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Leena raised her eyebrows questioningly, “Cannot and will not.” Leena parroted the man’s words, turning them over in her mouth as she tasted the very thoughts that carried those words.

 

Seated atop her stoney stump, Leena regarded the man, visibly flinching as the Sith’s blades ignited. She studied the warrior for a moment. She could feel his tempestuous emotions as they carried forth on his snarl. she inhaled deeply, focusing in what she was about to do, drawing in a sense of calm that she exuded outward through every pore.

 

Carefully, slowly and calmly, Leena reached to her waist, unclipping her saber. She held it gingerly between her thumb and first two fingers so that Mordecai could see she was not palming it to strike. She reached back and tossed it behind her, sending the cylindrical shaft down the grass hill behind her.
 

“Then lets put the rhetoric aside then and talk, you and I. No orders. No creeds. You and me, talking.”

 

Leena’s knees tensed, prepared to spring into action if forced to. She did not want to, the force swirled in a sense of warm tidal calmness around and out from the Jedi. She waited his next move.

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His perfectly shined boots clicked and thumped as he walked into class. He wore an off putting, toothy grin on his wrinkled face, his grey hair thinning, his shaven face. Everything about him made Kahla stew with anger. And not just him; the lecture hall must have been designed to be uncomfortable, the flat metal chairs, the short desks, cramped conditions. This whole academy was sick. A breeding ground for bullies, people with a sense of self-worth pinned higher than the greatest authority. Everyone came from some big imperial family and boasted about it day in and day out. Being here wasn't her passion, Just get through it she'd tell herself, It'll be worth it

 

"Today, each of you will experience rapid decompression, and we will test you on what you've learned this module." The room filled with murmurs, which he dismissed quickly with a raised hand. "We will put six students into the airlock at a time, and at the buzzer the emergency vent will engage. Medical staff will be on hand for anyone who should fail this test. Are there any questions?" Next to her, Altis raised her hand. "What's the point of the test? Everything that isn't a fighter is built with such extensive redundancy that the chances of any one of us ever actually putting this knowledge to use are astronomical."

 

"But not zero." he responded, lifting his chin. "And there's a reason for the redundancy, the survivability of command staff is paramount. You, are the final step in that redundancy." Before anyone else could say their piece, two medical officers stepped into the room wearing fully sealed environment suits, and began ushering the class to the airlock. As Altis passed Kahla could feel her anger, like a boat leaving its wake. There was a hint of distain and pettiness, like a light salting on top. Kahla stood and followed her out of the room.

 

When they arrived, the first group was already leaving their seats. Moaning and shivering in their discomfort. Kahla had to wait and watch as near every other student took their plunge. Some of the lesser studied were swiftly rushed to the infirmary, some stepped out pretending they'd never been better, showing off how 'resilient' they are. She knew they were lying, that their reputation meant more than their health.

 

Finally it was her turn to step to the plate. She'd had time to cool her nerves, cover her fears with the sheet of meaninglessness she'd warn to class every day. These chairs were no comfier, one by one they were strapped and buckled in, the inside door sealed shut and the medic gave the go ahead. She drew her last breath, and exhaled everything she could, dumping the air from her lungs.

 

FOOM

 

The door that kept them from the vacuum shot open, all the air left in her system sucked out with extreme force. The sound pulled from her ears, and the cold enveloped her wholly. Each second stretched into eternity, her vision blackened at the edges, and just as she started to feel herself slip into the arms of asphyxiation the door shut, and the vents spilled the air back into the chamber.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Her first moment of consciousness was of immense pain. Her ears bled with the shrieks and screams that immitted from within her. Tears welled in her tightly closed eyes, her every muscle pulling against her restraints. The medical droid had no patience for her bellows of agony, and simply continued working tirelessly on her. With a long needle pushed into her neck, her vision faded again, and the eyrie sensation of dropping through the floor took hold.

 

"... And when the torpedo hit, your fighter nearly disintegrated- well not actually, but, it looked like it. Goliath Two managed to get out of the conflict long enough to pick you up, then slammed the lever home."

 

Her mind pounded against her skull, it felt like it was trying to squeeze itself out through her eye socket. The voice looming over her was only vaguely familiar. One of the pilots? No, this one was too old.. She pondered as the man droned on in her ear, somehow crystal clear against the throbbing of her head.

 

"Oney..?" she mumbled out. "Yeah, had to save your hide again." His voice wasn't serious, but it definitely wasn't just a joke either. "Are you my guardian angel?" Kahla strained a grin. "I may as well be! Next time I see you you'll be crawling on a beach, burning to death" The faint chuckle that came from her stabbed at her gut. She knew she wouldn't be up for a while, for sure.

 

Flashes of the last moments in her fighter slammed against her memory. The burning cold the chunks of craft blowing past her. The bright blue planet below her, peaceful, uncaring of its orbital conflict. She could see a storm brewing, and in the same glance, the sun reflecting of the diamond blue ocean. It was beautiful. The silence only seemed to amplify the image, burning its every detail into her memory.

 

Maybe that pilot was a true ace, experienced in their field... Maybe if things were different, I'd offer a drink at the bar when this was over, share our stories.

 

Kahla laid and reflected on the battle. This time things felt different. She had no ill-will towards the pilot that shot her down, it wasn't personal. It felt more like a friendly game of Dejarik. There was no competition, no need to boast, to tell herself how much better she was because of her position. She enjoyed her reflection, studying on it in her mind, the emotions, and the physical battle. It seemed a fitting change of pace, it felt... Mature.

Edited by Zendrin

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Mordecai sighed. The last Jedi he had fought had tried this. He would give the one before him a final chance, but beyond that, he would strike.

 

"Unless you intend to surrender, throwing your weapon away will not save you. I have declared my intentions- I will have no qualms about cutting you down. I have been free of my order's beliefs this entire conversation- each belief spoken was my own. That you did not echo that respect shows your character. We clash with blades now, not your empty words."

 

He would do this fast. He noted where he weapon had fallen. She was tensed, ready to leap. He made a calculation, locating where he hoped she would be when he closed the distance. He lunged forward, his anger filling his legs with energy through the Force, moving faster than one would expect of a man in heavy armor, delivering a stab, not at her, but between her and her weapon in an attempt to catch her as she lunged for it. He used his momentum and his fury to spin into a powerful slash with both sabers, the red blades cutting through the rain with sizzling efficiency. Another slash, quicker this time at the cost of power, towards her face, spinning once more, his feet gliding across the mud as he delivered a fourth blow towards her knees, relentlessly advancing all the while.

 

He would strike down this pretender, this hypocrite. He would cut her down, he would kill her companions, and he would complete his dominion over this planet. She would not stop him. Her allies would not stop him. The countless rebels above could not stop him. This was his achievement- he would not watch as it was dismantled by rebels who wanted naught but chaos in the galaxy so that they could sink their mangled tendrils into the people of the galaxy once more.

 

The Outer Rim was his.

 

((1))

Edited by Mavanger

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Leena heard the man’s words and for a brief moment her breath caught in her chest. She was not a warrior. She was a healer. Her eyes darted off to the side, as if to look behind her where he weapon, the weapon of a Jedi Knight now lay. She exhaled, allowing the fullness of the light side energy of the force to fill her, the energies pulsing along her extremities as they surged in light of the coming onslaught.

 

And an onslaught it was. She had heard the words of the man. He had not even allowed her a moment’s response before he surged forward on a wave of dark tidal energies that crashed against the ever-growing aura of light that glowed about Leena.

 

With her legs already tensed and half a move’s plan already in her head should the Sith speak with actions and not words, Leena moved as the dark side pummeled against her aura of goodness. With concentration, she was able to hold back the energized onslaught; but the whirling dervish of blades was a different matter entirely. 
 

By luck, or the force, Leena had not moved towards her weapon as had been expected of her; instead she launched herself into a quick summersault putting more distance between herself and her signature weapon lying enshrouded by the grass and already nestled in the moist soil. The Sith Lord’s charge placed him at a further distance from the girl than he had begun; his blade piercing nothing but rain and air.

 

He did not stop though, spinning towards her like a devil. Leena stood; her body tense and the call of the force crackling about her with a light energy that continued to grow as the purity of the force, of her cause, of her soul, continued to feed and amplify it. The Sith’s saber slashed towards Leena’s skull with alarming speed and understanding, carving a furrow across the elongated cranium of the healer, burning her flesh  ut not piercing her skull. Had she not instinctively ducked backwards the blade would have sliced her skull in two. The girl’s face contorted in pain even as the force dulled the worst of it; the rain hissing off the scorched wound.

 

Leena did not even have time to comprehend the attack, it pressed on with such intensity and ferocity. The man was a warrior and his actions proved it. Leena was a healer, not used to the rigors of combat. So as she struggled to comprehend the rigors of the assault, survive the surge, and ascertain a way to turn the tide, Darth Mavanger struck again his blade driving towards where her knees had been before she ducked, tearing into the cloth bag that hung at her waist and spilling the specialized crystals within to the ground.
 

The dozen or so stones fell, each radiating a colored glow through their multifaceted surfaces. The healing energies of the force were contained within and fed off and unto the growing glow of light side energies that cascaded about the Healer.

 

And as they tumbled, an idea came upon Leena. She was a Jedi. She was a healer. The man had accused her and her associates of atrocities, atrocities Leena would not stand by either. She was a Jedi and she would act as a Jedi.
 

Extending her palm towards the Sith’s face, Leena’s finger stretched taut as she drew upon the growing energies of the force, releasing it in a single blasting beam of pure blinding white light towards the Sith’s face against the backdrop of the darkened battlefield of cloud cover, rain, and shadow. Leena’s other hand called through the force to her downed weapon, sending it up and arcing into the air high above, deactivated and shimmering as it reflected the surge of starbursting energy against the dark sky. 


 

((ACTIONS:

Moved off center away from her saber (this move was discussed OOCly before writing of this post), taking a lightsaber blow to her head and having her bag of crystals sliced torn open. 
Leena continued to grow the surging power of the light side of the force about her in an aura of light, directing some of this energy into an attempt to blind and disorient Mordecai using the attack “External Light” as found in the Jedi Healer Guide. Leena then used telekinesis to throw her deactivated lightsaber hilt up into the air.))

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Mordecai could feel his saber slice into flesh. It was cathartic- this battle was so far removed from the stresses and the weight of responsibility that commanding his campaign often left him with. A welcome change of pace. He had not truly fought since Kuat, and while realistically it hadn't been that long ago, it felt like an eternity. This was a release- his pent up anger and frustration at the locals who defied him. His fury and hatred towards the Rebels who would seek to destroy the only stable government in the galaxy. His disgust for the Imperial Knights and the Jedi Order, who would seek to abolish his order. And there were smaller things too. His grief that still throbbed in his heart at the loss of his friend. His shame that he hadn't been able to avenge him. His pride in the Sith he had trained and at the forces he had gathered. All of it was unleashed here, in this battle, let off the chain that he kept bound so tightly around his emotions.

 

It was in this haze of battle that he missed the flash of light- he barely managed to cover his eyes with his arms before he was blinded. His eyes throbbed in dull pain, and he blinked rapidly as he opened them. It took him a moment to re-orient himself to her position, but once he had he pressed forward once more, this time pursuing the Jedi directly. He intended to keep her on the backfoot, away from her lightsaber. Beyond that, it was only a matter of getting a few good hits in. He moved quickly, making sure to continue his relentless advance in an attempt to push her back and further away from her weapon. He lunged forward, leading with his left foot as he stabbed towards her stomach with his left saber. His next blow came with his next step, his right saber coming down towards her left shoulder. The next few blows followed suit, Mordecai making sure that with every blow, he attempted to push her back, for her to lose ground. Another blow, from his left saber to her thigh, and one more from his right to her torso, each faster than the next as his emotions flared, fueling his momentum, and fueling each blow with blinding speed.

 

He had her on the ropes- She wasn't a fighter, clearly. He had experience in combat, training, and equipment on his side, and the power of the dark side flowing through his body with every blow. She was unarmed, and on the backfoot, and yet... She was still dangerous. He knew better than to underestimate his opponents. He had gotten carried away, and he'd lost his momentum for it. He would be foolish to think that was the only trick the Jedi had up her sleeve.

 

((2))

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As the Sith warrior’s onslaught continued, Leena buried herself deeper into the force itself. The light side was there all around them. The world breathed it. It hummed in the downed stones on the muddy ground; it reflected in the flash of lighting overhead; and it cascaded downwards with each drop of rainfall that carried life and healing in it’s tiny grasping globule.

 

Her weapon was near useless as it continued to arc high overhead, tumbling end over end in a free dance, the rain reflecting the power of the storm on it’s silvery surface. She had hoped her blinding blast would have at least slowed her opponent. It appeared it had not, only dazing him for a mere moment.

 

Still, a moment was better than nothing. She was a Healer. She was a Jedi. She was not a conquering general. She saved lives. She did not destroy them. A moment was all she needed.

 

Mordecai’s onslaught begun anew before Leena could follow up with another offensive countermeasure. She back-peddled, drawing the battle in an arc back atop the hill her mind focusing on immersing herself in the force and bracing for the incoming blows. As she moved Leena stepped backwards and turned, their path bringing back around towards the crumbling temples
 

The woman grimaced in pain, gasps and yelps of surprise escaped her lips as the Sith’s saber landed blow after blow on her body. The force flashed softly and sizzled in the raining air with each blow, embracing the incoming blow and slowing it against an otherwise invisible aura of light side tidal energies that surged to meet each blow. The glow of the force barely had time tondisapate before another blade arced towards the Healer’s body impacting the energized aura about her.  Like a doctor drawing pus from a wound, the force leeched power from the sabers attacks and their deadly intent.
 

Leena moved deftly with the skill of a surgeon. Each step was rapid and sure, keeping her at the fringe of the Sith Lord’s impressive range even as she focused on being one with the force itself, allowing it to flown through and around her, protecting her. She grit her teeth against the pain, stumbling slightly as the saber grazed her thigh. Her mind focused on ending this fight as only a Jedi could, through the purity of the force and righteousness of her cause.

 

The girl’s white robes were torn and burned, wisps of smoke rolling upward after each stab and swing. Where the sabers impacted her body, they did not cleave flesh, instead they delivered horrendous burns, causing the Healer’s skin to bake and bubble, blacken and  become crisp as the heat of the burning plasma sucked the moisture from her skin.

 

Through it all, Leena stared at the Sith’s eyes. The warmth of her eyes cried out with a desire to not trod down the dark path the Sith seemed to push them towards. She felt the force. She silently called to it, allowing it to fill her and expel it out exponentially, bathing the battlefield in a purity that one could practically taste.

 

((Actions: Lessened the impact and momentum of the lightsaber blows to Leena’s body from Mordecai’s sabers, while backing up and moving across the battlefield. This was achieved via the use of a Healer’s Aura, lessening but not nullifying the attacks. As such, Leena is forgoing any offense attack this turn))

 

((2))

 

  

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Mordecai pressed the advance as his emotions, his momentum, and his fervor reached a glorious crescendo. His blades were no longer tools- in this moment, the in the midst of the perfect discourse of battle, they were extensions of his very being. Their humming and whirring as they sliced through the air was like music to him, and he lost himself in their melody. Every blow led into the next, and the next, and the next. Every slash fueled by his anger, his rage. Every step fueled by his pride. With every blow that glanced off the Jedi, his frustrations grew, and he used that frustration to further power his attacks. The dark side was his fuel. He wrenched his strength from it, shaping himself into an unstoppable force of whirling blades and heavy armor. He let out a roar of fury, resolving to end this battle now.

 

He pressed the advance, his momentum carrying each blade to its next attack. She wasn't attacking, so he would pour all of his power into his attacks to make sure she never got the chance. He unleashed another flurry of attacks, fully releasing himself to the movements of the battle, each attack intended to be a finishing blow, but building to something. First he struck high, for the Jedi's neck. As he did, he used the force in an attempt to pull her closer, a second blow aimed to amputate her legs at the knee. A third and fourth from both sabers intended to remove her arms. Each blow was debilitating in its own right, powerful and fast, fueled by the dark side as he moved in for the kill. He struck at each of her extremities in an attempt to open her guarded center. It was then that he unveiled his finisher. A final blow, a stab, directed straight towards her heart. Into it he poured every ounce of speed and strength he had left, the dark side energies that enveloped the blade cutting at anything that it found in its path.

 

((3))

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The blows continued to rain down unhindered. It seemed that the catching power of light had done little but anger the Sith as he pressed the attack. Withering under the flurry of blows, Leena knew this could not continue; but it did. Even so, her high flung saber began to plummet downward, having lost momentum in the rain-filled sky.

 

The force still swirled about Leena, a holy aura that flashed against the shadows with each blow of the Sith’s rage-tinged weapons.

 

Leena ducked to one side as she sensed more than saw the Sith’s crimson blade slicing towards her neck. The Force was her guide and her protector.

 

Even as she did, she felt her feet yanked from underneath her and fell to the muddy ground with a splatter as her bottom impacted the rain-saturated soil.  The momentum of the fall combined with her backwards momentum sprawled her backwards for a mere moment. It was the only saving grace against the two-bladed combo meant to detach her arms from her body. Still, the move had done it’s work, leaving Leena at a position of disadvantage and interrupting her focus on her healer’s aura that had been negating the greater edges of the attacks. The Sith’s blades burned and split the flesh of Leena’s upper arms near her shoulders until she hit the ground with a cry of pain. Even if the force dulled it, the injuries still hurt. They were no mere burns and the Jedi’s body cried out in pain; Leena’s face contorting in immeasurable agony as the blades found there mark, if even for a moment.

 

Inhaling a ragged breath, Leena’s vision swam as tears clouded her eyes. She felt the force swirling about her like a tidal force of water; electric, fluid, and concrete. It was a comfort. It was that still small voice that held Leena and centered her amidst the maelstrom of chaos and pain. It spoke to her, controlled her movements, led her when she could not lead herself.

 

The momentum of her fall had been enough that Leena rolled back over her head in a backwards summersault, the Sith’s sabers tracing biting furrows down her buttocks as she rolled. Her hand was outstretched, it pulsated with pain. The force was her master. Leena served the force. Her cartwheeling hilt landed in her hand as she clasped it shut; the muscles in her arm grating in pain with the move.

 

Leena churned to a crouched mass atop her knees. As she knelt there in the blood, her white healer’s robes coated in mud and blood and soaked by the rain, she barely had time to take a breath before the Sith sought to drive his blade home. As she did, the force seemed to recede into the Jedi, concentrating it’s power about her. In that moment, Leena’s saber hilt ignited, a teal beam of plasma that bathed the Jedi in it’s soft protective glow. The rain barely had time to strike the saber before it was moving. The Sith left her little time to consider her options, and Leena acted on instinct and guidance by the force alone.

 

Having only basic lightsaber training, forgone in interest of further development of the healing arts, Leena knew she stood little chance against the warrior before her in bladed combat; but her ally was the force, she fought with it, not against it. It was a powerful ally.

 

Leena was barely able to bring the teal blade up before the Sith’s blade plunged towards her chest. Her saber caught the blade; but the momentum of the Sith’s hammering strike was too much for her to hope to stand against alone. The girl’s breath escaped her body as she was driven backwards, her body tipping as she leaned with the clash of sabers.

 

And as her breath was forced from her body by the power of the blow, so too did the concentrated force erupt from within the girl. A ring of shining energy erupted from the girl, an explosion of momentum and force energy and light. It leveled the grass about Leena in every direction, kicking up loose dirt, rocks and vegetation. Anything that was not anchored was at risk of being launched back away from the Jedi for meters in every direction.

 

Leena only hoped that it was enough.

 

((ACTIONS: Tumbled, took several blows from Mordecai’s sabers, rolled back, caught her falling saber and used it to try and deflect Mordecai’s final blow while also releasing a force shockwave in every direction.))

 

((3)))

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Breakdown:

 

Both played their characters very well, I would like to congratulate Leena on playing to her character’s strength, and Mordecai for playing to his strength as well. Both were very well characterized, and the cinematics of the fight were impressive. There was very little use of terrain, but this did not matter all that much. This was a close quarters fight the entire time, which I think should tell Jedi to never trust a Sith ‘who just wants to talk.’

 

The duel will be going to Lord Mavenger

 

Now let me break down why.

 

Mavenger was able to hold control of the fight the entire time.

At no point was Leena able to take back control of the fight, and though this fits her character it does not fit a fight at all. 

 

A note on Defensive play: 

This is something that is relatively new in the RP, and I want to acknowledge that with this kind of dueling style being very new there can be some growing pains. While playing defensively as a Jedi is a great idea and one I myself wish to explore, there was no way for Leena to actually finish this fight. At this point she has sustained far too much damage, and while that is a good thing, (It respects your opponent’s attacks), you gave far too much ground to Mavenger. Taking no offensive action in the second post, even if it was simply summoning the force to throw him away, was a risky play that unfortunately failed here. Taking every single blow from a warrior is a death sentence. And though it was played off well, there were better approaches here. (Force leaping away, telekinetic shields, etc) In closing, defensive play is something I want to see on this site, but you must still have a way of projecting yourself onto the duel or changing the momentum. 

 

A note on Finishing the fight: A force throw is a good move for a second post, but it was not something that would have stopped the fight completely. It had no ability to stop the fight in Leena’s favour. Perhaps a focused Healer’s light like was used in the first post of the duel may have been more effective. Something to disable the enemy without killing him would have been perfect to use here.

 

Other Notes:

Mavenger, I did notice you essentially handwaved Leena's first attack. Considering the amount of punishment she took form the first attack, it would have been sporting to repay the favour. Not a deciding factor, but it would have tilted the fight into a win for Leena if things had been even. 

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Mordecai was thrown backwards by the blast, tumbling through the mud and rocks. He was thankful for his armor- while the shockwave was dangerous, the armor had absorbed most of the damage, and protected him as he tumbled into the ground. Had it not been for that, he likely would have broken many bones, and maybe been defeated. He rolled to his feet, staggering as he righted himself, searching for the Jedi. He spotted her, her white robes sullied with grim from the battle, laying in the mud. Still breathing. He walked over, kicking her saber away with his boot as he reached down, pulling her to her feet by her robes. The fight had left her, he could tell. It wasn't surprising- such a blast was bound to be taxing on any Jedi. He leaned in, whispering into her ear, his voice uncharacteristically soft. He spoke to a fellow warrior now, whether she believed it or not.

 

"Die on your feet. And if you return- remember what led you here."

 

He pressed his saber to her sternum, igniting the blade as he did so. When he felt her body grow limp, he released her, letting her crumple to the ground. His exhaustion caught up with him, and he sheathed his sabers. He glanced at the transport he had come with, debating if he should finish them off as well. No. Let her death be enough. He moved back towards the temple, leaving her body to the elements. Her light was already fading from the accursed place with her death. HE could sense what he was looking for, and in a short time, he had found it. A small pyramid, faintly glowing red. A Sith holocron, a locked box containing any kind of useful information, and the Dark Side was the key. He lifted if, placing it into a pouch in his armor. Afterwards, he exited the temple, boarding his shuttle with a message to the remaining rebels.

 

"Rebel forces. You have lost. Your Jedi lies dead on the planet's surface." The shuttle shuddered as his took off, making a heading for his cruiser in orbit.

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Beth looked at the comm unit and laughed, sith cruisers were burning brighter than the system’s star and he thought that he had won? Her heart ached for the young Calamari that she had foolishly sent to the surface, but this battle was far from over. The rebel fleet was holding their own, but it was time to retreat. They could not hold this planet, but they had dished the Sith a horrible blow. And with the amount of burning star ships she could see from her vantage point in the Cruiser Carrier’s bow hanger, this could only be seen as a pyrric victory for the Sith Lords. 

 

They had won on the ground, but lost in space. And whoever had been in charge of the Sith armada would be punished. That she was confident of, the Sith always ate their own. She said a quick prayer for the soul of the Jedi Knight, and with a flash, the Rebel Fleet dashed into hyperspace.

 

Operation Tripwire was now a certainty.

Andromina

Rebel Alliance Fleet Command - Lieutenant

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When Mordecai returned, it was to a mixed message. On one hand, the rebels had run once their Jedi had fallen. On the other, a not insignificant portion of his fleet was burning. While there seemed to be no lost ships, many had clearly taken heavy damage. It certainly wasn't the sight he expected to return to- It seemed that he would need to have a word with Darth Tyra. He angled his ship towards her cruiser, making a quick journey towards its hangar. Once he landed, he was quickly informed that she was in the medical wing with serious injury. She was alive, then, but injured. He walked briskly towards her room, opening the door and stepping in. He took in her condition for a moment before speaking.

 

"While I am please to see you live yet, I am most disappointed that in the state of our fleet. We have two cruisers with critical damage, and their frigate escorts received damage as well. The should have been virtually no damage against a lone carrier and its escort. What happened?"

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With the time she had to relax, the pain that quaked her mind had begun to mellow, and lost in her meditation, delving into the flow of emotion aboard her cruiser she felt his presence. It was almost fun to study the echo in his wake as he quickly navigated the halls of the vessel. Kahla smiled, her fingers metallically clicking as she tapped the arm of the bed. Her grin rose to a smile when he stepped in, letting him the moment to take in before he spoke.

 

"While I am please to see you live yet, I am most disappointed that in the state of our fleet. We have two cruisers with critical damage, and their frigate escorts received damage as well. The should have been virtually no damage against a lone carrier and its escort. What happened?"

 

Kahla let out a gentle sigh. "As much as it pains me to admit; I, and my squadron were simply outmatched. While we did manage to cut down a few of theirs, we suffered the greater loss. My gunboats did well at deterring the bombers, however the faster, more maneuverable fighter-bombers slipped past; with one of the two of course stopping to retrieve yours truly." She reached to her left, retrieving a cup of tea from her side table. Her flesh still burned with the sensation of thawing. Her right hand grasped the bottom of the cup as she brought it to her lips, the dark carbon steel, although outdated was a very beautiful metal. The warmth of the liquid filled her chest, and for the first time since her landing on Korriban she felt calm, and comfortable.

 

Or, maybe that was just the Ludacris amount of painkillers in her system.

 

"My SAR assets are fully equipped for fire suppression, and of course the Xhal's Influence has extensive redundancy in case of... immolation. I won't make any excuses, and I admit to my failing in combat, and in extension the damage to the fleet. I believe however that the fleet will be fully operational in only a few short days." She sat up, setting her cup down as she did so, then leaned in to address Mordecai. "But enough about me, how was your expedition?" She smiled, her genuine interest filling the air.

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Soon after the Sith’s craft lofted off from the world, the squibs who had accompanied Leena began to grow concerned as their hails to their Mon Cal friend did not respond. As the sun began to set, the valiantly diminutive rodents put together a posse. Armed to the hilt with everything  from hydrospanners to home-made disintegration cannons, they prepared for the inevitable possibility to confront any manner of Sith menace. 
 

Cautiously, utilizing infrared scanners and burst of light against the growing shadows the squibs set out. It did not take them long to find their friend. She was dead. Their usual carefree chatter turned somber and silent as they gathered their friends’ fallen belongings and fashioned a sledge of sorts to try and bring her back to their ship with some form of dignity.

 

In the distance, an unknown animal howled dourly into the still and wet sky.

 

The least they could do was return her to her people, the Jedi. After all that Lena Kil had done for the Squibs, they only wished they might do more.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A comlink-call, addressed to:

 

 Mr/Mrs. Sith Master, Mordahcai Mavanger, Esquire

 

         " Good morning fine sir Sith, it is I, your wayward Hutt apprentice, chief among your horde. I have finished the conquestication of Falleen and require further orders! Where should I invade next, in order to set the stage for the greatness of the Sithpire. Sith Empire. Sith Imperium? The Imperium of the Sith? Mavangers Avengers?

 

Anyway, call me back. Love yo-

 

Son-of-a "

 

The comlink-call cuts off 

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Mordecai sneered at her nonchalance. She didn't understand the place she had put his campaign in with such a brazen maneuver. Not only would those be precious days lost in the campaign, but to be forced to spend their resources on such extensive repairs so early on... It was an ill omen, to be sure. He growled as she relaxed in her bed, seemingly comfortable with her failure.

 

"You have become complacent with your title, Kahla. It would do you well to not forget the methods of the Sith- those who are not useful are discarded. I fail to see the use in a commander that cannot win such an easy battle. When I gave you a lordship, I took responsibility for your actions. I put my name behind your own in support. And I promise you, if you bring further disgrace to the Sith Empire, that we will consume your power for ourselves. That is the Sith way. I would recommend, rather than sitting in bed drinking warm tea and hopped up on painkillers to escape the pain that a Sith should embrace, that you should be studying up on battle tactics and honing your own capabilities."

 

He swiveled on his heel, tossing one more line of warning over his shoulder as he did so.

 

"The eyes of the Empire are on this campaign. Every victory shall be amplified, but so shall every defeat. You'd do well to remember this conversation in the future."

He stalked out of the room, glancing at his communicator as he received a message. His mood was further soured by its contents. Falleen was subjugated, which was good, but the Hutt lacked the air of a Sith. Though, he knew there was more to the Hutt's attitude than met the eye. From his victory over the Jedi master Sandy Sarna, to his unexpected absences regarding the campaign... Not for the first time, he found himself regretting that Xahl had died before sharing what he had learned. Mordecai had been too busy to devote further time and effort into the matter, but perhaps now it was time to test the Hutt's mettle.

 

He sent out a transmission to all of his assets in the Outer Rim.

"All forces, prepare for a debriefing in two days time. The first stage has been a resounding success"

mord_sig.png

 

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Her head turned and twisted as she dwelled on the thought, watching the seasoned lord leave. An anger bubbled up in her, but behind it, shame. He Was Right. She could sit and try to justify herself but it was useless, a waste. She held a title now, but what did that bring to the table? There was nothing to show for.

 

The cup shattered with a loud splash of glass and steeped water, hurled at the wall with the ferocity festering within Kahla. She ripped away the tubing, smashing the monitors as she stood. Her foot fell with a metallic clank. Oney jumped back, outside of combat he wanted little to nothing to do with Sith affairs. She hadn't thought about him, and didn't care to in that moment. She was simply too frustrated to acknowledge his presence. He crossed his arms, unimpressed with her antics.

 

A tantrum won't help. The thought tore through her as she found her balance, a deep breath fills her lungs. She was smarter than this, emotions fueled her but reason trains her, hones the mind and body. Unworthiness filled her soul as she made for her makeshift quarters. She payed no mind to the lifeless eyes that followed her as she made her way. The medical robes she wore weren't kind to her figure, the thin cloth near weightless did little more than cover her. Her footsteps so unsymmetrical, the plap of her bare left foot, and the ring of her prosthetic. It bothered her in a most strange way, it seemed so unreasonable that it dug at her, even with her doing her best to ignore it.

The door hissed open with the wave of her hand, she didn't waste any time getting changed. She wouldn't dawn her full robe, leaving the hood and cape behind. She'd lost one of her boots, and while it upset her, she knew she couldn't grow attached to inanimate objects, lest she be consumed by a horde of useless items. As she clipped her lightsabers to her belt, the communicator on her bedside rang out. About Time she thought to herself, haphazardly dropping it into her pouch. As she turned to leave the room the mirror caught her eye. There was a gash on her cheek, burns on her neck. Her hair was a rats nest, an unfamiliar arm reached back and she paused, staring blankly at her reflection.

Luck was a terrible word, undeserving came close but couldn't quite grasp the feeling. She had failed, the hand that helped to tie her hair was a mark of shame, not a trophy; one that she would forever wear. She stared angrily at herself for far too long. She wouldn't be able to come to terms with herself here, she could only try to learn, and improve herself. In her mind she stripped herself of the title of Darth, Kahla would have to earn it in her own mind, no one else's.
 

Through the windows she could see the ugliest hauler to fly among her fleets, and it was cleared to dock with the cruiser. Kahla stalked her way to the airlock and waited impatiently for the doors to open. It took restraint to keep her from pacing. Her toes tapped in her boot, her fingers tapped at her thigh.

 

The door hissed, and a grimy, sleezy, short, stout man shouted "Tadaaaa!" with the energy of a used freighter salesman. Kahla's disinterested gaze chipped at his smile, but he pressured on. "My lady, let me introduce you to Vance! The TC-Series Proxy Droid!" He steps to the side, showing off the tall blue, almost skeletal droid. It stepped forward, leaning to an enthusiastic stature. "Greetings, Mistress! It is a Pleasure to meet you!" Without acknowledgement she handed off the credit chit to the gross man. "The price agreed by Harris, No more, no less." The filth smiled, "Go on now Vance, take Care of the lady." He grinned, his yellowed teeth on full display. He bowed, then tturned back to the tin pot he called a ship.

 

Vance stepped out from the airlock, the doors shutting quickly behind him. "I'm most excited to work with you, mistress!" The droid's chipper voice was abrasive in its contrast to the doom and gloom of the cruiser. Kahla straightened her back and finally addressed the droid. "Can you kill me?" She asked plainly. "Of Course mistress! I have many training modules of both Jedi and Sith alike!" The droid said confidently. "Good. Your mission is to do just that. However, There are some rules. You cannot attack me in my sleep, when I'm with company, or am already engaged in combat. If I defeat you, you cannot attack me for the rest of that day, unless instructed otherwise. And you cannot attempt to kill me in a non-lethal spar." Kahla finished, her demands set. Vance was quick to respond. "As you wish, mistress! I can't wait to get started!" 

 

She smiled at the droid, she wasn't a fan of the pleasure he seemed to have, but she was sure it would prove a great asset. She began leading it down the halls, and toward the open room she had repurposed into a training ground. "Alright, let's get started." She drew one of her sabers and waited.

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Another com-message addressed to the Sith Master, Darth Mavenger from a loyal Hutt apprentice

 

“I see, my Lordy master that you left me on read and didn’t respond. It seems that most don’t tend to actually respond to my messages, so I’m not that offended, but anyway, I will be scouting and or taking over a planet for the Sith Empire. I know that Sith Masters desire…. Initiative in their students."

 

The scene cuts to a blindfolded Hutt holding a dart before a map of Unaffiliated or Rebel-Held planets. The Hutt tosses a dart, missing the map completely.

 

“Well scouting the Unknown Regions is a silly Thrawn-ish sort of thing to do.”

 

Another dart thrown, landing on Mon Calamari.

 

“Hm. This planet seems cliché at this point, and I know the Sith consider the cliché anathema”

 

Yet another dart thrown, this one landing on the Sullest system in the Rebel-Held Brema sector, in the heart of the Rimma Trade route. The Hutt nodded with a smile that showed absolute trust. Throwing darts truly allowed for the Force to act.

 

“Ahh, Sullest, that volcanic wasteland of those multi-jowled rodent-like creatures. Thankfully, I have enough jowls to fit in!”

 

The commlink cuts off.

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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The Hellkite slipped out of hyperspace, its black painted hull barely reflecting the close packed stars of the expansion region. The old model Victory pulsed its engines, realigning its dagger shaped superstructure and dipping into the crisp upper atmosphere of the azure planet. All around the destroyer the atmosphere buffeted in harsh waves, heating up the hull and shields to a deep and dark crimson. When the victory had made its landing, Captain Delta73 walked down the ramp with his fellow soldiers. 

 

Within the hour he gave a crisp salute to Lord Mavanger, and submitted his report from Fallen. 

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Mordecai was only slightly amused by the Hutt's antics- With the successes that he'd achieved, it was clearly a facade, but to what end had yet to be discovered. He was about to send his response when he got a report- The Captain had returned from Falleen. He returned to his command center, where he finally responded to the unruly apprentice that had contacted him.

 

"Claim Sullust for the Sith, and your deeds will not go unrecognized. When you return, we will finally have an opportunity to speak."

 

He turned to face Delta as he entered the command center, giving him a curt nod as he gave his report. The people of Falleen had put up a stiff resistance at first, but had been crushed with a swift and violent strike at multiple locations by way of orbital bombardment.

 

"Good. Resistance was handled swiftly and brutally, and while it was perhaps on the excessive side of things, the results spoke for themselves in this instance. We're receiving preliminary reports from Mon Cal- we lack specifics on the situation, but it seems as though it is a losing battle. You're a veteran of many wars, Captain, what do you think our next move should be?"

Mordecai already had ideas, of course. There were a number of prominent worlds that required his attention, but he wanted to see what the veteran would suggest.

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Delta let his frown show his opinion on the loss of Mon Calamari, but the officers in the Onderon mess had theory crafted this kind of event quite a few times. And Assuming they had the full might of the Sith Empire’s fleet… But they had taken heavy losses over Fondor only a few weeks before, and now no doubt they had lost much at Mon Calamari. Which meant the Rebel Alliance had somehow amassed a large enough fleet to contest the Sith Fleet in a head to head conflict. Something the Pitiful Galactic Alliance had never achieved. He did not ask permission to speak freely, he assumed the Sith Lord would have given it and so he spoke his mind. 

 

“The Rebel Alliance as we know are based out of the Old Imperial Remnant Expansion Zone of Nar Shaddaa. But following the news from Fondor and now Mon Calamari I think we only have one chance. We fought the Galactic Alliance much the same way they are fighting us now. Their little Empress without a throne learned her lesson.”

 

He frowned and pressed a button on his armour’s inbuilt datapad. A large and expansive map of the galaxy popped up, spun into several sectors and coloured with various regions of occupation. A long arrow pointed from Onderon to the gem like planet of Felucia. 

 

“We have been playing a game of smack the Jawa. Hitting them where they pop up, but this isn’t the Rebel Alliance from your Great Grandfather’s era. They are much stronger and I am sorry, but far more a threat. We have always operated off the high morale of taking the galaxy in a storm, our men have never encountered the brutal slog of an actual war. And these Rebels intend to give us just that. They refuse an outright encounter, instead relying on us to hunt them down, then striking when our backs are turned. Isolating fleet elements like at Fondor and Mon Calamari.”

 

He frowned again. 

 

“These Rebels have many power bases, Somewhere in Hapes, Nar Shaddaa, Tapani, Bothawui, Corellia, I could keep going. We need to cut off each of these heads before they grow back like a hydra. So we must encircle them and strangle the life from them. Take out any potential allies they may have their eyes on. Isolate, then bring them to pitched battle.  As far as those that align with the rebels, the Naboo are most likely to join in the short term. The Naboo are a peaceful people, but their desires mimic the feelings of the upper class of the galaxy. We need to contain them or force their loyalty. Though I wager if we strike now, we will find the Rebels already there and wooing their child queen.”

 

A series of arrows cut towards Naboo then Bothawui. 

 

“Then we eliminate the Bothan Contingent. That Is my plan sir, but I should warn you, if we fail here and at Felucia, we should prepare for either a long war of attrition, or a very protracted defeat. Which would mean all of our heads on spikes around the Imperial Palace.”

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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He had been right to discuss this with the Captain, at the very least to confirm his own suspicions. He had spread his forces too far here, and without support from the Dark Lord, that had proven dangerous. He'd been unable to support his allies at Mon Cal much in the way that Delta had suggested. What he did notice was a possible flaw. Reaching towards the projection, he pointed out a missed planet.

 

"The Rebels know how to fight. One of the failings I've witnessed among the Sith, both in myself and amongst those in power, is that we have not taken this into account. I overextended once, and I was not in a position to aid our allies on Mon Cal. Naboo and Bothawui are both traditionally rebellious locations- planets like them are why I took our forces so far into the Outer Rim. Naboo is one of the most pressing concerns, but there is another that would be problematic if we advanced as you suggest. Pushing beyond Naboo to take Bothawui would leave any remaining forces of the False Emperor at Ryloth behind our lines, and with my forces waning, I cannot risk our supply lines being disrupted by them. Naboo is time-sensitive, I agree. The rebels are likely trying to convince the queen of their politics, and we should stop them before they get the chance to turn Naboo into a bastion."

 

He pulled up the larger map in the command center, showing the current fronts of the campaign, adjusting it to show what the front would look like if they took Bothawui next.

 

"If we take Bothawui, Ryloth is squared away on the opposite side of the campaign- I don't with to have a second front in this campaign. In addition, while unlikely, if the Rebels have any presence at Vernzah Torrah, we've put a hostile world in the middle of our supply lines. However unlikely that is, with the Rebels showing the capabilites that they have so far, it is not a risk worth taking. The rebels already know of my presence in the Outer Rim- we shouldn't rush ahead unless absolutely necessary. And if the child wants my head, then she is more than willing to try and take it. I welcome the vacation that killing her would be."

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“I question the desire to even touch Ryloth, it contains the most cowed race in the galaxy. Enslaved for the last few thousand years. If the Rebels have built a base of operations there then we would have known it. The planet remains isolated, if we need to mop it up in the after campaign then we will but in my opinion it would be best to leave it where it lies.”

 

Delta gave a crisp salute.

 

“But whatever we plan, my men and I stand ready.” 

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Before Mordecai could respond, the command center lit up with incoming communications, calls and reports streaming in through most of the consoles. As they did, Mordecai felt a shift in the Force, something precious being snuffed out. Dread filled his heart, his vision tunneled on the map, and as if in slow motion, he turned as an officer swiftly approached, a datapad in hand. 

 

"My lord, we've been contacted by our forces at Mon Cal. They've pulled out. The Krayt's Fury was lost- Captain Jarvus stayed behind to co-ordinate the retreat. No word if he made it out or not."

 

Mordecai went numb. So that had been it. He didn't need a report to tell him that Jarvus was no longer amongst the living. Mordecai leaned forward onto the table in the command center, the glass flexing under the pressure. His breathing deepened. His rage, always concealed behind a veneer of sophistication amongst his troops, began to show. His face contorted with loss, and the glass under his armored hands began to spiderweb out, disrupting the projection that filled the room. His sorrow and grief were gasoline to the raging fire of his fury, and he struggled to contain it now. His limbs shook, his face a dark reflection of the calm he often showcased. In a shower of glass and sparks, his fist burst through the holotable, briefly darkening the room. A tense silence hung in the air before he spoke.

 

"Relay my orders. Plot an immediate course for Naboo- returning forces from Falleen and Mon Cal are to rendevous with us there."

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