If you go down to the woods today....
Usharak Keep, the Planet Kangaras – 10 Days ago
The Keep was dark and quiet, skulking against the night sky. Inside the empty stone corridors echoed the sound of the cleaning droid shuffling about it's duties, the only sound to be heard. The artificial flames of the torch brackets gave off a low flickering light, illuminating the occasional statue of some beast or mishapen man creature that lined the walls every twenty feet or so.
After a few minutes the sound of footsteps joined the echoing sounds as a robed figure made his way along the corridor.
Malisane always felt uneasy here. It was in this keep that he was born as a sacrificial child, before being stolen away by a medic. It was also here that he had lead the attack on his father and the True Brotherhood, and had nearly died at the hands of the disciple Tslotha Garnath Despite the new Ludo Kressh research base and emergency retreat coming under his juristiction the Quaestor avoided it whenever possible. However he had business here and had made the ten day journey alone and in secret from Aeotheran.
He reached the end of the corridor he was in and was faced with a blank stone wall. He reached a hand out, touching the bricks. Immediatley they glowed in the shape of his palm print and the wall slid aside revealing a turbolift. He stepped inside and the lift and waited while it descended.
When the doors opened Malisane stepped out into a large underground chamber. Computer terminals lined some of the walls, workstations with scattered peices of equipment lie here and there, racks of bubbling test tubes gave off foul smelling acrid smoke and in the middle of the chamber were several manacled trolleys, on which the rotting corpse of a large hairy humanoid lay. In the middle of all this stood the beaming figure of Mononuke "Macron" Keibatsu.
"Malisane my friend," he said with a smile, "thank you for coming so quickly."
"You said it was urgent." the younger Sith replied.
"Indeed," the Tribune replied.
"Problem?" Malisane asked.
Macron shook his head. "No, an oppurtunity. What do you know about the Scrolls of Keto?"
"Nothing whatsoever." Malisane said with a shrug.
"Ah," Macron said quietly, "according to my research they are Krath scrolls of great power, originally belonging to the Keto family. They allow the use of great force powers. They would be of great aid to our Clan."
"Sounds interesting," Malisane replied politely, though in truth the mystical arts were of little interest to him, he prefered a lightsaber and a blaster.
"Indeed. I have their location. A heavily guarded shrine on the planet of Kashyyyk."
The Quaestor frowned. "What are the wookies doing with them?"
The Tribune replied, "I do not know. Maybe they are protecting them. They are not widely known amongst their population. The wookie dignatory I interviewed here," he indicated the corpse, "indicated their presence was something of a secret."
"So I take it you want us to retreive them?" Malisane reasoned.
"Yes," Macron said, "they are heavily guarded in a treetop shrine. I think we ought to take a number of Clan members, backed up with a small elite force to scout and provide backup."
"Company of the Aeotheran 1st?" Malisane asked, "they train extensively in jungle and forest terrain."
Macron shook his head. "No, they are good, but we require something special. A force for who the forest is home, who can think and survive in the Kashyyk terrain as well as a wookie, bred for and trained in stealth and sabotage and modern weaponry."
"Or to cut a long story short, our ewoks?" Malisane said thoughtfully.
Macron nodded. "A perfect test of their abilities."
Malisane nodded. "Is the Argnok available?"
Macron nodded. "That rusted piece of space junk? Yes, brought some supplies here yesturday. Its waiting on the outside of the system." He frowned, "remind me again why are we using that instead of something more modern?"
"Because it looks like a rusted piece of space junk," Malisane replied with a smile, "no-one would associate it with the Clan or the Dlarit Corporation. And it will be perfect for the mission. The wookies or any Republic ships won't suspect a thing when they see it wallow into the system."
"Each time I send it out I worry if its not going to come back." the Alchemist grumbled.
"Its perfectly structularly sound," Malisane replied, "and we tuned the engines a bit. Anyway, we'll bring it into orbit and load the ewoks on it, thirty ought to do."
"Very well," Macron said, "its going to take us about ten days back to Orion. I'll send a message ahead calling for volunteers to meet us there and come aboard, and then we'll take that crate to Kashyyyk."
A few hours later, the two Sith sat in the squat grey freighters small cockpit. "We ready?" Malisane asked.
The former Sapphire Commander nodded, tutting in disaproval as his hands moved over the old controls. "Just about. Our passengers have entered hibernation state in the hold and I’ve sent the message asking for volunteers."
A few minutes later the Argnok jumped into hyperspace.
The Aeotheran System, Orion, the Present Day
Macron brought the old freighter out of hyperspace, wincing as it shuddered and rocked slightly. He sighed, he’d been forced to leave the Silooth on Kangaras but there wasn’t much he could do about it now. He targeted the jungle world and pushed the sublight engines as high as he dared. He turned his head as the Quaestor entered the cockpit. “How are the Ewoks.”
“Still in hibernation, the entire hold stinks of ewok” Malisane replied, “doesn’t seem much point in reviving them until we reach Kashyyyk, we won’t be stopping here long, wait for everyone to come on board then set off. I’ll stop by my quarters and pick up Gmork.”
“You’re bringing your hound along?” Macron asked curiously.
“Of course, ideal surroundings for him, and he’s more than a match for a few wookies he’ll be useful.”
Macron’s eyes glittered. “I might have a few interesting pets as well.”
Malisane shrugged, “So long as they’re not thirty feet high we don’t have a lot of space in this thing. It’s going to be cramped as it is.” He reached for the communicator and turned it on. “This is the Quaestor. Give me landing clearance in the private hangar.”
“Affirmative Quaestor, you are cleared for bay five.”
The freighter turned again and descended for the planet.
As the Freighter landed with a soft thud in the private Hangar Draken already stood there to watch.
Amazed that the rustbucket in front of him was still able to push itself front the ground, the valheru thought he would
help his Quaestor out.
The ships compartment space opened it's large doors and Malisane walked out, looking disgusted by a somewhat
"Ylith? What are you doing here?" Malisane asked curiosly and Macron smiled as he saw his Commander.
"Did you bring them?" Macron asked impatiently and Draken smiled as he pointed behind him.
"The Clones of your precious Gnash and Gnaw? Right behind me" Draken said and he turned his attention to Malisane
while Macron fetched the two of his most favoured pets.
"Macron contacted me along the way, I hope you dont mind Quaestor."
"Not at all, what news of Sapphire?" the Quaestor asked and the Valheru answered.
"Well, as for Macron and me, we are both here to serve you on land. Either the rest will join in space or will come
soon to either Kashyyyk or here. Some of us have other missions and matters to attend to. For the sake of our
Malisane nodded in acknowledgement.
"The Commader here will be a fine addition to our little fellowship Malisane, his eyesight is impressive and his people,
or so I have heard, were excellent as scouts. He may come in handy when locating patrols or even the place to be
itself." Macron said as droids loaded up the two pets.
"Very well, lets load up and wait for the others to arrive, we leave in one and a half hour." Malisane said and
he moved away towards the ships, checking it before lifting off, buying time for others to arrive.
"Ewoks?" Draken asked and Macron startted to chuckle.
"Sith Ewoks, heehee." Macron said with enthousiasm and Draken couldnt help but to grin.
The training sabre hummed in her hand. The vibration barely that of a real lightsaber. The Knight twirled it about her fingers, making the light dance. She had always hated these things; cattle prods, she called them, but it was a valuable training tool.
Magnus came at her with a vengeance. Gritting his teeth as he moved about her. She deflected his blows with ease and danced around him. He pivoted away as he went to maneuver his blade to strike at her again. This time the Nightsister planted her foot behind him and swung her blade around, catching his neck with her forearm and leaning him back against her in a choke hold. The blade hummed dangerously close to his face, illuminating it with its colourful hue. Naga's eyes widened when he realized his mistake.
"Be mindful of where you are, my apprentice. The sabre is an extension of yourself. Your energy must flow through it. Only then will you be able to have mastery over it." She switched off the blade and let him catch his breath.
Sweat poured off the Protector's brow as he sat down. His Master was tough but he appreciated it.
Ashia picked up her long coat and tossed it over her shoulders. She slide back into it and clipped her sabre back onto her belt. She had just picked up her Tiger katana when her comlink went off.
"Ash, how's it going?" It was Macron.
"Good, Mac. Where are you and what are you up to?" The crazy Sith Alchemist had that, 'I'm up to something and dragging you along" tone to his voice that she had become accustom to. Naga blinked in surprise at the assumption, his master had made.
"Oh, now, Ash, you know me. No good, no good." He let out a little titter before going on. "We're heading to Kashyyk."
"Oh no, don't tell me you're gonna mutate a Wookie, now." The Nightsister rolled her eyes at the thought.
"No, no. We're going after some Krath scrolls that belong to the Keto family."
Ashia began to think her brother-in-law had been around the chemicals in his lab to long and was now hallucinating.
"Mac...what would Wookies want with Krath scrolls?"
"No idea, but I've traced their location and they are being held in a guarded shrine on Kashyyk. You in?"
Ash thought for a moment. Her duties to her battle team had kept her from these little jaunts for some time now and she did have an apprentice to teach. Besides, the last time she followed Mononoke on some damn fool idealistic crusade she ended up being haunted by demons that were not her own.
Obviously she had taken to long to come to a decision because he added quickly, "Mali and I are bringing the Ewoks..."
The Sith-spawned Ewoks were a unique force in their own right. Alchemically altered, they were probably strong enough to take on any Wookie. Ashia had helped with the project briefly, mostly running tests on them as part of her studies with Mac. She would like to see them in real action.
She looked up and saw Naga raise his eyebrow at her.
"Ok, Mac. You've got me. But I'm bringing my student with me. It'll be good training for him."
"Ah! Great! Great! I'll send you the coordinates. Mac out."
She clicked off the comlink and looked at Naga, a nervous smiled graced his lips.
Ashia and Naga boarded the Argnok. They strode down the corridors purposefully, making their way to the bridge. Suddenly a huge dog like creature rounded the corner. Magnus froze in his tracks, afraid to move. His master, however, proceeded forward. The hound growled low. When she was only a few feet away, he launched themselves at her.
The Protector jumped, grapping at his blaster as he ran to his master's aid, but he was too late. The hound had launched itself at her and knocking her to the ground. His heart leapt as he cleared his blaster from it's holster, trying to get a good aim on the monster without hitting his master.
He stopped when he realized Ash was laughing. The hound was slobbering all over her.
"It's ok, Magnus. This is Gmork. Malisane's Redoras Hound."
He started to reach out to touch him when it growled low at him.
"I wouldn't touch him, if I were you. There are few he trusts. I've taken care of him for Mali on occasion so he knows me."
Magnus felt he would be quite out of place amongst such powerful Dark Jedi.It was of no matter though he knew this was the best way to learn and was sure as hell going to be the funnest.Then a wicked smile flashed his face.His master saw this and pondered what it meant."What are you smiling for my apprentice" she asked in a singing sort of voice."Just excited to be coming along with you guys to Kashyyk".Magnus then cleared his throat and quickly added "well with all my learning and training I haven't been able to have any....fun master".At this Ashia let out a shrill laugh and replied "the question is will you face the fun...when it comes".Magnus knew he wasn't afraid and would enjoy a challenge for a change, but didn't want to seem arrogant so he merely shrugged.
"So master, what do you know of these scrolls?" Ashia laughed again and said "you have to ask Macron about them but still only little is known"
Magnus then proceeded to ask another question when he realized the beast thing was still there and eyeing him up. Then he asked his master "master you think you could ummm cage that beast, it doesnt like me too much"
Ashia shook her head smiling "as you wish my apprentice" and put the beast in the cage in the corner of the room nearest to the bridge.
Ashia then turned to her apprentice and said "well shall we be off,Macron will whine if we don't meet with them soon" .The two seated themselves and set course for Kashyyk.Magnus couldn't help his sudden change of facial expression as he felt an oddity in the force.His master took no notice however so he did not mention his feeling.
“Apprentice…” Macron trailed off, his chin in his hand in contemplation. “Magnus will be good if he survives. But training with a Nightsister, hee hee. Scary.”
“If he messes up, he’s Rancor chow,” agreed Ylith. The three guffawed at the thought and continued to coax the aging vessel along. Shortly the steps of the approaching Master and student rang on the bulkhead floor as they came forward into the dimly lit cockpit.
“Ah, Ashia and Magnus. Welcome,” said Malisane as he turned in his swivel chair. “I guess the gang is all here.” Draken nodded, standing right behind Macron and gesturing toward a holomap.
Macron snarled, slamming his fist on the old control board. “Piece of freakin’ ancient monkey-lizard pudu,” he spat as he twiddled a knob violently. Ylith/Draken leaned forward and made a minor adjustment, bringing the data into focus. “You obviously have more experience with these outdated systems,” muttered Mac as he relaxed.
“And you have an anger management issue,” laughed Malisane. “Well, I suppose all darksiders do. I see you met Gmork, Magnus.”
“I did, and I still have all my fingers,” replied Raa as he held up his hands to show them.
“That’s good,” said Malisane with a nod. “Stay away from the Ewoks though. They are not as friendly. They’ll be hungry too when they come out of stasis.”
“You bring your sith-a-histamines, Mac?” asked Ashia, knowing he was allergic to Wookie dander.
Macron made a face, sticking out his black tongue over metal teeth. “Yeah. Filthy walking furbags,” he mumbled as he turned back to the readout. “I estimate this old piece of crap...” Malisane glowered at him as the rest chuckled.
The alchemist continued. “Ah, fine example of history will have us there in about two days. Fortunately, Kashyyk is not too far from Orian as far as galactic distances go.”
Protector Alex Sythen slowly made his way onto the Argnok, careful to avoid the caged beast as he passed. He felt somewhat awkward being a new member of the Clan but thought it would be best to jump right in and become as active in opporations as soon as possible to aclimate himself to his new surroundings. He attempted to maintain a calm visage as he stepped up to the others going on this mission.
"I heard you were looking for some volunteers."
Malisane frowned. "Look there's nothing wrong with this ship. Its in perfect working..." He stopped as an alarm went off in the cockpit and his face dropped. "Back in a bit. Gmork!" He turned as a horrendous sound of cage door tearing was followed by the black hound leaping between them knocking Naga and Ashia aside and bounded after its master.
Macron rolled his eyes and followed. Malisane was arguimg with a technition. "I don't care about your excuses. If this thing breaks down on the way and we somehow survive and get back here i'll have you deep fried in oil and fed to my pet!"
The technition shrank back as to add to this Gmork growled menacingly, its teeth bared.
"Yes Quaestor, we'll get on it right now." the man said nervously.
Malisane strode out.
"We can still take the Fire of Sepros," Macron said after him.
"No we can't," Malisane snapped, "too visible, too military looking and too traceable back to the Dlarit Corporation. We'll take the Argnok."
"Very well," Macron said with a sigh.
"I'm off to my quarters." the Quaestor said walking off with the hound following, "if anyone else comes before these fools get the ship working brief them. We'll leave in three hours."
Macron looked after him and sighed. The first mission the Quaestor had lead in his new position. The older Sith hoped the pressure wasn't getting to the new House leader. He shook his head and headed back to join the others.
Draken sighed as he saw the Naga Sadow engineers ponder over out dated datefiles on how the ship should work. He also found it amusing as he flew in one of the same kind of vessels with his one of his previous hosts. (ooc note: see the BTL leader run on
Macron walked back into the ship, his hound following him, gently muttering the most bloody of curses.
"Sir, we arent able to get this ship to fly a few lightyear. This one is wrecked." One of the engineers dared to say. With only a flick of his wrist, the hound responded to Macron's growing aggrivation and killed the man bloody and painfully.
"Draken, are you able to salvage this piece of junk?" Macron said and Draken smiled.
"Whats so funny?"
Draken smiled and gestured Macron to join, when he did he saw Draken open a hidden hatch and found a hidden secondairy ion drive, a reserve in case the ragular one quits.
"Sith spit, how the hell? I mean, we scanned this junkpile and checked everything, even with the force." Macron said and Draken startted to grin.
"The cooling conduits around it moves your attention away from it, this ship was used years ago by smugglers. To avoid the hutts and still being able to take a beating, they installed this. Though I wasnt sure you found it yet."
"....I think I need to call in for a new chief engineer..." macron said and he startted to walk away giggling.
Ashia sat in the passenger bay, teaching her young apprentice the techniques of the lightsaber. Draken walked in to see a training driod wizz in the air and fire soft shots at a blind apprentice.
"Greetings Valheru." Ashia said and Draken nodded in return.
"Training your student I see?"
"yes he is catching on pretty quick too. Hows the ship?"
"We'll get there, we have about an hour untill we lift off anyway. " Draken said, sitting down.
Magnus relieved himself from his blindfold and looked at Draken questioning.
"Whats a Valheru?" He asked and Ashia ignited her lightsaber.
"You will learn your place young apprentice and show your superiors some respect!" Ashia said and Draken had to grin when he saw her disipline her student.
Malisane entered the cockpit once more and looked down at the Sapphire Commander. "We ready to launch?"
Ylith nodded. "Just about," he replied, "this things as ready as it will be."
Malisane nodded. "We'll get there," he replied. "Have the tower clear us for launch and get us underway."
"Will do." Ylith said and begain speaking into the communicator. Satisfied Malisane nodded and headed to the main cabin.
Inside Ashia was dueling with the two protectors, training sabers flashing in the dim room. She laughed as the parried a strike from Naga then sent a feint at Alex who blocked it. All three were absorbed in their game and didn't notice as he slipped past. He headed down to the hold and found Macron fiddling with a tool kit to a series of wires and emitters. Malisane glanced around at the piles of hibernating furry black shapes, their weapons stacked against the wall.
"Nearly ready?" the Quaestor asked.
Macron nodded. "Getting there. Of course we won't know if this thing works until we test it."
"I've got every confidence in you," Malisane replied, "and if it operates as expected we might be able to sell it to every smuggler in the galaxy."
The Alchemist nodded. "Maybe so, not sure if the Consul would approve though."
Malisane smiled, "We won't tell him then."
The ship shuddered suddenly and the two Sith felt the ship slowly rising into the air, rotating as Ylith rotated it, then surged forward as the freigher ungainly blasted its way out of the atmosphere.
Malisane smiled. "We're on our way. As soon as we reach Kashyyyk we'll switch this thing on."
Macron nodded. "I'll have it ready by then."
A few minutes later the Argnok cleared Aeotheran's space and the starlines blurred as they entered hyperspace.
A shudder passed through the ship like a ripple. The two Protectors started for a moment, looking around nervously at the sudden jolt that interrupted their training. Ashia's training sabre sailed through the air towards the two and she switched it off just as it was about to connect with Alex.
The young Protector's eyes widened as he realized he almost got a nasty burn to the side of the head.
"Always keep your mind on your opponent, young one."
"The movement of the ship, startled me is all." He tried to wave it off.
"You have to be able to keep up the fight, even with distractions. If I had been a real enemy and this a real sabre, you would have lost your head."
Alex gulped at the thought and nodded to the Nightsister. He appreciated her taking the time to work with him, though he was not her student.
"We had best get inside and settled for the trip." Naga helped her collect the other training items and put them back into the bag they carried. Alex's eyes grew distant for a moment before he moved off towards the cabin area of the ship. Naga watched him go then turned to Ashia.
"Master, he seems sad. Do you know why?"
"He has lost everyone that was ever dear to him, two-fold. I suspect it's hard for him to come to trust people."
They stood in silence for a moment then the Keibatsu spoke up. "Come, we should get inside and find Malisane and Mac." He nodded as he picked up the bag and followed her.
Macron sat in the pilots chair cursing and slamming his fist various control boards in an attempt to give the servomotors a kick start. The alchemist was happy so far, they hadn’t torn into four different pieces upon leaving the atmosphere like he half heartedly expected. Mac unbuckled his crash webbing and gestured Malisane to take the controls over temporarily.
“I’m going to go check our little babies.” Mac said with a hint of sarcasm and humor.
Malisane snorted in approval and unbuckled his own crash webbing. The alchemist stood up and walked back toward the cargo hold where his chemically altered ewoks would remain unconscious for the remainder of the trip. The smell of his animals came over him like a rushing wave that Macron was apparently used to. Nodding, he noticed that each of the animals was still out and turned to leave. Normally Macron would have left but a faint prickle on the back of his neck turned into blaring warning.
The sound of a hammer on a gun dropped.
“Boom. You’re dead.” Came a familiar voice from in between a couple of cages.
A pale horned figure emerged from the shadows. Macron smirked in approval of his mock assassination. The alchemist began to nod slowly as if he understood how he did it.
“You stowed away, diminished your presence among a group of hateful, rabid animals and waited. Ingenious. I’m not sure how you got over that smell though.”
“I haven’t.” Shimura managed to get out while wrinkling his pale nose in disgust.
“Well cousin, there is no need to sit back here with the animals, join the rest of us up front!”
“You really don’t need to ask me twice.” Shimura smirked back at his cousin and followed him back.
"Fracker." Macron turned around, facing Shimura with a chuckle. He smiled an evil smile. Anger and humilation moved through his mid as he remembered Shimura brutalizing him. He had never before had a private chance to address the issue.
"Shimura..." he said as horrible tendrils of Force power coiled through his rippling angry flesh.
The Battlelord snarled, drawing an unlit lightsaber and holding it forth before his brother. Bits of loose debris and metal in the area rose from the floor and swirled about the madman. "Remember Loki?" he whispered evilly.
"I do Mac. What's on your mind? asked Shimura as he backed into a ready posture. The Zabrak drew forth his own wicked blade and held it ready but unlit. The Tribune seemed even closer to full insanity, and had grown more powerful since the trip to Loki in spades.
Macron let out a deep huff of breath, and let the energy seep back into the background of the Force. "Don't try that again on me this time. You beat me up badly then, and it made me work harder. Thank you for that. This time might be a different story. I know how you are- you only respect power and honesty. And damn fine job on that assassination technique as usual. Now, let's go meet the others for a bit of a pow-wow. Say, did you change your horn paint?"
"Yeah man, " laughed Shimura as they strolled to the bridge. "Chill out bro. Have you been feeling alright?"
"Not really," replied Mononoke.
"Master, what kind of mission is this anyway"? said the protector. At this she merely laughed and replied "the kind protectors wouldn't survive"
She quickly glanced back. Maybe she thought he was going to show some sign of fear.Hah imagine that. I know I might not be the strongest but I do have a deathwish.
This is exactly what I needed, some foolish quest with little chance of survival to kick start my training and have some fun. A smile spread across the protectors face at the thought. Ashia noticed this and said "what are you smiling at"? "Nothing" was my instinctive reply. I know one must learn to trust their master, but nobody was gonna get the chance to read me like a puzzle.
Ashia shook her head and looked away.
Macron walked back in through the bridge door with someone the protector didn't know.I guess the more the merrier in this case."Everything is all set, all we need to do is land on kashyyk" said the alchemist licking his lips. I wasn't very informed compared to most of the clan but I know enough to know that this was Macron's idea. This would be another one of his alchemy projects. Though it wasn't very interesting to most of the clan, it certainly was to the protector. He liked alchemy and would honor a chance to see this crazy alchemist at work. Mybe he would learn a thing or two. These thoughts were interrupted as a jolt went through the ship and everyone looked to Malisane."We are close to Kashyyk so say your last prayers " said Malisane calmly. At this Ashia rose from her seat and addressed the two protectors. "Don't in anyway interfere with something you can't handle young ones and stay close, we should be arriving shortly"
Malisane sat back on a chair in the lounge area and surveyed them. "Ok, we're not far now from Kashyyyk. So here's whats happening." He turned the hologramatic display back on. "As you already know we're here to retrieve the scrolls from this shrine here." A small X appeared on the display. "It's heavily guarded, it's up in the trees and more importantly it's a no fly zone, we try and land this crate within ten miles of it we get shot down and with any luck there won't be enough left of us to be traceable. So we're going to land here." A second X appeared some distance away."
"This here in particular is a clearing which our intelligence reports suggest is an unpopulated area some fifty miles from the shrine."
"Nice long walk then," Shimura said sarcastically.
Malisane nodded. "Well we could all use the exercise. This is hostile dense terrain. However after years on Sepros and Aeotheran it should be like a home from home."
"Good," Ylith said with a smile, "it sounds good."
"There is one difference," Macron cut in, "Sepros and Aeotheran don't have millions of wookies living there."
"Indeed," Malisane agreed, "so here's the plan. We conceal the ship in branches in case anyone comes poking about. We then move in a straight northerly direction at ground level. As you know in the hold we have a fourty of our Sith Ewoks."
"Yeah I was down there the smell was like a sewer." Shimura added.
"Well they were asleep I'm sure they didn't mind you." Ashia said with a grin and the group laughed.
Malisane laughed. "Anyway, these are our scouts and our support in the assault. Twenty of them will accompany our group to a shrine. The rest will fan out to our left, our right, front and back and alert us to any danger and take out any patrols they find. The ones at the back will also follow us up clearing up any bodies and masking our trail."
"Sounds good," Ashia Ylith approved.
"Ok so what are these Sith Ewoks capable of?" Magnuss asked.
"You guys should have read the reports about them, they're perfect for jungle or forest missions.They're trained in stealth, ranged and hand to hand combat with the most sophisticated weaponry, and they're internally armoured and pretty tough. They're totally loyal to Macron and myself and fearless. They also have a high degree of resistance to manipulation by the force."
Shimura nodded. "Impressive."
"So how do we talk to them, I'm guessing the majority of us don't speak ewok?"
Macron smiled. "That's not a problem," he replied, "they have a good understanding of basic. They'll understand and obey any instruction given by this group that doesn't contradict the mission parameters we've given them."
"Do they speak basic?" Alex asked.
"Unfortunatley not," the alchemist replied, "however Malisane and myself have picked up a good understanding of it over the last year and if all else fails there's always charades."
"One warning," Malisane added. "They tend to be a bit tempremental and easily provoked and have a strong sense of loyalty to each other. Any perceived attack on any of them and the entire lot could loose their conditioning. I don't fancy trying to fight fourty of them."
Macron nodded. "A party of my journeymen alchemy students thought it would be fun to attack one of them. Every ewok in range attacked them, ripped them to pieces and ate the remains." He smiled. "I would be very careful."
Malisane nodded. "Once we reach the shrine we'll brief you further."
The crew fell silent as each member retreated into their own thoughts. Some communicated silently through the force, careful not to disturb the others. The mission they set out upon carried far too many ifs for most people. People like Mac, and some of the other Veterans either didn’t care or welcomed the challenge. Even with the force, this would be a difficult mission. Wookies were renowned trackers and tended their forests religiously. They were also some of the strongest beings, in terms of raw physical power, in the nearby galaxies.
A dull buzz emanated through the cabin of the dingy ship as it plowed through space towards the wookie home world. But back in the hangar, a young Jedi Hunter flew around the corner. Damn, too late, he thought. Quickly Kaelin Ring categorized possibilities in his head. Macron and Malisane had expressly forbidden the use of clan ships for the journey. Hiring a ship with an immediate departure would arise suspicion. So, what could he do? Seconds later he ran out of the hangar, towards a cantina.
As he sped through the halls, people gave him odd looks, but generally kept on their way. A few people stopped to shake a fist at him, but none followed. He slowed as he neared the cantina. Composing himself, he approached a well known smuggler. He offered a large sum when they landed and no questions asked, and the pilot agreed. Minutes later they entered light speed. Kaelin readied a knife and when the pilot wasn’t looking, slit the smuggler’s throat. All too easy. They were too trusting now that the republic appropriated control.
He exited light space to find the beaten up ship only a short space in front of him. He used an encrypted channel to contact Macron. Sorry, master, I overslept.
Macron smiled. “No problem, apprentice…” came his telepathic sending. “Next time, contact me this way. It’s safer. Meet me down there… ”
The ship hovered near Kashhyk, awaiting final clearance from the Republic gunboat nearby.
“You are clear to land, freighter.”
Malisane and Macron looked at each other and nodded. Malisane pushed the stick forward, enabling the ancient hulk to break into the atmosphere. The two Sith concentrated as they flew the old ship. A jolt let them know they had succeeded in landing.
“Well, that’s it,” said Mac as he leaned back from the controls. “We actually made it without breaking up. Amazing.”
“Oh ye of little faith..” replied Malisane.
“Faith has nothing to do with it. I’m a realist,” said the alchemist with a scowl. “Anyhow, let’s get started.”
ooc-thanx for letting me join Malisane
ic- Garusus stood up slowly,he had said nothing during the trip and was little noticed on the way to Kashyyk. The others stared at him quizzically but he said nothing,his emotionless face returing them with a blank stare. Garusus then went back to his seat and picked up his rifle,he then finally spoke, "I suppose weve landed then?"
Draken moved to the ramp leading outside and walked towards Malisane.
"Sir, I think it's best that I go out first..."
"Alright, everyone remain inside untill Ylith gives the word."
Malisane nodded and the Ramp opened, the sounds of jungle nature echoing throughout the
forest they landed in. Though nothing seemed drastically wrong, Draken still sensed they were
spotted and most likely watched.
Draken moved outside and dissapeared in front of their eyes.
Macron chuckled, "Maybe I should release one of my Ewoks instead, they are replaceable, though
I'd like to dissect him if he doesnt make it."
Malisane grinned and Ashia just shook her head at her fellow Keibatsu.
Suddenly four Wookiee scouts fell uot of the trees and while one wasnt harmed enough and wanted to rise,
he was soon silenced as Draken fell down and landed with both feet on the furball's head, causing it to splash
in all directions.
"So much for dissecting..." Macron said and he giggled while moving outside with the others.
"Sorry it took so long Malisane, there are four groups of four scouts ahead encircling our location, when they wont
hear from this group they'll probably go here. If we want to keep the silence I think it's best to hide our
presence by making this look like a crash site and having some Ewoks roam free." Draken said and
"That would be best, else it would be too suspicious."
"Alright, Macron, get a small squad of Ewoks out there to rampage. The rest goes as we have planned on
the ship. Lets move out!"
The party moved out slowly amongst the jungle, sixteen ewoks split up into groups of four fanned out around them, quickly slipping out of sight. The rest of the ewoks and the group of jedi moved quickly and quietly across the mossly floor. Ylith and Malisane lead the way, with Ashia lead Alex, Magnuus and Garasus close behind followed by Macron and his student, and Shimura bringing up the rear. The ewoks surrounded them, shielding the group from any assaliants.
Ylith watcehd the forest quietly, his eyes checking left and right. Besides him the Quaestor walked in a more relaxed manner, enjoying the sunshire as it filtered through the trees above. "Ought to do this more often," Malisane remarked, "the fresh air makes a change from the recycled air of Marakith. And Gmork enjoys it." He glanced at the hound who was happily padding alongside them sniffing the air.
Ylith shook his head. "This isn't a nature walk Malisane," he replied, "don't forget we're surrounded by hostie forces, in particular hordes of wookies."
Malisane shrugged, "The ewoks should warn us if we come across anything hostile.
Ylith looked ahead. "Talking of which." he said pointing to a black shape ahead wating for them. "Thats one of the forward scouts."
Malisane walked up to where it was stood patiently. "Report."
It chittered at him for a few moments, while Ylith stood waiting for translation and the rest of the group caught them up.
Malisane frowned. "There's a chasm ahead," he said quietly, "too deep to cross and two long to walk around."
"So what do we do?" Ashia asked,
Macron had also understood, "He says there's a bridge over it not far from here."
"Sounds good," Shimura commented.
The ewok spoke again shaking its head.
"Problem," Malisane replied, "both sides of the bridge are guarded by about twenty wookies."
"We can take twenty," the Battlemaster said with a shrug and Macron nodded.
"That isn't the problem," Macron replied, "its likely if we attack the guards on this side the ones on the other might destroy the bridge."
"So, any ideas?" Malisane asked.
Ashia nodded, "I have one," she replied with a smile, "what we need to do is have our forces on both sides, wipe out the ones on this side and guard the other and delay them enough so some of us can rush across to capture the other side."
"That's about the size of it." Malisane replied, looking at her curiously.
"Well this is crazy but it might just work." She said with a grin.
Garawaru, the wookie leader looked up curiously as Naragura, his deputy, approached. He frowned. Following Nagagura six wookies herded three figures along, covering them with their bowcasters. They were an odd trio, a tall arrogant looking zhabrak, a tall humanoid with white hair, and a shorter man with elabrourate tatoos on his face. "Report." the leader ordered in Shirook.
"We found these three creeping around near the chasm," his deputy replied, "we surrounded them. They were unarmed."
"What are they doing here?" Garawaru demanded.
Nagagura snorted. "They were unable to understand," he replied, "they do not comprehend our language."
"Did you find any others?"
Nagaguara shook his head. "They were alone."
Garawaru considered this. "I will take them to the camp on the other side, our droid will allow us to interogate them." He motioned at the guards who herded the captives across the bridge.
Nearby, Malisane watched the wookies lead Macron, Ylith and Shimura across the bridge. "We'll have to move quickly," he commented, "the ewoks are in position, once they reach the other side we must wipe them out quickly and backup our comrades. We're taking a hell of a risk sending them across unarmed."
Ashia, crouched nearby with the four journeymen shrugged, "They're all excellant fighters," she replied, "and they'll have the element of suprise. They'll be fine."
Malisane nodded, "I hope so, I'll signal the attack as soon as they get there."
Ashia moved aside to check that her weapons were in place. The Knight glanced up, the ewoks moved silently through the forest, if she hadn't know they were there, she'd have never seen them.
She tensed as one moved close to her. It looked up, it's red eyes, shinning dully, then continued on it's way. Her trust was in her brother's abilities as an alchemist, however, she never could abide these rancid little beasts and wouldn't trust them to watch her back or anyone with her.
“Don't worry, Ash.” Malisane whispered as he saw her reaction. “They can do the dirty work, we just have to be ready.”
She nodded to him before turning to the rest of their group.
“Stay back, no heroics, do I make myself clear?” She looked at each one individually. They each nodded in their turn as she turned back to Malisane.
“I hope this works, Ash.” He cast her a sideways glance for a moment and saw that grin she usually wore when things could go horribly wrong forcing them to pull it out at the last minute just to survive...he hated that look.
Malisane gave the whistle, the ewoks charged ahead, their battle cries nothing more then loud squawks and chitterings.
The wookies howled in anger and alarm as several of the ewoks took one of their comrades down. The scent of blood filled the air as the rest of the ewoks joined in the fray. Each one growling and yipping with excitement as they tore through the wookies quickly.
Ashia bolted ahead, dodging this way and that out of the way of flaying wookie arms as the ewoks took them down. She somersaulted over one as the big hairy creature came crashing down. She ran onto the bridge, sprinting quickly. The entourage was almost to the other side when they turned.
Ylith jumped up sending a round house kick to the back of the nearest wookie guard and sending him over the bridge. The other one howled in abject rage.
The Valheru quickly ducked the swinging arms of the other guard as he leapt high into the air. Ashia wasted no time, sliding his sword off the sheath on her back, she sent it sailing through the air, the blue flame that engulfed it lighting the sky like shooting star.
Ylith reached his hand out as it landed perfectly in his grasp, he spun around, slicing through the wookie in one fluid motion, a grin crossing his countenance.
Two sabre's were tossed into the air, the Force pushing them toward their owner's hands as they reached out to catch them, igniting them instantly.
Macron and Shimura exchanged a brief grin as the two Keibatsu leapt into action. They flew the remaining feet to the other side of the bridge and started taking on the rest of the wookie guards.
Ash and Malisane sprinted across as the ewoks finished taking out the remaining guards. Magnus, Garusus, Alex and Kaelin followed in their stead, running across to help on the other side. It wasn't long before the rest were dispatched and the rest of the ewoks were crossing the bridge themselves.
Garusus came to Malisanes side,"ill follow orders,but I dont like this.". Malisane said nohing but Garusus knew he heard him. Garusus looked around the area and eyed the wookies excitedly, he wanted blood, and soon.
Garusus held his disruptor pistol in one hand and his sword in another, waiting nervously for the signal.
The whistle sounded and soon Garusus was killing. He ran forward, some of the others around him and fired with his disruptor to cut down some of the wookiees ahead.
Garusus crashed into another wookiee and after a brief fight Garusus decapitated him. Before he knew it he had been surrounded, Garusus tried to call out telepathically to the others but wasnt very strong in that ability. Garusus then raised his sword, "cmom furballs!" he yelled.
"Ahh, finally worthy opponents," laughed Macron as a wookie backhanded him to the ground. He rose, blood splurting from his smashed nose as he stabbed the Wookie in the face with a howl. The orange saber penetrated it’s brain with a sizzle. Another punched at him, only to receive a vicious force-enhanced bite from his metal teeth that removed it’s digits.
Shimura growled nearby, deflecting a blaster bolt back into the shooter. He spun about, cleaving a nearby furball in twain as the smell of burnt fur began to drift through the air. A snarl from the zabrak as he tapped the Force; a large rock brained the nearest opponent.
The beast dropped with gore spewing from it’s head as an ewok scrambled up to sample the tasty bits.
Both brothers laughed with ecstasy as the killing continued. They took damage to be sure, but they gave much better than they got. These Wookies were ferocious, smart and strong- but they were not Sith. However, a rush of furred bodies soon piled on top of the two and held them down with sheer mass. Wookie screams were heard as the Zabrak and alchemist bit and tore at the hairy beasts.
Ashia, Malisane, Magnus, Garusus, and Kaelin sprinted across and helped to finish off the mass of wookies. The Force ripped the Wookies from on top of the Keibatsu and flung them aside, several into the ravine as Malisane worked his wicked magic. Ashia sabered one in the skull with an evil smile as the startled creature stood up from the pile.
One young Wookie in particular had hid near the edge of the clearing. The blond colored female stepped hesitantly into the area and lit a purple lightsaber. She held it like a novice, and appeared not to understand it. Ewoks scrambled toward her as the others looked on in disbelief. Macron yelled “Stop!” and the Ewoks held with grumbles.
“She has the Force within her, but she’s untrained,” said Malisane as he looked on. Now a host of purring weapons were pointed at the youngling. She edged nervously toward the bushes, looking nervous.
<"I'll... I'll fight!">
“Let’s turn her,” giggled Kaelin across a telepathic wave. “She’s afraid. Fear leads to anger…”
"What did she say?" asked Shimura. "Mac? You speak Shriiwook?"
"Yeah. She says she'll fight," giggled Macron with disdain. "She has guts, I'll admit. Make a good Sith."
Ashia snorted with derision.“Or a Krath. And just where did you get that Jedi blade, youngster?” asked Ashia as she stepped up, saber held forward. “You might get hurt using one of those, or hurt yourself. You should give that to me.”
"It's Jensaari make, not Jedi," said Mononoke simply as he looked bored. "Let's just kill her and be done with it."
Garusus finished with the last of the wookies surrounding him and walked tiredly to the others, "now who is this?". Garusus said quizically.
Draken smiled and shook his head as he saw the youngling kill the Wookiee.
"Killing a wounded one isnt very honourable young one, always make them beg
before slaughtering one." The Valheru said and when he wanted to walk away he suddenly
stopped and didn't make a move.
"Ylith..?" Ashia said noting the Valheru's sudden change in behaviour and Draken
noted Ashia to take the Journeymen inside the smaller building. His lips made a
fluid motion and it didnt take long to Ashia to know the meaning.
"Rancor...? Here?" Ashia said and both Macron and Shimure glanced at their sister.
"What do you mean? Rancors? We didnt see those here before."
Malisane walked past them and watched Draken who stood motionless, not even a
breath was noted from the Valheru.
Draken glanced at Malisane and told through the force that it was best to stand back.
The Quaestor nodded in agreement and allowed the Equite some time before stepping
in and taking over, Malisane knew that the alienated senses of Draken weren't false.
Thuds suddenly drew closer to their position, changing into harsh footsteps of something
Draken turned his back towards Malisane and the other and faced the woods, placing
his Valheru sword into the ground.
A large Rancor suddenly pushed himself through the trees and roared as he saw Draken.
The beast charged and ran towards the Valheru, who didnt move an inch. Macron wanted to
move in and even Ashia stirred but Malisane held them back.
"Just a moment..."
"He'll get killed!"
"Just another moment...he'll come trough..."
The Rancor now directly faced Draken and raored into his face. The Valheru however didnt
move a muscle, not showing fear or any other emotion.
The Rancor, obviously confused, moved closer to Draken, sniffing and checking him out.
When the beast's head was directly in front of Draken's, the Obelisk glanced into the
Rancor's eyes, staring into them.
The Rancor roared again while he stared back into the lizard like eyes, and Draken again didnt
move a muscle.
"What the hell is he doing?" Macron asked and Malisane shrugged.
"It looks like he's taming him..." Shimura said and when he did Ashia nodded.
When they watched they saw Draken simply petting the Rancor.
The other Dark Jedi walked out of the Wookiee hut and walked up to Draken.
"How the hell did you do that?"
"How do you think people train a Rancor for battle? In the time of my people,
it was used to tame dragons. This little beast will do everything I want to now."
"very good Ylith, very good. - Malisane said - Macron, how far till the caverns?"
"4 kilometers north Quaestor."
"Good, lets move out and give our new pet a test drive."
Garusus watched in awe as the rancor was tamed. "incredible" Garusus thought s he watched the others heading back toward the objective. Garusus ran to catch up with the others, still eyeing the rancor. Though it was seemingly tame he did not feel comfortabl with it around.
"How are we sure ths thing will stay calm?", Garusus said, still not sure of the rancor.
Ashia approached the Rancor. It's eyes settled on her as it grew a bit restless, before calming instantly. She approached it quietly, reaching up to scratch it as if it were a pet. A sudden purr rumbled deep in it's throat. Ylith's eyebrow raised slightly as she climbed up on it with ease.
“You might have tamed dragons, Valheru, but I'm a Nightsister. I learned to ride these guys when I was very small. Let me show you how it's done.” A slight smile creased her lips as she watched him climb up behind her, his own surprise trying hard not to show.
“Malisane, we'll scout ahead on him and report back.”
Malisane nodded his head as she lassoed a length of rope around his massive head and shoulders, creating a sort of harness and reins with which to direct him. Ylith's arm slide around her waist causing her to tense for just a moment. She was not use to being this close to her comrades. She relaxed a moment later; she trusted Ylith with her life.
“Let's see what he's got in him, shall we?” He whispered quietly from behind her. “But I get drive on the way back.”
She glanced over her shoulder to see a wan smile flash in those reptilian eyes of his briefly, something not often seen in the Valheru. She nodded her head as she dug her heels in, spurring the massive creature forward.
Thunder rolled through the forest steadily as the animal's footsteps pounded the earth. The foliage crackled under it's heavy footfalls sending a shower of leaves down upon the two riders.
Ashia reared the creature back, bringing him to a halt. The Rancor protested the abrupt stop and sent a bellow skyward to let it be known. Ylith patted his head, to calm him.
The creature became silent as she moved him through the dense foliage. In the distance, a few treetop huts could be seen high up in the trees with a few Wookies moving among the branches.
Ashia pulled out her electrobinoculars and took some readings.
“This is definitely the place. I can see guards standing outside one of the huts.”
“How many Wookies would you...” Draken never finished his sentence. He vaulted off the back of the rancor and unsheathed his sword. The blue flame seemed to brighten slightly at the anticipation of blood.
His blade slide through that of a Wookie scout so swiftly, the creature didn't have time to raise an alarm.
Ash immediately reached out with the Force and sought the rancor's mind. The smell of freshly spilt blood was enough to infuriate the creature, alerting the others to their presence. The creature stilled under her touch as she scratched him, coaxing another purr out.
“That was close.” The Nightsister whispered.
Draken sheated his sword again and checked out the severed Wookiee.
"This is an outer post scout, just another low ranked male."
"They will probably be looking for him, we need to hide him." Ash said, her hand
softly running down the hardened skin of the Rancor.
A Wookiee roar suddenly emerged from the woods and several warriors and soldiers
came running down on the two Dark Jedi.
"Damn!" Draken cursed and Ashia jumped up to sit on the Rancor once more.
"Go back and tell the others, They are protecting something here! I'll hold on untill
you come back."
Ashia made the Rancor tear a few Wookiees apart while she turned back to Draken.
"No, I'll stay here."
"There is no time to play the hero Ash! You can ride the Rancor better than I do and
you know that when we both are captured, Malisane will have both our heads. Now go and
hurry back." Draken shouted while his sword shizzed through the air slamming through the
chest of the Wookiee Commander, severing their morale.
Ashia hesitated, she didnt want her comarade to die, but still she knew he was right and
eventually kicked hard and moved away from the battlefield.
Draken ignited his red saber and slashed through the Wookiees who opposed him.
Suddenly a series of painwaves caught the Valheru off guard and he was stunned on the scene.
The Valheru looked down and saw three burning wounds diagonally over his chest, and when he looked
forwards again he saw a Wookiee high commander holding a bowcaster.
The Dark Jedi cursed between his teeth and suddenly a Wookiee Warrior grabbed Draken by his left arm.
he roard before pulling hard and tearing off Draken's mechanical arm.
The valheru used his saber to slash through the warrior and fend off more incoming blaster
shots. More Soldiers startted to poar themselves into the battle and Draken ran from the battle,
hoping to regroup before he was hunted down and probably killed.
Ashia gripped the rancor hard as it crashed through the trees, knocking the smaller ones over like skittles as she tried to avoid the larger ones. She had no idea what had happened to ylith, he could be dead by now she didn't know. She could sense the wookies close behind, they were fast and the rancor was being hampered by the terrain, as it wound its way through the trees. She hoped her sense of direction was right as she tried to focus on the path back to the ravine.
Malisane lead the main party through the undergrowth,, the other five Sith and the ewoks behind him. Ahead and the the sides he could sense his scouts as they cleared patrols out of the way discreetly. He could hear a crashing thudding off in the distance, but it was running paralel to their path. "What are they doing with that damn rancor?" he demanded.
"No idea," Macron replied, "think we ought to check it out?"
The Quaestor shook his head, "They can take care of themselves, and if it draws attention from us so much the better."
"They might be in trouble," Magnus pointed out.
"They know the risks, they'll be fine." Malisane replied, "according to our estimates we ought to reach our destination in little under an hour. We'll survey the situation from a safe distance and organise our assault."
Macron nodded, "I hope the pair of them are alright."
The rancor was out of control now, its mind driven mad by the situation and the impact with the dense trees as it crashed along. The Krath Knight hung on like crazy now, she had no way of guiding the beast and she knew its mind was beyond her reach. The situation was dire. Behind the wookies were loosing ground still but in pursuit. She could make out clear sky ahead now, she was nearly at the ravine now and the rancor was still tearing along.
They burst through the treeline and the ravine gaped in front of them. The rancor, mad now, tore on oblivious of the danger as Ashia clung to it The wookies emerged from the trees and stopped, watching the monster tear on ahead, unstoppable. One raised his bowcaster to fire but the leader shook his head. It was unnessesary. The beast finally conceived the danger of the ravine but a second too late. The wookies watched as with a roar it plunged headlong into the chasm, heard the crash as it bounced off the ravine walls, its pained roar fading as it crashed deep into it's depths. Finally all was quiet.
"Who were they?" one demanded.
"I do not know, the leader demanded, "but we have the other fool, he will talk"
"Good, then let us return to the shrine"
The small group of wookies, with a further glance at the ravine, slilently slipped back into the trees.
After a few minutes Ashia pulled herself painfully over the edge of the ravine and lay gasping on the grass. Her palms were bleeding from the friction of the vine she had grabbed as the beast fell. She was exausted. Her hand felt for her waist and was reassured by the feel of her saber still clipped there. Slowly, she got to her feet and began to make her way back towards the shrine.
Malisane watched as the ewoks swiftly climbed the ropes up into the treetops, the grapnels holding securly as the assault creatues clambered up them. Nearby more of the ewoks silently burried half a dozen wookies they had suprised. His eyes trailed along the rope bridges above "Nearly," he said, "we are nearly ready."
He turned as the disheveled Ashia approached from behind.
"What happened to you?" he demanded, "and wheres ylith?"
"Bit of trouble," she replied, "I've lost the rancor and yliths either dead or captured."
Malisane nodded, "From what I know of wookies he might be better dead."
Ewoks scurried about, some burying the dead. Some were eating them. Either way, the effect was the same. Wookie corpses were stripped of their gear by the wicked furry sithspawn. Resources where scarce, and the dead did not complain.
“Draken captured?” asked Mac absentmindedly as he chewed a bit of ration bar. “This stuff tastes like…”
“Pudu,” said Malisane, cutting him off. “We all know. But yes, apparently so.”
“How many Wookies?” asked Macron as crumbs fell from his sloppy chewing.
‘It’s hard to tell. At least ten,” replied Ashia as she put salve on her skinned hands. “They seemed pretty tough, especially the leader.”
“Crap. Well, I’ll go get Ylith. We’ll meet you guys at the caverns,” stated Mac as he wiped off his hands and stowed the garbage in his belt pouch. A quick check of his gear made sure all was ready.
“You can handle them?” asked Garusus quietly.
“Maybe not,” said Macron. “But Shimura and I can for sure,” he chuckled as he gestured at the mean Zabrak. Shimura cracked his knuckles menacingly and smiled. It was a bad day to be a Wookie. The two hate-filled Sith would hit them like a screaming hammer.
“Besides, I want to see what they call interrogation around here,” laughed the alchemist.
“You guys take care of yourselves?” he queried as he turned to Kaelin, Garusus, and Magnus. They nodded.
“We’ll keep an eye on them, they’ll be fine. May the Force be with you,” said Ashia as she injected herself with bacta. “See you in the caves.”
“Well, let’s move out,” ordered Malisane. “Onward.”
"Urrrrg! Rwarwr! Rurhf!"
Draken slowly opened his eyes, only to be closed harshly by the back end of a Bowcaster.
It has been several hours of 'Wookiee Interrogation' and even though Draken was strong
enough to withstand most Wookiee attacks, his wounds and loss of blood drained him of
his strength slowly.
He opened his eyes again and shook his head, spat some blood on the ground and laughed
at the Wookiee, knowing he would be the first one to die as soon as he could get out of his
"You know you walking carpet, I dont care if you even use that ingrown fingernail of yours, You
will die as soon as I get out of these damn chains. And trust me if I say that it will hurt...bad.."
The Wookiee guard chuckled as he walked past, hitting Draken once more across the face before
walking outside the small hut.
As soon as he was alone, Draken rose from his knees and called a piece of metal to his hand
with the force.
"Dumb bastards..." he muttered as he used the force again to help his hand pick the lock. His metal
arm was fully severed, only a torn upper arm was left, and while he could move it, it would do
The Valheru suddenly heard two lightsabers igniting and slashing through flesh. Draken didn't
hesitate and moved to the entrance of the hut, where the interrogation guard was still standing.
The Wookiee noticed him and gave the Sith a backhand blow against the chest, sending him back
where he was just a moment ago. In a flash he saw his gear and called his Lightsaber to him,
igniting it and swung it through the animal's knees, only halfway through, causing him to fall
down while the other half of it's knee broke with a sickening crack.
The Wookiee howled but was soon silenced as the saber slammed through it's chest, killing
Draken strapped the Valheru sword onto his back and clipped his lightsaber onto his belt. Macron
and Shimura walked into the hut, covered in blood and wookiee hair.
"Damn furballs, good to see you alive Commander. Lets go." Macron said and Draken followed them
only to collapse onto his knees just when he took only a few steps.
Macron raced towards the Warrior and Shimura stood besides him, on guard.
"Whats the matter?"
"They used somekind of drug on him, probably attacking the nerve system."
"Anything you can do about it mister Alchemist?"
"Ofcourse I can! But I dont need to, it'll wear off in a few hours. Untill then, we need to carry him."
"Alright, I'll do that, lets head back to Malisane and hope he has some good news for us." Shimura said, lifting the Valheru onto his shoulder and moving with Macron to the main group.
Melagragur raised his hand in salute, roared in satisfaction before turning and leaving the hut.
Ithrorn watched the wookie leader go. "Good it appears to be working." he mused. He glanced at his companion. "You do not seem happy my friend."
"I do not like this," Damaris replied, her face registering disgust, "not at all. This goes against everything we were taught."
Ithrorn shrugged. "If the rumours are true then these people may represent a great threat to the Republic Damaris," he replied, "they could be rogue Sith or they could be something more serious. We have to know."
Damaris nodded. "True, but I still dislike the methods. It is sinking to their level."
"What I dislike," a third younger man said unhappily, "is being stuck in this hut, cutoff from the force, surrounded by these things." he said gesturing to the small creatures that silently clung on to the shoots nearby, their claws imbedded, "I feel blind, or worse than blind. It is disturbing."
"It is nessesary Teradus," Ithrorn replied, "just as these simple creatures block the force from us, they conceal our presence from those who search with more than their eyes. It will give us the advantage of suprise when the attack comes. I do not like it either but we have to endure it until the time comes." He glanced around the hut at his assembled Jedi companions, many of whom looked uncomfortable seperated from the force but prepared, , "Melagragur said an early warning beam has been broken to the northwest, it will soon be time. We must make ready."
Malisane watched the shrine. "Macron was right about the guards," he said quietly, "I estimate maybe fifty, possibly more including whatever patrols they can call in when the time comes."
Ashia nodded, "Macron and the rest will lead the second group in from the southeast. We ought to take them by complete suprise."
She looked at the treetop shrine, the wookies wondering about seeminly unaware of the strike force of Sith and ewoks that waited nearby. "It seems too easy," she mused.
Malisane griinned, "I do not call fifty armed wookies too easy," he replied, "do not be over confident."
She nodded, "I know, give the word."
Malisane nodded. "Ok, move out and signal Macron to do the same."
“You got him?” Ash spoke into her comlink.
“Yeah, but he's a bit wobbly at the moment. Something they gave him, should wear off soon.”
“It had better wear off now, we're closing in.”
“Alright, we're almost there, Shimura out.” The Zabrak shifted his weight under Ylith's bulk and continued trudging behind Macron, back to the rendezvous point.
Ashia stowed away her comlink and nodded to Malisane. He motioned for the Ewoks to advance. Slowly the furred little critters moved through the foliage silently, making their way through the trees towards the shrine. They had place several on either side, advancing as they did through the tops of the trees that wound their heavy branches like a net through the forest.
Malisane watched through the electrobinoculars as the Ewoks got in place. Then he and Ashia moved stealthy across the robe bridge, being careful not to be seen by the Wookies.
Magnus and Garusus brought up the rear, moving silently behind their leaders. The shrill sound of an odd bird pierced their ears. Malisane looked quizzically at Ashia; it was not a bird he had heard before, especially on Kashykk.
“Kyataran bird call, Macron's back.”
Malisane nodded then turned back to watching the Ewoks. Even without the binoculars, he could see the sith-spawn chomping at the bit at the smell of the Wookies nearby.
Macron, Xhedias and Ylith joined them in the trees shortly. Ashia glanced back at the Valheru. He looked a little beat, but nothing a good nights sleep wouldn't cure. He nodded in her direction, stating he was ok.
“Ok, the Ewoks are in place, are we all ready?” Malisane placed his hand on the hilt of his sabre.
“I'm ready, lets see what the Ewoks got in em, eh?” Macron cackled gleefully.
Malisane dropped the command and watched as the Ewoks scrambled out of their hiding places attacking the Wookies that guarded the shrine.
A surprised yelp escaped the nearest Wookie as one of the crazed Ewoks lunged at his leg and sunk his teeth in.
Macron's grin spread from ear to ear as he turned to Malisane. “This is gonna be fun.”
Seeing Macron smile like a small kid in a candy store was amusing for
everyone. Though their attention to the Ewoks were stronger. Draken moved
his normal arm towards his other shoulder and disconnected the remaining
upper piece of his arm.
"Damn that looks bad, what happened." Ashia asked and Malisane glanced
over his shoulder.
"I guess the rumours of Wookiees loving to pull off arms are true." Malisane
said and Ashia nodded in agreement.
"Yeah well, I have a replacement back at the shuttle." Draken said and he threw
the useless piece of arm away, covering up his shoulder with what was left of his
The Ewoks quickly took out the last of the outside guards and Draken observed
the field of battle in front of him.
"This is way too easy, event for a Wookiee."
"They are furballs, they have no brains for combat." Shimura noted and Macron
let out a small chuckle.
Draken grinned but returned to a worried face fasted than he grinned. "No, I
am certain we missed something."
Ashia nodded, "I agree."
"You trust a 'feeling' over common sense?" Shimura said and Malisane motioned
to be silent.
Ashia glanced at Shimura, "Yes, I trust Draken's instincts. He is right about those
things more often than any other."
"Even so, we wont find out if we don't head out. Come on lets enter this shrine and
find out what the hell these beasts are hiding." Malisane said, and the group
“You sense that?” asked Mac as they moved in. He dropped deeply intot the dark Side, questing with senses borne on silent wings of darkness. Some blood flowed from his nose as he wiped it away with a wince and a frown.
Ashia concentrated hard, letting her wily Krath senses stroke the Force looking for clues. She got nothing. She looked at the alchemist quizzically. “You been hitting the sauce again?”
“I don’t feel anything,” Malisane replied as the others nodded in assent. Garusus, Magnus and Kaelin brought up the rear, killing a few wookies that were fleeing the hungry ewoks. They had the opportunity of some real combat, and the Dark Jedi seemed to revel in it.
“No, I quit that stuff” laughed Mac. “Too weak. That’s my point. I sense- nothing. Not even the vermin that normally infest places like this, and certainly not the dark light of an artifact like those scrolls. Something is seriously not right here. It’s almost like there is a hole in the Force deep inside this place. Be alert,” warned the Tribune as he sent a Dark Eye droid ahead.
The droid’s readouts showed empty halls, but the corridors were free of dust. In one room, crates of material were stacked up. The stealthy droid zoomed in, locating a shipping mark that was recent. It appeared to be from Myrkr.
The group stopped and huddled quietly in the shadows. “Myrkr?” signed Shimura as they watched the blue screen on Macron’s datapad.
“Ysalamiri,” hissed Ashia with an indrawn breath as she recognized the code.
“Could be a trap,” signed Malisane. The assault force began to wrap themselves in darkness and shadows. Their unknown opponents were not the only ones that had such tricks.
They moved forward towards the shrine, keeping low, the ewoks surrounding them and fanning out. "Still about fifty of them left," Macron whispered.
"We can take them," Malisane replied just as quietly. "When I give the word." He paused, then, "Now!"
The ewoks charged forward, their repeating carbon rilfles firing dropping wookies. The defenders fired back, crouching in cover and picking of a few of the charging ewoks. Ashia and the four equites ran forward as well, knocking bowcaster bolts aside with their sabers protecting themselves and the three journeymen. In a few seconds they were amongst the wookies, sabers slicing into furred flesh as the ewoks dropped their rifles and drew hideous serated swords and spears.
The fighting was vigourous on both sides, the wookies defended well, but the Sith and their ewok forces began to overcome them slowly. More wookies fell but they refused to surrender fighting to the last. The ewoks had fanned out around the shrine and closed in, ensuring none of the defenders esceped. "Clear out the huts," Macron shouted, "kill anyone you find." A few minutes later it was over.
The air stank of ozone and blood and burnt fur, the ground littered with ewok and wookie dead. There were perhaps twenty of the Sith Ewoks still standing. A few were lightly injued and being tended to by their fellows, whereas the seriously injured were been quietly despatched. Malisane looked around him. He couldn't sense any more forces nearby. "Form a perimeter, watch for reinforcements." he ordered and half the remaining ewoks set off, the remainder waiting nearby.
Ashia was tending to Ylith, who was still looking shaken but despite his missing arm had fought well. Shimura was walking around checking for wookies still alive and slicing throats or impaling brains with his light saber. He seemed to be enjoying himself. Malisane and Macron were talking. "Any signs of the scrolls?" Macron asked.
"None so far." the Quaestor replied.
Macron pointed to a hut on the far side of the shrine. "The force bubble is there. I can't sense anything obviously, but maybe thats there to conceal the scrolls presence."
Malisane nodded. "Lets check it out."
The two Sith approached the hut. Inside they could make out only darkness, and could still sense nothing. They glanced at each other, gripped their sabers and entered the darkness. Malisane shivered, suddenly being cut off from the force was horrendous for a Sith, more unimaginably terrible than loosing sight or hearing. He reached for a torch when suddenly there was a snap hiss and the room was lit up by a white ligthsaber beam next to his throat , followed by others around the room. Macron stood suddenly still as well, a glowing blade also by his throat.
"Drop your sabers." a voice hissed at his ear. Malisane opened his fingers letting the hilt drop to the hut floor, and after a second Macron did likewise. "Good," the voice said, "now order your troops outside to drop their weapons so we can all go outside. The first blaster I see you and your friend loose your heads."
Malisane sheouted the order, then the figure behind him pushed him forward and he walked out of the hut, feeling the force returning just as the torchlight outside did. The saber was still at his throat. He glanced around and saw the others were stood watching them, tensed for action but still. The ewoks also stood motionless, their paws by their sides.
"Who are you?" Malisane demanded. Of the figure behind him. He couldnt see the figure yet who held the saber but six saber wielding men and women walked past him to surround the other Naga Sadow members.
"I am Jedi Master Ithrorn." the voice replied.
"From Yavin?" Macron demanded.
"Not directly no," Ithrorn replied, "we were but we are now seperate."
"What do you want of us scum?" Shimura demanded, glancing in disgust at the saber weilding woman next to him.
"We hear rumours," Ithrorn replied, "rumours here and there of Sith, the attack on Yavin, activities on Mustafar. This made us curious so we decided to find some of you and ask some questions."
"Where are the Scrolls?" Malisane demanded.
"I have no idea," the Jedi Master replied, "it does not matter. We just wanted to see who would follow a rumour to them here."
The saber left his throat and a tall imperious looking dark haired man in jedi robes walked around to face him, his saber still pointed at the Quaestor.
Macron sneered. "So you sacrificed fifty wookies to set a trap?" he asked, "not very Jedi like."
Ithrorn shrugged, "It is unfortunate, we did not think you would defeat so many, your ewoks are most impressive we will study them. They seem quite unusual. But it was nessesary, to find the nature of the threat you pose to the Republic, to justice and law."
"So what now?" Malisane demanded.
Ithrorn glanced a the woman next to Shimura. "Damaris request the wookie reinforcements move in on our position and secure this place. And then we will find out who these Sith are."
(OOC I'm hoping to finish and award this comp on Wednesday when I return, so between the lot of you try and have it finished by then, it's already overdue to finish but its been fun so far. Have fun guys
Captured. Never before had Macron been subjected to this particular ignominy. It infuriated him. He could hardly wait to kill some of these fools- except the Master. That would be troublesome, and best ran away from. He was far too powerful for a mere Battlelord to take alone.
However, all was not lost. These Jedi seemed a little dark. Perhaps they could be turned… or deluded. They were far too secure in their trust in the force-dampening creatures they carried. The Dark Side had many ways of manipulation. Things looked grim, but deep challenges were what made a darksider grow in power.
“Law and order is what we want as well,” said Malisane as he spoke up convincingly. “The New Republic is rife with corruption. You must surely know it yourselves, being separated from Yavin and the Praxeum.”
The Jedi shifted uncomfortably and looked at each other. The words hit home more than Malisane knew to some of them. Ithorn spoke up. “Be quiet.” Two of the Jedi backed off a little to confer about something privately.
Ashia looked at Macron and Malisane, and cooly put on some innocent-looking lipstick. Malisane mentally reminded himself of the holdout “Happy Surprise” blaster in his boot, a leftover from his sordid Imperial days. Macron cleared his throat and spit on the ground, nano-droids pooling in the saliva. The foolish Jedi had not taken his armor, thinking it was a flight suit. Garusus, Kaelin, and Magnus readied themselves, taking stock of any advantage or hidden weapon they may have in this situation. The group caught each other’s eyes, silently aware that each one was readying their assets for the inevitable escape attempt.
Many wookies moved in to secure the razed compound, emitting howls of mourning for the dead as they gathered the mutilated bodies. They clamored for the immediate execution of the captives, but the Ithorn calmed them for now. The Dark Jedi sneered at the hairy beasts, enjoying their misery.
Most of the ewoks remained motionless, but a select few had slipped into the jungle. They were super-stealthy, and given that the Ysalamiri also affected the Jedi, they could not use the Force to notice the sneaks. The wookies were far too occupied with howling and clamoring for blood.
Soon, the Ewoks had reached the back up cache left by the Dark Jedi earlier. One Ewok picked up a comlink and babbled a command into the unit, summoning reinforcements.
Far away, the battered old freighter began to come to life as several Sith war droids left hidden compartments in the hold. A communication link was made with Macron’s uncaptured Dark Eye droid, which was watching the entire scene unfold with the wookies, Jedi, and darksiders. Help, or at least a distraction was on the way.
Draken was silent, a fever sweeping throughout his body as wounds began to fester
underneath his robes. Drops of sweat fel onto the ground and Ashia looked worried,
but even so the Valheru stood tall, showing no weakness towards his enemies.
"On your knees!" The lower ranked Jedi shouted and kicked Draken in the back
of the knee, forcing him down. Malisane kneeled slowly and so did the other
Dark Jedi. Draken's reptilian eyes shifted from left to right and flicked as he saw
the Sith Ewoks move through the shadows, appearantly planning a counter strike.
The Jedi Master moved towards the Valheru and looked at him, seeing him wounded.
"Pathetic Sith..." He said and Draken in return spat in his face, a direct challenge.
"You know...this is against the Jedi teachings...but since we arent on Jedi turf..." he
said and snapped his fingers, three pupils kicking hard on the Valheru's weakened
body. Though the kicks battered his body, he bound the force to his will to harden
his body, slowing down pain by half.
Macron and Shimura growled as they witnessed their comerade being attacked so
honourless and Ashia's eyes turned into blind evil.
"To bad there is nothing that can save you..." The Master said and he barely said it and a
small force of Ewoks attacked the Jedi all simultaniously, causing dissaray.
"Now!" Malisane shouted and he pulled out his smaller blaster while Shimura and Macron used
their skills in fist fighting.
Ashia hurried to Draken and helped him up to safety.
Ash watched as the Ewoks disappeared into the shadows of the forest. Malisane's shout came abruptly and unexpectedly. Ashia jumped to Draken's side, pulling the Valheru out of the way.
“Stay down, without use of the Force your wounds won't heal fast enough. We'll handle it.”
She looked into his reptilian eyes for a brief moment. The frustration started to build in him like a freighter taking off at lightspeed with a full cargo and behind schedule. He took a deep breath and nodded as he pulled himself back as best he could.
This last only a split second as Ash whirled around, drawing her sword in the same fluid motion. The Tiger bit into the nearest Jedi as the woman struggled with one of the Journeymen. Claw marks ran through her robes drawing a line of crimson with it.
The Dark Knight flipped the blade around in her hand, twisted her hand and drew it up through the woman, flinging the blood from the blade all before she dropped to the ground.
She narrowed her eyes and lowered her center of gravity. Her next victim raised a battle cry as he lunged at her. The Nightsister cracked her neck momentarily before side stepping the crazed Jedi. A sneer drew across her visage as she bounced back on her heels, drawing her sword up to block that of her enemy.
Suddenly the man who attackened Ashia startted to limp and felt down, a sword
stuck between his ribs. Draken moved at her side and pulled the sword out
of the now dead attacker.
"I told you to stay low." She said and Draken smiled slightly.
"I will worry about my wounds later. I used the force to control my pain for now. As
I see it you can use all the help we can get.
"How did you get a weapon?" She asked nodding at the sword.
"Well. The Guard you killed had one, and I thought he wouldnt mind if I took it with
me for now."
Draken and Ashia both raised their swords as two Jedi followers startted to attack them
and though Draken had only one arm left, his strength was compensation for his
handicap. Suddenly the Valheru growled in pain as his arm startted to pulse black
veins again and his sword was slammed out of his hand. Draken ducked to avoid a head
cutting slash and slammed his hand into the mans face and slammed his head into the wall,
blood flowing freely out of the fructured skull.
Draken caught his breath and moved to Ashia, Macron and Shimura. All fighting to stay
alive. Hoping Malisane would join them soon.
Ithrorn watched his followers fighting the jedi, He raised his saber to Malisanes throat. "Order them to surrender."
The Quaestor looked at the master, and an amused smile touched his lips. "Worried Jedi?" He shrugged. "They won't surrender, even if I order them to, a master and you fail to understand the Sith."
Ithrorn nodded. "Then I may as well kill you now." he replied.
Malisane nodded. "Will you allow me to retreive my saber and fight you one to one."
"No," Ithrorn replied, "I don't have time for games."
Malisanes gaze went past the masters shoulder. "Very well," he replied, "now!"
Ithrorn half turned, his saber still covering the jedi as a black snarling shape leapt from the shadows. Gmork clampted his teeth onto the Jedi Masters saber hand and dug in deep, razor sharp claws tearing flesh. Ithrorn screamed in pain, shaking his arm to dislodge the beast that was threatening to sever his arm.
Malisane didn't wait, his fingers curled into a fist and he punched forward in the form of the Teras D'ni, smashing into the masters jaw and Ithrorn sprawled backwards, the hound still clinging to his arm and his saber spinning away.
Malisane turned and darted back into the hut, ignoring the shock as the force left him once more. He grabbed his saber and that of the tribune and came out into the camp again. Ashia and Shimura fought against the jedi, holding their own well. Macron was organising the Ewoks who once more were battlign the wookies, driving them away from the camp. Ylith was ragged but was still fighting. Ithrorn was slowly getting to his feet, having driven Gmork off and gripped his saber with his uninjured arm, the other being a bloody shredded mess. The hound was hurt, his back legs damaged and he lay on his stomach watching him from a short distance away, its red eyes watching the Master wearily. "Mac!" Malisane shouted and threw the saber, the Battlelord raising his hand and dragging it towards him.
Slowly the two Sith approached the Master. His face was flushed but he gripped his saber and used the force to stem the pain and the bleeding. He looked unsteady on his feet.
Malisane gestued around him. "You've lost Ithrorn," he said calmly, "your forces are even now being eliminated. Lower your saber and you die quickly, otherwise I hand you to my friend here for his experiments."
Ithrorn nodded. "I'm not quite finished yet," he replied, "come and die."
Malisane nodded, "So be it, Jedi."
The two Sith moved forward, sabers flashing. Ithrorn, still in pain but his experience aiding him, blocked their attacks, but was driven back. The two Sith pressed him, looking for a gap in the defence. The master backed off more, concentrating on parrying the flashing red blades unable to return the assault. He was skilled and the Sith failed to break through. He attacked back now, considered strikes that forced the two Sith on the defensive. They recovered and pressed him back once more.
Ithrorn was begining to feel desperate, and fear and anger filled him with the force, the dark side overcoming him. He glanced at the Quaestor and concentrated, hurling the warrior away from him with the force and Malisane was unable to react before he smashed into one of the huts, falling to the floor and gasping for breath. Ithrorn glanced at the tribune. "As ever, the Sith are over confident, now you die". He attacked now, his saber a blur as he pressed the Battlelord back. Macron gave ground, on the defensive now. Finally the Master broke his attack, searing the Equites hip with his blade and Macrons gasped in pain.
"Now you die," Ithrorn said grimly. Suddenly there was a roar and a snap and Ithrorn screamed in pain, looking down at the injured hound as it's teeth once more ripped his flesh. Macron's eyes glittered as his saber thrust forward, piercing the fallen Jedi's abdomen. He fell to his knees, Gmork still gripping his leg. Macron glanced at him then kicked him in the face, and the master slumped into unconsiousness.
Malisane got to his feet, watching as the Tribune crouched over the fallen master. "What are you doing?" he asked.
Macron grinned. "I don't want him to die yet," he replied gleefully, his own wound forgotten, "I have interesting plans for him back on Kangaras."
Malisane nodded wearily. He glanced around. Only five of the ewoks remained, the journeyman stood with them, cut and brusied but ok. Ashia was helping Ylith towards them, Shimura calmly walking alongside.
Ashia looked at him. "They are dead," she reported, "all of them."
"It is time we left before more com," Malisane replied, "prepare a stretcher for this scum, and for my pet."
Ashia nodded, "Very well."
The Quaestor sighed. He felt tired, "Shame about the scrolls," he said wearily, "but at least we won something today. This serves as a lesson to those who take on Clan Naga Sadow."
An hour later the Argnok left the jungle world behind, its engines blasting them off into hyperspace for home.