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Darth Jade

Corellia

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As they walked through the corridors, Mordecai made sure to take the most populous ones he could. In part, this was for his own pride. Show off his success, his captive prize. More so, however, it was to sow the seeds of doubt in the apprentice's mind. All would witness his most basic failure. And as they walked, Mordecai mused. First to himself, pride and victorious revelry painting everything in a haze. Here he had defeated another Jedi. Another lightsaber, and another snuffed light. What drove them against his blade. so sure to meet their demise? Then, he mused aloud, speaking to his captive.

 

"Tell me, Jedi. You only stuck me once. I've fought a Jedi before, and she but up a much better fight, though her fate was eventually the same as yours. I've fought Imperial Knights, some of their best warriors. Masters of their fouled craft and excellent swordsmen. I've only suffered the indignity of defeat once, and my opponent refused to kill me. Tell me, what are your haughty ideals worth if I, and Sith like me, can slaughter your people in droves?"

 

He continued, looking at Kahla.

 

"Understand, apprentice. The Jedi claim that theirs is the only true way to serve the Force. Any others are twisted abominations. And yet, our beliefs lead us to victory after victory. Your anger, your pain. All of your emotions will fuel you in different ways. Take care not to lose yourself to them entirely, however, lest you suffer defeat as I did. But do not let the Jedi tell you that the opposite will not also lead you to defeat. This Jedi was so sure that his emotions would lead him astray that he barely put up a fight. He's not only a disappointment to myself, but a disappointment to his master. Years of training likely went towards this boy, only to be wasted on insecurities and on unsurities."

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As we made our way down the elongated corridors, I began to come out of my daze and notice the populace that populated this ship, Soldiers and Sith alike adorning its metallic halls like endless droves of mindless machines. I could feel their intent, all in the sake of their Master no matter the cost that would be inflicted upon them. In truth, I felt even more pity for them than I did myself at this moment, my heart set in peace for the moment I chose to react.

 

Sure, I knew I had lost. I had failed to do my duty as a Jedi. But because I chose this path, whether I had won or lost, the outcome would be the same. I would know the Force in its truest essence, eventually, in my death. Nothing could take that away from me now.

 

But for them, their idle minds and lost soul, there was only one destination, a Corellian Fable that dated back millennia. The infamous Corellian Hell. Their souls would be forced into its grasp for eternity, never knowing peace, just as they had lived in life. Even as a Padawan, I had studied beliefs to understand the Force and it's true nature. And from that knowledge, I knew a better understanding of light and dark. And to see such a populace, ironically here at Corellia, it only hardened my resolve as I was paraded around.

 

"We follow the will of the Force." I spoke in retort to his question, a smirk adorning my face as the reality of my loss and what it spelt faded away in the back of mind. "Our purpose is to balance its nature, understand the inevitably of death, and stand against those who would throw it into chaos. I may have lost, but eventually you will know such defeat as well. Only our afterlife will differ."

 

My gaze shifted to his Apprentice, the apparent sadness in my eyes not for myself, but for both her and her Master.

 

"Those who believe there is order in chaos, those who wish to bend the Force to their will, will never know its eternal afterlife. The Corellians have long spoke of a place where darkness leads, and they named it Hell in honor of the life that brought its souls to it. Mock my beliefs if you will, but those who harm the natural order of the Force will never become one with it. Like the Followers of Bogan that were the original fallen Jedi, it will banish you."

 

My gaze shifted back to Mordecai, the same sadness in my gaze. 

 

"A Jedi always defends, never attacks. This is the way."


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“Orders revised.”

Terra blinked away an array of notifications that began to stack up on her HUD as Hades began to narrow the receiving band on the comlink in order to clarify the audio. A single chime indicated recording activation as the voice continued from Alliance Command.

Les Enfantes Perdus, process code Gamma 23 Zeta 456-23A.”

Hades automatically transferred the information cypher into the Alliance’s unit roster and the code started a download from the command ship. Once the download had finished, the orders were read aloud by Hades, the grating static of his voice shattering the silence of the Basilisk’s flight.

…Proceed to Kessel with all haste. Hunt and destroy any criminal element and Sith forces. Secure or destroy any cache of the illicit glitterstim found thereof…

Warehouses and mines were marked in three dimensions on a projection of the massive asteroid. Terra glared at the oblong formation of rock which made up the infamous drug-mine. She had never tried glitterstim herself, but she had seen its effects on countless souls in her days with Black Sun.

Glit-biters.

The Mandalorian remembered an addict trying to ram a vibrosword through her belly on Ord Mantell, the wild look of hunger in his eyes. His name had been Shen, and she had torn his throat out with her teeth. His blood had made her heart race and it had tasted like the smell of ozone. Ever since then, glitterstim made her nervous, and the thought of going to the heart of its production made her doubly so.

Terra panned through the navigation chart, checking the hypernet for any reports of interdiction before selecting their coordinates. She noted a few abnormal readings from where the Triellus and the Corellian Run intersected and charted a longer route. They would take the Corellian Run out of their current sector, following it all the way to Ryloth before setting into the Death Wind Corridor to avoid the Arkanis area, and rejoining the Triellus around Geonosis. From there it was a straight shot to the Kessel run without foreseen issue.

With the a weary shout of Oya, the Mandalorians leapt into hyperspace, bound for death and glory.


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To the Death...

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"Anger leads to...."

As Ryu charged in he could hear Exodus taunting him, his whispers coming in loud even over the relentless drum.

“Was his mind truly lost to madness?”

Ryu was virtually certain that he had. The lines between reality and his hallucinations had blurred.

Had the Jedi deceitfully led him to slaughter, and turned him into a doltish marionette for their games?”

Ryu didn’t have much time to ruminate on the words, as no sooner than he had been called a dolt did get struck by residual shrapnel from his own grenades. He had overestimated the size of the room they were fighting in, and Draygo’s ability to control the explosion, and in so doing felt the bitter sting of metal shards passing through his left side. One passed through his calf, while another embedded in his skull and a few small shards peppered his left shoulder. It came as a stark notice of how unhinged he’d truly become, too lost in his own madness to comprehend the suicidal danger he put himself in.

Even so, despite the intense pain and wounded leg, Ryu’s fervor only intensified. The Red blade intercepted his green one, locking together with a shower of sparks. He hadn’t whiffed the strike entirely as he had before, and though he could get the fearsome Sith to concede ground, he was still not able to make contact.

The smoke thinned from compression wave of the  grenade, smoke escaping from gaps into adjacent areas. In the mingling lights of their blades Ryu at last saw his opponent, encased in black armor with golden inlay, his helmet fierce visage of wolf.

“That is...King Exodus, Brother.” 


Exodus’s visage felt terribly familiar to him, the fearsome Sith was reminiscent of the dark specter that haunted his mind. And yet, he was distinct. It seemed more likely that the man who stood before him was in fact the successor to that dark legacy. The last word echoed in his mind, growing louder and louder until it was a scream.

“...Brother...”

In a flash of light, Ryu found himself in a Jedi temple, back to back with two companions, in combat with Jedi. They were three against numerous Jedi, fighting back to back. With him were the two Sith Ryu had sent with Dagon in the earlier vision. They were Exodus and Oblivion-- the white haired apprentice. Lightsabers blazing, they fought furiously against stacked odds. In this moment he felt a sense of kinship with the two he fought alongside of. They were his brother, his equals, those he had revered above all others. They, along with the unseen Dagon, were his first and only kin.

Ryu watched a lightsaber blade erupt from Oblivion’s back, felt a sharp pain of anguish running through his chest. As the Sith fell to the ground, his slayer was revealed. Though he did not recognize the faces of the other Jedi, he knew this one instantly.

Armiena Draygo

In the shock Ryu was mortally wounded by a blow to his chest. He fell to the ground and watched Exodus, only to see him be cut down last as his consciousness faded away.

He awakened later in a Sith temple. It’s obsidian walls felt familiar, like it was his home. His and his allies’ bodies were on the floor, arranged in a triangle, having apparently been resurrected by a dark ritual. Ryu stood first, then Exodus. But Oblivion did not rise. He remained motionless. His soul did not return from the force, and his death had been made final. Three brothers had become two. The despair he felt in that moment washed over him, and followed him to the present.

All this Ryu saw in the flash of light that connected their sabers, reeling in disorientation the moment after. Ryu saw Armiena close in beside him to try to strike Exodus, but they were both stopped by a sudden explosion. The force erupted from the Sith, creating an omnidirectional wave that shattered Ryu’s bones, tore his flesh and sent him flying ahead of ribbons of blood. The compression wave contorted the very ship around them, buckling the structure and demolishing panels along the surface of the walls.

Ryu stopped at a wall, smashing his spine into it with such force to leave a dent behind. He slid to the ground and slumped in anguish. It had become clear that he was hopelessly outmatched in his current state.

I can’t defeat him.

As Ryu sat bleeding on the ground, his gray hair, flesh and robe each being tainted with streaks of red. His back to the dent in the wall, he saw the malicious spectre appear in front of him, clad in his usual white armor. Ryu knew that this hallucination represented the man he was before his memories had been erased, a terrible demon.

I will fight for you. It is the only way to survive.

The vision held out his armored hand.

If I submit to his control, It would bring back a monster. Would I even exist as I am now?

Or would he obliterate what I am now and take my place?

For all I know, he may turn his blade on Armiena.

Armiena...

Was it really her who killed my brother?

Is it really my brother who I am helping her to fight now?

Would she take them both?

Am I being used to kill my kin?

Or am I being manipulated now, by Exodus?

Is he trying to use me on someone who has shown me mercy despite the beast I once was?

Or am I just lost in a fever of madness, and my foe is not Exodus?

Are these really my memories coming back?

Or Illusions?

I can trust nothing to be real.

I can trust no one to be my ally.

I am only sure that if I continue to fight like this, I will not survive.

I am free from my prison, but I am cornered, bound, and alone even still.

Ryu looked up at the man in the skull mask, extending his hand to grasp the Spectre’s.

I submit.

Ryu’s face twisted unnaturally, his expression going asymmetrical as his mind was a real sense torn in half. His right eye and mouth showed anguish and horror, a miserable weeping moan punctuated by genuine tears. And yet, the left side of his mouth was a hideous grin, gritting teeth in anger, beastial and fierce, yet joyous in malice. His left eye lid slid open, revealing an empty fleshy cavern inside his skull. In the center of his eye flickered a tiny spark, which grew in intensity until sparks erupted from his socket and showered his cheek.

Broken wreckage from the grenades and Exodus’ force attack began to lift up around Ryu, starting with pieces closest to Ryu. As he rose to his feet the effect branched out. The five throwing knives on his belt were lifted into the air, along with shards of electronics, exposed wiring and arcing electricity from damaged panels. Even the blood that poured from Ryu’s flesh got swept up and began to dribble upward into the air instead of caking his robe. 

The debris floated aimlessly until another spark, like the one in his eye, formed on the crest of his left shoulder. A spark of electricity erupted and set fire to the tried off sleeve that hung where the severed arm. As it continued to erupt in electricity the floating objects began to draw toward where his left arm would have been. Jolts of lightning traveled along paths that resembled his arteries and terminated where his skin would have been, creating a ghostly image of the arm in the flashes of light.The floating objects began to crudely smash together, starting at his shoulder massing to form an arm out of random shards of metal, blood, and lightning. It was not a mechanical arm, but rather a crude facsimile held together by the force alone.

Ryu let out a howl, a horrible layered moan that was at once agony, terror, laughter and rage. He hunched low and threw his new arm forward. The pieces scattered and reorganized, absorbing more of the debris and becoming looser, streaks of lightning passing through large gaps and seeming to hold it all together. About half way between Exodus and KR, the five knives embedded in the durasteel floor, each representing the last segment of his five fingers. It had become grotesquely disproportionate in length and size relative to his body, but the shapes of bone and blood vessels were still visible in the patterns of electricity.

Ryu pulled himself forward with the arm, launching through the air like an arrow. As he sailed directly at Exodus’, he pulled the force arm back in towards his body, shrinking it as pieces drifted clumsily in orbit of his body. He twisted in the air, igniting the saber behind him as the force heaved the pieces of his will-powered arm toward Exodus, a knife fingered hand made of twisted metal reaching to grab at Exodus’s chest.

A surge of lightning arced the pieces and escaped aimlessly bathed Exodus’s area, ignoring whether Armiena was in the path or not, and growing narrower as he closed the distance between them. He swept the green blade forward, his hideously contorted face mouth still wailing monstrously as he moved to try to slash toward Exodus’ neck.

((3))


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Most Jedi would have hesitated, or paused to raise a barrier and attempt to ride out the coming storm under the shelter of the Force. Most Jedi, to their credit, were not Armiena Draygo, who merely tightened her lips in a grim smile, lowered her forehead in a predator’s charge, and ran directly at the confluence of dark energy that was growing before her. What she sensed was an opening… and pain, assuming that she lived long enough to exploit it. A streak of turquoise light raced towards the Sith assassin on either side, the one held by the veteran Jedi merely vandalizing the floors of his Star Dreadnaught--the other shredding through electrical conduits and for a moment bathing the Sith assassin in a current of white-hot sparks.

 

Sensing that the moment of release was imminent, Draygo shut off her lightsaber and leapt past Ryu, nearly crossing over the head of her openent at the moment that the assassin relinquished his grip on the hoarded powers and allowed them to detonate. It was all that the veteran Jedi could do to release the telekinetic grip on her other lightsaber and attempt to formulate an attempt at a defensive barrier. The blast of Force energy scattered the turquoise blade away, bouncing off the bulkheads, tumbling in unpredictable directions and posing a risk to life and limb regardless of creed. The Jedi Master herself was punished for her recklessness by being catapulted into the rafters, turned into a projectile of oversized robes and plastoid plating that crashed into the ceiling and almost into the next deck. The unseen barrier protected her against the telekinetic blast, but it did almost nothing to prevent the harm of colliding into the rafters, where unaugmented muscle and bone pounded into armored girders, electrical wiring, and a terrified MSE mouse droid whose maintenance crawlspace had just been breached by the impact of a Jedi Master.

 

The Jedi Master cannonballed back down to the deck, trailing threads of wiring and clouds of steam. When she hit, a sharp yelp of pain could be heard just under the crack of bone and the continuous screams of the mouse droid that had fallen to the deck. The grenades in her collar punched into her chest and one, one of the white-caps that signified a dud lacking an explosive charge, popped cleanly away to beep its warning tone of imminent detonation. The pain of impact was significant. And yet even with the pain of at least one broken rib and a left arm that was now hanging at an unnatural angle from her elbow, Draygo rose in an instant with a cartwheel of flailing legs and a whirling lightsaber blade that was straight out of an Ataru training holo.

 

For the first time this entire confrontation, Draygo’s vision had cleared enough to see some semblance of their arena. Not even a meter away from her foe, she glared through an eye-full of blood and a few tangles of electrical wiring to see him, wearing a lupine mask and the blank photoreceptors that had protected his eyes despite the grenades--a combination of technology and theatrics. An MSE mouse droid was skittering between them, shrieking as it attempted to decide whether death by lightsaber or grenade suited it better. And behind both of them was the former Dark Lord, a man that she had previously thought of as a demon. What amalgam of steel and flesh he was becoming, Draygo couldn’t begin to identify.

 

She immediately took the offensive and stepped into his guard, her blade moving with the swiftness that only Ataru training afforded. A blast of Force Lightning surged out--from Kakuto Ryu, despite his previous Force blindness--and necessity turned her blade to intersect the forks. She returned it to her foe in a series of unpredictable, seemingly random blows that were dictated by the need to deflect the Lightning. With every blow, she took a short step forward to assault the Sith’s position and force him against Kakuto Ryu, perpetually closing the distance until Draygo was most close enough to reach out and bite him.

 

Something had just turned, and it wasn’t merely the fact that Draygo was within the Sith’s guard and every stroke of her blade passed within millimeters of filleting the man. Something of significance was about to happen--death, a climax, a turning of the tide--and her grin could be seen under the flurry of her blade and a bloodied mask of cuts and contusions. Whatever it was, she couldn’t wait to meet it.

 

((3))

 

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"I don't care for your views, Jedi. The meer possibility of afterlife in exchange for the strength the Sith hold is not a worth while bargain. Trading power for morality isn't worth my time either. I have no need for the Jedi's hushed ways, instead the knowledge I seek is granted freely." She continued walking aside Mordecai, thinking on his victory and her own. The Jedi that had given up, the arrogant mercenary that refused to tap into his potential.

 

Mordecai had tried teaching her that there are more to the Sith than the power you could wield. Perhaps she had a purpose higher than simply rising through the ranks, both in the Sith military and in strength in the force. Maybe there was more to her destiny than her visions of grandeur. She would meditate on the thought when they reached the shuttle, perhaps seeking clarity, or that higher purpose.

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Mordecai chuckled at the boy's words. Could he not see the flaw in them? That his beliefs would lead nowhere but his own destruction and the destruction of the order he so cherished?

 

"I do not mock your beliefs, boy, merely question them in a light your masters would never allow for. You claim you follow the will of the Force. You say that your purpose is to return it to balance, but then you say that the Jedi way is never to attack. Are your beliefs not leading to the destruction of your order? Perhaps your perspective is flawed. Perhaps the force is unbalanced, yet, but in such a way that the Sith are favored. Would that not explain much? Our repeated victories? Our superior numbers? Your own order being nearly wiped from existence so often? Is it not your constant warring with the Sith that brings true chaos? But alas, you do not fight us yourselves. No. You haven't the gall. You hide behind lone planets and organizations, telling them that we are the ultimate evil, yet you refuse to raise your own hand in battle until your own life is threatened.  The Empire ruled in peace for decades until your rebel alliance rose up, led by a Jedi, leading to one of the longest periods of instability, chaos, and war that the galaxy has ever seen. So I ask you again, what good are your beliefs?"

 

He shook his head, his own sorrow reflected in the boy's eyes.

 

"There is so much I could teach you. I could show you the truth of the Sith. I spared your life, allowed you to stand against me of your own volition rather than strike you down while you were unconscious. And you mock me, first by implying I should let you leave, a hostile invader intent on killing my comrades, and then have the gall to claim you have moral superiority for not striking back. Tell me, which of us displayed more honor in this fight? I need not an answer. I have no wish for you to state what you believe. No wish to hear you grovel. I merely wish for you to contemplate the truth of what has occurred here today in the hopes that in the future, we may be allies, rather than enemies."


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3
 CORONATION

Inside the kill radius.

 

 

 


Strands of electrical currents blinked in and out of the darkness where Exodus stood. Long and unspun sparks of energy rolled from his dreadplate armor, flickering anywhere inside of five feet from the King, like remarkable uneven stitching to the dark fabric of space this field of battle was immersed in. Wellsprings of dark power smelted these halls now as the repulsion of raw force superheated the very air they breathed. Metal alloy warped crudely against mechanical whines, loud hissing leaking profusely from ruptured pipes; destruction began to undress this passageway. The Assassin King drank this in deeply, indulging as his lungs expanded wide to fill the scathing strength he had just unleashed on the Goliath, fixing to unchain another. 

 

Sweat stewed underneath his armor, beading his body in flushes that he was too distracted from to feel. Open flesh wounds bled freely, stretched by shrapnel and draped in nothing but affluent cloth, these he acknowledged as they roused a competitive fire inside of him. Discipline ensured his respirations remained controlled however, that his mind was sharpened to the details of the threats that faced him and nothing else, optimizing for an endurance unlike any other. 

 

A maelstrom of the force began to exhume from beneath the Dark King that surged to the surface in seething vapors, seemingly organic in it’s evolution from the spheric detonation just a few breaths prior, forcibly altering the simulated sense of gravity directly around him. It was as if the air around the Dark King cooked absent of any heat, telekinetically overcharging before their eyes. Ryu fell and then reawakened, enduring a very visible metamorphosis before the final draw. Draygo stirred as well, wheeling as a hawk-bat, famished for the last dance. “At long last,” Exodus smiled knowingly beneath his fang-toothed mask. 

 

 

The passing of the torch; two far-famed names that had made their mark before the assassin had crawled from the backwater regions of space, both Ryu and Draygo of an aureated era, drenched in a time of blood and war. The Butcher of Gala would now chance a claim to both names, imprinting his growing legend to the legacies they had carved, immortalizing the beginning of his conquest with a Sith Empire more powerful than any that had stood before. 

 

 

Exodus put all else from his mind as he faced his opponents. Advancing towards him came the formless rage of Ryu, and the vainglory of Draygo in Ataru. Exodus redoubled within the Way of the Rancor, inviting the reckless abandon of the ungainly duet with an outstretched dark blade, pointing in their direction. It was unmistakable that the Assassin would not adhere to the philosophy of moderation over aggression, for Exodus was a vicious duelist who favored brutal power moves and had little contrition against lashing out on his foes with physical and efficient savagery. This disposition was accented by his unruly command of the dark side of the Force, actively drawing on his subtle rage in combat to fuel. Quite clearly, his employment of Niman maneuvers incorporated the use of Force powers chained into combat sequences, to compensate for the numbers against him in this battle. 

 

His full height dipped as he half-loaded his balance and weight into his thighs, widening his stance. The hilt of his blade appeared sentient even in the black of space, gamey with an embedded laurel wreath that hung from the handgrip, reserved only for those who had fought in foregoing wars, signaling that Exodus had ended an entire campaign with the draw of his blade. Exodus was everything a conqueror could be and yet, the weapon inside of his hand demanded more. 

 

 

Ryu let out a howl, a horrible layered moan that evidenced his manic depression. “Soon, I will end your suffering.”

 

 

Exodus lifted his hands high, quietly channeling the maturing residuum of his force repulse. He spun his blade in a quick full-moon motion, cutting the air with a whooshing of plasma and a heavy crackle of disruption as arcing lightning poured forward from the confused Arkanian. Exodus pivoted backwards to avoid the reckless firing, but the energy caught the blade of Draygo and reoriented itself into multiples, trimming the strength of the force but catching into his arm, which only raised to brace himself from the surprise, while the rest broke into the ground around him. Exodus reeled as quivering power crawled his body, electrifying a biting numbness throughout his off-limb, but dissipating rapidly against the alchemical wyrmsteel, literally swallowing the energy. There was no time to equalize his balance, Ryu was on him like a hound, so he moved in rhythm to counter.

 

They had finally shown up to play, and if not for their last ditch coordination, the Dark King would have torn the amalgamation of metal and Ryu into pieces, splitting him in two as he charged forward. Instead, a small orbit of debris and a crashing lunatic rammed into the bracing Anzati King. They were on him now. There was a loud crack as the serpentscale armor pinched the force-fueled-shrapnel hand, tightening upon impact as it was designed to. Exodus gritted his teeth behind his mask as he absorbed the raw forward inertia, sliding rearwards upon the weight of Ryu's impossible strength. The green blade whizzed barely by his collarbone, and then Draygo poured forward with an assault of her own.

 

Exodus waltzed step for step, keeping their distances even. They hadn't, not for one moment, spared a second to consider their foe. Malacoda Syn was Firstborn and a veteran of close-quarter execution. It was in their interest to have come across almost any other Sith; most were young and sloppy, too accustomed to fighting from a position of strength and high-strung emotion. Firstborn Anzati had spent ten millennia fighting against impossible odds, always outnumbered, outgunned and outmatched by the horrors that lurked behind the stars. Such a history begat spines of adamantium, unyielding tenacity and zeal that could not be broken. That spelt trouble no matter how the dice rolled.

 

They lunged, Draygo now entering his guard; both their swords sweeping left and then coming straight back for the Emperors’ flank. Kill Radius. It was a bold flurry, but he had been expecting their desperation. Exodus skipped sideways and angled his blade diagonally to counter, catching one sword and letting the other sail past without touching him. Energy flared theatrically as super-heated atoms trapped in magnetic fields clashed, showering the black halls in wild coos of amazement. He pushed away and then was on the attack again. Exodus’ skill became more obvious as he weaved inside of these attacks, a flurry of sweeping slices and thrusts that created a whirling dervish of spinning crimson. Draygo parried with hers, fighting to the utmost to keep Exodus within reach of Ryu while closing distance. Exodus moved into pure aggression, insanely skilled bladework while a maelstrom of force built up all around them, telekinetic drafts of pressure interrupting the simulated freedom of gravity. Form VI was smothering his circumference in a sluggish invisible weight.

 

Still, in a dazzling display of skill the three conquerors danced across the halls, hands moving so fast in the dark, none but he could recognize what was happening. Three supremely skilled swordsmen skipping across the floor, variably matched in speed and strength. Three artists in their element, unaligned dancers in a ballet of deadly force, one that the Assassin knew well. This was what separated him from most of his kin, he understood war was an art. Any could be the superior combatant on the day, but most treated war as a science of destruction, or an intricate machine or even as the trading of punches until one fighter fell over. So few grasped the tempo and the grace of fighting as Lady Alora had taught. He moved with lightning speed, always in motion and his feet skipped and jumped in poetry, countering and stalling purposefully.

 

By comparison Ryu was a raging bull, always attacking but never in the same way twice. Intuitive, adaptive and sly, he combined forms from memory and styles with ease, creating intricate webs of thrusts and lunges that should not be possible. Draygo exerted countless blows for his heart, attempting to skewer the Emperor from each contact. Exodus could see their craving for victory, their thirst for triumph, but furthermore, he was growing to understand that their eagerness hid a weakness. Ryu was monstrous in nature, scorning defence and disregarding his opponent's ability to hit back. Draygo was proud, staggeringly relentless, but sorely lacking purpose and direction as she led her followers to unnecessary death. Had she even a single thought to the life of the third in their party that had vanished? Did that wimpish creature know for what it was, that he would die? ...Did she?

 

Left low, right low, left high, right low, right high, right low, right low, left high, without pattern or reason. Exodus became impassable with the estranged marks of contact stylized in his form VI disciplines, fighting with every last dreg of speed and strength he had earned. Each impact on his defense seemed to send sparks flying and his arms began to succumb to a rare dreariness from the constant hammering. His limbs burned like fire from the effort, even his highly-advanced physiology tested sorely by the furious pace of combat. Every blow came a hair closer to his body, each attack nearer to spilling his blood. His world shrank inward and all else was lost save the flurry of flashing swords around his form. Inside his kill radius.

 

Exodus had enough. His feet spun him about and his blade swept dangerously low, not intending to cauterize limbs with a quick thrust, but rather marshal the staying power of the maelstrom that was maturing from the deadly repulse prior. Niman was in control and had never left. Exodus staggered and Ryu’s bladed hand lifted, slicing into his right arm, leaving a trail of blood running down his forearm. A sacrifice. Faster than any humanoid had the right to move, his sword lashed out, tearing across the enclosed proximity the three of them entertained, and then a vicious thunderous whine of pressure deafened the passageway, blotting out sound. Another explosion. It sounded as if the wall had ripped cleanly from it’s hinge, and a nasty bellow of wind was now sucking them into the sickening cold bite of black space. The passageway hadn’t changed. Unerring pressurization lashed out wickedly as a suffocating telekinetic force seized the moment. Brilliant achromatic energy wheeled from where the Sith lightning had struck, and crawled off of the wyrmsteel plates he wore as if coming alive. Arcs of electricity thicker than the high-branches of a Wroshyr tree exploded towards Ryu and Draygo like musket-fire. The Dark King drifted from his feet, slipping into the air imperiously, levitating by nature of the Maelstrom as it poured an unceasing bombardment of lightning onto the intruders. No two sounds were the same, as metal wept and mourned under strain, bawling incessantly as ruptured plates peeled away and an adamant quaking rocked the Goliath slow. Dry and hateful thunderbolts formed from naught but raw power had cracked, hissed and shattered against steel while loose debris hovered wildly against physical demand.

 

Exodus understood that this was too small a space, because what came after historically, was the onset of a destructive Force Storm. Did his power reach such heights? Would he break the Goliath, to rain death upon his enemies? Look what the little boy from the academy had become..
 


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I stopped, a grin upon my face as I gazed upon the Master and Apprentice. Perhaps in another life, where ambition and tranquility did not separate us, we could have been allies or even friends. But not in this one. I held strong to my convictions and beliefs just as strongly as the two before me. Such was life, a difference of views clashing against one another with no true winner or philosophy. Just opinions and debates. Nothing more.

 

"Some things just aren't meant to be studied." I spoke first, in reply, to the Apprentice. "Fuel is a precious commodity, and yet you must destroy nature to gain it, and destruction is left in your wake. But if another, less destructive and eco friendly option is viable, why not pursue it? Because it would cost more? Because the gain wouldn't bring enough profit? The darkside is no different. Jedi move with the Force rather than against it, not bend it to our will and disrupt its flow like the Sith."

 

My gaze then shifts to Mordecai, the smirk still adorning my face as the Force flowing around us begins to slowly pick up intensity, the torrential pour of it flowing forth like the rapids before the waterfall.

 

"Perhaps in another life, we could have been allies, perhaps even friends..." I speak, my mind focused upon the thought of what a friendship like that could be. "But for now you stand here an enemy, perversing my words and making them hollow. If the Jedi Order is truly meant to die out, then let it. Such is the path of nature, civilizations and religions rising and falling across the Galaxy's small life. But for millennia before the birth of your own corrupted Order, the Galaxy knew peace and balance under the Jedi. It was only when the fallen chose to study the Forbidden, the unnatural, that the Force became cursed with the birth of the Sith Order and the enslavement and destruction of those your Order's namesake derives.

 

My gaze briefly shifts to my own blade clipped to his form, myself drawing upon the Force flowing around us and willing it to me.

 

"Let nature take its course, no matter the outcome..."

 

With that, my blade flew toward me and I found its familiar feeling within my hand, inactivate, as I unleashed a torrential push of the Force in their direction, the men behind me clambering to quickly subdue me. I would have no choice, despite my wounds, to act quickly. Blade activated, I spun toward the men grasping at me, it's aqua hue cleaving through the metal form of their rifles as I pushed myself up and over them. Without looking back, I took off back from wence I came. I had to reach Master Armiena and Ryu quickly as I could.

Edited by Genesis
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The Jedi was smart, his silver tongue kept Kahla on her toes. "Then who decides what can and can't be studied?" She allowed the boy to continue. As he spoke about the impact of the Sith like a fuel, an affront to nature she hesitated. "And similarly to that inefficient fuel, the dark side is in abundance, it is better, and damned the cost of the natural world. Again, morality can't beat results." For a moment Kahla pushed her feelings aside in favour of her steely calculations. She had the fullest intent to learn from her master. Not just on the power she could wield but the philosophy. Her mind wandered however, remembering what happened to not just herself, but her crew. The things they'd been through together, their eventual triumph, the feeling of success that washed over herself and her closest allies; her friends.

 

Her mind began to torment her, torture her with the memory of their faces, first in celebration, then in fury, fear, and finally in death. The things they did to each other, torn down to their baser instincts, fighting for nothing more than survival, self preservation. She remembered enjoying the feeling of the saber cutting them down, the look in their eyes as she mercilessly struck them down, one after another. What could he be thinking right now? The things she's put him through, moreover the things that he must be enduring. She couldn't just double back on her word now; but maybe she could make things slightly more barrable.

 

In her distraction she failed to notice the Jedi's saber being summoned to his hand. Kahla was pushed against the plated hall, grasping for understanding of what happened. When her mind caught up to her the boy was bolting for the door. For a brief moment she locked eyes with Mordecai before drawing her blaster pistol and unleashing a flurry of bolts in his direction, one of which catching the blast door release ahead of him.

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