[Participants: Jade's Serpents, Rasilvenaira StormRaven]
Anshar sat in at his desk, staring out at one of the rare thunderstorms that dotted Lyspair's landscape. Rain on Lyspair only came at night, the lightning flashes providing but brief glimmers of the land outside the Shadow Academy's walls. The night rain adequately reflected Anshar's present mood. In front of Anshar's desk a man, a failed initiate, stood trembling slightly. In front of him lay a pile of droid parts which only minutes before had been a whole, functioning droid. Without moving, or even turning the chair, Anshar had disassembled the droid with the Force, in front of the man. The door to Anshar's office slid open and Dranik entered, his cloak still wet from the rain.
"The book cannot be found," said Dranik, dispensing with the formality reserved only for public forums. "None of our ships were taken, either. Some conclude that the thief departed on foot, undoubtedly to a hidden ship. I've ordered a reviewing of all sensor logs for any possible ship launch. But, this weather makes that hard to clearly distinguish anything. Also, there are other options for escape." Dranik was the head of the Shadow Academy's defense and security, a role he had co-opted upon his arrival. The fact that the thief had not taken any of the Academy's numerous fighters or shuttles to escape meant he did have other plans; his own ship, hidden somewhere on Lyspair, was a logical explanation, though how the thief managed to get it there, Anshar could not fathom. Dranik saw the remnants of the droid on the floor, recognizing it as the droid librarian as Anshar spoke.
"And the security tapes?" asked Anshar.
"They reveal nothing," replied Dranik. "They were tampered with, very professionally. Even if we can figure out exactly what was done, the chances of getting anything useful are slim. Whoever did this was a professional, and it was not a spontaneous theft."
"It appears, Mister Pola, that you are in the clear," said Anshar. Dac Pola had tried to join the Brotherhood, but though he possessed a modicum of Force ability, he had never been able to make use of the Force. He instead had become on the Academy's security detail and his assignment that night had put him at the library when this happened. "Leave us." Pola bowed and exited the office, trying very hard to make it not appear as a flight driven by fear.
"I will begin hunting this thief immediately," said Dranik. Anshar turned his chair around to face Dranik.
"Under normal circumstances, I would say that would be the best," replied Anshar. "However, you, nor I, can cover every angle. I have reviewed the last flight log, and the star shuttle Sheeta departed with a load of apprentices ten minutes after the theft. It will be traveling to all the clans to deliver the new members to their assigned clans." Dranik nodded. He had noticed this, too, and it was his first choice for an escape as well. The hidden ship theory was virtually impossible, as one could only get through the shroud on board official Brotherhood craft. Anshar continued.
"I want the Dark Vault sealed," he ordered. "No one is to be permitted in without a strict guard, and their time in the Vault will be limited." The Dark Vault was essentially the Academy's library and it contained a great deal of information, ranging from the mundane to very rare items. "As we cannot cover this by ourselves, we will put a call out to the clans for volunteers."
"Should the clans send teams?" asked Dranik. Anshar shook his head.
"We haven't the time for clans to assemble special teams," he replied. "Any member who wishes to help us may come. As they arrive, we will assign them to whatever group we can and send them out. As much as the clans may hate one another, the individual members do need to get used to working together. I sense that far more trying times lay in the future." Anshar paused. "Dranik, put the call out to the clans for volunteers; make certain to mention that those members who help retrieve the book will be rewarded." Dranik bowed and left. Anshar pulled out a holo-recorder and began a mission briefing.
"Members of the Brotherhood, as you may now know, the Shadow Academy had a rare, valuable book stolen from the Dark Vault. The thief, whoever he was, is top rate and he could be anywhere in Brotherhood space or beyond. Given the urgency of this situation, most of you will be formed into ad hoc teams, working with members from other clans. Whatever your personal feelings towards the other clans, or their representatives, may be, now is not the time to dwell upon them. This mission you are about to embark upon is for the greater benefit of the Brotherhood.
Your goals are simple: find the thief, find his supporters if he has them, and retrieve the book. Anyone who stands in your way, or attempts to stop you, may be killed or otherwise incapacitated as you see fit.
You may make use of almost any of the Shadow Academy resources if you cannot get them from your clans. Simply clear things with Dranik first. The only ships off limits are the Mnemosyne and her fighter compliment.
Finally, the book you are seeking is bound in black leather, with gold lettering on the cover. This book is written in runes, and is slowly being translated. The only part of the title we have translated thus far is "bible." Those who succeed, and those who show great skill and courage, shall be rewarded.
The graceful moves of the Nightsister were entrancing. The Tiger katana sang as she moved through her kata; her war coat dancing around her ankles as she moved. Her deep meditation was interrupted as her comlink went off, loudly piercing the silence in the dojo.
Ashia froze in her movement; her sword outstretched. She blew at a wisp of hair that had fallen in her eyes which didn't do much good. She slowly stood upright, taking the time to sheathe her sword properly before retrieving her comlink from the other side of the room. Since becoming the Commander of the Jade Serpents she had to take time for herself when and where she could to keep her sword skills polished.
She flipped open the comlink and Malisane's voice echoed off the walls.
"Ashia, a priceless book's been taken from the Shadow Academy. Anshar's requesting help in retrieving it. I told him I'd send your team to help."
"I'll gather the team together immediately. What information do we have so far?"
"I've sent you the file. It's not much but hopefully it'll be enough to get you started. Punishment will be great for whoever took it, find them for me, Ashia."
"I'm on it, Mali. I'll report back as soon as we have something. Ashia out."
She channeled in the code to the Jade Serpents and sent a message to meet her in the battle team's training room at 0400 for debriefing.
The heels of her boots clicked softly on the dursteel flooring as she approached the training room. A soft swish and the door slid open admitting her without protest. Her azure eyes swept across the room, stopping on the table her battle team sat around. They went dead quiet as she entered, the quiet conversations ceasing with the presence of their commander.
Ashia stopped abruptly as a familiar presence washed over her. She sent a tendril out through the Force, searching the shadows for what she knew was there. Rasilvenaira StormRaven slide out from the darkness, a small smile playing along her lips. Her ability to blend in and stay hidden was well known and only a few would ever know she was there.
"Silver. What a pleasant surprise. And to what do we owe this pleasure?" The Nightsister had grown accustom to her signature enough that the Warrior was unable to 'sneak' up on her...still didn't stop her from trying.
"Ash. I was training with Corin when your message came through. Something about a book missing from the library?"
The Keibatsu nodded as she moved towards the table. "Yes, Anshar needs help retrieving it and finding out who did it. It was in the process of being translated. So far all we know is that the title contains the word 'Bible'. The star shuttle Sheeta had left not long after the theft with a load of apprentices. I think we should start there."
Rasilvenaira stood pondering the information for a moment.
"I think I may be of assistance..."
Jade Serpents' Training Room, 0309 hours...
A small room, full of basic weapons, Durasteel floor and walls, and some crushed garbage scattered across all the floor, known as the training room used for the Jade Serpents, before known as the Night Death Phyle, had two people inside, a Zabrak woman with long hair in braids and no horns, sat with her legs crossed and eyes almost closed, and a human woman with her dark brown eyes totally opened, looking different zones in the room, and sitting next to the first one. Both were calmed, quiet. Their breaths were really slow. The peace found there was then interrupted by a cracking sound the main door made when strongly pushed by a green-with-yellow-eyed human.
"four hundred hours begin....." Said the man as he approached the two women, "...Now. Do you see? I told you that next time I was going to arrive at the exact hour, I told you I could be responsible this time!!" "Ok, you proved me wrong, really good to see you, Ruluk... Here and now!" Said the woman with the braids, still with the eyes almost closed, with her last words shouted. "Xayun already told me everything about what happened at the Dark Vault. If we are here, it is because we must go find that stolen book, yeah?" Asked Ruluk. "Yes, we are waiting for the rest of the team so we can begin our investigation." "Are you sure all are going to come?" "Well, Sanjuro's busy in some planet in the outerrim, so he won't come. The rest of it I am not sure."
"Ashia, I've arrived," said Shin'ichi Keibatsu, which was in the entrance, leaned against the wall, a bit tired. It looked like if he was runing to get there. "Good to see you here, Shin," said the woman with braids, now with her eyes opened. As she stood up and cleaned her robe from all the dust of the room, Corin Solander and Sai Na'Ashar arrived, together. "Adrian said he can't come, too," told Corin to Ashia. "Then all of us are here now, we can go."
"Hey, who are you over there?" asked Ruluk to the woman with the dark brown eyes, which was still sitting and looking at everything in the room. Ruluk had not noticed she was there before. "I am Rasilvenaira," replied the woman as she was standing up. "I have never seen you before. You are not from this clan, right? You look like a normal person, not a dark jedi." "I am from Scholae Palatinae, and actually I am a sith warrior, higher than you."
"She will go with us because she is Corin's master, and we would really appreciate any help given from anyone," said Ashia as she joined into the conversation between Ruluk and Rasilvenaira.
"Ashia, I see something not good in her," whispered Ruluk. "She is like all of us, you have nothing to fear of, Ruluk, just see her as a new friend." "Ok, I will try."
Sai, having since parted company with Corin, rolled his eyes at the antics of Ruluk and the one his Tetrarch called “Silver”. He stood to the side, keeping to himself, much as his master, Shin’ichi was wont to do. Ever since he had joined the Brotherhood, he had been witness to such posturing, even taking part in some of it himself; the membership wanted to leave the best impression on each other, especially if it was their first meeting. However, in a society that prided itself on strength and aggression, these meetings were usually less than graceful.
Shin’ichi glanced at his silent apprentice, having noted the cold buzz in the back of his brain which usually meant that Sai was bothered by something. The hardened veteran knew the Korun better than anyone else in the Brotherhood; that was the way between Master and Apprentice. A casual observer might have noted Sai absently fingering the hilt of his katana and thought that the Guardian was annoyed by those who surrounded him. Shin, however, knew better.
The Keibatsu caught his apprentice’s tripartite eye; he immediately broke his reverie and strode past Ashia, currently playing referee, and the two who were staring each other down, each seeking a position of advantage within the hastily thrown together group.
“ ‘What is thy bidding, my Mas..’ ” Sai began, his voice deep.
“Cut it out,” Shin grinned, knowing his charge often had a penchant for the dramatic.
“Well, with all the tension in here, I thought it was appropriate”, Sai said, returning his master’s grin.
“No, you know what I mean. I ‘feel’ you in here,” Shin said, tapping his temple. “Something’s bothering you, but if it’s Sil or Ruluk...”
“No, no, Master, it’s nothing like that.” If Sai knew anything, it was his own strengths, and flying wasn’t one of them. Ruluk, Corin’s counterpart, was the pilot that Sai couldn’t be. As to Silver...if Ashia trusted her, then the question, in the Guardian’s mind, was settled. Sai’s loyalty to his master, and to the Keibatsu by proxy, was unquestioned.
Sai was usually seen as cold and unfeeling, as a stone. He had more than cemented his nickname through his exploits, within and without the team. Shin’ichi, however, had access to the Guardian as only a Master can, and had learned certain things about his apprentice. There were three types of people that got under the Korun’s skin, as much as anyone could, anyway.
“Master, you know I hate braggarts...”
“...liars and thieves,” Shin finished for his apprentice, as he saw the Guardian’s eyes with their triple pupils flash.
“Who ever is spurring us to the field has already qualified as one of those, and when we catch them, they will most certainly lie about it,” Sai spoke his earlier thoughts aloud.
“ ‘When’ ...I like your confidence, my young apprentice, but first things first. It seems we are holding up the debriefing,” Shin said as he nodded toward Ashia, who had put an end to the staring match and was now looking at them with a less than patient look.
Ashia’s azure eyes shone in the dimly lit room. “If all the side committees are finished...” She let the rest go unsaid as Shin, Sai, and the rest of the battle team settled into their customary places, eager to be briefed on their respective assignments.
Rasilvenaira settled back into the chair she had chosen, her dark eyes sweeping over the assembled team. The Warrior nodded to her Apprentice as Corin settled into the chair beside her, and quietly returned his grin. Unfathomable and unshakable, Rasilvenaira didn’t allow the posturing and suspicious glances bother her. The Sith was used to such things, and while she held authority in her own Clan, she respected the fact that it held no sway in any other Clan. Rasilvenaira was not one to wear her rank or position anyway, it wasn’t her style.
Ruluk’s comment had actually amused her, “You don’t look like a Dark Jedi.” The Sith suppressed a chuckle, “Indeed, I suppose not.” She mused to herself. In truth, her present attire was not the robes of a Dark Jedi. The dark grey tunic and black pants she wore bore no mark of order, rank, or clan. Rasilvenaira had actually been on Aeotheran to train with Corin, just as he often had visited her on one of Scholae Palatinae’s planets.
Leaning back in her seat, Rasilvenaira turned her attention to Ashia as the Tetrarch related what was known about the theft.
“So what’s the plan?” asked Shin’Ichi.
“Well, first thing we need to do is track down that shuttle’s first stop, check with the apprentices it delivered and check the records of any ships leaving that planet, if we don’t turn up any leads there, we go on to the next stop. One thing though, I want to make sure we look after each other, and that means that no one goes off alone; especially those of you without your own sabers.” Ashia replied, her eyes drifting over Ruluk, Corin, and Sai.
They all nodded in understanding, and she continued, “We really don’t know what we’ll run into on this mission, so stay alert and stick together. Shin and Sai, Corin and Silver, and then Ruluk can stick with me.”
“Ashia, where’s the first stop?” Corin asked.
“According to the shuttle’s flight plan, it was headed for Yridia first. Ash, if it’s okay with you, Corin can travel with me since I have the NyghtFyre here.” Rasilvenaira set the small datapad on the table, her dark eyes glittering mischievously.
Ashia turned her attention toward the Warrior, “And how can you be sure of the shuttle’s flight plan, Silver?”
“My droids are very good at extracting information from computer systems, the shuttle had to declare it’s flight plan before launching, however, it is not guaranteed that it followed that plan once it was away from Lyspair.”
“Droids?” Ruluk eyed Rasilvenaira suspiciously.
Unperturbed by the Jedi Hunter’s gaze, the Sith nodded, “Yes, my droids. I contacted them to find out what they could when I first heard about the theft since I was with Corin when he got Ashia’s message.”
Ashia nodded, “Alright then, I don’t mind Corin traveling with you, we’ll get everything we might need and then regroup in the main hangar in an hour. Get going guys.”
The group slowly disbursed as the team members went on their way to make preparations. Rasilvenaira stood, placing a hand on her Apprentice’s shoulder. “Corin, go get what you need, make sure N4 and Striker are on the NyghtFyre, I’ll be there shortly.”
“Aye, will do Ras.” He turned and headed out of the room.
“Don’t worry Ash, I’m with you guys, I know how to follow orders.” Rasilvenaira gave the Knight a wink, and a reassuring smile. “This is your game, I’m just tagging along to help out if I can, and to keep an eye on Corin.”
Ashia returned the smile, “Alright, I’ll see you in the hangar.”
"Ash, I'm tellin' you, I do not trust her, she has something I don't like. We should be careful, and protect Corin in case she tries to do anything." Ruluk whispered to Ashia, looking at the door, and ahead, the two shadows of Silver and Corin. "He's fine, remember she is Corin's Master, they are friends, Corin will be alright in her hands." Replied Ashia, trying to calm Ruluk a bit.
Ruluk went to his small room. The room had a beige atmosphere, it was really organized, except for some parts where bunches of things were mixed together and left in a corner. The bed was just what the basics needed, nothing special, with blueish sheets, the bed was tidied. The rest of the room had just things from him. The bedside table had his Shock Boxing Gloves, which he, at sight, took. He searched for the Punch Dagger he loved to use joined with his abilities at Shadow Fist. Then he took the light sword Lasrhone Duelist, which was with the trash at the corner, he cleaned it. Ruluk took a gun, went out, and closed the door.
Ashia met with Ruluk before they arrived to the Hangar. "Are you ready, Ruluk?" Asked Ashia in middle of the walk to the hangar. "Am I not?" Replied Ruluk.
Both arrived like five minutes before the hour, no one was in there... Yet.
Waiting for the rest of the people to arrive, Ashia and Ruluk sat somewhere near some ships. They talked about anything they had in their heads, therefore changing themes every five seconds. Their talk was interrupted by a shadow passing by the ships behind Ruluk, and Ashia seeing it. She stood up instantly and looked at every direction, but couldn't see anything suspicious.
"Eh? What? What?" asked Ruluk, in reaction to the sudden stand from Ash. "Someone was behind you, help me look for this possible intruder," said Ashia, speaking low, close to Ruluk. After those words she took out a cilinder-like hilt, and pressed a button, creating a purple brilliant glow.
Ruluk took out the sword. They were walking together, backs joined, looking around all the ships, finding nothing. Silence took the hangar. No sound could be heard, then the wind blew strongly, making an acute sound in their eyes. It didn't matter if it was a sunny day or a dark night, shadows were covering the hangar.
Then, all of a sudden, from the shadow of one ship jumped someone, just when they were in front of it. Both turned back and prepared to attack.
"Stop! It's me!" Said Rasilvenaira loudly. Ashia turned her saber off, and Ruluk put down his Laserhone Duelist. Ruluk was about to ask, Why were you there?, but the rest of the people arrived, the hour had passed already, so he couldn't.
"I'm telling you, Ashia, she has something rare, I don't like something about her, something really familiar." Whispered Ruluk.
Rasilvenaira’s dark eyes flashed with annoyance as she clenched her jaw, biting back a retaliatory comment. Turning her back on Ruluk and Ashia, the Warrior walked back toward the modified YT-2400 that sat off from the CNS ships. Rasilvenaira reminded herself that she was the outsider, and that she needed to be careful, all the while muttering curses to herself in Keraci.
The NyghtFyre’s entry ramp was down, an astromech sitting beside it beeping and chirping. Corin came down the ramp and look over as his Master approached. “Striker and N4 are onboard, I’ve got my stuff stowed away, and we’ll be ready…” Noting the dark shadows in her eyes and catching Keraci growled under her breath, he paused in mid sentence. “What’s wrong, Master?”
Focusing her attention on her Apprentice, Rasilvenaira took a deep breath and relaxed, “Oh, it’s nothing, seems I’m not too popular with some of your team mates.”
Corin looked around and spotted Ruluk still talking with Ashia, “Oh, Ruluk? Don’t worry about him, he doesn’t trust anyone he doesn’t know, he’ll get over it soon enough.”
The Sith nodded, “Yeah, still, I’ve got to remember that I’m not the one in charge here, don’t need to go getting myself into trouble.”
Rasilvenaira patted the little droid, “R5, is the ship ready to go?”
He beeped and whistled.
“Good. Corin, you said your droids are onboard?”
He nodded, “Yes, I’m ready to go whenever the others are.”
“Well, let’s get settled in then, we’ll just wait for the others to get themselves together.” She walked into the ship with Corin and R5 following, once they were in, the ramp closed.
Rasilvenaira went through the ship doing her own preflight check, then settled into the pilot’s seat and flipped on the com unit. “Ashia, Corin and I are ready to go whenever the rest of the team is; we’ll follow your lead.”
“Alright, Silver, we should be ready to move out very soon.”
Leaning back in her seat the Warrior turned to Corin who had taken up the copilot seat. “I wonder if we have time for a quick game of Pazaak while we wait.”
Corin laughed, “You just want a rematch since I won the last round.”
“Naturally.” She smirked.
Leading up to now, Corin had been extra careful in what he did, making sure Ras didn't get into trouble with his colleagues.
But now, it was different. With his Master's happy attitude back, Corin sat back in his co-pilot seat and conversed with his Master.
"I'm glad you were able to come, Ras, it means a lot to have my Master by my side on a mission like this. I just hope Ruluk and the others..."
"Don't worry about it Corin. I'll be fine. I can take criticism. I've lived with it all my life. And thank you, I enjoy being at your side as well. Let's just hope this mission goes to plan."
"What plan?" Said Corin, saying it like more of a statement than a question.
"I know what you mean. But let's just take everything as it comes. A sign of a true warrior is the ability to work with what you got! Now for the Pazaak!"
As his masters ship sped away into space, following Corin's clan members and leaders, Rasilvenaira tried to win against Corin at Pazaak, but Corin seemed to have learned quite quickly and was beating her.
"I guess I've lost my touch..." Rasilvenaira mumbled as they finished the game.
"No Master, you've just taught me well." Corin smiled and packed up the Pazaak supplies.
Rasilvenaira smiled and turned toward the ships controls.
Corin stood up and made his way to the galley to get some food.
Corin noticed his droids sitting together, apparently arguing. N4 hated his fellow droids, and love to try to prove them wrong on anything that came to mind, and, from what Corin could understand between the chirps, beeps, and grunts, is that they were arguing about the differences of a plasma rifle compared to a stun gun.
Corin shook his head and made his disdain clearly show.
When he was finished with his meal, Corin rejoined Rasilvenaira in the cockpit. She was apparently sleeping, for sounds of snoring reached Corin's ears.
The auto-pilot had been switched on, so Corin turned it off, taking the controls.
The ships ahead of him were speeding up, and Corin did the same.
"Silver, come in." It was the voice of Ashia, Corin's team leader. "I just received word from those contacts of yours on Yridia."
Rasilvenaira stirred in her seat and quickly awoke. Taking a minute to establish her surroundings, Rasilvenaira shook her head vigorously.
"Master, Ash is on link one."
Rasilvenaira nodded and turned her comm. link to the first channel. "Yes Ash?"
"Those contacts of yours on Yridia have reported a shuttle landing quickly to refuel and taking off once more just as fast. It meets the description of the thieves. I was going to check with you before I made a decision. Shall we land on Yridia any ways and question your contacts more? Or just skip the planet entirely?"
"It's up to you Ash, I trust your judgement."
"Very well." Ashia closed the link.
"You can finish that nap of yours, Master. I can take the controls from here."
Rasilvenaira smiled sweetly and laid her head down to rest, drifting off into a deep slumber.
Where there was time for rest and relaxation aboard Rasilvenaira’s NyghtFyre, the non-descript transport which held the Abomination and his apprentice had no room for such luxuries. In fact, other than the cargo hold, the ship held nothing but the customary seating for pilot, navigator, and the cold anticipation that came with a forthcoming battle. Sai, with his disdain for piloting clearly showing in his mahogany features, busied himself with the controls of the craft while Shin’ichi sat quietly with his eyes closed, tapping the face of his chronometer.
“Master, I don’t know where you got this piece of jetsam, but it’s no Kiba,” quipped the Guardian, trying to cut a bit of the tension created by his own discomfort and his master’s silent mien.
“Be grateful it is not the Kiba, else you’d be sitting on the wing,” Shin replied, stirring at the mention of his favorite starfighter. His eyes had not opened, but he allowed a small grin to break the hardness of his demeanor. Truth be told, Shin’ichi had come to welcome his apprentice’s quips; they helped him to relax and keep perspective in his sights. He’d allow them as long as Sai was not remiss in his duty and, to the Korun’s credit, he had not been thus far. Besides, Shin would need his apprentice focused in the times to come; there were plans afoot, plans that reached far beyond the scope of this particular mission, and the Epis would not be failed.
Shin’ichi snapped out of his reverie; they would have to be mindful of the present, and not allow their judgment to be clouded by ambitions yet unspoken.
Sai thumbed the comm to its inactive setting. He and his master had just overheard the transmission appraising the battleteam of the situation on Yridia; Sai stared at his master expectantly.
“Well, Master?” Sai asked.
“One second,” Shin admonished, simultaneously plucking the Dark string in the Ether that bound him and the Tetrarch. When it came to third-hand intel, the Epis would rather no hands at all.
‘Ash. There’s no reason we can’t do both. Check the surface and track the shuttle, I mean.’
Aboard the team’s command vessel, Ashia responded to the mental tug.
‘Go on. I’m listening.’
‘Give Sai and I thirty; that will give us enough time to both follow up on the lead and to catch up if it doesn’t pan out.’
Ashia regarded her brother-in-law’s proposal for a moment. Every second the team sat in orbit around the mining planet, the further away the shuttle got. Making her decision, she opened a channel on the comm.
“Team, here is the plan: Sil, you and I will plot a course on the transport’s last known track. Shin, you’ve got twenty minutes.”
Shin’ichi smiled at Ashia’s modified timetable as Sai fiddled with the controls and the cargo transport began a swift degradation of its orbit. It seemed everyone, including he himself, was being tested today.
On Yridia’s surface, a certain non-descript transport sat amongst many other non-descript transports in the port that purportedly harbored and fueled the thieves’ own shuttle. Sai sat alone in the shadowy confines of the cockpit, if it could even be called such. Lost in his thoughts as the ship was lost amid its brethren, he marveled at his master’s foresight. How on Antei could Shin have known they would make planetfall?
The Guardian checked and rechecked the readouts on the ship’s main panel, making sure the ship was ready for take-off. It was all he could do, seeing as how Shin’ichi left him fifteen minutes ago with the words, “you’re a Guardian; ‘guard’ the ship.” Sai now smiled to himself at the joke made at his own expense. He’d heard tales of how humorless his master was reported to be; it was nice to see him loosening up. Besides, there would be time enough for his own solo jaunts, once he was promoted and granted permission to fashion his own lightsab…
Sai was jolted from his wishful train of thought as Shin’s voice boomed over the ship’s comm. “Wake up, you useless piece of rancor dung, and get that heap airborne!!”
Not even bothering to answer, Sai hurriedly coaxed the ship to life, its repulsorlifts groaning in protest from the strain of a lukewarm-start as they hefted the transport’s bulk skyward. Sai glanced backward to the open cargo hatch; his vigilance was rewarded with the sight of a man-sized sack being hefted over the lower lip of the opening, followed closely behind by his master. Sai closed the hatch and finished inputting the transport’s launch sequence, and as the hulk rose spaceward to rendezvous with the team, he joined Shin’ichi in the cargo hold.
“What did you bring me,” began Sai, and at the opening of the sack, his face froze with disbelief.
“Perhaps you should have said ‘whom’,” Shin’ichi corrected his apprentice at the revealing of his prize: a bound and gagged woman, glaring furiously at the Epis.
“Sai, this is…well, I forget who this is, but what’s important is she used to be one of those Apprentices who once graced our hallowed halls,” Shin mockingly addressed the prisoner, whose shabby robes and matted hair matched the decrepit transport perfectly.
“‘Used to be’”, the Korun repeated, not quite understanding.
“Oh, she now calls herself ‘Disciple’, and”, Shin leaned in close to his apprentice conspiratorially, “she’s seen the Bible.”
“She’s actually seen it?” Sai asked, his anger rising.
“Easy, my justice-seeking friend. More accurately, she’s seen who has it.”
Sai calmed down considerably, understanding where his master’s track was taking them. “Looks like you’ll be alive for a bit longer,” he addressed the captive. “Make yourself comfortable.”
Shin’ichi opened a channel, one not used on any of the Brotherhood’s holonets, but one only he had exclusivity to.
The Nightsister sat and listened intently as the lambda shuttle cruised silently in the blackness of space. Her brother-in-law mentally told her of the apprentice he had 'captured'. She rolled her eyes and sighed to herself. Shin, more often then not, would shoot first and ask questions later. Patience was something the Keibatsu did not practice. She left him to his interrogation, knowing he probably had some of Mac's 'toys' with him.
She sat back in the cockpit and closed her eyes for a moment. The noise of silence filled her mind as she tried to concentrate at the task at hand. Ruluk entered the cockpit a moment later.
"Mistress?" His green-yellow eyes flexed momentarily in the dim light like a cat's as he looked upon his commander with some concern.
"Yes, Ruluk. I'm awake; just resting my eyes for a moment."
Ruluk sank down in the co-pilot's seat and was silent for a long time before speaking.
"So, how do you know Silver?" He ventured out slowly, not wishing to pry into his commander's private life, but desperately wanting to know more about the mysterious Sith.
"We were both part of the Trayus Academy dig on Malchor V." Ash's eyes glossed over for a moment as she thought back to the dig. The only good that came out of that venture, was getting her Adegan crystal exposed to the dark side properly. She came back with demons of her own it would seem. Something she was desperately trying to get past.
A shudder moved through her briefly as she stood and stretched in the small confines of the shuttle's cockpit.
"I trust her, Ruluk. No worries, kay?"
Ruluk nodded; he got the message. Best to not pry any further. He admitted to himself that there was much about the Keibatsu he was curious about.
The radio sounded making the Jedi Hunter jump in his seat. He shook his head and clicked it on, it was Silver.
"Ash, any news?"
"Shin and Sai have a hostage; one of the apprentices. I'm just waiting to see what they can find out."
"Ok, I'm doing some checking but may have another lead soon. We'll see if it pans out. I'll be in touch. Silver out."
In the derelict cargo transport, Sai flinched as an errant spurt of bodily ichor adorned his face. The Guardian and Shin’ichi had been speeding toward the rest of the team, and the Epis in his dark wisdom had chosen the moment to impart some interrogational technique to his charge.
“See? If you twist your wrist at just the right moment, you can get the entire crown of the skull off without so much as a drop spilled,” Kyataru’s Abomination demonstrated. “Sorry; it appears I waited until just after the right moment,” he said with a quick glance at his apprentice, and flung a rag towards Sai with a sadistic grin.
“I think that the fumes from Macron’s laboratory have finally gotten to you,” Sai replied, wiping their hostage’s fluid from his face, his jovial tone belying his stony expression. This was the closest the Guardian was going to get to a course in 'Aggressive Information Extraction' without actually visiting his master’s brother’s domicile, and he was determined in soaking everything up like a sponge. Just not in the literal sense.
The unlucky female had evidently cast her lot with the sticky fingered tome thief, and her current position was the wages of such sin. Sai had to give her credit, however; since being reduced from defiant screams to plaintive moans, the erstwhile Apprentice had not broken under Shin’s rather…attentive touch. She had most certainly bent, however, giving Shin just enough to warrant the current demonstration. The top of her skull had been removed, laying bare her gray matter, and as drool issued from her slack and drugged mouth, it was hoped her thoughts would make themselves as evident as the shining organ peeking up at the inquisitive pair.
“The brain is an amazing thing, my apprentice,” Shin began, ruffling through their supplies to produce a small box with three wires protruding from them. He busied himself with preparing the device, continuing to speak, but more so to himself than the Korun or to the hapless hostage. “Sure, it’s all soft and mushy and vulnerable, but it’s probably one of the most complicated computing devices in the known universe,” he continued, beginning to sound more like the aforementioned Alchemist than himself. Sai said nothing, which prompted the Epis to continue.
“It’s constantly learning and re-learning, adapting and changing...almost like rewriting a hard drive on a consistent basis,” Shin stated, plugging one of the leads into the shipboard computer’s access port. “This device,” the Epis explained as he inserted the two remaining leads into the hostage’s brain, “lets us see if this particular brain’s been ‘rewritten’, and when.”
The ship’s main screen showed an EKG-like readout, with a series of lines with peaks and valleys scrolling horizontally across the display. Shin hefted the device, slightly bigger than his palm, and turned one of the knobs. “All we have to do is ‘rewind’ the display and we get more of the story. You just have to know how to read it.”
Sai looked at the screen as the procession of peaks and valleys slowed, stopped, and then marched backward. There was a point when the display shifted, nearly imperceptible. To Shin’s trained eye, the changing point was indicative of a massive influx of information, almost to the point of having two different brains.
“Hmm, that’s peculiar. It’s as if everything this woman knew before has been dumped and replaced with new information. See this line here?” Shin indicated one particular line to the Guardian. “This indicates your Force activity, and there’s a massive spike here. It’s as if she’s been using powers she’s got no business knowing how to use, not at her level.”
“Master, we aren’t all born to the Brotherhood,” Sai interjected. “Maybe she had some ability before, and since coming to Lyspair, she’s been, you know, re-indoctrinated to the Force, being trained as her rank warranted. You just don’t forget certain things.”
“True enough, but she’s only been with us, and subsequently, away on her little adventure, a very short time,” Shin countered. “This readout is more indicative of a Hunter’s ability. Whatever she read in that book,” he glanced menacingly at the woman, “or whatever she was taught, it was some quality stuff.”
As if to punctuate Shin’ichi’s point, the seemingly helpless woman’s hands shot from her sides, grasping both men by the wrist. The Guardian was caught off guard, and Sai’s tripartite eyes slammed shut as lancets of pain born of the Dark Side shot their way up his arm and into his chest. Shin, far stronger and more wary, only winced slightly as he instinctively jammed the box he held into the woman’s exposed brain with a squelch, ending her life and the assault.
Sai leaned against the bulkhead, panting slightly. “What the frack was that?!” he demanded. Shin absently cleaned the box and his hands on the dead woman’s robes, almost as if clearing a dining table. “A good sign, my apprentice: We’re getting close. Time to share the news.”
Ashia felt a tug in the bond between her and her brother-in-law as Ruluk activated the comm to receive Rasilvenaira’s transmission.
“Ash, this is Sil. It looks like my keeping a Dug on my payroll was a good investment! I’ve got something…”
Rasilvenaira could almost see the slight grimace on Ashia’s face as she responded, “Silver, why do I get the feeling that I don’t really want to know who or what you have on a payroll, or why? Anyway, what’d you find?”
The Sith chuckled, since joining the Brotherhood, her personal assets had, for the most part just continued to accrue interest, but her network of contacts was still perfectly functional. While Dugs were not known for being the most cooperative species, this particular one was too far in debt to Rasilvenaira to complain about being called on as an informant and spy, as well as his use as a smuggler.
“Well, apparently the Shadow Academy shuttle made a stop along the way, and not to any Clan’s system.”
“Where did it stop?”
“Nar Shadda. I can only imagine that there’s no legitimate reason for a Shadow Academy shuttle to be going there, so that begs the question, why did it?”
“Silver, are you positive, is your source reliable?”
Rasilvenaira smirked, “Kibsal values his life well enough, he has no stake in this and he knows he can’t lie to me. There is one other thing he mentioned, and he has no idea why I’m tracking that shuttle, for all he knows it’s because I want someone on it dead, he mentioned that the shuttle landed in an area of Nar Shadda that is frequented by… how did he put it… ‘Religious fanatics and cults’ so I think we need to find out where that shuttle is right now, question the pilot and search the ship computer’s records, as well as investigating the Nar Shadda lead.”
Ashia sighed, “That does not sound good. Where are you right now?”
“Leaving the Yridia system and planning a quick stop over to Bothawui to check another source, then I was planning on heading for Nar Shadda.”
“Umm… Silver? You really think that’s a good idea?” The Tetrarch couldn’t help but feel concerned about the young Jedi Hunter traveling with Rasilvenaira.
The Warrior chuckled slightly, “Don’t worry Ash, we’ll be fine. I know better than to risk my Apprentice or myself unnecessarily. I do know a few people on Nar Shadda though, so I want to check with them and see if I can find anything more about why the shuttle would have stopped there.”
“Alright, but please, be careful. We still have no real idea who or what we’re dealing with here.”
“I know, but we need to dig deep enough to find out. I’ll check in again when we leave Bothawui and head for Nar Shadda.”
Rasilvenaira leaned back in her seat, and looked over at Corin, “Well, what’s on your mind?”
The young Sith shook his head, “Nothing, Master.”
“Corin, you’ve been awfully quiet since my discussion with Kibsal, and I can feel it, so what’s bothering you?”
“I can’t explain it, Ras, there’s just something that doesn’t seem right, I don’t know.” He sighed and looked over at her. “I’m probably just paranoid.”
A wry smile flickered across StormRaven’s face, “Paranoid is not necessarily a bad thing, it can serve you well as long as you learn how to use it.”
Corin visibly relaxed and smiled, “True. So, do we have a plan?”
Rasilvenaira grinned, “Start shaking trees and see what falls out.”
Shin'ichi looked down at the hapless victim at his feet. The body sliding to the floor in it's final moments. His hand reached up to the vial around his neck as his heart yearned for another to satiate his undying thirst. He resisted, the kill was not to his liking and a mere Apprentice would only whet his appetite making him long for more.
The Abomination of Kyataru growled low in frustration as he mentally spoke to his sister-in-law. She could feel the anger and disquiet torment build in the Epis as she attempted to quiet the beast within. It was something only she could do.
His student looked on in frightening surprise and gulped. Tension had suddenly filled the cabin of the ship forcing the Keibatsu to look up and see fear in the tripartite eyes. Slowly his face gave way from the menacing visage it had held to that of a quieter and calmer presence. Sai relaxed a bit.
"So what now, Master?"
"We are to meet up with Ashia and Ruluk. Silver and Corin are heading to Bothawui to follow up on a possible lead then we are to all meet on Nar Shadda."
"Nar Shadda? What's there?"
"The shuttle made an unscheduled stop there."
...home to some of the most vial criminals and smugglers in the galaxy. Once a thriving trades center, as the trade lines shifted over the years, it fell victim to illegal operations as the Hutts who had settled it continued to use the displaced Evocii as cheap labor. It had also drawn a few religious fanatics in recent history.
The causeway was a sea of movement, a chaotic cacophony of sound lights and motion. The two Keibatsu moved fluidly through the throng of people as Sai and Ruluk ran to keep up and also keep out of the way of the people.
They slipped into the cantina unnoticed by anyone. Shin'ichi had already threaten Sai with his life if he didn't keep his wits about him and his eyes open. Ashia had done the same with Ruluk. They couldn't afford any screw ups in a place like this.
Smoke, dirt and sweat filled their nostrils as they entered quietly, keeping to the shadows. The noise from the band echoed off the walls and mixed with a thousand conversations engaged at once. They moved to the back and kept watch.
Rasilvenaira was the only one that noticed them as they moved to the back of the club; then she was watching for them too. She stepped out of the shadows and made her way towards them, Corin was right behind her.
"What did you find out? Why are we...here?" Ash whispered keeping and eye on the room as she did. The Krath witch didn't like crowds and preferred to not put herself or her battle team in situations such as these.
"The shuttle definitely docked here. Someone got off too. I tracked him here."
"Any idea who?"
Silver shook her head. I was not able to ascertain that, but I know he's still here." She nodded in the direction of a table that sat across the room a little ways. A young boy in a cloak sat at a table alone. They watched carefully as he was joined by another cloaked figured, their face hidden by shadows. The cloaked figure whispered something to the young boy then slipped him a piece of paper before moving to leave.
"Silver, follow him, find out where he goes." She didn't think twice but slipped out the door with Corin after the cloaked figure into the streets once more.
Shin and Ashia watched as the young boy got up from his table and moved past them into one of the back rooms. The two Keibatsu looked at each other once then followed the boy. Shin'ichi came up from behind him, grabbed him and shoved him into a storage room. Ashia entered with Ruluk and Sai quickly closed the door.
"Watch it, make sure no one comes in." She simply said to the Jedi Hunter and Guardian. They stood as sentinels and said not a word.
Shin let go of the kid and glared down on him. The kid screamed as he flipped his cloak over his shoulder and reached out his hand.
"Frothas notras halos sontas nafra ka!"
Shin'ichi's maw cracked into a vicious grin as he reached out and grabbed the kid by the throat. He whimpered as he was lifted off the ground. Ash went through his pockets and found the piece of paper. It had a location on it and a time.
"What is this?" The Nightsister bore holes through him.
"I don't know I..." Shin's grip tightened on the boy's neck making him gasp for air.
"It's a religious meeting. That's all. I swear I know nothing else."
Shin lowered him to the ground and let go slowly. He glared hard at him; his eyes narrowing as his thirst built. The boy coughed, trying to regain his feet as he rubbed at his throat where Shin had held him. He shrank from his gaze as he did, trying desperately to shake it off. Ashia sauntered up to him and he jumped to see the Nightsister standing so close. She reached out a gloved hand and stroked his face gently.
"And what do they call you, young one?" She purred seductively as her words calmed the boy. He looked into her azure eyes and relaxed instantly in her presence.
"Nephets. My name is Nephets." He gulped hard as the Krath witch wove her tendrils of seduction through the poor boy's mind.
"Well, Nephets. You have a very distinct honor to be afforded to you for your...cooperation." She continued in the same sing song voice the sent shivers down his spine. He smiled up at the Nightsister as she moved closer, her words a whisper along his skin. She abruptly turned on her heel.
"Make it quick, we don't have time to waste."
Surprise showed on the Apprentice's face as the garrote wire was suddenly wrapped around it from behind. His eyes bulged, threatening to explode as he gasped for breath. As the pallor of his face changed colour, Shin reached around placing the vial near his mouth, and with that, the final breath exited the young Apprentice along with his soul.
An evil look crossed the Epis' features as he corked the vial and placed the precious treasure around his neck, letting the body of Nephets drop to the floor in a heap. Ruluk and Sai stood, gape jawed at the sight. Ashia just stood and smiled.
Rasilvenaria and Corin slipped in and out of the throng of people on the causeway like shadows dancing on a lone floor. The followed the cloaked figure to an abandoned building that had fallen to decay ages ago. She slipped off to the side and pulled out her comlink.
"Ras to Ash, come in."
Ashia turned from the two shocked students and opened her comlink.
"I'm here Ras, what'd you find."
"He entered an abandoned building on the south side of the district. I'm going to follow him in, I'm sending you the location now, meet us there."
The foursome wound their way through Nar Shadda’s streets, the image of Nephet’s demise still fresh in their minds. With the two Keibatsu leading the way, Ruluk took the opportunity to subject Sai to some good-natured teasing.
“Can’t handle being shackled to a Keibatsu, eh?” Ruluk prodded Sai with a grin.
“What do you mean?”
“I saw you back there; you were just as surprised as I was. So much for knowing your own Master, huh?”
Sai fixed Ruluk with a stare. “That’s the problem, m’friend: I do know my master, and what you saw back there, wasn’t him.”
“Well, there’s Shin’ichi, and then there’s ‘The Abomination of Kyataru’, a being that you’ve never seen before. When the Abomination comes out, all types of...unpleasant things happen.
“He doesn’t stop, he doesn’t quit, he’s brutal, he’s merciless...pretty much everything the worst parts of the worst things that a Dark Jedi can be,” Sai explained.
“I don’t know, that sounds kinda cool,” Ruluk mused with a grin.
“That's right, you don't know, and you don’t understand. Shin is probably one of the most disciplined and loyal of the Bretheren either of us know, but that other 'thing', it's only about 'it' and what 'it' wants. We, at the very least, have some sort of a morality, as loose as it may be; the Abomination follows rules we can never hope to comprehend. It doesn’t matter who’s around. You. Me. Her,” Sai nodded towards their Tetrarch, growing more insistent. “If the Abomination is let loose, there’s a good chance that none of us will leave here alive.”
Ruluk began a retort when Ashia wheeled on the pair. “If you two are done,” she began, casting a warning glance at Sai, who’d come close to letting Shin’s secret shame out. “We’re here. Silence from here on in.”
The group steeled themselves at the abandoned building’s door, checking their weapons to the tune of ominous chanting coming from within. There seemed to be a great many people inside, but without knowing Ras’ status, they were going in blind. There could be forty; there could be four hundred. But, their quest for their stolen property had led them here, and the Jade Serpents were going to see their mission through to the end.
Corin followed in his Master's quiet wake as the two figures moved silently through the night. The success of this pursuit was apparent as the figure vanished into the decayed structure. As his Master pulled out her silver comlink and radioed to Ash the information they gathered, Corin kept watch all around them, taking extra care to stay hidden.
Rasilvenaira finished her message to Ash and turned to her Apprentice. "Got everything you need, my Apprentice?" Corin nodded, double-checking if his thermal detonators were present. Check. "Good. Let's make this..." Her words were cut short as the familiar buzz of a sniper's beam reached their ears.
They ducked, narrowly escaping the attackers aim. Corin drew his own rifle, fitting it to his shoulder. "What the hell was that?" He whispered to his Master who lay beside him.
"It is apparent that someone doesn't want us here. Can you see him?" She watched as her Apprentice scanned the horizon for the attacker.
He shook his head. "No ma'am, I think he's gone."
"He'll be back, you can count on that." Rasilvenaira snatched her comlink from her belt, and radioed Ashia. "Ash, we just got ambushed by a lone sniper. He fled, but he's sure to be back soon. Be on the lookout, over."
"Are you two alright? Be more careful, we don't want you two out of commission."
Corin slowly got to his feet, constantly scanning the horizon as he did so. Rasilvenaira held her saber in her hand, ready for another attack. "Let's find cover," she said, pointing at the decaying building, "We won't be such easy targets inside."
Corin wordlessly agreed, and carefully followed his Master who made sure to stay in the shadows. This was tricky business, and one false move could mean their lives, and the lives of their comrades.
They made some progress as their brisk stride carried them further and further into the city. The building was just ahead, and from where they stood to the building, there was an open area where no shadows were present, of which could not be avoided. They would have to either find that sniper and take him out, or make a desperate run for their lives.
Corin mounted the scope onto his rifle, and fitted it to his shoulder. Scanning the city terraces once more, Corin spotted a shadow still and waiting. It was the shadow of the sniper, Corin knew for sure, and it was hiding, waiting for Corin and Ras to make one bad move.
"Master, I've got him, but he's hidden and I can't get a clear shot. Shall I fire a shot to flush him out?"
Rasilvenaira pondered for a moment. "Do whatever you can to eliminate him."
Corin nodded and charged his rifle. As the faint buzzing of his rifle was clear, Corin took aim. Slowly letting go of the trigger, Corin discharged two simultaneous shots at the sniper.
Still looking through his scope, Corin witnessed the snipers hesitation as it slowly arose from it's fox-hole. Corin took this opportunity and landed a plasma bolt in the snipers throat. "Bingo"
They both grinned and quickly made their way toward the building. They reaching it in a few seconds and carefully hid themselves behind a large metal object that was once a garbage dumpster, but was now a pile of rubble. "Ashia," Rasilvenaira radioed in once more, "We're at the building. Corin and I have eliminated the sniper, but be prepared for more resistance. This is bigger than we thought. The network of spies is more close-knit that I thought. Further contact will be minimal, over."
"Be careful Ras." Was her answer. "And make sure you bring back Corin alive."
Rasilvenaira grinned. "Will do."
A lone figure floated in and out of the shadows. It's movement undetectable as it followed it's prey. Rasilvenaira darted behind a support pillar and peered around cautiously. Corin had been left to stand guard and wait for Ashia, Shin'ichi and the others, much to his chagrin. He'd would have rather been with his master, but she knew she could move quicker alone and just wanted to check the place out.
The Sith Warrior waited silently as a dark presence moved towards the far end of the room and disappeared down a long dark hallway. She slide up to the entrance and peered down the corridor for a brief moment before following.
A doorway led to a balcony with a stage below it, looked like an old theater. Remnants of the curtains that were once used, hung in tatters around the stage and most of the chairs had been removed and were in disarray.
She peeked over the edge of the balcony, letting the darkness hide her presence there. Several hooded figures stood around a circle drawn on the floor of the stage. A small table was set up in the middle with various things on it, one was a book.
Suddenly the group started to chant and the circle became luminescent with blue glow about it. The air grew thick as they lifted their arms and the chanting grew in strength.
“Where's Rasilvenaira, Corin?” Ashia approached the young hunter with a quizzical look.
“I'm here, Ash.” The Warrior stepped out of the shadows and dropped the hood of her cloak revealing those dark brown eyes of hers.
“What'd you find out?”
She took a deep breath, she wasn't really sure how to explain what she had seen.
“They seem to be priests or something. I'm not really sure what they were doing, but they had a book. Might be our book.”
“Priests? Like a religious cult or something?”
“Maybe.” Silver nodded her head.
The group slipped in and broke off into groups. Shin and Sai moved towards the back of the building, slipping in from behind the stage, Ras and Corin moved to the balcony she had already discovered and Ash and Ruluk took to the stairs, moving down the audience chamber of the old theater.
The chanting had continued, the whole circle alight with a blue glow. Slowly, runes began to show up in the circle. Glowing with the same luminescence. The air continued to thicken, threatening to choke them.
'Ash. I can see it. It's our book. I can see the gold lettering on it.'
Shin'ichi was moving, undetected behind the stage and had a good view of the proceedings. He kept his presence and Sai's masked with the Force.
Ashia strode in from the back of the room and made her way down the middle aisle of the theater. Her katana rode was unsheathed and riding on her shoulder.
One of the figures looked up at the approaching Nightsister. The chanting never ceased and didn't change course. He lifted his hand in her direction but never had the chance to do anything as his body went flying across the floor, only to slam into the wall and drop to the floor.
The other priests continued their chanting as they too, attempted to stop the Zabrak from approaching the stage and interrupting their work. One was sent careening into some chairs on the floor and another flew straight up into the rafters, only to slam back onto the stage a moment later. His lifeless body laying in a heap.
The runes in the circle started to fade abruptly as the spell was broken. This caused the priests to become angry as they turned on the woman.
A priestess turned towards her, her eyes burning from beneath her hood as she flung her hand out towards Ashia.
“Azarath Metrion Zinthos!”
A blast of hot air blew around the Knight as she raised her hand to deflect. The Force blast lifting her long hair up, making if flutter for a brief moment before settling back around her shoulders.
The slight smile caressed the lips of the Krath witch moments before she flipped into the air and landed on the stage. She landed in front of the priestess that had attacked her. She looked up and the smile spread into a grin.
“Shall we dance?”
She flipped around, bringing the katana with her and sliced through the woman before she even knew what had hit her.
The rest of the priests went into a scramble then as Shin and Sai jumped out from behind, cutting of their escape.
Another ran jumped off the stage and ran towards the back of the auditorium only to encounter Ruluk. He looked surprised as the Jedi Hunter threw a punch with his shock gloves, sending the priest flying through the air.
Silver and Corin, jumped down from the balcony then to the stage. What followed as an all out war.
'Watch out, Ash. Some of them are stronger then you'd think. They've tapped into something in that book...'
Shin'ichi was always looking out for his sister-in-law, even though he had seen her destroy people in battle many times and could be as ruthless as any Keibatsu.
As soon as they moved towards the book, several of them would freak. One jumped between them and the book, sacrificing himself as a sabre sliced through his midsection. His top half skidded across the floor, knocking the table over.
Ashia scrambled for the book, kicking one of the priests in the head as she grabbed for it.
Just as she reached for it, another priest, this one in different coloured robes, snatched it from her finger tips.
“You shall not taint this holy relic with your evil ways.” His voiced boomed through the room.
Silver grabbed him from behind, wrapping her left arm in front of his throat, her right was buried behind his back somewhere.
“I don't think so. See, that book was stolen from us and we are taking it!” A hiss sounded momentarily and the priests eyes widened as a bright red light lit them up from inside.
The body crumbled to floor as Silver's sabre slide from his lower back where she had placed it before igniting it. She picked the book up and smiled to Ash as she tossed it her.
“Let's finish this and go home.”
“Try to keep one a live for questioning.” Ashia shouted out as she turned. The last priest fell at Corin's hands.
“Oops. Too late. Sorry, Commander.” He looked at her sheepishly then started to grin as he admired his handiwork.
“Great. Now we'll never know who was behind this. I can't believe a bunch of mundane priests went that far to steal a book from the Shadow Academy.”
“Not necessarily.” Silver pulled out her datapad and showed it to Ash. She glanced at it briefly then looked up startled.
“Is this accurate?”
“I believe so. I found the chip on the one I just slaughtered. I'll cross reference it with some of my...'contacts' before we get home.”
Lyspair – Shadow Academy
Ashia strode through the corridors swiftly. A knot had developed in her stomach as she approached the doors to Anshar's office. She took a deep breath before entering; the doors sliding shut behind her with a swish.
Anshar sat at his desk going over the contents of a datapad, several of which were strewn across his desk. He looked up a minute later and regarded the Knight for a moment.
“Ashia, sit. Good work to you and your team for recovering that book. I understand there is more information you wish to share with me?”
“Yes, sir. The group we found that had the book seems to have been a religious cult, they were using it take gain power. They didn't get very far though. However, we were able to extract this bit of information from one of them.”
She handed over her datapad and waited. Anshar perused the contents for a moment then looked up at her.
“Are you findings accurate?” Alarm shone on the Tarentae's face.
“Yes, we've crossed referenced this information and believe it to be accurate. The Vong were behind it, most definitely. Not certain why those priests had it, but if it's a bible then it would explain the Vong's interest. There's more, sir....”
Ash trailed off as she struggled to find the words.
“If our information is accurate. The Vong are growing in power and amassing forces. For what purpose, we were not able to discern. This bit of information is sketchy at best and I'm not sure how accurate, however, the Dark Council needed to know, sir.”
Due to inactivity, this run-on has been closed.