing her his lightsaber crystalized rapidly, and she realized that she was even more without guidance than she had initially realized.

 

That mother pfasker…

 

She didn’t know if he had decided to slip away from it all, or if he was pursuing some power beyond the physical plane, rumors had been spreading of the Dark Lord experimenting with something that could have only been called abyssal. Perhaps his doom had been foretold in waking dreams by those gifted with the talent of prophecy. Regardless, if it had been a temporary thing he would not have expressed his intent by a literal passing of the torch, a simple order or directive would have sufficed.

 

Further probes revealed that Qaela was noticeably absent as well. The troops that they had brought with them were well trained and armed, but not likely a match for the Jedi that were present. The light of the Jedi barely felt diminished and the Sith were down two masters. If every element of the force had struck at once then they should have been able to rupture the Jedi lines and mopped up the survivors, but piecemeal the assault would fail. She needed to preserve and withdraw what assets were left and rendezvous with the Sith forces in the south eastern quadrant, while delaying any pursuit.

 

Darth Nyrys let the fear and uncertainty coil in her breast, only to be consumed by her as power. The girl that would have let such things rule her had been utterly obliterated on Onderon, the remnants ground to dust. With that power she strode across the surface of the glade wreathed in unnatural fog, like a waking nightmare.

 

“Felucia, once a bastion of the Dark and known for its reservoirs of unnatural energies, an odd place to sequester refugees when the Sith are on the warpath. It almost seems as if someone amongst your own intended to invite bloodshed upon them.”

 

There were Sith that could interweave spells and curses with words to befuddle and sway the mind, but Darth Nyrys was not one of them. Perhaps though her words would prove more effective without such tricks, as they were able to stand on their own validity and logic.  

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The Force felt different, but why Sandy did not know.

 

“There was a hope, I think, that you would not look here. We were wrong as we often have been and innocents paid the price for that. ”

 

Sandy shook her head sadly, her right hand still lightly resting on the edge of her belt where the clip of her lightsaber was notched. Her clear green eyes looked into the dead and reflective visor of the Sith’s helmet. She wished for a moment that she could see the other woman’s face, to discern how she really felt. So she probed with a question as she took another step forward.

 

“But why do you care? Too many innocents have already died here, and though you may wish to pin their deaths on our historical incompetence, I would challenge you to come and see the destruction your men and fellow Sith have already laid here on innocents.” 

 

She waved her arm towards the distant smoking village then looked back at the Sith Warrior. This woman was an enigma. Not much younger than Sandy herself, but full of power. What had brought her into the clutches of the Sith? What decisive tale of woe? 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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"I would not call those savages "my men", they were agents of another's design, whose chapter in history has come to a close. Your own hounds are doing me a favor by cleansing them. The Spider thought that he could rule the galaxy through a quiet fear, just as your own people believe that hope can create a gentle kingdom encircled by spears. Or should I say Empire, your rebellion is led by an empress is it not? An empress whose throne world is known to the Empire and yet has somehow against all belief escaped reprisal from a Dark Lord known for making symbolic gestures? When people are afraid, dictators and despots are often recast in the eyes of the desperate as heroes and liberators. The Dark Lord mentioned having something planned for Nar Shaddaa through his agents, but I hold no quarrel with the populace of that planet, they've been through enough with the quiet purges that no one is talking about. Perhaps if you leave now you can save the ones that are left. Tick tock, Jedi, tick tock."

 

The mist gathered around Nyrys in roiling clouds, dissipating to reveal nothing but the echo of her her words.

 

-----------------------------

 

"Withdraw the remainder of our forces, commanders. The Dark Lord is gone, may the Dark Queen Nyrys reign as long as her blade remains sharp."

 

There was going to be a moment of breathless vacuum that would feel like an eternity where the Sith would decide whether to accept or challenge Nyrys's claim. The most likely challenger in terms of raw power was her old master, the Krath sorcerer Sheog, but he struck her as beyond the political struggles of the Sith, his thoughts consumed almost entirely by his need to satiate his hunger. Even so, the hutt was wise and no stranger to battle, perhaps he would accept an offer of acting as her vizier. There had been much talk among the Sith of Darth Mavanger and the campaign that he was leading, but he had not yet been exalted to the rank of master, so a bid for Dark Lord now would be premature. Combining forces with him would give her a chance to demonstrate her abilities to the other Sith on the grand theater stage of military pomp and pageantry. His natural charisma and momentum would be valuable assets if he was willing to fall in line. 

 

She ordered encrypted communiques sent to Krath Sheog and Darth Mavanger. She also would need to quickly fill the ranks of the Sith armies with effective soldiers, so she sent another encrypted message to Delta. She didn't know if she had all of the words to express her feelings on the reality of becoming the ruler of the Sith Empire to someone who was a confidante and lover, nor did she want such information getting to the wrong hands, so she left it at they would talk in person soon.  Finally, as her ship was leaving the planet's orbit she requested a special fabrication from one of the shipbound engineering teams, a tungsten spear the size of which made it impractical for any mortal warrior to wield.

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The rhythm changed in subtle ways, the songs of the Force reverberating the unexpected. Emerald eyes flashed with blue flame, probiscis flicking towards the T-visor of her opponent. The Sentinel had expected the mourning that followed victory through death, but instead the Mandalorian before her had caught her weapon’s shimmering blade. The mix of black and crimson that adorned her opponent’s armor took on the glow of silvered-orange, and the two of them were locked together like the titans she had spun songs about in the long nights of her youth. The souls about her echoed in mourning.

 

So, this is Beskar’gam, the fabled armor of the Mandalorians of old.

 

Her song took on a hint of envy, for the man’s armor was impervious to her strikes. The envy washed into resolve as emerald eyes found gaps and areas that were not covered in the precious metal, and her probiscis flicked in the air, tasting the humid, fetid air of Felucia. She could feel both of the Mandalorians in the song, resolute and strong, unphased by the deaths they had caused. It sickened her. The dark side corrupted all, twisting honor into dispassionate service to evil. The younger of the Mandalorians resolution took on a further rhythm, that of victory.

 

Another change to the rhythm and the Mandalorian scrambled away from her, and she saw danger immediately. A grenade of some form had sailed its way towards her, and she passed herself into the fluidity of the song. She had a choice then, embrace the flame that raged from Tros or face the unknown of a grenade. As had been often on her path, she chose fire. She pressed into the fire, splitting the air about her in a current of song, making herself into a new storm. Her flesh took on electric fire, she embraced the force’s gift of quickness and strength.
 

Kyrie dove through the fire, accepting it about her and passing it about her in a breath. The hair on her arms took on the flame, singeing her but in a heartbeat, she was through the fire and the pain calmed as she flowed with the rhythm.

 

The grenade’s detonation ripped physical sound from her right ear, as the eardrum was torn, and the scream of the sonic blast washed over her in a rending crash of sound. She fell into a roll, letting the souls of those about her drop from her song. The bodies of the dead that she had prepared to use fell into abject useless once more. The Jedi Master’s locus of control now only involved herself and the fallen quiver of arrows. It was all she would need.

 

The Imperial Knight came to her feet with the fluidity of a dancer, pain racing through her from the loss of an eardrum, the fire, and the earlier blaster scarring. Another breath and she added the pain to her rhythm, bleeding it away once more into the embrace of the Force. The time for mourning was past. 

 

Another attack came, and a glimmer of light played across the younger Mandalorian (Kot’dral Duvul) as he charged, the sunlight filtering through the humid air to pain the man in a halo. He appeared as a glittering angel amongst the countless bodies of innocent dead. The Jedi Master had seen such things before, amongst her own troops at Coruscant and the harrowing of the Sith’s Temple there, the telltale signs of a shield.

 

The Jedi Sentinel slipped her body into the fluidity of the Force, blurring into speed as she passed around the man’s line of attack, still angling towards the other, striking out at the Mandalorian with the vibroblade legs with the pommel of her spear. She would use the man’s violent momentum against him. She angled still in her run towards the one who had sent her flame. The other was but a distraction. Even so, his vibroblade bit into the plasteel of her leg-guard, dislodging the plate as she moved, and she twisted away to press the attack on the more dangerous of her opponents.

 

Words passed across her lips as her blurred form rushed towards the Older Mandalorian, the brightness of her blade batting away the blaster shots as she came for him (Tros). Her footsteps were light and quicker than humanly possible, at least for those without the Force. The blaster shots thudded into the blood-soaked mud, burning into a sulfuric smell that wreathed about her as ghostlike vapor. Black-tipped arrows rose from the quiver and from the mud where they lay amongst the bodies, bidden by her words, snapping to the speed towards the younger of the Mandalorians (Kot’dral Duvul) at a multitude of angles based on where they had been scattered in the dirt. The song had beckoned them to join their master in war once more.

 

The Master of the Imperial Knights advanced upon the Mandalorain (Tros) in a whirlwind of silvered-orange fire. The Bladedancer had embraced the rhythm of Thyssian form entirely, the spear weaving patterns in the air at impossibly quick speeds. With a spear, it was nearly the speed of Vaapaad, meant to dismember and destroy an opponent from the range of a spear. She struck for the gaps in the Mandalorian’s armor, where the chest-piece revealed the abdomen, around the groin where the armor sacrificed protection for movement, at the arms, and the legs. She was a blur of light, striking again and again in a flurry of overlapping and synchronous attacks to the rhythm of battle, sacrificing power for speed and dexterity.

 

((2))

 

Takes damage from flamethrower, sonic detonator, looses armor to vibroblade strike, deflects blaster-bolts. Strikes at NPC with pommel intending to trip him on her way to strike at Tros, and follows it up with a multitude of telekinetically borne arrows. Advances on Tros with a rhythmic flurry of lightsaber blows aimed for where the armor doesn’t protect.

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The charge forward by Kot'dral was met with a very quick movement by the jetii, quickly knocking and essentially moving the more zealous Mandalorian towards the ground in a quick thud. On Tros' HUD many words came flooding in of Kot'dral's own discomfort and dislike of how his charge went. Tros was unable to fully process what was being said, as the jetii was in a full on rush towards him. Without thinking he fired a few more shots off at her, only to have them deflected into the ground like a kid slamming a rock into the ground. He could see from behind her that Kot'dral was under some form of an attack, but what exactly was unclear to him. She was upon him within seconds faster than what he wanted, and quickly dropped his blaster in a frazzled rush to use his vambraces to deflect the incoming lightsaber tip. 

 

Had there actually been enough time, he would have admired the blade being on a spear like weapon as a way to keep opponents at a distance, but the frantic looking swings forced himself to be frantic in response. With his blaster dropped to the ground, he was able to move quick to intercept the blade, catching it from finding a soft target. The confidence of his plan faded quickly, as while he caught strike one and two, the third he barely managed to stop and the fourth and sixth one found parts of his own body that were not protected and he was not quick enough to intercept the blows. The pain was exactly as he remembered it, searing hot that lasted longer than one would have thought. By the second blow striking him, he realized that as long as he remained this close to the jetii without a vibroblade of dueling weapon, he would be cut down into pieces rather quickly by the jetii. Rolling backwards to avoid another blow, as he came out of it, he utilized his jetpack and blasted up into the air and took quick aim. 

 

Upon getting into the air, Tros fired his dart launcher at the jetii. Almost as soon as the dark left his wrist launcher, he remembered that he never refilled his gas darts and all that he had was two electro-darts. Upon it leaving his launcher, he cursed. "Takisit." The dart wasn't going to be as useful against a jetii. His HUD lit up with instructions, and Tros knew there was a chance to fully take down the jetii. He turned off his jetpack and as he fell towards the ground, he opened up his flamethrower, choosing to use it's full blast and burn through all of the fuel he had to keep the jetii either pinned down or otherwise occupied. As he did so, Kot'dral came landing on the other side of the jetii His boot rockets turning off as he came to a landing. His beskar'gam was ripped, falling off in some places and had beyond counting of new scratches and marks. Three looking items protruding from his body in places. He pushed her fromt he other side, having his own flamethrower going as well, while with one hand he pulled out his thermal detonator, armed it, and tossed in into the fray. Tros knew within his mind that this was either going to kill the jetii, massive hurt and wound all three combatants, or utterly leave the two Mandalorians without any other advantage. 

 

((3)) 

Tros lost his blaster in the charge of Kyrie and took two blows of the lightsaber across the abdomen, but blocked the rest. Kot'dral was hit by 3 of the arrows and his armor near broken. 

Tros used his jetpack to gain some space, fired an electro-dart and then blasted his flamethrower at her. Kot'dral assisted by coming from behind and using his own flamethrower and tossed in a thermal detonator to cause even more chaos. 

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Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

 

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Quiet purges.

 

Sandy frowned as the Sith began their retreat. Having cost the Jedi little except the loss of a village and the death of a few Jedi Knights. For the loss of several more sith and many battalions of men. She still did not know what the objective had been, but this reinforced her belief that they were either just toying around here in the Rim or that they did not yet have enough force to deal with the Bastion of Nar Shaddaa. 

 

But that day would come. Fire would consume that city as it had consumed coruscant it was surely only a matter of time. 

 

As she walked slowly back to the temple she pondered what the woman had said. They were no democracy, which was true. Their rebellion was no rebellion of the corrupt galactic senate which had dismantled the GA fleets and left the way open for the complete destruction of the Galactic Capital. She considered the Imperial Remnant a necessary thing, something that had survived and built the rebel alliance from the start. And with the failings of the galactic alliance, who could blame the galaxy for firmly rejecting democracy? Sandy certainly never cared for it. 

 

But the death squad purges bothered her. 

 

There had been rumours of such things when the Remnant first took the planet, mostly slavers and large scale drug runners. But those had halted years ago. Still, it was worth a conversation with Aidan. Plust that would mean she got to see Aidan. She grinned widely and continued her walk around the perimeter. 

 

If there were still Sith here, the jedi would root them out.

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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The Sith were falling back. The captives were delivered to holding cells at the Jedi Temple to be processed and transported where they would best be of service and could be redeemed. The Squibs had pocketed a decent sum in exchange for the troops and a bulk of their equipment. They then returned to the forest. Their friend had died once on their watch. They were not keen on it happening again.

 

Leena, meanwhile, set about urging the life energies of the world all around her to surge and blossom with light. Energies radiated all about her as she walked and she opened her mind up to the force, letting it flow unhindered through her body, cleansing any taints of darkness the battle may have bestowed upon her. Her mind turned to Kadi and her comments. She prayed that the force would envelope Kadi in it’s warm embrace and show her the truth of the greater will of the cosmic force. Walking through the overgrowth, Leena sang softly to herself, reciting ballads of Jedi-gone-by and sing-song lessons on the force from her childhood. All the while she made her way closer and closer to the village that had been decimated by the forces of evil.

 

She moved freely, her steps were not hidden, and her way not a secret. As she moved, the force moved too flowing out in soft waves of purity, pushing back against the darkness, both natural and unnatural, wrought upon the lands. She drove the darkness back by the power of the force and her melodious voice. Overhead the storm was dissipating and the light of the sun shone down. It trickled through the dense foliage and peppered the ground in patterns of light and hues of green. It was warm and cheerful and bright.

 

Leena’s voice suddenly tapered off as she exited the jungle into the clearing that held the devastated village. The smell of burning timbers and homes was still present on the air. The press of death hung low even as the light of the day pierced and weakened it. All about the village there was stillness. It was unnatural. 
 

Steeling herself against the dark shadows that radiated about this place, Leena set her shoulders. Taking a deep breath, she pushed the force outwards, cleansing crashes of healing energy pressing into the village. Death was here but it did not need to scar this place. Stepping inward, Leena moved further from the jungles and into the devastation. She focused on the force, the light, blanketing the area in a soft fog that billowed outwards from her tattered robes; healing energies mixed with the humid air and the power of the light.

 

And as she walked, Leena heard something. Making her way towards the village center, she found them. Villagers who had been away at the time of the Sith incursion had made their way home. Their pain was real. Their whole worlds were lost. Yet here they were, trying to piece it all together. They were moving bodies, preparing them for their death rituals, patching the desecrated village back together so they could start recreating some sort of life.

 

Leena did not have to say a word. The weight of sadness in the force said it all. Wordlessly she picked up a shovel and began to dig. After about a half hour, Squibs began materializing from the woods. Over the day more came as did villagers from nearby settlements. They all set about helping. Soft words of sympathy were shared, a security perimeter set up, food shared. Even the squirrel-folk were noticeably silent. There was no way to undo what evils had been done; however, there was nothing that stopped them from trying to do what was right by these people moving forward.

 

Here, even amongst death, the seeds of life lived and swirled with energy waiting to boost forth into glorious blooms of light and life.

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Breathe in: fight. Breathe out: fight. Such was the technique of Draygo’s piloting. Scarcely varying in her breath, the Jedi Grandmaster appeared preternaturally calm even as her Jedi Ace dove through a sheet of laser cannon fire to strafe the keel of one of the larger Sith transports. Ion fire splashed against its shields and arced across its hull, dousing running lights and repulsorlift arrays--the leading edge of her port wing sliced through the base of that absurd crimson pennant. An aggressive immelmann turn caused the welds in the little starfighter to creak in protest and the vision to fade from her eyes, and the strafing run repeated itself, this time splashing just behind the transport’s bridge, along its spine, and into the nacelles of its sublight engines. The glare of sunlight engines went dull and the ship began to descend.

 

Draygo didn’t spare the faltering transport a glance. There were dozens of transports that were attempting to escape the planet. Some of them would fall to the ion cannon, but those hulls would be carrying thousands of Sith marines, their weapons, and their intelligence.

 

Draygo pointed the nose of the starfighter into orbit and triggered its SLAM engines. The acceleration punching her in the back like a physical blow, the starfighter propelled itself into the upper atmosphere and split the clouds with a speed that even a TIE Interceptor would envy. The glow of Felucia’s atmosphere darkened to a starfield, marred only by the occasional ion bolt racing from the surface batteries and the glow of sunlight engines. Some of those pinpricks of light disappeared as the transports escaped into hyperspace. The Jedi Grandmaster frowned underneath her oxygen mask and punched the comms unit to transmit into an unencrypted channel.

 

“Good news, Sith transports. I am happy to accept your surrender. Ponder that while you’re trying to get your systems back online and our marines are on the way.”

 

A second trigger of the SLAM booster propelled Dark Fire past the initial burst of self-defense fire and into hull-scraping distance with a second transport. This time, Draygo held her fire and broke away from its hull in a climb that would place her in the middle of six transports that had grouped to support each other. A flick of her thumb dropped the starfighter’s EMP mine in the middle of the troop transports. Five seconds later, without sound or even evidence of an explosion, its core detonated, wracking each of the transports with an electromagnetic pulse that wrought havoc on every system more complicated than the refresher station.

 

“Felucia Control, Draygo. Six transports drifting. I need marines up here to take prisoners and intel. Bring up a portable magcon and I’ll support as needed.”

 

Until those marine transports arrived, there was nothing to do but wait and watch for any signs of activity from the transports. The veteran Jedi unclasped her oxygen mask and gave a little sigh of satisfaction as she stretched out in the tiny cockpit...

 

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Blood splattered against the green fauna as Shiro cut down the last of the two guards, the Nightsisters' volley aiming in the heart of the village as chaos ensued. Shiro's tongue snaked behind his helm, licking at the taste of his own sweat as it mingled amongst the smell of the fear that swept across the village like wildfire. Screams and cries were but music to his ears, a symphony of poetic tragedy that warmed his blackened heart.

 

Few came to greet his arrival, no more than two came at the Lieutenant in the barrage of arrows that claimed three within the heart of the village and quickly dwindled the number down to these two and the children. Shiro's heart raced at the enticement of the moment, his ego swelling with pride as this village fell in a matter of seconds without the backing of the Jedi, and as the two closed the gap with makeshift weapons, Shiro felt a sense of pity for these fools.

 

Pulling upon the Force, Shiro took in the panic, the fear, the anguish, and slinging his rifle loose to his side, reached outward and grasped the two men. He could feel their sorrow, their anger, their helplessness. And in the moment, sealed their fate with a simultaneous crunch that unified their end. All that remained of the village was the children who stood upon the top of the hill, the village in flames from the chaotic trample of the Nightsisters' aim and lifeless bodies falling into what would have been their last meals and engulfing their meager huts. He took off his helm and smiled devilishly. 

 

"Yes. Take that anger, take that hate, take that fear..." He shouted at the top of his lungs as the three Nightsisters came to his side. "Let that wrath become your flames of vengeance."

 

Then came the voice of his Master at his back side and the distant roar of an approaching ship. He turned to face her with his eyes to the ground which soon met his knee. "Yes, my Master." 

 

Shiro boarded the ship with his own disdain that they had failed, but looked back with a sense of pride as the children remained atop the hill, flames engulfing all that they had likely ever knew, and the hate that boiled within them. Placing his helm back on, he turned and walked up the ramp until it closed behind him. Fulicia may have been an overall failure. But he had held a bit of success. 

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The Bladedancer slipped her hands along the smooth heartwood that made the briar handle of her saber-spear, feeling the coolness of it beneath her fingertips, the thrumming rhythm of its life attuned to her own. Her opponent was good, his song strong and resolute under her assault. Was it the man’s honor that drove his soul to fight so heartily, even as he stood amongst the bodies of slain women and children. Tears dripped and burned away in electric-blue flame.

 

Her arms hurt where they were burned and even under the blessings of crucitorn it was a distraction. The entire side of her face felt as if it had been hit by a thunderclap, and the ringing of tinnitus bit into her rhythm, sliding its way into the mournful song. She couldn’t reestablish the connections to the spirits of the dead or bid them now to rise and assist her. Such were the wounds of battle. The songs spoke to her of more to come, and she breathed strength into her body, bidden by The Force.

 

Silvered-orange flame crackled in the humid air as the Jedi Master spun her body in a pirouette off her front boot, the blade remaining on-center, and with a press from her backhand, the Sentinel cut a dart from the air as it came for her. She nearly slipped in the mud, the ringing in her ear driving her balance to shift unnaturally. She collapsed the locus of control to only contain herself, focusing now on only what mattered, surviving and destroying the threat.

 

The crimson-stained mud clung to her tattered boots, a mimicry to the grasping hands of the dying from whom the blood had spilled. It wanted to impede her, but it could not stand against the power of the Force, and the rushing of one so filled with the rhythms of war. A mournful song still reflected in her heart, the rhythms of loss, of the dying, of the dead. She did not wish these Mandalorians death, or hate them, she only wanted their violence, their fell deeds, to end.

 

Flame came then, making a washing, rending, terrible storm of it all. First from one side, and then the other. Chaos was always king on a battlefield, but fire added a primal desperation to the rhythm. The Anzanti had a natural revulsion to it, a primordial thing the stories for which had not been passed into the writings of Aldazeric Ka’lin in his interpretations of the oral traditions. It came from all sides, which left the Jedi with only one route of escape, to take to the winds and join the rhythm of the jungle. She passed her strength and agility for a heartbeat into her legs.

 

She leapt.

 

The fires scalded and burned for a but a moment as she leapt up and over the flame, in a parabolic arc towards and over the older of the Mandalorians (Tros). He was the greater threat, less damaged than his companion, and far deadlier. She would split the two of them apart from one another, and eliminate them individually. Parts of her armor boiled away into slagged plasteel from the intense heat, a blistered welts formed on her unprotected skin. The pain washed through her, but she was now in the rhythm of war, and there was no stopping such momentum.

 

For a Jedi, to sing the mournful songs of war and to dance to Thyssian in the heat of battle was very much treading the line between as close to the dark as one dared, much akin to a blademaster of Vaapaad. It was the temptation to do most deadly things, and required the stoutest of hearts and an ironmade will enough to revile the darkness that was most alluring at the fringes of such a song.

 

Below her, the world passed from existence, enveloped by the searing explosion of a thermal detonator. The winds reverberated from the detonation, buffeting her leap, ripping away what remained of her armor, but still she pressed on. Her remaining knives slipped from her broken belt and she bade them to find the lesser of the two, and they cracked to speed, arcing towards the younger Mandalorian (Kot’dral Duvul) with deadly purpose.

 

Kyrie’s leap carried her the distance towards Tros, the man in Crimson and Black armor, and she thrust with her lightsaber down in a flurry. He was within the outer circle of the spear, and within it the realm of the bladedancer. Her weapon, washing the world in silvery-orange became a blur of light that would drown out the fires that the Mandalorians had tried to strike her down with. 

 

Blow after blow she cut as she flew over the Mandalorian, dancing upon the wind. She struck at the Mandalorian’s head and neck, shoulders, and arms. His back. Each carried the rhythm of her song, a pattern of deadly beauty. She would not let such weapons of the enemy persist. The dead about them cried out for justice, to not let another child die to the ravaging of the Sith Empire.  

 

((3))

 

Lost Armor and took increased burn damage from flamethrower attacks, blocked dart attack, and evaded the Thermal Detonator. Made telekinetic knife attack on Kot’dral Duvul, and a full flurry of lightsaber attacks on Tros.

 

Thank you, it's been a real pleasure to duel you. 

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First off let's get into the duel itself. 

 

Very well done to the both of you. Very clear actions and I enjoy that you both wrote full summaries of actions taken at the ends of your posts. This shows an encouraging attempt at not hiding actions, which is a great thing for the future of duels and this RP. Both character sheets were up to date with modern inventories as well. Though there may be rules changing in the future in regards to heavily armoured soldiers with hard points also having NPCs, these rules are not yet enforced so that did not affect the ruling in the slightest. 

 

This was a very close duel and came down to actions and damage taken. Both opponents took respectful damage, however in the end I felt the NPC took for too much damage to remain alive and actionable. A knife in the chest is most debilitating not to mention additional arrows. 

 

This is a Win for Kyrie. 

 

Kyrie gets the next post. 

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Ca'Aran

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The rhythm changed perceptibly, and in an instant the rush of war was done, replaced only by the steady beat of pain and mourning. The mud was soft and cool against her feet as she settled into it, watching as the Mandalorian stumbled behind her, wounded but alive. Probiscis flicked the air, urging her to taste of him, but she passed the hunger into the song, banishing it to the realm of that fell krayt that moved within her mind.

 

The Jedi Master looked at her tattered cloak as the jungle air swept through it. It barely covered her nakedness as the remnants of her armor and undersuit falling into ash. There was a portion of her that desired to strike down her two opponents, but mercy was of the Light, and she was sworn to it.

 

Kyrie called her medkit to her through the Force from where it had been cast aside with her quiver and bow. She stepped first to Kot’dral, nail-bitten fingers removing the knives and arrows, calming his pain with the force as she worked. She used most of the hypospray on the man, before turning to Tros. She stared at him, watching the man as she sprayed the rest of the bacta onto the wound she had given him across the shoulder. She spoke then, voice gravelly and sad. She was never good with basic, and it gave her words a pausing, tumbling tone.

 

“Take your man and leave this place. Your forces are withdrawing…”

 

She gestured to the fallen bodies, the carrion falling upon the dead in droves. She could already smell the rot beginning to add its song to the beat of the jungle. Emerald eyes turned to evaluate the stoic T-visor.

 

“Think now of your honor. Was it honorable to fight alongside those that would slay children?”

 

With that said, the Jedi stepped into the jungle. Nature would take its course with the dead, it always did. From rot would spring new life.

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Tros felt the intense pain of where the lightsaber like weapon struck in the areas of where his beskar'gam was not strong or reinforced to handle the blows, or even where there was nor armor present to defend against the jetii blows. His own face hidden behind his buy'ce, he could hear her walking around the mud around the village and his own mind wondered why she delayed in killing him and taking the final blow. It wasn't until she stood over him and sprayed him with a bacta spray that he realized she was not going to kill either of the two Mandalorians today. As she spoke, he slowly pulled himself up into a seated position and then watched her walk off into the jungle without looking for an engagement. Grunting heavily, he stood up and walked over to Kot'dral to help him stand to his feet. 

 

"She doesn't understand Mandalorian honor-"cough-cough"-does she." Tros kept his eyes focused on the trail she left behind in the mud for a moment before he responded. "No, she doesn't. But she let us both live. A compassion trait common amongst jetiise. And a flaw. Come now, we need to leave. My HUD is showing she was correct that the rest of the Sith forces did indeed withdraw from the system. We need to rally the House into action." Without any other words, Tros used his jetpack and lifted both into the air and guided the two to his ship. The two left planet as soon as they could headed back the beacon Vulios had activated for them. 

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Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

 

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An encrypted comm chirped in the communication device on@ObliviousKnight's hip. Standing before Armiena was the visage of her former Apprentice, a somber look upon his face as he realized the dire facts. With a sigh, he spoke.

 

"Grandmaster. I was unable to make contact with your contact, but was brought up to speed by Commander Godfrey d'Outremer. Latest Intel shows that these Sith have indeed attacked Naboo just as you suspected and the planet is lost. Bothawui is our last line of defense for Nar Shadaa and Corellia.

 

He sighed. 

 

"Armiena. I hope this reaches you in well health. I've already met a potential student, but with this war brewing, I'm unsure as to whether I should. He's so young, no older than a youngling. But his spirits are high and he's so inquisitive, nothing like me. I know your faith in me is high, but I just hope that I'm ready when the time comes to truly step into these shoes of a Jedi Knight."

 

Genesis forces a smile despite his doubts in himself.

 

"May the Force be with us all."

 

WIth that, the comm cut out.

 

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A few minutes later, a pair of LAAT/i gunships began to approach the drifting ships and hailed the Jedi Grandmaster’s interceptor.

 

“‘Pologies, Dark Fire. Grandmaster, sorry. Got a bit held up dirtside. We’re setting up our magcon. Be a couple of minutes. While we’re waiting, swing to the front of them and transmit in blink-code: assemble their weapons in piles at the airlock, officers to present themselves, please don’t destroy intelligence. Be nice.”
 

“Copy, Stevos,” Draygo laughed as a light hand on the lateral thrusters sent the dagger-nosed interceptor towards the head of the drifting transports. A twitch on the attitude thrusters rotated her to view the stranded ships. A gray-clad pilot in the cockpit of one of the opposing transports glanced up from the control boards towards her, his arms still elbow-deep in a nest of wires. “I’ll be very polite.”

 

The strobes at the wingtips of the interceptors blinked in a galactically-recognized rhythm: that of Mon Calamari blink-code. The message carried standard terms of surrender: acknowledgement that their ships were helpless and that, according to the Ruusan Accords, Draygo was obliged to provide for their billet and rations until the war was either over or the crew could be repatriated to their homes. Those laws were invalid if the crew offered resistance once the Jedi Rangers boarded, however. As the ships were unpowered and drifting in space, no signal was received in acknowledgement: not even a spot-luma from the interior of one of the cockpits. One of the pilots of the shuttles retreated from the controls, presumably seeking an officer to report to.

 

“Message received, Stevos. Let’s go say hello.”

 

A pair of rangers came floating up to either side of the interceptor’s canopy, slowly rotating around a steel frame that housed the portable magcon. One of the soldiers pounded on the transparisteel canopy of the starfighter--a shift of her elbow unlatched the canopy, allowing the cold of vacuum to rush in even as the magcon prevented the venting of atmosphere. Draygo pushed away from the cockpit and was grasped by both elbows by the rangers, who gently guided her towards one of the transports with microbursts from their jetpacks as though delivering a potent warhead.

 

“Five of ‘em gave up right away. We’re tractoring ‘em back dirtside,” said the ranger on her left in a thick Corellian accent. “We picked up faint power traces in the last. Thinking they might try to put up a fight. We’re hoping you can discourage them.”

 

Drifting towards the final transport at the breakneck pace of two knots, Draygo held out both hands to soften her impact with the gunship’s airlock. The Grandmaster ignited her lightsaber, slowly dragging the tip of the blade across the seams in the armored portal. Once the molten metal had rendered its seals to slag and the airlock began to sag under its own weight, Draygo reached out to The Force, perceived the great mass of the portal, and bent the airlock inwards as though opening an old-fashioned door on its hinges. A gentle push at the small of her back thrusted her into the interior of the shuttle, where she landed with a wobble under the restoration of artificial gravity.

 

Two chrome-plated Sith troopers--with helmets removed--greeted her with stun batons. Armenia doused the bronze blade of her lightsaber and smiled pleasantly at the two soldiers.

 

“Hello. I am Grandmaster Armiena Draygo,” she said happily as she reversed her grip on the hilt. “Your ship is stranded and under our guns. You cannot possibly offer further resistance. I insist that the crew of this ship and its passengers offer their surrender in accordance with the laws of warfare. The alternative will be....”

 

Two more armored soldiers came stomping up. These two wielded depowered vibroblades. Then three with more stun batons. Another with a pair of deadened vibroknuckles. An officer with his sidearm in a reversed grip. Another with a bottle of liquor. And a pair of pilots with nothing more than a hydrospanner and a plasma torch.

 

“Delightful!”

 

____

 

Thirty minutes later, the Jedi Ace interceptor descended towards the Temple’s landing pads, flanked on either side by a pair of escorting shuttles. It wobbled dangerously under the valley’s swirling crosswinds--almost drunkenly so, as though its pilot was manning the vessel with one hand, and her off-hand at that. It managed to touch down without touching off sparks, and its pilot came clambering out of the cockpit and sat on its wing. Armiena’s haggard appearance explained her amateurish descent: her right arm was slung around her neck with a protective sling, and the sleeve of her robe had been torn off to reveal a large bandage around her shoulder. Her left eye socket had been bruised purple and the knuckles of both hands were scraped and bloody. She smelled faintly of a plasma fire--plasma fire and inexpensive tihaar. In spite of her battering, a distinct air of satisfaction lingered about the Jedi. She was almost smiling.

 

“Sarna, Kil--if you’re still alive out there,” she spoke into a comlink. “I’ll see you at your convenience.”

 

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The distinctive ‘ding’ from her belt brought Sandy’s hand to the clipped on comm pad that lay beside her lightsaber. She clicked it open and glanced at the small holoscreen before clipping it back to the belt. It was the Grandmaster, and it cut short her quest for any dispersed Sith forces. She turned her jog around and made her way back to the landing pads near the front of the temple.

 

There she waited for the grandmaster.

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Kadi limped into the Jedi temple, relieved to see that it seemed unscathed. The Sith invasion had faltered as quickly as it had began, though not before some lost their lives. She would find her time to mourn amongst the trees and the fungal caps of the forest, but for now, her mind stayed laser focused on her goal. She would report to the Masters and see what was needed of her. She used her spear for support, the pain in her leg from her battle needling at her consciousness. She grit her teeth and pushed through it, however. She had discarded her armor, and her robe had been too damaged to salvage from the storm, so aside from her weapon that marked her as a Jedi, she resembled any number of the native refugees swarming the area. She moved from group to group, helping where she could. She was no master healer like Master Leena, but she knew enough to help these people.

 

She had just finished helping heal a young man when she finally began to succumb to her exhaustion. She quickly found a secluded area; rather, as secluded as she could manage, letting herself lean against a wall, taking the weight off of her leg and she tried to steady her breathing. She could sense the concern from the nearby aid workers, but she waved them off with a smile whenever they tried to help her. The most she needed were some bandages and sleep- She couldn't reconcile letting the medics fuss over her when there were still so many people who needed them more. Still, she wouldn't be able to keep them at bay forever. She would find Armenia, or Sarna, and see what they needed her to do. That would be more useful than leaning against a wall trying ot catch her breath.

 

She pushed off the wall, and was met by a wave of dizziness as she stumbled again, blinking rapidly as she leaned against her spear again for support. She looked around, getting her bearings. She was in one of the common areas, which meant the other jedi would be-

 

She blinked again. She had no idea where the higher ranking Jedi would be running their operations. She'd never asked, and now she felt like she'd let a very important bit of information slip through her grasp. Her hand drifted to the communicator the Grandmaster had given her, but she hesitated- Armenia was definitely knee deep in disaster reports and refugees. Bothering her wasn't a good idea. A wave of lightheadedness hit her, and she stumbled a final time before collapsing against a wall. She was still conscious, but her body refused to listen to her as her eyes closed and her breathing shallowed. She was hit by yet another wave of exhaustion as she sat there, her weapon leaned against her shoulder before she finally embraced the sleep.

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Felucia Jedi Temple, Felucia 

Felucia system, Thanium sector
Outer Rim Territories

 

The Mirialan Hopeful merely gaped, a nimble-fingered hand trembling. He had been too shaken, too... overwhelmed... to be of any help during the Invasion. Growing up in the confines of this very Temple, Simka was indeed astute enough in the Force to be able to sense its presence. The vile darkness, the sheer absence of luminosity, the void... it was his first time actually facing it, and it had paralyzed him on the spot. As he stared out across the temple grounds of the jungle world, he quivered. The Sith had retreated, but the depravedness of their recent presence still assaulted his acute senses.

More than fear, he felt guilt. He had been so numb the moment he had felt the vile presence, Simka hadn't been of any help at all, while his elder Knights and Masters had fought valiantly against the incursion. He could feel many pangs in his chest; so many voids where there once were bonds. Many had lost their lives in this battle, some whom he knew personally.

 

With a trembling hand Simka wiped the beginnings of a tear from his eye and steeled himself. Emotion, yet peace, he chanted to himself in his mind as he strolled towards the Temple Gates. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a resting Zabrak, and he couldn't help but feel for the exhausted Knight who, he assumed, needed the rest this badly because she had been engaged in brave defense of the Temple minutes prior.

 

Simka's grief began to turn into anger; at himself. He had passed his Hopeful Trials, yet here he was, useless. He needed to learn the ways of the Force, to ascend so he could become a defender of the peace, like her. Yet, he had no one to teach him. With the Sith attack, the Council probably had a lot more to focus on right now than a Padawan assignment.

Emotion, yet peace, he chanted again, trying to recentre himself in the Light with small, calming deep breaths. Good things come to those who wait, the holocron said. He had to be patient.

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Mekuma Simka

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With the final ebbs of adrenaline beginning to flush from her blood, the mild giddiness that resulted from close combat began to subside, and the warm and humid reality of Felucia began to assert itself. True--those six fleeing transports might yield valuable intelligence, perhaps even in the form of intact combats--it was also true that no less than twenty shock troopers had attempted to jump their captor and succeeded in little more than slashing her arm and embarrassing themselves. However, the humid, warm reality was that the majority of the Temple’s personnel had been evacuated 

 

With the final ebbs of adrenaline beginning to flush from her blood, the mild giddiness that accompanied close combat began to subside and the warm and humid reality of Felucia began to assert itself. It was true that the stranded transports might yield valuable intelligence, perhaps even in the form of intact computers--it was also true that twenty shock troopers had attempted to jump their captor and only succeeded in slashing her arm and embarrassing themselves. However, the uncomfortable reality was that much of the Temple’s noncombatant personnel, including its medical corps, had just been evacuated on the clamshell-like medium transports. Those transports could be recalled, but at cost of valuable time and lost lives.

 

Armiena glanced up towards the sky and tracked the hull of her own freighter as it disappeared into a raining cloudbank.

 

Spotting a familiar trail of shockingly blonde hair and a Padawan braid in the distance, Draygo began to jog towards her fellow Jedi Master. Crouching under the hull of one of the late-departing transports, she shouted out towards a familiar Miraluka cleric waiting at its boarding ramp. “Janen--I need a complete manifest and casualty report in my hands, within the hour.” 

 

The younger Jedi startled in his dark robe and opened his mouth to point out the impossibility of that act. There were only three minutes left in the hour… but Draygo had already jogged away and was out of earshot.

 

_______

 

“Sarna. Glad to see you unscathed,” Draygo announced herself at the edge of the land pads. The younger Jedi Master seemed uninjured, but there was clearly something more than immediate tactical considerations on her mind. “Very unusual decisions by the Sith today. I would almost expect that this was all a feint, to force us to concentrate resources in a defense. Or confusion in their higher ranks, perhaps.

 

“I promised you a briefing on the entities that might have triggered the outbreak here. I had hoped that Kil would have made it at the same time. She may need to know this information. If this plague was actually triggered by one of the creatures known as the Chaos gods, then... we are in for a very difficult time. The last time they were active in our galaxy was decades ago, back during the Master Kaipi's leadership. Those were a few very turbulent years.

 

There are four that I know of: Khorne, Nurgle, Tz... Zeentch, and Slaanesh. All very powerful, to the point that I found their capabilities and motivations very difficult to ascertain. Extraordinarily powerful with The Force, potent warriors... and unfortunately, their motivations were utterly impenetrable. It might have been that they amused themselves with lesser species, as though we were pieces in a game of theirs, or they might have craved attention from us... or perhaps they simply enjoyed exercising their powers for the sake of exercising them. Tzeentch and Slaanesh seemed at least ambivalent or occasionally beneficient towards galactic civilization, but Nurgle and Khorne seemed firmly sided with the Sith Order. What became clear was that the four all had clear predilections in their methods: Khorne being a bit of an unsubtle bruiser, Nurgle... pestilence. Disease. Very unpleasant. Tz--zeentch, sorcery. Slaanesh... irrationality."

 

Armiena's gaze turned inward as she reflected on mistakes that she had committed in previous decades. "They called themselves gods, but they quickly proved to be self-serving and manipulative. My suspicion is that they are sapients who are merely immeasurably powerful with The Force. The most likely party behind this plague--if one of them was responsible--will have been Nurgle. My hope is that they have remained inactive and that some other being is responsible, however.”

 

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“I met one Sith Lord, but she retreated just as quickly. She said some disturbing things about our Imperial allies, but being a Sith Lord and one of the people that perpetrated the massacre of those two villages I cannot think to believe her.” 

 

She shook her head and ran a hand absentmindedly through her hair while the grandmaster explained about the old gods that had threatened the galaxy so many decades ago. Sandy herself had been only a small child when they had been removed but the thought of them returning made her frown. 

 

“This certainly seems to fit this Nurgle’s operating style. But I did not feel some great and overwhelming force presence. It was certainly there, but faint and ancient. Not powerful enough yet to effect the galaxy at large.” She cocked her head to the side. “Did they have bases of operation back in the day? Some place we could check if they have returned?” 

 

It was a long shot, and she doubted it was even them but it was worth it to check, but it was most likely a Sith founded operation to distract the Jedi and Rebel resources from their real operations. She let the conversation turn as the Grandmaster finished up her thoughts on the old force entities and asked a personal question. Since Leena was not here and they were alone, there was no better time. But still she lowered her voice.

 

“On a personal note Grandmaster, have you heard from Aidan? He...has not responded to my calls.” She smiled sheepishly. Knowing that if anyone knew more about Aidan it would be his mother. Especially if Aidain was acting like his long gone father. Perhaps this absence from communication was a family trait. 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Leena worked tirelessly alongside the locals, volunteers, rebels, and the few Jedi who materialized in the decimated village. First honor was given the dead, burials en masse commenced. Those less effected stepped in to provide food and arrange shelter and supplies for the devastated community. The squibs scurried about lending their aid as they might; their great troves of oddities and randomness a welcome bit of reprieve, and relief when they brought in a hydrostatic powered luminosity fuel cell generator that allowed for work late into the night.

 

Through it all, Leena kept working; her elongated brow glistening beneath the heat and humidity. She was abnormally quiet; like a sail, she was quietest when working the hardest.

 

The labor continued for days. Leena made her place amongst the devastated people, working hard, healing where she could, rejuvenating spirits as she may. Through it all she remembered the dark presence that had preceded the invasion. She pondered at the possibility of connections and of the sudden Sith withdrawal. She wondered if the darkness had any similarity to that which had preceded the Sith devastation of Mon Cal. So as she worked, Leena collected samples where she may, some from the dead, more vials from the living, and still more from the world all about them. She might not be a botanist; but the healer knew enough to know that even these living beings carried with them the scars of that darkness that had washed over them.

 

Days later, with the village stumbling back to it’s feet, Leena left the jungle-shrouded palisades and made her way back towards the temple. There was plenty of aid still pouring in, with more and more relief workers and Jedi arriving daily. 
 

__________________
 

Along with a few of her diminutive furred companions, Leena set off in a supply speeder back to the temple. Arriving at the outskirts of the temple, she was tired, dirty, and stiff from the ride. Gingerly hopping to the ground, the girl winced momentarily.

 

The burns on her arm had begun healing nicely, abnormally quickly. The trick and trait of a healer. Still, her robes were tattered and their once pure white dulled to grays, browns, and earthen tones. Still, back here amongst the Jedi, carrying the light to the world, energized the deepest core of the Master healer. She smiled cheerfully even as her eyes drooped with exhaustion. Making her way towards and into the temple, Leena noticed her fellow combatant, Kadi slumped over taken by the calming embrace of sleep. The force could empower the tired and weary, but even Leena knew the best fix for an exhausted mind and body was natural rest. With a gentle push of calm, Leena urged the force towards her comrade, willing a sense of peace to accompany her into the world of dreams and chase out any remnants of the darkness that could plague Kadi’s troubled mind.

 

Pressing onwards, Leena felt the swirling emotions of doubt and negativity. She stopped, her eyes drawn to the center of the energies, a green skinned Jedi in waiting. Like a surgeon drawn to pain and wounds, the girl was drawn to the chaos of the emotions. They were ones she had felt recently as well. Ones she had been forced to reckon with as well.

 

Diverting her path, Leena slipped the parcel of samples from her shoulder handing them off to the squibs who were with her requesting they deliver them within the temple before carrying on their way. Leena made her way to the Jedi. She had seen him before; though their age differences had prevented them from much training together. Still, as a lifelong Jedi, she recognized one of her own. 
 

Leena stooped to offer a hand up and smiled softly. “Hello friend, I felt your emotions. Are you ok?”

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Simka had been so absorbed in focusing on his breathing cycle and releasing his emotions into the Force, that he did not even register the Mon Calamari until she spoke, startling the green-skinned Mirialan.

 

"W-Whoa," he managed to gasp out as he looked at her, expression akin to a cattail deer caught in headlights. It took him a moment to regain enough composure to realize that he was talking to Jedi Master Leena Kil of all people.

 

The two had never interacted before; Simka certainly would have remembered if they had. But he had grown up in this Temple, so naturally he knew all the Jedi Masters that lived or served here, at least by reputation Leena Kil was certainly one of the Jedi Masters whose repute preceded them. In fact, it would not be far-fetched to say that the Hopeful had somewhat of a fanboy. Leena Kil and Armiena Draygo were the kinds of Masters that had their own fan clubs.

"Master Kil!" he gulped, before giving a short boy.

 

Then he registered what she had said, and gulped. He did not want her of all people to experience what he was feeling. He didn't want one of his heroes to think he was a potential future dark sider or anything. Just the thought of that was scary.

 

"I-I'm sorry," he explained, raising his hands in a placating gesture. "I didn't wish to give into to grief or anger, I just..."


Lowering his hands, Simka looked around the Temple, before sighing. "They're so... vile, aren't they?" his gaze was distant as he spoke, referring obviously to Sith, the lingering remnant's of the Dark Side's presence at the very furthest edges of his senses. "I just feel so helpless. I wish I was strong enough to beat them all..."

 

@Leena Kil

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Mekuma Simka

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