[Participants: DA Muz, SBL Phoenix, KAP Esca, OT Fire-Knight, DJK Zandro, JH Etah, JH Maol, GRD Droveth, GRD Adrian, ACO Aranas]
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.
Fire-Knight had been lounging in his quarters on Altur when the call went out. His personal datapad had picked up the message from the brotherhood frequency, waking the templar from his stupor.
'Krav, you get that message?' FK sent his thoughts out to his Qua.
'Yes, but I'm busy with house affairs.' The man returned after a moment.
'Fair enough, I'll be going, getting bored here.'
'See you soon, I'll get Odium or Erinyes to watch the recruits while your gone.'
That taken care of, Fire-Knight stood and began to collect his things. First and foremost, his Lightsaber and back-up. Once he had collected everything he threw most of it into a duffle bag.
'Bryar, check. Extra robes, check. Dry rations, check. Cantine, check.' Nodding to himself, the Templar walked slowly towards the hanger.
Approaching his modified YT-2000, Ice, Fire-Knight did a quick round check to make sure their were no holes from previous missions. Walking up the ramp and into the cockpit, FK patted his long time friend and co-pilot R2-57, or better known as 'Red'.
Starting the engines and sending his access codes to the control tower, FK guided his ship out of the hanger and then out of the atmosphere. Punching in the coordinates for Lyspair, FK nodded to Red and the ship slipped into Hyperspace.
"beep bop beep screech" Red's annoying language suddenly woke Fire-Knight.
"Uhh.. thanks Red." Looking around the Templar realised he had arrived at Lyspair.
"I say again, identify youself." A voice came over the intercom.
"This is Obelisk Templar Fire-Knight in Ice. Requesting permission to land."
"Reason for your visit Templar?"
"Helping out with the recent theft."
"Access granted Templar. Please land."
Aligning the ship to compensate for Lyspair's thin atmosphere, Fire-Knight guidedIce slowly to the planets surface, finally coming to rest just outside of the academy in the hanger.
The ramp slowly lowered and Fire-Knight was greeted by a Novice, obviously sent to retrieve him by one of the Academy Staff.
"Templar Fire-Knight? Could you follow me please. I'm to escort you to the Central Offices."
Although he knew the way well, Fire-Knight followed the young man to the main gate and finally the entrace to the Central offices.
"This is as far as I can take you Templar please go through these doors and wait in the reception area for the time being."
"Thank you Novice, may the Darkness be with you."
Stepping through the doors Fire-Knight walked into a lavish reception area.
"Guess I'm the first one here." Fire-Knight said outloud to himself.
"No, I was." A voice came from behind FK as a man walked into the Reception area. "I just had other things to take care of." As the man approached he pulled down his hood revealing the face of Dark Adept Muz Keibatsu Sadow, the Herald of the Brotherhood. Although FK had only worked with the man on occasion, he had a great respect for him from the mentions he heard from Kir.
"Good afternoon Adept." Fire-Knight said bowing his head
Droveth Kathera Vectivi
A sleek, black TIE Interceptor took off from Yridia IV, slipping into hyperspace after a few moments. The Rodian pilot grapped his Datapad and sent a quick message to the officials in the castle, as a warning of his absence.
Headed to Lyspair, theft recovery mission. Absent for a time, contact HM Anshar for more information.
Droveth sighed, leaning back in the cockpit and skimming the contents of the data file on the mission.
" Hmm..A couple familiar faces, no one I know personally. But there's another Guardian, so it won't be all bad." He leaned over and grabbed his pack, checking once again to make sure he had everything.
Tools, chemicals, clothes, all together in a bundled heap. The Guardian set it down on the floor, and returned to his view screen. Stars streamed by in vast speed, melting together with the planets and asteroids in the background....
" Name?" The voice boomed over the intercom, frightening the Rodian only slightly, as he took many trips to the Academy.
" Droveth Kathera Vectivi, Guardian for Tarentum. Flying the Ravager."
"We've had quite a few of those today. Permission granted."
The TIE thudded into the hangar, not really equipped for slow flight. Droveth switched off the ship and climbed out, ignoring the steps. He lugged the back over his shoulder, and walked on into the Reception area.
Two members of his team were already there, Darkside Adept Mus Kaibatsu Sadow, and Obelisk Templar Fire-Knight.
" Aww, and I thought I was early. Greetings, Adept. Greetings, Templar." The Rodian chuckled, nodding to each of the other darksiders.
Etah was in the middle of one of his frequent trips to Lyspair. The young Dark Jedi was an odd fellow to be sure. Raised a monk, he became a soldier and stands now as a Dark Jedi of the clan Arcona. The only thing that made the situation more bizarre is that the young Obelisk warrior became the Krath Tetrarch of the Qel-Droma phyle. He had been in the Brotherhood for many months when he was pointed toward the Dark Vault as a source of knowledge by his battle team member and sometimes mentor Ethran Sayre Isradia, known to most as simply Esca. He has enjoyed many compendiums on internal alchemy over the last several months.
The dark robed security guard approached Etah and Esca who were sitting amongst a veritable fortress of books “Please exit the premises, the dark vault is being locked down” Etah reluctantly looked up from his text, a remarkable document about force centers being located throughout the body. “Excuse me?” the Jedi Hunter inquired. “There has been a security breach and the headmaster ordered the vault sealed, you are hereby ordered to exit the premises and failure to do so will lead to arrest and prosecution per Chamber of Justice guidelines”. Esca wordlessly tapped the stubborn Battle team leader’s shoulder and headed toward the exit.
As the young Sakiyan caught up with his comrade, Esca looked over and remarked “The Vault would have only been closed for a serious security breach and I know the Shadow Academy doesn’t have the staff to handle it alone. They will be looking for volunteers”. Nodding affirmatively the Royal Guard responded gingery “Right” as they both walked toward a shuttle that would bring them toward the Shadow Academies administration suit where they would both find more answers.
The holocron beeped with and urgent message.
"My lord, we are approaching Lyspair," spoke Captain Ail’en Sommetra
"Thank you captain, I will be on the bridge shortly," replied the ProConsul of CSP. Phoenix quickly reread the summons of the Headmaster while putting on his armor and robes. "What could possibly be this important for Braecen to pull me away from the clean-up of this civil war?" Phoenix threw the datapad on his bed and made haste to the bridge.
"VSD Excidium, access to Lyspair is restricted. State your business or leave this sector," boomed a voice over the intercom.
"I will handle this Captain," said Phoenix as he entered the bridge. "I am Sith Battlelord Phoenix Olkyssagh Palpatine, ProConsul of CSP, and I was summoned here by the Headmaster for an inportant mission, my captain is transmitting the proper codes now," Replied the Firrerreon.
"I am sorry ProConsul....The headmaster is waiting for you in his office," Stammered the voice of the controller.
"Understood," Replied Phoenix. "Captain, prepare my fighter, then return quickly to Judecca." Phoenix quickly lands his craft and makes his way to the Headmasters office. The amount of security moving throughout the Academy was overwhelming. Phoenix reached the office and was met by two unsavory looking guards.
"State your business," Ordered one of the guards. The Firrerreon eyed the guard, debating whether or not to rip his throat out.
"I am here by order of the headmaster...." Phoenix bit his tongue at the end of his sentence. Both guards moved and Phoenix passed through the doorway, walking down a hallway to the reception area.
"Looks as though I am not as late as I thought," stated Phoenix as he eyed Muz, Fire-Night, Droveth and Etah. The others looked at Phoenix as he walked in and introduced himself to each member of the team. "So, where do we go from here?"
The Herald tapped his head in thought, dissecting the current situation with his mind. "Thus far, what have you all been told?"
A low commotion erupted from the Jedi assembled in the reception hall, rumours and hearsay echoing from their minds into the lush room. Muz
turned on his heel, slowly pacing the room.
"So, Like I said, where do we go from here?" Phoenix mumbled. "When is Anshar going to brief us?"
Muz paused, his dark eyes somehow flashing, either with annoyance or amusement, it was hard to tell. "He already has."
FireKnight grimaced. "But all we have is that it's a book of some sort, the security holos caught nothing, and he could be anywhere."
The room went silent for a moment, expectation looming in the air like a morning Dathomiri fog. Realization crept in from the corners of their minds, and unease with it.
"That's all they know."
Muz nodded at the Obelisk Hunter as he entered the room, having stood silently in the doorway for a moment.
"So, where do we start?" The Tarenti repeated. He was growing somewhat annoyed by this discussion. It seemed to be going nowhere, and with each passing moment, the thief no doubt grew more distant.
The Adept turned to face the group, leveling his disconcerting stare at them all, no one knowing which of them he was looking at.
"The thief could have gone to any of the clans..."
"So, we split up, head to our home clans and catch him there?" Etah smiled at his own cunning.
"Hardly..." Muz chuckled. "If we split up, we'll never catch him. Plus, if they think they've gotten away, they'll get sloppy eventually... So we have to ask ourselves, who would want a book from the Vault?"
Phoenix mumbled under his breath, but they all heard it in the stillness of the room. "Someone who has the Force...no one else could really use it."
Muz nodded. "I have an idea. If any of you came here in personal fighters, move them to docking bay 12b, and have them loaded into my ship. We move as one."
Etah restrained a smile. The Herald's ship, the Fallen Spear
, was known rather well for various reasons, and with the number of great duelists present, he looked forward to some one on one training in the Herald's on-board dojo.
Phoenix looked directly at the Adept, a moment passing in a collision of sight, words unspoken flaring between the two.
"Where to?" FireKnight broke the silence with the obvious.
"In Naga Sadow, whenever something like this happens, we always know that it has to do with one man. And quite often, even in matters of the Brotherhood, he is responsible for it somewhere up the chain..."
." Muz smiled.
Anxiety blossomed in their hearts, fertilized with tales of how the Oracle, the mad Dragon of the Longs, had destroyed the Morph Hall in his unchecked power, how the Dark Jedi Master was exiled from the Dark Hall due to his inability to control his insanity.
Phoenix raised an eyebrow. Last he had heard, the Oracle was bound in the catacombs of Sadow Palace
, where only the elite of the Sadow could go. "And where, pray tell, are we going to find the Oracle?"
The Herald flipped closed the datapad on his synthetic arm, having sent the message to flight control that any others assigned to his team should be directed to dock inside the Fallen Spear. Muz turned slightly toward the Proconsul, his warcoat flaring dramatically as a slight smirk crept across his lips.
"The Amicus Club."
Droveth Kathera Vectivi
" Now, this may seem like a stupid question, but what exactley is the Amicus Club? I seemed to be left out in that department." Droveth questioned, looking around at the others.
" From what I know," Pheonix started, " I think this should explain it." He held out a datapad for everyone to see. It read:
The Amicus Club is the IT spot on Antei. Owned by Trevarus Caerick and Maxamillian von Oberst-Tarentae, the five story building is accessible only to the most illustrious and important members of the Brotherhood and Antei's socio-economic stratta. To get past the front door, one MUST be at least an Elder, Consul or other Council member. Elders are afforded a handful of guests who can be from the Equites class or lower, but they are watched carefully by the staff and will be escorted out at the first sign of trouble. The only exceptions to entrance are the handful of personal invitations that Trevarus and Maxamillian extend.
" Oh, Okay. So how do we expect to get in? I guess if no one catches wind we are investigating, we'd just be guests."
Etah had heard tales of the mad dark Jedi Shan Long. Imbued with a power and fury beyond his control and exiled from the Brotherhood, the idea had always intrigued the young Monk. He never believed the lies and propaganda about either the light side or the dark side of the force. In fact he didn’t believe in either of them. All the nonsense between the light and the dark side, the Jedi and the Sith, was all political. It was the nature of politics to demonize your opponents. Being a simple monk the young Sakiyan didn’t go for any of that. He didn’t believe that the force was unifying or any such drivel, but he did believe that it was a single, abstract entity.
Aside from politics, the main difference between Jedi and the Dark Jedi was the way in which they wielded the force. Maybe wield wasn’t as good of a term as filtered or directed, because the truth was that no one could control the force anymore than anyone can command the sea or the winds. The Jedi, cold and emotionless were like a blade, sharp, precise and lethal. Dark Jedi on the other hand were passionate, both loving and hating very deeply. Like a raging inferno the Dark Jedi consumed all life around them, growing ever more powerful feeding on the peoples its killed, feeding on personal tragedy, sparring no one, not even those they love.
To become so great, so powerful, so passionate, that you could no longer control yourself, to become so powerful that the dark side of the force literally takes over your body, as if you were the avatar for some dark war god. The notion was at once terrifying and fascinating. The young Monk briefly pondered whether that kind of surrender was the final way that Etah’s near supernatural ears heard elders softly whispering about in dark corners. Etah silently mouthed “void in thine soul” wondering if those words were somehow significant.
Etah looked about the meeting room. Everyone assembled seemed to be starring at each other wondering. It seemed as if the Dark Adept had made up his mind about the next course of action, as the senior of all those gathered this was his right. Etah had questions too, he wasn’t entirely sure this would be productive; he didn’t see the logic in this kind of a search pattern. But over the last several months he had come to realize that the elders were the holders of esoteric knowledge and most times it was better to shut up and let them lead the way.
Etah noted that Trevarus Caerick was a known collector of artifacts such as the Amulet of Orian. What if the Herald didn’t want to consult with this man but thought him responsible for the theft of the tomb? How would they go about questioning the man, investigating the man, arresting him if needs be ? If it came to battle with that thing, an entity of that power, the fight would be monumental, legendary even. To see this man in action would be enthralling. Unfortunately if this were their true course of action the young Dark Jedi doubted anyone in their little ad-hoc group would survive.
"I'm sure the Herald can get us into the club." Fire-Knight spoke up, nodding respectfully to Muz "In the mean time, I believe its time we did as the Adept asked and load our ships into The Fallen Spear's bay. Hopefully your fighters will all fit once I get Ice in.
Fire-Knight nodded to his colleagues and pivoted heading back towards the entrance. As the Templar walked past the door, he made eye contact with the young novice who had originally directed him. "Novice, if any other members meant to travel with our team arrive tell them to meet us at the Amicus club. If they can't figure out where that is, its their own loss."
"Good, enjoy your studies."
Continuing on his path, Fire-Knight quickly reached the hanger and Ice therein. As he entered his ship and powered up Fire-Knight saw the Adept walk into the hanger and touch his synthetic arm for a moment. The Cargo bay entrance opened on The Fallen Spear and Muz turned to Fire-Knight with what he viewed as a mischevious smile.
Nodding his head, Fire-Knight slowly eased Ice up off the ground and guided her into the Cargo bay. The clearance was minimal as the YT-2000 to slip in, but once inside, the large cargo hold was more then capable of holding his ship. Squeezing tight to a wall, Fire-Knight assesed the remaining room to ensure their would be sufficient room for the remaining team members.
Several minutes later, Fire-Knight found standing with the remainder of the group as the final member settled their fighter and exited.
"Good, were all here now, this is one of the members of my Crew, he will show you to your temporary quarters." With that the Adept took his leave, heading to his quarters on the upper floor.
"Follow me please." The crew member said as the Adept left the docking bay. Walking to the side of the ship, the group was lead up a series of stairs. "This is the Command deck," The crewman said as he gave a quick tour. "It contains the bridge and rec hall, as well as the crew barracks and quarters for visitors. On the second level is the Cantina and luxury suite as well as another quarter. and the top level contains The Heralds personal quarters and the med bay. I dont have to say entrace to the Heralds quarters is restricted. I'd ask you journeymen to choose from the quarters along the hallway heading to the bridge. Equites if you could follow me we will continue to the second level." Phoenix and Fire-Knight exchanged glances and continued to follow the crewman. "Here we are, I'll let you decide who will take the luxury suite, and who the remaining quarter. We should arrive on Antei in about 20 minutes so both of you enjoy your quick rest."
Glancing at Phoenix Fire-Knight nodded briefly "The Luxury suite is all yours." Turning, teh Templar walked into the remaining quarter and dropped off his luggage. From their he went immediatly to the Cantina were he ordered a Pitcher of ale to tide him over for the short trip.
20 minutes flew by quickly as the Templar drank and he shortly heard a voice from over his shoulder. "We've arrived." FK turned to face Muz. "I advise you jump into your formal robes"
"Yessir." Fire-Knight said as he left his stool and walked briskly to his room. Moments later he exited in full attire and followed the Herald down to the Cargo Bay where the remaning team members had gathered.
"I have a speeder waiting outside to take us. Follow me."
Stepping from the bay the team quickly entered what only could be called a "stretch" speeder and took off towards the Amicus club.
"Fire-Knight as a Magistrate of the DGM their should be no problem with you acting as an escort, Phoenix, you as well considering your P:CON position. The remainder of you I believe will have to wait downstairs... and DO NOT cause a ruckus or you will have me to answer to."
The entire team nodded respectfully to the Herald showing the understood.
The speeder pulled up in front of the Amicus Club and the team jumped out and followed Muz to the entrance. The bouncers stepped in the way and smiled. "Good evening Herald, whom do you have with you tonight." Muz quickly named off ranks and titles. "Good, I'd ask the Journeymen remain on the lower level where we can watch them, you and the Equites are free to roam, but any sign of trouble and all your escort will have to be removed."
Nodding breifly and grumbling a moment Muz walked by the Bouncers heading into the club.
"In case you all don't know, one cannot use the force within the Amicus club. It is impossible." The Herald added as the team entered the bar. "You journeymen mingle for abit, see if you can dig up anything, You two follow me" The herald said pointing to FK and Phoenix. The Elder and two equites quickly headed to the back of the main room where a bouncer waited by a staircase.
"Is Trevarus Caerick busy?"
"No Adept he is enjoying a drink."
"I will speak to him then."
"Go on up I'll send word your coming."
Etah and Droveth looked at each other as the three disappeared behind the curtain, up the stairs.
"Well, sure was a good thing we showed up." Droveth snipped, his eyes looking around at the patrons of the Bar, instinctively trying to sense their life patterns in the Force like his master taught him.
Etah shrugged, unaffected by the turn of events, sauntering over to the bar, motioning for the steward to move closer. Whispering a few words into the slender woman's ear, she smiled and nodded, stepping away to retrieve whatever he had asked for.
Droveth's curiosity piqued, he stepped to the Hunter. "What are you doing?"
Etah turned slowly, serenity in his eyes. "Just relaxing, that's all."
"Trevarus, old friend..." Muz spoke before the Oracle could see him, being sure to alert the master to his presence to avoid any anxiety.
Trev turned from his post, watching some patrons enjoy his dancers. He had paid dearly for their training, and the investment was not in vain. "Muz, always happy to see another Son."
Muz smiled, a rare sight as he moved through the hallway. "How have you been? I've not seen you in a fortnight..."
"Enjoying myself, you can see." Trev regarded the premises with a wave of his hand. "But this hardly seems the place for you. What can I do for you?"
"Of course. Business before pleasure." Muz nodded. "Let us find a more secluded place."
Trev sipped from the rich amber fluid in his glass and turned, leading them down to a more private booth.
Etah stared at the empty glass, the rare spirit already working its way through his system. The Corellian brandy he had asked for was of a particularly potent distillery on the southern plain, known well for their use of some of their locally grown vine.
Euphoria washed over the Hunter, and he rode the wave, trying to let go of his reservations, trying to surrender to the Force, even faint his connection was in this place. The severing had been hard on the Hunter, who had come to rely on it more and more, to bolster his personal resolve, his personal strength.
Etah didn't know if he had ordered the brandy to replace the connection, a surrogate for the courage the Force gave him, or to dull his longing for it. Whatever the case, it was working, a rarity for the young monk.
Droveth patted the Sakiyan on the shoulder, his reaction slow and measured. "You bring enough creds to handle this? I've heard this is a bit expensive."
Etah didn't respond, his mind careening through calmness. Droveth tapped the small viewscreen in front of the Hunter, bringin up the tab thus far, his eyes widening in shock.
"What the..." Droveth immediately lowered his voice to a hushed whisper as the steward stared at his outburst. "By Darth, man, what did you order, Virgin Twi'Lek blood?"
Trev tapped his chin in thought. "I reckon that something like that would be pretty highly prized by the collectors." He raised his glass, peering through the liquid at one of the lights, the warm glow filtering across his eyes. "I take it you've already spoken with Spears?"
"I don't think that Anshar wants Spears to know that he's lost a book." Muz responded, leaning somewhat back in his leather chair.
Trev nodded. "Understandable."
Phoenix leaned forward, tapping his finger on the table. Almost immediately, a steward arrived, a dark red Zabrak in a flowing gown. "How may I serve?"
Phoenix blinked, astonished. "Ummm..."
"May I recommend the Lat'rec 17?" Trev smiled faintly, that predatory look always setting the younger members on edge.
Muz stepped past the bouncers slowly, his eyes glancing furtively across the room, looking for their companions as Phoenix and Fireknight followed him down the stairwell.
Spying the Sakiyan and the Rodian, he moved toward the pair, motioning for them to wrap things up.
Droveth nudged the inebriated Etah from his post, quick fingers retrieving the Hunter's cashchip to hand to the Steward. Smiling gracefully, she plced it into the exchanger and spun to return the item to him.
"Sir, 50 remain..."
Murder crossed Droveth's mind, but he decided to let it pass for the time being. There would be plenty of time aboard the Herald's ship. He grabbed his own and handed it to the steward.
"Let's go, Monk."
"Well, that wasn't very productive..." Fireknight sneered as they stepped aboard the Fallen Spear. "Now we have no leads..."
Muz paused a moment, looking at the Templar. "What do you mean? Trevarus was quite plain."
Phoenix paused, turning to look at him incredulously. "Was he not speaking common? All he said was 'Understandable'."
Muz shook his head. Intonation was a very hard thing for many people to read, and the Obelisk were known more for their subtleties in combat. "He said it was understandable that Anshar wouldn't want Spears to know."
"Yeah, because Spears was the last Headmaster, and would probably get a little angry." Droveth mumbled.
Muz nodded. "And what also do we know about Headmasters?"
The realization hit them all at once. As Headmaster, Spears would know precisely where every item would be stored in the Academy, and also know the placement of all security measures. For Spears to have stolen something, it would take some planning, but otherwise quite easy.
"But why would Spears steal a..." Etah responded, a little woozy still from the drink.
"To test his predecessor." Muz stepped through the crowd, walking aboard his ship. "We make for Yridia. Droveth, please come with me to the bridge, we need to let Bloodfyre and the General know."
Droveth Kathera Vectivi
" Gladly." Droveth sighed, following the Adept to the bridge, nodding to the crew members who looked questioningly at the young Rodian. Muz quickly tapped the console and sent a signal to Master Bloodfyre, as well was Adept Oberst.
"Greetings, Proconsul." The Herald smiled, establishing a connection with the Yridia comlink. " How are you?"
" Fine, Fine. So, what's the buisness, Ashen?" Bloodfyre responded, signalling to the visitor in his office to leave. " Gotten yourself in trouble, maybe?"
" No, No, nothing of the sort. My team and I request access to your Castle, to search for an....artifact."
" Well, Herald, I'm going to have to assign one of my clan-brothers to be with you, as a sucerity pre-caution." The Master replied, sipping an odd-colored liquid.
" Of Course, but I already have a member of Tarentum on my team. Jedi Hunter Vectivi." Muz grinned, motioning for the Hunter to come over and show himself.
" Ah, Okay. Well, permission to land. You'll have to land in the Gladius bay though, I'll report to Sato."
" Okay, thank you very much, Sith." At that, the comlink ended abruptly and the two teammates returned to the meeting room.
" I'm going to say this now." Droveth sighed, sitting down. " I'm glad we're back going back to the Castle, but not to excited about why we're going there."
Etah woke up on the floor of his quarters near the door. Standing slowly the room swirled a few times around him and the young Sakiyan felt a little sick to his stomach. Striping down to his boxer briefs he slowly but surely pulling himself up and onto his bed. He barely had enough strength and energy to pull to covers over him before darkness overtook him again. Falling quickly into a fitful sleep he dreamed dreams of violent things in black and white.
He was on the field of aima where he fought that fateful fight against the Hutt rebels. The bodies of his comrades were strewn around in the same fashion as those of the enemy. Blood, which was a dull gray, covered the valley and ran into small streams. If it could ever be said that Etah was innocent, this is where his innocence was lost. This is where hate overtook him; this is where he came to realize his power and his potential. If it could ever be said that the Jedi Hunter had fallen to the dark side, then it would be here.
The Royal Guard opened his eyes again. He was mostly sober this time. Sitting up he was overtaken by nausea. It was warm and he failed to set the cooler before passing out. The sticky sour sweat sparkled over his coal black skin. He came to find that his mouth was dry as the vast desserts of Tatooine. Slowly stepping off of the bed he moved over to the water dispenser. Filling a glass and then two and then three he contemplated last night. He could not remember leaving the tavern that night.
The last thing he remembered was drinking a ridiculously expensive drink and then nothing. I wonder if it was created through alchemy, Etah thought to himself. The incredibly strong drink was a total shock to the young monks system. After re-hydrating, eating and showering he should be back to his old self he though. He would also think twice about buying booze from his fellow dark jedi.
After entering The Fallen Spear, Fire-Knight headed straight for Ice and decided to rest in his personal Quarters as opposed to those he had chosen aboard Muz's Ship. Stripping down, the Templar hit his pillow and was asleep in moments.
Eight hours later, FK's hunter mind kicked in and he woke up instantly, his body knowing it had been allowed enough rest. Getting quickly out of bed, the Templar slipped into the wash block and cleaned up. Finally he walked back into his room and dressed in his training blacks.
Exiting his ship, Fire-Knight quickly made his way to the second level of The Fallen Spear and entered the Dojo. Considering how early it was, Fire-Knigt wasn't suprised to find noone else inside. Taking a wooden sword from the weapons rack, the Templar began to run through his daily Lightsaber training regime. As he weaved his weapon in front of him Fire-Knight's mind became one with the weapon, he knew the cardinal rule, Cut! Cut whenever and whatever you can and never stop moving. With this in mind Fire-Knight tuned out everything but his weapon and began to move about the Dojo, attacking enemies who were not truly their.
"You move well, but perhaps you would like an opponent?" Muz's voice came out of the entrance way.
Stunned, Fire-Knight whipped around to view the intruder. "Adept, It's rare someone sneaks up on me.. I didn't expect anyone up this early."
"Remember, it's my ship I know how to move unnoticed." Reaching to his belt Muz withdrew two traning sabers and tossed one to Fire-Knight.
Both nodding, the pair ignited their weapons and began to circle. Fire-Knight moved in a flash swinging for the Adepts left side. Muz was just as quick, and deflected the blow, smiling and stepping back. Both continued to Circle. This time Muz launched forward, unleashing a barrage on Fire-Knight. Holding his own Fire-Knight was gradually backed into a corner. Although just as fast as his opponent and stronger, Fire-Knight new he was out matched in experience. Muz had already mastered 3 forms compared to Fire-Knights 1, and the results were showing. As Muz began to cycle through forms, Fire-Knight began to find it hard to keep up or know where he would go next, and finally the Adept penetrated FK's defense landing a blow on his right thigh and sending him sprawling back.
"You move well, youngblood. You could be a master, if you trained more...."
"Yes Adept... Thank you" Fire-Knight said as he stood back up. "Another round Adept?"
"No, not for now, let's head to the cantina and grab a bite to eat the others should begin to rise soon."
Fire-Knight Nodded and handed the Traning saber back to the Adept. Following Muz from the Dojo to the cantina, Fire-Knight replayed the short battle in his mind.
'Muz was right, I am fast enough to match some of the best, but i need to broaden my study of the forms, and practice more.'
Sitting down at Breakfast both Dark Jedi enjoyed a quick meal and returned to their respective rooms.
The following three days were similar during the voyage, Fire-Knight continued to meet Muz in the morning for some saber training and spent the remaninder of the day meditating and catching up on his readings.
On the Final day of the voyage FK was lounging in his quarters when a voice came over the Comm system. "We will be arriving at our destination in 30 minutes, could all of our guests dress in the formal clothes and head to the hanger please."
Fire-Knight slipped on his robes in a matter of seconds and began his walk to the Hanger.
'Spears... It's been awhile since I've seen the old fart'.
Having served under Spears not only as an EP but as one of Spears Royal Guards, Fire-Knight and gained quite a friendly relationship with the man, seeing him once again would be fun for the Templar. Being the first in the Hanger, FK stretched a little before the others arrived so he would be limber on arrival.. It never hurt to be cautious.
The team stamped through the bay of the spear, stepping out onto the platform, the seas of Yrdia stretching out as far as the eye could see.
Muz paused, his eyes darting, a momentary caution holding his step. He reached out with the Force, feeling along the threads of the real, casting his senses along the tapestry, feeling for the marked one, the Gen'Dai.
"He's not here..."
The door opened in front of them, a soldier stepping out to greet them and usher them below into the subaquatic castle.
"Spears is on his estate, I suspect." Oberst smiled politely, cruelty tinging his voice as he eyed the Taldryan.
Muz stood from his seat, his eyes locked on the famed Marshall. "I expect he'll be waiting, then."
Maxamillian shifted his gaze back to the Keibatsu. Muz moved deliberately, knowing full well the cool and analytic General's reputation. They had worked together in the last war, the Tarentae alliance with the Sadow falling in with the armies the Herald had raised. But past alliances were no guarantee against treachery, and he knew that Oberst would try to find a flaw in any man for future exploitation.
Spears smiled at the Herald, his mask keeping the Gen'dai's true emotion from his guests. "Of course I knew, Muz..." The former headmaster reached for a bottle of refined liquor, pouring himself a short glass. "Did you expect any less of me?"
Muz simply shook his head, his mind tearing apart the possibilities as he let his mouth ask the obvious. "And I don't suppose that you know who did it."
"I have a few ideas."
Fire-Knight leaned forward, his eyes narrowing. "Care to share who those might be?"
"The usual suspects, I'm afraid." Spears tapped the sides of his glass as he watched the team capitulate. "Have you checked..."
"Yes." Muz interrupted, his mind snapping back from the threads. "Before Lyspair. And then to the Amicus Club."
Spears nodded, alien eyes watching as the Jedi Hunters stood in awe of the Collection he had ammassed. Ancient Sith artifacts, antiquities of despotic lore and hate that decorated the Master's office.
Phoenix cast a sharp gaze at the herald, the tension growing thick between them again before Fire-Knight spoke. "Who else would want it?"
Muz shrugged. "Hard to say, considering they hadn't even translated the title fully yet."
"Is that what Anshar has been telling you?" Spears sighed. No wonder they were knocking on doors to get answers.
"You mean to say that it was?"
"The title was translated before I left office." Spears stared at his glass. "Dextera Nigre Libre."
Muz froze for a second. "Thank you, Spears...we'll be out of your hair now." He motioned for the rest to head for the door, the confusion worn plainly on their faces.
"I take it you know who has it now?" Phoenix watched the Keibatsu as he launched the ship, gliding smoothly through the blue and into the black. His eyebrow peaked as he turned for a second from the chromatic peace.
"The name means the 'bible of the black right hand'..."
Fireknight snorted first. "How does this mean anything to us?"
Muz plowed his ship through the atmosphere, seemingly possessed as he moved the ship between the asteroids of the Yridia system. "The old standards of the brotherhood, they have the symbols of the person on them...each is registered to an individual...no one may copy another."
"So this black right hand reminded you of someone?"
Muz swung the ship around the final asteroids, the warship squeezing between the boulders deftly under his eyes. "Not just reminded..." The herald plotted a course, the convoluted pathways flipping too fast for the Obelisk to catch fully. "I know precisely who would want that book out of our hands..."
Phoenix glowered at the Herald, tiring of the constant lessons that seemed to flow from the pedantic Krath. He moved fast, as if the action would cleanse him, somehow purify his mind from whatever trauma the relevation brough the Keibatsu.
A moment passed in silence, all expecting the name, watching the Herald as he slammed the ship into the mottled deep blue of hyperspace. Getting up, he tried to clear his head, shaking off the concern he felt within him.
Phoenix looked at Muz.
"Cyris...I dealt with him when he was Quaestor of HAD, but doesn't he go by the name Kriss Kiltho?" asked Phoenix. Fire-Knight placed his drink on the table, tapping his fingers lightly.
"How would a Jedi Knight get into Lyspair anyway?" asked Fire-Knight.
"One would assume he used the force to mask himself from us, probably why no one noticed him stealing the book until it was too late," replied Muz.
"How would one learn such a trick Lord Keibatsu?" asked Droveth. Muz grinned and then turned slowly towards Phoenix.
"Only way one could," Muz grinned as Phoenix's eyes widened. "By a Jedi Master."
"And the only Master we know is Mike Halycon, brother of the MAA," answered Phoenix cautiously. Before Mike fled the DB, Phoenix had served with him in CSP, learning from the Dark Jedi. Phoenix felt a fear rise up within himself. Mike had almost turned many of the Dark Jedi towards the light when he fled Antei, Phoenix was among those almost turned. And like those few, overwhelmed himself in hate and destruction to hide the light within.
"So, it is settled, Captain, set a course for Antei and inform the Dark Hall we need an audience with the MAA," Muz then looked at Fire-Knight. "And tell them that is by request of Templar Fire-Knight."
The Spear slowed to safely enter Antei's atmosphere.
"Land on the closest platform Captain, once we get the information we need I want to make a hasty departure," ordered Muz. Darius nodded as he brought the ship about and landed on nearest the Dark Hall. The members of the team exited the Spear and made their way to the MAA's office.
"You two stay here, we shouldn't be long," Muz instructed Etah and Droveth. Both journeymen looked disappointed as once again, they were left behind.
"When are we gonna be able to listen in to one of these conversations," Etah groaned.
"Soon I hope," replied Droveth. Fire-Knight entered Halcyon's office, followed by Phoenix and Muz.
"Master Rokir, a pleasure to see you again," said Fire-Knight as he extended his hand to the DJM.
"I see that you did not come alone," replied Halc as he shook FK's hand, nodding to Phoenix and eying Muz. "Yes, well, my time is short Fire-Knight, I have pressing matters so we will need to make this quick." Fire-Knight sat in the chair opposite the MAA while Phoenix sat off to the side. Muz circled the office then chose a spot on the wall and leaned against it.
"Well my lord, we come with a matter with the utmost importance to the Brotherhood. And we feel, that with you expertise and guidance, we can come closer to our goal,"
"So what I have heard has been correct, and you've been flying round searching for any little clue you can get your hands on," replied Halc with a smirk, still eyeing Muz. Fire-knight gulped and took a deep breath before he began to speak.
"We need information on the location of....your brother.......Michael," has he finished his sentence, FK felt Halc's anger increase, his face turning a bright shade of red, crushing the glass in his hand.
"And what makes you think that I would have any information on that traitorous dog?" asked Halc. "And what makes you think that I would so easily give over that information if i did have it?"
"We know that you have an extensive intelligence group and that you would know every movement your brother makes. With this we can track him down, and who is working with him," replied Muz.
"The object that was taken is a valuable artifact, and in the hands of the Jedi could be a dangerous weapon against us," pleaded FK. Halc shifted his gaze back and forth to the three men, finally fixing it on Muz, locking eyes with him. Halc got up and moved to a small keypad on the wall. Halc type in a code and opened the panel, taking out a dossier. Halc looked at the dossier then threw it to Muz.
"I want his saber as a souvenir," said Halc with disdain and anger in his voice. All three men bowed to Halc and quickly made their way back to the Spear. Etah and Droveth followed suit as the Equites and Elder made their way past them, not even acknowledging their presence.
"What's going on," asked both journeymen as they all ran through the halls . Muz flipped through the dossier stopping at the one page, almost losing his balance.
"Captain, we go to Coruscant," ordered Muz.
Etah stepped onto the bridge of the YT-2000 "Ice" as the hyper drive began to kick in. The small group boarded Fire-Knights freighter just after the meeting with the Master-at-Arms. Delving into the thick of New Republic Space, Muz, Fire-Knight and Phoenix were all certain than this freighter would draw much less attention than the Fallen Spear whose design was memorably unique. The space was beyond cramped and everyone had to get in where they fit in, but all in all this mode of transport was much safer. Even if some of the ad-hoc team had to become much friendlier with one another then they had originally intended.
This was not Etah’s environment but he could see the draw of naval combat. However to him space combat was not true combat. For the young Monk, combat was defined by the exchange between a warrior and his defeated foe as he watched the light fade from his fallen opponent’s eyes forever. It was a sacred experience that most people would never know and even fewer would understand. He observed the members of the team with more naval experience going about their tasks and found a new appreciation for them as specialists and experts if not as warriors or soldiers.
Their motley, misbegotten assemblage of rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves had been to three separate locations in search of this tomb. With every location they gained more information and came one step closer to the tomb and one step closer it seemed, to Mike Halcyon. Former Dark Jedi elder, brother of the current Master-at-Arms and traitor to the brotherhood. Now they would visit Halcyon on his home turf. Possibly not the brightest course of action, but the course of action they choose.
Over the last few days Etah had studied, practiced kinetic meditation and caught up with his sleep. Now he and everyone else on ship stood in cloths common to intra-galactic travelers. Brotherhood robes or armor reminiscent of Storm Trooper Armor might have compromised the mission as they headed straight into the very heart of the New Republic. A New Republic who as of yet, is unaware of the Brotherhoods existence and the Dark Council has been very adamant about their continued ignorance. The Brotherhood was ill prepared for a pitched battle of any sort.
Time passed and soon they had reached Coruscant, formerly known as the Imperial Center. It was a planet which had dominated the Galaxy under three different regimes and as the New Republic claimed Coruscant as its home, it had supposedly become the shining jewel of democracy to the universe. The sinister truth was however, that the New Republic was different than the Old Republic only in name. An autocracy controlled by the rich, it was also a welfare state that supported legions of the poor and apathetic. The alienated and shrinking working middle class was forgotten and exploited. All-in-all the New Republic was perfect example of a democracy.
“We’re coming out of hyper” Fire-Knight said in Muz’s direction. “CC-9600 frigate with New Republic markings approaching on port side, contact in 30 seconds” Phoenix read off. This interception had been expected and Muz had adequately prepared his team. “CC-9600 sending communication” Fire-Knight stated. “Send it through” Muz responded. The screen blipped to life displaying a human with dark red hair and the Uniform of a Lieutenant Commander in the New Republic Navy.
“YT-2000, this is section 297 of the Security Fleet of the New Republic Navy, all traffic in this sector is monitored please submit security and authorization codes through the command system or prepare to be boarded” the man stated curtly. “See, see, niner, Six, ze-row, ze-row this is Why, tee, two, ze-row, ze-row, ze-row registry number: em-pee, two, seven, ze-row, tree, wan, six, ze-row, eye, en, eff, I understand and will comply, sending codes now.” Muz replied motioning Phoenix to send the codes. Running his fingers over the consol briefly Phoenix sent the codes to the Naval Ship, Phoenix briefly nodding at Muz when he finished.
“YT-2000, your codes have been received and authenticated, please proceed to docking bay MFO48” the Naval Officer responded. “Will do” Muz responded as everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief and the screen went black. But did they really buy it or was there an ambush there waiting for them, “Heading toward docking bay” Fire-Knight responded. “Sensors indicate no life or movement in or around the aforementioned docking bay” Phoenix informed a relieved Muz. “Prepare to land and disembark” Muz said looking back at Etah. Taking the hint Etah ran and informed everyone else squired away in the far corners of the ship.
As they landed Etah quickly disembarked and moved quickly around the docking bay, clearing it the same way he would have a room or building when he was an officer in the Saki Army. Then he stopped and moved back toward the group, aware that he probably looked very suspicious. The young soldier didn’t like the shuttle bay, it was a choke point. There was only one way in, only one way out and that way out required a little blasting. It was just bad business practices when your playen the spook game.
Stepping out onto the platform outside the hanger, the sun was rising and breaking into a brilliant stream of color around the foreboding towers of the Jedi Temple. The group stopped for a moment, pausing at the memorable sight, each with different thoughts running through their head. Etah gazed with malevolence at the tower that represents his enemies. Behind him, Etah could see Phoenix grow sweaty and a tad pail. Using his near supernatural senses the young Sakiyan could hear Phoenix’s heart rate go up as he starred at the temple.
Knowing the history between Mike Halcyon and Phoenix, Etah decided to keep an eye on Phoenix as the showdown with Mike Halcyon drew near.
Approaching the Saikyan from behind Fire-Knight bent down to converse in private with him.
"Calm down, we will not be attacked, we have given them no reason. The access codes I provided have belonged to Ice since before I comandeered it."
"Wouldn't the owner have reported it as stolen?"
"No, the owner is dead, plus he was a Hutt employee, they handle their own policeing, so unless we enter Hutt space, I would not fret about being caught over codes."
Etah nodded, glad the Templar had approached him.
Only seconds later, the hanger bay opened and a small group of republic soldiers entered the bay. Etah tensed as if ready to spring.
'Everyone, don't worry, as I mentioned in the map room, this ship belonged to a smuggler, they are most likely coming to check for contraban.' Fire-Knight explained telepathically to his teammates as the guards approached.
"Who is the Captain of this ship?" An officer said as he stepped forward from this group.
"That would be me." Fire-Knight said stepping forward as well.
"Mercur Shi'aka, known better as Fire-Knight, I was awarded control of this ship when the owner Zeebak Krat'sa was murdered on Tatooine. I thought this had all been recorded last time I visited?" The Templar had paid enough to make damn well sure he had all his bases covered.
"Oh yes, sir. I'm just following procedure."
"Fair enough, do you need anything else, Lieutenant?" FK asked glancing at the mans rank.
"Are you carrying any cargo?"
"None, this ship has been almost completely re-modified for my personal use, I submitted my new schematics over a year ago."
"Oh yes sir I see that now, sorry for all this hassle, your free to leave the bay now, enjoy your stay."
Shaking his head, Fire-Knight punched in the codes to raise the ramp and seal his ship and then briskly exited the Hanger. Coming up behind the rest of his Team, Fire-Knight took in the sight of the Jedi Temple. It was a piece of art. As he approached Fire-Knight noticed Phoenix was fidgiting, something was amiss, pushing the thought aside Fire-Knight decided to deal with it when the time came.
"Uggh I hate wearing these civis, they feel so coarse when compared to our robes." Droveth spoke up from the side of the group.
"Quiet." Fire-Knight left the remainder of the sentance un-spoken. Any mention of Brotherhood paraphenalia was dangerous especially since nothing on Coruscant was private.
"Enough standing around, let's get going to the Temple." Muz said suddenly.
Waving down a Taxi, the group crowed in.
"Where to?" the driver asked.
"The Jedi Temple, please." Muz's reply was curt but polite.
Less then half an hour later, the group found themselves standing in the entrance hall of the Temple.
"Names and reason for visit?" A receptionist spoke up.
"I go by T'ao. Me and my servants are here with vital information for Master Halcyon." Muz replied, the lie coming naturally to him.
"Oh, I see. Master Halcyon is currently out, he is looking after some ship maintainence in Hanger R-90, It's just down the street from the temple, I'm sure he wouldn't mind the visitors."
Muz nodded and the group moved out once again.
R-90 was not hard to find, It was a personal hanger literally less then a Kilometer from the temple. Stepping inside, Fire-Knight spotted a single man working on his ship. Hearing the group enter the man slowly turned around with a pleasant smile on his face, at least it was pleasant until he recognized several of the people approaching him.
Fanning to the Left Fire-Knight nodded and Phoenix did the same to the right, leaving Muz and the two journeymen directly in front of the Jedi.
Mike Halcyon took in the group before him and opened his mouth to speak...
Muz watched the Jedi step toward them, glad that his masking of their Force signatures had worked. The Herald was a former Jedi Knight, and he was almost sure that if they had come across another Master in the hallways, they would have been betrayed by his history.
Mike noticed the difference within a step, pausing mid-stride. "I'm not going back, and it's exceedingly foolish to come all this way to murder me, especially when you know you'd not get out alive."
Muz's eyebrow twitched, Fire-Knight and Phoenix moving subtly, fanning out to flank the Master. Etah and Droveth stepped back a pace, turning sideways as the Adept had told them.
"I ask a final wish, then Halcyon..." Muz smiled ferally, his hands finding their way to the concealed sabers at his waist. "Tell me where my predeccessor has gone."
Mike watched teh Herald move, his eyes glossing over as he reached out with the Force. "Why fight, Muz? Your home is truly here, where you and your family really belong, where you don't have to fight for every scrap of honor..."
Muz shook the Master's notion from his head, solidifying his resolve. "I know where my home is, Jedi." Muz more spat the final word than really said it, as if expelling the word forcefully would also remove the foul connotations he associated with their order. "Eojin couldn't turn me back, and neither will you."
"Perhaps not, but Phoenix..." Mike stepped sideways a bit, clearing the path between the Proconsul and the Herald. Phoenix struggled visibly, his knuckles white on his saber, a tear streaming from one eye. Whatever unspoken arguments passed between the Jedi and the Battlelord seemed to be swaying his cause.
Muz moved without hesitation, his sabers flaring to life as they pitched against the teal of the Jedi Master. The ancient aggression of Sokan burnt a hole through the Master's defense, the Herald taking advantage of the Master's aversion to combat.
Muz held the pose, his brow furrowed with thought as he regarded the Master with humming blades. he felt along the threads, his thrid eye sensing the connections that the Master had with the ancient Force Adept, tracing them back. Muz smiled, the Master's ability to work the Force unable to mask the connections to others in the Tapestry. There were some tricks that the Jedi did not know that the Krath possessed.
The hum of sabers snapping to life behind them startled the Jedi Hunters, the pair spinning to do their jobs, evading the cauterizing light as they delivered crippling blows to the young knights. Trained well by the academies on Lyspair, Etah and Droveth danced between the strikes of the Jedi, brilliant blue, green, and gold flashing across their faces as the Jedi Hunters lived up to their namesake.
Phoenix Screamed, throwing himself at the Herald, his red blades vibrating with emotion as he writhed between the Herald and his prey, a small smile creeping across the Halcyon's face as the Herald flipped away to avoid the Battlelord's blades.
Amethyst and ruby flared against the proconsul's assault, pressing back the Sith's blades as he regained his footing, recovering from the surprise.
Muz saw the Jedi stand from the corner of his vision, looking to escape, spying the other exit to the docking bay. Muz cursed aloud, knowing full well that the tide had turned for the worse.
"Templar, take Phoenix, I have to stop the..." Muz did not have to finish the sentence, the Nelvaanian'd blade supplanting his own against the sith, freeing him to give the Master chase. Muz rolled from the fray, pushing the cruel fire of the dark side through his veins as he moved to intercept the master. The Man's form had already begun to fade, his mind obscured by the Jedi's illusion.
Muz spun around the ship, eyes watching the exit for a glimmer, something that would betray the Master's motion through the portal. Nothing crossed his vision, and the sounds of combat behind the adept grew faster, more desperate, the screaming of sabers making a symphony of light.
"Frell." Muz turned, focusing his mind, the strength of his arm sent forth by his mind, first careening into the Sith's temple, the pain distracting the proconsul enough for Phoenix to deliver another blow to the head, knocking him to the floor. Muz swept his hand from them to the Hunters, the threads of his will wrapping around the surviving jedi and pitching them against the ones entering the fray.
"We move!" Muz ordered, the Hunters taking a second to collect their trophies before running to the Herald's side, Fire-Knight dragging the Sith's body along with him as Muz sabered open the door of the transport waiting in the bay. "We stay here, we die, we fail our mission."
FireKnight nodded, tossing the Nelvaanian aboard the ship as he made his way to the cockpit, hotwiring the controls, lifting off as the Hunter's dove aboard. Muz directed the Obelisk, his mind working doubletime to try and mask them from the Jedi probes that were no doubt trying to discern what this recent disturbance would be. Muz banked ont he Master's complacence, their reluctance to act quickly.
"Once we're clear of the Temple, get behind some buildings, pull the stick right, and we jump."
Etah raised an eyebrow quzzically. "Why don't we take this to our ship?"
Muz watched through the cauterized airlock, the buildings whizzing by. "They'll be able to track this ship. We're safer on foot."
FireKnight slammed the controls, the ship banking viciously as he moved back to the exit. "Let's go."
The Force strengthening their legs in preparance for the long fall, they leapt from the careening ship, using the distraction of a transport exploding into a building as cover for the team to land and merge with the throng of people massed below.
Droveth pushed energy into his legs, trying to numb the cruel cramps that seethed through them, annoyance in his voice as he looked at the Herald. The Tarenti was annoyed at all this subtlety, and was happy that he at least had the chance for some combat, having collected two sabers from the day's activities. At least he had something to prove to his master that he did somethign today. "I suppose that you were able to pry some information from him, or am I right in assuming that we're humped anyway?"
"Velrahn." Muz spoke quietly, only their attuned ears catching the murmur. "We go to Velrahn"
Fire-Knight shifted the Battelord's weight on his shoulder.
"Man he is heavy, can we get moving now?" asked the now annoyed Nelvaanian. Muz was surveying the crowd, making sure that no Republic Guard or Jedi Knight were in the area. Phoenix groaned and begun to wake up. Droveth turned and with all his might, cracked the Firrerreon in the jaw, knocking him out cold again. Everyone looked at Droveth, Muz sighed heavily.
"Ugh, that hurt," said Droveth rubbing his wrist.
"How far are we from the ship?" asked Etah shaking his head. Fire-Knight checked his tracking module.
"We are about 1600m away. What route are we taking there Muz?" Asked FK. Muz looked over at FK's comlink.
"We should take the back alleys to try to stray away from Republic Guard and the Jedi. If not, they could find the ship and then we would be screwed," replied Muz. Droveth and Etah grinned at each other, the thought of fighting more jedi excited them. "I would not be smiling if I were you. We caught them off guard before, no doubt they will send Jedi Masters after us." Suddenly a loud alarm went off in the distance.
"And that would be our cue," said FK sarcastically. The group took off quickly down the back allies and dark corridors, ducking from patrolling guards and Jedi. After about 45minutes of back tracking and stealthy movement, they arrived at the ship.
"Ok, everyone get on and buckle-up, we are leaving here in a hurry," ordered FK. Muz sent an encrypted message ahead to the Spear, ordering it to a position outside of Ryloth. Droveth and Etah secured Phoenix in his seat and made sure he was still unconscious. The Ice pushed off the tarmac with some speed and took off towards space.
"Hopefully we'll be able to meet up with her," said FK dreadfully to Muz. Droveth looked up at the Templar.
"Why do you say that?" asked the Jedi Hunter.
"Just the two Corellian Corvettes and MC80 Star Cruiser that just appeared on my sensors. And there is no way we can use the cloak or jammer cause that will definitely bring attention to us." said FK rubbing his face. The YT-2400 coasted into the darkness of space, all eyes turned towards the capital ships.
"J....J....Jedi Master," stammered Phoenix as he sat restrained and in a cold sweat. Muz looked at Phoenix, then back at the Mon Calmari cruiser. The Dark Side Adept could sense the lingering spots of the light side flowing through Phoenix. Muz's eyes widened, and a evil grin came across his face. He closed his eyes and began to channel his powers, placing his hands on the Sith's head.
"You will unlock what is hidden in your mind to assist with our escape," echoed in Phoenix's mind.
"Yes my lord," replied Phoenix. Droveth and Etah whispered to each other, wondering who he was talking to. Muz moved Phoenix towards the consul of the ship. Phoenix's eyes were glazed over, his body swaying slightly from side to side.
"YT-2400, this is Jedi Master Cilghal, shut down your engines and prepare to be inspected," ordered the Mon Calamari.
"This is Jedi Knight Cóir Fírinne, I am the one who assisted Master Halcyon against the Dark Jedi that infiltrated Coruscant," replied the Sith. "I am trying to locate their last heading, for they search for a former member of their ranks. I have accompanied with me a small group of bounty hunters that I use to call on for help. Cruzer Sanisk and his crew, his ID is 553261A." Everyone, cept Muz, turned and stared at Phoenix, none knowing that he was once called by another name. Muz motioned to FK to plot in the cooridinates in case their ruse did not work. The one corvette began to arch around the Ice, seeming to cut off retreat to Coruscant.
"Just give me the word, and we are gone Muz," said FK. Muz shook his head, as much as he was ready to cut and run, he wanted to see how this played out. It was obvious that the Master did not trust Phoenix, and that she was fully tracing his story.
"Cóir, you are to proceed as planned. Your orders are to track the Dark Jedi and transmit their location to the fleet. Also, Master Halycon has ordered you not to engage the Adept, wait until assistance arrives. May the force be with you," ordered Cilghal.
"Yes Master, I will do as ordered. May the force be with you as well," replied Phoenix. Phoenix's eyes closed as he fell back into his unconscious state.
"I can't believe that worked, how is it she didn't just attack us?" Asked Etah.
"It didn't. She was most likely ordered by Mike to allow us to leave so that Phoenix can try to turn the rest of us," Muz sighed. "But his reliance in the light has clouded his judgement and he has forgotten the power of the Dark Side. Fire, plots coordiantes to these systems, but do not stay to long in each, we wish to get away clean." Fk nodded and brought the ship about. He punched in the coordinates and made the jump to Kooriva, then to Falleen, and finally Enarc.
"I do believe we have given ourselves enough room from the Republic, don't you agree Fire-Knight," asked Muz. FK nodded and made the final jump to Ryloth to meet the awaiting Spear.
"Now, what the hell was that?" asked FK to a grinning Muz.
"It would seem that the Battlelord here has been hiding many things, even from himself," replied Muz. "Droveth, Etah, take him aboard the Spear and inform the Captain to prepare to leave." Both journeymen nodded, grabbing the Sith under both arms and carrying him to the Spear.
"Do you think we can trust him to go after Cyris? He may fall to the good inside of himself again," asked FK.
"No, we can trust him. I have repaired most of the blocks that he had made for himself, but whatever images or memories Mike resurfaced has completely shattered certain areas. But, Cyris has been stripped of all his powers and is not as strong or close to Phoenix to be able to affect his mind. Plus, even if he had his powers, he is still no match for the three of us," replied Muz as the two headed for the bridge of the Spear.
"My lord, the system you have ordered to depart to does not exist on the starcharts," said Capt. Blackwind.
"That is why we are here Captain, it is close to this sector," replied Muz as he moved over to the map. He ran his finger slowly, looking for any anomalies if the presentation of stars, planets and their orbits. "There, on the edge of the Outer Rim and Wild Space. That slick bastard, it looks like desolate space, but you can tell if you really look at it."
"What you mean?" asked the Captain. Muz circled the spot on the map and they all moved closer to see. Everyone nodded and Darius turned to the helm. "Set cooridinates for grid R19, 200pc from the border of Wild Space."
The Jump to hyperspace occured only moments later, it was obvious everyone was in a rush to finish off what they had started in the.
Fire-Knight found himself standing on the bridge with Muz, Phoenix and the Captain.
"Feeling more like yourself now?" The Templar asked of Phoenix.
"Yes, but let's put that aside for now. Just to be clear, we are heading into uncharted space, correct?"
"Yes, Cyris must be in recluse for the time being, especially if he has the book." Muz replied "We have almost a day before we arrive so why don't you both get some rest."
Bowing politely, Fire-Knight knew when he had been dismissed, and stepped from the bridge with Phoenix. Heading directly to Ice, Fire-Knight did a full inspection of the ship and found minimal damage, most likely from atmoshperic entry. Heading up the Ramp, and from their up the ladder to the main level, Fire-Knight entered his room. Stripping quickly the Templar was asleep in a matter of minutes.
"Team members report to the Hanger!" The captains voice boomed over the loudspeaker waking Fire-Knight up.
Dressing quickly in his inner robes, the Templar dashed down the gangway and found himself to be the first in the Hanger.
As he fixed his apparel and made sure he had everything, the remainder of the team trickled in from their various sections of the ship.
"We will be arriving at the system in 10 mintues." Muz spoke up as he entered. "I'm not sure what exactly to expect, but you should all be prepared for the worst."
"Sir, we are entering the system now, 5 Planets, only 3 are Type one breathable, others are gas giants." The Captains voice came over the Comm link.
"Are any of the 3 Jungle planets?" Muz replied
"Yes Sir, the 3rd Planet is Jungle the other two breathables are Arid."
"Head for the Jungle planet, Cyris will most likely be their."
"What makes you think that Adept?" Fire-Knight asked.
Looking at the templar for a moment Muz only said one word. "Instinct."
10 Minutes later, the group found themselves securing a small clearing near the Equator of the main continent.
"The Scanners picked up an encampment of some sort to the north of here. They will have seen us on Descent, so suprise is out of the question." The captain stated.
"Captain, take the Spear up to the lower Atmosphere, no ship is to enter or leave this airspace, I will link you when you are needed." Muz ordered "As for the rest of you, let's get ready to move out."
Beginning their Hike the group set out, with Fire-Knight in the lead to clear any brush that would get in their way, and Muz following closely behind, directing the Giant Nelvaanian.
"Hey Muz, You think that the 'Spear will be able to stop Cyris if he's trying to leave?" Etah muttered as he watched FireKnight tear through the underbrush, his blade releasing strands of smoke at the ends of the severed vines.
Muz chuckled at the notion. Reaching around the back of his belt, he motioned the two hunters to step forward. Retrieving his hand, he tossed each of them a saber. "You aren't ready for these, but I suspect we're going to be needing the extra blades." Muz raised his eyebrow as they activated the angry red blades. Turning, he waved them on. "Just don't cut yourselves."
Phoenix watched the Herald as he broke his own rules, trying to decide if the action betrayed a genuine concern for the hunters or if the famed saberist was that worried about his prey.
Muz filled his hands with the solid comfort of his own weapons as he followed the Nelvaanian through the narrow path, anxiously watching the slow progress of the Obelisk's blades.
Time was not ther ally, and surprise was already lost. Muz made the decision, his mind pulling the energy into a solid point, drawing the power from the life about him through the conduit of will.
FireKnight swung his blade, seeing the vines turn grey and dead before his blade hit them. Panic flowed from him as his mind dissected the energy that was flowing away in waves from him. He turned quickly, seeing the Adept's concentration a moment before he threw himself out of the way.
Deafening cracks resounded in the valley, the humid air carrying the death throes of thousands of trees to them all as the path cleared under the Sadow's will.
Phoenix blinked at the sight. He had heard of the Sadow's prowess with telekinesis, but this was the first time he had seen such a vulgar display. The final trees fell at the end of the corridor of ruined earth, and the stunned gazes of the black uniformed men at the far end were shortly replaced by blaster fire.
Etah and Droveth dove for cover as the equites followed the unfazed Adept toward the men, their blades moving with a mind of their own to kiss the bolts of seething energy as they drew near. The Hunters watched this, realized themselves, and ran to catch up, having forgotten the better armaments of this mission.
Muz stopped at the edge of the fallen forest, hes black eyes regarding the swarm of uniformed men, the bloodied hand of Oscura adorning their left shoulders. Muz lowered his blades as he turned sideways, regarding them with a cruel smile as he pointed his blade at them.
"Kill them all."
The screaming of sabers was muted by flesh, the darksiders slaughtering the scrambling troops as Muz stalked along the outside of the encampment, feeling along the tapestry for the errant Sith.
Etah danced between two blasters, his blade flaring through the voicebox of one, then swinging across to the foe on the other side, his torso torn asunder. FireKnight ducked below the stroke instinctually, flaring out with a strike of his own to shorten the legs of his target.
"You find the guy yet, Muz?" Phoenix rolled away from a charred soldier, his eyes seeking the next walking dead man as he shouted.
Muz ignored the call, his eyes shimmering in the dimming light as he tore through the side of the tent. The interior was spartan, empty but for a few blankets. The Lion of Tarthos sniffed the air deeply, closing his eyes as he tracked his prey.
He was just here, he couldn't have made it far...
"Bloody hell, Muz, get out here!" FireKnight's voice found its way through his concentration. Muz spun and bolted through the opening he had made, seeing the pale-faced Jedi fend off Phoenix and FireKnight at the same time, his trademarked dual saber having turned azure since his departure from Brotherhood space.
Locked blades bellowed their aggravation to the heavens as the former Herald deflected the pair away from him.
"Kiltho." Muz snapped his blades to life, the sound resonating as his voice called the man away. "It's time we had that... talk." Muz smiled as he lowered his centre of gravity, arraying his sabers in the elaborate patterns of Sokan.
Cyris turned from the pair, his eyes narrowing as he moved toward the Keibatsu. "Ah, the prodigal son."
"The book, Cyris." Muz snorted, unimpressed. "Jac hasn't told me to kill you, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind."
"You always were a good servant, Muz..." Kris laughed, bitterness creeping in at the corners of his voice. "That's why Kaine brought you on as Praetor."
Muz shrugged the envenomed words off, focusing on his blades. "Let me show you something about servitude."
The Jedi's staff was barely fast enough to catch the sunset tones of Muz's weapons. Muz battered the ancient's blade aside, bringing his knee to bear on his chest, sending him reeling in the moist dirt. There wasn't a moment's lapse before he was on him again, a cavalcade of knuckles and bootleather.
The rustling of leaves betrayed the Black Hand's reinforcements, ranks of soldiers filtering through to investigate the sounds of combat. Droveth spun first, kicking a blaster from the dead at his feet to his hand to pelt them with blaster bolts.
"Cover him." FireKnight drew the force, hurling the first few to the ground as the others dove for cover from Droveth's blasts.
Muz lifted the Jedi back to his feet, the invisible hand of the force pushing him back toward the verdant shade of the jungle. The pair vanished from view, their blades obscured by heavy limbs and foilage.
FireKnight closed the gap, leaping into their midst, spinning his blade in wide arcs, a shower of freed limbs splaying across his robes as he moved. Phoenix grinned as he dove in, the grin of bloodlust tainting his essence.
As the tide of soldiers stemmed, their ruined forms littering the ground like dried leaves in autumn, the Obelisk and Sith stood there, panting, joy on their faces.
Phoenix's mind cleared first. "Where's Muz?"
"Yeah..." Etah mumbled, wiping guts from his face. "If he's not here to call down Blackwind, we're not easily getting out of here."
The rustling behind them was slow and deliberate. Muz stepped from the shade of the giant trees, scorch marks across his silvered arm and a nasty burn marring his chest, flaps of ruined fabric folding over.
Muz nodded. "He won't be bothering us any more." Rubbing the tarnished silver ring on his left hand, he smiled briefly, producing a thick, leather-bound tome. "Let's get back to Lyspair."
Phoenix stared at the Herald, his thoughts seething with silent accusation and unanswered questions. Muz met his gaze, and the proconsul let the thought drift away quickly, fear of reprisal flavoring his motives.
"Yes, let's get home..."
Due to being completed, this run-on has been closed.