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A smile cracked across Inmortos face, the grease of his meal congealing in the corners of his mouth. “Goooooood.” he hissed gleefully as the force twisted and cracked in the air, the accursed blade coming into view.

 

A dark glee emanated from the shrouded Sith Lord. His plan was beginning to come together. He could not take his eyes off the weapon. He could feel it’s evil desire contained within it’s form. All part of the grand plan. It called silently, subtlety on the force, for anyone who could hear it; any mind and body that it might control to wrought it’s original owner’s darkest most base desires. To control such a weapon would unfathomably escalate the Necropolis Lord’s skills in bringing about death, death upon which to build his legacy. He just needed to best it.

 

Inmortos’ eyes stared at the weapon, regarding it hungrily, a predator pondering how best to take down it’s prey without being gored.

 

With a raised hand, he carefully shepherded the gilded box the sword had lifted from out of the table into the open room, gingerly enveloping the weapon in it’s padded embrace. He then maneuvered the box towards him, gingerly depositing it on the table in front of him. He could not take his eyes off of it as he stooped close to take in the ancient intricacies of the filigree covered sheath and hilt. Even the ancient battle damage was in a word, “exquisite.” He breathed the word in awe. The closer he was to the blade, the more he could feel the still tormented soul within the weapon, it’s owner long dead, searching for a host. Inmortos licked his lips hungrily. He wanted to grasp the hilt of the weapon, to draw it from it’s sheath, to wield it in a flurry of devastation. Scanning the weapon end from end, Inmortos resisted. He knew the dangers. He would not expose himself or the power before him to Nok Morliss. If the Nemodian did not know what he was giving up, it was not up to Inmortos to correct him. They had a deal.

 

Tearing his eyes from the weapon, Inmortos slammed the lid of the case shut, it’s latches swinging shut on a wave of dark power, sealing the sword within. It would remain there until Inmortos was in a safe location from which to combat the wraith within and master it. Glancing at the sloshing liquid in the aged vial, sealed with an unknown animal wax, Inmortos’ focus shifted again to Nok across the table. “They are the hallmark of our order, yet they may be your undoing.” He spoke a vague dark warning about the weapons he had just asked about as he tapped a gnarled and chipped fingernail atop the ash-infused glass. “The power you crave, the key to the doorway lay within. Drink it to the last drop Nok Morliss. But, only if you are strong enough to withstand the storm. Are you, Nok Morliss? Are you prepared to journey beyond the power you now have? To risk it all, to gain eternity? Take it, Nok Morliss, the power is at your fingertips to seize, if you crave it.”

 

With that, Inmortos tipped the stoppered vial forward, but before it could clatter to the table it arced through the air. The Sith Lord gingerly deposited the vial in front of his host. “Take. Drink. Such a cordial has not been tasted by mortal man in millennia.”

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Nok's own twinge of fear illuminate the vial to him. But to him it was simply...liquid.

 

A chemical? A drug?

 

Nothing I want to take in the presence of a stranger.

 

Nok smiled, his expression almost slimy in its falseness.

 

"Millennia? Quite a treat then." He stood. "I hope you don't mind if I retire to somewhere more comfortable to take it," he said, waving his hand absent-mindedly at the room. "Such power deserves a more fitting locale to be used." Of course, Nok intended to have the substance tested first, and he had no doubt Inmortos knew that without it needing to be stated. It would have been far more unusual for Nok to trust Inmortos.

 

Sith did not trust.

 

"Eat more if you like. Otherwise, consider my staff at your service. Explore the city if you like. I'll let you know when I'm ready to proceed with our business."

 

Nok walked out of the room.

 

When he was nearing his own chambers, he spoke to the Deepguard droids that had fallen in beside him as his bodyguards.

 

"Post Inmortos' picture in the database. Have the city's security cameras and droids observe him, but do not approach. I want him tracked, but from a distance."

 

"It will-," the droid on his left started.

 

"-be done, my lord," finished the droid on his right.

 

_________________________________________________________________________

 

4 hours later

 

"You're certain?" Nok asked, suspicion laced in his tone.

 

"Yes," the 2-1B surgical droid responded, "the drug appears to be nothing more than a mild hallucinogen. Uncommonly manufactured and with rare active ingredients, but the substances involved are all well documented and studied. There are some contaminants, likely caused by non-sterile processes, but nothing toxic or biologically reactive."

 

"And the test subjects?"

 

"All 6 subjects, human, quarren, and mon calamari, experienced the expected effects of relaxation and minor hallucinations. The same can be said for the remaining 18 subjects who were subjected to the synthesized copy. I've also compared the substances chemical makeup against your specific biological profile, and can find no potential reaction specific to your biochemistry." The droid cocked its head, a moment of rare personality shining through. "Honestly, sir, this stuff would barely be considered illegal on most worlds. Its not even addictive."

 

Nok frowned. Perhaps he'd been duped. Or perhaps the substance was intended to open the mind and make the user more susceptible to the Force's influence. A minor benefit, and certainly not what Nok paid for, but still...

 

A brief moment of fear and worry flashed through him. What if he was wrong?

 

No. The analysis was conclusive. And even if there was something unexpected, Nok had a full medical team present with the best toxicology and diagnostician databases downloaded into their high-quality brains. He was protected here.

 

"Very well. Monitor my signs, and be ready to flush my system of the substance if I signal it." He paused. "Or if my life is threatened."

 

The droid only whirred and flickered its optics in response.

 

Nok looked down at the vial, then downed it in one gulp.

 

He lay back on his bed and waited.

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Inmortos understood his host’s hesitation, even if it was masked behind an aura of excitement. He would have been shocked and disappointed if the self-proclaimed ruler of this world gad unstoppered it and downed the concoction without a hesitation. It would have made him just another pawn of the Sith, like so many mindless warriors that prowled Korriban and the like. This one though, craved power; yet was wary of it. He might go far if his love of corporeality could be realigned.

 

Inmortos did not rise as his host left. In fact, he barely raised a hand in wave as some sort of casual dismissal. Both parties seemed to have what they had come for. For the cameras that undoubtedly watched them, it would seem so. There was more. These traded barbs of Sith machinations were but the opening piece exchange on the dejarik board of their relationship.

 

It was only a matter of time before he was called back to deal with the piece Nok Morliss had claimed as his own. Surveilling the encased sword before him, Inmortos knew he had his own trial to undergo. 
 

Inmortos patted his bulging belly after Nok left. He diverted his gaze to the remains of the feast before him. He was full; full enough that the idea of another bite repulsed him.

 

Calling his heavy-headed cane to his hand, Inmortos pushed his chair back. It’s ornate legs scraping loudly across the equally decorative inlaid floor. He rose to his feet, reaching out to cradle the wooden box and it’s dark blade beneath his free arm. He could feel the tendrils of evil grasping at their bonds, their hunger seeking an outlet, someone worthy enough to take on the mantle the weapon’s previous master once carried. He could feel it. Inmortos knew he was not the supposed worthy warrior  the spirit sought. It did not matter; he had no doubt that he could master it. It was mind over matter. It was that simple. With the dark side as his weapon, he would master this dark dirk just as he mastered death.

 

With his trophy tucked away and his cane in hand, Inmortos turned. He did not need Nok Morliss servants. They were no more than spies and pawns; spies and pawns that were living, not Inmortos’. The skeleton of a man shuffled out of the hall and down the walkways back towards his ship. It was the only place on this world that Inmortos felt that he could expose himself to the dangers of the sword. Inmortos had read and read, he academically knew what to expect; but he was not going to allow Nok or his henchmen to see him in such a way; not that Nok would not have his own turmoils to address. That concoction had been altered especially for the Nemoidian, not biologically, but for his soul. It would open him up to the faintest suggestions, make them real, plunge the Nemodian into a world of his own creation. All he needed was the right nudge and his deepest fears, innermost turmoils, and faintest neuroses would become a reality that bound the Sithling to his own soul. Inmortos would return to him when  the time was right, to conclude his baptism of darkness. For now though?

 

As the door of his ship sludged shut behind him, Inmortos heard the locks engage. It was a simple enough distraction to pull the heat from the air, and seal the exit amongst a tomb of permafrost inside and out. It took some time, but the ship was soon enough encased in an opaque crystalline tomb of stagnation made matter, frigid and lifeless.

 

Only then, when he was sure that he was entirely alone did Inmortos set down the ornate wooden case atop a workstation table. Gently, with almost a holy reverence, Inmortos undid  the clasps and opened the box. As he did, a wave of invisible lust poured over him, inviting anyone who felt worthy to clasp the carved hilt of the needled black blade. The Sith runes seemed to almost glow a soulless black that radiated as it drew in the light about them. Inmortos could almost hear the desire to destroy radiating from the weapon, all he need do was reach out and take it and the battle of wills would begin.

 

Reaching out his knobby hand, Inmortos clasped the weapon. A surge of darkness pulsed from the weapon up through the Sith Lord’s hand. Inmortos’ veins bulged and vibrated beneath the tidal surge of power. He sharply drew his breath, inadvertently lowering the temperature  in the ship by several degrees. 
 

Move number two was underway.

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At first, nothing happened.

 

Nok lay there, long moments sliding past. At first, he waited patiently. Then, he grew confused. Then irritated. Then frustrated.

 

"Why does it not work?"

 

The droid offered no response.

 

Then Nok realized he couldn't sense the droid, despite his growing anger. Nok couldn't sense anything at all.

 

"What is-" Nok said as he stood up from the bed.

 

There was no floor.

 

Nok plummeted, or at least he thought he did. No air moved past him, he couldn't see, yet vertigo so intense it almost made him vomit sent his stomach into his ribcage.

 

The substance had not been a simple hallucinogen.

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On instinct, Inmortos inhaled. It was as if he had been struck firmly in the gut by an unseen beskar fist. He would have doubled over but for raw fury that seemed to course from the aura of the blade through his hand and through his form. It was as if liquid fire boiled his blood within the prematurely-aged necromancer’s veins. Accustomed to cold, Inmortos cried out in pain. It was not in words, but a bestial roar of pain, of agony, of rage.

 

The blade pulsed in the Sith’s hand. Through the fog of pain and smoke of rage that coursed through the air and his body, Inmortos tried to steel his own mind against the spirit contained within the blade. It fought him. It sought to contain the spirt and will of the wizard so as to use his body as a vessel to accomplish it’s unfinished will.

 

Inmortos was no mere mind to be trifled with, possessed as a toy and cast aside when the fun was over. No. He was a master of more than his own physical form. He was a Lord of the Sith, a practitioner of the most profane arts, one who bent the force to his own will and was not controlled by it. If the force bowed to him, this spirit would be no different.

 

Still, as he fought, every nerve ablaze, he was not victorious. Yet, he was not victorious yet. 
 

 “You are not worthy. You are but a morsel; chewed, forgotten. Give me your body. I will give you a flash of worth before you die.”  A masculine voice reverberated throughout the ship, rattling the walls and toppling anything not secured. It spoke with disgust and disdain. It’s formless words seemingly spat from unseen lips. It had measures Inmortos and seemed to have found him wanting. In those words, the presence of the ancient spirit entrapped in the blade surged, grasping at Inmortos mind.
 

Inmortos could feel the spirit’s blackened tendrils of hunger clawing at the fringes of his mind. He tried to form words to respond. He couldn’t. All that escaped his mouth was a slurred “Guuuuuhhhhh,” as a strand of saliva drizzled downwards from his lips and dangled from his jaw. Even forming the words in his mind seemed lacking as Inmortos felt the spirit’s hold cementing.

 

“Weak. Pathetic. A vessel to carry me to a more worthy slave.” the dark voice scoffed. The whirlwind of it’s power intensified within the ship. It tore at the icy walls Inmortos had crafted sending shards of glassy blades into the air before melting them in the heat of it’s rage. The words that emanated from the void before now fell from Inmortos’ own maw, the spirit having gained a foothold within the mind and body of the frail Sith.

 

Inmortos could feel his control being torn from him. It slipped away, cell by cell, as the spirit claimed any recess of his mind not possessed by the power of the dark side. Any portion of Inmortos that he had not gilded in dark desire was endangered. He was not conquered; not yet; not by a long shot. Inmortos felt the spirit surging against his weaknesses. His physicality may have been his vulnerability; but where his form lacked and his mind was ravaged, his will would prevail.

 

Inmortos buried himself in the darkness of the force itself. He called forth the darkness of death, the despair of life, and mentally threw it back against the warrior spirit. The spirit betrayed itself. Powered by passion and rage, it was a herald of death and destruction. Inmortos, on the other hand, was not a mere herald. He was a master of death, toying with the line and breaking it, shaping death and life as he saw fit. Most Sith reveled in destruction and that is where Inmortos would succeed. They tore down, he used the darkness, used death, to build. Visions of impregnable fortresses and frozen impassible tundras filled his mind, thrown up in defense to the destruction the spirit threw forth in unrelenting assault.

 

As the battle for Inmortos’ mind raged, elsewhere within the city another battle was commencing. Nok Moriss had consumned the elixir. The mysterious draught had been crafted to Inmortos’ direct specifications. Amongst it’s chemical properties, it bound the consumer to the necromancer. It’s catalyst; the force itself, a poison beyond the realms of simple medicine and one that would prevail until it was purged in its entirety.

 

In that moment, Inmortos felt the bond pull taught, like a chain of darkbess that linked Morliss’ soul to his own. It was a distraction. It was enough. As Inmortos’ attention was turned to the plan that he had all but forgotten within the maelstrom, the malevolent spirit sensed the recession of the tide and swelled against the momentarily weakened walls of Inmortos mental defenses. It was enough to pull Inmortos back to the battle at hand. Nok Morliss was unimportant now. This vorpal blade and it’s dark passenger were more than the Sith had expected. Something this powerful had been held in the collection of an unknown Sithling? How? What other secrets did the blind lizard possess?

 

They were thoughts that passed briefly through Inmortos’ mind before being seized and consumed by the gnawing hunger of the spirit. It was taking more and more. Inmortos sank to his knees, both hands wrapped white-knuckle tight about the hilt of the weapon. Even it’s weight was too much as the blade fell to the floor, slicing into the durablast flooring several inches. Inmortos could not release the blade if he tried. The spirit willed it. It would claim Inmortos as it’s own. It would use his frail body to once again bring havoc to the stars until a more suitable warrior might be found. Inmortos mind continued to fall, secrion by section. The distraction had allowed it to breach the walls of dreams that had repelled it. The spirit began to sift, consume, weigh and evaluate Inmortos’ deepest secrets, his darkest desires. The Sith lord laid bare like a book of yore. Each a weapon in its’ own right to one that knew how to wield it.

 

Words were unimportant now, all the spirit had to do was poke a memory, drag it to the surface and expose it and Inmortos did the rest.

 

The death of his parents.

 

The deaths of countless others, buried and forgotten.

 

The initial concern with death before the galaxy returned to a normal flow. Each life snuffed out as if it were nothing.

 

The corpses of the reanimated dead, stripped of individuality and purpose beyond the will of the necromancer.

 

All of these memories swirled with countless others of rejection, failure,  hopelessness. Each memory opened Inmortos up more, allowing the spirit to dig with impunity through Inmortos. It was almost as if the spirit took a sick glee in torturing the Sith. It’s laughter carried in the force itself, dark and evil and entertained entwined with hunger and rage.

 

This continued for who knew how long. Inmortos’ defenses had been overwhelmed. His body was all but possessed. The spirit delighted in Inmortos’ suffering. It continued to dredge up painful memories, morph them, combine them, rewrite even happy ones all to destroy the man within and leave whatever remained a quivering mass of ethereal plasma that could not harm a thing.

 

It was then that the spirit pulled forth the core that had carried Inmortos to this place. The fear emerged from the depths like a specter of yore, swathed in the billowing robes of death as it stared down into an unmarked grave. It was a grave that contained Inmortos himself. Alone on an uncharted world without a soul to be seen or sensed. Buried, dead, forgotten before he even cooled. No one and nothing to remember his name. Fear. It was palpable. It was everywhere. It was everywhere. Fear drove Inmortos even if he would never admit it.

 

The spirit of the sword cackled in glee as it shoved the memory against the last vestiges of Inmortos’ being. Crippling fear thrown against a forgotten death. It was a fear that Inmortos had used to drive himself. It was his base. It was his core.

 

Inmortos felt the fear. It was a fear he had sworn he would conquer. It was a fear that drove him and gave him purpose and power. It was that fear now that gave Inmortos pause as he fell back against the onslaught. He could not be driven any further. He would be forgotten in an instant.

 

And so it was that fear that Inmortos clung to. It could not be twisted or morphed into anything worse. He had held it and nurtured it for years. Grasping this fear, Inmortos cast it onto the spirit in an effort to drive it back. He would not be conquered, not by this. He had seen fear. He did not fear this spirit. He only feared what would happen if he failed. He would not fail. Like a bludgeon, Inmortos flailed his core like a chained mace against the lesser weapons formed from his own shadowy mind. He had one fear that he had mastered and from it, all others would be driven back.

 

The ancient spirit continued to fight, casting whatever it could grasp at the weapon Inmortos clung to within his mind.

 

On the deck of the ship, Inmortos’ body flopped forward driving the blade deeper into the floor and the hilt into his own gut. The glowlamps surged and burst in a chain reaction one after another. The icy cold about them surged with the internal surge of Inmortos responsive assault to retake himself, bathing the darkness in an icy grasp that fought against the fiery rage of the spirit.

 

Ever so slowly, the spirit gave up the mental ground it had claimed. It refused to be cast back into the blade. It refused to be imprisoned for eternity once again. So as it’s own power was forces back, it followed whatever lines of escape it might find, grasping, shaking, and manipulating whatever it could find. Memories, feelings, emotions all were weaponized and cast about in a maelstrom of destructive energy.

 

The easiest means of escape: the phantasmal chain that bound Inmortos to Nok.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nok fell.

 

He crawled through a field of waving grass, the Onderon sunset casting orange streams through the waving shadows. He stood over his eldest sister's corpse, the last of his siblings to die. Now it was a howlrunner. Now it was him.

 

Still he fell.

 

He couldn't breathe.

 

He couldn't think.

 

But he could see.

 

There. Grasping, clawing, reaching, clutching, something held him, dragged him down. Nok was pulled down, and as the thing coiled around him and flowed through his mind like ice water, he sensed it. He felt it as if it was himself. It hated. It rejoiced. It conquered.

 

Nok recoiled from the malevolent thing, and on some level he knew this was more than a dream. It was far too real to be a dream, and far to real too be the mundane world of light and base, solid mass. Here, things simply were. And this thing...Nok knew it more and more with each second it soaked through his soul. It would consume him. It would be him.

 

Nok screamed. The creature screamed with him.

 

Dead in the cold and dark.

 

The words came with a hard bite that they'd never had. Before they'd been a whisper, then a scream. Now they were a icy knife plunging through him, leaving nothing but the dead, evil thing that spoke to him with dark joy.

 

Suddenly, he was solid. He was real. It was like lying in bed, paralyzed and numb.

 

Dead in the cold and dark.

 

No.

 

He lay on the ground, tall, indistinct figures surrounding him.

 

Dead in the cold and dark.

 

No!

 

They stared down at him in mute judgment. They didn't hate him. He wasn't worth their hate. Only their brief irritation.

 

Nok was powerless. Nok was weak. Nok had nothing.

 

Nok was nothing.

 

The faces, indistinct, flickered to ones he recognized. Most were neimoidians, countless greedy, conniving fellows who had looked at Nok with...disgust. Almost pity.

 

No. He had won. He'd tricked them. He'd...

 

Cheated.

 

No!!!

 

Worth nothing.

 

I'll kill you!

 

Hollow, black laughter was his response. It shook the world, and the dark figures dissolved, along with Nok's vision.

 

Nok fell again. The creature's grip grew tighter. Nok could feel its anticipation. It wanted out.

 

...Out from where?

 

The creature attacked with new viciousness, and for a few moments Nok thought he was lost.

 

...Those who surrender

 

The unearthly shriek of joy mixed with panic filled Nok's mind as the creature struggled to grind the last of his soul away.

 

...Deserve to be consumed.

 

Nok grasped that thought, a hard gem that creature struck again and again.

 

You failed! Strike. You were blinded! Strike. You only take from those too weak to stop you! Strike.

 

Then it's slimy, slippery tendril closed on something. Buried deep, deep within, it grasped it with glee and pulled it forth.

 

You didn't kill the second howlrunner. Strike.

 

You were scared. 

 

Crack.

 

Nok saw it again. He relived it. Those few seconds standing before the second howlrunner, the terror of his own potential death freezing his hands.

 

Coward. Failure. Weakling.

 

Nobody.

 

Nok tried to scream, but his thoughts flowed like congealed duracrete.

 

This...this was wrong.

 

Yes, he'd been scared.

 

But so had the howlrunner.

 

He saw it, tearing away the veil the entity had thrown over his memory. The howlrunner backed away, panicking at the smell of its dead mate. It had been terrified of Nok. It had...

 

NO!!!

 

The beast had lowered its head. In surrender.

 

I never surrendered.

 

The creature clawed, but Nok's strength returned as the creature's cold lies and truths alike were pushed back.

 

I never surrendered!

 

Nok clutched at the creature now, and it squirmed, digging its ethereal claws into his mind over and over again, tearing his mind apart. He could sense its intention. If it couldn't have Nok, it would destroy him first.

 

I never surrendered!!! Now GET OUT!

 

Nok threw the beast away into the inky void, and readied himself for whatever came next.

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Inmortos lay on the deck of his own ship panting. All about him the air swirled within invisible jetties, buffeted by the ragings of the dark side of the force. In his hands, he still clasped the hilt of the cursed rapier. He would not let go. He refused. Even if he could, the spirit within clung to him with such strength that he would not have been able to unwrap his fingers from where they were frozen about the hilt.
 

Blue icy tendrils laced down the length of the weapon equally as they traced intricate lightning-like patterns along the veiny bulges of the decrepit Sith Lord’s arms. A combination of the dark forces that dueled for control within the void. Cold, dark, and devoid of life; the siege continued. The spirit’s anger surged against the inky walls of fear that Inmortos cast to meet it. He would not be forgotten. All would know his name. No damned spirit condemned to an eternity of servitude imprisoned within a single blade would stop it. He would die one day. Not today. He would die free and resting upon a throne of power, not whilst striving to achieve it. “Not. This. Day.” he snarled grasping the icy cold nothingness and hurling it against the attack.


Icy winds surged from Inmortos’ mouth entering the maelstrom, lowering the temperature within several degrees. Ice and death held back the inmortal

memory of the current    
 

fires of rage and lust. Even as the Spirit fought to keep the ground it had gained, it slipped against the slick freezing exteriornthst coated the core, coated the soul of Inmortos. The more it grasped, the more he pushed back.

 

The spirit refused to be contained. It would not be driven back to his eternal prison. He had tasted freedom and knew he had but find a host to wield his power. A victim to carry forth his will until he could grow in strength, taking another host, then another and another until he could reform a body of his own. It would be one forged by hate, lust, desire, passion; sustained by the desire to lay waste to all in his path.
 

The colossal clash of a titan of yore and the immortality of a life that existed in the present and would for eternity rocked the the ship, cracking the ice it was embedded in. 
 

Inmortos slowly backed the spirit from the recesses of his mind and body. He forced it backwards, condensing it’s power into a smaller and smaller space in his body. It held against being forced back into the sword. Eventually as it flailed and raged, rocking Inmortos’ body, causing his limbs to flail and the sword to slash against the walls carving deep furrows, the spirit began to bleed. It would not be crushed. It would not be contained. So it bled.

 

Finding a way of escape from being pinned against the aura of the blade, the spirit found an opening. It surged forth. Distance did not matter, what mattered was that it allowed the spirit to escape the crushing press of crystalizing tendrils of ice and the darkness of death. At the other end, another maelstrom raged. It was different, defenses and attacks were thrown about with little concern for the newly arrived presence.

 

The spirit followed the bridge that linked Inmortos to Nok, a creation of the elixir. Behind it surged the cold tendrils of ice and voids of death that Inmortos pushed after it.  “You will not escape me!”

 

Into the maelstrom, the spirit threw itself, his rage and desire mingling with the chaos of the storm as it sought a foothold from which to fester and grow. It would find a servant and with it, be it Nok, Inmortos, or another, he would rule.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It returned. Whatever it was...beast, nightmare, spirit...it returned, furious and desperate.

 

No tricks this time. No hunting for hidden weaknesses. It meant to take Nok once and for all, power versus power, will versus will.

 

It came like an icy wind that stripped Nok of his fine robes, tearing them from his body as if they had been threadbare rags. Then it took his skin. Then the flesh beneath. His warmth. His blood. His bones. In Nok's nightmare, it stole them all.

 

Then it began to take Nok's mind.

 

First came his things. He saw vaults of nova crystals, chromium, and gold. He saw piles of relics and trophies, stuffed beasts he'd never hunted and fine gems he'd stolen. Bit by bit, piece by piece, they turned grey and disintegrated. The vision around him whirled and the icy wind of the spirit screamed in joy.

 

It was going to unmake him.

 

Next came his servants. Rows upon rows of droids lined up before his eyes, each programmed to serve one purpose, to serve one man. Nok was their universe, their reason for powering on, their reason for thinking at all. As he watched, they too turned gray and fell to dust.

 

Nok could feel his soul unraveling.

 

Now it turned its attention to his power. Memories played before Nok like holofilms. He saw himself as a young man, slitting the throat of his youngest sister. He saw the explosion at Hallax Industrial HQ as his bidding competitor's lifelong dream went down in rubble. He saw himself wielding the Force for the first time, touching that immense infinity that lurked just beyond sight. One by one, the monster devoured them all.

 

Possessions, servants, power...it took them all. What was left of Nok?

 

He was hollow. A fragile shell on the brink of collapse. He was nothing. He knew nothing...

 

...nothing but desire.

 

He wanted. He wanted so badly it burned. With each thing the spirit had taken from his mind, his hunger had only grown. It wasn't the simple greed of a neimoidian. It was the searing, blistering desire of the grub that had killed his nestmates for their food long before he grew hungry. It was the young businessman who'd crouched and slept in a crate for three days to plant an explosive. It was the hands that had dug through a mess of guts, blood, and body parts for a single jeweled brooch, even as the imperial forces continued their purge block by block.

 

Nok was empty, and that was what defined him.

 

And this spirit had only strengthened that.

 

Those...are mine

 

Whether it was the Force or some quirk of this nonsensical, nightmare realm, the world responded to Nok's desire. His mind reached out like a spectral claw, and he felt it tear into the spirit, plucking away the mental pieces it had snatched from Nok. He tore into the thing, ripping what was rightfully his from its mind before digging the claws in even further. Nok saw glimpses of the spirit's mind. Of its desires. Of its fear.

 

Nok saw the sword.

 

His lip curled in glee.

 

You were mine...but not anymore!

 

Nok hurled the spirit away, back where it had come from.

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It took hours for Inmortos to drive the spirit entirely from his mind and body. He never let go of the sword, even as he slumped to the floor. The Sith Lord’s limbs lolled to either side of him as he gasped for air in the still coolness of his ship.

 

In the distance Inmortos could still feel the spirit as it beat a trail down the path of least resistance. It howled and slashed digging for freedom. The Sith Lord did not care. For a moment, the struggle was over. How long he lay there, the decrepit Sith did not know. It was hours more. Hours in which Inmortos’ hunger manifested. His fingers tightened around the hilt of the blade. With it, he knew he could stride forth with an edge to control the living. In death, he would be remembered forever.

 

Carefully, Inmortos began to pick himself up from the frigid durasteel floor. His breath hung crystalized in the air. Adjusting his disheveled robes, Inmortos’ cast his gaze about for a place to secure his newfound weapon. The ship was destroyed. The power of the force had torn the nearly empty craft asunder. Arcing wires hung low, light panels flickered against the shadows, the smell of melted plastics and electrical burning hung in the cold.

 

And then things changed, the calm was beset by an audible howling and a wind that whistled through the ship coming from nowhere and everywhere. The demanding spirit careened back along the expanse that joined Inmortos and Nok. It’s hunger, hatred, and darkness struck Inmortos’ mind like a jackhammer, sending the Sith Lord sprawling back to the floor with a crash. The sword nearly leapt from his hand, but Inmortos reached up grasping it  with all the strength he could muster.

 

With a new surge of vengeful power, the spirit drove it’s claws into Inmortos’ soul only to be met by an icy wall of hunger. The spirit’s claws raked the ice, opening wounds that sucked it in. Inmortos would consume it. There was nothing this long dead spirit could offend or offer, imprisoned within a vorpal blade, cursed to an existence of servitude to a worthy master.

 

Inmortos was that master. He knew it. He would make it so.

 

With a cry of anguish and anger Inmortos allowed the spirit to flow into his soul, to rake it’s vengeful claws against that which made Inmortos who he was, to taste life and inmortality. With a colossal heave that caused the temperature to drop significantly, freezing any moisture in the air, and drawing on the life forces in all directions for miles, casting a shadow of the reaper on any it touched, Inmortos grasped the spirit within the icy walls of death of his own soul and funneled it along a slippery slide. Back along his arms and into the weapon itself, the Sith channeled the spirit before slamming his mind shut against the call of the weapon imprisoning it back within it’s cage.

 

Inmortos could feel the spirit rattling within the weapon, raging for release. It longed to rule, to destroy, it would not allow this weak sorcerer to contain him. Inmortos could hear the spirit screaming in the back of his mind. Eventually he hoped to tune it out; but for now, Inmortos was content to have conquered the blade and inhabitant within.

 

Picking himself up from the floor again, Inmortos leaned heavily on the ravaged wall beside a jutting spear of twisted metal clung to by icy tentacles that crackled with electric energy. Regarding the blackened blade in his hand, Inmortos shoved the weapon between his belt and robe. It was not a deserving place for such a forbidden evil blade. It would have to do.

 

His eyelids were heavy. Inmortos’ soul was ragged. The Sith Lord’s power was ravaged and hungering. He had won. That is what mattered. Even as he felt weakened, Inmortos was not defeated. Slowly the Sith extended his hand out into the air before him reaching along the drug-induced tendon towards Nok’s soul. He felt the power, the emptiness, the greed. He smiled darkly as he twisted the tendrils of life all about them, pulling them along towards death and driving that energy along their bond. Life and death blended together as it surged from Inmortos to Nok grinding against one another in a cacophony of gnashing teeth and a maw of destruction.

 

“Morliss, this spirit is mine. Now taste the truth. Life and death stretch beyond mere things. Use them or be consumed by them; lost within their grasp.”

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Nok sat up in his bed. Around him, medical devices beeped as they projected what were no doubt concerning data that Nok was blind to. The 2-1B surgical droid tapped rapidly on one of the wall displays, then halted midtouch. It turned, and for a moment stared at Nok in a way he could only describe as dumbfounded.

 

"What...what happened?"

 

"I do not know, master. You were in a form of REM sleep, yet you skipped the initial stages, and I can find no evidence of what caused the sudden shift. The drug burned through your system at an accelerated rate. I suspect a foreign catalyst, but I have yet to locate it. It's possible it may have been dissolved in your bloodstream already."

 

No...it was not physical.

 

Nok could still feel it. Like a thread wafting in the still air, one end knotted around his little finger.

 

The thread pulled taut.

 

Nok, finally regaining some semblance of his mind, braced himself for the spirit.

 

It was not the spirit that came, but a storm. A blizzard.

 

Nok screamed, slamming down to the ground as if he'd been shoved by some invisible hand. Mindless, howling noise and power tore through his mind and body. It was everything. It was life, it was existence, it was death, it was oblivion. It was the Force ITSELF! Like corpse worms, it burrowed through Nok, trailing searing heat and the cold of death wherever it touched.

 

Nok struggled, the small part of him that remembered what it had been like to unravel into the Force before. But this wasn't unraveling, this was being torn apart! He thrashed and ripped at the threads of the Force that he could manage to grasp, but it only added to the maelstrom. Devices, furniture, and the droid all rose into the air and began slamming and crashing around the room, the screeching and clanging of metal adding to the riot in the Force that only Nok could hear.

 

Dead in the cold and dark.

 

The vision returned. But not like before. Before it had been a muffled, veiled thing. Terrible like the shadow of a falling moon, but a shadow still. This was the full thing. And it devoured him.

 

Empty, broken, quivering on the ground of the medical chamber. Yet Nok was also looking down at himself, a towering figure wrapped in shadow. The chill of death ate at the pathetic figure cringing beneath him. The prone Nok shivered, struggling to keep warm, despite knowing his death had come. The towering Nok grimaced in disgust.

 

"Wait..." the cringing Nok said, haltingly. "This isn't right. This isn't...no...NO!"

 

The towering Nok stepped forward, his shadowy figure multiplying until the weak, dying Nok on the floor was surrounded by terrible, indistinct figures. Nok saw himself through both sets of eyes, and for a fragment of a moment he had clarity.

 

"I'm...you have to stop! You're losing yourself! This isn't what we wanted! This desire will never end! It will destroy us! We are wealthy! We are powerful! We have ENOUGH!"

 

Then his mind broke once more, and Nok was in two places again. In the cowering wretch on the floor, and in the shadowy figures surrounding him.

 

Shivering, impossibly cold yet not the least bit numb, the weak Nok felt things he had long thought buried. Regret at killing his own siblings. Disgust at his underhandedness. A brotherly affection for some of his subordinates.

 

And above all, he felt the emptiness. That emptiness had been with him whenever he gazed upon his new treasures, or when he thought about all he had amassed over the decades.

 

Hollow, the Nok prone on the floor soon could not muster the strength to even shiver anymore. His skin turned black with frostbite, and his mouth dribbled blood that froze his lips together.

 

Meanwhile, the standing Nok's were unaffected by the cold. They saw what the weak one couldn't. They felt what the weak one refused to. They touched the Force.

 

The Force was in everything. It was in the air, in the water, in every beat of every heart. It was entwined with every thought, it riddled every dream, and to it the void between stars was nothing but an infinitesimal speck. The Force flowed through the very fabric of the universe.

 

And Nok could command it.

 

Life was power. Through power came control. Through control came ownership. Through ownership came godhood. For what was a god but the being that owned your soul?

 

This emptiness could be filled.

 

As if the weak Nok could read the mind of the powerful one, he struggled to speak, lips tearing as the seal of frozen blood tore his skin.

 

"No...stop. Please...we didn't want this...

 

We just wanted to survive."

 

All of the towering Nok's gazed down at their weaker counterpart.

 

"It's not enough."

 

One of the powerful Nok's raised his foot, and with a dull, anti-climactic thump, he brought it down on the weak Nok's head. It shattered like porcelain, frozen into brittle bone and dead flesh.

 

The remaining Nok's turned, and as one they left their wretch of a soul behind. Dead in the cold and dark.

 

In the physical world, Nok's scream had become a rasp as his voice had given out, his body helpless to act with the mind occupied. But the storm did not slow. It swirled around Nok like a force of nature, but as what remained of Nok's mind emerged from his vision-induced stupor, something else emerged from the center of a storm. Nok's will, hard as steel formed in the eye of the maelstrom, and Nok rasp of pain turned to a growl of rage and pure, primal denial of his own death.

 

He flung his arms open wide and raised his voice in one last, rough cry, and he drew the power of life and death into himself.

 

He doubled over, and the sound of muscle stretching and bones creaking filled the room. His skin, once an unhealthy shade of pale green, lost any remaining color, turning into a dull, lifeless gray. It stretched taut over his hands, legs, and face, forcing his body into a permanent hunch, his hands curled into claws even as his lips drew back in a rictus grin. The black corruption spreading from his eyes blossomed like a grotesque flower, spreading across the remaining of his upper face and stretching long, thin lines of rot and foulness along his jaw and down his neck.

 

Power was what the Dark Side offered, and Nok had taken all he could from the storm of life energy. This twisting of flesh was a petty price.

 

Then it was calm. Nok slowly rose, as much as he could with his warped, hunched form. He sensed the room around him. The machines lay broken on the floor. The surgical droid's chest had been sheared clean through from one shoulder to the opposite him, as if someone had grabbed it and twisted until something tore. Its eyes flickered briefly, perhaps attempting to serve its master as its programming dictated, but then the little lights went out for good.

 

Nok saw his broken tools, his broken droid, and it kindled something inside of him. Rage.

 

"How...how dare you" he rasped. Then, his voice growing stronger, he screamed, "HOW DARE YOU!!!"

 

They were his! They belonged to him! He wanted them to function! How dare they cease!? They obeyed the dictates of reality before their master's will!

 

HOW DARE THEY!

 

Nok's mechu-deru extended out, and his will was made manifest.

 

He commanded the droid to function. It was cut off from its power supply. A fact that was nothing in comparison to its master's desires. Cables snaked out to link it with what remained of its lower torso, and power flooded its circuits.

 

But it wasn't enough. The storm of power he had taken in was too much to hold. It was destroying him!

 

His attention turned to his possessions.

 

"SERVE ME!!!" he screamed.

 

The power within him flooded out, his mechu-deru the open channel it needed. It flowed into every cable, servo, processing unit, and power supply in a thousand feet. The eyes of droid guards burst into showers of sparks before they collapsed in smoking heaps on the floor. Lights exploded in rapid succession. Power supplies ruptured and and exploded, spilling fire and acid into hallways. But it still wasn't enough! The power flooded further, into the very walls and doors of the structure. Metal shrieked as door motors slammed on and twisted the steel around them. Girders bent as the mechanisms inside disassembled and reassembled into nightmarish combinations over and over again. The building shuddered as the entire structure twisted and shook itself almost apart in the wave of power channeling through its machines.

 

Then, like the last bit of light of dusk finally falling behind the horizon, the torrent of energy stopped. Nok lay on the floor, and the only sound was the sparking of broken technology and the Sith Lord's rasping breath.

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From his tomb of a ship, encrusted in ice, Inmortos felt the irrefutable power of desperation, desire, and the festering of rage at being denied. It swirled together on the tendrils of the purest energies of the force. A twisted smile parted the Sith Lord’s mouth, ichor dribbling from the corners. He cackled quietly in the silence. Finally, the baron of Mon Cal had felt the truth. Finally he had traversed beyond. He could now learn the deeper truths that transcended mere life, time, space, and the physical worlds so many bound themselves to. Nok Morliss would be forgotten. In his place, an unforgettable nova of darkness would erupt.

 

With a wave of his hand, the Firrerreo called his heavy Ithorian wood can to his hand, the metallic hilt smooth against his fragile flesh. It was time. With slow heavy footfalls the Sith left his ship, the icy encasements shattering at the necromancer’s touch, his heavy midnight robes hanging loose about his form.

 

______________________________
 

 Thump.   Thump.   Thump.

 

Inmortos’ cane fell heavily against the uneven floors that had once been Nok Morliss’ secure medical facility. An orb of entropic energy had been all it took to gain access to the twisted and warped hallways. Darkness reigned here. It was a presence that fell heavily upon the mind and soul. Pedestrians and passerbys gave the area a wide berth unsure of what was going on, but innately feeling the somber unholiness of the place.  As if the cracked roadways and twisted building jutting upwards was not enough.

 

The hallway was silent save for the spray of sparks that occasionally fell from a twisted fixture like a waterfall of yellow energy. These flashes of light were all that illuminated the Sith Lord’s way. They were unneeded. Each tap of his cane, each footfall carried with it a sense of eternal forboding. Each step was sure across the uneven jagged surfaces that had been twisted by the maelstrom of Nok’s fruition. Inmortos mind churned, a vortex of unfathomable depth. His conscious plodding mingled seamlessly with the numerous histories that were contained in his decaying mind. 
 

Reaching what had been the last secured door before Nok’s private medical chamber, Inmortos did not stop. The blast door that dangled by a power cord was of no concern; nor was the door that had been driven through the wall and lay crumpled in the hallway. Inside it was black. Electricity crackled unseen behind the walls. There was not a photoceptor to be seen. The mechanized temple of the Nemodian had been rendered void. Within Inmortos sensed one thing, one life; and it was devastated. It was unleashed.

 

Moving forward, the Sith Lord slowly and directly made his way to the heaving Sithling. He poked the mass on the floor with the worn end of his staff. “Get up. You have been weighed by the force and found acceptable. Do not lie like the dead or be treated as such.”

 

Inmortos waited until the wretched husk of a being slumped himself to a standing position. Then with a heave he pulled the neuranium ceremonial dagger from the end of his cane. The wooden haft tumbled to the ground with a clatter. The heavy weapon hung in the air, an unholy energy reverberating about the blade. Without a word, Inmortos lunged forward, ubtil his blade pierced Nok’s flesh. “O waed yn tywallt bywyd. o fywyd, marwolaeth. Mewn marwolaeth mae meidrolion yn cael eu hanghofio i ddifrod amser.” Inmortos chanted, his voice low and crackling with dark side energies. He drove the blade deep into the rotted flesh of the Nemoidian; the Sithling’s blood spurting and spewing forth in warm sticky gouts.

 

 

“Goresgyn amser,”  he growled. The energies of Nok’s lifeblood literally boiling forth into the air in a steam that the necromancer inhaled. Nok slid from the blade and fell to the floor in a puddle of his own blood. Standing over the once-apprentice, Inmortos regarded him in the dark, his voice booming through the still air as it swirled with mystic energies. “Cwympo marwol. Codi anfarwol. Krath Apothos! Gods do not bleed!” The Sith Lord fell silent, waiting to see if Nok would rise and fill his newfound name. It was not a Darth. It was more apt, more ancient, more befitting one of which Inmortos would stride beside for a time building his own sanctuary. This man would become like a god to these lessers. They would serve him and in the shadows, in their deaths, they would serve Inmortos. No, he was no darth. He was more. This wretched sorcerer before him was a Krath, not bound to serve and fall in battle, but to carry on his faithful charge unto eternity. 
 

“Rise!”

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For a moment, the only sound was the sputtering of sparks. Blood pooled outward from Nok's prone form.

 

Then he twitched. Like a stunned insect, the hunched body of the neimoidian blindly flexed and felt around him. Then slowly, slowly, he began to rise. His legs weakly scrabbled against the floor and were no help, and his near useless arms could barely extend themselves to a right angle, much less push him up. Instead, he rose as if suspended on strings, until his stooped body rested on his feet. Where once Nok had been tall, he now curled over in a permanent hunch. His skin was drawn tight across his body, looking as if it might tear with the slightest movement. And the black, corrupted flesh had exploded over his head, with tracing lines running along his jaw and neck.

 

Blood stained his chest an ugly red, and it continued to run down his soiled, shredded robe, darkening the fabric where it touched. Nok breathed in a heavy rasp, and for a moment, it was difficult to tell if he was fully concscious. Then he extended his hand, gray skin turning white where he forced the fingers to straighten, and the remains of the medical diagnostic station slid over to him, screeching and sending up sparks as metal scraped against metal.

 

He tightened his hand into a fist, and bits of the plating and equipment tore themselves from the mass of useless electronics and floated over to Nok, arranging themselves over the deep knife wound.

 

Inhaling, then exhaling, Nok called upon the depths of the Force he had willingly lost himself to, and willed the Replacement power of mechu-deru to save the failing prison of his flesh.

 

Metal bent over the open gash, cables wound under his skin, tubes that had carried lubricant and coolant replaced the severed blood vessels, and in a few moments the bleeding had stopped.

 

Where a small knife wound had once been, a mass of metal and lights covered a 6" diameter at the center of Nok's chest. With every beat of his heart, the lights pulsed, and as the seconds passed the pulses grew steadier as his heart founds its strength again.

 

"Your...lesson...was appreciated." Nok rasped, his voice hoarse and weak but more certain than it had ever been. "You have held up your end of the bargain. You have a place here...Inmortos." The Nok cocked his head. "What you called me...Krath...Krath Apothos." If possible, his rictus grin spread a little wider. "Yes...Nok is dead. He surrendered. He settled. And so he was devoured. Krath Apothos rules the skies of Mon Calamari...and soon more." He turned his blind gaze to the Sith who had broken his chains and set his soul free. "Darth Inmortos...was that a lie? I have met...Darths...before. Limited, blind creatures. You do not strike me as such."

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A gleeful evil radiated across Inmortos twisted face at the sight of Apothos rising up, his body contorted by darkness. The continued writihing and twisting that intermingled with the visceral pain that the newfound Sith Lord willingly subjected himself to only made the necromancer salivate, bloody phlegm running freely down his face. 
 

As the Nemodian spoke, Inmortos was struck by the sinister darkness that radiated on the man’s words. Gone was the sniveling businessman and his cowardice, his small desires of power to keep himself afloat in his cushioned lifestyle. Here before him now was a being that had overcome those chains and would do infinitely more given the time. 
 

“Like Nok Morliss used many names, so do I. Darth Inmortos strikes fear. Krath Inmortos is eternal. Study your histories as I and learn. Darths are tools. Show the semblance of service, as a darth. Seize power, true power, a Krath.”

 

”Come. The force is ripe.” Inmortos turned and gestured. His slow heavy footfalls echoing in the darkness. With a swipe of his hand, the ceremonial blade returned to it’s sheath within the Ithor wood cane. Thump. Thump. Thump.

 

________________________
 

Through the winding city the duo shuffled, a cloud of shadow followed them. The wind blew stiff and cold. Down alleys and streets, up stairs and lifts. Ascending the tallest spire, beyond the reach of the lift, up shaky ladders and out a rusted door, the two exited into the cloud-filled sky. The city was barely visible below.

 

Here the wind buffeted them. The tallest spire in the city swayed precariously beneath them. “Fear. Wind. Death. Heights. Let the fear feed you. Embrace it.”

 

Looking upwards, Inmortos began to climb between the waiving antennae and sensor suites. Hand over hand he climbed until he clung to the uppermost spire, designed to catch and ground lightning from the violent ocean storms the world was known for. Here, there was barely enough room for the two sets of feet that were the Sith Lords’. Placing his back against the icy spire, Inmortos howled into the wind. He grasped Apothos’ hand, helping him to the spire, his frail frame bellying a secretive strength. Hefting the Lord up, Inmortos hissed into the Nemoidian’s ear, Let us call down the vortex. With it, the city and world will be cemented in the tendrils of darkness, within your grasp, forever. The cities yours. The seas mine.”

 

Releasing the Krath, Inmortosnstared out into the vastness, beyond the horizons. Here, high above the world Inmortos could taste the energies of life that radiated from the world. He also could taste the death energies waiting for eons to be mined by one willing to profane themselves. By binding his powers with Apothos, Inmortos knew they would exponentially power one another. What one could not control, two could not help but seize.

 

The wind whipped the dark necromancer’s robes in a fury about him. Raising his hands to the sky, he let forth a blood—curdling screech that was torn from his lips before it could carry beyond his maw. It was then that he began to chant. Inmortos’ hands whipped about in the air tracing invisible sigils into the wind to be carried across the world. He felt Apothos’ power. He drew upon it, combining it with his own.
 

The temperatures began tp plummet as ice formed about them on the spire and in the air. On the wind the crystals were whipped tearing at robes and flesh flaying Inmortos flesh until blood and ichor flowed freely. Still he writhed in his evil dance calling forth the energies of death from the deep, manipulating lives to spark the deceased back to an eternal servitude.

 

Below the waves began to crash, whipped to a frenzy by the rising maelstrom of the force. Ice and snow tore through the air, coating the city below in a slick of ice. Those who were near death, the old and feeble, the sick and dying; they were pushed towards the maw of the open grave. Embraced by death before they were ready. The fell into the eternal rest of death, but inly for a moment. Their death energies pulled them back to the world, binding their carcasses to Inmortos will.

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Grief.

 

It rose from the city like a miasma, the tiny tragedies of each death drawn too early by Inmortos' call a candle that released a plume of the black, raw emotion into the air.

 

Anger.

 

An undercurrent that flowed through the city. It lurked in the minds of every citizen, from the proud autocrats who'd kept their positions through bribery or good fortune, to the lowly, broken workers who had always kept their head down no matter who ruled. They saw this planet as theirs, and it rankled them to know Apothos had claimed it as his.

 

Fear.

 

Ah. There it was. Like the golden light of the sun or the constant pounding of the waves on the city's base, fear colored everything. They feared Apothos. They feared the new, dark thing that had taken up residence. Even those who had never seen the necromancer or heard of his coming knew something had changed, and like animals at the onset of winter they could sense the death in the air.

 

Apothos extended his hands, the new arthritic pain in his fingers nothing compared to the power that flowed with such ease through his hands. Inmortos was a vortex, a whirlpool that drew the energy of death into himself from the city as a whole, and Apothos could see the ripples and currents that the necromancer surrounded himself with...and sent back out to the corpses that would be his servants.

 

Could Apothos do any less?

 

Exhaling, he rode the waves of fear and death with his mind, extending his will in a dozen tendrils to the city that he knew, deep in the core of his soul, belonged to him. He was a god, and this was his domain. His will would be obeyed.

 

He found machines, computers, and droids that his mechu-deru would turn to instruments of his will. Quietly, instinctively, Apothos saturated each and every one with his will. An impossible task normally, but with his newfound mastery and the currents of power that Inmortos was calling up, Apothos found that his reach had extended beyond anything he had dreamed possible.

 

Code was rewritten. Command sequences were added and implanted deep in the core of each device's software. A door was given a special protocol to slam shut on someone passing through, should the proper target be identified. A speeder bike would start up and accelerate out of control should the command be broadcast. A gonk droid would overcharge and become a walking bomb with a simple line of code. Dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of tiny traps and malicious programming saturated the city, hidden beneath a layer of steel and circuitry. Yet, it was dormant. Hours spent in ritual to turn his city into a weapon, but it still needed a master to command it. Apothos of course could, but it was not his place to deal with minor, petty annoyances. He needed something else. He needed...

 

A low, rasping chuckle escaped him, muffled by the whipping winds that had numbed him hours ago.

 

He did not know if he'd planned it, or if perhaps the Force had guided him, but the perfect solution was all around him.

 

Apothos shifted his focus to his Deepguard battle droids. They patrolled the city streets, and only a few, bloody demonstrations of their strength and firepower had been enough to subdue those who saw them walk past. Now, Apothos slid into their minds like sliding a worn glove onto his hand, their electronic shells recognizing the touch of their master.

 

He added a simple command code to them. Deepguard were already capable of broadcasting to each other. Apothos simply expanded that to include...everything.

 

If a Deepguard identified an enemy, every device around them capable of recognizing their signal would react, their hidden traps and coded killing protocols activating in a storm of mechanized mayhem and death.

 

Let enemies try and take Apothos's city from him. He was god here. The city served him.

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