The Turn of a Tide (Run-on)
The weather outside did nothing to calm the furious Falleen. The sun was shining bright, and there not a single cloud in the sky, and Krath Epis Xizor was considering what the best course of action would be. He did not give in to emotion easily, but that was a special case.
He was gripping a holopad so tightly with one clawed hand that it was beginning to crack, as he paced back and forth his personal quarters, quietly muttering to himself. Suddenly reaching a decision, he stormed out of his room and headed towards his Quaestor's quarters.
In such a hurry he was, that he bumped into a tiny Novice which such force, that he flew backwards from the towering Falleen. Upon reaching Muz Ashen Keibatsu's room, he wasted no time on formalities as the Quaestor rose to greet Naga Sadow's new member.
Keibatsu had opened his mouth to utter the greeting, but Xizor cut him short.
"Keibatsu, I am aware of the fact that I have only just arrived, but I must depart."
"Why, and where to, Xizor?" the Quaestor inquired.
"I am bound for Falleen. I have been informed that, apparently, one of my best generals, whom I've left with the charge of the planet, has taken advantage of my absence and assumed command as Dark Prince of the Falleen, and Underlord of the Black Sun."
"The Black Sun? Wasn't that torn apart?"
"The demise of my grandfather certainly did bring a large amount of complications in the operation, yes," Xizor admitted. "But I'd managed, upon my return, to reinstate the organisation, and was even making a large profit out of it. Until, of course, that fool Verun betrayed me."
Muz folded his arms and studied the Epis. "I would like to make a deal with you," he said, slowly. "If we manage to replace your grip upon the Falleen throne, Marka Ragnos is to receive a fine percentage of your gains from the Black Sun's...ah, activities."
Xizor sank deep in thought. Finally, he said: "Very well. You assist me in breaking that fool, and we shall discuss your reward then. And do not worry; it will be more than adequate."
"Excellent!" said the Quaestor, light-heartedly. He then reached out and said through his comm link: "Manji, get in here. There's something we must discuss."
Well, here it is. A small first post, but I wanted your opinions on the subject. What do you think? Can we make this work?
Manji smirked as Muz explained the deal to him.
"Well then, what is our course of action?" Manji tapped his fingers on the hilt of his sword.
"Go through the House and see who wants to help us trash Xizor's enemies." Muz stood up slowly, sliding his own sword into his sash. "These cretins should prove good practice for our fledgling jedi."
Xizor nodded. "Shall I prep my ship?"
"If you wish, Epis." Muz shrugged on his warcoat as Manji left the room. "We will be taking the Fallen Spear, so you may wish to give us coordinates if you don't want to fly with us."
Xizor scratched his chin in thought as the door swooshed behind Manji.
The sound of Manji's wooden sandals echoed through the halls as he made his way to the docking bay. He had announced the launch time over the intercom a few minutes prior, but Xizor seemed to be getting impatient, and Muz fired up the 'Spear for immediate take off.
Sliding to a stop in front of the ship, he slowly stomped up the access ramp, and found his way to the common room of the 'Spear. Lush accomodations surrounded the young jedi assembled there.
Muz nodded at Manji as he entered, turning back to the crowd. "Okay, Ragnosians...Sound off...who is with us?"
A jingle of chains sounded as Macron Goura dropped to one knee in front of the powerful Dark Jedi. The ship's engines throbbed as it came to life underneath them all.
" I am here, masters. I bring with me my Starwing Assault gunboat, The Silooth. I would love to slaughter some dogs, especially.... them. I ran into one of those men on Coruscant, and I have a grudge to settle."
The Guardian looked eager to destroy some young goons. And fearful of the more powerful Jedi, especially his master Nekura Manji Keibatsu.
He turned to the other novices and said,
"Come my brothers, let us spill blood on Falleen and crush these people with the Dark Side."
He bowed again and stepped back into line with alacrity, before he cought a bootheel.
"If I am required I am here," a voice so soft and still everyone wondered if they had heard anything at all.
Not bothering to rise from the corner he was sitting in, Rori continued to read the ancient text he had acquired so long ago. A text no one else had been able to decypher, and a secret Rori had yet to entrust to anyone else. From time to time, it bothered him that no one asked why it was no longer in the library in the cathedral on Tarthos, but after all this time the text had become such a part of him that he doubted anyone would bother to ask for it back.
"If my skills will be of any use they are at your command," he whispered barely stirring the air. "If not I will continue my studies in the shadows as usual. I will not be a hinderance. And you never know, a dagger in the darkness may come in handy during the mission."
Raistlin sighed as the turbolift descended, empty save for himself. He had expected to have a decent night's sleep, but instead was awoken early morning by Muz and Manji. While he didn't go over all the details, something about a personal favor to Xizor, and the Black Sun was all he had needed to hear before gathering his things. In addition to his saber, he had brought several bounty hunting weapons along with him, knowing the battle wasn't going to be easy. He opted not to bring armor, though it was a tough decision for him to make. Instead, the form-fitting tunic along with the long black cloak that tapered down his back would be his only physical protection.
The Force however.... made sure Raist was in a league of his own.
"Hangar level, have a nice day." the onbboard computer chimed in, as the turbolift doors opened with a *swoosh*. raist saw most of the House assembled around the Fallen Spear, the QUA's personal craft. As Raist waved, he made his way past the crowd, coming over to his ship, the Nemesis Enforcer. Clicking a button, the ramp descended and as he motioned to some nearby techs, he made his way to the cockpit to fire the ship up to get ready to launch.
He came back off the ship, making his way over to the crowd.
".... who is with us?" Muz asked the crowd, and while Raist had not caught the rest of the statement, he raised his hand, knwoing what the qustion was asked in regards to.
"I offer my services, and my ship, the Nemesis Enforcer. If anyone wishes to fly with me, my craft can accomodate 5 people comfortably." Raist offered from the back of the crowd, where now, being the first to respond with a positive reply, the crowd had turned to look at him. As Muz flashed a thumbs up, Raist walked away, and began to load the weapons and gear he had brought with him onboard the ship.
"April, it's Raist, I want you to come with me on this. Meet me down in the hangar ASAP" Raist sent a message to his companion droid. While April was just a droid, Raist valued her companionship more then her.... other services. Her personality mirrored his own, and Raist, who was normally irritable, and distant, got along well with her.
As his R2 droid came down the ramp, bleeping an affirmative that the craft was in fine shape, he sat on the ramp, waiting for whoever wanted to catch a ride.
Xizor smiled inwardly. His expedition attracted several bloodthirsty warriors, and their assistance would be an absolute necessity if peace, and his power, in Falleen would be restored.
A comment a Guardian made troubled him, though.
"I'd rather spill as little blood as possible," he told Macron. "Traitors though they may be, several of them are merely misguided fools. If you can manage to deliver them to me alive, I shall be pleased. Now Verun and his guard... That is a different matter."
Macron seemed content that blood would be spilt, despite its origins. The Sith truly appeared thirsty for it.
Rori he merely acknowledged with a curt nod. He was not a man of words, either, and knew when little was to be said. The assassin would be very useful when the time for action came.
Raistlin now... Prestige indeed. The quiet Exarch seemed more than unwilling to join the crowd, but the Falleen Prince believed that he would need the entire squad's trust, were they to succeed.
He silently crossed the hangar and approached the human, who was now inspecting the Enforcer.
"I did not expect a positive response from you," the Falleen said, sibilantly. "We were hardly acquainted before this."
"We are now," the Obelisk said, without even turning around.
Xizor smiled. Not the time yet. He feared that he would have to gain the warrior's trust through other means. Like battle.
Leaving Raistlin alone for the time being, he began considering which shuttle he would use. The Verago II was always an option, certainly, but it had been some time since he last used it. He decided to accompany the Quaestor and the Aedile in the Fallen Spear. Their trust was the most important of all to have.
All that was left now, was for them to arrive.
Rori sat quietly in a secluded corner of the ship, contemplating the text he was reading and trying to understand why he had volunteered to join the mission to Falleen. He had just returned from a long journey to find himself and already he was leaving Tarthos to return to the hunt. He doubted the stealth skills he had learned while living on the lower levels of Coruscant would be much use, but perhaps with the knowledge he had gained during his secret trip to sites of intense darkside power would be of benefit. He had followed the ancient Sith text across the galaxy finding many of the sites that were mentioned to be devoid of the force as though someone had drained it completely, but he hadn't discovered why they were drained in such a way. His hunt had returned him to Tarthos with more questions than answers and that bothered him.
*They may need you child* the voice in his head that had been fueling his quest over the past year. A voice he had yet to determine the source of, but knew he could trust it. *Follow your commanders and they will lead you to the answers you seek. They will help you and you may yet save them.*
"You sound like a jedi, all this cryptic garbage you are spouting. Try giving me a straight answer for once." Rori whispered, not sensing anyone nearby.
*All will be made clear in time my child, then you will know the truth of who you are.* The voice went silent and Rori knew the conversation was closed. Deciding not to dwell on something he had no control over, Rori returned to studying the ancient text which he already knew word for word and could probably write blindfolded if he had to.
Macron fired the engines on his assault gunboat up as he checked his cockpit readouts.
The Silooth was named after a horrible Sith mutant battle beetle, and he wanted to make sure that it lived up to it's namesake. Preflight checks were a way of life for every pilot. At least, every live pilot anyhow.
The Silooth would be flying escort and long range patrol for the larger ships, as well as backup should a fight ensue. He had loaded it with an unusual weapons load- some of the normal advanced concussion missles, but also a few advanced proton torpedoes. Those would come in handy should they encounter a more significant threat. He had altered the explosive load himself, enhancing it with alchemy. "Heh heh, that'll be a surprise for those buggers," he thought. Plus he would also like to protect his Brothers and Sisters as well as he was able.
A crackle sounded across his comm unit. "Sapphire Squadron Flight two Leader, you are cleared for launch," the unit squawked. Macron was thinking about the warning Xizor had given him. "Hmmph. Well, I suppose killing a few is better than none. I surely do not want to anger anyone, so I'll be good." Macron felt like an attack dog on a leash. His masters had trained him for this moment.
The punch of the sublight engines threw him back in his seat as he accelerated out of the launch bay. He quickly got his sensors on line, and checked the status of the local asteriod belt. There were a few small ones about in easily predicted paths but no serious threats. A quick flip of a switch opened the comm to the other ships. "This is Macron, the weather looks fine out here today folks," he chuckled. "I think you are clear."
Leaning against the hull of the Fallen Spear, Manji watched his Apprentice's ship zoom out of the launch bay and sighed, scratching his chin mildly. Suddenly, he was aware of a shadow blocking his light. Glancing up, Manji gave the Epis a crooked grin as Xizor stood before him. Bowing slightly, Xizor kept his expression formal as he gestured towards the ramp of the 'Spear.
Bowing in response, Manji grinned and strolled up the ramp. As the Epis fell into step beside him, Manji glanced across at his companion.
"So, Xi, how's life treating you?"
"Not bad. Although I must say, I was impressed at your fighting skills... I had you down as another upstart Krath unable to tie his own shoelaces, let alone pose a challenge to the Dark Prince."
Chuckling to himself, Manji reached up and scratched the back of his head.
"Well, y'know... I didn't get off totally unscathed. And I always enjoy a good fight. How long will it take us to get to Falleen?"
"Shouldn't take too long, if the hyperdrive on this ship is as fast as it's supposed to be."
Another grin lit Manji's countenance as he and Xizor strode onto the bridge of the 'Spear.
"Excellent. Let's go."
Taxiing out of the Hangar, the behemoth of a ship fired it's engines, a purplish red gout of flame erupting from the rear fuselages ad the ship lifted slowly from the ground.
Muz tapped the buttons in his armrest impatiently, plotting the course to Falleen. A curious expression came across Kat Pridemore's face as she entered the bridge behind Manji and Xizor.
"Have a seat, people. We're shifting to sublight in a moment." Muz warned as the viewscreen crested the fast growing Tarthos treeline.
Manji slid over to a seat, dumping his tall frame in as Lenzar smoothly took over the tactical seat, looking lustfully at the targeting array.
Xizor held back a smile as he took it all in. Those upstarts would never expect that he would return with a small army of well-equipped dark jedi. The look on their faces would be priceless.
"Settle back, here we go..." Muz spoke as he pressed the last code for the sublight engines, the gravity of the throttle pushing people deeper into the luxurious leather of their seats.
"Muz, I don't recognize the make of this ship, but someone certainly had it appointed in a fine manner." Xizor looked over at the black-eyed Quaestor as he smiled.
"The Fallen Spear is an Autochthonian ship." Muz looked past Xizor, watching the blue line of the sky melt away to the deep black of space euphorically. "She's my baby."
"Autochthonian, eh?" Lenzar muttered. "Well that explains why no one can read half of this sludge all over the ship."
Kat smiled quietly as she looked around the bridge, a devious smile crossing her lips.
(("Hyperspace Navigation Completed, captain.")) The AI's voice smoothly spilled over the bridge's speakers.
"Thank you, VASIC. Launch on my mark." Muz looked around the bridge to make sure people were sitting, then tapped his control pad once. The stars became streaks with a silent roar. It woudn't take long now.
Raist hopped up the ramp, after making sure everything was good to go. Apparently, he was flying solo, and as April brought the last bag of equipment up the ramp, it sealed shut. He walked into the cockpit, settling himself into the comfortable captain's chair., allowing the massaging action to begin taking place on his back and posterior.
He had brought enough weaponry to start a national war on some planets, and Raist still felt that he could justify requisitioning some more before they took off. Several different types of blaster rifles, detonators, pistols, knives, swords, even a portable concussion missile launcher, and a rail gun. If there was one thing he could count on, it was the feudal Falleen valued strength as power, and if he was correct, Xizor would most likely pay by the head. As a Bounty Hunter, Raist had an.... interesting edge, and it would be intriguing to see how the mission went down.
Opting to bring along his Royal guardsman's armor, it hung in the back of the ship, waiting to be donned. As he received clearance from Hangar control he disengaged the clamps, letting his baby loose.
Pushing forward on the throttle stick he flew out of the Ragnosian hangar, raist flew out, the Prototype Starfighter cutting a tight barrel roll across the mid-morning sky as the atmosphere thinned, before fading to black. Raist punched in a few buttons and te display of Faleen came up.
"Raist, it's Muz, we're right behind you, race you to Faleen." Muz cackled as he came up behind the Enforcer.
Raist punched the throttle, and as the rest of the ships formed up from Marka Ragnos, one by one, they slipped into Hyperspace
Xizor settled back in a seat aboard the Fallen Spear. It was a rather comfortable vessel. Incomparable to the Verago II, of course, but it would do. He let his thoughts travel as he began calculating all the courses of action that could be followed, whilst he trailed a claw carelessly across the white hilt of his lightsabre.
As he was lost in his thoughts, Muz addressed him, looking over his shoulder. "So tell us, Xizor. Who's this Verun, besides your personal usurper?"
"He is nothing like a true Falleen, that is certain. He is greedy, and power-hungry. What I thought he had, was loyalty, but it turns out I was gravely mistaken. I have this much to say about him, though. Scum he may be, but he is one of the best tacticians Falleen has ever known. If he has full control of the Royal Palace, a tough battle is ahead of us."
"Surely there're some people in the army who are still loyal to you," Manji said.
"Indeed. The person who contacted me about Verun's betrayal was Colonel Savvel. He is in charge of the royalists. He has informed me that all resistance has gathered and built headquarters. We shall be informed of where those headquarters are when we reach Falleen."
"Very well," Muz said, thoughtful.
"Quaestor, we're jumping out of hyperspace," Lenzar said.
And, surely enough, Xizor looked out of his window to see something that had been some time since he last saw: Planet Falleen, its emerald surface glittering, the colour of which originated from the planet's immense lush forests.
"Home sweet home indeed," the Dark Prince whispered, settling back into his seat.
A message flashed across the comm, coded in the Ragnosian code. "Umm, hey guys this is Macron." The sound of an ion cannon firing away furiously could be heard in the background.
" I am about half a parsec away, and this guy has an interceptor patrol about. Yes, Xizor, I haven't blown them to space dust- yet. There are three Z-95's hot on my tail, one is disabled."
The explosion of a concussion missle could be heard over the comm, followed by more ion blasts.
"Make that two. R3, how's that jamming working ?" Bleeps could be heard, followed by Macron's sigh of relief. "Well, I got them jammed, and I don't think they got off a signal. That last one is a bastard, though. he's good- real good." Blasts were heard over the comm, and they sounded close.
"Ah, nerf steaks... got to.... there, you jerk! How's that in the ole tail pipe! I got 'em. He's disabled too, but his life support seems to be damaged. He won't last long out there. Maybe you could pick him up and have a little chat. I bet he has some interesting things to tell you and he just can't wait to spill the beans. Heh heh. I'm alright, my shields are down to 20% but R3 is working on it. "
The assault gunboat flew alongside the other ships and fell into formation. The group could see, Macron's ship was more heavily damaged than he let on. He must be trying to hide it.
Raist saw the Assault Gunboat and the Spear as he exited out of hyperspace around Falleen. Quickly falling into formation, behind the two other ships, he kept it tight as they were scanned by system patrol.
Xizor must have had some kind of pull, because they were cleared right through, instead of having to sit through searches and the like. Raist had kept his weapon mounts concealed, and his equipment had all been stashed in the secret cargo hold on board the Enforcer.
"All other ships, this is Quaestor Muz. Xizor has informed us of the situation and we will be briefing you all once we touch down on Falleen. For now, just hang tight, follow our lead. Muz out."
As the Spear broke into a roll, heading toward the planet, Raist followed, the Gunboat finished the meaneuver last, and Raist noticed it had taken some damage, and was leaking fluid in several places, in addition to having hull damage along the port side.
He cut the throttle stick hard, and was about to pull down into the atmosphere, when a warning light lit up, he was being locked onto.
"Raist, the Spear is being targ..." Muz clicked over, the comm
"Yea i know, same here, warheads, but from where?" Raist asked?
They would find out soon enough....
"Missile platform. Two o'clock high. Klick and a half out. It's got a signal jammer on it." Everyone in the cockpit spun around to see Rori standing in a shadowed corner. "Stealth is it's strength, no shielding, use the ion cannon to disable it. Might come in handy later."
"You hear that Macron?" Muz shouted into the comm system.
The coms crackled "On it." The Silooth shot off, desperately trying to reach effective ion cannon range before the platform gained a solid lock on the Spear.
"You will be explaining how you know that when we get out of this. I would like to know how a street punk like you would know about the defence systems on my planet," the Dark Prince directed to the shadow that seemed to contain the young Guardian.
"Easy to explain, sir. I've done a lot of travelling over the past year," Rori motioned to the planet that was filling the screens, "Falleen was one of the ones I didn't exactly arrive at on good terms."
The warhead launch tone sounded and Rori slipped back into the corridor to leave the experienced warriors to their work. Whispering a few words in an unrecognizible tongue as the hatch closed behind him, Rori knew there was much more to come before they could rest.
"I'm on it, moving to engage at maximum intercept speed," blasted across the comm link from the Silooth. Macron pushed the limit on his damaged ship. He shoved the power levers with a smack into the red zone. All power was diverted into the engines, with a final push for the fire linked ion cannons. "Thank the Dark Lords a Star Wing has ion cannons," he thought.
A twist of the controls, and a trilled response from his linked R3 unit began the acceleration run. Macron could feel his skin began to stretch back from his face like some ridiculous Sith clown. He could hear the engines howling, and knew he was venting more precious coolant by the second into the void of space. "By Malak and the Lords of Sadow, this weapons platform will be fragged soon!"
The weapons platform loomed ahead. Macron raced by, stroking it with blue lightning from a storm of fire linked ion cannon blasts. Fat blue sparks shot out from it into the void of space, and the platform blossomed azure fire and the satellite's targeting comps went dead.
" It's done Muz. As you wish. And thanks for the heads up Rori, my Coruscanti friend," Macron shouted across the hot coded comm link. "And I better land soon... The Silooth is fracked three ways from Onderon." Macron desperately pounded the controls with a chain clad fist.
R3 was frantically trying to keep the vessel together as it sputtered and sparked. "By the way, Muz, Raist - you guys still have two high level advanced warheads coming your way. I did my best, that's better than the twelve you would get otherwise," Macron sputtered across the comm link. " And where the hell outside of Imperial space did they get those?"
Macron struggled to keep his charge under control as the Silooth bucked and shook like a wounded horse. "Crap, I better dock soon," he thought as he plunged screaming down into the atmosphere of the planet. " I hope you have landing coordinates for me!"
Xizor stood up. He did not expect such a warm welcome before they even entered the planet's atmosphere. He approached the cockpit and shouted to Muz, above the noise: "Send these coordinates to Macron and Raistlin, they'll land in a safe space pad!"
The Quaestor nodded and typed them. "We'd best follow as well," he shouted back.
The Dark Prince headed back towards his seat, not particularly willing to intrude on another man's ship. He observed Muz Ashen and Manji struggling to land the ship safely, and he pondered upon them. "Here they were, assisting a new member on a quest that has nothing to do with them, all for a possible reward which wouldn't be enough to cover their expenses. Did they take that much pleasure in battle? Or did they have that...'team spirit'....everyone was talking about?
Xizor shuddered at the thought. He clung on to the hope that they were driven by good old greed.
As they began their descent, the Fallen Spear began slashing through white clouds with blinding speed, and, at last, the Falleen capital could be seen. Immense, peculiarly designed towers rose to meet the heavens, grotesque buildings, tiny starfighters zooming in and out of space stations.
Following the coordinates given by Xizor, the Fallen Spear headed for a space pad in the edge of the city, closely followed by Macron and Raistlin's smaller vessels. As soon as the ship had landed, Xizor said: 'Welcome to Falleen, gentlemen."
Sauntering down the exit ramp of the ship, Manji gazed around in interest.
"Liking the architecture... right, where are all the enemies?"
Chuckling to himself, Xizor strode past the Archpriest and looked around at his homeworld.
"Calm yourself, Manji. There'll be plenty of killing to come. But first, we have to infiltrate the Palace and slaughter the usurper."
Shrugging, Manji checked the katana pushed through his belt then nodded at Muz and Raistlin as they joined Manji and Xizor on the landing pad.
"You hear that, guys? Let's find this 'Verun' guy and make him wish he was never born. Twice."
Chuckling darkly, the assembled sons of Ragnos walked away from their ships, heading into the innards of Falleen.
Macron exited his ship, taking note of the damage on the port side and the leaking coolant.
"Fix that R3, and quickly. Or else you become a high dollar beer cooler," Macron sneered.
He met his master and the rest of the assembled team on the landing dock as they exited the area. Macron had never been to Falleen, and had no idea what to expect. The unusual architecture fascinated him, as he was a child of the city. Coruscant was ugly compared to Xizor's home.
Macron fell into the rear of the procession, covering the backs of his fellow Jedi. That was also his place, as he was of lesser stature in the group. "I'm fine with that. Besides, people always attack from the rear and flanks it seems," he thought.
As he had enough of space combat for the nonce, he was hoping for a little more personal action. As in, up close and personal. He checked over his personal weapons, as well as making sure his DL-44 was set on stun and not slay.
"So, what are we to expect here?" he politely asked his superiors.
"Some sneaking about, followed by brief mayhem." Muz slipped forward, Xizor at his shoulder showing him the way. "Then more sneaking about, A lot more mayhem, and a public announcement."
Xizor nodded. "I want as few deaths as possible, but you can't cook without a little butchering."
Manji chuckled as he sliced open a locked control panel, the silver blade of his sabre humming quietly. As Muz twisted wires together, the doors shuddered, then opened.
They knew they were coming. A squadron of troopers raised blaster barrels at the Ragnosians menacingly.
"You're under arrest." The troopers shouted as reinforcements arrived behind them, strengthening their will. Xizor stepped in front of Manji, smiling braodly at those who were once his troops.
"The tyrant king is with them!" The commander sneered into his commlink. "Surrender now!"
The only response he recieved was the sound of sabres igniting. Hell had come for them, borne on the wings of Sadow.
(We were supposed to meet up with the resistance before storming the palace. Oh well)
OOC: So write it in... =P
The four jedi occupying the point position ignited their sabers instantly upon hearing the sound of guns being drawn. They stood at the entrance to a massive walkway, leading to several other interconnecting platforms, criss-crossing at a crossroads. As Macron Goura began firing round after round into the Falleen warriors, they tried taking him out, but found their fire blocked by the wall of sabers. Raist made out the figure of Rori sneaking away, and figured he was up to his own kind of personal mayhem, and let it go, despite his concience telling him to chastise the young Jedi.
"Dammit, there's too many of them!" Raist screamed as more Warriors stormed their point. Raist spun, jumping and drop-kicking a warrior in the head, crushing his skull with the power of his foot, turning he bisected another unfortunate guard nearby. He flashed the thumbs up to Muz, and much to his dismay, his Quaestor had 4 Dead Fallen warriors at his feet. He saw Manji out of the corner of his eye, running through a trooper and Xizor was behind him, for the hum of his blade was audible even with the din of battle in the background.
As the reinforcements joined the fray, the Falleen horde surged. surrounding them, separating them from one another. While Raist could see the purple glow of Muz's blade, his body was engulfed. blaster shots rang out everywhere and Raist estimated over 50 warriors in the confined area for the 5 jedi to face.
Raist turned off his saber, as he smiled, wickedly. Dropping to one knee, the warriors ceased fire, only watching in awe as he withdrew a dagger from his boot. Quick-drawing a blaster, he fired two rapid shots, creating a massive hole in the head of thr warrior directly in front of him. Jumping back, he grabbed the arm of the nearest warrior, breking it at the joing and interlocking it with himself, using the warrior as a shield.
Raist cursed as the reptillian creature dug his claws into Raist's exposed arm, making the blood flow and tears sting his eyes, as he fought back pain. He slit the creature's throat and in one swift motion, threw him into the three Fallen in front of him, forcing them back. He traced a line with the blaster, dropping the four assembled warriors before they could even get off a shot. As he faced up to the next warrior, he saw his head explode.
Turning quickly, Raist saw the Falleen Royal ranks being thinned out. He caught glimpses of shock-armor, but customized, and troopers sporting armor with different markings then those of the Royals.
Raist saw Muz and flipped over two Falleen that were facing him, standing back to back with his Quaestor.
Manji saw the assembled jedi and quickly, the three of them were like the point of a triangle, surrounded by Falleen on all sides as two different forces of Falleen appeared to be struggling amongst themselves, both with different armor, and differet markings.
"What the....?" Raist asked as two Royally dressed Fallen warriors lunged at Raist, only to be cut down by muz and Manji next to him. Raist had no clue what was going on, and didn't even know who to fight anymore. As he looked up to see puzzled looks on his QUA's and AED's faces, Raist kept his weapons at the ready, trying to find Xizor admist the crowd of Falleen now surrounding them.
OOC: Good job, Raist.
Τwo more Royal guards fell before Xizor's silvery blade, but four more appeared close to him. Breathing heavily, he twirled his sabre in a circular motion, the four Falleen falling with deep stinging scars unto their chests.
He looked around, and saw Raistlin, along with Muz and Manji, being pushed backwards by the unending onslaught of guards. Kicking, punching and slashing, he approached the three Dark Jedi, and shouted above the noise of battle: "The custom-armoured Falleen are of Colonel Savvel, they're on our side!"
Their eyes shone with the good news, and they increased their efforts on bringing carnage upon the traitorous Royal Guard. Muz grabbed a slender, dark-green skinned Falleen by the neck and literally crushed him upon the ground, running his sabre through his heart; Manji decapitated two with a single blow; Macron meticulously punctured guards' chests with his blaster and arms and legs piled up in front of Raistlin's uncontrollable bloodlust.
As the numbers of the Royal Guard began to be thinning, the Dark Jedi stopped to catch their breath, and a royalist* approached Xizor.
"My Prince," he began, bowing. "Colonel Savvel was informed of your timely arrival only moments ago."
"And your own arrival was just as timely, soldier," Xizor said approvingly.
Muz opened his mouth to say something, but he was cut short as ten Falleen Assault Droids entered the courtyard, their heavy blasters raining hell upon them. Four royalists fell almost immediately, and the Dark Jedi were only able to defend themselves with the use of their sabres.
"We have no chance of taking them out on our own, my Prince!" the soldier shouted. "Follow me, I'll lead to you to the resistance's headquarters!"
Nodding, Xizor followed the remaining soldiers, closely followed by the sons of Marka Ragnos.
*We'll call the ones on our side royalists, and the Royal Guards will be the ones against us and on Verun's side, to avoid misunderstandings.
Macron stayed with his master Manji to guard the retreat of the fleeing warriors. Manji was furiously blocking as many blaster bolts as he could from the Falleen assault droids as the two backed away. Macron grabbed his comm with one hand and continued to fire with the blaster in the other. There was no way they could fight the droids, but he had another idea.
Macron screamed into the comm unit. "R3, get that military slicer virus I bought from Danlo on line right now... Dammit, I don't care what I told you to do last! Do it NOW you frelling bucket of bolts!" A squawk emanated from the comm unit as Macron began to run forward to throw it. "Can you cover me Master?" he shouted over the tumultous din.
Manji grinned and nodded his acquiesence. He loved a good fight, and this was certainly that.
Macron threw the comm link at the droids, and set it to broad beam delivery. This particular virus was a nasty one that Macron had been saving for a special occasion. He had intended it for a bank job, but now... oh well. His larcenous fun would have to wait.
The virus stricken droids began to turn on their Royal Guard owners as the two Dark Jedi fled. Macron recieved a serious blaster shot to the shoulder, but managed to keep his head and run like Hades. "Aaarrgh!" he screamed in agony as he clutched his blackened shoulder. The smell of burnt flesh permeated the air. Thank the Dark Lords for the light armor he wore, or he would certainly be a one armed Jedi now. A few friendly Royalists had jerked them both into a waiting hover car along with the other Ragnosians, and the lot moved away to regroup. Macron promptly passed out.
Back in the Spear, Rori was gathering his weaponry to help out in the fray. Hearing something strange on the command deck, he went to the front of the ship to look.
Kat Pridemore was cooing and making odd sounds, and sitting in the captains seat. She was pushing various buttons, and the ship was clicking back at her as though responding to the noises coming from her.
Rori walked up to the Hunter. "What are you doing?"
Surprised, Kat looked up and smiled. "I'm just having the ship start the auto repair process, and warm up the tactical system. We will probably need all of those items as we head out of here."
"But I thought no one knew how to run this ship? And you're no pilot."
"No, but I was in the Navy in the Autocthonian system, and this is one of their ships. I never expected to see one again. I was only there for a handful of years, but the Spear must be one of their ships. I don't know how she got here, but this is just beautiful. I just don't know how to fly your backwards ships... this one is perfect."
Kat continued to key in the buttons on the console.
"You ready? They are going to need our help." She grabbed her blaster and strapped it next to her whip. Kat got up and started to lead her way to the ramp and into the fray. Rori followed, not certain what this might all mean. But they had a job to do.
As Rori and Kat strode down the ramp from the ship it was immediately apparent that something wasn't right. Other than a pile of bodies near one of the doors there was no sign that a battle had occured.
"The masters are gone," Rori whispered. "Wait here, I'm going to check something." Slipping off towards the pile of bodies without so much as a sound Rori ran through the scenario in his mind. Either the battle had gone poorly and the masters were captured, or they had been so overwhelmed that they had been forced to flee. Either way he and Kat were now on their own on a hostile world with little hope for backup unless they found a way to hook back up with the rest of the team.
"Would you look at this mess?" a barely audible voice from the other side of the door complained. "At least the Royal Guard managed to take care of the scum that caused this mess."
"Yeah, but it must have been some army that caused all this damage. I mean the Royal Guard are the best of the best, ya know?" a second voice retorted. "Going to be a pain getting the stains out of this permacrete. And why did they only assign us to disposal? It's going to take forever to haul those bodies out to the hauler."
Rori slipped back to Kat having heard all he needed to know. "Two supposed guards, cleaning crew is more like it. The others have been captured as far as they know, but from the pile of bodies I somehow doubt that's the case. We need a disguise and I think those two will probably be the best source, try not to leave any marks on the clothing."
Drawing his dual daggers, Rori lead Kat back to the door and prepared to rush whoever was on the other side. Rori only hoped that he was right about how many were on the other side or it could get real messy real quick.
Rori and Kat kicked in the door to find three Falleen miltants. The Guardian and Jedi Hunter looked at each other and exchanged a broad smile.
"This will be a cake walk." Kat said in confidence.
As they drew their weapons, one of the Royal guardsman said, "Wait! Don't attack! I'm one of you!" Everyone turned to look at the guard confused by the comment.
Suddenly, the guard's form began to shift into the shape of a Clawdite. "I am Lech of the Krath in house Marka Ragnos." As he was explaining himself, he quickly slid a dagger across the throat of one of the confused Falleen. The other tried to attack Kat, but Rori put an end to that by slicing through the Falleen's achillies heel, trying to minimize the blood from ruining the uniform.
"How did you get here?" Rori said with a raised eyebrow.
"Master Xizor sent me to assess the situation before he brought a group here. Unfortunately, I was unable to produce any new information for him. The only thing I do know is that our masters are not in this area. I saw them get kidnapped into a hovercar just before you arrived, but I do not know the intent of the kidnappers. They may have been Royalists, but it was too far away for me to make that judgment."
"Well, what do we do now?" Kat said to the other two.
"Let's take their outfits and see if we can find out what happened to our group." Rori answered as he undressed one of the bodies.
As the hover car zoomed through the streets of Falleen, Manji leaned back and inspected the hilt of his sabre, wiping the gore from the brushed metal. Across from him Xizor sat erect, brow wrinkled in thought as he heard how events had transpired since his departure.
"So Verun used his personal guard to take over the palace, then bribed the commanders of the Royal Guard to assume control over the rest of Falleen?"
Nodding, the royalist leader frowned angrily.
"That traitor Verun... he'll pay for this betrayal!"
Raising a hand, Xizor stared thoughtfully out of the window of the car.
"Let me think... Manji, Muz, could you two each lead the arms of a pincer attack directed at the palace?"
The brothers nodded eagerly. Stroking his chin, the reptilian Epis spoke again.
"I'll spearhead an attack leading the remaining royalists aimed at the main gates if you go round the side, and we'll all make our way to the throne room with minimum casualties to the enemy. There we can exterminate Verun and regain control over the city. How does that sound?"
There was a brief silence before Manji chuckled.
"Sounds fine to me... except for the 'mininum casualties' bit."
"Excellent," said Xizor. "Now all that is left is to gather the resistance."
"We are nearing the East Gate, my Lord," one of the royalists said. "Colonel Savvel is awaiting near the edge of the Great Wood."
There was a lone guard near the gate, looking bored and slightly drowsy. He motioned the holocar to a halt, and Xizor felt the warriors around him emanating fury. "Allow me to handle this," he whispered.
"State your business." the guard said, matter-of-factly.
"Ι am the temporarily overthrown Dark Prince of the Falleen and Underlord of the Black Sun, Xizor III," Xizor began coolly, ignoring the quiet laughter from the others. " I have returned to overthrow and painfully butcher your current Master, Verun, who had the nerve to lay a hand on my power. I am trained in the Force and have a lightsabre which I am very eager to use to end your pitiful and pointless life. The gentlemen beside me are also Dark Jedi, only ones who can barely restrain their bloodlust. Now, unless you want your limbs separated from your torso one by one, I suggest you open the gate and get inside the holocar. Silently." Xizor's companions were by then openly laughing at the terrified guard.
"Of...of course, my Lord," the guard stammered, and he opened the gate, visibly trembling. He then entered the holocar and sat right next to Raistlin, who smiled and twirled his unignited sabre in his hands. The mortified guard gulped.
"Onward, soldier. Savvel awaits," Xizor said as the holocar sped out of the Falleen capital and into the lush outdoors.
Muz waved a bottle of Corellian scotch under Macron's nose, who promptly came to with a start. " Wha... er," Macron said as the contents of the hovercar came into focus. Xizor was dressing down a soldier outside the car, and Macron gulped down the last of his canned bacta.
It tasted like bubblegum, and nearly made him retch. "This store bought bacta sucks!" he said aloud as he tossed the can into the recycler.
His shoulder hurt like hell as he tested it with a shrug. The young Sith would be able to kill more people soon, though. That thought made him forget the pain.
A poor, rain soddden soldier got into the car next to Raistlin and Manji. The two looked at him with matching evil grins upon their countenances and various weapons in their hands. The soldier began to sweat, and gulped audibly. Manji clapped the fellow on his back, quite hard.
The soldier whuffed as the air left his chest. "Good to have you with us, pal," spoke Manji menacingly. Macron wondered if the former traitor was going to be cannon fodder.
"Now that guy has a way with words," thought Macron admiringly as he looked at Xizor.
"Hell, I probably would've just offed the guy. There is a lesson for me here."
Macron whipped out a pair of electrobinocs and began a long range visual recon of the grounds as the car sped away. "Let's see, I count three guards by the gate... two more on the roof... one patrol, five guards, one minute intervals... thermal gives me 5 more inside the gate proper."
Macron grabbed the long blaster from the soldier's hands and muttered "Thanks." He sighted in on the soldiers up top. A pinpoint shot from a moving vehicle was not easy. He could barely wait to face these foes in hand to hand combat, all this blaster stuff was not personal enough for his developing tastes. He now had the range for when they returned.
"what are we doing here again?" Manji snapped at the royalist.
"Look, Coraa is one of the best generals we have, we'll need him." The royalist stared back at the tall jedi, showing remarkable courage. Manji just chuckled.
"Not so great of a general if he got captured so easily..."
"Manji, let's just break this guy out and get to the royalist base before anyone knows what is going on, okay?" Muz tapped Raistlin on the shoulder, having him move the hovercar back toward the prison complex.
As the hovercar swung back to the front gates, Manji, Muz and Xizor leapt out, moving toward the control panel. After a few moments of inspection and key-tapping, Xizor kicked the door, aggravated at the changed passcode. Drawing his sabre, he calculated in his head how much a new front door would cost him after all was said and done.
The door sizzled open, and a violet dervish spun past Xizor, the eerie light playing off his verdant features like an aurora on Dagobah. Muz danced between the purple arcs of cauterizing light as he severed the flesh of the interior guards. Spinning slowly, he raised from his attack stance, a slight grin seeping from the corners of his lips as the steaming chunks of Falleen guardsmen stumbled earthward.
"Frell, bro. Leave some for us, would you?" Manji twisted his neck, the pops of his spine punctuating his movement forward.
Xizor stared at the uniform of one of the fallen, his mouth agape. "That was Erad...One of my old champions..."
"He went into the first pose of Echani. It was best I took him out fast." Muz nodded.
"What a shame." Xizor looked up.
"Better to live than to die." Manji stomped forward. "We have a lot to do before the work here will be done. Let's move out..."
Muz nodded, cocking his head toward the waiting courtyard. As the two stepped forward, Muz held two fingers up at his shoulder level, the motion immediately punctuated by the sound of blaster fire.
Macron spun the pistol and blew off the emitter before flipping out of the hovercar. The guardsmen watching from above fell backwards over the railings, their forms lifeless before hitting the dusty earth.
Xizor looked at the interior door, wondering how many his rival had managed to corrupt with his serpent's tongue, how much of his royal treasury he had promised to these fools. And then, how many would fall under their blades before his station was once again restored.
Muz looked at Xizor, somehow sensing the growing reluctance. "A wise tactician once said that if an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared*." Muz pointed his sabre at the dead guardsmen. "You need not fear these men any more."
Xizor listened for a moment, taking in the Quaestor's words before nodding slowly. "I understand. Let us press onward."
"Looks like they got it covered, eh Macron?" Raistlin tapped the steering column with his hand as he watched Xizor slice open the interior gates. Macron nodded before turning to follow them in. Raistlin sighed, looking at his prisoner, and wondering why he got stuck with transport detail again.
Raistlin grinned widely at the guard. "You know, I have never seen a Falleen woman."
The guardsman shuddered at the dark jedi.
"I think that you need to show me where some pretty Falleen women are, so I can get my Kirk** on."
The Falleen started shaking as Raistlin laughed, kicking the hovercar back into gear and pulling away from the palace.
* Niccolo Machiavelli
** Capt. James T. Kirk. 'nuff said.
Τhe prison complex was immense. Not because the crime ratio was even remotely high, but because it imposed a certain looming threat over wannabe-criminals. It was divided in four sectors, the High Security Vortex, as it was called, being the most remote.
"I have to agree," Xizor said to Muz, "Coraa truly will be an asset. He is cunning and clever. And Verun's older brother."
"If the usurper cared so little for him as to have him incarcerated, I don't think it'll make much of a difference in the long run," Manji said.
"True, but had he truly lost every sense of ethics, he would probably have had him executed," Xizor said, nodding. "Perhaps he will be the asset which will tilt the scales to our side."
"Then let's get to work, shall we?" said Manji, a mad glint in his eyes.
The first chamber within the the prison complex was huge, with two stairways leading towards the cells, and three large metal doors; one το the east, the other το the west and the last to the north. Τhey led to remaining sectors, the one to the north leading to the High Security Vortex.
"If I'm not mistaken," said one of the Falleen royalists, "General Coraa is being guarded in there."
"Hm, I find it peculiar the prison is abandoned," said Muz. "What happened here?"
"The real prisoners were all executed," the royalist replied. "Αpparently, General Verun thought that was the best method to deal with crime."
"And what about the guards?"
"That, I don't know."
As soon as they began approaching the Northern Gate, twenty Assault Droids unfurled and aimed at them. From the shadows, a familiar face appeared. An olive-green face, deeply scarred. General Coraa.
"My Lord Xizor," he said, a vicious smile on his lips. "Welcome."
It was when the 'royalist' Falleen also aimed their weapons at them that they realised what had happened. Betrayal.
Macron thought "Uh oh."
He mentally took stock of the sitiation. Twenty assault droids, soldiers all around, and now more of them due to Coraa's bastardly backstabbing. They were in an enclosed area. This did not look good. How could he help turn this situation to an advantage for his group?
Macron whipped out a cannister dispenser of a new gas he had been working on. It was called
LazPlas * and would fill an area with an ablative gas that seriously hampered the effectiveness of blaster weapons. Of course, it had no effect at all on lighsabers. This would allow them to not be cut down immediately by the assault droids however. The Sith hoped it worked, or else he would soon be most likely perforated yet again by blaster bolts. He threw the cannister and it landed with a "plunk" in front of the droids.
As the silvery gas hissed out in front of the party, the whole scene erupted into action. Blaster shots flew everywhere like angry glowing hornets. Screams, droid sounds, and the hissing of three igniting lightsabers could be heard echoing from the walls inside the technological dungeon.
Xizor gave Coraa an evil, deliberate look as he cut his way to the traitor. Macron wouldn't give a squirt of bantha pee for that Coraa guy's tail in the next few seconds. Manji and Muz were deflecting bolts and severing limbs with shouts. With an explosive yell, Manji tumbled by two soldiers and removed their legs cleanly at the knees with a katana strike.
Muz shouted over his wrist comm " Damn Raist, we could use some assistance right about now. Kat. Lech? You still there? It's a set up!" Witht he other hand, Muz sheared a droid's waist in two with his purple saber.
Raistlin turned to the soldier had just been guarding. "You are a liability now, bro. I've got creds to go make here." The soldier gurgled as Raistlin removed his green lightsaber from the soldier's chest. Raist moved toward the interior throught the sliced open door, toting his arsenal in an assault bag.
The Dark Jedi inside began to do their evil work. Limbs and other robotic appendages began to pile up around them on the stained duracrete floor. Xizor was seen dissappearing behind a wall of bodies as he moved toward the traitor Coraa with a most dissaproving wicked smile on the Falleen prince's face.
Macron moved toward the lighting box, surmising that the Jedi could still see in the dark, whereas the royalist traitors could not. That gas would not last long. He smashed the box with his chain and yelled "Lights out!" with an evil chuckle.
"Get 'em!" screamed Macron.
* got it from the RPG
"It's about time we heard from you guys. We lost your signal shortly after the battle at the space port. Where the hell are you, Muz?" Rori could hear the sounds of a battle coming over the comlink and knew he was missing out on another fight. A good way to stay alive, but not nearly as fun.
"We're at the detention center, get down here ASAP. We've been betrayed. The Royalists can't be trusted."
"Just got something to take care of here then we'll be on our way, might be handy when we attack the palace," Rori looked at the bodies scattered around the room and shrugged. "At least I don't have to feel bad about the death toll now if everyone's against us." Rori handed the comlink back to Kat and went back to the work he had been doing.
An almost unnoticable electronic device had been added into the security panel. A simple splicer kit that any astromech droid should be able to access as long as they have the right frequency. With it they could tap into all the surveilance systems and do some serious damage if needed.
Rori closed the panel and stepped away from the console. "Lets get back to the Hauler. Our friends need us."
Xizor closed in on Coraa, fear now plainly visible on Verun's traitorous brother. He reached out and grabbed Coraa by the neck, slamming him against a nearby wall, his well-tended claws digging deep into the scales of his neck.
"Give me one good reason, you pitiful excuse of a Falleen, that I should not end your unimportant life here and now."
"My...my Lord," Coraa stammered, his breath coming out laboured. "I was...only...following orders!"
"Oh, and that explains the mocking smirk when you trapped us, you disgusting little worm? How much did Verun promise you as soon as you delivered my head in a silver platter?"
"Verun...is only....a puppet. He...has his own...masters."
Xizor let go of him when he heard that. Verun was not the core of the betrayal. But then, who? It was Coraa's snarl who snapped him back to his senses. The Falleen had reached for his blaster and fired three shots at the Dark Prince, which he easily deflected with his silver sabre. Coraa barely had time to scream as the humming blade penetrated his chest, and he fell, never to move again.
He then turned, in search of his Quaestor. Muz was disassembling one of the last Assault Droids left standing.
"We have a problem, Keibatsu. A serious problem."
Sabre sliding out of a traitorous' Falleen's chest, Manji looked up curiously as Xizor spoke.
"What kind of problem?"
Glancing quickly at the Aedile, Xizor snarled and rubbed his eyes gently.
"Verun was not the initial betrayer... he was being manipulated by someone. Or something. We need to find out who."
Lunging towards the Falleen, Manji sliced past Xizor, thrusting his sabre into an Assault Droid's face as the robot creaked into attack position. Grinning widely at Xizor, the Archpriest pulled his sabre back and twisted it around smoothly.
"No problem. We continue the initial plan and get to Verun, then we beat seven shades of snot out of him until he spills the beans. And then we kill him."
Behind Manji, there was a loud chuckle from the Quaestor.
"You crack me up, Manji. Can you not think of anything except 'kill, kill, kill'?"
A confused look crossed Manji's face before he grinned again, even more widely.
Muz shook his head in amusement.
"Well, whatever... let's move out and find this Verun."
"Yes, but firstly, we should locate the royalists. We can't storm the palace by ourselves," said Xizor, buckling his sabre.
"Why not?" asked Mani, grinning. "I don't think we'll have a problem!"
"Nonetheless, I do not wish to take any chances. The Palace is heavily defended, and I want to know how Verun utilized those defences."
"All right then," said Muz. "We should leave the city and start searching."
"Hold on," said Manji. "If these royalists were traitors, then how do we know their base truly is near the forest?"
"I was contacted by Savvel," Xizor intervened. "They are there. We had best leave, now. Let us not give Verun the chance discovered we have ended his brother."
They found Rori waiting for them outside with Raistlin, and they immediately boarded the holocar. The gate was nearby, and they were soon out of the great city and into the wilderness beyond. Exotic birds squawked and animals ran past them, while immense trees rose to meet the heavens by serene lakes.
"You're lucky to be the ruler of this place," said Manji.
"Indeed," said Xizor. "I have taken my betrayal quite harshly. Nobody will be taking this land from me. Nobody."
Up ahead, they say the Great Wood looming, an almost cavernous opening leading within its murky depths.
"According to Savvel, their base of operations must be through that opening. We should leave the holocar here. We will not have the luxury to use it in the forest."
Doing exactly that, the Dark Jedi entered the Great Wood, immediately feeling the stale air and unnerving peacefulness of it.
"Right," Muz said, "start looking."
Kat and Lech managed to follow the Holocar in the Spear. Kat cooed and chirped at the ship as she pressed the keys, in a odd sort of ritual. Lech just looked on with an odd expression. But, the gestures worked, and the Spear glided along silently.
They had discussed this decision with Rori and Raistlin. The best option, they decided, was to keep their options open. Since none of their masters were with them, they had to make the decisions for all of them. With the Spear nearby, more options would be open to them, if needed.
With the speed of the ship, it was easy to follow the holocar. They kept it close, but hiding a ship of that size would have been difficult, if it wasn't for the cloaking device. As they observed the group heading into the forest, they exited the Spear. The holocar was nice, but not a good escape if they needed it.
The group landed, and guided a couple of the apprentices, as they exited the Spear.
"Let's not follow very closely, so we can see what happens." Kat proposed, and Lech, agreed. For now.
The two gathered up their crew of six, and followed slowly, spreading out among the forest, trying to avoid detection. They could see the group ahead, but they were too far out of reach to understand what was being said.
Although they followed, something wasn't right. What did Xizor get them into this time?
The jungle forest was teeming with life. The sounds of many different alien insects and creratures trilled throughout. The scent of a hundred different flowers and trees could be almost tasted on the air.
The group of Dark Jedi forged ahead through the fastness, looking for their rendezvous point. Soon, the smell of fresh coffee could be noticed clearly wafting through the dew laden forest.
All the pollen made Macron's nose itch. And he really wanted some of that coffee, it had been entire hours since he last partook.
Macron had never been to a jungle like this one. Even Yavin Four was different. At least there was a taint of the darkside there, but not here on Falleen. Other than what the group brought with them, of course. The most dangerous predators in this forest walked on two legs for certain.
Xizor smiled at Macron's discomfort. "Ah, the comforts of Falleen," he mused. A short walk brought them to a clearing that was bustling with activity. Many soldiers moved about like ants as supplies and vehicles were prepared for combat. Xizor and the group were greeted by a cadre of guards with drawn weapons. The Jedi fingered their various weapons with malice- would this be another fight?
Xizor stepped forward to converse with them. The rest of the Jedi prepared themselves for the possibility of more treachery.
As Kat and Lech slogged through the forest, a sharp sound got their attention. It was Rori, who had silently doubled back and was now imitating the call of a kannock bird. Kat recognized the signal and raised her hand for Lech to stop. The two waited as Rori approached silently.
"I doubled back to give you a heads up. We were followed, and the pursuers are nearby. Be alert," Rori hissed quietly.
The crunching of issue type boots on twigs and leaves could be heard nearby. Their pursuers were truly clods.
"Lord Xizor," one of the Falleen said, kneeling, as the Dark Prince approached them. "The Colonel has eagerly been expecting your arrival. We feared for the worst."
Xizor allowed himself a smile. "Do you see these people behind me, soldier? You should fear for the traitors' worst." He then turned to his companions. "You may stop being so wary, gentlemen. These are our allies."
"Like the ones now roasting back at the prison complex?" asked Manji sarcastically. "I'd rather keep my guard on, if you don't mind."
Xizor shrugged. "As you wish."
"My Lord," the guard intervened, "if you will excuse my intrusion, but Colonel Savvel really needs to speak to you. We are organising our attack."
"Very well, soldier. Lead on."
They were guided through the immense royalist camp, where huge northern Falleen warriors sharpened their immense longswords, and southern Falleen, slender and dextrous, clashed their dual scimitars in practice. The remainder of the royal guard, still loyal to Xizor, were target practising on dummies whose faces were drawn in the semblance of Verun.
The might of Falleen, Xizor thought, pleased.
Finally reaching the middle of the encampment, they saw an aged Falleen, with silvery hair drawn into a tight ponytail at the back of his scalp, studying what appeared to be the Royal Palace's blueprints.
The guard approached him, and said, formally: "Rise to meet our Lord and leader, Prince Xizor III."
A smile instantly flashed on the old Falleen's face. "My Prince," he said.
"Always a pleasure, Savvel," Xizor replied, returning the smile.
After several hours of planning, the decision was made. The two brothers would lead the assault from the two sides of the palace; Muz to the east and Manji to west. The rest of them, led by Xizor, and accompanied by Elite Southern and Northern Falleen warriors, would storm the main entrance of the palace. Lastly, Savvel would attack from behind with the remainder of the royalist forces.
"They will be entirely incapacitated," said Colonel Savvel. "They will have nowhere to run, and Verun will be dead before he knows what hit him."
"Careful, Colonel," said Xizor. "I want him to survive for the interrogation. I want to know who is behind this scheme to overthrow me."
OOC: Gonna be my final post.
Rori slipped quietly through the forest keeping a close eye on the people following his allies. Something wasn't right about the situation, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
"Greetings young experiment, your skills haven't dulled in the least," Rori immediately recognized the voice even though he hadn't heard it since he had been dropped at the Shadow Academy. It was the woman he had been hunting, the blue skinned Chiss who had saved him from the lower streets of Coruscant only to abandon him with these dark jedi.
"So you have finally returned," Rori spat. "What do you plan to do this time? Drop me on Yavin 4? I'm not exactly welcome there."
"No child. You are to be returned to those to whom you truely belong. Your Trial run is complete, and your skills must be reviewed. You will come with me quietly, I do not wish to have to damage you. My reward would be considerably less if you were not in peak condition when I brought you in." The Chiss drew her lightsaber making her intentions clear.
"If it will lead me to answers about my past then I will follow you. But do not betray my trust again."
"Foolish child, I will betray your trust as I see fit. There is nothing you can do to stand against me, so please keep your empty threats to yourself."
Rori and the Sith woman snuck off into the darkness leaving no trace of their passing, the hunters who had been following the Jedi since their landing assumed positions so that even if Rori tried to break away he wouldn't get far. They left the forrest and boarded a small shuttle bound for places unknown to all but the pilot and the Chiss.
His time with the brotherhood had come full circle, Rori had arrived with the Chiss and he had left with the Chiss. Perhaps someday he would find his way back to the brotherhood, but what condition he would be in he could not imagine.
OOC: c'mon people... we need more posts by more folks!
As the dusk fell that night, all the assembled combatants felt a hush in the air. Many were to die on the morrow, and most would be Falleen of one faction or the other. This would be instrumental in returning Xizor to power, but the Prince's return would still be a bitter sweet victory for the Falleen people. Xizor contemplated his strategies thoroughly, wanting to be sure that they were perfect.
Rori had gone missing for twelve hours now. Perhaps he had been eaten by one of the many predators in these woods. Or perhaps, he had slipped away.
The other Jedi had returned later that night.
Kat and Lech had encountered a group of traitors, and had killed them rather quickly with only minor injuries. The spies had followed the hover car of the group with a homing device.
That meant there was at least one spy in the camp, who must be eliminated. Kat reported this information as Lech drug in an unconscious southern Falleen. The Falleen dissapeared into the command tent. Xizor summoned the other Dark Jedi for an interrogation.
Lech had captured one spy, who was now undergoing a loud and agonizing debriefing by Xizor and the other Dark Jedi. Macron had been seen entering the tent with an array of chemicals and an spherical black IT-0 interrogation droid around one in the morning. That was when the screaming really began in earnest. Macron had other skills besides fighting, and his masters used them fully.
All the soldiers winced at the sounds, but none dared question Xizor and his friends.
While eating his night time snack at a table on the edge of the clearing, Muz had spotted a Falleen using a unusual comm while hiding behind a tree. He sensed fear from the Falleen, more so than the normal prebattle state.
Another traitor, and oddly enough this one carried a lightsaber. It looked to be of Jedi make. The Falleen radiated some Force energy as well.
"Hey Manji, check him out." Muz gestured, and the Falleen ran furiously. "Kat, go get Xizor and tell him. We'll be right back."
"Bet Xizor wants him alive, " Manji said with a dissapointed tone. Two two ran at breakneck speed off into the forest to have a bit of sport with the spy. Could the spy be a lightsider?
Sighing, Manji continued to sprint after the fleeing Falleen, muttering to himself.
"Dammit... damn Muz, making me miss my supper. I was really looking forward to that gruel as well..."
Suddenly the Falleen in front of him stumbled, tripping over a trailing tree root. Grinning, Manji leapt into the air, landing heavily on the creature's back and bearing it to the floor. As the Falleen struggled furiously, Manji's katana whispered out of it's scabbard and was suddenly pressed against the Falleen's throat. Leaning forward, Manji hissed devilishly into the alien's ear.
"You might want to stop struggling... or my hand might slip. And that wouldn't be pleasant, would it?"
Standing, Manji yanked the Falleen up into a standing position, resheathing his katana then swinging it viciously at the back of the lightsabre-wearing figure's head. Before the Falleen could fall forward into the arms of unconsciousness, Manji pulled it back and slung the creature over his shoulder. Turning, he headed back to the camp.
With a thump, the traitorous Falleen was thrown onto a table, surrounded by the assorted Dark Jedi of Marka Ragnos. Throwing a pail of water into the Falleen's face, Manji stepped back and chuckled as it slowly came to.
"Guess I hit him too hard..."
Lifting the Falleen's sabre, Muz waved it towards the traitor.
"Why do you carry this weapon? Are you one of those accursed Lightsiders?"
The Falleen's eyes scuttled back and forth frantically before it gave up and spoke in a dignified voice, unpertubed by it's surroundings.
"I am with the New Jedi Order- we have been supporting Verun in his control over this world."
Stepping forwards with a flame burning in his eyes, Xizor spoke.
The Falleen managed a twisted grin as it stared at the Dark Prince.
"Better Verun in power than a Sith!"
Suddenly Xizor's fist smashed into the Falleen's face in a rare display of anger. Turning away from the once again unconscious Jedi, Xizor massaged his wrist slowly as he spoke.
"Krath, actually. Manji, Muz- have fun with him before you slaughter him. See if you can get any more information out of this traitorous fool, then dispose of him. I have a battle to plan."
As the Epis strode away, Manji leaned over and nudged Muz.
"I'd hate to see him in a bad mood..."
The Jedi... Of course.
Xizor's mind was working overtime. How could he not foresee this? Well, for various reasons. Falleen was deep into the Outer Rim, where the Republic's reach was very feeble. The Dark Prince would have never even considered the possibility of the Jedi Council being aware of his ties with the Dark Brotherhood, or his affinity with the Force. And he certainly never thought they would have enough power to organise a revolution.
And there were more Force sensitive Falleen... This tree had indeed deep and sturdy roots. And he would exterminate it; he would strike at its very source.
He exited his tent and walked through the camp. Everywhere he turned, morale was lifted. The northern and southern Falleen warriors were training more vigorously now that their leader was back. He knew the throne was his. It was only a matter of time now.
He found Muz and Manji washing up in a nearby stream. Upon examining the water, which was deep crimson, Xizor suspected the Jedi had been disposed of.
"We strike in three hours," he told Muz. "This ends today."
"What?" asked Manji, incredulously. "How come take-overs must always take place in the crack of dawn?"
"Because that's when we catch them with their pants down, brother," said Muz. "Come, we must prepare."
Xizor's strike force was consisted of twenty northerners and fifty southerners, the best of the best. The Dark Prince was in the lead, his dark cloak fluttering against the breeze, his lightsabre drawn and ignited, and a hungry smile upon his olive-green lips.
Slash. A guardsman fell before he could even scream.
Slash, slash. Two more.
The palace gates were just ahead. Five northerners began crashing a well-carved, and huge, tree log against them, and the doors were soon down.
So it began.
Lech jumped through the door screaming a battle cry. “Death has brought down the doors to lead you to your peril!” His double-bladed fighting pike speared through the first Falleen to cross his path.
The hum of the group’s lightsabers were heard through the cries of pain that they inflicted upon their opponents. The darksiders were outnumbered, but didn’t seem to be having a problem tearing through the Falleen troops.
As Lech was busy trying to take the life away from an enemy, another snuck up to kill him from behind. As the Falleen soldier raised his sword to sever Lech’s head, Kat’s whip curled around the soldier’s ankles and took his feet out from under him. “Thanks!” Lech said as he pulled the tip of his pike out of the soldier’s neck.
“I don’t want to have to babysit you,” Kat replied with a wink. She quickly jumped back into action by sliping her sword’s blade between another opponent’s vertibrae.
Lech looked over at his master. Xizor was handling his own, but it seemed as if the Epis had something on his mind, something was bothering him.
His padawan had no time to think about it though as his senses kicked in warning him of an attack from above. Lech quickly side-stepped to see a Falleen soldier land where he had been standing with his blade piercing the floor. Reacting, the hunter swung the pike toward the soldier’s head knocking him out.
They are attacking from above! We have to find a better position! Lech whispered into the minds of the group.
They are attacking from above! We have to find a better position! Kat tuned into the voiec interrupting the focus within her own mind. Looking upward, she noted the attackers dropping in, and handful at a time. Snarling, Kat used her whip to anchor on one attacker's leg, as he dropped, pulling him to the ground on his back.
Lech noted the movement and gutted the attacker as soon as he landed, a spray of bright red staining his clothing. Lech was looking around, hunting for a place to head them off. Ropes dropped from above as the attackers started heading downward in groups.
"Lets move!" Kat pointed to the nearby stairwell. "Hurry!" Kat dashed up the stairs, tugging her short sword from its sheath, and hurrying upwards. Her whip followed, lightly bouncing up the stairs as she took them two at a time.
Lech followed closely, ready to slaughter anything that came close enough.
Muz and Manji had a different route. Grabbing onto one of the attackers ropes, Manji climbed upwards, slicing anyone who came within reach. Showers of crimson covered anyone who was below, staining the floor and people red. Muz jumped, using the force to increase the size of that jump. Before he stopped his ascent, he grabbed a rope, and held on. Tugging himself upward, he quickly dropped onto the platform above.
Macron noticed Kat and Lech flying up the stairs. He realized quickly that they might have a problem with the wave of attackers heading down. While he still disposed of anything in his path, he forced his path to the bottom of the stairwell. Several dozen of the fighterst stayed with Xizor, and were making quick work of the attackers that made it as far as the floor.
"That stairwell is a blasted problem.." thought Macron as he turned to see Kat and Lech running madly up the stairs. Most of the Falleen near him were disposed of by now, and loyal warriors swarmed in behind him. Lech's telepathic words still echoed in Macron's mind.
This was now a "down and dirty" situation. Macron had no more tricks up his sleeve, and his cohorts were fighting at the top of the stairs. The cracking of Kat's whip and the slicing of green flesh by Lech could be heard above them. He ran up the flight of stairs after them, DL-44 blaster drawn. Macron had enhanced the focusing chamber, making the stout weapon pack an even more powerful punch. As well as making it rather unstable.
Macron rolled by Kat, and remained crouching near Lech. As Lech and Kat fought Falleen with their long weapons, Macron began to dead-eye as many oncomers as he could with searing green blaster bolts. He preferred the head shot, as a bolt there let beings go limp like marionettes with cut strings. The quicker they died, the happier the bloodthirsty Sith was.
Besides, Kat and Lech were friends.
The smell of blood, ozone, smoking brains and bloody metal soon permeated the air. Groaning and the sparking of dying droids could be heard over the shouts of the falleen securing the area.
Between the three Dark Jedi myrmidions, many Falleen died. And the stairwell was held that day by main force and teamwork.
Xizor strode quickly by them as the loyal Fallen secured the area and captured any living Falleen. His discerning gaze immediately noticed an unusual item- an unmanned Jedi snub fighter parked in the central courtyard area.
This was the area where he had spent much time as a youth cultivating the Drakkani flowers that were now smashed into the trampelled mud by some off-world scum. No Fallen would ever do this. Examining the bootprints in the firm clay, he knew immediately they were of Republic make.
The bootprints crisdscrossed the area. A duel, thought Xizor. Someone was teaching the art of combat here. He sensed the taint of the lightside. As he reached into the Force with his eyes closed, he was sure he felt the power of a Master lightsider. Who may still be here.
An image of a fierce Zabrak male came in to Xizor's searching mind as he concentrated. The Force tendrils were still active, and he must be near. Quite near, in fact.
Around the corner clumped several battle droids and more Falleen as well as a Zabrak Jedi wearing antique Jedi battle armor and carrying an ignited green lightsaber. This must be the Master who had been aiding the traitors.
Xizor had learned his name during the last interrogation of the traitors: Aaeth Kon. Kon saluted Xizor in a rare gesture of respect, and took an attack stance. Here now was the beating heart of treachery, bared for the finishing thrust. The battle was now on in earnest.
The Keibatsu brothers encountered a different scene around the corridor from the stair landing. There were Fallen warriors there. However, four of the foes carried blue lightsabers.
They bade the two to stop, in the name of the Halcyon and the Jedi Knights.
The Brothers eyed each other in disbelief, as they moved to turn or destroy the Bothan Knight and her three Falleen padawans. This must be Kon's Learners, rushing to aid their master.
Rolling his eyes arrogantly, Manji sighed as two of the Falleen Padawans rushed him. Crouching, the Archpriest held his sabre out to the side and mockingly taunted the approaching Lightsiders.
"Enough melodramatics, already... let's get down to business, shall we?"
Then he lunged forward, lightsabre searing towards one Padawan's stomach. Before the Falleen could respond the energy blade ripped through her middle, throwing her to the floor in two smoking halves. Spinning his sabre around stylishly, Manji turned to the other Padawan and leaped into the air, blade slashing down to carve the second Falleen in two.
However, this Padawan was more alert than his fellow- raising the blue lightsabre the Falleen managed to block the vertical strike, muscles shaking with the effort. Chuckling to himself, Manji twisted around and planted a foot in the Falleen's chest, knocking the alien back. Then he leaped, sabre searing down through the Lightsider's chest and into the marble floor below. Standing, Manji ignored the burning corpse and turned to watch as Muz made short work of the Bothan Knight and the remaining Padawan.
Sabre in one hand and the Nagamichi in the other, Muz span in a tight circle as the two Jedi swung their sabres at him, both weapons blocking the two sapphire blades then slicing through their defences. The Padawan fell immediately, blood spurting from the mortal wound created by the Nagamichi- the Knight staggered backwards, one hand shooting to his leg as it hissed, smoke rising from the cauterized wound.
Moving towards the Bothan, Muz chuckled darkly then thrust forward with both blades. Lifting the Bothan into the air on two weapons Muz let out a roar of anger as he tore both blades out to the side, ripping the Knight apart. Blood rained down onto the Epis. Turning to Manji, Muz gestured with his sabre.
Staring at his blood-slicked, black-eyed brother, Manji grinned nervously and gestured in return.
"After you, bro..."
"I must admit, you led me on quite the chase, Master Kon," said Xizor mockingly, igniting his silver sabre. "Though I must admit, I feared you would flee before I had the chance to cross blades with you."
Aaeth Kon had dismissed the other lightsiders and the droids. He had honour, and would respect the unwritten code of duelling. "How could I leave without trying my luck with the best warrior Falleen had to offer?" the Zabrak inquired, a smile now drawn upon his own lips. "But tell me, Prince Xizor... Why did you join the Darklings?"
"Join?" Xizor asked back. "I have joined nobody. I have merely allied myself with them for the time being because they serve my purposes. And besides, their Code specifically states you should depend on no-one but yourself. Ergo, by taking advantage of their bloodlust, I serve my own aims."
Kon chuckled. "You truly are evil, my Prince. No grudges about me attempting to end your life in a moment or so, are there?"
"Key word, Master Kon: attempting. Do your best."
The Falleen observing this peculiar scene between the two Force-wielders were bewildered by their absolute honesty, two strangers of opposite sides of the sabacc table acting like the closest friends about to engage into a harmless quarrel.
It was the Jedi Master who struck first. The lightsabre came down like a vibrant green thunderbolt, aiming for Xizor's head, only to be met by the Prince's silvery blade. Xizor answered by kicking Kon right in the stomach, sending him stumbling backwards, and pushing his attack surgically, leaving the Jedi with no breathing space.
Aaeth Force-pushed Xizor away, trying to catch his breath, but the Epis wasted absolutely no time. The two warriors battled fiercely for some time, but in the end, Aaeth Kon fell, his green lightsabre metres away, the silvery blade aimed at his chest.
"Thank you," he whispered, seconds before Xizor punctured his chest, instantly ending his life.
"Thank you," Xizor whispered back.
As the Jedi Master fell with an emtpy thud, there was an anguished scream as twenty lightsider apprentices surrounded the Falleen, accompanied by Assault Droids; they were looking to quench their grief with Xizor's blood.
Trouble, the Prince thought, calculating his chances of defeating all of them. They were miniscule.
At that moment, as Xizor raised his sabre and turned in a circle, trying to keep every Apprentice in his field of vision, a flash of silver burst towards the crowd from a nearby stairwell. There was a strange, organic sound, and one Apprentice slumped forwards with a glowing silver blade through his chest- another next to him fell with a gleaming violet blade stabbed through his stomach from behind. As Xizor turned in confusion, Muz and Manji darted towards him, both calling on the Force to pull their lightsabres back to hand. Moving through the stunned Apprentices, the two turned to stand back-to-back with Xizor, looking around them at the crowd. With a grin Manji raised a hand, gesturing arrogantly at the Padawans around them.
"Thought you could use some help, Xi... how's that for ironic? You're my Black Guardsman, but here I am protecting you."
Snarling, Xizor continued to move slowly around as the Apprentices stared worriedly at the three Dark Jedi.
"I don't need your protection. I was just about to unleash hell upon these scum."
Chuckling, Muz nodded.
"Sounds good. Shall we?"
With a threefold cry of fury, the three Dark Jedi burst outwards into the stunned crowd of Padawans, lightsabres hacking and slashing through living flesh, tearing through limbs, slicing through droid armour. The air became filled with cries of pain and terror as the three devilish figures moved methodically around the corridor, ripping and tearing. Soon the last Padawan fell heavily to the floor, divested firstly of his arm then his head in quick succession. Licking a smear of blood from the back of his hand, the Archpriest chuckled darkly.
"Well, that was fun. Enough to warm me up, anyway."
The halls of the palace were now a gory testament to red ruin. Intermixed with the remains of the biological beings were droid chassis parts, dripping acrid fluids and leaking other toxic chemicals from their split power cells. No more Falleen moved, or fought against the Dark Jedi at that moment. Dust and blood covered the floor, and the wounded moaned in pain. The dead said not a word. There were many of both.
Falleen warriors worked to remove casualties, and medic droids stabilized wounded falleen.
Even now, maintenance droids were cleaning up the debris from the battles.
Xizor , Manji, and Muz rejoined Kat, Lech, and Macron in the central hall. Macron was investigating the remains of the dead Jedi lightsabers, having smacked a rubbish collection droid away from it. Macron dissasembled it quickly.
He seemed to be taking notes on the internal assembly, and pocketed one of the crystals and some other parts while casting the Jedi made chassis aside. If he intended to construct his own blade, he would need these one day.
The other Jedi were talking quckly amongst themselves in hurried tones. Macron rejoined the group. The Dark jedi were discussing each of their exploits, counting foes slain, limbs severed, and obstacles overcome in the fight. Now all that remained was the final clearing out of any remaining traitors.
Xizor caught the Sith's stray thought and approached him. "Done?" he said. "Our work here is anything but done. Verun is nowhere to be found, and I hardly think the Jedi have only sent one Master to oversee this operation. So, unless you are too tired to continue assisting your Clan, I suggest you return home, little Hunter."
Macron's eyes flashed. "I have been with my Clan since day one of this operation, and won't abandon it, Epis," he spat.
The Dark Prince merely nodded. Always works, he thought.
Manji and Muz were quietly conversing about the recent events, and Xizor approached them.
"I appreciate what you have done so far," he said. "If you wish to return to Tarthos, you may do so. Me and Lech will take care of the rest of this operation. The Black Sun's profits are partly yours now."
"What, and miss out on all the future bloodshed?" Manji said, grinning widely. "You've got to be joking."
Xizor smiled. "Very well. Savvel informs me that the city is back in our possession, and most of the traitors have either been incarcerated or killed. Those who have escaped are headed for the forest."
"What about Verun?" Muz inquired.
"Apparently, he is with them. My guess is that he will be arranging a meeting with his Jedi contacts."
"Any ideas where they might have set up camp?"
"Well..." Xizor was hesitant; a rare sight. "My historians say that they have recently discovered ruins of ancient Jedi temples beyond the Great Wood, but I would not pay those stories much heed. Jedi never had much of an influence over Falleen even before the Galactic Empire."
"What about the Old Republic then?" Manji said. "Any ruins dating that while back which may have been of Jedi origin?"
"Yes," said Xizor. "Scattered throughout the entire planet. But we are not one hundred percent certain they are of the Jedi."
"It's still worth a shot," said Muz, looking thoughtful. "We should first head out into the Great Wood and explore those ruins your historians told you about."
"If it means wiping out the threat once and for all, I shall accompany you," said Xizor, nodding. "Gladly, we now have the advantage of putting my warriors into good use. Come. We must prepare."
The group ventured out into the Great Wood in hopes of finding the answers to the questions that permeated their minds. Was Verun in the ruins they sought? Were more jedi behind this? Was anyone else involved in this conflict?
As they pondered these questions on their trek, they noticed the start of the ruins they had spoken of earlier. It started off as a little rubble on the side of a path that had barely been traversed. Then, the path began to change from dirt to stone paving.
Lech looked up to the sky, but was only able to see the canopy of the large trees that surrounded his group. If we need a quick escape, Lech thought, it won’t be easy. Fortunately, such an escape should not be necessary.
As he continued to examine the canopy, in deep thought, he saw movement in the trees. Movement was common in such a dense lively forest, but the force tingled for a moment in his head telling him that whatever he had just seen, should not be taken lightly. He stared a little longer to see more of the same movements, but none followed.
Lech brought his vision back in front of him only to find that his group was nowhere to be found. The hunter stopped in his tracks and looked around nervously. Master Xizor? Where did you go? Lech got no telepathic response back. He was alone. Or was he?
The force didn’t tell him to duck because of an incoming blow, it actually made his knees bend low for him. Lech heard the whirl of a blade slicing through air above his head. The hunter rolled forward and spun around making his way to his feet. His eyes widened when he saw who his opponent was...
Muz ignited his saber and began hacking through some dense underbrush that blocked their path. The rest of the crew followed some distance behind, leaving Muz to be their scout. Lech was, for all they knew, bringing up the rear, making sure they didn’t get attacked from behind.
Xizor turned to Manji, “The ruins should only be a short distance from here. Prepare yourselves in case they are indeed inhabited by the cursed Jedi.” Xizor looked at each member of the group in turn receiving a nod of understanding from all. Every member drew their respective weapons preparing for a battle that may or may not be on the other side of the underbrush.
Xhedias sits himself up in his bunk, throwing on his robes over his pale body. Looking around he doesn't hear anything, not the cackling of Malik, the commands being shouted from Xanos, nor the giggles of Alexandria or Link.
Snatching his lightsaber, he jumped up from the bunk and grabbed the small door, flung it open and dashed outside into the hallway. Looking down and up the hall he saw nobody, as if it were empty. Xhedias' eyes went wide as he ran into the comm center of the Clan housing quarters. Smacking the holo projector, he got it to work. Recording a message he began:
"Kat, Xizor, are you there? Where is everyone?"
The Sith panicked and hit the "Send all" button, causing it to go to every room in Naga Sadow control and every data pad that was owned by every member, and all ships in the Naga Sadow fleet...
EDIT: did some spelling changes, lol
The holoprojector caught a signal as Xhedias looked at it. "Xhedias, this is Macron. We are currently in the forest on Falleen, doing a search and destroy mission on a possible Jedi base. Wanna join the fun? Just hyperdrive on out..... see ya later."
Macron looked around as R3 finished relaying the message through the Silooth's comm unit. Macron's wrist comm wasn't powerful enough by its self to reach Xhedias over lightyears. R3 was quite handy when it came to looking after his master's ship when he was away.
The forest loomed all around the Dark Jedi as they scanned the ruins. Prince Xizor's fine grade sensor unit clearly spotted at least four power sources, including one that could be a vessel. Heat signatures were impossible throught he jungle and dense stone of the ruins.
Muz surveyed the area through macrobinocs. He counted two visible humanoid figures, wearing brown robes. Undoubtedly, they were Jedi. Their collective suspicions were confirmed.
Manji smiled, as he knew there would be more battle to be had. Kat was confirming the datastream she picked up coming from the base. The Jedi were calling for assistance, from Yavin Four. Lech was not with them, having stopped to check something back in the forest.
The group gathered around Xizor, who gave them a battle plan. They would encircle the base, and attack from the flanks while some Falleen provided a diversion up front. A classic hit and fade, followed by a masterful flank strike.
Gathering their weapons, the Dark Jedi moved to strike the ruined base.
The Jedi never saw the assault coming, too busy as they were fixing the signal for Yavin Four. Five southern Falleen warriors who accompanied the Dark Jedi ran towards their adversaries first, but were easily slain.
Xizor observed the two Jedi as he motioned the others to stop for a moment. One was a bulky male Rodian Guardian, gripping his blue, double-bladed lightsabre with utter concentration, and the other was a Twi'lek female Consular, her twin green sabres humming as she twirled them around menacingly. They would pose no difficulty for the four Dark Jedi, had they not been joined by more Falleen traitors, each Padawan holding his own short lightsabre.
The Dark Prince saw Manji grin wildly with the corner of his eye as the new prey took its position. Muz Ashen twirled his lightsabre high above his head and yelled "For Marka Ragnos" as he ran towards the Jedi, closely followed by Macron, Manji and Xizor.
Xizor's silverly blade rapidly ended the lives of two Padawans, and his three companions were doing the same. The two Jedi Masters (Xizor guessed they were masters, not many Knights were given the right to bear dual or double lightsabres) were defending themselves against the onslaught of Falleen warriors, and quite effectively.
As the Padawans' numbers began to thin, Xizor found himself face to face against the Twi'lek.
"Prince Xizor," she said, her voice full of reverence, even though she tried to hide it.
"And who might you be, Jedi?" Xizor replied, calmly as ever.
"I am Master Reen Vaelan of Coruscant."
"Long way you have come to die," replied Xizor.
"I could say the same about you, Prince Xizor," she said, equally calmly.
The dual sabres' brightness almost immediately clashed with Xizor's sabre's silvery glow, sparks flying everywhere. The Dark Prince knew he held the advantage in physical combat, his opponent being a Consular. He assumed the Form he knew only too well, and began dancing around the Twi'lek, whipping his lightsabre as he went, his entirety merely a blur in the wind.
He managed several superficial wounds on the Twi'lek's body before she had time to respond; her weapon, though, was the Force. As soon as he saw her aura brightening and her eyes closing in concentration, Xizor knew he was in trouble. She had sheathed her lightsabres, and extended her fists towards the Epis, and he immediately lost sense of his limbs. He was completely incapacitated, and as he struggled, her grip became more and more firm.
"I am afraid our battle, for the moment, is over, my Prince. We shall meet again when are on more equal grounds," she said, indicating his allies.
Lifting her hands high in the air, she brought them down with one sudden movement, and Xizor crashed into the ground, momentarily gazed. The world spinning around him, he looked about and saw the Rodian perform the same power on Macron, Muz and Manji, and they also crashed onto the ground.
The two Jedi Masters joined each other and fled deeper into the woods, leaving behind a company of bamboozled Dark Jedi.
They had bitten on more than they could possibly chew.
Snarling, Manji whipped the lightsabre about his body, slashing angrily at the grass as he stared after the fleeing Jedi.
"Damn cowards! Come back here and fight!!"
As Xizor struggled to his feet the Aedile turned and gestured wildly, eager to get moving.
"Well, come on- if we let them get away this whole mission was pointless!"
For once, Xizor let his emotions control him. A determined grimace crossed his face as he raised his sabre, levelling it at the two fleeing Jedi.
Immediately Manji, Muz, Macron and Xizor dashed into the woods, following the fleeing Jedi Masters. Rushing through the undergrowth, eyes fixed on the still visible brown robes of the Masters, they slowly began to close the gap. Suddenly the Dark Jedi burst into the open, into a small clearing backed by a cliff drop. At the edge of the cliff stood the two Masters, lightsabres raised, determined to make this spot their last stand.
A wicked grin spread over Manji's face as he beckoned to Muz then moved forward, sidling outwards and moving to one side of the two Jedi, forcing them to turn to keep him in their view. At the same moment Muz moved to the other side, splitting the two Jedi's concentration.
Then Xizor strode forwards, lightsabre humming eagerly as he moved towards the Jedi. Raising his sabre, the Falleen Prince spoke.
"The time has come to remove your vile influence from my planet."
Then, all three Dark Jedi darted forwards, three sabres crashing against the sabres of the Jedi. For a moment all five stayed frozen in a tangled sabre lock, then a blaster bolt seared towards the Guardian, forcing him to duck out of the way to avoid it.
As he ducked the Guardian lost his grip on his sabre, Manji capitalising immediately on the advantage by lashing out with a boot that smacked into the Rodian's chin and knocking him back into the Consular. As the Guardian staggered Manji thrust forwards with his sabre, the silver blade carving into the Guardian's chest with frightening speed. The Guardian fell to his knees, an expression of utter disbelief on his face. Then he slumped to the ground, dead.
Macron blew the smoke off the emitter housing of his Blastech Dl-44. "Nice work, guys!" he cheered. The remaining Consular was then peppered with blaster bolts, forcing him to block them as the other Dark Jedi closed with him. Sortly, the Consular was carved into twitching seared giblets by three blazing lightsabers.
However, the Twilek master was nowhere to be seen. These two lesser Masters had been a Rodian and a human. She must have escaped, and left her proteges to cover her tracks. Too bad for her- it was a bad day to have your learners fighting these Dark Jedi.
Macron surveyed the cliff as the other darksiders searched the bodies of the fallen for information. There was a whimpering sound coming from the bushes. Macron ran to them, and pulled out a very frightened green Twilek male by his lekku. A blaster was put to his cranium as Macron said "better start talking... right now!" The Twilek dropped a blue lightsaber, and nearly cut off Macron's foot. "Watch that thing, moron!" he growled as he kicked it away.
Muz stepped up and took the Twilek away from Macron with a flourish. "Hmm.. you look to be related to Master Reen Vaelan. Well, are you? " he asked as he probed the Twilek's mind.
He already knew the answer, of course. YES.
The Twilek seemed to have a knot of the darkside stuck in him as well. As Xizor and Manji approached, all three felt the seething jealousy being radiated by the male Twilek. Jealousy of their power, and of his ... sister's knowledge and position.
Manji chuckled. "Guess we have a jealous brother here... great material for Turning. What's your name *snap-hiss*, you idiot?" Manji had ignited his blade, and it was crackling only scant inches from the Twilek's face.
edit: forgot an "r"
"Siof Vaelan," the Twi'lek said, trembling, his eyes fixed on Manji's lightsabre.
"Leave him, Manji," Xizor intervened. "He will have his uses...alive."
"Very well," said Manji, and unignited his lightsabre.
Xizor approached Siof, smiling his famed, dead, smile. "I know what you are thinking, Padawan, and what you are feeling. You are terrified; more than ever. All of your Jedi teachings are worthless this moment. You can find no calm equilibrium, no flicker of hope. Fear is blinding you, and hatred, too. Hatred for us, hatred for your sister's superiority...hatred even for your own incompetence. Surrender to it, Siof. Leave the Jedi ways which leave you such a weakling."
"You don't know what you're talking about," stammered Siof. "I am a Jedi, and much more powerful than my sister!"
"Such brave words... But your heart sings a different tune. Join us, and you will crush all opposition... And reign supreme over Reen Vaelan."
Siof was quiet for a long while. Finally, he looked up at Manji and Xizor. A new fire burnt in his eyes; that of hatred. "What must I do?" he said hoarsely.
"Serve us," said Manji. "Unquestionably."
"I will do so," said Siof.
A thought that had been nagging Xizor for some time began creeping through his brain, now that the action was over. Where on Ragnos was Lech?
"We need to split up," he told the others. "Lech is missing."
"Damn," said Macron. "You, little Jedi!" he called to Siof. "Where's your sister's base?"
The Twi'lek's eyes blazed. "I am no Jedi," he cried and his blue lightsabre was immediately at Goura's throat.
"My, Xizor, you sure know how to corrupt," said Manji to his Aedile.
"One does one's best," replied the Falleen. "Now, me and Macron will head back to the woods to look for where my idiot apprentice might be. Muz and Manji can head with Siof and the rest to assault the base. We will be right there."
"Sounds like a good plan," said Muz. "Siof, where's their base?"
"In a cave near here," the newly-corrupted Padawan replied. "It opens up into a huge base. There must be thirty more Jedi in there, along with three more Masters, including Reen."
"It's gonna be tough," said the Proconsul.
"Wouldn't have it any other way, bro," said Maji, winking.
"All right," said Xizor, "let's head out. Leave a transmitter near the cave so we will be able to locate you."
And so the group split once more, unbeknownst of what was to come.
I will ask everyone to refrain from posting in this run-on until the competition "The Big Twist" is over. For more information, read my report. Thanks.
As posted by Lech, who has won The Big Twist competition
Lech rose from one knee to view his opponent from eye level. Verun stood in front of him, smiling. His clothing swayed with the gust of wind that whisked past the pair. He held a datapad in one hand using the other to type his commands. As Lech curiously watched him, he noticed blood stains on the ankles of Verun's boots.
Behind the very evil that Xizor and the rest of the dark jedi sought, stood an unrecognizable sentient form. It looked to be human, but Lech was unsure. The entire body of the being was covered in a dark brown cloak and hood.
The former spoke, "There is something I want to show you, young padawan." As Verun finished his words, a hologram projected from the end of the datapad he was holding and produced an image of Lech's comrades.
The crew had just finished slaughtering some jedi and even managed to recruit a jedi to the darkside. Watching this, Lech smiled. "Your Jedi friends are pathetic. They have no willpower. Given the opportunity, they all would gladly join the brotherhood."
Verun's smirk quickly turned into an angry frown. "You think so? Well, let's get the audio to this little event." His fingers tapped a few buttons on his datapad and sound emerged from the blue colored hologram.
"Now, me and Macron will head back to the woods to look for where my idiot apprentice might be." Xizor explained to the troop.
Lech rolled his eyes. "You think that me hearing Xizor put me down is going to make me "see the light"?"
"Maybe. The path to the darkside is quick and filled with pain. The path back to the light side is a long and difficult task," explained an oddly familiar voice from the depths of the brown robed being.
More of the hologram followed. “I don’t understand Lech. He simply does not listen to me sometimes. I teach him something and sometimes it as if he has no idea what I’m talking about. He is progressing slower than any other student. He has been a part of the brotherhood almost as long as I have and he is only a jedi hunter? I think he is a lost cause sometimes,” Xizor explained to Manji.
Lech saw Verun look at him and the hunter quickly closed his jaw. “In your “brotherhood”, you cannot possibly hope to have any friends. Believe me, I know.” As the cloaked figure finished his thought, he pulled back his hood to reveal his face.
Lech’s jaw dropped again. “M-m-master Mike Halycon.”
“It is most interesting to be working with you personally, Xizor,” said Macron as the two stalked off into the woods. “I hope I can be of service. So what do you think happened to Hunter Lech at this point?” Macron looked about at the forest distrustfully. Concrete and rock was where the Sith felt the most at home, except for the blackness of space.
The Falleen Prince moved quietly through the sylvan path, barely brushing the fronds of moist vegetation as he walked. Xizor spoke. “I am not quite certain at this point. However, my apprentice has a way of… becoming scarce sometimes, Macron.
I have heard you do not have that problem, in fact quite the opposite. You can be quite annoying, I hear.” The Krath smiled with a gleam in his eye as he ribbed the journeyman.
At that instant, Xizor knew something from the darkest recesses of Macron’s mind.
It was a shocking and unexpected revelation. The Hunter held some nasty secrets. This one was very close to the surface, and must be something he was actively thinking of.
Macron was 33, and as a youngster had traveled quite a bit before joining the Jedi Academy. The Sith had been a young teen gangster space tramp back then. Macron had been aboard Jib Kopatha’s asteroid base when Lord Vader had been there to question the Bothan.
Several Falleen had tried to assassinate Vader that day, and Macron had seen it all. He had been hiding in the shadows below decks, trying to survive and con a way to get back to Coruscant. Zuur and Xora were slain, along with several other Falleen warriors.
Xora had been a friend to the young man and had helped him stow away aboard the pleasure platform. Macron crawled out and retrieved the dagger she had stabbed the Sith Lord with later, after all had left. The same dagger killed several other Falleen as well at the hands of the Dark Lord’s telekinetic abilities.
He had it even now. He hated Vader as well.
Macron turned and silently handed the blooded blade hilt first to Xizor and nodded. He felt no more need be said. Xizor closed his eyes for a second, nodded, and grimaced.
Xizor suddenly stopped short, and raised a hand in silent warning. Macron sensed the presence in his mind as Xizor made telepathic contact. “Do you sense that, Hunter?” asked the sibilant voice in Macron’s head.
Kat had received contact from Xhedias. He was in orbit around the planet, and should be on the surface shortly.
Macron and Xizor had paired up, as had Manji and Muz. Lech had wandered off, and they were trying to find him. The rest of the team had already headed out, leaving her to await the newcomer, stay in one place in case Lech returned, or tried to contact her, and to catch any other stray group memebers. As soon as Xhedias arrive, she would be on her way to the cave where the real battle would begin anew.
"Xhed, are you coming or not?" Kat still had a grin, but a tinge of impatience was laced in the comment through the comm unit.
Static answered her, but nothing else. Absently, she wandered the edge of the clearing, watching the woods for signs of activity. But the area held an eerie stillness, which might be the result of the recent assult in the neighborhood, or it might be something more.
Something rattled behind her in the woods. Jumping, she laughed nervously as one of the local beasts scampered into the clearing and hastly fled the other direction.
Its just got to be my nerves. Usually the woods calm me, but today there is something wrong. I just wish I knew what. Kat's senses moved into high alert. The heaviness of the air gave the impression of a brewing storm. Only time would tell what kind of storm this would be.
The gloved hands of the Zabrak turned the yoke of the craft into a spiral descending towards the forested planet of Falleen. Throwing on the inertial dampeners and air brakes to slow the speed of the ship inside and outside while he descended. Looking onto the onscreen display, a blip came up on it, quickly identifiying it as ship of Sadow. Bringing the ship down in the clearing that was just big enough to hold the two ships, he flicked a swtich on the console and jumped from his seat proceeding towards the ramp.
The clicking of his combat boots echoed throughout the hallways and as he trodded down the ramp and onto the lush green knee tall grass. The wildlife was creaking around him in a nervous way, and the Zabrak knew it. What in the name of Sadow is going on here? His jaw dropped by what he felt through the force. You're F-ing kidding me....I'm in. Xhedias began a dash through the woods that would bring him to his companions. Calling on the force around him to strengthen his legs a eerie purple haze came off of his feet as he ran to join his comrades.
He felt what was in these woods, and he would destroy every last one of them, with or without his brothers and sisters of Sadow.