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Mithras

 

Astrographical Information

Region: Inner Rim

Sector: Roasi

System: Charnal

Orbital Position: 5

Moons: 1, Castor

Grid Coordinates: R-7

 

Physical Information

Class: Terrestrial

Atmosphere: Type 1 Breathable

Primary Terrain: Hills, Mountains, Gorges, Forest, Caves, Old and Decaying Cities

Points of Interest: Maltoris (Planetary Capital), Temple of the Unseen Gods

 

Societal Information

Indigenous Species: Humans

Immigrated Species: Humans, Arkanian 

Primary Language(s):Galactic Standard Basic

Faction Affiliation: Old Republic

 

Scenario:

 

One of the homeworlds or spiritual confluence of the Pius Dea movement some ten thousand years ago, the world has been left mostly unchanged since that ancient time. Its ancient temples now mostly ruins of tumbled marble, and its alters no more than overgrown patches of weeds. Three cities remain, with a single starport between them to serve the archaeological digs that have been ongoing for the last several hundred years. 

 

The blood red star, a supergiant is nearing the end of its life. The archaeological teams have reported the danger of a supernovae to the Galactic Alliance. Since the distress calls were directed to the Coruscant relay’s on Hesperidium, they never arrived instead spanning off into the core. The system is experiencing its final death throes, the star dropping into a runaway nuclear fusion and all communications down from gravitational waves. 

 

This is a dying planet. 

 

May the force help them all. 

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Oh ye wild storm. 

 

A thunderous blow was struck against the hull of the IDS Conveyor, refugee transport, one of the old Orion boats from the Old Republic. The gravitational distortion tore the back out of the old vessel, and the transport shuddered in the upper atmosphere before coming apart at the welded seams. A thousand lives were snuffed out as the old ship broke apart and fell in ruins among the old city. 

 

No great fires burned from the fall of the Conveyor. Save what fuel remained to burn. For the city had long ago been ravaged by fire, and all that remained were the bleached marble skeletons of great buildings and statues. \

 

But for those on the surface of the damned world, they knew that the escape corridor had shrunk again.

 

Oh ye thunderous storm. 

 

And below, in the old diggings, Doctor Etralian worked away. 

 

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Kadi wasn't prepared for the sight that awaited her upon exiting hyperspace. She knew that evacuations had been dangerous, but what she saw was a graveyard. her Acklay grew agitated- it could sense that something was wrong, and as she soothed it's mind through the force, she worked to hide her own concerns. The dying sun cast the whole system in an eerie red glow, and she could feel the chance to save those left on-world slipping away. This whole system, lost. She looked at the captain- She'd kept he and his crew on her hire, for now. He had concerns in his mind, and they were etched clear upon his face. She reached past him, to the communications panel.

 

"Jackson, stay close to our ship. This graveyard may be more dangerous than it seems. I'm going to see if we can get closer safely, make contact with the people still stranded below."

 

The ship lurched as it turned towards the planet, creeping forward as the scanned for any signals. Hopefully they would find someone, anyone that could still use their help. She hoped that they weren't too late- With the number of ships dead above the planet it was possible they'd all died attempting a mass exodus.

 

"This is Jedi Knight Kadi Silan, responding to the archeologist distress signal on Mithras. If anyone is still alive down there, speak up."

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Static burst from the comm panel of the hired vessel. Waves and pulses of static that the computer struggled to process into any intelligible sound. Eventually, ten or so seconds late, a lonely voice could be distantly heard through the mass of static. 

 

“Republic...Expeditionary....Arch...Land.”

 

One of the three evacuation transports punched through the static with the clear voice of its own captain.

 

“Jedi! Finally, we were sent to evacuate this archaeological site, but the pulses from the star are cutting us off. Conveyor tried and well not even her escape pods made it. Ripped to shreds and dashed on the surface of the planet. We need to go as soon as possible.”

 

Could the Jedi guide the transports in? Would they go in one at a time or all at once? 

 

___________

 

We are nearly to the Antichamber. Gods preserve us, we need to hurry. 

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Jackson felt his ship and his soul lurch as the Plunder dropped out of hyperspace like a stone skipped across a pond. The sight that greeted him on arrival was hauntingly familiar in both form and feel, as his senses reached out to touch the wreckage. Even the light cast by the blood-red star, and gravity fluctuations were almost nostalgic. He knew how to navigate fields like these just by feel, though without the Force as a guide he knew it would be difficult. The cargo hold of his ship would have to be dumped as well, if he wanted to take on passengers from the surface, but perhaps the salvage could find some use as a screen of sorts. Like dust, used to follow wind currents.

"They're always more dangerous than they seem, miss Silan. I should be able to guide us in if necessary, I've lived inside places like this for the past few years, after all. If you have any loose cargo, it may be worth considering tossing it. We'll really have to hurry to get everyone out."

 

The Plunder's engines roared to life as her pilot kicked her into gear and began to dive. The old Wayfarer spiraled itself around Kadi's larger transport ship as it crept forward, doing its best to outline what Jackson sensed what was a safe path.

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“Watch-” 

 

The rest of the communication faded into static that blasted through the cockpit’s speaker system. That singular star, once a small pale and shaded thing, now bloated to a hundred times its old size and a deep ruby crimson, began to tremble visibly along its outer edges. It had happened a hundred times before, but those staring through telescopic lenses from the surface knew it all too well. A mass coronal ejection was going to take place, and Gods alone could save those about to make the corridor. Unless they could harness the force itself, their ships would be heavily damaged. It was a small ejection, and the crimson fire it spat out towards the ships was almost malicious. As was everything about Mithras.

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  • 2 months later...

Mithras.

 

Emerald eyes stared at the resource package that was spread across the flight controls, pages of hastily scribbled flimsiplast describing to the Jedi Master a mission issued by Order Intelligence. An evacuation mission of an archaeological team who seemed to be working on pre-Republic history. The threat, a star going supernova. It confused the Jedi Sentinel as she read, her scarred fingers braiding her obsidian hair into multiple braids that hung behind her right ear.

 

…Why was this supernova unnoticed? Aren’t scientists and naturalists supposed to know the signs of impending star death?

 

The hyperspace departure alarm began to chirrup and the Jedi slipped a flight mask onto her face, taking a deep breath of the concentrated oxygen to steady her mind as The White Death, her stealth-modified YG-4210 exited hyperspace.

 

Kyrie was immediately hit by the brilliance of the deep crimson light of Mithras Prime, her pale skin taking on the reddish hue as she sent the light freighter into a spiral towards the planet of Mithras, a cloud-streaked ball of crimson and green below.

 

The Jedi took another breath of the flight-blend of oxygen and nitrogen and let her mind slip into the song, taking in the rhythm of this new star-system. She concentrated initially on her own self, letting each breath expand her locus of control. There was the dark heartbeat of Ysgithyrwyn Mwynfawr, predatory in its nature, adding its instincts to her own. She keyed in an autopilot route towards the dig, as she breathed in again.

 

The former Imperial Knight reached out, expanding her control throughout her ship, feeling the sterile rhythm of machinery, before expanding it out towards the shifting light of the falling star and the planet below. The White Death spiraled towards Mithras, following its master's erratic rhythm, shaking and diving to an invisible and unpredictable song. 

 

What is your song?

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"White Death Actual. Be careful up there…."

 

The comm cut out into distant static as another gravimetric wave blasted out from the dying star. Leaving the radio operator at the first archeological site cursing his luck. He turned back to the supervisor and informed him that another Galactic Alliance ship had appeared. 

 

“Gods preserve us, we might actually make it out of this damned place.” He turned back to the comm operator. “Anyone hear back from doctor Etrailen?” 

 

“Nothing doctor. Nothing since his team made entry into the vault.” 

 

Far above them another gravimetric wave blasted its way across the evacuation corridor. The Evacuation transports looked for a path and prayed they were not too late. But in the system there existed a hunger. Deep hunger. Dark hunger and malice. 

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Hunger.

 

Ravenous Desire. Something approximating a natural intelligence, warped towards evil.

 

The Sentinel slipped The White Death out of autopilot, curving the control-yoke into a tight turn away from the tempestuous star, narrowly avoiding a gravimetric burst. The only warning had been a slight shift in the rhythm, a far quieter change than what she would have expected from the Force.

 

Had it been natural coincidence, or was this star reacting to me?

 

A voice echoed over the commlink, marked with static and harsh piques that made it almost impossible to listen to.

 

"White Death Actual. Be careful up there…."

 

In response, Kyrie angled the ship towards the source of the signal, what she could only guess to be the sight of the first dig. With a scarred and nail-bitten hand, she opened her scanner, but just as quickly closed it as she saw the static-filled screen. The gravimetric radiation from Mithras-Prime was far too great for the delicate scanners. She stacked her shielding at double port, a precaution in case she missed another clue towards a heavenly attack.

 

As The White Death began its landing sequence, Kyrie pulled the remainder of her hair into a band, letting it fall across her lightly armored shoulders, leaving the braids separate, tucked behind a pale, unpierced ear. The Sentinel strapped on a tank of the premixed battle-blend, selecting a high-oxygen content, cut with 2-percent amphoric-xeroxic to help her with concentration and pain, should the need arise. She hooked the intake mask onto her pauldron, leaving it loose as needed.

 

The Jedi Master slung her saber-spear across a shoulder along with her longbow, checking her knives and quiver as she ducked down the yawning landing ramp, stepping into the crimson light of Mithras. She let Ysgithyrwyn Mwynfawr’s rhythm come to the forefront of her song, allowing her predatory nature taste the world and prepare should there be need of a hunt.

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Hunger purveyed the planet, filtering and spreading in the crimson light of the dying star. In every shadow there was a relief from this starvation, but in those shadows Pride stood like an alabaster statue, a memorial to the planet that once carried its will to the heavens. In every battered brick of Mithras those two emotions fought a war that had persisted for eons. This was an old world, one of the planets Humanity had called home when the galaxy was young. And it carried their spiritual war still within its very soil. 

 

It was a glad thing that almost all of the archaeologists were insensitive to the force, or they would have long ago followed the desires of the passions. 

 

“Master Jedi.” The lead archaeologist bowed low, the twin tails of his Lekku nearly touching the ancient bricks of his excavation. “I praise the force that you have come, we are in desperate straights here.” He held up a flimsiplast map. “We have two other active dig sites, one at Corum Deo and the other at the Vault of Eternity.” He looked again at the Anzati and shivered as the light wavered above them. 

 

“How can we best begin, we have a hundred souls here and our collections, a hundred at Corum Deo, and half that at the vault.”

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Pride and Hunger. Two of the Seven, eternally at war for the souls of men.

 

Probisci flicked at the crimson light, tasting the sins of the world as the Krayt moved as a shadow behind the emerald eyes of the Jedi Master. She breathed in, the probiscis wavering as they highlighted her pale, freckled face. The stains of the past were heavy here, to leave such a lasting presence on this unfortunate planet. She spoke under her breath, the shade dissipating from her visage, passing onto the earth at her feet. The Jedi’s shadow was that of a Krayt, outlined in the glow of Mithras-Prime like a wine-dark sea.

 

Kyrie bowed back to the Twi’lek, letting the man pass into her locus of control. She could taste his feel, a palpable and invigorating thing upon her tongue. The Jedi winced at her own revelations, rejecting her inner nature. She brought him into her rhythm, passing into her strength and resolution, drawing from him his terror like one would suck poison from the bite of a Kast-Viper. She plucked the map from his grasp and smiled an acknowledgment.

 

Basic was never an easy language for her understanding, or for her speaking, but when she spoke it was with the voice of a calming teacher, acknowledging the fears of his team but bidding them to be stronger.

 

“Well... gather all your collections and yourselves into the cargo pods… I’ll magnetize them to my freighter and we will move to the next site, leap-frogging until our main fleet arrives.”

 

She paused a moment as the scientists began to scurry to obey.

 

“Researcher… What was it you were studying here? In brief, we have little time.”

 

Kyrie transmitted an approach corridor for the fleet of rescue ships, instructing them to maintain a route that would place the planet before them as a shield against the assaults of the failing star.

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The archeologist let his eyes focus off the Jedi’s emerald eyes and onto some of the well worn brickwork behind her. There had once been heavy rain here, but the eons had not been kind on the old stones. Most of the archeology could not be discerned from the rough and broken mountains that jutted from the underbrush. But this was an old world, and time was not a kind mistress to archeological sites. 

 

“We were investigating some claims from the Galactic Alliance Archives that the world had been largely unexplored, human history untouched for ten millenia. It seems after we arrived and began our dig that the star began its final dance through the heavens. It was unexpected for sure Mistress, but not an impossibility. Many of the stars in the deep core are quite old.” 

 

He grimaced and gestured to the long containers filled with priceless artifacts. 

 

“Will the journey be turbulent? I would hate that we loose anything!”

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The emerald-eyed Jedi smiled at the scientist, listening to his explanation of their work, listening to his rhythm though the Force. She felt she was missing a piece to the puzzle of this expedition, but they were running too low on time to delay. She reached out a steadying hand on the man, and with the other she drew upon the Song as an extension of herself.

 

“Worry not, you and your belongings will be as safe as possible, we will keep to low altitudes on our approach to the next location.”

 

She beckoned him to the insides of The White Death, she would need him for possible direction and consultation.

 

“Now for your people…”

 

Kyrie replaced the Krayt’s nature with a steadier rhythm, letting her power flow into the assembled cargo-containers. One by one, she brought them to adjoin with the ship through magnetic locking. Perspiration dripped down her face from the strain of keeping everything steady. It would have been far easier to work with speed, but this required precision.

 

Her datapad chirruped to update her on the progress of the cargo ships, now redirecting to the second dig-site, and one of the containers skidded slightly on the harsh gravel before she adjoined it to the others.

 

Spast.

 

The White Death’s computer recalculated thrust capabilities and load distributions as she leapt onto the hovering ship’s landing ramp. Slowly, and carefully, the freighter began to skim over the landscape towards the next dig-site. The Jedi Master drank from her canteen as she watched the lifeform readouts on her screen. She had no intention of losing anyone

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Well jedi could be just as clumsy as anyone, if only they didn’t decide to get clumsy on the box containing the statue shards! The Archaeological leader kept calm through it all, even if his face did turn a little pale.  He was grateful for the rescue no matter what, even if he did lose some of the priceless artifacts. It had been nailed into his brain at university after all that no artifact was worth the lives of your fellow researchers. But he did find himself wishing it had been one of the labourers that had been so rudely scraped up instead of the crates, but he kept his cool. It would do no one any good to blow up like that again! 

 

Corum Deo

 

The oldest church of man that they had found in their surface scans loomed before the forward transparisteel windows of the shuttlecraft. Carved into the face of a great mountain, it had been mostly spared from the erosion of the surface, the great entrance still showing some paint and surrounded by statues whose faces had long ago melted away by the fierce summer rains. 

 

Archaeological students could be seen waving furiously towards the shuttlecraft from the entrance. They looked desperate.  

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A mountain of weathered obsidian, crags of blackened glass jutting towards the unforgiving heavens, all spoke to Mithras’ volcanic history. Kyrie marveled at the sparkling mass of stoic stone and glass, her eyes reflecting the light as she brought the freighter into a pass of the mountain. There was a whole range of the obsidian peaks, interspersed with snow-dazzled dormant volcanoes and cinder-cones.

 

The Jedi Sentinel could see it now, a magnificent façade of hand-hewn stone set into the ebony curves of the mountain. An ancient citadel, a cathedral to ancient humanity. Kyrie reached out with a hand, extending the rhythm of her song to interact with the approaching mountain, melding her song into its natural cadence. The White Death began its approach, and the Jedi’s mind began to alight with the echoes of history. Stains of the past.

 

It was nearly overwhelming, the vehemence that the Force returned to her. A shocking rejection of her resounded within the mountain’s song.

 

You are not worthy of us.

 

Behind the Jedi’s ship, the transport fleet of the Rebel Alliance dove through the atmosphere, angling to join The White Death at the second dig, mimicking her approach vectors.

 

Kyrie jumped from the cockpit, stepping swiftly to the yawning landing ramp and leapt towards the citadel. She beckoned the scientists to board the ships as she landed upon the hewn stone pathway, dazzled by the reflected light from the obsidian mountainside. The fine hairs on her arms and back of her neck warned her of a danger she could feel within the Force. The Malevolence was stronger here.

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“Master jedi!” 

 

Cried one of the students, his face flushed and his breath coming in the stuttering gasps typical of someone out of shape sprinting. 

 

“The alter-” He broke into a stream of coughs. “The alter collapsed and half the class is trapped under there!” He breathed heavily, breaking out in a stream of coughs that made his already ruddy face more purple than red. His hand pointed towards the looming and cavernous entrance, whose mantle was covered in long defiled skulls of porous stone. Most had not survived the long centuries of wear and erosion. But their eyes stared back at the Jedi knight. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Jedi Master hit the ground running, her soft leather boots scraping on the volcanic scree as she scrambled towards the stranded research team. The air was filled with caustic dust and even more was kicked up as the rescue ships began touching down. The song was growing more chaotic, its rhythm confusing and disjointed.

 

“Bring your people and your equipment to the ships. Leave what you cannot carry and do not value.”

 

Dark braids whipped through the air and the dust-filtered daylight gave her features a yellowish and sickly appearance as she dashed through the skull-decorated entrance. The song continued to fracture and so the Master of the Sentinels drew her locus into herself, steadying her body as she skidded across the porous floor, pocked and marked by time.

 

Kyrie could hear it now, echoed in the song, the cries of trapped. The song was saturated with fear, and she could feel it crawl down her spine in an echo of the terror. She saw it then, a fallen obelisk of obsidian stone and from behind it came a cacophony of screaming.

 

The Jedi Master stepped to the fallen stone, letting her breathing calm pulling from herself her own strong rhythm, growing it with her heartbeat. It was as a lullaby, and she poured her soul into it letting it drown out the terror. She touched the stone, imbuing it with her song.

 

The Sentinel brought the obelisk into her locus, feeling the stone stretch before her. For millennia it had stood, destined to fall into ruin as the world faded into death. She hear its own, steadfast song, so recently corrupted. She breathed out, feeling the rhythm of the stone change, accepting her song as its own. It had been of ruined pride, and onto it she brought acceptance

 

You were never in ruin, to dust you will be, but never broken in your beauty.

 

Into a thousand pieces fell the obelisk, its shatterpoint reached. Lustrous shards of obsidian played into the fading light, reflecting the Sentinel’s pale light. Her skin glowed like the clouds wreathed in the light of a storm. She beckoned to the shocked scientists

 

“Come, now it is time to go. You are not destined to be of the stone or bound to the death of this world.”

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 Archaeologists screamed in a mix of outrage and relief.  How could this jedi not know how priceless these sculptures were? But the younger students masked their elders outrage wit the pure joy of being freed. One of the young men even dreamed that perhaps the dour looking Jedi may have fancied him particularly, boasting to his friends later that perhaps she had even given him a wry smile. He would tell that story until he died, he never married, thinking that perhaps she would some day come from him. As for the Jedi Herself, she would feel a sense of evil foreboding, the last vault was miles away and the darkside stirred. 

 

It was time to go. If there were to be survivors, they could be found after the next solar cycle.  

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Probisci flicked and darted in the falling darkness of the excavation site, The Jedi Sentinel ensuring the safe transfer of distraught scientists and wild-eyed students. The Jedi’s jaw was set, her teeth grinding behind a wry smile as she looked at her datapad to find the next site’s coordinates.

 

Only a few miles away…

 

Her voice echoed across the loading scientists and busy Rebel Alliance rescue personnel, stoic and grave, whipped by the growing wind. She could feel the rhythm changing, growing ever darker. Ever more chaotic.

 

“Proceed to the last site when ready, I will go ahead on foot and secure the area. If you do not find me, you have full permission to leave me behind on this…”

 

A pale, scarred hand gestured to the craggy peaks of iron-stone, her sad voice lilting with her Thenressian accent. 

 

Dying world.”

 

With a last smile, the Revanchist ran towards the last site. She took a breath, binding it to her own inner rhythm, letting it fill her, speed her. She could the oxygen fueling her body. A tingling light began to wreath her flesh and speed increased monumentally. It was a mad dash, her soft boots gliding over broken obsidian, each footfall shattering the world and sending sparks towards the horizon.

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The force moved again, a cruel movement, striking at the face of the Jedi Master with flecks of shattered and blackened stone. All around her the world was cast in dark scenes as she dipped into a canyon, and the statues that were carved into its walls were shapeless masses of agonizing cruelty and pride. Humanity trampling the undesirable alien underfoot. Their faces long worn away by millenia of rain, but everywhere the motif repeated, and the Jedi found herself amongst an orgy of violence, recorded into the stone itself.

 

Before her opened perhaps the largest of the digsites, a deep pit followed by a deeper shaft, all dug into what looked like the remains of a palace that had been turned to slag by turbolaser fire or nuclear combustion. The lava like rock sprawled out for a mile in every direction, but had been kept localized to this one area. 

 

But there was no sign of the archaeology team. But the force was strong here. 

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Kyrie Eleison winced, dark blood welling up upon her pale, freckled cheek as she bent around the main attack of shattered stone. She contorted her body, letting herself flow about the attack with the rhythm of war. Dark shapes smeared the edges of her sight as she tore on, and a part of her began to sing the songs of the hunt, a predatory song of her own nature and that of the Krayt within.

 

The Jedi Sentinel ran into the wind, her rhythm unchanging in the face of the dark spirits that surrounded her. She was no stranger to the ghosts of the past. She had walked with spirits on Tython, and they had been her first friends within the Jedi Order. The rosary weighted heavy upon her wrist, the Obsidian beads dragging towards the earth beneath her feet, straining against the leather cording. The calm voice of Il-Andon Rorik passed into her rhythm, and she could feel history unfold upon the sloped stone before her.

 

…I came with the Revanchists to this dying world after the fall of Azure and Duro. Even in all our power, we could not stop the rainfall of wardroids upon the orbital cities… It drove him mad. We could not let our Republic fall to them...

 

The Jedi Sentinel flipped her body over the sudden jutting of a pillar of stone that tore the rocks at her feet to shards. The world of spirits showed a dark column of Jedi, marching onwards to their fall.

 

…We thought here… Would be power that we could… use to stop them.

 

The Rhythm became even darker, the Jedi’s breathing more ragged, but onwards she pressed

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Power, pride, duty. 

 

The air around the jedi knight became thick with dark memories. Blasting into life around her then dissipating as the Jedi passed them bye. A great fight, or perhaps a feast, then nothing but the dark void of the tunnel. A scream echoed through the Jedi’s eardrums, an inhuman scream, a scream of pure terror that finished in a long and drawn out sob. Then nothing.

 

The shaft came to a dead end, bottoming out against a thick durasteel wall, pitted and burned from the bombardment of an eon ago. But it had held. Perhaps some secret magic or the force itself had kept the door intact. That is until the archaeologists had spent the better half of a month fusion cutting a person sized hole into the three meter thick durasteel. Stepping through the melted doorway the Jedi would find herself in a large and cavernous room. Centered with a long stone table, thickly laden with a feast that was preserved in time. Fruit still clung to the vine, glasses still glistened with emerald wine, and the meat still glistened with a honeylike sauce. 

 

The guests that surrounded the table were likewise frozen, some with mirth across their faces, some with lust. But none compared to the central figure, a lone woman standing at the dais beside the table. Her hand still grasping an emerald cup. And the doom of the world was written in her face.

 

The red of the dying star reflected in her eyes, casting their grey into a deep and unbecoming crimson. Her cheekbones were high and regal, her skin as pale as milkglass. She was a queen, magnificent as she was beautiful, as terrible as the sun that died above them. For she was the jewel of humanity in the ancient galaxy, and her regal brow carried the crown of pride with endless grace. 

 

The crown itself was a thing of beauty, though pale compared to that of its queen. Delicate gold wrought work, in the design of a series of trees, each leaf painfully sculpted, each branch hand cast. But the fruit of the tree were all of crimson ruby. The jewels did not fit the crown, for they were rough hewn, crudely carved and shaped, and hung from the branches of the crown like heavy muja. But it was clear that the crown had been designed around the cruelly cut gems, as if hoping the beauty of the crown would somehow offset the jarring ugliness that it held.  

 

In front of the woman sat a long silver sword its long blade covered in garish runes. 

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The Jedi Master’s footsteps, so rushed in their previous steps, began to falter as the rhythm began to change. A darker, deeper song. Ancient and foreboding. She took in several deep breaths, staring about her in bewilderment. Even the Rosary was silent now, hushed by the overwhelming rhythm of that place in its impenetrable darkness.

 

She noticed first the golden appearance of the durasteel, as if it had been cast of bronzium in an ancient age and the hue of redness that highlighted the stonework. The walls rose like the crags from which she had came, and within them were set windows without glass. Over her head great pillared arches stretched into yawning darkness like the jaws of a Kariff. Beneath her boots, great cracks ran in hatched patterns across crumbling pavingstones. All the sharp edges of the stone had been worn away as if a great windstorm of sand had blown them all smooth across millennia.

 

It was then the light that caught her eyes, spilling across her body and painting her as if she had bathed in rosewine. It was neither of starlight or glowlamps, nor of a waxane candle or a fire, or any other light she had ever seen. It was a dull, flaming light like those stars made before their deaths. It was steady and did not flicker.

 

Kyrie saw them then, at the table of stone. Figures clad in robes of garish crimson, or silvered grey, of the deepest lavender, or verdant green. Such lively colors, a façade upon frozen death. Their faces were strong and happy, yet cruel and further down the table crueler still. She felt it in the rhythm, the echoes of those who had done dreadful things in life, and had suffered much in return.

 

The Jedi spurned the table and its feast. Her soul hungered for other things then the flesh of beast or the fruits of the vine. She longed to touch them, but drew back, letting her own words tumble in a rush of broken basic as she stepped towards the head of the table. She breathed in another breath

 

…That borne of goodliest trees, laden with the fairest of fruits, oh blossoms of golden hue alight with beams of starlight…

 

The Jedi stopped before the woman at the table’s head, staring into the red light that crept from behind her eyes. Her beauty was a terrible thing. Her crown a burden of excess and destruction. Probisci tasted the air, tasting the utter quietness of the place. All she could hear was the echo of her poetry upon the stones and the beating of her heart in her ears. It was no warm silence in which life grew, but that of a cold, empty death. She longed for the sword, but there was warning within her.

 

The Sentinel reached out with her quiet rhythm, bringing with it the warm touch of her own vibrancy to cut into the cruel silence of it all. She whispered into the ears of that stoic, silent queen.

 

Oh air of life, you vernal delight and joy, drive before you all sadness and despair and bring forth the breath of life

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The pale and reflective eyes blinked once, their grey-red corneas flexing in focus as the woman blinked. Then blinked again, her pale lips opened and she brought in a halting rush of air. One breath, then two, then three. Her whole body seemed to shiver as if there was a cold breeze that had blown through the banquet table. Her pale eyes glanced to the Jedi Master and narrowed before they glanced across the rest of the assembled banquet. She let the goblet fall to the table, where it shattered, the sound of it a tyranny against the stillness. 

 

Instantly her hand dropped to the silver sword, stopping a millimeter above it as her glance came back to the Jedi. Her voice was like a whisper, but carried the dread of a fell lord. 

 

“Are you here to end this once and for all Tubal-Cad?” 

 

Her face betrayed her feelings, but something stopped her hand.

 

“Did you come to rescue me my Love?”

 

She laughed then, her voice almost mimicking the sound of the shattered glass. 

 

“Did you come to worship your queen again? Did you come to beg recompense of your betters?” 

 

The face moved heavily now, the wickedness of that planet embodied in its fell queen. Beautiful but terrible. 

 

"But see the trap you set has been sprung?"

 

And the world shook

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There was a hint of burning in the air, that ever-faint scent of a fire long since diminished and turned sour. A bitter reflection of that fire the Jedi Master had once held within her. The woman before Kyrie had been through the purification of an Exorcist and had withstood it.

 

All about her, the spirits came to life with her exhalation, tied to her rhythm. There was fear here, ancient, but still pungeunt in its reflection in the Force. Revan had stepped here and had been repulsed. Il-Andon had looked here for power, as had Malak and Surik, all on their path to Malachor. On their path to destruction. Kyrie’s soul told her to step back, but she did not.

 

Far distant, the star was dying. She could hear its distant song faltering and its death was tethered here. The woman’s words were of pride, and Kyrie did not fully understand their context, but spoke softly.

 

“I know you not, nor will I worship mortal or immortal beings, but from this place we must go.”

 

The Jedi reached out a hand, not to gain power or as an answer to lust or pride. The hand was scarred, nail-bitten, pale. Kyrie touched the woman then, and her emerald eyes were full of pity and kindness. The distant song faltered further. She spoke then to both herself and the woman before her, and to the scared spirits of the past. 

 

“No one is beyond redemption."

 

She reached ever further, ignoring the threat of a sword or of a curse. It was with mercy she extended her trust. 

 

"Come, for this trap is closing about us both.”

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Red-grey eyes widened with shock. They focused on the outstretched hand and then a smile ripped across the regal face. All teeth, gums as black as night. With an agility unseen in modern humans, the sword came up, fast as lightning and stabbed deeply into Kyrie’s chest. Or it would have, if another scarred and nail bitten hand had not caught it. The hand was soaked with black blood and around the hall there came the sound of cracking stone. The ceiling split back in a rush of eerie red light. All around them the visions became a stark reality. 

 

The world had died, and with it the curse had finally come to its precipice

 

Redemption finally came, but you did not take it. 

 

Came the halting voice of a woman, dressed in pale grey robes, face horribly scarred. Three braids woven intricately behind her ears. 

 

You were given one last chance at redemption, as we all are. 

 

This voice was deep and inhuman. Echoing from behind a facemask of tapered bronzium. 

 

For the force willed it.

 

Another voice, this coming from a soot blackened face.. 

 

Who were we to deny the Force?

 

Came the voice of a Togorian, whose fur was tinged a deep shade of black. 

 

You were once one of us. But you did not learn.

 

Another masked face. This of hammered copper.

 

So many have sought your power. Your Pride.

 

A Red cloaked early humanoid. Bearing the ritual scarring of a follower of Na’Din. 

 

And the screams of countless thousands will finally be silenced.

 

A sightless Miraluka, face partially eaten away by an ancient consumption

 

The crown cracked. Its rough cut jewels shattering into into stardust. Below the crown, flesh began to peel and fade, as beauty and pride became bleached bones and frayed cloth. A mausoleum of Humanity.

 

You have freed us Jedi.

 

Finally the eyes in the room turned to Kyrie as the star above began to rapidly shrink. Its core finally eating the last of its iron heart. Red rays turned to gold, then to utter darkness. The only light coming from the burning mountaintops those these too faded.

 

Forgive us, for it was necessary. 

 

The haunted eyes of a thousand souls stared past the ruins of the high banquet. Past the ruins of the world itself. Into the heart of darkness. 

 

But you kept heart. 

 

The scarred girl spoke again, her halting tones carrying the old language of humanity with little grace. Her hand bloody touching the face of the Imperial Knight and Revanchist. The fingers rough but warm. 

 

For you are good.

 

The world flared bright white as the engine wash of the last transport filled the banquet hall. Its ramp lowered and its crew signally wildly. The warmth disappeared in that bright light, as did the thousand faces. 

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The Jedi Sentinel felt adrift in the power of the place. The vastness of power contorted by Jedi long dead. She breathed in a sharp breath, tasting the dying air with both her tongue and the probiscis of her species. It filled her lungs like molten lead, scalding and burning her insides, touching her heart with fire. She sighed out the breath, white flame twisting about her, curling around her skin.

 

Kyrie slipped a hand into the sifting world as the feasting hall fell into ash and sand, the final death of time’s march. A warm metallic touch came across her hand, and she brought it up, a circlet of silvered metal adorned with a sunstone of crystalline yellow. She placed it across her brow, letting it press into her braided hair and freckled skin. It carried a warmth within it which spread to her heart. A smile formed across her face as she ushered the remaining research teams onto the shuttles and leapt onto her own ship.

 

The White Death was empty now of visitors and researchers, and she preferred it that way. The Imperial Knight settled into the pilot’s seat, taking over for the autopilot and brought the YG-4210 to parallel with the rescue fleet. She kept her flight path between the fading star and the fleet, protecting them with herself as they all leapt into hyperspace.

 

A partially decoded message scrolled onto her screen, a feed from the Alliance’s intelligence grouping, a leftover of the ISB

 

“Felucia under Sith Attack.”

 

She let out a sigh and changed the flight pathing, bidding the dying world goodbye.

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