Rosh received the message as he was cleaning up after a long day of training at the Form Zero classes on Lyspair. He had flown back to his quarters in the Temple of Pomojema on Taruma, taking a moment as always to admire the vast stretch of endless jungle that almost entirely covered his House’s home world. He had all but thrown himself onto his bed when he arrived, closing his eyes and giving his aching muscles time to relax a little.
Rosh had only just got up to shower when his communicator began beeping, heralding a new message from someone within clan Taldryan. Sighing softly, he turned the water off and activated his holopad. The message was in text form instead of a transmission, and contained only one word, written simply: help. The mode of delivery and simplicity of the text worried Rosh, but not nearly as much as the name written as having sent the message, Illian Syn. Syn was one of Rosh’s oldest friends, and although he was completely mad, was one of the few individuals in whose abilities Rosh had full confidence. Sorrow’s usually sombre expression creased into a frown as he re-donned his robes and checked his blaster. If Illian was in trouble, there was no telling what could be waiting for him. Several minutes later saw the black X-Wing Rosh owned powered up and the Guardian plotting the quickest course to the city of Tarii on Altur where Illian had a small pre-fab condo.
Standing outside the apartment, a little over thirty standard minutes later, Rosh could hear or see no signs of any kind of fight coming from within. Pulling his blaster free he hit the release button on the door which, surprisingly, opened immediately. It was pitch black within, no sound emanating from the darkness. He stepped in, and reached for the manual light activator. His hand encountered something wet as he did, and hitting the button, was confronted by a scene from hell. The walls were covered in blood, as was the floor and ceiling. Words were scrawled in crimson, some illegible, others frighteningly coherent. The Dark Jedi froze, his mind rushing to keep up with the horror his eyes were too quickly registering. ‘Bast’ was written over and over again, along with phrases like ‘the dark lords’ graves beckon’, or ‘shadows and crystals in my head’, and others more graphic. In the middle of the room a man was suspended from the ceiling from chains hooked into his spine, his eyes removed and a symbol carved into his chest. It all seemed like Illian’s work, but where in the name of the Sith was he? A groan came from the bedroom and Sorrow was there in a second, greeted by a similar scene, but with Initiate Chandra from the Shadow Academy, a bird-like Omwati, impaled onto the bed with a piece of metal. She turned her blood-stained face to look at Rosh and he knew then she was beyond help. He walked over, taking off his robe and placing it over her, stroking her brow gently.
“What happened here Initiate?” She opened her mouth to speak, coughing up a large quantity of blood instead. She looked at him pleadingly, and he nodded in understanding.
Chandra was an Omwati and was gifted in the telepathic components of the force. Opening his mind, Sorrow carefully reached out till he found her fractured consciousness, letting her chaotic thoughts find order in his gentle control.
*He kept screaming… about the voices… Telling him to… go… We were here to… deliver… message from… Anshar… Just went beserk, killed… Dranen… said he needed… his eyes…*
Her mind suddenly became unfocussed as the horror of the memory shook her control. Sternly Rosh gave her the equivalent of a slap forcing her to become coherent again.
*He said… he could use me… to help… Bast… he’s going…to… Bast…*
Suddenly she was gone from his mind, as was her presence in the force. She was dead. Rosh smiled sorrowfully, knowing that although her passing had been painful, it was nothing compared to what Illian was capable of. It seemed he had finally snapped into permanent psychosis, driven by some strange compulsion only he could understand. Chandra had said something about Bast and to Sorrow’s knowledge the only Bast was Bast Castle on Vejun, one-time stronghold of the Lord Vader himself.
Standing slowly, the Guardian reached into his pack and brought out several thermal detonators. This could never be seen by any one else, or his friend would most likely be killed or worse, exiled. As he reached the street the explosives went off, bathing the night in apocalyptic fire. Only Illian had the answers, and Rosh was determined to get them. After all, if it had been the mad Hunter who sent the message, who knew what demons haunted his journey. As the X-Wing took off from Tarii Airfield, Sorrow couldn’t help feeling a little apprehension. He had been on missions with Illian before, but nothing borne form the shattered psyche of Syn’s mind. He hit space and began plotting his course to Vejun, looking out at the darkness only once, wondering where his friend was now and what tortured visions were leering back at him from that same emptiness.
The hyperdrive accepted his co-ordinates and the stars in front of him spun into a white vortex as he blasted towards a long forgotten Castle, and whatever fate awaited him there.
* * *
The Retribution drifted slowly in Vejun’s orbit, it pilot sitting motionlessly at the controls staring intently at the planet. Somewhere down there was the answer to his Torment, waiting for him in Bast Castle. The pain in his head had decreased slowly as he had come closer through hyperspace, the agony subsiding into a gentle ache, a reminder as to the penalty for failure. Illian held up one black-gauntleted fist, opening it to reveal a large yellow crystal. This was what had caused his pain, what continued to hurt him, scream at him, make him suffer; it all began with this damned crystal. He reached his arm up to throw it from him and his face distorted in rage, until shaking, he lowered it again, bringing the murky yellow gem to his chest like a child. A tear ran down his cheek as he closed his neon-green eyes, white hair falling across a gaunt face as he remembered how it had all started.
Korriban. The whole tale had begun on Korriban, grave of those wretched Dark Lords. As he opened his eyes again, the view of the planet shifted, warping into the desolate cliffs of Korriban as the Hunter fell into the embrace of his memories, his mind unable to separate illusion from reality. He could feel the wind cutting him like an icy knife as he got to the edge of the valley, and he could see the bridges that spanned the chasm like strands of a spider’s web, ready to ensnare the next traveller to attempt the perilous descent into the deepest reaches of the Sith Graveyard…
ALL ILLIAN SYN TALES FOR PUBLIC REVIEW!!!
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